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NYC Artists on the rise: Highlife

The story of Highlife carries many similarities to the one of The Drums: - and a bunch of painters from the early 1900: musicians stressed out by the city's lifestyle escape to sunny marine location far from metropolitan madness in search of a way of life more conducive to musical creation, find inspiration, make great music and return to NYC with songs that sound like sun and sea - two things New Yorkers should be very familiar with, by the way (perhaps NYC's sun and sea are not as inspiring as its other virtues...)
Highlife was born in 2008 when Shaw, along with White Magic collaborator Mira Billotte, retreated from New York to the small island of Gaspar Grande off the coast of Trinidad, at the southernmost point of the Caribbean trail. The pair spent long, wandering nights chanting and inducing trance, recording on a portable setup that Shaw had lugged along. The rough demos were brought to a London studio, where Shaw and Billotte re-recorded them and finalized them with the help of producer Harvey Birrel (Crass, Sir Richard Bishop, Buzzcocks). Now back in NYC, the band is readying the launch of the band's debut EP "Best Bilss" scheduled for the end of September.

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From the Open Blog: The Hi-Tones!

 

Trippy organs, groovy beats, and thick greasy chords characterize the emanating sounds which are are reminiscent of 1960's Brit-Rock groups like The Kinks or Syd Barrett's early version of Pink Floyd, and are on par with modern acts such as The Black Keys, Jet, and The Strokes. Walk into their live show and it's clear by the end of the first song that The Hi-Tones have what many other bands lack: an outstanding front-man who commands the attention of the audience. Debonair and soul-shattering lead vocalist Johnny Flores, slender with jet black curls, not only has a impressive set of pipes, it seems he has borrowed some fancy footwork from Mr. James Brown himself. Sensual and sweat drenched, he spins, jumps, slides and shakes with relentless passionate energy. Bassist Gary Delgado, tall and dreamy, floats on his own introspective plane of existence thumping out punchy rhythms that pop like the exploding flash-bulbs of the 1930's. On cue, savvy guitarist Chazz Bessette steps out armed with a with a classic fireglow red Rickenbacker selected meticulously from an arsenal of vintage guitars. The crowd begins to pack the floor and becomes wild with dancing and excitement. The sexual energy given off by the music is apparent by the amount of flailing females that line the front row of the audience. By the end of the set, a dull evening has turned into what feels like a jiving bohemian dance party. Native Texan Kevin Culwell delivers pulsating guitar licks with a sense ease while the crowd dances in a frenzy. Kurt Lammers sits back with a smile and keeps the bodies moving with a constant beat that never seems to lose a click. I have seen the future!

The Hi-Tones are currently in studio with Grammy nominated producer Frenchie Smith [Jet, Trail of Dead] in Austin, TX. Watch for their debut album in 2010! 

(Ed.: this post taken from The Hi-Tones' post on our DIY Open Blog, check out other Open Blog posts in the Deli Kitchen. The Hi-Tones are also among the nominees in our current poll...) 

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The Deli’s Featured Artist of the Month: The Fallen Troubadours

The Fallen Troubadours aren’t actually from Philly, but we’re guessing that we’ll hear more from them soon when they finish their upcoming new album. Their rootsy rock makes a great soundtrack for many drunken nights and should be welcomed with open arms by Philly’s like-minded music community. Guitarist Brendan Steaklum was nice enough to answer a few of our questions.
 
The Deli: How did The Fallen Troubadours start?
 
Brendan Steakelum: Well...TFT is an evolution of an idea/band that's had many faces. The lead singer (Brad Stewart) and I have been playing in bands, writing songs together since high school. Our last band was called the Suns of Ivy, but we broke up due to "creative differences". So I moved on to another project (playing bass in The Great Unknown) and Brad, Clif, Mike and Brandon started a band called Northern Soul. Inevitably we started making music again and renamed the band The Fallen Troubadours and started playing some local shows in the city, and recording songs. Now...here we are.
 
TD: Where did your band name come from?
 
BS: The name was used for an acoustic show that Brad and I did years ago.  We recently found a poster from the show and thought it was a better name than Northern Soul…so we changed the name. Like most band names it just sounds better than everything else we were tossing around.
 
TD: What are your biggest musical influences?
 
BS: We all come from different musical backgrounds but running similarities are The Beatles, Dylan, Oasis, Kinks, CSN&Y, The Byrds, The Animals, Oldies and Motown.
 
TD: What artists (local, national and/or international) are you currently listening to?
 
BS: Dr. Dog is always playing in someone’s car, Mumford & Sons, Delta Spirit, Dan Auerbach, M. Ward, Broken Bells, Fruit Bats…
 
TD: What's the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?
 
BS: The first real concert I ever attended was Bruce Springsteen with my Dad…amazing…I never looked back. The first album I ever bought was Weezer's Blue Album and Oasis' What's the Story Morning Glory…same time in a CD shop called Tin Pan Alley in Hamburg, PA.

TD: What do you love about Philly?
 
BS: I love the music scene number one, great camaraderie and support for other bands…and of course, the beautiful women.

TD: What do you hate about Philly?
 
BS: Traffic, getting to Philly from "Dutch Country"…there's also too much of the same thing going on musically…

TD: What are your plans for 2010?
 
BS: We are currently working on our debut record with Candy Colored Dragon and Issac Betesh. Hopefully it will be ready to go by the fall. Other than that, playing everywhere we can, writing songs and working with The Children's Alopecia Project.
 
TD: What was your most memorable live show?
 
BS: Opening up for Dave Davies of the Kinks....just ask Brad.

TD: What's your favorite thing to get at the deli? 
 
BS: Thanksgiving on a roll please.
 
- The Deli Staff
 

 

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Julius C play summer camps, lands sponsorship, announce CD release

Here's an interesting story of creative Rock'n'Roll marketing... NYC band Julius C doesn’t go on the kind of tour most bands go on. For the last several years, the band has spent the hot months touring summer camps. Band leader Jay Stollar developed the “Rock Star Camp” program to bring more arts activities to summer camps after spending his youth hoping for such an experience. Five years into the program, the band is now sponsored by the Crocs brand of footwear and is traveling to more than two dozen camps on the East Coast where they spend the day with the campers teaching them cover songs and staging a concert with the young singers and musicians.
This year, Julius C expects to perform to almost 15,000 campers and staff. The band returns to NYC at the end of August where they will begin a residency at Rockwood Music Hall to be followed by the release of the band’s "OK, OK" album in October.

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Stylish NYC band Weep releases debut CD

For obscure, probably yin yang related reasons, these days we don't stumble very often upon acts that - like Weep - are inspired by the sound of stylish acts like David Bowie, Roxy Music and Air. It seems like in this musical era the scruffy sound of DIY is WAY more - pardon my French - en vogue. But Weep isn't afraid of style - how passe`! But isn't passe` the future, really? Weep just release their debut CD "Worn Thin", check out some streaming songs here - When I'm Wrong in particular..

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