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Boy Scouts plays Phono del Sol June 15th

Phono del Sol is a free festival at Potrero del Sol park. This year’s lineup features an Oakland favorite, Boy Scouts, whose folksy bedroom pop-rock is relaxing, charming and damn good. Taylor Vick’s vocals are sweet and pitch perfect, a fine complement to the keys and strums. Boy Scouts’ last release, Spiritual Pickle, is a 2-song sampler. Tracks “Kite” and “My Idiot Brain” are lofi, low pressure and highly pleasing. Catch Boy Scouts at Phono del Sol and wherever else they’re playing comin’ up soon! Stay tuned. - Lucille Faulkner





The Deli Philly’s June Record of the Month: Active Listening: Night on Earth - Empath

Active Listening: Night on Earth (Get Better Records), the debut full-length album from the quartet of Empath, immerses the listener in a chaotic, cathartic sonic world. The awakening sounds of birds chirping give way to Emily Shanahan and Randall Coon’s assertively warped combination of electro-bass and synth on album opener, “Soft Shape”. Catherine Elicson’s vocals hover between a restrained hushed tone and a more pronounced power. The instruments weave creating a complex yet streamlined sound, before Garrett Koloski’s drumming is unleashed, stepping to the forefront and bashing away towards the song’s conclusion.

Spring-loaded “Pure Intent” toys with tempo, constructing an exuberant, disorienting environment, with brief, calming, vocal moments of respite. Caught up in that whirlwind, everything becomes so hazy; however, after the storm, reassuring keys and softly strummed guitar conceive a serene backdrop, before the abrupt kick-start of “Hanging Out Of Cars,” with its jagged-guitar rev. Joined by bustling percussion and the contrasting, softer key tones, the track blends a rugged, uncompromising approach that is exuded in the blunt, raw force of the guitar-percussion combination. “Where I take you is where I take myself, an empty is left most I ever felt.” Halfway through, the traffic disappears, and the road opens up as a soothing, electro-reverberating clarity emerges.

“Roses That Cry” appears to mesh theories on learning to accept and deal with the present, (“They say everything aging all the time together/As the clutter comes alive, comes in bed, nowhere to hide/Don’t waste your time judging kindness/“We say hell is forever, and what is the cost? Is this it?”), while also expressing optimism and nostalgia (“Are you coming around?/You’d like to, but you don’t know how/Remember when that tree fell on your car”). There’s a sense of hopeful warmth and memory illuminating the song, amid the swirl of noise. A blitzing, brutal instrumental brightness hits on “Rowing”. There’s no slowing down, as the track races with compact precision, appearing ready to fall off the rails, while still maintaining a melodic connection. 

With “Heaven,” there is an impactful interlude into the psyche, as brief thoughts are delivered in a free-flowing manner. “I just want to get to heaven.” Clairvoyant, floating keys form an ethereal atmosphere throughout “IV,” as the rest of the instrumentation provides a more detailed texture. “Decor” marches fantastically forward in an inviting manner. The vocals retain a soft, assuring nature. “Deep down, nothing changes where you’ve been.” The LP returns to form with “Redeo Fever” surging ahead as Elicson sings: “Say a little prayer, the most that I could bear/All I have to glean is the experience.”

Empath’s latest collection of recordings exudes a thoughtful, noise-infused intensity – one that requests an intent ear and rewards the listener in the process. (Photo by Troy Memis) – Michael Colavita





Post-punk-inspired rockers The Wants debut new single, play Union Pool 06.30

Each instrument in The Wants’ new single “Ape Trap” (streaming) has its grand entrance: a vigorous drum beat is followed by a gruff bassline, then by a sinister-sounding guitar riff, as smooth vocals creep in. The song draws you in, grips you, and does not let go easily. The single blends elements of pop and post punk with a mechanical feel reminiscent of some semi-robotic sounding bands of the early '80s, forging a style that pulls you in multiple directions. The clarity of the recording adds to the track's detached aura as do the lyrics of singer and guitarist Madison Velding-VanDam, both awkwardly abstract and oddly relatable. This band has devised an edgy style that reimagines the sound of post punk in simple but effective ways. You can catch The Wants live on June 30th at Union Pool. - Rene Cobar





New MINKA Album Available for Streaming & Download

A graceful, classical-meets-electronica convergence flows as one listens to the new MINKA album, Reincarnation. The complexity of the compositions is tastefully complemented by beat-driven movements. An elegant, serenity glides along as the vocals guide us through the seamless mergers of these recordings. It's a more subdued MINKA than you might be used to, but in a very good way. Enjoy!





Kemba debuts vulnerable new single "Last Year Being Broke"

The Bronx has always had the worst reputation among the NYC boroughs, a concrete pariah whose name still concots emotions of fear, mostly outside of NYC. It is from this dismissal and its rough-and-tumble fame that artists like Kemba draw their inspiration. In his new single “Last Year Being Broke” (streaming) Kemba paints hyper-real portraits of his everyday life via punchy verses that carry the warmth of his sincerity. The whipping kick drum and trickling piano notes help bring Kemba’s proclamation of soon-to-be-achieved success amid all-too-real poverty forward. The track is relatable for up and coming artists and shows that the rapper is looking to connect with his audience as opposed to boasting at them. In today's hip-hop scene this is a welcome approach. Check out the single below. - Rene Cobar

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