Artist of the Month
  • local channel
  • local charts
  • show listings
  • studios
  • submit
  • submit

deli cover

August 2014
Vinyl Thief

In high school, my friend Craig Lee took it upon himself to educate me on what to do when I got high, which was: take a 311 CD and play it through Windows media player, and set the visualization to “Ambience.” With those days behind me (and a few subsequent years lost devil-sticking for tips as I followed 311 tours) I had long forgotten that particular use for Windows until I listened to Vinyl Thief’s debut album, “Fathoms.”


Released July 22nd, “Fathoms” listens like an entity. Granted, all albums vary song to song, and this one is no different, but few pluck the same rubber band in your brain and sustain it throughout it the duration. Fewer still can be so closely likened to getting lost watching a pixelated visualization of music on your ’01 Dell, wondering:“Whoa, how did they know to do that?”


Vinyl Thief is a synth driven powerhouse of a band that has been gathering acclaim since the release of their “Rebel Hill” EP in 2012. The group has essentially come of age playing together, from their high school inception to logging hours of practice in a church-sanctuary-turned-rehearsal space to perfect the sound and rapport that makes Vinyl Thief extraordinary. There are not many bands with such an expert handle on their sound.


There are a few anchors in Vinyl Thief that make them so listenable. Their synthesizers are going to do something beautiful. Grayson Proctor’s vocals are going to run through an impressive range without ever sounding forced or theatrical. And every song is going to reliably blow your mind in some way. It might be on a smaller scale, like when the guitar breaks the silence after the bridge in “London” with what I can only imagine a swoon would sound like. Or it could be big, like when the track “Rebel Hill” finally reaches a crescendo after a series of goosebump-inducing change-ups. The band has a knack for zig-ing when a zag is expected, going soft instead of loud, or even bigger when they’re already turned up.


Vinyl Thief is one of the best examples of the modern face of Nashville music, where already talented musicians go through great pains to learn their craft and the business around it. This is a band that is one sync away from national exposure. Be prepared to hear much more Vinyl Thief after Apple or Toyota licenses one of their tracks. Considering that “Fathoms” is a collection of their best material meticulously recorded and lovingly presented like a bowl of all-red jelly beans ready for the grabbing, this is only a matter of time. –Terra James-Jura

This is a preview of the new Deli charts - we are working on finalizing them by the end of 2013.

Go to the old Top 300 charts


scene blog


Opal Rose's Universal Soul

Opal Rose’s release Universal Soul, shows an entire universe of sound. Nice beats and Opal Rose’s beautifully ranged voice create a trance-filled album. Reggae, jazz, latin, hip hop and R&B influences mix into an intoxicating concoction. The album is appropriately named, since it can bring together worlds of sound into a cohesive and alluring universe that I , for one, would love to live in. Opal will perform at Tree House Lounge on June 25th. --Hannah Brady


Finley Martin's Backtracks

Solo artist Finley Martin has spent the past two years creating his premiere album, Backtracks. Finley’s deep voice brings a rich flavor to hauntingly beautiful piano harmonies in the first song of the album, “The Empress of Ireland”. As the album continues, it becomes apparent that his voice is able to do much more than lay the melody for a classical melody, but also fit a variety of modern genres. His versatility creates an album which seems to explore each subgenre of modern rock. The vast majority of his album is acoustic guitar and voice, and the diversity of his sound makes Backtracks captivating. You can catch him this Thursday, June 12th, presented by the RLife Live Series at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, or June 19th at William Jeffrey's Tavern    --Hannah Brady


Cigarbox Planetarium

When you listen to the fresh pops of percussion from Cigarbox Planetarium you can’t help but be intrigued by the fresh sounds of their instrumentals. Comprised of members Andy Charneco and Deanna Pineda, Cigarbox Planetarium have been playing shows around the DC area since 2008. Creating both their own unique compositions as well as reviving old hits such as “My Funny Valentine” with their reminiscent tones, one can’t argue that Cigarbox Planetarium is something different. Often playing shows with Charneco on guitar and Pineda on keyboards, the two make for an intriguing combination that oftentimes makes one think of them as a more “jazzy” and “courageous” version of Daft Punk. You won’t want to miss out on experiencing Cigarbox Planetarium, their next show is at The Windup Space in Baltimore on June 22nd. --Rohan Khanna


Rom (formerly The Dead Women) release new album Soda Christ.

DC’s post-punk trio The Dead Women have changed their name to Rom, and released a new record called Soda Christ. Recorded and mixed by Chris Freeland at Beat Babies in Woodstock, MD, Soda Christ has been anticipated by fans since a teaser demo EP was released earlier in the year. This is Rom's first full length, and second official release, following 2013’s Vier EP (as The Dead Women). Vier was a promising 4 song collection of tight post-punk, and Soda Christ delivers fully on that promise, and then some.

The album is tight and catchy from start to finish, sounds gorgeous, and will please both fans that have enjoyed their live shows, and interest new listeners. The sound owes a lot to bands like Joy Division and Wire, and Mark McInerney’s buttery smooth vocal melodies fall somewhere between Ian Curtis and Morrissey. This is not at all to say that the band is a one trick pony. Rom covers a lot of sonic ground on the album. The guitar tones are varied, rich and sweet, and Sean McCauley’s bass, and Mark Pry’s drums form foundations that range from melodic and dancey, compelling one to jiggle and sway, to simmering intesity. The band isn’t afraid to stray frequently from their more obvious influences, and do so without a hiccup, making fuzzy twee indie-pop on Micro, crispy pop-punk on Name, and anthemic (yet mellow) 90’s flavored indie-rock on Old Bull Lee (for which they are joined on vocals by Jenn Wasner, of Wye Oak--who also appears on opening track Jerry Princess Taste).

Soda Christ is solid, full of single-worthy tracks from start to finish. It's a fantastic opening statement for a skillful new band comfortably embracing a style (and name). Look for shows from Rom this summer and fall, and check out some of the new tracks below. --Natan Press


The Bumper Jacksons' Sweet Mama, Sweet Daddy, Come In

Bumper Jacksons' new album Sweet Mama, Sweet Daddy, Come In is a pleasant surprise. The traditional swinging jazz brings to mind the indisputably dancing that took place in speakeasies throughout the country. Saying that Bumper Jacksons have a full band may be an understatement. Their full band consisting of clarinet, washboard, vocals, kazoo, trombone, guitar, mouth horn, bass, harmony vocals, snare, pedal steel and dobro drums, more trombone, and a suitcase. Yes, a suitcase. The band’s very own Dan Cohan created his own percussion setup around a suitcase with a washboard, tin can and old pieces of trash that make interesting sounds. --Hannah Brady


Koshari's new double A single Into Shreds/Just In Time

The first time I heard the songs off Koshari’s new double A-side, Into Shreds/Just In Time, was live at the Black Squirrel this past Sunday. Due to the realities of the venue, Koshari’s guitarist Bryan Baxter opted to play his part with an acoustic guitar and a small selection of pedals. Though he was uncertain of the result, the set was beautiful, reminding me immediately of The Cocteau Twins’ tides of sparkling crystal sound. Barbara Western’s vocal melodies also remind me of Elizabeth Fraser’s, though Barbara’s words are more comprehensible. On record, the guitars in these songs are far more aggressive.

The combination of loud and abrasive guitars, pedal-play, and delicate vocals easily peg Koshari as a “shoegaze” band, with a significant debt owed to British bands like MBV. Yet Koshari’s sound differs significantly. They more often recall (perhaps unsurprisingly) the American wall-of-sound post-hardcore bands of the same period. The guitars are not ethereal crinkly cellophane, and there’s none of MBV’s trademark tremolo abuse. Koshari’s guitars are lush and thick; they chug and assault and dive quickly. The bass is easily discernible, and provides a melodic groove, while the drums are only mildly distorted and chewy, and the tempo is a hard drive rather than a lethargic shuffle or frenetic dance.

I’m having a hard time choosing which of the two songs to post below, so I’ll just pick “Into Shreds” because it’s the first one as presented on their bandcamp. I strongly suggest also listening to "Just In Time" (it should play through automatically). There’s a lot to hear in both songs (the differences between the songs are interesting if you’re into this sort of sound-play), they’re both catchy, and you’ll want to listen to them repeatedly. --Natan Press


My Darling Fury release video for Over, Under.

My Darling Fury released a music video for their song, "Over, Under" (off of new LP Licking Wounds) on The Vinyl District. The catchingly simplistic video utilizes light and shadows to capture the eye as the music captures the listener’s mind. Todd Matthews did a wonderful job as audio engineer, producer and editor to help create an intoxicating mixture of visual and aural art.

It’s close to impossible to listen to the beginning of My Darling Fury’s song without thinking of Radiohead. Dreamy guitar and bass lines linger as trembling vocals slowly begin their ascent. As the song continues, it morphs to include synthesized patterns, heavier bass and percussion. Pedal effects aid in the transition from psychedelic-art rock opening to pop-rock ending. You can catch them next Wednesday, May 28th, at The Camel in Richmond, for the RVA Playlist Birthday Party, with The Trillions and Vexine--Hannah Brady

Over, Under - My Darling Fury from Todd Matthews on Vimeo.


Bearshark Release New Record, bid Farewell at RnR Hotel, May 24th.

DC’s Bearshark are releasing their second and final record, as members Mick and Kiel head out West on new adventures. 2011’s Gorilla Defense EP showcased the band’s eclectic tastes, blending post-rock and Modest Mouse’s jagged, rusty, aggressively syncopated guitars. The track "Canyonlands" was the most dynamic and rich in influence, opening with a severe ode to 60’s western soundtrack music, reverberating guitars crashing through piles of cymbals into a peaceful star-filled landscape and back again, a journey across the range climaxing with an indie-rock charge into the night. "Canyonlands" reappears on the new record (as the title track), in a new form, and the changes in the song reflect the differences between the two records.

For Canyonlands, Bearshark have dropped much of the angular guitar-work in favor of atmospherics reminiscent of Mogwai. Now the Morricone guitars trail comets through billowing stardust on space-western adventures. On the track "Needles" (linked below), guitars float weightlessly, slowly gathering momentum before blasting off on rockets powered by exploding drums, propelling richly layered guitars and synths to galaxies far away in search of the next glorious victory.

You can join the band for one last adventure at their record release and farewell show, presented by the DC Area Deli, at the Rock and Roll Hotel on May 24th (doors at 7PM, music at 7:30--tickets here). Bearshark will be releasing the record at the show, as digital download codes, on flash drives, and with a special limited edition art print! Don't miss your last chance to see Bearshark, as they headline a set showcasing musical wonders from across the DMV, including Black Girls (Richmond), Alex Vans (DC), and Andy Bopp (Baltimore). --Natan Press



New Poll Coming Soon!

- news for musician and music industry peeps -