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Artist of the Month
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February 2015
The Harmaleighs
""Pretty Picture, Dirty Brush"
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mp3

College pals  Haley Grant and  Kaylee Jasperson bonded over shared musical tastes as students at Belmont University, . They were both also familiar with the hardships possessing the voices of angels; it was inevitable that a musical project would come of the union. The Harmaleighs formed in 2013, and the two proceeded to develop their sound, learning how to filter their shared experiences through an Americana sieve, until every heartbreak and setback sounded as though it occurred decades ago somewhere in the Appalachians.

The Harmaleigh's debut album, "Pretty Picture, Dirty Brush" will be released February 3rd. It covers the gauntlet of relationships that a young adult can encounter: partners, friends, hometowns. It also showcases the pair as the crackerjack musicians that they are. The same razor-sharp tightness that makes bluegrass so satisfying to hear is present in the entire album. Everything rings out as clear as a bell, and nothing is overdone or unnecessary. The girls have a healthy respect for the traditional, and can whip out a down-home rhythm as easily as a teenaged missive on heartbreak.  

Speaking of teenaged missives, a delicate balance is at work here. There are moments that the pair hit Watson Twin-levels of harmonies (like the ghostly intro of opening track "Hesitate") and there are times they turn right around with something more juvenille like "Got fired for dropping a glass of wine/ screw it I'm running out of time," in their recent single, "I Keep Ticking On." There's alot that can go wrong: their music acoustic guitar driven, with some lap steel and banjo thrown in, and they have a propensity to break into foot-stomping jags that recall the receding arena-folk wave. But it doesn’t matter. They’re so good, by grace of their conviction and clarity, that I’d probably be sucking this album down and singing along even if I were a 50-year-old truck driver.

That's the appeal of "Pretty Picture..." The album concentrates being young and new into something potent and delivers it with a little bit of sass; that's a combination capable of crossing quite a few boundaries. It's the emotional equivalent of four seasons of summer camp, thirty friendship bracelets, or ten viewings of "Milo and Otis." This album is bound to strike a chord within the most jaded of bastards. Keep up with The Harmaleighs at their website www.theharmaleighs.com


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The Deli Philly’s Featured Artist(s) Poll Winner: Family Volleyball

Originally winning The Deli Philly’s Featured Artist(s) Poll under the nom de plume Bickley, the garage-pop quartet of Ethan Kerr, Owen Zieger, Harry Welsh, Mike Zicchinolfi now goes by the name of Family Volleyball. The group released its debut EP Rainbow TV Fuzz this past April, and is currently working on its first full-length album. Check out our latest interview with the local music scene newcomers and best friends HERE!
 

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Premiere: Owl Paws – Eyes Of The Prey

The San Francisco based avant indie-folk rock band, Owl Paws has given us the opportunity to share their new ballad, Eyes Of The Prey from their upcoming debut full length album, Reservoir. Our recent coverage of Rin Tin Tiger’s new single and upcoming album ties into the endeavors of Owl Paws, as the bands are celebrating together with a double album release show at The Independent on July 10th with Growwler.

Owl Paws' sound and rhythms veer more towards indie rock and less towards folk and country, giving them a crisp and contemporary feel. Their new single, Eyes Of The Prey is a sentimental and honest ballad that sounds airy, but is also mixed with a tinge of loneliness that seems to reflect a bit of the isolating element of modern times. The lyrics are somewhat abstract, but they do reflect the band’s understanding of the depth of human emotion and experience.

The band’s full length album, Reservoir will be released digitally via Bandcamp on July 7th. We’re excited for their new album and hope you’ll support this local band’s art and efforts.

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Heaven's Gate announces new LP + plays Palisades on July 3

Chilling, haunting, and nightmarish may not be the first words that come to mind when you think of psych rock, but they’re exactly the kind of feelings that Brooklyn locals Heaven’s Gate promise to conjure up on the their upcoming record, “Woman at Night.” Preview track, entitled “Amanda Berry,” derives its name from one of the three women who was held hostage and sexually assaulted by Ariel Castro for over a decade.   The chaotic guitars, heavy breathing, and eery lyrics (using Berry’s own words from her 911 call) come together to forge an energetic four minutes of noisy guitar rock that is at once chilling and empowering. The lyrics of the chorus, “I’m alive, kick out the door, I’m Amanda Berry,” evoke a sense of survival in the face of adversity. Overall, the band manages to create a powerful piece of music that tactfully deals with a terrifying reality. Psych rock fans should also check out the band's previous full length 'Transmuting.'
“Woman at Night,” the band’s third record, is set to release sometime this summer. Heaven's Gate is currently on tour and will be performing at a number of venues in the New York area, including a show at Palisades on July 3rd and Rough Trade on July 30th. - Patrick Wolff

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Rob Jacobs

Rob Jacobs released a video, directed by Julia Dratel, for his track "Unknown Hand" this week. The track original appeared in his self-titled album with was released on vinyl and cassette by Chicago's International Anthem back in February.

This month International Anthem is working in tandem with Rob Jacobs to "present a 4-week curatorial residency of improvisational performances by an eclectic generation of artists" at Comfort Station. Jacobs will be performing with Pat keen on July 9th to kick everything off. Get all of the detail here.

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The Deli Philly's July Record of the Month: Sonic Praise - Ecstatic Vision

Heavy-psych three-piece Ecstatic Vision conjures cosmic soundscapes with their debut LP Sonic Praise (Relapse Records). Self-ordained as “primal,” the group’s orchestration is undeniably gripping and visceral, altering the embodied state of its listener at an instant. Pressing past the tropes of genre, Sonic Praise is a hypnotic example of the outfit’s versatility. The release of Ecstatic Vision’s tripped-out LP is hopefully the first of many.
 
Beginning with the well-titled “Journey,” Sonic Praise’s opening track unfolds like a swirling chant that gradually builds to bawdy, passionate dirge filled with buzzing riffs and drums. The song’s lyricism is straightforward yet amplified by the unrelenting progression of its instrumentation. The declaration of “Journey” is unapologetic. It’s not a conversation; it’s an invitation. At its climax, the resonance of the recording brings to mind similarly transcendent tracks like Moon Duo’s “Free The Skull” or Ty Segall’s “I Wear Black.”
 
“Astral Plane” is a tentative tip of the hat to the iconic Sun Ra’s masterpiece Space Is the Place, unfolding with driving riffs and drumbeats that elicit the sensation of being transported into the ether. By the two-minute mark, “Astral Plane” is in full swing, impressive guitar work resounding as the track’s earlier established foundation persists. Each component of the song’s structure expands as frontman Doug Sabolick’s vocals urge listeners to “Look in the mirror and tell yourself/this is the place to be.” Undoubtedly indicative of the cosmos (metaphorically or literally), “Astral Plane” is trancelike, with its instrumentation possessing the power to cast a psychedelic spell that lingers well past the song’s end. Nearly thirty seconds shy of thirteen minutes of length, the temporal duration of the recording is as well warranted as it is executed. “Don’t Kill The Vibe” is equally shamanistic, with riffage that feels psychotropic. The LP’s title track, “Sonic Praise,” begins with primeval distortion comprised of oscillating tempos and forlorn chants. The effect of its prelude is mesmerizing, dark, and strangely beautiful. Thematically cult like, “Sonic Praise” is satisfyingly otherworldly, seducing its listener to give in to Ecstatic Vision’s melodic ethos without hesitation. 
 
Sonic Praise’s final anthem “Cross the Divide” extends the mysticism of the album’s narrative, ending Ecstatic Vision’s debut on a plane similar to where it began - one of enlightenment and pure rock ‘n’ roll. - Dianca London Potts

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