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Alt Rock





Dead Tooth head on down to the "Hell Shack"

We here at DeliCorp Enterprises would like to wish a happy two-week songaversary to “Hell Shack,” Dead Tooth's latest single and their disquieting but not at all quiet answer to the B-52's "Love Shack." And since two-week anniversaries are known as the aluminum foil anniversary (editor's note: there is no known evidence this is true) we hope that they enjoy the tin foil hats we just dropped in the mail for all the band members because judging from their latest song it seems they've maybe been receiving some alien transmissions lately.

On "Hell Shack" the Dead Toothers continue to refine their post-punky trailer-parky electric blues psychedelic electro-rock sound and no I don’t get paid by the word. Speaking of words, band frontman Zach James describes the song as an “almost dumb and brutish voice of a self deprecating ephemera addict who's trying to find words for indescribable feelings of anger, hurt, mistrust, doubt and shame [and] it’s about setting fire to what was and being at war with the id [and] it’s the destructive and creative forces working together to build my heaven like I built my Hell Shack” and well hell he took the words right out of my mouth.

But damn if "Hell Shack" doesn’t live up to this hype because it's a pretty epic piece of music squeezed into three minutes and seventeen seconds--starting with a minimalist guitar/keyboard backing which sounds kinda like the B-52s in a rare funk (see what I mean) but then vocally you've got more of a “Subterranean Homesick Blues” vibe with stacatto verbiage and mashed-up imagery and rhyme-schemery (opening lines: “a terse versed vulgar purse snatching witch / I’m on the back of the bottom of your itch”) that hooks the listener from the get go (editor's note: no listeners were consulted for this write-up) and builds in intensity before a runaway Beastie Boys riff enters the picture about a minute in and then it’s straight into some techno-phallic guitar riffage and lyrics about “fight[ing] fire with fury and full choir” and “tell[ing] that fat headed pig we want out tomorrow.”

So you're thinking "OK Dylan meets Zeppelin it's been done before" but halfway through the song drops into an ambient "Kid A" style K-hole for a short spell before launching into an extended outro over a groovy syncopated beat and ghostly reverb slow-motion melody with a vocal line that becomes increasingly chant-like unleashing who knows what malevolent forces with lines like “the idol kills, the idol grows.” But in the end its Dead Tooth who kills it with a nicely vibey final minute that builds in intensity riding off into the sunset or would that be the sulpheric flames of Hell? Needless to say wherever you end up it was a journey getting there.

 

Oh and there’s a video too which you may have noticed up top, but if you prefer your music remain unvisualized check it out directly above. In the music video for "Hell Shack" people chase each other around a lot (mostly members of the band I think) but it's definitely not the screaming teens of A Hard Day's Night chasing after Dead Tooth's limo. There’s a kidnapping or something involved and maybe some gangsters and definitely a skateboard theft. So hey maybe it doesn't set a very good example for the children but it’s fun and there's some slow motion parts but be forewarned it gets a bit violent at times—like when Zach gets bashed across the face apparently right after he just ingested a bunch of tator tots because he spits ketchup everywhere all over the pavement. It happens. And while I'm forced to dock the video one star for not including any Trans Am sports cars (plus no cameo by Nathan Wind) it's still a fairly entertaining piece of work. (Jason Lee)





VIDEO: With “Super 8,” DE’WAYNE’s Charisma Steals The Show

L.A.-based via Houston artist DE’WAYNE releases their debut album STAINS today, June 18th, via Hopeless Records and you can view a video right now for their latest single “Super 8.”

The track itself combines emo, synthpop, and rock sounds in a tight, meticulously produced package. DE’WAYNE’s vocal jumps right out of the gate from the top, accompanied by insistent rock fuzz bass and drums. Throughout, DE’WAYNE’s energetic vocal yelps are punctuated with Suicide-style delays that send their vocal into infinity. With lines like “I wanna film a porno on a Super 8” the lyrics are straightforward and not insightful by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re not really the focus here. They’re throwaway, a vehicle for the excellent production, hooks, and DE’WAYNE’s vocal performance. One gets the feeling that with the right song DE’WAYNE will be a household name.

Meanwhile, the video (directed by Joe Mischo) alternates between scenes of DE’WAYNE and a “friend” getting into various stereotypically “porno” role-playing antics and more performance-oriented footage of DE’WAYNE and their drummer among a curtain of chains and hooks. One shows the more deadpan comedic side of the artist, while the other adds a mild bit of sexual edge, although DE’WAYNE never strays into even PG-13 territory. It’s clear in his energy and confidence in performance that there’s a lot of promise here in DE’WAYNE. One hopes that their future material will show a maturity in songwriting that rivals their considerable pop idol-to-be talents. Gabe Hernandez

 





The Planes find Eternity on the Edge

“These songs are better than Weezer!” — Unidentified fan at The Planes’s album release live show

The Planes is a good name for a band and an even better one for this one in particular. It's a simple and direct name, plus a name about being simple and direct (and yeah "plain" vs. "plane" but hey work with me here) while at the same time it’s a name that suggests taking flight from the mundane and slipping the surly bonds of Earth on nothing more than a pair of wings and a dream. 

The Zen koan state of being both earthbound and heavens-bound is a good way of describing Eternity on its Edge (question for another time: does eternity have edges?) because the album is firmly grounded in the everyday beauty and pain of the mundane but it still manages to have its head in the clouds too. Take for instance the record’s relatable lyrics about love and loss of control—songs about quarantine wishes ("Little Dream") and drinking binges ("Decoder Ring") and about how not to get your melon busted by cops at a protest ("Stand Back") and songs about taking the leap and tying the knot in the middle of a pandemic ("Summer Rain," "Unglued") all laid out in the Planes' characteristically unpretentious fashion.

But on the other end of the spectrum singer/songwriter/guitarist Stephen Perry isn’t afraid to go Big Concept when called for like on “The Constant” which is essentially a song about the Second Law of Thermodynamics (spoiler: the one constant is decay) and how we mange to cope with this constant (“the hero can’t save the day / but you stay planted in that theater anyway"). And then there’s “Best to Break” which contains one of the more sobering fortune cookie messages I've heard lately (“it’s hard to find a center / when all the spokes are removed”) warning that “they’re counting on their best to break you" when the center finally gives way. And if this all sounds a bit heavy then just listen because it's all delivered with a light touch.

Eternity on its Edge was recorded by producer/engineer/instrumentalist Jeff Berner (Psychic TV, Heliotropes, Dead Stars, Quiet Loudly) at the celebrated Studio G in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. And while "the sound is bigger and more sonically diverse" than the Planes' previous records, it's "still a work of minimalism...requiring just three instruments and a voice to pull off." So you see it's all about balance: major-key melodies and unfussy arrangements running up against dirty-toned guitar shedding and tight, propulsive rhythm-section work by drummer Carlo Minchillo and bassist Matt Skiar. And then there’s Stephen’s singing voice—an instrument than occasionally falters when pushed past its limits but in a Neil Young-ish kind of way that communicates vulnerability and authenticity better than your average operatically trained voice.

These extremes came across all the more pungently a couple nights ago when The Planes played the new songs live for the first time in the intimate environs of Brooklyn's very own Our Wicked Lady where the guitar jangle sounding all the more jangly and the heavy parts all the more heavy. It was enough to provoke attendee to exclaim loudly between songs that “these songs are better Weezer!” And while I don't think the two bands sound that much alike--plus there's the question of whether you view this statement as a compliment or not (editor's note: Pinkerton still rules) or where you come down on the post-Green Album debate--in retrospect I can see that dood's point in that both bands marry confessional songwriting (talking Blue Album and Pinkerton especially here natch) with strong pop hooks and grunged out power chords. (Jason Lee)

 





KITTY COEN

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KITTY COEN

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