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Elephant Jake are "Locked In" on new single

If we were still in the Myspace era with its penchant for musical mashups and and niche genres and all things “extreme” Elephant Jake's Myspace page probably would described them as a melodic hardcore / emo pop punk / indie rock band so extreme they don’t just wear their collective heart on their collective sleeve…

…but instead rip that collective heart out of their collective chest and with it still beating and steaming just like in that notorious scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (good flick for for kids!) and then take a Bedazzler and a glue gun and transform the bloody organ into a gore-laden sparkly brooch and pin it to their gaping thoracic cavity for all the world to see because that's what Elephant Jake's music feels like with its mash up of lovely aching melodies and serrated musical textures and heart-rending lyrics...

…which could be a thing even today in the current TikTok age—call it the Bloody Beating Heart Extraction Brooch Making Challenge—an epistemological state established right off the bat by Elephant Jake on their first song (“Feelings About Feelings”) from their first album (We’re Movies) thus setting the template for a repertoire full of soul-baring songs about bad relationships and general aimlessness but put across in such a life-affirming, energetic fashion that there’s a sense of transcendence springing from all the emotional turmoil as if the songs are a form of Jungian musical therapy…                

…but none of that's necessary to enjoy Elephant Jake’s new single “Locked In” which in the span of less than two minutes moves from tense, minimalist post-punky guitars and declamatory, detuned vocals to a towering wall-of-sound of wailing guitars and keening voices brought to a swift end by a volley of drum fills and a quick fadeout with the song's lyrics adhering to the band’s conversational and observational tone but adding a strong dose of sociological commentary (namely, working-class entrapment or so it would seem) to the relationship woes…

…so check it out if so inclined and finally when it comes to biography details about the band I don’t got much to offer except to point out that Elephant Jake hail from Orange County, New York which I didn't even know was a place outside of America’s armpit state...

...but when it comes to Elephant Jake's current locational status there's more uncertainly (fitting for this band!) with their Bandcamp page showing them to reside in New York City while their Twitter account puts them in Philadelphia, PA so we're just gonna go ahead and say “touché” and “well played” because as a result this entry is posted on both the Philly and NYC Deli pages which means double the pleasure and double the fun. (Jason Lee)


Indie Rock

Band name: 
The Shining Hours
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
Venue name: 
Our Wicked Lady

Shybaby feels your pain in new single and video about a friend who feels her pain

photo by Alex Howard

My only beef with Shybaby’s new single “Kiki Doesn’t Like It When You Leave Me At The Party” (“KDLIWYLMATP”) is that I wish it lasted a little longer at least because by the time Shybaby gets around to full-on caterwaulin’ and hollerin’ the titular phrase like a Lhasa Apso with its hair caught on fire the song is almost over, meaning we only get about 20 seconds of this glorious cacophony and having seen Shybaby perform live a couple times before I’m well aware cacophony is the band’s specialty…

…but don’t get it twisted cuz the song ain’t exactly Mantovanni up to that point (even tho’ Shybaby has a background as a violist!) instead it’s more an exercise in barely controlled chaos as Shybaby the band lays into the song's main riff as if they’re the reformed Stooges recording take #78 of “T.V. Eye” as total delirium fully sets in, over which Shybaby the singular human being monologues in full-on Karen O Beast Mode about the pros and cons of polyamory (“I’d never had anyone stick around so long” versus “your glassy eyes, they looked right through me”) broken up by a couple earworm wordless hook sections that come off like a Gen Z-inflected millennial whoop…  

…until finally all the built-up tension gets released in the final moments of “KDLIWYLMATP” as previously noted with the narrator realizing that something is deeply amiss when even her friend Kiki is taken aback at Shybaby’s poly paramour leaving her high and dry at the party they’d come to together to hit up an orgy with another member of the “polycule” instead, which is some Caligula-level chicanery right there but still who can’t relate on some level ammrite because like it or not whatever the flowchart of one’s relationship-related state of being happens to be, or not to be, we all just want to be loved in the end (didn’t mean it like that but…) or to at least not get our hearts broken for the umpteenth time…

…cuz whatever the risks, fears, or frustrations may be, who isn’t compelled to keep going back to the well again and again and the Shybaby song is like that too because you’ll find yourself listening to it over and over again just to feel the dopamine rush of its tension-release dynamic--and even if there’s quantitatively more of the former (tension) the latter still looms larger (release) in qualitative terms and plus its briefness only brings you back wanting more and suddenly I get why that last part is only 20 seconds long...

...and it’s all a little like getting locked inside an empty U-Haul truck while the driver goes for a joy ride, save for an old armchair, a giant bowl of Fruit Loops, and some other assorted party favors to make the ride more pleasant until getting unceremoniously curbed atop the armchair just like in the music video for “KDLIWYLMATP” co-directed by Molly Mary O’Brien and Grace Eire aka Shybaby herself. (Jason Lee)


Alt Pop

Band name: 
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
Venue name: 
Pete's Candy Store
Band email: 

Shilpa Ray's "Portrait of a Lady" Feels Ever More Relevant Day By Day

photo by Ebru Yildiz

 Written and recorded over the past couple years and completed/released in late April of this year, Shilpa Ray's Portrait of a Lady (Northern Spy Records) feels like it was created for this precise moment in time with 12 songs that come across like 12 chickens come home to roost in a world full of cocks—the portrait of an lady navigating a society fast backsliding into hypocritical quasi-Victorian morality and unrestrained Wild West-style savagery with a bunch of entitled-but-still-insecure straight cis white guys running the show or trying to anyway but then Shilpa Ray might rightfully reply that's how it's nearly always been...

...and this record could just as easily be titled Portrait of the Early 21st Century Crisis of Masculinity and the Catastrophic Consequences For All Involved but that’d be an inelegant and needlessly defeatist title for an album that's neither of those things and that moves from the personal to the political and vice-versa with elegance and determination across a series of character studies ranging temperamentally from a feral-level ferocity to blurry-eyed wistful resignation and from clear-eyed righteous fury to fuck-it-all gallows humor...

…like on the Shirelles-meets-Liz-Phair-meets-Beach-House classic-girl-group-worthy power-ballad-of-disempowerment not so succinctly titled “Heteronormative Horseshit Blues” which is kind of a "Subterranean Homesick Blues" for icy blonde Hitchcock heroine types who realize they no longer give a shit about the patriarchy, in other words it's a vivid, heart-rending song featuring lines like “how I’ve dreamed of dropping my snatch in the Staten Island landfill / so I’d no longer be a slave to biology / though I could conquer the fate of a snatchless women / why must every move I make be a defense against you?” drawing upon bonkers imagery and emotional reckonings and simmering/sublimated musical backings to fully inhabit the mindstate of the song's desperate protagonist...

…a song narrated from the perspective of self-willed alter-ego Doris Daydream and sung to another alter-ego named Danny LeDouche both of whom depicted by Shilpa Ray herself in the music video directed by Amos Poe with characters that appear to have walked straight out of a Cindy Sherman photograph but real-to-life in terms of the “power dynamics and conforming gender rolesat play in abusive relationships but which often hold sway in more “normative” relationships as well…

...and with the music carrying equal weight in bringing these vivid scenarios and emotional states to life through a mix of barbed slow-burn sociopolitical torch ballads and furious torch-the-joint rock-n-roll rave ups (see "Manic Pixie Dream Cunt" for an example of the latter) with no shortage of '80s-style-sparkling-synth-driven-new-wavery-but-with-a-Lene-Lovich-level-of-edginess tossed into the mix too like all of the sudden you're watching one of those artsy strip club numbers from Flashdance and if you don't believe me just play “Lawsuits and Suicides” in tandem with the dance sequence above and tell me Shilpa's song isn't a Jennifer Beals-worthy bop, but a bop that acts as an exposé of male ego and mentally abusive gaslighting behavior which taken together may seem like more weight than a single song can hold but Portrait of a Lady is full of examples to the contrary...

…ranging from the glam-damaged, piano-led melodicism of the incels-in-training-themed “Charm School For Damaged Boys” to the pulverizing fury of  “Manic Pixie Dream Cunt” to the Weinstein-and-Kavanaugh-eviscerating stripped-down-dream-pop balladry of “Straight Man’s Dream” (“spend your seed / across the houseplants / of some hotel bar”) to the Susan Collins-eviscerating lighter-waving-ballad-cum-dancefloor-filler “Bootlickers of the Patriarchy” and really you just can’t beat these song titles…

…so if you’re looking to get your fix of a contemporary artist who's something like Lou Reed meets Lydia Lunch meets Asha Bhosle meets Billie Holiday meets Patti Smith meets Nick Cave meets Pirate Jenny but for the 2020s (I'm making this all up as I go along of course@) then you're in luck and btw Shilpa Ray just played a show with Lydia Lunch so there ya go (not making it up!) so check out Portrait of a Lady if you haven't already because that's what it's all about. (Jason Lee)

Historian's corner: Curious what The Deli had to say about Shilpa Ray and her music back in late 2014 in an actual print issue of the magazine? Curious what the hell a "print issue" is? Back in the day Deli scribe John McGovern observed that "Shilpa Ray has one of those voices that is simultaneously haunting and beautiful [and] her music does not cower or sneer in the face of darkness. It is mature, valuing the truth over appearing hip, and jaded. And that complexity is equally striking in her lyrics. Her songs have some seriously hard-hitting lines of the kind that will make you re-evaluate your life" and the more things change...


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