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Beat Radio feels your pain before rising from the fire on "Real Love" LP

Real Love (Totally Real Records) is the sixth LP by Beat Radio—a musical delivery mechanism for the “heartfelt, literate pop songs" of vocalist/guitarist Brian Sendrowitz with founding member Philip A. Jimenez returning to the fold to hold down drums/percussion in addition to synths, second guitar, backing vocals, banjo and a little bass guitar which I’m just gonna go ahead and assume he played all at once because overdubs are for wimps and then lastly-but-not-leastly Kathryn Froggatt brings some sweet vocal harmonies and bass lines and tambourine rattling to the musical table...

…painting an expansive canvas full of fog-shrouded chamber pop landscapes opening onto vistas of anthemic-yet-not-too-bombastic indie rock classique heavy on the churning mid-tempo rhythmic momentum and stately, stalwart melodies garnished with a dim sum banquet's worth of musical condiments ranging from burbling, buzzy keyboards to backward-masked guitar to reedy saxophone drones to folksy fiddle interludes with the help of a guest player here and there which taken together reinforces the “downtrodden uplift” found in the lyrics…

 …not to mention how “Lowlands” and the title track rescue the banjo from its besmirchment by the likes of Dumbford & Sons and Matchbox Twenty-One, nimbly integrating the instrument into indie-Americana settings without it sounding like Taylor Swift crashing a Yo La Tango concert and perhaps not since the opening strains of Grandaddy’s Sophtware Slump has the banjo (erm, fake “banjo” but still..) been so perfectly incorporated into sad-dad-rock except with Beat Radio there's no robots drinking themselves to death or interstellar space-colony miners placing long distance calls home to no avail with B. Sendrowitz & Co. keeping their emotive, plain-spoken songs more strictly earthbound…

 …which makes sense given that a chunk of Real Love was written in a “fever dream” state during early peak-period pandemic lockdown and indeed the songs read as “locked down” physically and temperamentally flipping between states of emotional devastation and emotional resignation and emotional disassociation which dovetails nicely with the juxtaposition of placid sonic surfaces and stormy musical microbursts with Brian clarifying that on this album “there was nothing to hold back anymore…I went all in emotionally in a deeper way than I was capable of before”…

…like on “Disassociation Blues" a song that confronts some pretty harsh realities head on (“I was hiding since I was child / and the storm was coming all the while […] golden age that never came / dreams that we let slip away”) while seeking to evade and avoid these harsh realities at the same time (“dissociation blues / I don't even know what's true […] emotionally detached / hiding all the evidence”) and here as elsewhere Beat Radio straddles the fine line between huddled-in-a-fetal-position-in-the-bathtub lamentations and cold-shower catharsis…

 …and besides it being a “serious relationship gone seriously wrong” record one could also read Real Love as an extended political allegory especially with it being released near the midterms and especially with all the nature-of-reality-up-for-grabs lyrical moments on Real Love (“I made my own creation myth / trying to prove that I exist” — “Solid Ground”) and in these election denying days but I digress…

…and ok maybe I'm overreaching seeing as the record could as easily be about your grandma's lasagna as about the life of Brian especially in this post-death-of-the-author moment but either way if this sounds at all up your chimney chute and/or if you tend to enjoy the tremulous-yet-tempestuous poptones of The Tragically Hip, Los Campesinos!, Nada Surf, Fountains of Wayne, Waxahatchee and Sebadoh then you may very well enjoy Beat Radio too and finally here's hoping “We Rise From Fire” in the days and weeks and years ahead… (Jason Lee)

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Drive-In wants you to know "This Is Not A Rom-Com" on new EP

--> LISTEN TO "THIS IS NOT A ROM-COM" ON SPOTIFY <--

Drive-In is a musical duo who in their own words “have come together to create a sonic experience that makes listeners want to dance and reflect on their life choices” and while their music provokes more the latter than the former response for this listener I’m not about to tell anyone they can't dance to Drive-In because that’s a highly personal choice (plus their song "Impact" is indisputably danceable, see below) and heck if people can dance to the Grateful Dead's music they can dance to anything even off their tits on hashish, acid, and/or shrooms all of which have proven conducive to noodle dancing at the very least...

…but rest assured multiple tabs of blotter acid aren't required to enjoy Drive-In’s new EP This Is Not A Rom-Com with lead singer/lyricist Ally Rincon having penned “a collection of stories that narrate her experiences with relationships, with people and with herself, with a specific focus on how those relationships have effected her mental health” according to the official press release, a record that "shamelessly wears its heart on its sleeve."

This Is Not A Rom-Com was produced by Ryan Erwin (Particle Devotion, Nice Dog) and on the musical side of things the EP is similarly introspective and emotionally direct or as guitarist/songwriting partner Mitch Meyer puts it: “I wanted this album to be a bit more reflective and a more grown-up way of looking at Ally's lyrical themes, so rather than going full angst, we opted to bring in some folk and Americana elements [plus] a lot of strange guitar intervals and bends that kind of twist with the emotion. Quinn Devlin was a big help in realizing this aspect" all of which sounds pretty Dead-like actually…

…but what's maybe a little less-than-direct with This Is Not A Rom-Com is how any one of these four songs could fit quite nicely on an actual rom-com soundtrack imho like how “The One Before” would be a great fit with Albert Brooks’ classic rom-com Modern Romance or how “Impact” sounds like it’s sung from the perspective of the Biscuit Woman in Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster (“I am falling / and landing on concrete”)...



...or how “Overwhelmed” mirrors the self-delusion and mutual deception at the heart of The One I Love starring Elizabeth Moss or how “Narcissist” could soundtrack the, um, narcissism at the heart of Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story a movie that “brings rom-com energy to the agony of divorce” but still I had to turn it off after about 15 minutes due to the insufferability of the main characters not to mention the stilted acting, apologies to Adam and Scarlett because I know they're reading this…

…so anyway you may have noticed the aforementioned films are all very much dark romantic comedies which no doubt is down in part to your humble reviewer’s twisted cinematic tastes but they do fit the Drive-In EP to a "T" with its songs essentially rooted in the hopes and expectations formed around normative heteronormative couplings and the various varieties of misery and insecurity potentially stemming from these normative hopes and expectations which falls outside your typical happy ending rom-com territory…



…but then again your typical rom-com depicts plenty of misery leading up to its happy ending cuz you gotta ratchet up the dramatic-comedic-romantic tension somehow so maybe the songs on This Is Not A Rom-Com could be rom-com soundtrack fodder after all (plus that’s where the big bucks are!) not to mention Drive-In have a knack for combining despairing sentiments with pleasant “gentle folksy indie rock” musical stylings which may likewise help land those movie placements—an amalgamation mastered by the likes of Snail Mail, Lucy Dacas, and Phoebe Bridgers among others—so if you like your rom-coms both sweet and sour then head to the Drive-In and get your groove on… (Jason Lee)

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These People explore unseen forces at work on new EP "In Place of Time"

Yesterday I very nearly lost my credit card, my glasses, and my phone but there were “forces at work” that somehow saved me in each case and no I wasn’t hungover or anything along those lines in fact the night before I’d stayed in and even gone to the gym (!) and no I don’t think I’m going senile yet but still I left my credit card at a lunch spot but luckily discovered it was missing almost right away when I went to buy a coconut donut and a coffee at a well-known chain establishment and then later that evening I left my glasses on the seat of a subway car but thank the heavens realized it seconds later, jumped back into the subway car and grabbed them off the seat and jumped back off only a split second before the doors closed all Indiana Jones-style…

…and then most embarrassing of all I when I was coming back from the show I went to last night I jumped the turnstile at an unattended entrance (hey I figure if the MTA is gonna lay off booth workers and leave stations unattended then when should I pay to ride and how’s that for a justification?!) which really didn’t make sense since there was a homeless guy holding open the service door as a public service (and soliciting tips, naturally!) but instead I went the DIY route in skipping the fair but apparently when I leapt over the turnstile it caused my phone to likewise leap out of my pocket and onto the ground totally unbeknownst to me…

…which the aforementioned man not only retrieved but then he chased me down a couple flight of stairs and was probably calling after me but I had my noise-cancelling headphone on full blast of course and didn’t hear but still he managed to catch up to me on the platform and returned my phone at which point I felt like a complete idiot but also incredibly grateful to this most excellent Samaritan and gave him 20 bucks and sure I coulda saved nearly $20 if I’d simply gone through the door he was holding open and thrown him a little change in the first place but in the end it was worth the expenditure to feel the sense of immense relief I felt at that moment plus to see a rare glimpse of the best in humanity when a total stranger, and one who doesn't have it easy to boot, saves you from your own stupidity…

..and yes I realize this is supposed to be a record review but here’s the clincher of it all because guess what I was listening to on my headphones when I jumped the turnstile and briefly lost my phone—and that’d be new EP by THESE PEOPLE titled In Place of Time (Green Witch Recordings / Parallel Division) and specifically its opening number “Forces At Work,” a song (and an EP) that in my reading is very much concerned with unseen forces at work in the universe even and especially when it appears that the universe (or planet Earth at least) is spinning wildly out of control or to quote directly from the song “a universe of empty space” that despite this emptiness “love[s] to get [a] reaction to test the Will of Man” and hey I’m not sure how I earned the good karma but I’ll take it…

…and THESE PEOPLE further drive the point home musically on the song and the entire EP which opens in medias res sounding like a music box winding down but soon a skittering beat kicks in over which waves of dissonant guitar guitar and textural keyboard ebb and flow like waves breaking on the shore and then pretty quickly the song establishes a more familiar shape but still with the lapping waves of sound underneath the surface and then about half way through there’s a breakdown part that goes on for a full minute with congas and tom tom fills and more waves of textural sounds and angular guitar…

…and overall I’m digging the crystalline, ‘80s-reminiscent production work on this EP and when I say “‘80s-reminiscent” I’m thinking specifically of records by people like Peter Gabriel, Todd Rundgren, and Adrian Belew at their most art-damaged and most off-kilter-pop inclined simultaneously and along these lines “Forces At Work” and the rest of the EP are full of crystalline chiming guitars and all sorts of other timbral sound-painting not to mention a logic-defying combination of head-bobbing funk and chin-stroking art rock and not to mention the philosophical yet semi-abstract lyrics at hand…

…and not to mention how the EP is both a bit chaotic sonically but also how air-tight controlled it comes across as when you really pay attention like a there’s a steady, invisible hand behind the seeming messiness on the surface which only gets amplified on the following tracks, the first of which truly does have “Levels” especially when it comes to the crazy rhythms unpinning the whole thing which slip almost imperceptibly (warning: basic music theory ahead!) between duple to triple time…

…and then next “Mind Reading” opens with some brief textural noise before a loping groove enters alternating between 5/4 and 4/4 and when the gently keening vocals enter it shifts into your basic triple time (3/4 or compound 6/8 meter if you prefer!) and finally on “Past Tense” we get treated to a chorus (mostly) in 7/4—for those who don’t know “time signatures” this is why it sounds off-kilter/left-of-center/angular—plus the vocal line is consistently sung ahead of or perhaps behind the beat (either way it’s “just out of time” but in which sense?!) so that the whole thing feels like a spinning top careening precariously, but somehow never tipping over, or maybe more like a hapless guy who keeps losing all his sh*t but having it handed back to him by the universe thanks to unseen forces at work and if it’s all “a great cosmic joke” then at least it’s a good one. (Jason Lee)

And here's a little insider insight into the band should you want it...!

Official short Bio: These People is the solo project of Long Beach, NY producer and songwriter TJ Penzone. The project began after his former band Men, Women & Children (Warner Bros / Reprise Records) disbanded. These People has a constant rotation of musicians with the songs primarily written, recorded, and produced by Penzone, with additional instrumentation, production, and artwork by his brother Rick Penzone (Color Film, Richard Flesh). Soundscapes, and additional guitar by James Usher (Edison Glass, Heavy duty super Ego).

Quote from the Artist: I made the structure for "Levels" while I was trying to learn George Harrison’s “I'd Have You Anytime”. I just kept playing the first two chords over and over, changing rhythms, and adding more chords until it just evolved into its own thing. This one was incredibly fun / tedious to record and mix. -Tj Penzone

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Punk

Time: 
21:00
Band name: 
Crush Fund
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
https://www.facebook.com/crushfund
Venue name: 
Our Wicked Lady
Band email: 
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Dead Leaf Echo say "Boo" on new single paying tribute to fear and loathing and Madchester

With spooky season culminating tonight it’s fitting to feature Dead Leaf Echo’s latest single “Boo” a song that's equivalent to an audible shudder and thus highly Halloween-friendly—which let's face it everyday is Halloween these days so you can keep listening to it after tonight—with lyrics about fear and loathing in a modern-day surveillance state and/or in the current state of modern-day relationships (“I know / they know / a thing or two / about boo / but I know they’re / gonna get to you”) with front-ghoul LG Galleon & Co. proving themselves adept once again at alchemizing Sensurround sounds bounced off multiple walls of reverb and digital delay, flange and chorus, tremolo and who knows what other forms of sorcery into headphone-hospitable majestic sonic sculptures that somehow don't crumble to pieces…

…all of which makes "Boo" sound pretty serious but unless you're a member of the undead army it should have you shimmying as much as shuddering since when you peel back the MK-Ultra-ready swirling psychedelic surface there’s an ass-shaking Madchester groove underneath driving the whole thing forward not to mention a galvanizing gospel-infused vocal hook written to satisfy a dare issued to LG to make a Hacienda-friendly Manchester type song that got transmutated over time into a tribute to the late, great Denise Johnson (RIP) who herself lent many a galvanizing, gospel-infused vocal hook to songs by Primal Scream, A Certain Ratio, New Order, and The Charlatans UK to name but a few…

…which isn't to say that dread and dance are mutually exclusive cuz there’s nothing like a shiver up the spine to make you wanna cast your demons out onto the dance floor and I haven’t heard it done like it's done on "Boo" since circa the Cure's unveiling of Wish in 1992 which saw the Batcave-dwelling Backcombed Boys in Black augment their late-to-mid-80s goth-pop mastery with an infusion of baggy beats (think Happy Mondays or Stone Roses), Britpop whimsy (resulting in a future karaoke staple) and disassociative “Wall of Haze” shoegazery all of which was ascendent at the time and if you were to refer to the resulting hybrid style as “boo-gaze” we wouldn’t hate you for it…

 …but rest assured you need not be into Clinton-era deep-cuts by the Cure to be into DLE’s “Boo” by any means—for instance one could draw a closer contemporary parallel with Dirk Knight’s Hamburg-based SEASURFER project not to mention Dark Orange—but either way if you're sympathetic to “atmospheric guitars, distinct percussive momentum, cathedral inspired vocal harmonies and dramatic build-ups” (quoting directly from a Deli writeup on DLE some years ago) then you should be into their new one too as long as you don’t mind some new wrinkles, or if you don't know old from new you may wanna peruse this deep historical dive or read brief pieces on a couple of albums here…

…and here at the Deli we don’t mind wrinkles new or old which we feel bodes well for the upcoming Boo EP slated for release in early 2023 and speaking of new wrinkles DLE’s most recent EP Milk.Blue.Kisses.And.Whalebone.Wishes from earlier this year had plenty of them too but less in terms of race-ready grooves and more in terms of free-floating-blissed-out-but-with-underlying-animating-anxiety ambient soundscapes…

…with lead guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter LG noting that the previous EP was a by-product of the extended peak-period COVID isolation with tracks laid down in LG’s home studio with remote contributions by bassist Steve S and drummer Kevin K and if you wanna check out a track-by-track listeners’ guide why not consult with our good friends over at a rival blog by clicking on the preceding link…

…but sticking with my self-regarding frame of reference I’d lay claim that if “Boo” is akin to a Wish album track then the six tracks that make up (five of them instruments0 M.B.K.A.W.W. is more akin to a collection of Wish-era B-sides widely mythologized by fans as specimens of etherial otherworldly beauty hidden away from all but b-side fanatics—check out “Twilight Garden" and “Play” for starters—and could it be mere coincidence that the Cure are releasing a 3-CD expanded edition of Wish this November including all four tracks from their fanclub-only Lost Wishes cassette in digital remastered form for the first time I think not…

…and while it’s possible I’ve devoted too many of my brain cells to Cure b-sides there could be a larger point to be made here about how dreampop and shoegaze are all about exploring interior mental-psychological states in sonic form (consider how both genre names are meant to evoke a dreamy disposition) spaces that are strongly shaped by memory and imagination


…and just to take it one more level the name Dead Leaf Echo itself steeped in long and memory being taken from a passage near the end of Nabokov’s Lolita with Humbert-Humbert professing his fondness for a distant but yet still vivid memory, a memory that can’t be recreated but only recalled, but which reverberates all the stronger now even if it’s original animating force no longer exists…

 

…but enough of my blah blah blah. Rather than straining to make out distant echoes kinda like it feels like I’m doing now why not instead hear directly from the source with “the source” in this case being LG and what he has to say about Dead Leaf Echo and creativity and lockdown and the tribute to Jinsen Liu (RIP) from 28 degrees taurus that he helped put together a little over a week ago and luckily I got to speak with LG a little before the show in question and here’s some of what he had to say rendered to the best of my abilities. (Jason Lee)

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LG from Dead Leaf Echo: In 2008 or so we were booked for the first time ever in Boston on a show with 28 Degrees Taurus and they were very friendly. We ended up doing three of the Deep Heaven Now festivals that Jinsen Liu (from 28 Degrees Taurus) put together. They super fun with a bunch of good bands. Brief Candles from Milwaukee are now dear friends.

The festival started in the ‘90s under different producers until Jinsen revived it. It features psychedelic, shoegaze and indie rock bands from all over the Northeastern Cast and Midwest. We’re made a lot of friends from different scenes and played more shows as a result.

We never got to do a Deep Heaven in New York City so as a tribute to Jinsen we set up a show with Footlight Presents at the Windjammer with both Brief Candles and Ceremony (Ceremony East Coast) on the bill. Ceremony are a two-piece who both just joined A Place To Bury Strangers last year. The next night we’re playing a Deep Heaven Now bill in Boston with a couple other local bands on the bill. Anna Karina [from 28 Degrees Taurus] booked that show and I organized the one here.

Me and Jinsen shared a love for music and for finding exciting new bands that we may went to tour with and thanks to knowing him and to Deep Heaven we’ve been able to network with bands from Boston and to see those bands and set up shows.

Right now I’m finishing up a record that was originally supposed to come out 2020. Everything’s just now getting back up to speed. I’ve got a new song [“Boo”] and music video coming up, and then hitting the West Coast in December. Lockdown was tough but on the other hand it helped a lot of artists and creative people even if it hurt in other ways.

I saw how it damage a lot of relationships around me. Saw other people suffer for it. Me personally, I thrived. Being a creative person—devastated by not touring, album being dropped by label—but I could at least use the extra time to create more. Any creative type found it useful in some way. It put me on a very set schedule. New York City is a very busy place and your time’s so valuable. And not having anywhere to be is a privilege.

That’s when the last EP [Milk.Blue.Kisses.And.Whalebone.Wishes] was made. It’s a concept album. All the albums are concept album. And collective—working with outside designers, musicians who come into the band, creating a total package of art. Milk.Blue.Kisses is built around themes of winter, isolationism, and the basic idea of not selling yourself short of your full potential. I have a more minimal setup at home compared to a professional studio, but it made me up my game. I used pandemic relief money to save up and get equipment, a much better mic for vocals and a new interface.

“Boo” is a bit more dealing with surveillance, paranoia. Coming out of the pandemic, the residual effects of it on the psyche.

It’s like a weight being lifted off our chests, after over two years. Playing live is a big part of it. Working in the studio and playing live and like the two sides of the brain musically, left and right brain.

Speaking of touring we got to tour Latin America for the first time this summer—visiting Mexico for second time but then to Guatemala, El Salvador, and back to Mexico City. We’ve been to Europe four times, it’s a whole different scene. Latin America isn’t saturated with this type of music. It’s a whole new style and people are really excited for it, It’s like an event with something new coming into town. You could feel it at every show. It also helped with upping my very basic Spanish a bit, and we got to meet lot of bands we’ve never heard of before.

The Deli: And finally, also speaking of touring, come December you can check out Dead Leaf Echo touring the West Coast (including a date in Vancouver, BC) plus a 11/12 blowout at the Polish Club in Phoenixville, PA and an early January 2023 date ushering in the New Year at TV Eye in Ridgewood, Queens…




 

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