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Album review: Bloodbirds - MMXIII

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)
 
Twenty-year veterans of the LFK/KC underground music scene, Mike and Brooke Tuley have played with a number of bands familiar to local rock audiences. Best known for their time with Ad Astra Per Aspera, they established Bloodbirds in 2011 with the intent of cutting loose and shaking things up.
 
And they have. Dense, dark—equal parts Fun House (Stooges), Spacemen 3 and Black Angels—Bloodbirds’ newest release MMXIII may also be their swan song, given the departure of bassist Anna St. Louis for Chicago. In some ways, it is St. Louis whose playing defines the band. Forward in the mix, and by no means shy, St. Louis plays with punchy authority, reminding of some of the other great “lead” bass players like Jon Entwistle and Peter Hook. Brooke Tuley is a powerful drummer; her parts are simple, but dead-on. She locks perfectly with St. Louis.  Mike Tuley plays on top of their aggressive foundation, a canvas for his arsenal of shimmering hammer-ons (“Modern Sympathy”), punishing riffs (“Did You Say”), and sometime dulcet tones (the comparatively clean Blue Mask jangle of “Convalesce”). Depending on the song, his sound can be metal harrowing or as ropey, surf-psychedelic as the theme from Repo Man.
 
About those songs: they’re functional, gripping, emotional soundscapes, not necessarily bound by pop hook conventions. They hit you with the shape-shift intensity of vintage heavy rock like Blue Cheer or modern darkness merchants like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Which is to say the focus here is not necessarily on hum-ability. Even allowing for that, it would be nice if the vocals had a dash less delay density and a bit more clarity in the mix. Lyrics and vocals on MMXIII are more about mood than meaning (or mood as meaning), stray lyrics emerging from the driving murk to arrest your conscious mind here and again.
 
The tough thump of “No Trains Coming Through” totally belies the song’s title. With Roky’s manic intensity, the song “Did You Say” features the ominous, repeated line “Did you say you want the end to come right now?” And the music echoes the sentiment. “Round Moon’s” cascade of guitar features some of Tuley’s most expressive fretwork, summoning up the incantations of bands like the Icarus Line and the guitar howl of the Stooges’ Ron Asheton. For an album that emphasizes a certain heavy-osity, MMXIII manages to shift mood and tone effectively.
 
Brothers and sisters, the Bloodbirds can make a show-stopping addition to anybody’s Psych Fest. Live shows may be few and far between, given the departure of St. Louis, but they have reunited in support of MMXIII occasionally and the members remain close friends and open to the odd gig. Go catch them if you have the chance.
 
—Steve Wilson
 

 





The Deli's NYC issue #44 is online!

Deli Readers,

I know, it seems like we put our latest issue out just the other day - but no, we haven't switched to monthly. It's just that the fall in NYC is a busy time for us, and with CMJ week and our NYC Synth Expo (linked to BEMF) coming up, there's a lot to write about.

Here's our 44th issue of The Deli NYC (one of our finest!). Check out cover band Stolen Jars, they'll be performing at one of the (several) Deli CMJ 2015 shows!

READ THE DELI NYC'S 44TH ISSUE HERE!

The Deli's Staff





Premiere: Ghost & the City - Steady Trippin

The Oakland based soulful jazz ensemble, Ghost & the City has released a new song entitled, Steady Trippin. Here´s your chance to listen to an amazing local jazz group who has consistently released well composed, entrancing music!

Oakland outfit Ghost & the City is dedicated to elevating style and experience to create music that embodies elements of soul, trip-hop and jazz. Traveling across numerous musical genres to appeal to many tastes, Ghost & the City creates music that defies conventionality, yet solidifies a distinctive sound. Over the past five years, the project has successfully performed at venues all over the Bay Area, supporting such acts as Shabazz Palaces, Hiatus Kaiyote, Incognito and Marco Benevento. This year will see the release of Patchwork Soul, a 6-song EP that features fresh collaborations and a new direction.

Musician and composer, Ash Maynor and the awesome vocalist, Kia Fay have given us the opportunity to share this new song with you and we love the sound, style and vibe of this sensual trip hop inspired track. Steady Trippin is a free download via Soundcloud so you can listen to this track straight from your hard drive whenever you desire!

"Lyrically it reflects struggles with self-doubt as an artist, those moments when you're really just ready to throw in the towel. The concept of "Steady Trippin" comes from the idea of feeling caught in limbo, a place where you aren't walking but you're aren't quite falling, and yet you still find yourself moving forward" - Kia Fay

"With this tune we were trying to capture the ideal blend of jazz + trip-hop, both genres we've been exploring more with our new EP Patchwork Soul. The track features trumpeter Ross Eustis (Brass Magic, Guy Fox) doing what he does best, and largely reminiscent of Guru's Jazzmatazz volumes." - Ash Maynor

Ghost & the City has a string of local shows coming up. Make sure you catch this band live!

9/26 - OMF Festival w/ Anderson .Paak, Trails & Ways and more
11/6 - Leo's Music w/ Zakiya Harris
12/4 - Awaken Cafe w/ Guy Fox
12/5 - KALX Live

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Debut Festival: Bay Area Vibez

The inaugural Bay Area Vibez music festival officially announces its 3-stage, 2-day music, arts and urban lifestyle festival being held at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland, California on Saturday, September 26th and Sunday, September 27th, with more than 25 artists to represent the line-up. The festival was created in celebration of music, art, diversity and the rich culture that mirrors the Bay Area and its unique characteristics.

The first round of artists to be released are Grammy©winning artist, Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, Nas, who has a #1 album on American Billboard top 200, eight time Grammy© winning artist/producer, Stephen "Ragga" Marley, Grammy© nominated Meshell Ndegeocello, #1 Billboard reggae performer Morgan Heritage, Tarrus Riley, Jo Mersa; son of Stephen Marley, Fiji, Fishbone, Krooked Treez, Richie Spice, I-Wayne, Queen Omega, Ghetto Youths, The Courtney John Project, Black Am-I and the Oakland based fan-favorite band, Forrest Day, along with a few big surprises!

"...The eclectic mix is what constitutes the urban festival and represents the very nature of the Bay Area," says festival coordinator, Yurel Hassan Cooke. "The location is impeccable for an annual festival. With other surrounding fest locations as California Roots, Outside Lands, Reggae on the River and Treasure Island, the Bay Area Vibez seemed to fill a void on the map, and blending the genres for the Bay Area just felt right."

The water-lined breathtaking views of the city of San Francisco and the Bay Bridge have made Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland the perfect backdrop for this urban lifestyle festival. 

"Keeping the music alive for the next generations is key. Collectively, we need to support the creative flow of our children and open their eyes to a new world filled with creativity and a universal appreciation for diversity," says festival co-founders, an Oakland native; Tressa Wells, along with tour manager to Damian Marley, Albert "Pretty" Cooke.

General Admission are set at $85 for 1-day passes, $160 for 2-day passes and $225 1-day VIP, or $400 2-day VIP passes, which include early entrance to grounds, special VIP viewing and lounge area, VIP beer and wine garden and select organic foods and snacks. Shuttle services will be available for convenient entrance to the festival. Parking passes are $29 per day. Festival hours go from 11am to 10pm daily. For more information, or to secure tickets, visit www.BayAreaVibez.com.





Austin's David Shabani Can Freestyle Better Than That Drake Track Y'all Keep Playing

If you're into the non-radio-play hip hop scene even a bit, you know that the Drake "Back to Back" freestyle diss track that the sports-cursing Canadian dropped on SoundCloud a month ago has been just about the only off the cuff verses anyone has been hearing lately (63.9 million plays as of this posting), so much so that the thing must be paying all of Soundcloud's bills by its own damn self at this point. So, maybe now we think is a good time to be reminded that just 'cause one really famous rich dude made another sort-of famous rich dude look somewhat goofy in a fairly decent freestyle rap, Drake's verses weren't good enough to end all of freestyling forever. Hell some of them ain't even that good- there's def cats out there who hold down rapping's most difficult and impressive tradition with much more power and skill, and they're still droppin' bombs on SoundCloud even after the Destruction of Meek Mill at the Hands of the Canadian Aubrey Drake Graham.

To wit, give yer brain an ice-cold dose of Austin's David Shabani and his newest release, a freestyle good enough to be an album track called "YUL to DFW" that'll get you right cool for these last few mind boiling summer days. Shabani is, as the track's title might suggest to those who are hip to the locational acronym game, a Texan via French Canada who has been building a rep and a fan base here in Austin through a consistent, quality output of tracks (a ton of his stuff is free on SoundCloud) and some big damn shows like an appearance at the 2014 X Games out at that big fuckoff rich person racetrack thingy. "YUL to DFW" is catchy like some kinda head-noddin' virus and does everything a truly good freestyle does- it's fast, smart as hell, it sounds so clean and put together it's hard to believe it's all off the dome, and you wanna jam it again a few times just to catch everything.

Freestylin' should be part approachable shit, like references to pop culture and current events or common daily life shit, and part personal perspective and peaks into the rapper's life. Shabani knows this, flows this and nails this, dropping in everything from bits on Star Wars, Anita Baker, Montreal not having an NBA team and even looking for the remote in the couch while sticking in personal shit like a bit on his life story, such as in the hook (the part that'll definitely get stuck in your head) where he lays out he went from "Montreal to Hamilton/Hamilton to Dallas/Dallas down to Austin/Feelin' good, feelin' awesome." That call-out to these four heavily populated areas should make it instantly dig-able by anyone with the good fortune to live in any of em, and should especially hit with Austinites, this city being so full of transplants and all (for better or worse, though in Shabani's case certainly for the better).

Let Shabani get up in your head and move that mildly great Drake piece right along into the museum of old freestyles where it belongs, and also get introduced to one of Austin's solid young rappers heading up the Most Likely to Succeed pack in this city's scene with this freestyle below, as well as his other tracks over at the internet's home for new hip-hop tracks before Meek Mill just loses it and tries to burn down their server warehouses.

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