Indie Rock

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
 

 

   

Waterfall Wash Release "Foreign Chords" Video

 East side indie folkers Waterfall Wash are helping us cling to the last bit of summer with a DIY lyric video for staff favorite "Foreign Chords," dropped earlier this year. Basically, two fruits enter; one frickin' adorable video leaves.

The fun, quirky video, directed by Dylan White, has all the makings of a perfect afternoon. There's Nerf gun double-crossing, hand-painted signs, cameos by friends (and some local talent) and a refreshing-beverage-off, all to a track you can't help but smile to. Boasting xylophone AND lap steel, "Foreign Chords" is full of personality, positivity and solid musicianship. 

Check out the video below and hear Waterfall Wash's recent episode of local tastemaker podcast Notable Nashville here! -Caroline Bowman

 

   

For fans of Syd Barrett: Real Life Buildings play Baby's All Right tonight (10.02)

Although most indie rock fans think to Pavement's Steven Malkmus as the father of lo-fi rock and the slacker attitude applied to the genre, British mad genius - and Pink Floyd founder - Syd Barret anticipated this trend in his three, beautiful, post-Pink Folyd/pre-madness solo records from the early '70s. Matthew Van Asselt's band Real Life Buildings sounds to us like he's heavily inspired by Barret's casual singing, lazy melodies (as in "Black Kettle") and preference for an overall aesthetic that predilects semi-unfinished sounding recordings (check out opener "In The Sky Today"). The band's sound is also filtered through the lens of the 90's US college rock, with distorted power chords often taking over the reigns. Check out our favorite song "It Snowed," which also features a rare banjo in the chorus. You can see Real Life Buildings live at Baby's All Right tonight (10.02)

   

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

   

Brave Town Releases EP

Since they won our Band of the Month title last year, we've been keeping tabs on indie/alt rockers Brave Town. Yesterday the guys dropped an EP, and we're already singing along.

Brimming with melodic guitar riffs, smooth, youthful vocals and tasteful percussion,  the 4-song release shows the sunny side of alternative rock. With this EP, Brave Town achieve the delicate balance between deliberate and organic, and find a natural middle ground among the quartet's range of influences. The opening track "Denim" is vibrant and danceable, while "Is It Worth It" takes the acoustic route to highlight encouraging and uplifting lyrics.

The Brave Town EP is the perfect thing to listen to if you're feeling down. Or happy. Or getting ready to conquer the day. Or really any time at all.

Give it a listen here, and don't miss Brave Town's release show at The High Watt this Friday with Corey Kilgannon and Fleurie. -Caroline Bowman