Indie Rock

Indie Rock

Time: 
7PM
Band name: 
The Pretty Bitchin
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
https://www.facebook.com/kristinflammioandtheprettybtchin
Venue name: 
Our Wicked Lady
Band email: 
   

Indie Rock

Time: 
07:30
Band name: 
Joshua Dylan Balis
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
https://www.facebook.com/joshuadylanbalis/
Venue name: 
Harvard & Stone
Band email: 
   

Geek'd "Astræthesia"

Geek'd has released a new single called "Astræthesia".

This is the hazy dream pop of Christian Moreno, and this is his second single of 2022 following up February's "Trippy Dippy". For this new single he is joined by Rebecca Gaspelin (Vocals and Synth) and Vince Ippolito (Guitar).

   

World Premiere: Debut single "Eat Cake" by Debbie Dopamine!

OK, quick question. Do you ever find yourself becoming so chemically imbalanced that you kind of accidentally push through to the other side and start role-playing and acting and presenting yourself kind of like an everyday, rational human being making everyday, rational human being decisions?

Hmm, yeah, you know…me neither! — Katie Ortiz

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As a pithy thesis statement for Debbie Dopamine’s debut single “Eat Cake” (released today!) the quote above really does take the cake, as it should since Katie Ortiz happens to be vocalist, guitarist, lyricist, and real world doppelgänger for Debbie Dopamine—both the persona and the band—which is exactly why I’ve opened with this quote and also quoted directly from Katie/Debbie throughout this piece (of cake!) taken from an interview provided exclusively to the Deli so “eat it!” other music blogs! (just joking, we love you other music blogs!)

KO/DD: Debbie has been a figment of my imagination for years. She is the part of me that embraces a cynical outlook on existence. She drags me down, but she does it so good. She’s your depressive episode personified in the internet age, sweet and sharply sour, wrapped in a dirty-bubblegum aesthetic. 

DELI: Much like Codeine, Morphine, and Viagra Boys, Debbie Dopamine perfectly embodies her/their chosen nom de drug on “Eat Cake” with its prowling palm-muted guitar and spectral piano and chiming arpeggios and tremulous single-note sustains, producing a frisson that’s not unlike the musical equivalent of goose bumps whether produced by pleasure or by anxiety or by both at the same time as reflected in the song’s lyrics which describe “making out with all the empty in my bed” and “making out with all the empty in my head” (hey, we’ve all been there!) not to mention “I’m not gonna pinch on my thighs anymore / I’m gonna eat the damn cake!” so there’s your pleasure/anxiety right there…

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KO/DD: I wrote the track in the midst of lockdown [lyrics quote: “I don’t even go outside anymore / what if I never come back] when I was discovering how much of my life until that point I had spent trying to avoid being alone with my thoughts. Depression can have this negative feedback loop where you feel so completely disconnected from the world that being around anyone feels uncomfortable, so you isolate yourself to get away from that feeling. But when you’re trapped alone with your most cynical thoughts, they play tricks on you.

DELI: And here’s the funny thing about dopamine is that even thought it’s a neurotransmitter known to produce a euphoric “natural high” that can be triggered by anything from a vigorous jog to vigorous nookie to, well, vigorous amounts of cake, it’s also a prime culprit in provoking the opposite of pleasure because, well, euphoria makes a person wanna come back for more and if mommy doesn’t get her medicine it can lead to all kinds of emotional issues (e.g., anxiety, insomnia, addiction, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.) and this is what’s know as “ironic” (pleasure = pain) so talk about yr mind playing tricks on ya

*******
KO/DD
: Zach [drummer Zach Rescignano] and I started workshopping and playing music together out of necessity. We were stuck at home unable to practice with our various bands or get any kind of catharsis or release through performing. It started as just that, an expression, and we slowly realized that we had something really special going. 

These songs had moments of aching fragility and cutting bleakness unlike either of us were exploring in our other projects. We knew we wanted to bring someone else in who was sensitive to that. I thought of Dylan [bassist Dylan LaPointe] because of his dynamic range with his other band, Tetchy. He was the perfect fit front he get-go, helping us tease out these nuances in the music. The three of us collaborated a great deal in the arrangement and development of these songs. I may have written them, but our collective fingerprints are all over them.

*******
DELI: Like all neurotransmitters, which are basically chemical messengers, the whole point of dopamine is to “get the balance right” (take it from me, I’m a doctor!) so when those little buggers aren’t working right you get a chemical imbalance in the brain which is what happens when your grey matter has either excessive or insufficient chemical transmitters. Likewise, assembling a new band is all about getting the balance right which is exactly what Katie describes above.

And here’s a little more info about the musical ingredients: Zach is the drummer for a band called Awful Din who self-describes as being “for fans of Lemuria, Saves The Day, Sebadoh, Remo Drive, The Get Up Kids, Prince Daddy & The Hyena” so we’re talking indie/alt rock with dashes of emo, pop-punk, and post-hardcore. (plus, Zach is a live sound engineer about town!) And as mentioned above, Dylan lends his snaky bass guitar lines to Tetchy—a band that self-describes as “very very loud and very very quiet” and of course you already know all about them already because you’ve memorized my review of their single “Backyard” from last December. (another Deli premiere!)

******
And as for Katie, well, she plays in a band under the pithy moniker of Bats Bats Bats Ghost Ghost Ghost (formerly Mean Siders) whose live performances are like a torrid, mind-altering ritual along the lines of a snake-handling ceremony without the snake, performed by three very, very lapsed nuns and I’m looking forward to when these ladies put out a record cuz I’d love to debut that one too. And as if that’s not enough, Ms. Ortiz also keeps herself busy with her band booking/promotional collective Booked By Grandma alongside her partner Shannon Minor who’s also in B3G3.

Got it? Phew! So anyways put all these ingredients together and you’ve got the musical soufflé known as Debbie Dopamine.

*******
KO/DD
: My mind is this unstable and magical place that I return to sequester myself in again and again. There’s something liberating (even relieving) about giving into its pull, but once I’m there, I’m terrified that I’ll never get out again. Because that’s what it tells me: this is the real you. That’s what the video is about. You might feel that it’s safest to stay inside, only to find that all your most persistent monsters are inside your own candy-colored mind.

As regards the rather cool music video for “Eat Cake” (dir. Jeanette D. Moses) I’ve just give a capsule listing of elements to expect if you haven't watched it yet (warning: spoilers ahead!): whimsical domestic confinement anxiety, rolling across the floor, fainting couch, bunny ears, straight-jacket sleeves and a prescription pill-bottle crown (kinda surprised no googly eyes tho!) all culminating in a fun-looking house party show timed to the song’s climax as Katie sings: “If I’m going under that just fine / it’s my birthright I’m a water sign.” So from one water sign to another…The Deli says check it out! (Jason Lee)

photo by Cori Schimko

 

   

On "Byron Is Dead" Hennessey continues to proves her punk poetess credentials

photo by Max Lakner

A confession: There are some nights where I’m forced awake with a start in the wee small hours by urgent question that sits helplessly in my cerebellum until the sleep paralysis lifts just enough for me to force the words from my tremulous, perspiring lips: “WHERE IS THIS GENERATION’S GREAT PUNK POETESS?!?!” and specifically a New York punk poetess (though the “New York part" is practically taken for granted) because, I mean, we can’t expect modern-day Romantic punk poetesses like Patti Smith and Lydia Lunch to live forever even though it’d be nice of course and true both of these esteemed poetesses are still out there recording and “kickin’ it with the kids” at live shows but nonetheless I can’t help but ceaselessly prowl this city’s dark streets and its dens of musical iniquity like a tortured Byronic hero seeking out the perfect Romantic punk poetess ideal like a vampire searching New York City’s back alleys for sources new blood with a frustrated but unrequited desire to settle the matter once and for all.



And that’s why I’m so delighted that my atheistic/aesthetic prayers have been answered because there’s a young artist out there who gives off more than a strong whiff of “punk poetess” and that’s Leah Hennessey (ok there’s at least a few others too but please I'm trying to stick with my original conceit here!) otherwise known as (in classic single moniker form!) “Hennessey” who’s also frontperson of the musical collective known as Hennessey and leave it to a punk poetess to mess around with ontological boundaries in this manner but hey I’m grateful because I’m terrible with names. And without a doubt Hennessey’s most recent release “Byron Is Dead” (a-ha!) certainly fits the Romantic punk poetess bill, an artist who self-admittedly writes songs about “the feeling of being a freak or a failure for holding on Romantic dreams of a poetic sort of life” and who admires the work of '80s NYC punk poetess Cristina…jackpot!

“Byron Is Dead” (see the video at the top of this page and/or better yet LISTEN HERE) opens with a low, humming throb provided by bandmate/producer E.J. O'Hara over which Hennessey growls in a mesmerizing half-whisper: 

What are doing now? / sighing ensuant now / rhyming and wooing / half dirt, half demon / harlequin in uniform / masking and humming / guitaring and strumming / sound of the sleepless

And I’m hoping that I got at least 90% of the words right above but either way you get the idea. [n.b. I've since been informed that the one line is "signing and suing" but Hennessey complimented "ensuant" as "beautiful and archaic" and hey I know how to take a compliment and put it into my blog!!] Anyway it’s pretty heady stuff but equally visceral too—describing what sounds like Lord Byron himself rising from the grave and getting his seductive anti-hero groove on, all delivered with an implacable insouciance but 110% entrancing and alluring all the same and I think you’ve got most of your basic “punk poetess” boxes check off right there and that’s why Hennessey gives me hope for curing my night terrors or at the least providing a perfect soundtrack for them. Plus, apparently, she’s currently working on a dramatic presentation called “"Byron & Shelley: Illuminati Detectives" so there you go.

What’s more, the song “Byron Is Dead” was composed for, and in close conjunction with, Hedi Slimane who’s a big time fashion designer (according to GQ magazine “no other designer inspires this [much] ire, or excitement” which sounds pretty punk rock to me) in order to musically accompany the debut of his 2022 CELINE collection when it was unveiled in ol’ Gay Paree earlier this year (ergo the prowling models in the video above) and Hennessey had this to say about Slimane’s collection: “I love the billowing Byronic cloaks and the juxtaposition of the aggressively casual denim with the 18th-century environment and aristocratic detachment” and who in the world would say such a things except for a punk poetess, not to mention once who’s mastered the extremes of Romantic-style self-expression with vocals that range from a whisper to a scream and at least 50 shades in between, and plus Patti Smith is into high fashion too and both her and Lydia Lunch are indisputable fashion icons so there’s another box checked off I tell ya!

But don’t these take haut monde associations at face value either because, much like those other two aforementioned punk poetesses, Hennessey’s music has a strong component of social critique (final check box!) that ranges from astringent to subtle to playful, like on her single “Eight Men (Still Have All The Money)” (the former) as compared with the opening track of her HENNESSEY EP.01 extended-play from 2020 titled “Let’s Pretend (It’s the 80s)” as in “let’s act like we’ve got money” (the latter).

And really you should check out the entire EP with its four mini-symphonies of Romantic fervour—songs that range from being about being a user (“Use”) and about being used (“ No Transformation”) all culminating in the final track, an epic cover version of “We Will Not Be Lovers” which crosses the Waterboys with Donna Summer and Diamanda Galás, this being the track that led the fashion designer to dial up Leah and say “hey wanna fly out to Paris?” a meeting that must’ve been something like Lord Byron hanging out with Mary Shelly and we all know how that meetup resulted in nothing less than everyone’s favorite novel about “The Modern Prometheus” i.e. the destroyer (and potential preserver) of worlds with bolts in her neck. (Jason Lee)