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Dead Tooth head on down to the "Hell Shack"

We here at DeliCorp Enterprises would like to wish a happy two-week songaversary to “Hell Shack,” Dead Tooth's latest single and their disquieting but not at all quiet answer to the B-52's "Love Shack." And since two-week anniversaries are known as the aluminum foil anniversary (editor's note: there is no known evidence this is true) we hope that they enjoy the tin foil hats we just dropped in the mail for all the band members because judging from their latest song it seems they've maybe been receiving some alien transmissions lately.

On "Hell Shack" the Dead Toothers continue to refine their post-punky trailer-parky electric blues psychedelic electro-rock sound and no I don’t get paid by the word. Speaking of words, band frontman Zach James describes the song as an “almost dumb and brutish voice of a self deprecating ephemera addict who's trying to find words for indescribable feelings of anger, hurt, mistrust, doubt and shame [and] it’s about setting fire to what was and being at war with the id [and] it’s the destructive and creative forces working together to build my heaven like I built my Hell Shack” and well hell he took the words right out of my mouth.

But damn if "Hell Shack" doesn’t live up to this hype because it's a pretty epic piece of music squeezed into three minutes and seventeen seconds--starting with a minimalist guitar/keyboard backing which sounds kinda like the B-52s in a rare funk (see what I mean) but then vocally you've got more of a “Subterranean Homesick Blues” vibe with stacatto verbiage and mashed-up imagery and rhyme-schemery (opening lines: “a terse versed vulgar purse snatching witch / I’m on the back of the bottom of your itch”) that hooks the listener from the get go (editor's note: no listeners were consulted for this write-up) and builds in intensity before a runaway Beastie Boys riff enters the picture about a minute in and then it’s straight into some techno-phallic guitar riffage and lyrics about “fight[ing] fire with fury and full choir” and “tell[ing] that fat headed pig we want out tomorrow.”

So you're thinking "OK Dylan meets Zeppelin it's been done before" but halfway through the song drops into an ambient "Kid A" style K-hole for a short spell before launching into an extended outro over a groovy syncopated beat and ghostly reverb slow-motion melody with a vocal line that becomes increasingly chant-like unleashing who knows what malevolent forces with lines like “the idol kills, the idol grows.” But in the end its Dead Tooth who kills it with a nicely vibey final minute that builds in intensity riding off into the sunset or would that be the sulpheric flames of Hell? Needless to say wherever you end up it was a journey getting there.

 

Oh and there’s a video too which you may have noticed up top, but if you prefer your music remain unvisualized check it out directly above. In the music video for "Hell Shack" people chase each other around a lot (mostly members of the band I think) but it's definitely not the screaming teens of A Hard Day's Night chasing after Dead Tooth's limo. There’s a kidnapping or something involved and maybe some gangsters and definitely a skateboard theft. So hey maybe it doesn't set a very good example for the children but it’s fun and there's some slow motion parts but be forewarned it gets a bit violent at times—like when Zach gets bashed across the face apparently right after he just ingested a bunch of tator tots because he spits ketchup everywhere all over the pavement. It happens. And while I'm forced to dock the video one star for not including any Trans Am sports cars (plus no cameo by Nathan Wind) it's still a fairly entertaining piece of work. (Jason Lee)

   

VALE explores playful sentiments in their new release En El Pecho

Two young sister-goddesses of VALE release their new single and music video “En El Pecho.” The musicians are twins, Valeria and Valentina Perez, who not only wrote the lyrics and music, but also served as creative directors for the music video project.

 

 

With enchanting guitar and Colombian flavored sounds, the release showcases their angelic voices and songwriting. The spanish song is not limited to spanish-speakers because the chorus is mellifluous and memorable: “Canta, canta! Siente, siente! Que el corazón nunca nos miente. Baila baila, a tu manera. Llevame a donde tu quieras.” You could put it in google translate or maybe you took enough spanish in school to know they’re saying: Sing, sing, feel, feel that the heart never lies to us. Dance, dance in your own way. Take me wherever you want.”  


Their songwriting skills extend beyond a catchy chorus as their lyrics speak of exploring hidden landscapes in a lover’s chest (pecho), and the value of letting go as a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly. 


Check out the music video to see manifested joy and purity in two young artists frolicking amongst blue skies and bounding in a green meadow. Their outfits are hip with sheek sunglasses and their coordinated colors complement the nature that surrounds them. The video conveys youthfulness in the sweetest way as bare feet kick at the sky. VALE brings us this uplifting tune, En El Pecho, just in time as a summer soundtrack for music lovers to sing, feel and dance with.

   

Drakkar Noir/Heidi Sabertooth seduce you to The Sleep of Reason

The music heard on The Sleep of Reason, a split EP by the DJ/producer/multi-instrumentslist team of Heidi Sabertooth and R Gamble a/k/a “Drakkar Noir” released on Chicago’s Jacktone Records, is both primordial and futuristic—the sound of electronic circuits climbing out of the primordial ooze and becoming self-aware—which seemingly fits perfect for these two artists one of whom is named for a family of prehistoric predators, and the other named after the most primordial cologne of the ‘80s and ‘90s.

These eight tracks of old-school-inspired electro, industrial, acid, and EBM (electronic body music) are raw and spontaneous sounding—qualities that many wouldn’t associate with electronic music—due in no small part to the use of standalone electronic hardware, machines that the user manipulates in real time and which were recorded live here for the most part so that a certain level of improvisation works its way into things. Much like more conventional instruments, these types of electronic instruments don’t always behave as expected or as intended, meaning that it takes skilled and sensitive musicians to improvise around unexpected sonic detours and that’s a big part of what makes this method of music making and this EP compelling.

What also makes Sleep of Reason compelling are the songs themselves—built on minimalistic yet ever-morphing grooves that burrow under your skin and into your grey matter with the insistance of a funky flea circus passing through town. And that’s not even to mention the glitched-out, paranoid android vocals heard in various sonic forms from track to track whispering intimate-yet-oft-indesipherable sweet creepy nothings into your earholes.

 

Elsewhere Ms. Sabertooth has described her four tracks as “a channeling of angst and disenchantment about relationships, technology, and expectations of the modern femme.” And you can can hear the pure, uncut intensity of this angst and disenchantment on, say, “It Says You Read It” that with its clattering beatbox percussion and squelchy sine waves pretty much sounds like a Peaches song on Promethazine; or on “I’m Gaining Weight Again” that with its spiraling and increasingly distorted doomy sonic vortex is something like an obsessive shame spiral rendered in sound.

Drakkar Noir’s four songs mine somewhat similar territory but with significant differences as well—mining slightly more insistent beats and a stronger acid influence, all appropeiate to his nom de parfume alter-ego—like on side-opener “Free Delight” which makes the very notion of free delight sound both enticing and slightly uneasy as if you just know all that free delight is gonna come back to bite you somehow.  Or the next track “Shadow Reel” which is kind of like “Planet Rock” if the planet in question were Jupiter with its cold, windy clouds of ammonia.

Which all fits well with the loose overarching concept and titular inspiration for the EP which is 18th-century Spanish painter/printmaker/iconoclast Francisco Goya’s famous etching entitled The Sleep of Reason Produced Monsters (well it’s famous if you’re an art historian at least) which depicts an artist passed out at his drawing desk surrounded by a sepulchral swarm of bats and owls, with a caption reading: “Imagination abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters; united with her, she is the mother of the arts and source of their wonders". Truer words, etc. etc.

And hey if you’re feeling these retro-futurist electro bats and owls vibes then be sure to keep an ear out for Gamble & Sabertooth’s live DJs sets on Brooklyn’s very own The Lot Radio. And if you’re the greater NYC metro area region, you may also wanna check out the Lost Soul Enterprises collective and record label of which they’re both core members and which currently has a regular bi-weekly residency going at h0L0, a spacious progressive music oasis tucked away in the borderland between Bushwick, BK and Ridgeway, Queens. (Jason Lee)

   

The Planes find Eternity on the Edge

“These songs are better than Weezer!” — Unidentified fan at The Planes’s album release live show

The Planes is a good name for a band and an even better one for this one in particular. It's a simple and direct name, plus a name about being simple and direct (and yeah "plain" vs. "plane" but hey work with me here) while at the same time it’s a name that suggests taking flight from the mundane and slipping the surly bonds of Earth on nothing more than a pair of wings and a dream. 

The Zen koan state of being both earthbound and heavens-bound is a good way of describing Eternity on its Edge (question for another time: does eternity have edges?) because the album is firmly grounded in the everyday beauty and pain of the mundane but it still manages to have its head in the clouds too. Take for instance the record’s relatable lyrics about love and loss of control—songs about quarantine wishes ("Little Dream") and drinking binges ("Decoder Ring") and about how not to get your melon busted by cops at a protest ("Stand Back") and songs about taking the leap and tying the knot in the middle of a pandemic ("Summer Rain," "Unglued") all laid out in the Planes' characteristically unpretentious fashion.

But on the other end of the spectrum singer/songwriter/guitarist Stephen Perry isn’t afraid to go Big Concept when called for like on “The Constant” which is essentially a song about the Second Law of Thermodynamics (spoiler: the one constant is decay) and how we mange to cope with this constant (“the hero can’t save the day / but you stay planted in that theater anyway"). And then there’s “Best to Break” which contains one of the more sobering fortune cookie messages I've heard lately (“it’s hard to find a center / when all the spokes are removed”) warning that “they’re counting on their best to break you" when the center finally gives way. And if this all sounds a bit heavy then just listen because it's all delivered with a light touch.

Eternity on its Edge was recorded by producer/engineer/instrumentalist Jeff Berner (Psychic TV, Heliotropes, Dead Stars, Quiet Loudly) at the celebrated Studio G in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. And while "the sound is bigger and more sonically diverse" than the Planes' previous records, it's "still a work of minimalism...requiring just three instruments and a voice to pull off." So you see it's all about balance: major-key melodies and unfussy arrangements running up against dirty-toned guitar shedding and tight, propulsive rhythm-section work by drummer Carlo Minchillo and bassist Matt Skiar. And then there’s Stephen’s singing voice—an instrument than occasionally falters when pushed past its limits but in a Neil Young-ish kind of way that communicates vulnerability and authenticity better than your average operatically trained voice.

These extremes came across all the more pungently a couple nights ago when The Planes played the new songs live for the first time in the intimate environs of Brooklyn's very own Our Wicked Lady where the guitar jangle sounding all the more jangly and the heavy parts all the more heavy. It was enough to provoke attendee to exclaim loudly between songs that “these songs are better Weezer!” And while I don't think the two bands sound that much alike--plus there's the question of whether you view this statement as a compliment or not (editor's note: Pinkerton still rules) or where you come down on the post-Green Album debate--in retrospect I can see that dood's point in that both bands marry confessional songwriting (talking Blue Album and Pinkerton especially here natch) with strong pop hooks and grunged out power chords. (Jason Lee)

 

   

KITTY COEN

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