Deli Top Performer and Winner of Fans’/Readers’ Poll: Levee Drivers

It’s not surprising to me that Levee Drivers are top performers in our overall poll and winners of the Fans’ Poll this year. I first came across them about two years ago at Millcreek Tavern. I was about to leave after hearing the artist that I came to see, but Levee Drivers stopped me dead in my tracks as I was just about to walk out the door. I ended up staying for their whole set. There are some things that you know are just right. Please check out our interview below with Levee Drivers’ guitarist Jason Schultz. - Q.D. Tran
The Deli: How did you meet, and when did Levee Drivers form as a band?
Jason Schultz: August and I played in a few bands through high school. A year or two later, we asked Jeff to play drums. After a few months of practicing, we started getting some shows around the Philadelphia area at The Fire and The Cherry Pit. This was around the Spring of 2006.

TD: What is the origin of your band name?
JS: “Levee Drivers” came in an article about Hurricane Katrina. The words weren’t next to each other in the article, but I read them together and thought it sounded kind of rock ‘n roll.
TD: What are your biggest musical influences, and what bands (local/national/international) are you currently listening to?
JS: Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, Howlin’ Wolf, The Clash and Jack White’s projects have been a pretty significant influence on our sound through the last 3 years. August has been listening to a lot of The Shangri-Las recently. Kyle’s getting into the Boss. Jeff likes The Walkmen. I’ve been listening to Brody Dalle’s new band, Spinnerette.
TD: What’s the first concert you ever attended and/or first album you ever bought?
JS: The first concert and album was The Wallflowers and Beck’s Odelay. Kyle’s first concert was KISS in 1990 because his uncle was in Slaughter, and they opened up the show. The first album he every got was Night at the Opera by Queen. Jeff’s first album he ever got was a Vandals CD.  My first album was And Justice for All by Metallica, and I think my first show was a New Jersey hardcore full of class acts.
TD: What’s your take on the Philly music scene?
JS: We don’t get around to that many shows, but we like playing with Machine Gun Joe and The Cobbs because they’re buddies of ours and we like what they do. I think our favorite venues are Johnny Brenda’s and World Cafe Live.
TD: What are your performance and recording plans for 2010?
JS: We’re going to try and get a few shows down south with a friend of ours down in Tennessee during the summer. Trying to convince August to record another EP this year.
TD: What was your most memorable live Levee Drivers show?
JS: The Dewey Beach Music Conference was probably our most memorable show. Everything clicked on stage, the crowd was into us and the weekend was a great learning experience as a band.
TD: If you could pick the next Traveling Wilburys, who would be in the line-up?
JS: Jack White, Josh Homme, Jeff Tweedy and Ryan Adams.
TD: What’s your favorite order at the deli?
JS: Grilled cheese and bacon.


Deli Top Performer: Prowler


Below are words submitted by one of our jurors who wanted to keep his/her vote anonymous.
“Philly’s Prowler is an ass-shaking party in a box, ready to be unleashed on unsuspecting masses everywhere. With a combination of funk, rock, and all out freak out - Prowler send themselves (and listeners) into a whirlwind of dancing, clapping and shouting like something out of a ’60s beach party flick. Make no mistake, they want you to get up and shake it for all you’re worth.” (Photo by Amy Kerber)

Deli Top Performer: Cold Cave

Philly/New York outfit Cold Cave is chilled out gloomy New Wave for millennials. Catchy hooks and textured synth make ex-hardcore fiend Wesley Eisold’s current project easy to love. Love Comes Close originally released under Eisley’s independent publishing company Heartworm Press, and picked up by Matador Records after receiving much blog love. Electro dark wave synth jams seem to go hand in hand with the post-modern condition, making this three-piece a total godsend. A fan of post-punk acts like Sisters of Mercy and New Order, Cold Cave’s mastermind Eisold upcycles familiar backbeats with moody synth distortion. His forlorn sexy vocals mesh perfectly with ex-Xiu Xiu Caralee McElroy and Dominick Fernow’s (a.k.a. Prurient) instrumentation. Between their 12” Death Comes Close and their full-length Love Comes Close, Cold Cave has a knack for reviving the pluse of the ‘80s underground, making their electro-pop compositions feel like a dreamy Depeche Mode or New Order’s Substance on downers. Listen to tracks like “Life Magazine,” which you may have heard recently in a national Radio Shack commercial, with its synthesized handclaps and vocal loops, and it becomes obvious that Cold Cave isn’t afraid of being compared to bands of yesteryear. Already the next big thing, Cold Cave’s “Heavenly Metals” says it all, “it’s not my dream anymore, it’s ours.” So dig in, before they break up. - Dianca Potts



Deli Top Performer: Orbit to Leslie

Orbit to Leslie is the spacey colorful brainchild of drummer Chris Wood who splits beats with Grimace Federation and Downtown Harvest. Also joined by members of Oso, OTL has been creating quite a buzz around town with their recent release, The World Was Saved With Chocolate Cake, hovering between Queen and Fela Kuti with infusions of rock, surf, and aftro-beat. OTL isn’t lost in space with their Rubik’s Cube of influences, but have created their own versatile and innovative sonic universe with Wood at the helm. His killer drumbeats serve as the gravitational pull to guide OTL’s spinning kaleidoscope of sounds. - Jaime Pannone


The Donuts Back from Hiatus at JB’s Jan. 30


After an eighteen month long hiatus, J. Bearclaw, Johnny Taint and the rest of The Donuts have come back onto the scene with not one but two albums, Jet Ear and 5-4-5. And once you hear songs like “Guantanamo”, “Justice In The Desert”, and “The Sign Up”, you’ll realize how little of a beat the band has missed. And when you see Chapter 7 Records kick up the music at Johnny Brenda’s tonight, it will feel like they haven’t taken a break at all. They’ll be joined by long-time friends Beretta 76, who has also been on a bit of a hiatus so they could record a brand new album that they hope to release in early 2010. But the quartet will prove that their still masters of whiskey nights and stark urbanity. They’ll be joined by The Broken Prayers, who are still feeling the highs of their last album Crow. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 9pm, $10, 21+ (Photo by Matteo) - Bill McThrill