Indie Rock

Better Love "Break U Down"

Better Love has released a new single called "Break U Down". This is the trio's second single of 2020 following up "YDLM" which was released back in June.

This is the Indie Pop sound of Jackie Heuser, Brad Harvey, and Kevin Provencher, and truly sets this group apart is the vocal pairing of Heuser and Harvey. On "Break U Down", Harvey takes the lead, but is joined by Heuser in the chorus for harmonies that instantly elevate the track. On "YDLM" they reverse the formula, but still find great results. It seems to be one of the magically creative pairings that will hopefully be making outstanding Pop music for years to come.

   

Bambara performs "Live on KEXP"

The band Bambara is something like a good marriage. A decade in and their music keeps getting better and better, while still remaining reliably Bambara-ish, fully basking in its tent-revival-post-punk glory. On their most recent LP Stray these Georgia transplants (ok so the Bambara boys moved here nearly a decade ago, but still let's all give a big big-up to that most swingin’-est of swing states) locked themselves in a windowless Brooklyn basement (pre-pandemic mind you) and worked out a new batch of death-rattle songs that’ll make you wanna go out and grab life by its naughty bits so be sure to listen in its entirety if you wanna get that uncanny life-and-death-drive-all-at-once feeling.

Here’s the real reason for this writeup: Bambara is known to absolutely tear it up live and in March they taped a live set just under the lockdown wire which was posted online a couple months ago and which this writer just happened to come across recently. So we need to know, do you miss live music? I mean, do you really miss it? Do you really really miss it and really really need it? Well do you? Yeah? How bad? Ahhhhh ok, I see! Well allow the DELI to be your plug then because this scorching four-song set with interview intermission, taped by the good people at Seattle’s KEXP over on the other coast, captures Bambara’s raw intensity in all its intense rawness. And they seem like really nice guys, awww.

That said lead extemporizer Reid Bateh performs throughout with a street-preacher-foaming-at-the-mouth-level intensity to the point where by the end of this brisk 22 minutes there’s a good chance you’ll be converted. Plus his energy level is matched by the band’s playing and we promise you that barely two minutes into the first song when touring guitarist Sammy Zalta goes all Travis Bickle on his guitar you will damn well wanna go out and massacre a den of pimps yourself. Stay cruel for me, baby, indeed. (Jason Lee)

photo credit: Daggers For Eyes

   

Kate Davis pays tribute to Daniel Johnston

The Deli isn’t sure how many résumés include qualifications like “adolescent jazz prodigy who shreds on double bass and who holds a degree from the Manhattan School of Music”, “live gig played with Jeff Goldblum", “appearance on a U. of Miami musicology panel alongside Ben Folds”, “taking a left turn into indie rockdom with a widely-praised debut LP in the format”, and finally, “co-writing a hit song with Ms. Sharon Van Etten”. Based on these credentials, if you're ever competing with Kate Davis for a job whatever it may be, we'll just go ahead and wish you better luck next time. 

In case you’ve not seen nor heard the music video for the Von Etten/Kate Davis collab the song is a lovely aching ode to adolescence (Rachel Trachtenburg plays Sharon’s younger doppelganger in the video) and on the visual side it's a lovely aching ode to NYC independent music venues--past and present, living and deceased--with full knowledge that the city plows on as always steamrolling its past and building who knows what in its place.

Back to Kate Davis. Her latest release dropped yesterday--a sneak preview single from her upcoming full-album tribute to Daniel Johnston (1961-2019) who was an OG of what some people call “outsider music." Johnston launched his music career by handing out cassettes of his homemade music at the McDonald's where he worked in Austin, Texas ("would you like some fries with your free copy of Songs of Pain?") and then crashing the stage when MTV was in the city filming a special on "The New Sincerity" which hardly anyone remembers anymore. Now that’s DIY. Also those photos you've seen of Kurt Cobain wearing a t-shirt that says “Hi, How Are You” that’s Daniel Johnston

Back to Kate Davis, really this time. Kate says "when I first heard Daniel Johnston I was struck by the directness and clarity in his writing. I wanted to gain perspective into that directness." See below for her stirring rendition of “Oh No” and see below that for Ms. Davis discussing the bond she feels with Daniel Johnston--his unique gift for songwriting and his lifelong struggle with mental health issues.

Strange Boy: Daniel Johnston 'Retired Boxer' Cover Album is being released in conjunction with the Hi, How Are You Project, an NPO formed by Daniel Johnston’s family to raise awareness around and remove stigma from mental illness. You can pre-order it on blue vinyl whoooooa like how much more blue, none more blue! But before the album drops in early 2021 you'd be advised to check out her already-existing one called Trophy. Kate's music casts an intimate glow but it can be muscular too case in point being the title track. This song has what we in the industry refer to as an arc. At first it sounds like it just needs a hug but by the middle it’s trying to seduce you and then by the end it’s ready to throttle you but consensually no doubt. (Jason Lee)

photo up top by Erica Synder

   

Burr Oak "Flower Garden"

Savanna Dickhut (aka Burr Oak) has released the second single, "Flower Garden", from her forthcoming debut album Late Bloomer. The song is the perfect Autumn track touching on the changing of seasons and how that feeling can be applied to some relationships.

This singles follows last month's "Trying" and is Dickhut's fourth official single since branching out as Burr Oak.

Petite League’s last album Rattler was their fourth and their first on their own Zap World Records imprint. According to songwriter Lorenzo Gillis Cook’s very own social media liner notes it was strongly informed by Daniel Johnston, suicidal urban cowboys, and "a quarter-life crisis." Their upcoming album, Joyrider, is due out in early 2021 and looks to be strongly informed by Lee Hazelwood, Roger Miller, and Antifa. Mr. L.G. Cook and drummer Mr. Henry Schoonmaker keep upping their game with every release so it’s probably a safe bet to pre-order the record but don’t ask me for your money back if you’re disappointed come January. 

Finally, see below for a song about New York Girls called “New York Girls” from their last record. This is the one that made them bigger than the Strokes which is pretty good for a band that started in a dorm room in Syracuse. Just so you’re not too confused I should mention that the video features Gaby Giangola aka “Goth Girlfriend” lip synching the vocals and she quite convincingly portrays a cleaned-up Nancy Spungen type or a lo-fi Harley Quinn type, take your pick, and also she has a music thing of her own (talent everywhere you look!) which you should probably check out too. (Jason Lee)