los angeles

Rudy De Anda highlights Chicano culture in new single "Helado"

Rudy De Anda has a unique sabor, a flavor to his music that is rich with tradition and topped off with psych-pop lux for something wholly unique. In his new single “Helado,” Rudy De Anda reflects on tough moments and the simple pleasures of life to the tune of playful maracas and slithering electric guitar riffs that create a joyous tale of redemption. Highlighting Chicano culture from Los Angeles to Chicago, De Anda, through his music, asks that it join hands in recognizing the beautiful ties that bind Mexican-American communities, even if it is something as simple as a corner store helado. Stream the new music video below, a joy of simplicity and full of flavor. - René Cobar

   

Maraschino covers Cristina's "Things Fall Apart"

Maraschino, aka Piper Durabo, is a Los Angeles-based performing artist, songwriter, guitarist, producer, and radio DJ. So why cover her on the Deli NYC blog? Two reasons: First, having come across her music thanks to the gloriously askew “Synthmus” holiday special recently alluded to in this space, it turns out that Durabo started the Maraschino project while residing in the city in 2018 and had her live debut at a Red Bull Music Academy show in Coney Island; and second, because her featured performance on said holiday special, for which she also served as co-host, was a cover of Cristina’s “Things Fall Apart,” a song that’s New York City to the core.

Cristina, full name Cristina Monet Zilkha (1956-2020), was a massively influential but still largely unheralded New York City native whose handful of singles and two albums--released on ZE Records between 1978 and 1984--established a template for ‘80s downtown cool in terms of music and fashion and overall attitude that helped shape not only the early careers of mainstream artists like Cyndi Lauper and Madonna, but also countless others in subsequent years/decades who fused elements of pop, disco, punk, new wave, and avant-gardism as a sort of “Brechtian pastiche” in Cristina’s own words. Ms. Monet Zilkha sadly passed away on March 31, 2020 after suffering for years from autoimmune disorders and then contracting COVID early in its reign of horror. Obituaries can be found here and here.

The similarly single-monikered Maraschino is by all appearances a 21st-century inheritor to Cristina’s legacy. From her output with the Teen Vogue touted sister-act Puro Instinct, who were once described as “Stevie Nicks through a lens of chiffon and horse tranquilizers” (Isn't Stevie Nicks usually already wearing chiffon? Oh well, nevermind!) to her several singles released under the new cherrubic rubric, Ms. Durabo is clearly an apprentice of Christina’s outsider pop art, or as she herself puts it “mystic disco-pop for introverts.” Along these lines Maraschino’s debut single “True Lover” (2019) must have had Martin Gore clutching his leather chaps in jealousy with its earworm fusion of boppy major-key synths and sadomasochistic subtext--a dynamic that's effectively captured in the music video which itself matches the Mode for overall icy hotness.

Also not unlike Cristina, who recorded a clutch of memorable covers ranging from Prince’s “When U Were Mine” to the Beatles’ “Drive My Car” to Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?” (the latter of which being one the greatest cover versions ever recorded in the history of humankind in the mind of this humble writer), Maraschino has likewise taken a shine to the art of the musical homage. To wit, this year she's put out covers of both the Carly Simon/Chic collab “Why” as well as the aforementioned “Things Fall Apart.”

While technically a Christmas song, “Things Fall Apart” is one of those rare instances of a seasonal song that transcends its trappings--a tale of struggle and perseverance in the midst of poverty, perversion, romantic betrayal, tree murder, and motherly love. To her credit Maraschino pulls off a beautifully streamlined synthpop version of the song, capturing the melancholic yet oddly hopeful mood of the original (see the top of this page for the video) and Cristina’s finely-honed deadpan yet fully engaged vocal delivery:

The party was a huge success
"But where should we go next?" they said
They killed a tree of 97 years
And smothered it in lights and silver tears
They all got wrecked
They laughed too loud
I started to feel queasy in the crowd
I caught a cab back to my flat
And wept a bit
And fed the cat

Most widely known from its inclusion on Cristina’s swan song Sleep It Off (1984), “Things Fall Apart” was first released on ZE Records’ 1981 LP A Christmas Record which also introduced the world to the Waitresses’ now perennial “Christmas Wrapping” (by far the most quasi-cheery song on the album). The Xmas comp didn’t shy away from the avant-pop experimentalism and No Wave severity that were ZE's stock in trade (home to releases by James Chance and the Contortions, Suicide, Was (Not Was), and Lydia Lunch/Teenage Jesus and the Jerks among others) and has been called “the first alternative Christmas album” and “the darkest Christmas record of all time." So now you know where to go for one last dose of holiday weirdness this year. And should you go there (trivia alert!) you'll also learn where Madonna found inspiration for the hook on her first hit single. (Jason Lee)

 

   

Nataliya Nikitenko steps into brilliance in debut single "Oil & Water"

Nataliya Nikitenko debuts elegantly with a single titled “Oil & Water” that shows off her vocal prowess, fluid through a vivid lead piano melody that trickles as she ascends and descends flawlessly. With rich harmonies and well-timed string instrument swells to adorn the debut track with simmering feelings of loss and realizations of acceptance, the composition is a melancholic standout. An accomplished songwriter, having penned tracks such as Little Mix’s “No More Sad Songs (ft. Machine Gun Kelly)” and “Heavy” by Anne-Marie, Nikitenko joins the ranks of artists such as LP who step out of the shadows and into their brilliance, a spotlight awaiting them that no other could take. In “Oil & Water,” Nataliya Nikitenko appreciates the end of something, watching as it separates: the process, and its sound, are something to behold; stream the new single below. - René Cobar

   

Aaron Taos takes us on a wild ride with new single "Amnesia"

What does a modern-day breakout star look like in 2020? Eccentric, not so rough around the edges, sprinkled with extra glitz and a glamorous sound that takes many risks: maybe something like indie-pop persona Aaron Taos would do. Taos’ confidence, commitment to style, and music like “Amnesia,” featuring Saiah, which is colored with piercing guitar solos, go-crazy rhythms, and a let’s-see-what-happens attitude, is the perfect combination of intrigue and fun for a deep dive. The music video for the new track is just as wild and provides a glimpse at the type of energized character that Taos presents, one perfect for the grit and glitz of Los Angeles. “Amnesia” is part of Taos’ deluxe edition of his debut album, Birthday Boy, reissue; stream the new song below to join the festivities. - René Cobar

   

BOYO debuts charged indie rock single "Ghost Noise"

BOYO offers up a charged version of indie-rock music in his new track “Ghost Noise,” which starts with crisp electric guitar strums and finishes with a rich distortion worthy of the song’s name. Upbeat, with a drum pattern quite snappy, “Ghost Noise” displays BOYO’s ability to keep things fun but hardly uniform as the vocals on the track shift from passive verses suited for soft rock to vocalizing that is perky for pop. With piano key trickles to accent the changing rhythms, “Ghost Noise” is a pleasant song for winter just getting started; stream the new track below for some sonic heat. - René Cobar