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Weekly Feature #203a: El Jezel

El Jezel sparked when George and Dan randomly met at house parties in Massachusetts years back and discovered that they actually only lived a town away from each other. Both eventually linked up with Jessica about ten years ago, which led to playing open mic sessions in downtown Manhattan and ultimately the three formed a band. Recently performing along the East Coast, El Jezel brews bigger plans for its new EP due to release this Spring and desires more extensive tours, although they always value the importance of intimate settings for live shows. - Read Gina Alioto interview with the band here.

   

Weekly Feature #203b: Bryan Scary and the Shredding Tears

Bryan Scary and the Shredding Tears are frightening only in their unmatched energy and dynamics, both live and on record. The quintet’s recently debuted “Mad Valentines EP” showcases mastermind songwriting by Bryan Scary (Lead vocals, Keyboard) and his shredding tears, Mike Acreman (Vocals, Keyboard), David Ostrem (Vocals, Bass), Graham Norwood (Vocals, Guitar), and Paul Amorese (Drums). In six outstanding tracks, these Brooklynites pack in operatic vocals and dramatic delivery, and mix theatrical enthusiasm with glam and power-pop, creating a whimsical sound that is elaborate, entertaining, and borderline frantic. After fully sampling what the “Mad Valentines EP” accomplishes, it is hard to imagine the songs’ complexity recreated on stage, but Bryan Scary and the Shredding Tears erase any doubt and even outperform expectations. Choice tracks, “Andromeda’s Eyes,” “(It’s a) Gambler’s Wind,” and “Bye Bye Babylon” take listeners on a ride through “Scaryville” and showcase BSST’s top-notch compositions. - Read Meijin Bruttomesso's interview with Bryan here.

   

NYC Popfest begins: Elephant Parade and Dream Diary at Cake Shop

Now in its fourth year, New York City Popfest has highlighted numerous indie-pop bands from around the world and more importantly local. Since its inception it’s produced bands such as The Pains of Being Pure At Heart and The Drums who have now gone to international stardom. This year, the fest will highlight long time veterans and fresh new acts, including Deli's recent CD of the month The Secret History. The 4 day fest will start on Thursday May 20 with a show at Cake Shop involving two NYC acts that deserve attention, catchy The World Atlas (in the picture), that could be appropriately called NYC's own Belle and Sebastian, and Dream Diary, operating on similar acoustic and dreamy musical coordinates.

   

Fourth Wall Destruction

It's no surprise a long line is quickly forming outside The Echo of those waiting to get The Henry Clay People experience. Not even an unannounced January freak storm could stop fans from packing the beloved east-side hideout beyond fire hazard capacity. When a band has as much hype and scars as this Glendale-based new Americana group, packed shows are the norm.

To read the full article by Hugo Gomez click here.

   

Deli CD of the month: Naked Hearts' "Mass Hysteria"

This is one of those bands that make boys and girls fall in love (with each other and with their music, of course). The Naked Hearts are a not-entirely-bass-less rock duo (live, the bass exists as if by magic even if nobody is playing it, as we have personally witnessed!) which offer some extremely well crafted, melancholic, guitar indie-pop.
Amy Cooper (guitar and vocals) and Noah Wheeler (drums and vocals) are obvious musical soul mates - their voices perfectly complement each other, their songwriting is well integrated, and their performances are flawlessly tight. The simplicity of their guitar pop formula and the clean rock production may be reminiscent of The Strokes, but the main ingredients of their music (songwriting and overall mood in particular) make this debut a completely different beast.
"Mass Hysteria" exists in a musical limbo floating between Belly's hyper-melancholic psych pop ("Way I See You", "Dark Shade"), the more straightforward and up-beat guitar pop of Juliana Hatfield and PJ Harvey circa 1992 ("Boyfriend"), and the obvious Nirvana influences ("Call Me", "Mass Hysteria").
Of course, The Naked Hearts don't have the angst that characterized all grunge bands - but it's their generation that seems to lack that trait. Almost surprisingly, instead, the band uses that genre's musical signature and fills it with some sort of innocence that instills a refreshing quality. Maybe this is the way the unavoidable, almost due by now grunge revival will sneak back to our ears? The record has at least two singles with noteworthy potential: "Like I Do" and "Mass Hysteria" - true pop gems that build up and open up with harmonized choruses exactly the way we like it - this is stuff that could also work on the dance floor. Is there anything better than dancing intensely to an emotional rocking song, after all?
Don't miss their free live show at 3rd ward on May 22.