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School of Seven Bells set to release sophomore album in July

The School of Seven Bells' debut album was one of the CDs we most thoroughly enjoyed in 2008. We heard that the ethereal NYC female duo has recently finalized their follow up LP, which will be entitled "Disconnect From Desire" and relased in the summer. They also announced two live performances at The Mercury Lounge on June 10 and 11 - we'll be there if they let us in!

   

Best of NYC #54: Eskalators - Live at Deli Best of NYC Fest on 05.15

We continue our "Best of NYC Countdown", covering every day one of the artists that made our Year End Best of NYC list (a chart compiled by a jury comprised of local bloggers, music writers, promoters, record sotre personnel and DJs). Many of the bands in this list will play The Deli's Best of NYC Fest in Williamsburg in May (6 shows in 3 different venues between the 13 and the 15).

Eskalators are part band and part public performance piece. As if being a ska-influenced band in the Brooklyn indie scene isn’t already enough to raise some eyebrows, the band’s infamous and well-documented subway car performances have grabbed the attention of the Village Voice, the New York Post and Time Out New York. Eskalators formed in 2007 and performed their first show on—yes—an escalator in the Mall of America, and have since gone on to incorporate 18 members, including Williams. On the new record, Cats and Dogs Living Together, the band combines melodic and raw power-pop/punk vocals and power chords, a horn section, and everything from flute and glockenspiel to djembe. The songs are instantly infectious—melodic hooks abound and Williams’s vocals tap into the urgency of 20-something angst. The Eskalators aren’t totally a ska band (and to be fair, not everyone in the band grew up listening to ska); there’s enough pop melody and instrumental variety to push the band into other musical categories, and anyone with an interest in fun, energetic, and well-crafted songs should hop on board and sing along (lyrics are included with the band’s new record for that very purpose). – Bill Dvorak

   

The Shake wins free studio time at Stratosphere Sound through The Deli

As you all should be aware by now, The Deli's mission is to give local artists free exposure and opportunities. Recently Stratosphere Sound, the Chelsea based recording studio owned by Smashing Pumpkins' James Iha and Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger, gave to The Deli readers the opportunity to win a FULL DAY of free studio time (there will be more, so stay tuned!). We can now announce that the winners of this first studio time giveaway (chosen directly by the Stratosphere Sound's staff) are alt rockers The Shake - congrats! Stratosphere Sound has a 30% discount on their studio rates for all those who will mention The Deli until the end of September.

   

Quiet Company: Songs for Staying In

 

 

I don’t like playing favorites.  Really.  I don’t.  But early on in my time here at The Deli, Quiet Company wowed me with a live showing and has done well to keep a band-sized section of my heart occupied.  QC has been busy lately, recording and mixing their new EP, Songs for Staying In.  Though it debuts officially May 11th, for the last few weeks they’ve been releasing a song and a documentary-style video every Monday, gearing up for the official release.  On top of that, preorders of the EP give you an instant-download of the album with a physical copy of the CD mailed to you on or before release day. 

Magical.

The EP is a solid release, and if you’re familiar with the band—and my earlier review of them—the ground tread here is similar to what they’ve tread before, that is, a strong and smooth sound that dabbles in both the realms of good rock and good pop.  The world where Elton John’s cover of “Pinball Wizard”  happily frolics.  The difference from their earlier work, however, comes from what the band refers to, in the earlier mentioned documentary style videos, as their “Sergeant Pepper phase.”  Bringing in friends and family to round out an extra choir and employing a slew of random instruments from glockenspiels and stylophones to good old fashion whistling, Songs for Staying Inis a release of Quiet Company’s familiar stylings with a bunch of new, exciting and fun stuff you’ve never heard them do before. 

As for the songs themselves, the first track, “How Do You Do It” literally had me singing along with it on my first play through.  It’s hooks are catchy and of all the songs on the album it’s the least experimental, which is good, because it ends up being an all-around solid rock tune.  From there, the style of the album eases up more and more until you get to the end, offering a good variety—a steady shift from solid rock to smoother ballads, think of the album as the downward slope of a rollercoaster—for an EP release, which is refreshing, and gives you something to listen to regardless of what mood you’re in.  The only drawback here is that pulls back on the tonal consistency, though that’s hardly what an EP should be trying to achieve.  All the songs exhibit the excellent crescendo style of song that Quiet Company has always been so good out—songs often starting out small or slow and then building up to a massive wall of sound.  The most frequent recurring instrumentals outside of Quiet Company’s norm is a horn section, which is a welcome compliment to the already piano-heavy music that QC displays.  And perhaps the most exciting surprise is a kazoo breakdown in “Things You Already Know.”  Yes, kazoo breakdown.  It’s as great and fun as you can imagine. 

The message behind the release, like the band itself, is love, and it definitely comes through well. Even in the song “Jezebel or ‘A Song About My Friend and That Whore He Dated.’”  And a band that can make a title like that about love, well that should be a band you want to listen to.  Basically, if you like what Quiet Company’s been doing for the last two albums, you should really enjoy this, and if what they’ve been putting out hasn’t really done it for you, there might be something on here to sway your mind.

All in all, Songs for Staying In is a solid EP release from a great band.  It takes a lot of fun chances with its self and offers a wide variety of music for the money, and while it doesn’t reinvent the band, it certainly treads some new territory and gives a lot of stuff we haven’t heard from them before while refining and sharpening what they already have.  Quiet Company is celebrating the EP release May 7th at Encore alongside The Black and White Years and The Rocketboys.  611 Red River. Doors open at 8pm, show starts at 9pm.  Songs for Staying In available for ‘preorder’ now with official release May 11th.

--Mitchell Mazurek

 

   

Diehard CD review and new video

There seems to be a trend of late that we certainly won’t complain about: local NYC/Brooklyn bands channeling earnest 90s music styles to match the Doc Martens and grandmother-inspired floral prints seen on the streets of Williamsburg. After a positive review from Pitchfork for their track, “Future Tense,” local band Diehard couldn’t be blamed if they were to perhaps act like they have it all sorted, but this power pop four-piece offers no hint of pretension on their Oh So Premier EP.
After the minimal-to-layered buildup of the opening track, the record kicks into higher gear with “Was I Wrong?,” a playful Velocity Girl-like singsong of regret that can’t help but bring on a smile. “Future Tense,” a haunting I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One-evoking track manages to honor that quintessential record while also offering a new breath of youthful beats and lyrical beauty. We can easily imagine it as a worthy track to follow “Damage,”  yet it holds its own in the sincere indie rock department.
“Cool Kids”, the final track on the EP, is a beach friendly take on harmony and happenstance. “We’re all down/We’re around” makes us want to meet them at the benches in front of Bouton Hall for an afternoon of youthful time wasting.
Oh So Premier may do its fair share of conjuring up the past, but it also marks an enjoyable present and promising future for Diehard. - Lora Grillo for StereoactiveNYC.com