Album Review - Grand Lake: Blood Sea Dream

Grand Lake explore familiar waters on their latest release, Blood Sea Dream. Fuzzy guitars, clean melodies and vocal styling that sway between Win Butler, Thom York and on occasion, Jeff Buckley are featured throughout the debut LP from this Oakland foursome. Recorded and co-produced by Jason Kick (Maus Haus), Blood Sea Dream contains 10 new tracks along with 2 re-recorded tracks from their 2009 EP Nevermint [500 Records].

One of their signature songs, "Concrete Blond On Blond" gets slightly re-vamped recording and a new title that reflects a bit of their East Bay roots: "Concrete Blond On Blond (880 South)." It's certainly one of their strongest tracks and without question the track that will have your roommate popping his head in your bedroom door to ask "hey dude, is that the new Arcade Fire?"

Highlights form the album include the thundering and emotive first single "Louise (I Live In A Fantasy)" and the bittersweet swaying lullaby, "Our Divorce." The somber subject matter of "Our Divorce" is lightened by the melodic and playful arpeggio exchange between the violin and guitar which feels almost deceptive when paired with lyrics like "may our divorce be trimmed and neat / limbs sawed off of family trees."

Grand Lake will be touring the Bay Area extensively in September starting with a show at Ghost Town Gallery in Oakland this Friday, September 3rd. More tour dates are available on their site. Check out "Oedipus Hex (Hwy. 1 North)" below.

 -Nicole Leigh

"Oedipus Hex (Hwy. 1 North)"


TONIGHT: Epic Sause Presents - Reporter, Summer Blondes, Wampire and Party Effects Plus a DJ Set by Boyz IV Men

Sure as you can shake a stick you can predicate on any given Thursday Epic Sauce will be putting on a good show, and tonight is no exception.  This time around locals Summer Blondes and Party Effects will team up with Portland's Reporter and Wampire for a Thursday night dance-party extravaganza.  At Milk, and but a measly 6 bones, consider this your warm up for this Saturdays Deli Presents shenanigans.


This Week! The Deli SF Presents My First Earthquake, The Dont's, Spiro Agnew and Phantom Kicks plus a DJ Set by H.A. Eugene of Business 80


Come this Saturday the Deli SF will be presenting its biggest show to date. At the Rickshaw this time around, this Saturday's show will feature former Artist of the Month winners My First Earthquake, current Album of the Month awardees The Dont's, Spiro Agnew who will be celebrating their album release, former Artist of the Month winners Phantom Kicks and a DJ set by H.A. Eugene of Business 80, also a former of Album of the Month award winner. Sure it's Labor Day weekend, and perhaps you've got barbecue plans, but honestly this must trump such activities. With such an epic line-up, what better way could you find to dance away your labor blues?  You can pick up advanced tickets here.


TONIGHT: Kata Rokkar Presents Snob Theater @ The Dark Room 9:30pm

Tonight Kata Rokkar will be presenting their fifth, and what is promised to be their most exciting, Snob Theater with yet another host of comedians and musical performances. This evenings Snob Theater will feature acoustic sets by Ash Maynor (Ghost and the City) and Jonah Matranga (Far, onlinedrawing), and comedians Sean Sinha, Katie Compa, Chris Garcia, Ray Molina and special guest Kris Tinkle. Once again at the Dark Room, this looks like a wonderful way to spend your Friday night.


-Ada Lann


The Dont's

CD Name: 
Those Delicate Chemicals
Music Link: 
Album Cover URL: 
<p>Considering my usual tendencies towards the darker, brooding, far too narcissistic and self-indulgent end of the musical spectrum, <a href="http://www.myspace.com/thedonts">The Dont&rsquo;s</a> <em>Those Delicate Chemicals </em>embraced my ears with a welcome sense of levity. Their third album (and the first one I&rsquo;ve had the pleasure of delving into), <em>Those Delicate Chemicals</em> really stands out as being able to deliver the practices of a heady and experimental band through the parameters of a delightful pop-like sound. With its layers of charming guitar riffs, delicately placed textural oddities and an overall exuberant atmosphere, <em>Those Delicate Chemicals</em> could very well be the pop anthem for your art school experience&hellip; and I mean that in the most sincere way I can muster.</p> <p>Considering how surprisingly small San Francisco can seem, it comes as no surprise to hear influences from formerly local avant-rock stars 60-Watt Kid throughout this album (no more apparent then in the final two songs &ldquo;Backtalk&rdquo; and &ldquo;The Will of God&rdquo;). Perhaps they&rsquo;re friends, perhaps they&rsquo;ve just seen each others shows on a number of occasions, but the jagged ethereal and heavy tremolo guitar layers that appear throughout the songs of both bands is obviously comparable. Serving as one of the many interesting layers throughout <em>Those Delicate Chemicals</em>, these wonderfully well-placed interruptions serve a vital role to elevate the pop framework to a vast and intricate soundscape.</p> <p>Opening with their call and response anthem &ldquo;Which Side You&rsquo;re On (The Pirate Song)&rdquo; <em>Those Delicate Chemicals</em> kicks off with a cheeky wink and a smile. You&rsquo;d love it if its clarion call asking &ldquo;what side you&rsquo;re on&rdquo; is The Dont&rsquo;s feeling the waters for whose side the listener is on, but lets not mince words; this is a song about pirates, and pirates will &ldquo;get it done.&rdquo; Surly as their &ldquo;piratic oath&rdquo; would demand, the song leads its crowd in a triumphant bellowing of &ldquo;ARRRRRRRRR. &ldquo; I imagine this is not a moment to miss at their performances.</p> <p>Leading immediately into one of my favorite songs on the album, &ldquo;Breakdown,&rdquo; <em>Those Delicate Chemicals</em> moves on past its initial playfulness to its slightly more serious, but still jubilant, elements. While the songs change somewhat in tonality, listening across <em>Those Delicate Chemicals</em> it&rsquo;s hard to pigeonhole it with one thematic quality. Not at all to its detriment, <em>Those Delicate Chemicals</em> seems to lack a greater arch to its narrative. There is depth to the individual songs, but short of the fastidiously executed sound, there seems little that ties them together. Favorites certainly pop out (&ldquo;Regardless, The Goddess,&rdquo; &ldquo;Peacetime,&rdquo; and &ldquo;Gasoline&rdquo; come to mind) but there is a certain distance held between the music and any underlying concept for the album.</p> <p>Perhaps that's just the point. The Dont&rsquo;s keep the audience at a distance with their Ramones style surname uniformity, and maybe by withholding just enough the mask serves to direct the listeners attention to the complexities of the sound as opposed to the distraction of a message. The mask is their tool of misdirection.</p> <p>The Dont&rsquo;s <em>Those Delicate Chemicals</em> is definitely an album to seek out. Elaborate and boisterous, <em>Those Delicate Chemicals</em> is the type of intelligent and experimental pop sound that is very hard to come by. It carries with it a depth that rivals its avant counterparts, but is delivered with the accessibility many similar sounding artists lack. I encourage you to add it to your collection if for no other reason than to scream &ldquo;ARRRRR&rdquo; every time that pirate captain demands.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>-<em>Ada Lann</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Dont's <em>Those Delicate Chemicals</em> can be purchased <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/those-delicate-chemicals/id378944227">here</a>.</p>