Birds and Batteries

CD Name: 
Up To No Good
Music Link: 
Album Cover URL: 
<p><a href="http://www.myspace.com/birdsbatteries">Birds &amp; Batteries&rsquo;</a> <em>Up To No Good</em> is a complex blend of creepy and dance-y.</p> <p>Hard to categorize throughout, Michael Sempert&rsquo;s disaffected and sliding vocals hold this 2009 EP together through five eclectic tracks that bring ominous bass together with psychedelic guitar, creepy keyboard chimes, and distorted whistles. They only break from the task of making the listener feel like he&rsquo;s lost in the dark by occasionally turning on their dance party floor lights.</p> <p>This EP is intricate, and lends itself to multiple listening sessions. &ldquo;The Villain&rdquo; starts you off feeling alone and confused, with plenty of well-placed synth noise to bolster the freaky guitars and dark lyrics. The excellent harmonies are the lightest part of the song, with the backup voices sounding downright cheery compared to the lead vocalist&rsquo;s slow drawl. The eerie theme developed in this first track sticks around for most of <em>Up To No Good</em>. Though the short &ldquo;Lonely Guns&rdquo; elevates the tone into something more upbeat in preparation for the jaunty third track, &ldquo;Out in the Woods,&rdquo; you still hear plenty of those whistling keyboard runs in both tracks (complete with a sudden tempo change or two) to keep you tripping out about the whole experience. There&rsquo;s even judicious use of that slide whistle sound that makes me think I&rsquo;ve spotted a UFO, X-Files style.</p> <p>You know the sound I&rsquo;m talking about.</p> <p>&ldquo;Lightning (UTNC Version)&rdquo; is their get-up-and-dance track, switching the beat over to a drum machine (or just a well-emulated drum machine feel) that occasionally drops out to leave the vocalist and keyboard on their own. Once I&rsquo;m reminded to be freaked out, they turn the beat back on. This track is great but it is a partial break from the resonating feel of the rest of the EP. It&rsquo;s their dark synth-pop moment punctuating the EP&rsquo;s crescendo before they drop it back down for the final track. If <em>Up To No Good</em> was longer than 20 minutes (and I truly wish it was) I&rsquo;d expect one or two more songs in this vein, and as it is I&rsquo;m left wanting more.</p> <p>Concluding with &ldquo;Sneaky Times,&rdquo; they finish up with some compelling vocals that alternately stretch out and rush through the lyrics in between really phenomenal bass lines, bringing us back down from &ldquo;Lightning&rdquo; into a slower groove. This is a great final track on a great EP, a good mixture of a funky feel with the unhinged hollowness that I came to expect by the end <em>Up To No Good</em>.</p> <p>Birds &amp; Batteries never commit themselves completely to any particular genre here, but still end up with a bizarrely cohesive feel that you should definitely experience for yourself. For the San Franciscan with a vehicle, they&rsquo;ll be playing in Davis on April 10th. I on the other hand, will eagerly wait for a San Francisco show date to materialize.</p> <p>-<em>Kyle Wheat </em></p> <p>Editors Note: Birds and Batteries <em>Up To No Good</em> can be purchased digitally at <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/up-to-no-good/id332396253">iTunes</a>. For a hard copy contact Birds and Batteries <a href="http://www.birdsandbatteries.com/music/">here</a>.</p>

My First Earthquake "Neon for You" Video

In an effort to bring a little levity to these final (seemingly endless) workweek hours, the Deli SF would like to share with you this wonderfully silly fan-made video for a song off of My First Earthquake's latest EP Crush (available for free here). Hopefully you've already got yourself a copy, and made it out to their release show last night, but if not enjoy a taste of Crush below (as well as the shocking special effects a little over a minute in... yikes!) with this video for the song "Neon for You".


-Ada Lann




The Deli SF's Weekend Highlights For 6/16-6/20

Another week upon us as we trundle into the summer, and there are quite few shows ahead that surely would go to waste without your ears and attendance.

For some dark and brooding Joy Division-esque drone-rock head up to Kimo's on Wednesday the 16th where The Sharing Type, newcomers to the San Francisco music scene, will be playing their first show with Portland's brilliantly colored Pink Noise and Spiro Agnew, 9pm.

Thursday at the Rickshaw, get your best nerd-rock on with the forever bubbly My First Earthquake, who will be celebrating the release of their latest EP, with The Downer Party, and The Attachments, 8pm.  Should you desire, acquire yourself a FREE copy of My First Earthquake's EP Crush here.

Close out your working week by loosing yourself Friday night in the swirling psyche sounds of the remarkably named LSD and The Search for God at the Hemlock.  They will be playing with The Meek and Fuxa, 9pm.

Lastly on Sunday, head back over to the Rickshaw to have your noise centers stimulated by Weekend who will be sharing the stage with New York's thunderously loud A Place to Bury Strangers and Light Pollution, 7:30pm.

That about covers it for this week.  Enjoy your weekend, and if you still have some energy on Monday, Brian Jonestown Massacre will be playing at The Filmore.

-Ada Lann


TONIGHT: The Deli SF presents The Dashing Suns, Tokyo Raid and Meta at the Hemlock!

It's Wednesday and work blows.  What better way to stick it to the "man" (...man) then to go see some of that rocking and rolling music?  Well just for you, and the mid-week blues, the Deli SF has put together a wonderful show tonight, 9pm, at the Hemlock.  Come join us for the awesome sounds of The Dashing Suns, Tokyo Raid, and Meta.  You have no excuse!


-Ada Lann


Grand Lake, Casper and the Cookies, Aquaserge @ The Rickshaw 4/29/10

Who still wants to write about a show that happened a month ago? This guy.

I'd heard locals Grand Lake were popular around these parts, and so I was surprised when there wasn't more than 15 people at the Rickshaw Stop on that distant memory of a Thursday evening. It was a real shame, because they put on an amazing show opening for Casper and the Cookies and Aquasurge. Grand Lake's performance was a crazy trip through an array of emotions, twirling the small audience from happy up-beat rock to anxious, swelling spaces of lyrical honesty.

Equally comfortable doling out dark, pulsing beats and minimalist bass lines (with long stretches of anticipation between excellent vocals) or exploding with sweet, hopeful alt-rock, Grand Lake is a wild ride. The entire act was very well put together; energetic throughout, with an ultimately optimistic vibe and enthusiastic drumming that would have excited a larger audience into bouncy dancing. Grand Lake really stole the show for me, and I wholeheartedly recommend them.

Casper and the Cookies came up next featuring Jason NeSmith (formerly of Of Montreal) sporting a mustard yellow jacket that matched the mustard yellow bass guitar that kept switching hands. Casper's talented 3-singer harmonies and relentless pop-rock dance-beat drumming actually did get some people moving by the very end of their set, a testament to the hyperactive fun pouring from their stage. Continuing the high-energy trend set by Grand Lake, Casper and the Cookies were impressive and downright jolly.

Last we had Aquaserge, who were interesting but a little bland. They were trying pretty hard to trip the audience out, with five yelping vocalists, sharp, dissonant keys, and driving drums under inflating guitar narratives. Their music was trying to put me ill-at-ease, with occasionally flat singing and repetitive, swelling noise, coming at any given time from the bassist, the drummer, or the keyboards. They succeeded in creating an interesting sound-scape, but failed at being particularly compelling for me. When I'm given an ocean of sound, I tend to fall asleep on my inner-tube, no matter how deep and mysterious the water is.

Here's to a more regular schedule -- I'm almost positive I have three and a half readers, and I'm sure they were worried about me. I'm touched, honestly.


-Kyle Wheat