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VIDEO: On “Habit,” Angelnumber 8 Draws Us Like A Moth To A Flame

photo credit @jeralddjohnson 

 

L.A.-based singer-songwriter Angelnumber 8 today releases “Habit,” the first single from his upcoming project Digital Tribal, along with an accompanying music video, released via CashApp Studios.

The track begins with Angelnumber 8’s crisp, double-tracked vocals accompanied for a couple measures by echoing synth keyboards, until the beat (complete with itchy-sounding snare) enters, alongside delicately arpeggiated, tropical-sounding electric guitar and deep, rounded synth bass. At points, Angelnumber 8’s voice is transformed with clever use of tremolo, lending a hypnotic quality to his voice and blurring the lines between vocal and instrument. When he chooses to bypass the effect, it’s in favor of double-tracking his vocals using the low bass range of his voice, which lends an additional pleasant depth to the soundscape. The track ends just as quickly as it starts, with mischievous vocal hiccups and gentle yelps seeing the drums and bass out until, at last, all that’s left is the electric guitar.

Lyrically, Angelnumber 8 seems to address some unnamed romantic interest in terms of his addiction to them, but also laments their neglect of him in favor of other distractions, including those that earn them money, but not artistic or creative output. “Breathless/I am again,/Like jeans ripped from the hem/Holding on to a thread/Bending,/Twisting,/With limbs,” he sings, describing his strung-out state of mind after bing neglected by the person he’s addressing.

The ingenious music video (directed by the artist and with visual effects by Zach Beech) finds Angelnumber 8 in an idyllic romance with a glitch-ridden, technicolor digital moth. They cavort together in the wilderness, they have dinner at a “fancy” restaurant (although she goes unnoticed, at first, by the waiter), but their time together takes an unfortunate turn toward the morbid, as well as the surreal. The final sequence is startlingly Lynchian in both its banality and its chilling effect. This writer expects bigger and better work to come soon from this artist on the rise. Gabe Hernandez

   

FRESH CUTS: On “Goosebumps,” Gregory Uhlmann Stretches Time

photo credit: Jacob Boll

L.A.-based art-folk auteur Gregory Uhlmann (guitarist and vocalist with local act Fell Runner) has today released “Goosebumps,” an atmospheric one-off single—following up on his Neighborhood Watch album of last July—on Topshelf Records.

 

The art-folk track begins humbly with a simple muted acoustic drum fill, announcing the entry of two strummed nylon-string guitars and an hypnotic, elliptic bass line. The atmosphere of the recording is warm and open, quickly inviting the listener into its center.

Uhlmann’s voice is alternately deeply resonant and choir-boy pure, with a bit of breathiness, especially during the chorus, where his voice fades into a deep ocean of reverb on a single syllable. The addition of a gooey, tremoloed synth about halfway through the song changes the flavor but does so tastefully, as does the entrance of plucked instruments, pitched somewhere between mallets and a ticking clock, along with oceanic synth pads that resemble a school of shimmering sea creatures.

By the time the swelling single-note guitar lines double Uhlmann’s vocal melody and a lone, perfectly-timed cymbal crash signals the conclusion of the song, the listener has been taken on a unique aural journey, where contrasting timbres that shouldn’t fit well together still somehow manage to do so. Gabe Hernandez

   

VIDEO: On “Monochrome,” Runnner Sets Faded Memories To Music

photo credit: Nell Sherman & Silken Weinberg

Runnner is the project of native Angeleño songwriter Noah Weinman. He’s recently released a music video for “Monochrome,” the latest single from his upcoming debut album for Run For Cover Records, Always Repeating, released July 16th.

The track fades in with fingerpicked acoustic guitar and banjo, with what sound like reversed electric guitar lines, all swelling into a beautiful, abstract mix, before drums kick in to establish a vaguely rollicking shuffle, dropping out to allow Weinman’s plaintive, double-tracked vocals space to enter. He sings with masterful restraint while the guitars and banjo provide delicate rhythmic emphasis on his lyrics. The music and vocals slowly build in emotional intensity, along with volume, squeezing every possible bit of pathos out of the highly personal lyrics.

“Although this isn’t the oldest song in the batch,” begins Weinman, “this feels like the first Runnner song…It’s about nuance and memory, and how hard it can be to remember something in all its color and detail. Part of me fights against that and tries to remember everything, but part of me also resigns to it.” The video was created by Weinman with the help of Helen Ballentine.

Runnner will celebrate the release of Always Repeating with two L.A.-area shows: a sold-out show July 22nd at Baader house, and a December 3rd gig at the Lodge Room in Highland Park. Gabe Hernandez

   

VIDEO: “Retreat” Finds Dzang Soundscaping The Climate Crisis

photo courtesy of artist's bandcamp page

Dzang is the project of L.A.-based electronic producer Adam Gunther, who has released “Retreat,” the lead single from his forthcoming EP Glacial Erratic, due out July 23rd on Bandcamp, along with an accompanying music video.

The moody, downtempo instrumental track begins with ominous FM-synth bells tolling over a subtle bed of digital noise and bleeping, before a soft, swollen bass enters along with a drum pattern that resembles a ticking clock with a seizure. Gradually, sparse upper-octave synth notes and insular, beautiful synth pads enter your ears, with the entire soundscape splitting the difference between serene grooving and cautious searching. The late addition of the metallic shuffling of chains to the rhythm lends extra weight to the track, before it fades out with the same fateful bells from the beginning. Are they a warning? Or are they simply mourning?

Gunter explains that the track was meant to convey the feeling of California’s climate crisis and the need to escape. The accompanying music video “shows a talismanic bird flying through scenes of climate disruption only to arrive at an urban core, unable to escape humanity’s influence.” It’s a chilling but mesmerizing visual paired with music that is just as good at provoking deep thought about our global predicament as it is for blissing out on a late-night highway drive. Gabe Hernandez

   

Songs of Summer #1: "Heatstroke Summer" by Charlotte Rose Benjamin

The jury’s still out on what (no doubt worthy) song will end up being officially designated the Song of the Summer 2021™ and far be it for us to even acknowledge such a hackneyed premise. But hey that doesn’t mean we can’t start our own highly unofficial list based around a hackneyed premise because who says summer deserves only one song so take that Billboard and Tik Tok Nation. And so here we reveal our first entry in the Deli's summer song playlist, an unparalleled honor bestowed upon Charlotte Rose Benjamin’s “Heatstroke Summer.”

Now mind that this is a song some would call a “B-side” using the no-longer popular parlance (ask your parents) but here at DeliCorp we openly acknowledge that this is a B-side kind of blog so it’s totally fitting. And even Ms. Benjamin herself has stated an affinity for musical obscurities such as B-sides and "deep cuts" (ask your parents) to the extent that she wrote an entire tender aching ballad based around the notion of deep cuts named, quite fittingly, “Deep Cut" based around the premise: “Songs are are like lovers / and if it was a record / we’d be the deep cut / that no one remembered.”

But I digress. Let’s get back to summer songs shall we because right now there’s a good chunk of this country that's undergoing a relentless heatwave like here in New York City with a forecast high of 97 tomorrow, or Seattle and Portland which hit 108 and 116 degrees yesterday (wut?) which is a full 18 degrees above recommended boy band temperature. And that’s not even to mention Canada’s westernmost province British Columbia reaching 116 degrees yesterday which shattered national records. So, you see, if we don’t get around to naming a designated Song of the Summer 2021™ soon we’ll all be melted into a congealed mass of musical indecisiveness before this week is even over.

But I digress again. On “Heatstroke Summer” Charlotte Rose sketches a sonic portrait made up of fleetingly observed slices of life with an evocative Zen-like concision like in the opening lines—“Heatstroke summer / yellow is the color / cowboy in Corona / but the beat goes on and on”—which is either about a cowboy living in Queens or living through coronavirus or possibly both because before long she observes that “you can’t prepare for death anyway.”

And hey I’m not gonna spell out the whole song for you but there’s an appears to be a theme of escape running through some of the lyrics (piña coladas optional) with the song’s narrator dreaming about it being New Year’s Eve again and weighing an invitation to hit the road for parts unknown, until the song’s extended coda rides off into the sunset with overheated dogs barking in the background and an intertwined guitar solo that’s equal parts jangly and distorted/dissonant much like the jangled, destroyed nerves of a heatstroke victim. But with the overall gentle swaying vibe, and with Ms. Benjamin’s voice being as winsome and gentle as a tall glass of pink lemonade, "Heatstroke Summer" is equally suitable listening for backyard barbecues and existential (or literal) meltdowns alike.

And hey we can't ignore the A-side of this two-sided single which is called “Cumbie’s Parking Lot” in reference to Massachusetts-based convenience store chain Cumberland Farms (aka Cumbies) which just happens to be the state where CRB was raised before she returned to her ancestral home of New York City where her parents launched careers as a dancer and a musician/TV jingle singer. Anyway she seems to have a fairly solid grasp of the typical thought patterns of Cumbie's parking lot denizens expressing sentiments like “I wanna separate my brain from my body / I want you to let me use you like a drug” and “I don’t wanna go home yet / you can take pictures of me and post them on the Internet.”

And even if summer isn’t explicitly mentioned it feels strongly implied with the theme of escape still to the fore—escaping home, escaping the city, escaping oneself—and with the phrase “I wanna” employed nearly as much as on a Ramones song. And when the song reaches its first chorus the whole thing opens us like a blooming summer flower with sweet fragrant melodies and lush floating harmonies that'll hit your senses like a face full of pollen (in musical terms it's something like taking all 35 volumes of AM Gold and distilling them into one single refrain).

And hey if the songs don’t do it for you right away then the accompanying music videos just might ("Cumbie's Parking Lot" is even directed by CRB herself) because there’s a clear aesthetic at work. Though be forewarned that based on the video above you really don’t wanna ask Charlotte Rose to serve you up a slice of cake, because she approaches the task of cake cutting like Jason Voorhees and his mother approach cutting up summer campers and you probably don’t wanna drink your cake through a straw. But it’s a minor misgiving and you were already forewarned in the song “Deep Cut” after all. 

But I digress one last time. So anyway now you've at least got somewhere to start with your summer-themed listening and you can continue to check this space for more to come. (Jason Lee)