The student-run college radio station KXSC, based out of USC, put on the 5th installment of their annual Fest this Saturday. Featuring a cross section of the LA Indie scene, the lineup included garage rockers The Dead Ships, party starters Nguzungzu and headliner Dan Deacon. Undoubtedly an eclectic and entrancing night of music, but the true highlight was Chelsea Wolfe. She brought her doom-folk, and a full band to the stage for a set that transfixed the college ballroom. What normally feels like a lecture hall was transformed into what felt like the site of a cult sacrifice. The crowd - dominated by young males who seemed to know every song by the opening swells - leaned in to worship at Wolfe’s altar as she possessed us with her folklore. She artfully rocked her way through most of the tunes from Apokalypsis, which showcased the insane creative talents of her band, most notably Kevin Dockter’s hauntingly sinister guitar work during “Pale on Pale.” Each song was drenched in a ghostly gloom that filled the room with mystical anticipation, as if Wolfe herself would somehow be transformed by her own incantations. Despite some unfortunate sound issues, we were all relieved when the violinist returned to the stage to close out the set with “Flatlands.” Her artistry and ambiance aside, this is a tune that stays with you. The clear standout, “Flatlands” soars in the live setting. Stripped down, it allows the eastern-leaning guitar riff to take the lead, while her understated tension pours out in a misty cloud of poetry over us, hanging there just out of reach. You can catch the mystifying Wolfe and her band at Desert Daze on April 20. - Jacqueline Caruso
Bridgette Moody and John Seasons have come together to form a new project more joyous and free than their past incarnations. In anticipation of their soon to be released debut full length, Haunted Summer has released the single “1996”, which is rich with orchestral swells and a laid back, loungey groove. The B-side, “Ain’t One,” is equally as charming, but with a bit more rhythmic pep and rambling atmosphere. Their brand of dream pop feels timeless, with just the right amount of youthful nostalgia to woo your ears into submission. Moody’s smooth, light as air vocals captivate like a siren of the sea, while the arrangements are lush and seductive, but never pushy. It’s a delightful combination that has the power to fill any lazy summer day with an extra bit of magic. Stream the single below and catch them at The Satellite on April 5. - Jacqueline Caruso
The Aged brothers, the duo behind the understated, but soulful, inc., have released the video for “Black Wings” off their LP ‘no world’ which came out earlier this year on 4AD. Watch the brothers as they swing chains around an abandoned farm. Let them soothe you with their mildly sinister, yet sultry melodies, as they sit around a bonfire at night...swinging chains. I have to admit this video seems reminiscent of something from the 90s that you thought was super sexy and cool when you were 13, but if you watch it now it’s confounding and most likely hilarious. I also recognize that was probably the point. I’ll leave it up to you whether their brand of skinny white guys whisper singing r n’ b over repetitive guitar riffs is worthwhile. But in the meantime, I’m going to keep this video on repeat, because there really is something mesmerizing and appealing about it all. - Jacqueline Caruso
Tim Presley, known for releasing music last year at an unheard of rate under the name White Fence, is at it again. With an alarming five albums, one of them being a two-disc set that came out in a little less than a year ago, he's gearing up for the release of his new album, Cyclops Reap, on April 9th. Songs on the album include Fragility, Pink Gorilla, New Edinburgh and Chairs in the Dark - all hold true to the psychedelic rock feel that we all know and love. Presley’s new song, "Fragility", is written like a delicate love poem, which endows you with a relaxing tinge while evoking big emotions as well. However, "Pink Gorilla" is one of the more obscure songs on the album; make sure to leave the candles and romance at home because this one will induce an obnoxious amount of dancing. Presley doesn’t let avid listeners down, as Cyclops Reap is surely a great attribute to his ongiong legacy of keeping up with the ever-lasting sounds of garage. - Kayla Hay
Real life couple and the musical duo behind Houses, Dexter Tortoriello and Megan Messina, are having a very busy 2013. Following a string of shows at SXSW, their sophomore album, ‘A Quiet Darkness’ is set for release on April 16th via Downtown Records. The opening track, “Beginnings,” is sparse and ominous. The droning, understated and melancholic harmonies mixed with the growing intensity of the ambient instrumentation create a larger than life soundscape that sets the listener up for the dark ride ahead. The entire album is ambitiously conceptual: a married couple attempt to reunite along Highway 10 after a nuclear disaster, ending tragically with their inevitable deaths. If that’s not enough, the duo spent time capturing found sounds and videos in abandoned houses along the real Highway 10. The layers of intentionality and artistry put into this body of work make it rich with texturally chilling atmosphere. Houses are set to spend April touring with Cold War Kids, followed by a long run in support of Baths. - Jacqueline Caruso
Over here at the Deli's imaginary offices, we're big fans of eerie electro-pop trio Sir Sly. So much so that we named them as the next "Artist to Watch" back in late January. The band will be touring across North America this spring, which will end with two stops at the Troubadour and Constellation Room in late May. Better mark your calendars now, so you don't miss it!
Heavy Hawaii are a San Diego duo that are truly operating on a plane of their own - their latest single, "Washing Machine", is a disquieting, heavily reverbed pop ballad seen through the lens of a hallucinogenic nightmare. It'd be facile to put it in the same vein as Syd Barrett via The Madcap Laughs, except the instruments are deliberately buried into the mix as opposed to Barrett's clear, repetitive guitar parts. It's as if Matt Bahamas and Jojo Keylargo dreamt up a scene in which they buried Barrett in the sand and recorded him from underground while basking in the kaleisdoscopic tinted sky. The rhythmic pulse is one of stillness and calm, but that quavaring organ bewilders your senses and throws you into a tailspin. And once it finalizes, you feel like taking the ride again. Their new album, "Goosebumps", drops April 2nd on Art Fag Recordings.
Laurel Canyon-based songstress, Meg Olsen, is like something out of an Anthropologie ad. Romantic and mysterious, yet somehow familiar. She sings plaintively in a more relaxed, but similar fashion to the ladies of First Aid Kit. Tambourines, twangy guitars and rotary-drenched organs dance underneath Olsen’s lilting, laid back poetry. “Corners of Bars,” the first track off her EP, ‘Deal From the Bottom,’ has a ghostly quality that captivates your imagination. She sings stories wrapped in dreams from a bygone era. There’s a mix of folk and bluegrass influence on the EP, but the overarching landscape is mellow, seasoned, and covered in a layer of mist and fog. Stream the entire EP below. - Jacqueline Caruso
LA-based trio Gliss is offering an intimate take on songs from its newest album, "Langsom Dans," with a five-part video series of stripped-down performances. Adding to the album's entrancing and amorous sound, the video series takes listeners to the songs' most innermost layers. The videos take place in a simple, yet mystical living room setting, making viewers feel like they are getting a personal concert. The series includes the songs: "Into the Water," "Blur," "Weight of Love," and "Kite in the Sky." While Gliss' songs often carry dark tones, the band manages to add soft beauty and lightness through whispered vocals and sparkling synth textures. The warm, moody qualities of the music lend themselves well to the cozy setting of the video series. It is a nice change of pace for the group after having performed a handful of shows at SXSW. However, Gliss will return full force with a show on Wednesday at the Echo. - Karla Hernández
Recorded in an impressive five days, ‘Empire’, the debut full length from GRMLN, is set for release on June 4th on Carpark Records. The first single, “Teenage Rhythm” captures the frenetic, impulsive energy of a young man ready to be taken seriously. While still in his sophomore year at UC Santa Cruz, 20 year old Yoodoo Park, made time to write the nine songs that comprise this album, and put together a band to record it. The thread that weaves these songs together is their punk-inspired brevity and intensity, which supports the disillusioned youth storytelling. There’s an upbeat rock-n-roll edge, especially to the single, that adds a layer of hope, as if to further pro-port the claim that while the transition from boy to man can be tumultuous, the audacity to dream stays alive. Stream the track below and catch them for free at Origami Vinyl on March 31. - Jacqueline Caruso