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PREMIERE: Los Cumpleaños dazzle on experimental debut “Agua”

New York experimental pop outfit Los Cumpleaños subvert expectations on new EP Agua, making for an exciting, thoroughly novel release that modulates between styles conventional and avant-garde (and back again). While each of the extended play’s four tracks finds its footing a heavy Cumbia rhythm, heady synth leads and expressive brassy fanfares quickly fill in the space, lending a psychedelic atmosphere which, combined with double time segues, create an ecstatic, joyful energy throughout the effort’s roughly 23 minute run-time. Moreover, Los Cumpelaños synthesis of elements old and new enables electronic experimentation, while retaining elements of traditional Colombian music, in a manner that feels both contemporary and classic — more importantly, it’s an EP that’s nearly impossible not to dance to. Recommended for fans of artists like Sun Ra, Flying Lotus, Animal Collective (or anywhere in between), stream our premiere of this rousing release below. Photo by Brennan Cavanaugh

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Grace Ludmila takes no prisoners on new track “Hollow”

It’s hard to tell who’s the subject of Grace Ludmila’s rage on new track “Hollow,” a punk-influenced indie takeover wherein the artist admonishes all who think they can put her in a box. Much of Ludmila’s lyricism over the the song’s four minute runtime uses a variety of dialectics to determine, more so, who the artist isn’t rather than what she is — lyrics such as “I’m not your therapy, don’t hand your trauma to me” and “I’m not on a movie screen, don’t project your shit on me” seem to direct their anger towards both listeners who may claim to have Ludmila “all figured out,” or critics who think they can ascertain her true motivations through circumstancial evidence. In the end, however, Lumdila’s series of first-person statements serve as a kind of manifesto on the self, a laundry list of metaphors and proclamations that do a much better job at telling you who she is than whatever bullshit observations I’ll type up here — on that note, stream it (loudly) below. —Connor Beckett McInerney

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Quality Living soundtracks the good life on “Something Softly Caught Me”

There’s a smattering of genre-influences on Something Softly Caught Me, the new album by north Jersey indie outfit Quality Living, that really don’t make sense on paper, yet congeal over the record’s half-hour runtime to make for an energetic, incredibly fun listen. Namely, the crux of Something lies in Quality Living’s synthesis of slack jawed 90s alternative with the blue tones of late 70s-early 80s jazz rock, making for an LP that modulates between being both fast and loose or deliberate and polished. All this said, it somehow, someway works — Quality Living deliver dissociative wordplay in tandem with grooving Wurlitzer keys (“Pretty down”), and scuzzy guitar-driven ballads suddenly give way for saxophone segues (“Kite Violit”) to create a cohesive piece of work for fans of Stephen Malkmus and Walter Becker alike. Stream it below.

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Support Our Wicked Lady (and get a kickass playlist in the process)

Hey! Remember live music? Me neither! But hypothetically wouldn’t it be cool to see all of your favorite local acts perform when this whole thing blows over? Then it’s important — nay, imperative(!) — to support your scene, now more than ever.

To that end, we recommend you buy a beer (or six) from Our Wicked Lady, allowing you to support a premier independent venue while discovering some new music in the process. Every delivery order from O.W.L. comes with a postcard enabling access to one of five curated (and banging) playlists, enabling you imbibe responsibly (at home) while getting absolutely throttled to some local bands (many of whom have been previously featured on The Deli NYC).

Moreover you’ll be supporting one of the best performance and recording spaces New York has to offer while rocking a nice buzz. O.W.L. has booked a number of bands that we love, and held an absolutely killer Battle of the Bands this past winter. Support the scene, discover new music, and obtain libations — it’s that simple.

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Rhys Tivey eyes the future optimistically on new track “Hopes”

 It’s hard to be optimistic about the future these days for any shortage of reasons (that needn’t be listed in this piece for fear of inducing a panic attack for both writer and reader), yet Rhys Tivey embeds a steady resolve in new single “Hopes.” With a strong emphasis on chilled synth and bright horns, Tivey’s falsetto details love’s ability to overcome in terms sentimental, ever aware of the obstacles inherent to being together forever while expressing a desire to weather the storm (“while no one really believes in forever, can we stay together forever?”). Moreover, the track’s grand designs and emotive theming are drawn back by a minimalist approach to production, wherein accent vocals and trumpet lines seemingly float in and out frame, inducing a dream like quality reminiscent of acts like Rhye and San Fermin. Give it a listen below, and keep an out for Tivey’s debut record, out later this spring.

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