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Songwriters





Claire Hawkins doses Americana with a healthy amount of New York on 'Even These Words'

When you think of country and Americana, the clichés might take you to pastures and whiskey and Tennessee. But native New Yorker Claire Hawkins proves that there is room for this genre, even amongst the concrete and taxis of in her hometown. Hawkins debut EP, Even These Words, is a simple, 4 song introduction to the young songwriter's playful, simple lyrics and sing-along melodies. The most memorable line? "My baby got a job at the TSA," she sings on the delightful, sincere "Loaded Gun" (streaming). Hawkins gives Americana a sweet light-heartedness, and I'm interested to see where the next batch of songs will take her. -Geena Kloeppel

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New Music Video: "Dance Number" - Radiator Hospital

We’re very excited to share with you a new track and video from one of our favorite local acts Radiator Hospital. Led by the heartfelt, beautiful words of songwriter Sam Cook-Parrott, “Dance Number” is a “meta-commentary about the way we use music to help us cope, even when everything seems to be falling completely apart.” Cook-Parrott also says, “On the surface it’s a portrait of a sad lonely moment. Ultimately though it's about trying to go through life with an open heart and mind in a world that seems bleaker every day." The song is the first single off the band’s forthcoming full-length Play The Songs You Like, which was recorded by Jeff Zeigler (of Uniform Recording) and is due out on October 20 via Salinas Records. You can catch Radiator Hospital live on Monday, August 28 at PhilaMOCA with Lost Balloons. (Photo by Catherine Elicson)





Hayes Peebles debuts his unique alt folk in 'Ghosts EP' + plays Mercury Lounge 8.24

Listening to Hayes Peebles’ debut EP Ghosts elicits the warm feelings that come from a country croon, while a closer look at the lyrics reveals the wisdom of a masterful songwriter. His honest ballads are embellished by his tasteful arrangements (in which he plays guitar and keys), which are too dynamic to fall neatly into the Americana category. He will be playing a show at the Mercury Lounge on August 24th. Listen to our favorite track, “Home” streaming below. - Lilly Milman





Much darkness in The Domestics' promotion of 'Little Darkness'

 Some weeks ago, the alternative indie rock band The Domestics began promotional efforts for their upcoming September release, a full length titled Little Darkness. At first, the band's endeavors were just as normal and innocent as the next, but it was revealed yesterday and blown up today how wrong of a turn their promotion took.

A few key players in the music scene began posting to social media on Wednesday, 8.17 about how they received a tape in the mail, marked as confidential "Trump/Comey Recordings" with Russian script in the background. The actual audio on the tape wasn't much but audio from Little Darkness betwixt ramblings from Trump and clips of someone speaking in Russian. What was on the tape wasn't really the issue, it was the return postage that's caused much of the stir.

The 60-63 sent out tapes were marked with return addresses to some of the most troublesome organizations currently active - the KKK, Westboro Baptist Church and InfoWars, the somehow popular media site ran by Alex Jones. Some of the posts circulating claimed that all of the tapes were sent to Jewish members of the music community.

The Domestics took to their Facebook page to address the issue, with their record label, local Tender Loving Empire (TLE) and Silver Morning Management sending a statement to music outlets. Having many larger scale media sites covering the story, including Pitchfork, Vulture and the first to report it, Paste Magazine, meant the band had to respond quickly and effectively. A collective run-through of the statements concludes that the tapes were predominately sent to "right wing media" as a means of trolling them. "The mysterious packages were marked with the return addresses of Info Wars, The KKK’s headquarters, and The Westboro Baptist church in hopes that any tape that bounced back in the mail would end up flooding the mailboxes of these bigots," part of The Domestics' statement reads.

Frontman Michael Finn also told Paste that he and the rest of the band were unaware of the exact return addresses used, placing blame on TLE and its Sync-Licensing And Operations Coordinator Jed Overly, also of the band Astro Tan

Overly, who is African American and Jewish, released his own statement on the TLE purchased domain trumpcomeytapes.com. "It was never my intention to alarm or frighten people," part of Overly's statement read. "Our sole objective was to pique interest in The Domestics. No one at The Domestics, Silver Morning Management, or TLE knew about the chosen return addresses. I had made a last minute decision to change return addresses and thought it was obvious that this was a gag, and I could not have been more wrong." 

He goes on to say how the addresses he used were bogus and how he thought because the tapes were postmarked from Portland, the return addresses and concern surrounding them would make the whole thing "humorous or mysterious at worst." 

Overly takes the complete fall for the PR mishap, saying how he had no idea many of the tapes' recipients were Jewish. "To reiterate. This was a marketing campaign that was trying to get press for a really great band that I believe in. It was in poor taste to use those return addresses without thinking through the possible outcomes," says Overly. "A lot of people are saying that The Domestics or TLE are dumb for carrying out this campaign, when in reality it was just me who made a dumb mistake. Again, The Domestics, Silver Morning Management and TLE had no knowledge of the return addresses. I am sorry for any anguish and pain I caused."

It's clear that this marketing campaign worked in some sort of way, as the band has gotten much attention for the stunt. But, as what should have been learned from Yacht's PR flub last year, not all press is necessarily good press, and this may not work out the best for the band or label in the end.

Little Darkness is out on September 1.





Jeff's Plasma Blast 2.0 jumps even deeper into the plasma pool

 Last year, the first round of Jeff's Plasma Blast rolled out to overwhelming success. Its venue, the American Legion up on Alberta, filled to capacity as tickets sold like the hottest of cakes. The mini fest was started by the surfy psych band Skelevision, formally known as Thong. Since the second installment happens this Friday, we exchanged some words with Skelevision drummer Philip Zevenbergen on names, lineups and Plasma Blast details, like how it'll also be the band's release show for their new full length Inside The Horror and tour kickoff...

 

The Deli Portland: How did the band end up settling on Skelevision for the name change, from the former name Thong?

Philip Zevenbergen: It kind of just became this name that got thrown around in our desperate attempt to ditch Thong. Some weird names were considered. Chemical X (like the powerpuff girls), Warped Tape, and The Shrimpers were all top contenders for a while, but ultimately Skelevision just rolled off the tongue better and was more fitting to our sound.

The name Skelevision specifically came about out of my boredom of working at Wunderland Nickle Arcade. I would often combine random prefixes with objects I'd see around the room, "skele" and an arcade game with "vision" in the title stuck out one day and I wrote it down.

Speaking of names, how did the name for Jeff's Plasma Blast itself come about?

I am a huge fan of David Cronenberg's The Fly (1986). Throughout the film Jeff Goldblum, who plays the lead role of a scientist who becomes a gross monster fly, refers to jumping into the "plasma pool". I found that to be real silly and Jeff's celebration of the plasma pool just seemed like a good name for a music fest for some reason. Originally, it was Jeff's New Years Plasma Blast when we did it in December of 2016. We just dropped the "New Years" and picked up the "2.0" and there ya have it.

What was your process for selecting the lineup for Plasma Blast 2.0?

Well, it started with just asking some bands I am close with about hopping on so I could have a good baseline of acts before reaching out to headliners. Once I had my baseline, I reached out to some more of the scene leaders about getting on, people who have been around longer in the Portland scene and have some street cred from touring or having a notable label. Once that was taken care of, I shifted into getting the headliners which was easily the hardest, most time consuming, and stressful part of the whole show. A lot of agents will lead you on and throw you back and forth on how the likely the headliner you want will take the money you've offered. However Mean Jeans and Walter TV have both been pleasures to work with and so have their agents. We are stoked to have them playing the festival and even more stoked that we get to hit Eugene the next day with Walter TV again.

Is there any particular artist(s) whose sets you're really looking forward to?

I'm most excited to see The Fabulous Downey Brothers. We played with them at the BIG BLDG BASH this year and we were totally blown away. They are going to have a crowd of totally fresh faces and I know they'll tear the house down.

I'm also stoked to see Mannequin, who are opening the festival as this will be their first show. They look like some girls who are gonna kick some serious ass.

Why did you decide to have the event be all-ages and one day long, versus spanning over two days?

When you span it over two days, you have to get the twice the artists. I see it this way only because I am a believer in the short, around 20 minute long set. Show us what you got and get off. To have the amount of artists we are having in Jeff's 2.0 would require 40 minute sets from each band over the two days. I think less people would pay attention to entire sets and the show would move a lot slower. I love this set up because it's going to pack a punch. The music will just keep going and changing rapidly, which is great for a young, unfocused mind like mine. Plus, having it be all ages was a no brainer. You don't have to be 21 to love good music, that's just silly.

You've mentioned to me how Skelevision is now a three piece. How did losing Carlo affect the writing process?

After our first tour the band came to the agreement that we wanted to move forward as a three piece without Carlo. While having to seperate ourselves from him was not something we were super happy to have to do, it really tightened us a band. Our writing sessions feel tighter and more focused on making the core structures of our songs more interesting and I think people have been really appreciating it. People are always telling us how much better of a band we are since we waddled into the Analog over a year ago for our first show. We all wish Carlo could have stuck around, but ultimately our separation with him has been better for both him and us.

What inspired some of the songs/the concept of the new album?

The lyric "Inside The Horror" specifically comes from the second track on the album, "The Sheets." The whole idea of being surrounded by horror but that we're maybe safe if we hide under our bed sheets is the visual we are playing with on our album cover. The whole album holds our psychedelic lo-fi beginnings but also mixes in our newer more punk and horror influence. I think the blend of it all came out really nicely. 

What city are you most looking forward to playing on tour and why?

Tijuana! Derek H. of On Drugs told me that it would be the most stressful and thrilling city to play, but also the most memorable and exciting too. That has me really pumped. Also, just getting to go play in Mexico is such a treat!

Doors for Jeff's Plasma Blast 2.0 are at 2:30, with music starting sharply at 3pm. Tickets are still available and reentry to the fest is allowed all day, so be sure to come early!

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