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Mars Rodriguez: Up until "The End"

Mars Rodriguez is an independently-operating, Los-Angeles-based, Nicaraguan-American singer-songwriter-producer-multi-instrumentalist and so far her early releases are living up to that multi-hyphenate description. Mars released her first full-length last September, Don't Wait for Nothing, and over its 30 minutes you never have to wait too long for some new sonic wrinkle or other musical ingredient to be thrown into the mix which makes for a compelling and propulsive listening experience. And while I may be reading too much into things here, I could see how this restlessness could possibly derive in part from being part of a population displaced by political crisis and state violence.

If forced to come up with my own original hyphenate to describe Mars Rodriguez's music I think I'd go with "Café-Tacuba-meets-Shirley-Manson-meets-Massive Attack" because that at least hints at the stylistic eclecticism and the multilingualism and the mix of grungy guitar, power pop melodies, trip hop ambience, dub- and psych-inspired production, rock-en-espanol rhythms and drum machine rhythms. It's one of those albums meant to be taken in all at once in full, a continuous sonic journey.

Take the album-opening instrumental track "Tous Les Jours" for example, which starts off with almost a full minute of ambient planetarium-style celestial sounds before launching into a funky percussion loop that wouldn't sound out of place in a Chemical Brothers song and then a fuzzed-out zig-zagging melody that brings to mind Radiohead's "Myxomatosis" or it does to my mind at least. After a minute or two the fuzzone starts to disintegrate and get swallowed up by swirling echo effects. Then the whole thing topples and transforms into a slower, stripped down groove--but with vibrating tones and reverb-drenched voices still hovering overhead before fading out to sounds of distorted radio signals and sine waves.

From there each subsequent song on Don't Wait for Nothing explore a new direction or two. One of these directions is the "potential pop crossover hit" and there would seem to be at least a couple on the album--like "Now" with it's singalong refrain and motivational message and steady build to a big finish--but always with a quirky touch or two to keep it more on the alternative side of things. Mars's new single released on Friday ("The End") continues down this path of pop music with frayed edges--evoking Brian Eno one moment and Republica the next, with the listener exhorted to "exit your mind". And with all this talk of ends and exits, here's to new beginnings because I'll bet Mars Rodriguez has some more interesting ideas in store. (Jason Lee)

Triptides reverberate with Alter Echoes

Take a listen to “It Won’t Hurt You” off the Triptides’ new album Alter Echoes and you’re sure to feel free as a bird flying eight miles high over the Sunset Strip that is until your strawberry colored alarm clock wakes you from your slumber and you rise from your mushroom-imprinted pillow to face another rainy day. 

While I can’t say for sure if that’s a Rickenbacker guitar being played on the track it sure as heck sounds like it (note: now confirmed to be a Ric 360!)  and either way these Angelinos have captured a certain classic LA World vibe and sound on the entire album that would no doubt have Russ Meyer salivating all over his ascot to hire these boys as the house band for the Hollywood bungalow party scene in his new movie titled The Immortal Pussycat Beyond the Motorpsycho Valley of the Mudhoney Vixens Kill Kill! were he not a long dead mazophiliac. 

So, not to dwell on this one song but it’s also got bongos, or congas at least, and about 25 seconds into the thing a maraca and a guitar countermelody enter simultaneously with some sweet stereo separation and really the album is chock full of these nice arranging and production touches so you can use it to show off your hi-fi system to your honey and everybody wins.

For example you’ll hear the old we trick of feeding a vocal part through a Leslie speaker on “Do You Ever Wonder?” and then a little later the sudden transition to a half-time Floydian blissed out freakout towards the end of “Let It Go” which then reverts back to its original upbeat jingle-jangle by its conclusion and also there’s the day-glo smeared psychedelic coda to “Hand of Time” which is groovy too. 

On its back half the album mellows out significantly (but what so you expect from the B-side) before the Triptides decide to end things on an up note with the frug-ready “Now and Then” sending their more dance-inclined patrons home happy. So hey, if any of this sounds appealing the Deli says ch-check it out! (Jason Lee)


Patriarchy takes on the patriarchy with a Reverse Circumcision

The musical project Patriarchy excels at much of what the patriarchy itself hates and fears most—like when a woman chooses to express herself in a sexually uninhibited manner or insists upon her own agency or mocks the self-serving rules and taboos of the patriarchy through sharp satirical humor or creates music that signifies and demands the power and the privilege inherent in not giving a fuck.

Quoting directly from their song “Hell Was Full,” it’s this writer’s theory that lead singer/songwriter/stylist/director and actress Actually Huizenga—one half of the self-described snuff-pop duo—has taken on the proverbial role of “the apple in the pig’s mouth [that’s] trying hard as fuck to swallow,” bringing about the downfall of the patriarchal pig whom she compels to “choke, choke, choke, choke” on his own lust and greed and “on the words that you never knew the meaning of” where one of those words could be “patriarchy” itself since Patriarchy clearly has a thing or two to teach about domination and authority. But whatever the validity of this interpretation you can and probably should click HERE for Huizenga’s own compellingly clear-eyed view of the patriarchy and of Patriarchy.

Patriarchy is the nom de bande of Huizenga alongside co-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Means (3Teeth) and their overall vibe and sound is perfectly summed up in the promotional copy that accompanied their late-2019 debut Asking For It so I’ll just quote from it here (paraphrasing slightly) with the album described as “a work exploring themes of sex, power, subversion & death with what appears to be an intense interest in Ancient Greek Mythology & 80's slasher films, a heavy dose of Mulholland Drive, and a sound that is equal parts ABBA and NIN but leaning more toward the darker, heavier side of synth-punk/new-wave & industrial music.”

Skipping ahead to the present, earlier this year Patriarchy released Reverse Circumcision which true to its title adds new layers of transplanted “sonic skin” to songs first heard on Asking For It with individual tracks remixed and reimagined by a cavalcade of all-stars from EBM to industrial, darkwave to dream pop, ranging from key members of legends like Nitzer Ebb and Front Line Assembly and This Mortal Coil to fellow Angelinos like Drab Majesty (who adds a death disco sheen to “Burn the Witch”) and Geneva Jacuzzi (who turns “I Don’t Want To Die” into a pulsating electro-funk workout) and plenty of others who all combined will make you wanna “take your dick out and put it on the speaker” as commanded by Ms. Huizenga in the opening lines of “He Took It Out.” And don’t fret if you don’t have that particular appendage because everyone knows the phallus is nothing but a cultural construct so put your cultural construct on the speaker instead should you so choose.

One other neat thing about Reverse Circumcision is getting to hear different interpretations of the same track as we do for two Patriarchy originals. But the single takes are equally compelling, like the version of “Grind Your Bones” by Rhys Fulber (Front Line Assembly, Delerium) wherein he takes one of Patriarchy’s heavier riff-based numbers (“as the vultures tear / at your underwear / I’ll be there”) and surgically removes the riff and cuts up the song’s lyrics, transmutating the whole into a glitchy miasma of sound that’s either incredibly sensuous or cataclysmic or both, depending on your own ears, culminating with doomy ethereal synth chords and a distorted feral howl.

And if this gets your goat you can see and hear Rhys Fulber, along with Bon Harris of Nitzer Ebb, in conversation with Ms. Huizenga on Patriarchy’s recently live-streamed Bottom of the Pops (nice title) that first aired as a Christmas special (!!) featuring performances not available elsewhere plus some seasonally appropriate HSN style shopping segments. Just be forewarned this Xmas special is a long way from Burl Ives and not for the delicate of constitution which in our book makes it the best possible kind of Christmas special. 

And speaking of special, the follow up to Bottom of the Pops is on its way, slated to stream on March 20 at 6pm PST/9pm EST so check out Patriarchy’s Youtube channel and mark your calendars and while you’re waiting feast your eyes on some of Patriarchy’s existing music videos (plus Actually’s pre-Patriarchy body of work) because these self-directed clips tend to be visually lavish and gleefully transgressive and slyly amusing and overall something to behold. 

Which at last brings us (or maybe just me) full circle since I first learned about Actually Huizenga through the music visual dramatical arts—namely, her inspired performance in the likewise inspired Cody Critcheloe (aka SSION) directed clip for Lower Dens’ “To Die in L.A.” in which Huizenga commands the screen as an aspiring Hollywood screen siren who’s prone to waking dreams relating to bloody tooth trauma and buff pool boys and award acceptance speeches. (Jason Lee) 


Jake Hays is scary good in new single "Overcomplicated"

Jake Hays jumps into his new single “Overcomplicated” with sufficient swag: his vibrant vocals, glazed with reverb, strut to a sexy drum rhythm, and a pulsing bassline that adds a sweet caramel groove to that. Hays discusses in the song the complexities of bad first dates, their brevity, and vast potential for comedic/horrific stories - based on the Goosebumps tribute music video, perhaps it is the latter? With its bouncy choruses and continuous sonic edge, “Overcomplicated” keeps its appeal simple and its theme the perfect conversation-starter piece. Stream “Overcomplicated” below for a thriller-fun video and a song that is scary good. - René Cobar

Jacob The Horse remembers college nights in new single "College Party Mixtape"

If all reminiscences were as charged as those in Los Angeles group Jacob The Horse’s new single “College Party Mixtape” we may all live happier lives. The new single is the group reliving college’s best nights via jolting fuzzed-out guitar riffs and an atmosphere of freedom. The band offers the grit of garage rock with enough anthemic choruses and pockets of refined skill to produce a lively brand of indie. The new single will form part of a March 5th release of the band’s record College Party Mixtape, vol. 1; stream the new song below to get the party started early. - René Cobar


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