September 22, 2016

Compilation: Deli Cat Records - summer snacks

It may be the first day of autumn but we're still listening
to Deli Cat Records' perfect summer snacks compilation.

A compilation is just a mix tape with a more general audience in mind. The basis of inspiration is the same: to introduce the listener to a song or artist who, through their work, evokes a personal message that the compiler hopes will transfer to the listener. Abbie Jones’ second seasonal Deli Cat offering, summer snacks, is a carefully curated collection helping to further canonize a group of artists in the burgeoning bedroom-pop scene. It precedes a series of successful compilations that have come to connect a cognoscente of artists who record two distinctly different sounds: hushed, personal musings and glitchy, electronic experimentations. The seeds of this coupling were sown by compilations put out by the circle surrounding or inspired by Warren Hildebrand and his bedroom-pop label Orchid Tapes. The comps include Orchid Tapes’ Boring Ecstasy and Radiating Light, The Le Sigh’s Vol. I and Vol. II, and now Deli Cat’s winter paws and summer snacks.

These two seemingly disparate genres can sit alongside each other on a compilation because bedroom-pop is more of a signifier than a defined sound. “A passionate love for music and the desire to create things true to individual vision remains the overarching aesthetic that we try to harbor with Orchid Tapes,” is how Hildebrand describes Boring Ecstasy’s ethos and the same could be said for any of the previously mentioned comps. Jones’ Deli Cat label is similarly informed, though its mission more specifically is to, “amplify female identifying artists/non-binary voices in order to build lines of communication and combat forms of cis-male oppression in the music industry.” The comps all have overlap in the artists who are represented, as Yohuna, Soccer Mommy, R.L. Kelly, Infinity Crush, Adult Mom, Emily Yacina, Katie Dey, and Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker of Girlpool all make multiple appearances across these several albums. In the description for winter paws, Jones writes, “All of the songs are scraps, demos as well as final cuts.” Among the benefits compilations offer, the two most important are a refuge for unreleased music and a simple path to discovery. The scraps and demos offer a glimpse into an artist’s process whether it’s through a rough mix of a track to be featured on a future album or a song that would never have seen the light of day otherwise. Many songs—including Florist’s “Vacation” on TLS Vol. II, Yohuna’s “Apart” on TLS Vol. I, Yohuna’s “Badges” on BE and Gobbin Jr.’s “Undies” on winter paws—began their lives as demoes on these comps before their respective artists re-recorded them on an official album (note: the Gob track appears on the forthcoming vom night, which I’ve heard and you haven’t, na na na na na na). Discovery is perhaps the most pertinent benefit of compilations. 

Summer snacks features 17 tracks and even the most informed DIY scene denizen will come away from this comp with a new favorite artist. After listening to the two Deli Cat albums a few times over, I bought a tape from one artist and reached out to another over a DIY Facebook group to secure an interview. I’m not surprised that some of summer snacks’ best moments come via Anna Altman, Cleo Tucker and Emily Yacina, Soccer Mommy, and deer scout. All have previously held a special place on my iTunes and in my heart. It was the music of Cassie Lopez, tall friend, Alexandra Gordon, and snake boy gang, which was all new to me, that made me want to give Jones a high-five. Fire up the Deli Cat bandcamp page and get inspired by these awesome artists. And next time you see Abbie, give her a high-five for me. You’ll probably wanna give her one yourself, too.


Listen to summer snacks on bandcamp. 

Alex Wexelman is a professional music writer and procrastinator. His most prized possession is a book he got hand-signed by Patti Smith. Like his tweets here.