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Watch The Menzingers perform acoustic at Wilkes-Barre’s Gallery of Sound

Just two days ago, one of Philadelphia’s biggest punk bands, The Menzingers, released its fourth full-length album, Rented World, via Epitaph Records. Following up a surprise record release show in their current hometown of Philadelphia, the band went back to their roots and played an in-store acoustic show at Gallery of Sound in Wilkes-Barre, PA. In order to get into the show, one had to purchase their new record, Rented World on CD or LP and get a wristband for guaranteed entry to see the show and meet the band after their performance.

According to vocalist/guitarist Greg Barnett, this was only the second time that The Menzingers had played an in-store acoustic show. Both nervous and excited, the band put on an excellent performance, playing new songs such as album opener “I Don’t Want to be an Asshole Anymore” as well as old favorites such as “Good Things” and “Ava House”. This was a very special performance for not only the audience, but for the band – for a handful of songs, this was the very first time that these were played acoustic. At the end of the night, Gallery of Sound, with the help of The Menzingers, was kind enough to raffle off copies of Rented World LPs as well as On the Impossible Past cassettes. Check out photos and videos from the performance below.

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Unlocked: Darren Schlappich on the unexpected origins of Ataloft

Photo courtesy of the artist

“The last thing I was looking for was to start another band,” says Darren Schlappich. “It just kind of worked out that way.”

In fall of 2012, the singer and songwriter behind the new Reading-area six-piece Ataloft didn’t know Ataloft was going to exist a year and a half later. He didn’t know that it was going to release a fantastic pop-rock production of a debut LP, a far cry from his country-Americana roots. Schlappich was wrapping up a long stretch of activity with his other band, Frog Holler, in support of 2009′s Believe It or Not. He was pretty content that he’d kick back and take time to himself with no looming musical pressures, when his friend Bruce Siekmann gave him a call.

He had some free time in his Fleetwood, Pennsylvania studio, Amoeba Audio, and asked if Schlappich would like to record anything. Intrigued, Schlappich and his Frog Holler bandmate Michael Lavdanski showed up with an unrecorded tune called “Warning Signs.” It had a midtempo bounce and worked in a contemplative lower register; they recorded some guitar parts and vocal harmonies, then left for the day.

“A couple weeks later Bruce sent me a copy, and he’d added bass and keys, fleshed it out a lot,” says Schlappich. “And then it was another year before we talked about it again. He got in touch and said ‘Hey, did you want to revisit that song? It’s not really finished.’”

Schlappich, Lavdanski and Siekmann reconvened to put some finishing touches on “Warning Signs,” then moved on to another song – the plaintive “Heart Attack on the Holidays,” which kept things very tightly focused around acoustic strumming, an electric lead, and an understated bass part.

“I remember Bruce putting the first bass notes on it,” says Schlappich. “I was like ‘wow, we’ve gone outside of Frog Holler now.’” Continue reading →

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Folk Evaluation presents a Twilight Nuages listening party at the Philadelphia Record Exchange on 4/26

Folk Evaluation will celebrate the reissue of enigmatic Connecticut group Twilight Nuages’ “seldom seen but highly sought-after” one-off album with a listening party at the Philadelphia Record Exchange on Saturday, April 26th.  The release marks Folk Evaluation’s second reissue following last year’s rediscovery of a 1972 Hoi’ Polloi LP.

In 1977 High school music teacher Bill Last, who will be in attendance at the listening party, gathered together talented students and friends to record an album that explores all corners of pop in a home-recording / DIY experiment.  from Folk Evaluation:

The eight-piece-strong band recorded live in Bill’s parents’ basement straight to 1/4″ stereo tape with no overdubs whatsoever, and the end result will leave even the most jaded of listeners with their jaws hanging in disbelief. From sunshine pop to country swing to devastatingly sincere piano ballads, the amount of heart and pop ingenuity on display is simply staggering Imagine if the kids from the Langley Schools Music Project grew up to be in the Olivia Tremor Control and you’re part way there.

The reissue features a deluxe edition distributed by Light in the Attic Records and was released on Tuesday, April 22nd.  More information for the event can be found on Facebook here, and you can here a clip of the record in the trailer below.

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Cinderella Story: Reminiscing with the producers of the infamous “Pat’s Dogs” commercial

It’s been making the rounds for almost three years now: a 30-second commercial for a Delaware County hot dog franchise, featuring an original jingle by local soon-to-be glam metal stars Cinderella (who double as on-screen talent.). The 1983 video resurfaced on YouTube in 2011 and has made the rounds of local and social media ever since. Besides the obvious disjointedness of seeing a fairly famous pop metal band of yesteryear dance around, lipsynching, in front of a local hot dog stand, there’s a sweet nostalgia to the whole operation. Pat’s Dogs is long gone, and so is the kind of unselfconscious hyper-localism this video represents. (The stretch of Southeast Delaware County where the video was filmed, however, is virtually unchanged. So there’s that.)

Not content to merely wonder, The Key tracked down the guys responsible for shooting and editing the video. It turns out that local filmmakers Richard Haynie and Brian Kreider were brought on for the shoot by Cable AdNet, a Philadelphia-based company that sprang up in the early 1980s to produce commercials for cable television, then still in its infancy.

Haynie (now a New Media Specialist for Kaiser Permanente in California) and Kreider (who eventually went on to be Pennsylvania Film Commissioner) were kind enough to reminisce with us about the now infamous Cinderella “Pat’s Dogs” commercial.

The Key: How did you go about devising the staging and performance aspect of the commercial? Did you just let the band and the restaurant staff do their thing, or did you go in with a vision of what you wanted to capture?

Richard Haynie: We received a cassette tape of the jingle produced by Cinderella for Pat’s Chili Dogs just prior to the shoot. Brian, manager of the production department, and DP on this shoot, sat down with me and we gave it a listen It was catchy, 30 seconds, right to the point, with all the important information to serve the client. We had some general ideas of what we could do with it, but played it mostly by ear. We spoke to the owner, and only met the band when we arrived on location the night of the shoot.

TK: Did Cinderella do their own makeup? I’m guessing they did.

RH: As a matter of fact, that is one of the funnier stories from the shoot. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Weekender / Delco Pacers at Ortlieb’s , Oldermost at Boot and Saddle, Vacationer at Underground Arts and more

Philly Tapes Philly collaboration with Weekender and Delco Pacers | Photo by Wendy McCardle | wendymccardle.com
Philly Tapes Philly collaboration with Weekender and Delco Pacers | Photo by Wendy McCardle | wendymccardle.com

Local pop bands Weekender and Delco Pacers will hit the Ortlieb’s stage tonight in celebration of their collaborative mixtape, Philly Tapes Philly Volume 2. The first 50 people to the show will receive a free copy of the limited edition cassette. More details here.

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Review: RFA’s Just Don’t Turn the Lights On EP

Photo by Hannah Pautler
Photo by Hannah Pautler

Philly newcomers Really Fast Automobiles are onto something with their debut EP Just Don’t Turn the Lights On. Demonstrating heightened melodic sensibility and admiration for the simplicity of classic garage rock, they’re passion and potential is nearly tangible. Opening tracks “Just Don’t Turn the Lights On” and “Don’t Come Calling to Me” are low-key but fun with the former coming to life by the end with a killer guitar solo. “Indie Rock Song” has its own stand-alone charisma as they sing “you fell in love with my little indie rock song”. Digging a bit deeper on “Alone For One Night” they describe the pangs of loneliness but maintain melodic simplicity. They end on a fast, upbeat note with “James Dean” concluding their fun, simple debut which takes cues from The Strokes and classic rock and roll.

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Edison will premiere new line-up and new songs at Kung Fu Necktie on 4/27

Michael James Murray of Edison | photo by Colin Kerrigan
Michael James Murray of Edison | photo by Colin Kerrigan

At the start of 2013 a band called Edison drifted into Philly with a debut EP called Living Room and a handful of shows.  Founded by locals Michael James Murray and Alexander Savoth, the duo crafted roaming soundscapes that incorporated string sections with quietly jazzy drums and large-room production that still kept things intimate with closely placed vocals.

Following several months of solo work by Murray and Savoth that coincided with a new approach to Edison, the band is back with an expanded line-up and new material, ready to hit the stage again at Kung Fu Necktie on Sunday, April 27th.  Chris Giraldi joins on drums and Bennet Daniels (Neighborhood Choir, Hippy Johnny) takes control of the bass, bringing new perspectives and possibilities to a band that already reached aural moments of Air and Radiohead.  Tickets and information for the 21+ show with Marc Neibauer and HLEP can be found here.  Listen back to last year’s EP below.