As far as the local music scene goes, we thought 2012 was an excellent year. Our hats go off to the dozens of bands across an impressive, diverse range of genres for notching things up last year. Roll call: Dr. Dog. War On Drugs. Meek Mill. Hop Along. Cheers Elephant. Arc In Round. Toy Soldiers. Hezekiah Jones. Lushlife. Work Drugs. Chill Moody. Sun Airway. The Stray Birds. Purling Hiss. Free Energy. The Fleeting Ends. Aaron Brown. Res. Low Cut Connie. Spacin’. Swearin’ (there’s a double bill we want to see). Shark Tape. In The Pocket. DRGN KNG. Cold Fronts. Moosh & Twist. Nothing. RJD2. Night Panther. Reef The Lost Cauze. Buried Beds. Vacationer. Ape School. Adrien Reju. The Spinto Band. Ground Up. Vintage Kicks. Pissed Jeans. The legendary Roots crew. Santigold. Birdie Busch. Zilla Rocca. Scot Sax. Man Man. Schoolly (don’t need the “D” anymore, he’s just “Schoolly”). Freeway. Strand of Oaks. Good Old War. King Britt. Heyward Howkins. Arctic Splash. White Birds Chiddy Bang. GrandeMarshall. Meg Baird. City Rain. Juston Stens and The Get Real Gang. The Money Making Jam Boys. Nicos Gun.
Who’d we forget? Probably dozens more. Our apologies if we left you out. We hope you get the point though; these days, Philly is miles deep and miles wide with talent and creativity. If 2012 was a “ten,” here’s 15 reasons why Philly’s music scene is about to go to 11 in 2013.
1. The highly anticipated Kanine Records debut from power punk rockers Bleeding Rainbow, Yeah Right, out on January 29th.
2. Not wanting to be out powered by their noise brothers and sister – Bleeding Rainbow – Purling Hiss tear the blisters off their fingers when they release Water On Mars on Drag City on March 19th. Hiss guitarist Mike Polizze redefines the concept of “shredding.”
3. Not from the old school or from the new, rapper GrandeMarshall is from his own trippy, ethereal school of hip-hop. Recently signed to Fool’s Gold, his 800 mixtape was one of the best of ’12, and there’s more to come in the one-three.
5. Don’t call it a comeback he’s been here for years: William Hart, lead singer of The Delfonics is back with the sounds of symphonic soul with Adrian Younge.
7. Dr. Dog drummer Eric Slick and singer-songwriter Brendan Mulvihill, aka Norwegian Arms, release their new Wolf Like A Stray Dog album on January 15th. It’s a collection of wonderful wierdworld indie-folk.
8. Pattern Is Movement will release its new album, There Will Be, next year. PIM performed new material at this show recently and by all indications the new jawns are mind blowingly funky and right on time. Rumour on the street is that new record was inspired by drummer Chris Ward and keyboardist Andrew Thiboldeaux listening to thousands of hours of Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange. When they hear the new PIM album, the Dirty Projectors will attempt to make a record like Drake’s Take Care and fail.
9. We’re pretty certain that Work Drugs will continue to release at least one new song a month. If not, we’ll be disappointed.
10. Not familiar with the mind blowing pianotechnics of jazz pianist Elew? Well you should be. This past summer he released Elew Rockjazz, Volume 2, and we’re just saying that his takes on rock classics will take you to another planet, which is a good thing. Originally from Camden, NJ and a graduate of Overbrook High, Elew is Eric Lewis. He’s toured with Wynton Marsalis, Josh Groban, Cassandra Wilson and many others. His musical world Is a planet where Thelonius Monk, Keith Jarrett, Michael Jackson and The Killers all make sweet music together. Don’t lose sight of this guy.
11. The Fleeting Ends is a trio who release their second album, Our Eyes Are Peeled on January 29th. Their attention to pop detail, songwriting and arrangements is frighteningly good, bordering on obsessive. Oh yeah: string arrangements by the legendary Larry Gold.
12. Dominic Angelella and Ritz Reynolds are DRGN KNG. The geniuses at Bar None Records were smart enough to sign them and are releasing Paragraph Nights on January 22nd. Oh yeah, did you catch that nice little writeup in Rolling Stone?
13. Ron Gallo and his band of merry ramshackle roots rockers Toy Soldiers release their new album next year. Produced by Bill Moriarty, Maybe Boys promises to deliver on their fun live performances and Gallo’s knack for writing songs that bring to mind a Sun Records meeting of The Band.
14. Our pals Free Energy unleash their new collection of bubblegum indie-rock, Love Sign, on January 15th. More infectious than The Cars and the Ohio Express.
15. When he’s not bassing it up for The War On Drugs, Dave Hartley, has his own groovy musical project called Nightlands. Hartley releases Oak Island on Secretly Canadian on January 22nd. While we are certainly amazing by his musical talents, Hartley is also a pretty sharp basketball fan and shares his insights with us in his basketball column for us, Top Of The Key.
Bleeding Rainbow, DRGN KNG, Elew, Free Energy, GrandeMarshall, Greg PORN, Nightlands, Norwegian Arms, Pattern Is Movement, Purling Hiss, Reef The Lost Cauze, The Delfonics, Toy Soldiers, Truck North, William Hart