The Key Studio Sessions: Divers

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They’re a band made up of seasoned Philly scene vets, but thankfully for Divers, “seasoned” doesn’t rule out cranking their amps and having fun. First, let’s take stock of who’s who. On bass is Todd Erk – he plays in Hoots and Hellmouth, Auctioneer and many others. On drums, there’s Thomas Bendel of Buried Beds, and occasionally of Lauryn Peacock’s band. Ross Bellenoit does the lead guitar and backing vocal thing, and you’ve probably heard him a billion places – even if you don’t realize it. He’s backed Birdie Busch, Aaron and the Spell and Ali Wadsworth, he produces records, and has a solo discography as well. Fronting the group is the lively and charismatic Emily Ana Zeitlyn. If you’ve been paying attention to Philly music for a few years like we have, you’ll recognize her haunting, emotive voice from The Weeds – who, sadly, released their final album in January after a long hiatus (and the tragic loss of a key bandmate). Her vocal style is a warm and expressive alto, sometimes reminiscent of Nico, sometimes of Amanda Palmer, sometimes Nina Simone – and dang if its phrasing doesn’t make “Eggshels” one of the catchiest tracks I’ve recorded this year. The power trio configuration works wonders with their selections: Bellenoit’s lively space guitar interlocking with Erk’s bass on “When We Met,” Bendel’s wild drumming on “Wild Things.” And on the playful “Will You Still Love Me?,” I can’t help but notice melodic traces of Busch, Zeitlyn’s friend and occasional collaborator. Check out this batch of songs below – most of them are as-yet unreleased – and see Divers live when they play Johnny Brenda’s on Thursday the 6th of June. Tickets and information for the show can be found here.