Photos by Peter Murray Photography | petermurrayphotography.com
In a strange, roundabout kind of way, this session you see before you today only exists because of Twitter. Two Philly DIY scene players, the fuzz-poppy Hurry and the punk poppy Mike Bell and The Movies, had been social media beef-ing - or faux-beefing, perhaps, as they seem like friendly and amiable dudes all around – discussing who would win in a “power pop battle.” At one point, Bell called on The Key’s Twitter to “settle this once and for all” – and equally jokingly, I replied “what are we talking, a DJ-off or, like, a boxing match? Or a dueling studio session?” Evidently the latter was actually a viable option, all parties were into it, and ground rules for our first-ever competitive Key Studio Session were established. Each artist got three songs: one of their own songs, one of the other band’s songs and one cover of their choosing. We would record both bands live in the studio on the same day. And the reults wound up being so efficient and fun, I’m thinking about recording artists in battle format more often.
In this week’s session, you can hear all the songs the bands performed as well as all the between-song taunting, from Peter Helmis of The Movies yelling “you’ve tried the best, now try the rest” (an inverted pizza box slogan of sorts) to Matt Scottoline of Hurry repeatedly referring to The Movies as “The Films.” Both originals killed it: The Movies debuted a super fun new tune called “Sara Smiles,” while Hurry went with their awesome single “Oh Whitney” – and the mutual covers took decidedly interesting turns. The Movies did a revved up and mostly sincere take on Hurry’s “I Won’t Wait” – a song that actually hasn’t been released yet, it’ll be on the album the band is dropping this fall – whereas Hurry went scuzzy and noiserock on The Movies’ single “Everybody.” Both selections from the power pop canon were winners too – a bouncy and delightful rendition of “Mary Anne” by Marshall Crenshaw from The Movies, a soaring and atmospheric performance of “September Gurls” by Big Star from Hurry.
In short, good stuff all around. But I’m no closer to deciding a winner on this battle than I was before. Each artist had its own strengths and unique stylizations, both sets were strong. So this is where I turn to you, good reader. Who wins this inaugural Key Studio Session? Listen and download the set below, and let us know in the comments.