Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time each week digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. At the end of each week, we present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.
Oh my, we’re running behind this week, aren’t we? Very behind. Or we’re very early for next week, depending on your point of view. I blame the heat; the stuffy, sluggish days where the atmosphere feels like its literally dragging you down. That’s sort of behind us, for the moment — we’re in the temporary reprieve zone, it was just a preview of what we’re going to get in August, you know? — and now we’re in the heating up of the summer concert itinerary.
I’m about to bounce down to Wilmington for four days at Firefly, the friendliest megafestival you’ll ever go to. Before I hit the road, here’s a roundup of some of the awesomeness I dug up on Bandcamp’s Philadelphia tag this past week.
From the opening guitar chord, local five-piece Enamel gets right to the damn point – they’re here to rage, holler and howl, play doublefast minute-and-a-half songs with abandon and take no prisoners. Comprised of persons named Carol, Florence, Krystina, Jerry and Grog, this two song preview gives a taste of the Complete The Lie tape they plan on releasing earlier this summer. It’s only three minutes but seems prime for basement show glory.
“Heavy Eyes…was made to ease the issues of attaining sleep; still ain’t successful,” writes Philly rapper Lynx. “Each song is a documentation of the experience and narrates a familiar theme.” The resulting project is a resonant encapsulation of this experience, between the MC’s woozy and delirious bars — delirious, yes, but gripping — and tasteful samples and beds evoking jazz, theater and downbeat synthpop. “Also, was on meds to quit smoking, wasn’t a pretty site,” continues Lynx. “Try to follow, if you may.”
One of the most fun parts of this ongoing Bandcamp project — when I stumble across a release that knocks me sideways but absolutely zero information about it is out there on the internet beyond, like, the stream. This is the case with Weekend Athlete’s demo, a breathtaking collection of haunting and minimal emo-tinged rock in the spirit of Waxahatchee’s American Weekend. So who is this person? Their Bandcamp artist photo shows a guitarist standing in front of studio soundproofing that looks astonishingly like the baffles we have at XPN HQ, and the person pictured sort of looks like it may be a member of Aster More — who did record at XPN once upon a time — but their face is in the shadows and I cannot tell for certain. The mystery remains but the songs are great.
Local five-piece Past Life brims with spunky garage rock energy, and their Triple Nothing EP recalls anyone from The Strokes to Cold Fronts. The band is comprised of Dash Williams on lead vocals and guitar, Alyssa Milman on guitar and backing vocals, Anthony Massucci on bass and trumpet, Branden Bauer on guitar and Justin Sterchele on drums. It’s a great driving-down-the-highway-in-the-summertime set, which I’m totally going to need in a few minutes.
Power goth rock and roll up in this joint care of singer Angel, guitarist James, bassist Brad and drummer Tony. Somnium Mori recalls The Plasmatics, Curve and — in their trippier moments — local faves Ruby the Hatchet on their six-song 2017 EP.
REFLECT JUNE AND SEMANTIC NOISE
Left-of-center, textured beats and a grizzled, Aesop Rock-ish flow pack the latest release from Reflect June & Semantic Noise, members of the Gritty Goat collective. Soundtrack for your next trip to Graffiti Pier.
ENDLESS MTNS. REGION
Another from the “I can’t find much info about this artist, but goddamn I like this” vaults. Endless Mtns. Region’s walker/bridges is a fine collection of finger-picked folk guitar instruments in the John Fahey / Jack Rose school — evocative, expansive and eternal, these two minimalist tunes are packed with tone and evoke vivid imagery.
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