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Revisiting Keep Your Heart with The Loved Ones’ Dave Hause

The Loved Ones onstage at Johnny Brenda's  earlier this year | photo by Dennis Casey | via facebook.com/TheLovedOnesBand
The Loved Ones onstage at Johnny Brenda’s earlier this year | photo by Dennis Casey | via facebook.com/TheLovedOnesBand

It’s striking how much time and distance can change our perspective on the past. Old relationships, weathered and worn like the spine of an old book, can take on different meanings, more nuanced interpretations, and a well-earned introspection not immediately present in those initial, sometimes fiery, but generally rarely fully-formed emotions. Especially as we age and reach a point where we might have more years behind us than ahead of us, the allure of reliving past successes, even in some small way, is undeniable. Hell, a healthy part of our entire economy is based on nostalgia, on preserving memories beyond just what can fit between our ears.

Music is no different, of course. In fact, to many it’s the largest vessel of those memories. Whether it’s an album that spoke to us as kids, or a band who we didn’t know we desperately needed until they unexpectedly came to us at a crucially impressionable time in our lives, or just a song with lyrics we may cringe at now but goddammit, these made sense back then, a longing nostalgia is inherent in nearly all of it. It’s no wonder we clamor for band reunions and anniversary reissues and albums performed live front-to-back; for better or worse, we’re all living in the past to some degree.

Even as The Loved Ones move to become somewhat complicit in this nostalgia-driven music economy, frontman Dave Hause is approaching it with an often unheard of degree of pragmatism. The band, formed in Philadelphia in 2003, will soon celebrate the tenth anniversary of their debut LP Keep Your Heart with a series of rare live performances, including a hometown show at Union Transfer on Feb. 20. As Hause puts it, his mantra is to “always move forward” and he has, with a successful solo career as a singer-songwriter most recently capped by a cross-country co-headlining tour with Rocky Votolato. As I reach him on the phone, he’s holed up in his home studio, working on songs for his next solo record; “always move forward.” Continue reading →

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Leave ‘Em Wanting More: The Rock Cats are punker than you can imagine

Photo by Bryne Yancey
The Rock Cats guitarist Oz goes in at The Painted Bride | Photo by Bryne Yancey

Every music lover has stories about live shows they’ll never forget. Think about it. Maybe you went to a house show in west Philly that altered your worldview forever, or experienced a riveting performance from a then-unknown band who’ve since blown up, or perhaps you took your now-spouse to a show and held their hand and kissed them for the first time during what is now “your song.” Your memories of not just that show, but that entire day, are likely still quite vivid. You remember what you were wearing, what your date was wearing, what you ate, what the weather was like, the smells, the sounds, all of it is carved onto your brain like crudely drawn initials onto tree bark because these experiences are so rare and so affecting. I had a similar experience Saturday night at Painted Bride Art Center in Old City, where a ragtag group of creatures from diverse backgrounds formed a common bond in the name of music…and treats. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Bryne Yancey’s Top Five Shows in Non-Traditional Venues

photo by Rachel Del Sordo
photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, contributing writer Bryne Yancey shares five amazing shows from the Philly DIY underground.

Talk to just about any out-of-towner at a show in Philadelphia, and the topic of this city’s music scene, venue quality, and sheer frequency of things happening will likely arise. We’re pretty lucky here and it’s easy to take that for granted. Philly’s scene is so well-guided and expertly cultivated and curated, thanks in large part to the steady hands of promoters like R5 Productions, but also the tightly-knit DIY community who put on shows in kitchens, basements, lofts and art galleries all over town. Maybe it’s Philadelphia’s inherent blue-collared ingenuity seeping through the fuck-you-do-it-yourself punk sphere. Maybe it’s Pennsylvania’s draconian liquor laws that have inadvertently created a need for these all-age spaces. Maybe Philly is just more punk than other cities. Whatever the cause, it’s telling that many touring bands would prefer playing these unconventional spaces here over another bar, and the health of these spaces affords us fans a lot of cool opportunities to experience live music on a very intimate level. I saw a lot of DIY shows in 2014, but these were the five best ones I saw, in no particular order. Continue reading →

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Philly needs an all-ages show space. TWOB Fest wants to make that happen.

The Hotelier | photo by Rachel Del Sordo
The Hotelier plays an all-ages show at The Fire. They headline TWOB Fest this weekend | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

DIY punk’s openness, accessibility and ability to survive (and thrive) hinges upon the existence of the right mix of venues. For the most part, Philadelphia has just that. The scene here is so nurturing that just about anyone can start a band, write a few songs, practice them and eventually, play a show. That conduciveness can almost seem passé sometimes just because we’re so acclimated to it, but the reality is that it’s just not like that in most cities. It takes a lot of hard work, some clever maneuvering, and the right mix of personalities to save a subculture from stagnation. In Philadelphia, that means a plethora of non-traditional, not-exactly-legal venues. Pennsylvania’s draconian alcohol laws, along with operating costs that are almost universally prohibitive for broke punks, mean that the vast majority of all-ages punk shows here are happening off the grid in musty basements, dirty kitchens and cavernous lofts, which makes for a uniquely wonderful, but perhaps unsustainable experience.

Daniel Anderson wants to create something sustainable. Since 2011, he and his roommate Ruben Polo have run local label Kat Kat Records, while booking shows both in their own West Philadelphia basement and at others across the city. They’ve also booked festivals of their own, beginning with Kat Kat Phest and culminating with the inaugural TWOB Fest this weekend, which will see local favorites like Kite Party, Marietta and By Surprise performing alongside out-of-town acts like Laura Stevenson, Sundials and The Hotelier to raise money for an all-ages, DIY show space in Philadelphia to hopefully open in the fall. Continue reading →