This year marked the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ initial trip to our side of the pond and their first ever North American tour. If you didn’t know this, you must have been in hibernation back in February. The 1964 summer tour would eventually include an unlikely stop in Philadelphia on September 2 that almost didn’t happen. Thanks to a relentless Philly rock n’ roll radio personality and some tricky planning, it did. Continue reading →
Philly psych-pop band Weekender prove there ain’t no rest for the wicked. After headlining Kung Fu Necktie last night, the fuzzy dreampop outfit is playing a slew of shows in Philly this summer, including local stops at Bourbon and Branch May 31, KFN June 11, the Firefly Festival in Delaware June 22, and then closing out at The Fire June 27. With pop beats, cutting riffs and droning guitars, Weekender is an ideal summer soundtrack.The band has promised a follow-up album to 2013’s EP Spanish Peaks this summer, but no word yet on a date. In the mean time, check out their very psychedelic Off the Avenue live session in Savannah, Georgia below.
We’re used to PA natives Maitland providing us with chillingly ethereal and beautiful tracks, but there’s something about the raw power of an acoustic session that manages to delve even deeper into the soul. Josh Hines of Maitland performed a stripped down version of a new track, “Luna”, for the latest FeedbackLoop session, and the track is soft and poignant as ever. The band also states that they’ve recently “graduated from a two-piece to a full band.” The track was recorded at Kawari Sound Studios, and you can get the full band version of the track as well as other indie jams with a subscription to FeedbackLoop – a Philly-based digital music discovery service that celebrates its first year and 21st session with Maitland’s episode. Croon with Hines via the video below.
Emo rockers By Surprise take over Kung Fu Necktie tonight for an evening of non-stop classic indie rock jams at the monthly Strangled by the Stereowire party. It’s their first live show since December, as well as a 90’s indie / alt showcase night where DJs Johnny and Mike spin everything from Pavement to Dinosaur Jr. to Blur and Superchunk and more. People attending can tweet their 90’s indie-alterna song requests to @SBTSW or #SBTSW. Get ready to ride the emotional rollercoaster down memory lane. Did we mention the best part? It’s free.
By Surprise is currently working on their follow up to 2011’s Mountain Smashers, so you can expect some new material tonight from the Jersey natives. You may even catch them doing a cover of Archers of Loaf, too (though not the song that the DJ night takes its name from). The show starts at 10:30 and goes ’til 2am. Free admission, 21+ to get in.
Lux Perpetua, the long-running Philly psych outfit led by multi-faceted multi-instrumentalist and producer Justin Wolf, is gearing up for a busy summer. The band is releasing its long-awaited album, Hehbehdehbehbehdeh (pronounced pretty much like it looks) on Color Theory Records on May 29th. If you were a fan of last year’s bass-heady psych-rock EP Make Your Purposes Mine, here’s a friendly forewarning: this new material is different. And for an ever-evolving band, that’s a good thing.
Most notable is “Blood Sea,” an unusually upbeat tune (for Lux) that we’re premiering for you today. One immediate difference is the addition of a female voice to the mix, Wolf’s good friend Amelia Meath (of Sylvan Esso and Mountain Man), who also contributes to a majority of the album’s tracks. The vocal interchange between Wolf and Meath combined with airy, catchy guitar melodies gives the tune a primarily summer feel. The dreamy quality of the track makes sense – as it came to Wolf in a dream:
“I wrote the song a few years ago after throwing my back out pretty badly,” he told us. “After wobbling home I fell asleep and dreamed of a kitchen at the edge of a giant red sea, which was the back pain scrambling my mind. It became a sort of weird love song about cooking biscuits and missing someone and ‘riding the waves’ so to speak.”
I don’t know about the biscuits part, but the dreamy love song amidst a giant red sea certainly translates.
Prolific acoustic singer/songwriter and indie rock mastermind Mirah performed two new tracks for Kettle Pot Track’s On the Hill Series session last week. The songs come from her most recent album Changing Light, released May 13 via Absolute Magnitude. The Philadelphia-area native kept the studio session simple yet powerful, playing “Gold Rush” and “Fleetfoot Ghost”, with Mirah’s acoustic guitar stylings accompanied by violin and drums for added oomph. Her tempered yet heart-penetrating vocals carry the tracks all the way through. Mirah performs at Johnny Brenda’s tomorrow, May 20 at 8pm. Get tickets for the show here. The vinyl of Changing Light will be released June 24, you can pre-order it here. Watch the On the Hill Session below.
Pop / punk outfit Steady Hands – the solo project of Modern Baseball drummer Sean Huber – is joining forces with folky DIY scene faves The Hundred Acre Woods for a coheadlining at Tin Angel on May 29th. This is probably the most raucous lineup the laid-back Old City venue has seen. Ever.
In addition, Huber has promised to play some new jams for the performance, which is always a bonus. For more info check out the facebook event page here. Get tickets for the performance here. Watch Sean Huber of Steady Hands perform “Southern Dream” for FeedbackLoop below.
American metal/ prog-rock band Mastadon will bring their crushing sound and screaming vocals to the Electric Factory tonight. With a new album, Once More ‘Round the Sun, due out June 24 via Reprise Records, there should be plenty of new material for the show. Get tickets to the event here. Watch “High Road” below.
The lawn of the beautiful Rigby Mansion in Germantown is the setting yet again for a stacked outdoor concert happening May 31, featuring Ember Schrag Band, Ohioan, Debby Schwartz and special guest Susan Alcorn sitting in. The folk-fueled outdoor event is a perfect spring time escape, bringing together an array of artists ranging from the grass-roots folk and ethereal vocal stylings of Schrag, (who just wrapped up a third album), to the gritty country-meets-folk sounds of Ohioan, to Schwartz’s heavier, rock-influenced folk (with a voice as sharp as Stevie Nicks). If that’s not enough, pioneer of pedal-steel guitar musician/composer Alcorn will be joining the fun as well.
In addition to great live music in an enchanting setting, the concert will include food and drink prepared by Schrag herself. Attendees are welcome to provide their own culinary specialties for a pot-luck if they choose. The May 31 spring concert at Rigby Mansion – located at 523 E. Church Lane in Germantown – begins at 8pm, and admission is $8. Check out videos of some of the talent playing the concert below.
West Chester-based producer/ engineer Matt Magarahan of Studio 435 kicked off a new in-studio performance / video series “Live at 435” last week with Philly singer/songwriter Kevin Manning. The stripped down, acoustic performance features a solo Manning playing two chilling original tracks, “In Her View” and “Trail Gone By”.
“In Her View” is carried by a beautiful, gentle guitar melody not dissimilar from Death Cab for Cutie’s ballad “I’ll Follow You into the Dark”, the song further facilitated by Manning’s sweet, hushed vocals. “Trail Gone By” has more vocal power as an impassioned recollection of a lost lover, a remembrance of a time passed: “And sweetheart, I remember it well, each day our hearts swelled, if I could tell you everything I felt, about the way you looked that night”. The deeply personal nature of both songs makes it impossible not to connect with the heartfelt singer/songwriter.
Manning is currently working on an EP due out by the end of the year. If you’d like to experience him live, you can catch Kevin Manning June 13 at Melodies Cafe in Ardmore. Get tickets for the performance here. Stream “In Her View” via Manning’s Soundcloud page here. Watch the debut “Live at 435” in-house studio performance below.