This Place Is Real Fest brought three days worth of DIY bands to the intimate second floor space of Fennario Coffee Shop in West Chester over this past weekend, and displayed some of the great talent from our area’s young musicians. Starting on Thursday, hometown pop punk heroes, Spraynard, played a surprise set alongside other local bands, while Friday saw sets from a great selection of mostly touring bands. Saturday rounded out the festival with performances by younger bands from the area, all of which impressed the crowd with their unique styles of rock. Continue reading →
This past Wednesday, California pop punk band Joyce Manor stopped by Union Transfer in support of their most recent album, Never Hungover Again. With support from Seattle-based The Exquisites, as well as locals Dogs On Acid and The Spirit of the Beehive, it was a huge gathering of friends from all over Philadelphia. Continue reading →
Beach Slang recently released a raw four song EP entitled Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken?, which you can stream below and pick up on vinyl in Spring viaDead Broke Records. While this band kind of seemed to pop up out of nowhere, its members are no strangers to the Philadelphia scene. Vocalist and guitarist James Snyder is a member of the inactive but memorable pop punk band Weston. With Ed McNulty from Crybaby on bass and JP Flexner from Ex Friends on drums, this is a sort of a local Philly supergroup. The EP was recorded with Dave Downham at Gradwell House Recording Studio in Haddons Height, NJ and mastered at Armstrong Studios by Stephen Egerton, known for his work with The Descendants.
Beach Slang’s debut EP is nothing short of breakout. Snyder authors some amazing lyrics for grungy hearts that find themselves in love in “Filthy Luck”. To me, the line “Carve your name soft across my lungs / I want to breathe you until I’m numb / We’re not loved, well, hardly anyway / with filthy luck in such a filthy haze” speaks to the dingy basement scene that has sparked so many relationships by chance.
These lyrics seem to describe the lives of modern day punks, with cleverly written takes like “The kids are still alright / We’re just too high to fight” or “Who called the cops? / Whatever, we’ll never get caught”. Delivering the avidly truthful and hopeful lyrics with catchy melodies and harmonies, Beach Slang nailed the vocals. The EP’s raw indie sound is textured with distortion and feedback alongside the fast-paced rhythms and punk mentality. The three piece band blasts through catchy riffs and drum fills, with trudging bass and texturing feedback at the best moments. Definitely check out “Filthy Luck” and “Punk or Lust”.
Beach Slang also announced they’ll be heading down to Fest 13 this upcoming Fall. Check out the insane lineup and get tickets here.
Philadelphia based five piece Kite Party just released the first single off their forthcoming full length album Come On Wandering, which is due out May 6th on Animal Style Records. The album was recorded at The Headroom with local producers Joe Reinhart (Algernon Cadwallader, Hop Along) and Kyle Pulley (Dangerous Ponies, Thin Lips). ”Halflife” is warm and atmospheric, yet seemingly downbeat and moody. Soulful vocals howl amidst slowly churning instrumentals, and a keyboard adds even more texture on top of the three guitars. In this song, vocalist/guitarist Russell Edling focuses on ‘feeling off,’ but that is only one of many dark topics covered lyrically on this album. Preorder Come On Wandering here, and listen to “Halflife” below.
Toronto punk four-piece PUP is enroute back North after taking SXSW by storm (see The Key and PureVolume), and they stopped by Golden Tea House this past Saturday night to showcase their aggressive style of raspy pop punk. They played second, alongside Tender Vision, Great Red Spots, and Dead Tenors.
The band sped through songs off their forthcoming self-titled album, and they were as precise as they were maniacal. Vocalist and guitarist Stefan Babcock stood atop the drum kit as he slammed on his instrument, before rushing back to the mic to chime in with his scratchy, heartful shouts.
They tore through heavy and fast riffs, and nailed every tasteful guitar solo. Some people sang along, and the crowd turned into a lively mosh pit once PUP jumped into their anthemic single “Reservoir”. Babcock put his back to the crowd as he jammed out, being pummeled by bodies as he stood on the edge of the jumping punks. Towards end their set they played an amazingly raw cover of “Sabotage” by The Beastie Boys, during which Babcock jumped up on top of the crowd and managed to climb his way up on to the balcony. These guys seriously killed it live, they are gritty, real, and have the talent to pull off their craft while going crazy at the same time.
This past Saturday night, Union Transfer hosted the Noisey co-headlining tour with local folk punk heroes mewithoutYou and LA-based hardcore punks Touche Amore. Both bands have a discography of respectable and well-crafted albums that received great acclaim, but the reason they go so well on tour together is their ability to simply go crazy and absolutely lose themselves in their music onstage. Met with a crowd that has the same agenda made for one of the best shows I have seen at Union Transfer.
Caravels opened up the night playing to an already full venue. The band’s sound is heavy, with raspy vocals and a unique mix of aggressive and laid-back instrumental parts. Vocalist Michael Roeslein shouted his lyrics with a noticeable sense of purpose and anger as he danced and moved around the stage, totally enveloped in the performance.
The band’s latest release is Lacuna, a full length album released on Topshelf Records that is worth a listen especially for fans of bands like La Dispute. Stream it on Bandcamp.
Seahaven threw themselves into their set as much as Caravels, but their tunes were much more chill and oriented around layered guitars. The lights were low and the mood was set for this band’s soft, ambient touch that was punctuated by an outpouring of emotion. Seahaven is releasing a full length album called Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only on March 25th via Run For Cover Records, order it here and stream a song off it here.
Touche Amore crammed 22 songs into their 40-minute set, and their live show is ample evidence that they are one of the best punk bands around. They came out strong as hell, with an intro of “Praise / Love” into “Anyone / Anything,” a standout track off their most recent release Is Survived By.
After invigorating the crowd with this first song, Touche Amore delved into their 2011 album Parting The Sea Between Brightness and Me, and from that point they bounced from album to album without skipping a beat between most songs. Their short, swift, songs blended together, and at most points the crowd was a mess of shouting, running, and crowdsurfing young adults.
Vocalist Jeremy Bolm took advantage of the audience’s energy, grabbing crowd surfers and handing them the mic, punching the air fanatically, and even doing a stage dive of his own. In addition to his on-stage antics, Bolm’s vocal performance was top-notch and is definitely something worth seeing live. Some of the best songs from their set were “Art Official,” “The Great Repetition,” and an especially powerful performance of “Non Fiction”.
Local headliners mewithoutYou put on a well-rounded performance that covered music from all realms of their (more than) ten year career. From their debut LP A→B Life to their most recent release Ten Stories, mewithoutYou pleased the crowd with an amazing mix of folk, punk, and even hardcore tracks. At times the crowd was going as nuts as they were for Touche Amore, yelling and shouting at the top of their lungs while a few people even bawled their eyes out at select songs. With the frenzied states that these local artists brought were soft lullabies which entranced the crowd before throwing them right back into a mess of yelling and noise. Vocalist Aaron Weiss entangled himself in the microphone cord as he spun and jumped around on stage, when he wasn’t rocking out on the accordion or acoustic guitar.
mewithoutYou’s set was lengthy, and an added encore left the crowd more than satisfied with their peculiar hometown idols. Some of the best songs from their set were “Nice and Blue Pt. 2,” “Bullet to Binary,” and “Wolf Am I!”. Weiss ended the evening by acoustically performing “In A Sweater Poorly Knit,” a poetic number off Brother, Sister where he softly muffled the lines: “Brownish spider / brownish leaf / confirms my deepest held belief / no more spider / no more leaf / no more me / no more belief” before quietly waving and walking off stage.
The Fire held an all-emo showcase Sunday night, bringing together Florida punk four piece You Blew It! alongside New Jersey’s Prawn, New York’s Crying, and Philly’s Marietta and Secret Plot to Destroy the Entire Universe. Each band brought their emotional cues forward in their own way, showcasing how creative and loud they can be with the copious amount of tiresome energy that come through in their music.
Secret Plot opened up the night with a set of their vocally-driven and abrasive songs. Teetering in that delicate spot between destructive and beautiful, this band sure knows how to get their feelings across, especially live. New songs filled their performance, and the band mentioned that an album is in the works. Keep an eye out for that, and check out their other stuff on Bandcamp.
Local emo four piece Marietta was up next, playing a set of tracks from their debut album Summer Death. Their twinkly riffs and huge crescendos made for a terrific sing-a-long experience. The band plays faster and yells a little harder live, which really showcases their punk influence and how invested these guys are in the feelings of their songs. Drummer Andrew Weigel was especially crazy to see live; during some of the build ups he would be absolutely pounding on his toms while also shouting the lyrics at the top of his lungs. Listen to Summer Death here. Continue reading →
PUP is a pop punk four piece from Toronto, Canada who recently announced a full US tour with Montreal grunge band Solids. With the upcoming release of their self titled album in the states, the band should be met with an ecstatic reaction at these shows. The first single off PUP is “Reservoir,” a gritty and bumpy three minute ride where vocalist Stefan Babcock takes us through everything from smoking to being wasted and broke. His voice is raspy yet coherent, making for singalong punk tunes that sound similar to LA skate punks FIDLAR or the Canadian Single Mothers.
PUP’s two month route across Europe and North America will bring them to Kung Fu Necktie on March 23rd(UPDATE: this show has been canceled, but the band has hinted on Twitter that it is working on a booking with Guild Shows instead.). Get tickets to that show here, PUP and Solids will be joined by Massachusetts fuzz rock four piece Pachangacha.
Watch PUP tear everything, including themselves, to pieces in the video for “Reservoir” below. Stream and download that song on bandcamp, and be on the look out for the album release. Also, head over to the NME to check out a cover of “My Shadow” by late indie rock icon Jay Reatard, who passed away four years ago last week.
Back in November, Anthony Green and Good Old War stopped by Audiotree in Chicago to perform six songs off Green’s newest album Young Legs and discuss the importance of writing honest music kong other topics. A tight set and a stellar vocal take by Anthony Green make this live session a must-see for anyone who was not able to make it out to his huge show at Union Transfer. Check out the video below.
Philly blues rock band John the Conqueror will be heading up The Legendary Dobbs this evening, before going on a European tour and releasing a new album The Good Life on February 25th. Soulful tracks make their blues sound attractive and inviting, and they’re sure to be even louder and entertaining live. Make sure to check them out before they leave the States for a good month; it’ll be their last Philly show until March 7th at MilkBoy.