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Punk rock, not hair metal: Listen to Jack Deezl’s new Whoa EP

Jack Deezl | Photo by Stephanie Defeo

I was swapping emails with Philly DJ, producer and party-rocker Jack Deezl this week – talking about the growth of his monthly Truewave party at South Philly’s Dolphin Tavern and the burgeoning local electronic music scene – and he made one of the best music analogies I’ve heard in the long time. Those big EDM festivals, with their teeming crowds dancing to cookie-cutter buildup-to-drop tracks, watching plumes of flame and smoke and LED screens and confetti cannons, are the equivalent of hair metal; Deezl and his peers, playing more nuanced, against-the-grain cuts to tiny nightclubs of music connoisseurs, are punk rock. Continue reading →

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Watch Kopecky perform Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” at XPNFest via VuHaus

Kopecky | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com
Kopecky | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com

Their cover of Fleetwood Mac’s brass band anthem “Tusk” has become a concert staple for Nashville rockers Kopecky. For their performance at this year’s XPoNential Music Festival, they did it up in style, with frontman Gabe Simon leaping into the crowd with a trombone. Watch the set-closing song below via VuHaus, and listen to the performance in its entirety here. Continue reading →

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Watch STS and Truck North kick it to a Phantogram beat

STS and Truck North | Photos by Maximilian Shelton
STS and Truck North | Photos by Maximilian Shelton

Philadelphia’s STS has a thing for rapping over Phantogram tracks. After his dynamic and infectious theme song “STSIsGold” lifted a beat from the upstate NY electro-rock duo’s “When I’m Small,” today we got this video of Slim and fellow Philly MC Truck North messing around with a sample of “K.Y.S.A.,” Phantogram’s contribution to The Alchemist and Oh No’s Welcome to Los Santos compContinue reading →

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Happy record release day to The Wonder Years! Listen to “Thanks for the Ride.”

The Wonder Years | Photo courtesy of the artist
The Wonder Years | Photo courtesy of the artist

Today, Lansdale sons The Wonder Years release No Closer to Heaven, their latest full-length of cathartic punk rock anthems (get it here), and the album finds the band in top form after ten years in the game. Following a series of pre-release teasers – including “Cardinals” and “Cigarettes and Saints” – the band dropped one more yesterday, the sentimental “Thanks for the Ride.” Frontman Dan “Soupy” Campbell told Spin that the song imagines what life would be like if a deceased friend of his were still living. Continue reading →

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PREMIERE: Listen to Shelf Life’s nostalgia-laden “Double Dare”

Shelf Life | Photo by Ethan Holland | courtesy of the artist
Shelf Life | Photo by Ethan Holland | courtesy of the artist

Back in the spring, Scotty Leitch rolled out the first track from his band Shelf Life, titled “The Curse.” The song (listen here) saw the longtime Philly scene dude – who most notably played in emo-punk outfit Pirouette in the late aughties – delivering an alluring blend of bristly psychedelic electronics and jangling acoustic pop, while lyrically confronting the death of a loved one.

His record as a whole comes from equally heavy places; following a car accident last year, the lower portion of Leitch’s right leg was crushed. While recuperating, he bought a computer and recording software, and began writing the songs that would become Everyone Make Happy. Continue reading →

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Watch Gina Chavez perform “Siete-D” at XPNFest via VuHaus

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Gina Chavez | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

Austin’s Gina Chavez performed earlier this summer at the XPoNential Music Festival, closing out the Marina Stage on Saturday with a performance that mixed up Southwest sounds and styles, drawn from her 2014 record Up.Rooted. She appeared in conjunction with World Cafe’s Latin Roots series; listen to her interview with David Dye here, hear her set in full here and watch a performance of “Siete-D” below via VuHaus. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Sonnder

Last December, I got an unassuming email from Ryan Weidman, frontman of Philadelphia modern rock outfit Sonnder. It was my introduction to him and the band, but I immediately liked what I heard: he basically laid out plans to launch a single-a-month project for the year 2015. I try to be a goal-oriented person myself, so I dig it when I see musicians doing the same thing – see also: Ben Hughes (album a month) and That Dream Was our Life (EP a month). Once I made up my mind to keep tabs on what Sonnder was delivering, it was hard to miss. Continue reading →

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Philly’s Mumblr gets expansive on the new Super! Premium! Deluxe! EP

Mumblr | Photo by Michelle Rose | via mumblr.bandcamp.com
Mumblr | Photo by Michelle Rose | via mumblr.bandcamp.com

Philly punk four-piece Mumblr charges ahead in a few different directions with their latest collection, the Super! Premium! Deluxe! EP, out today. While the band previously sported a raw and hooky post-emo sound, the new collection dabbles in different styles, from early 90s grunge melancholia (“Super!”) to vicious noise pop (“Deluxe!”) and a curious spoken work piece to classic emo interlocking guitar lines (“Premium!”). The EP is bursting with urgency (“We recorded this live in one day thank you thank you” sayeth the Bandcamp liner notes) and is available for a free download here. Give it a listen below, and catch Mumblr when they play Ortlieb’s on September 22nd; tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert CalendarContinue reading →

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Download The Key Studio Sessions Volume 14 (featuring Alex G, Bilal, Screaming Females and more)

The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 14 | Cover photo by Rachel Del Sordo
The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 14 | Cover photo by Rachel Del Sordo

I almost always talk about our comps of tracks recorded for The Key Studio Sessions as snapshots, and this current installment definitely feels like it captures the essence of summer 2015 – fun and lively, varied, expansive, explosive. Being a music enthusiast and living in Philly totally ruled this summer, and I feel like that’s part of the reason I went with an image of DJ Sonny James flipping the faders during The Bul Bey‘s remarkable Key Session in choosing the cover art of The Key Studio Sessions Volume 13. Yes, sticklers, there could stand to be a lot more DJ-based music on this installment, and as I’m always looking to improve on our curation, I’ll keep that in mind for the fall and beyond. But like Bey’s party-centric sensibilities go hand-in-hand-in-hand with a thoughtful worldview and tireless grind (he played our Key Fest, our Waterfront Sessions, threw down regularly at The Fire and Ortlieb’s, and hosted his monthly Friends and Fam party with the Illvibe crew at Kung Fu Necktie), this comp collects artists who work hard, play hard and put a lot of thought into their space in the scene and the universe.

Continue reading →