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Cloud Nothings lead a four-band bill of gritty indie rock at Chameleon Club

Cloud Nothings | photo by Lauren Rosier for WXPN

Cleveland indie rock band Cloud Nothings played a killer, high-energy set to close out a four-band bill at Lancaster’s Chameleon Club on Sunday night. Blending the grittiness and raw power of garage rock with the high energy of pop punk, the band went in heavy and unrelenting; throughout the set, lead vocalist and guitarist Dylan Baldi was one of the hardest playing guitarists I’ve seen live.

The quartet performed songs from their latest release, Life Without Sound, as well as tracks from older releases including “I’m Not Part of Me” from Here And Nowhere Else. They had great energy in their musicianship, but the stage presence could’ve been a little more enthusiastic. The crowd nonetheless showed their enthusiasm for Cloud Nothings’ music through singing along and much head bopping. I wasn’t so keen on the muddy layering of instruments and vocals; I’ve seen countless bands in my life and it’s always bothered me when the instruments and vocals aren’t balanced. On the other hand, I’m wondering if it’s part of the band’s live sound. Continue reading →

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Simplicity and Authenticity: Pinegrove shines at The Capitol Room

Pinegrove | photo by Lauren Rosier for WXPN

There’s something so poetic about simplicity. Something that Montclair, NJ band Pinegrove, brings to life in its record and live shows.

Pinegrove is a 6-piece indie rock band comprised of Evan Stephen Hill (lead vocals/guitar), Josh Marre (guitar/vocals), Nandi Plunkett (keys/vocals), Sam Skinner (guitar), Adan Carlo (bass), and Zack Devine (drums/vocals).

There’s nothing fancy or flashy about the band, but their skill in creating beautiful, honest, relatable lyricism and musicianship is a result of each member’s contribution to the band. That authenticity shined Sunday night at Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center’s Capitol Room, a beautiful addition to the already gorgeous venue. Continue reading →

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Buzzing UK act The Japanese House bring vibrant dream pop to The Foundry

The Japanese House | photo by Lauren Rosier for WXPN
The Japanese House | photo by Lauren Rosier for WXPN

English indie pop act The Japanese House played to a sold out crowd at The Foundry on Saturday night. Amber Bain, the 21-year-old behind the band, performed with a 3-member backing band for a solid, and their12-track set featured standouts like “Clean,” “Cool Blue,” and a brand new track titled “Leon.” The Foundry was packed with fans of the band and was an all-ages show, so the crowd was a mixed in age but thoroughly excited by the set. Continue reading →

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Lancaster Roots and Blues Festival brings an eclectic assortment of sounds to Central PA

The Peterson Brothers | photo by Lauren Rosier for WXPN
The Peterson Brothers | photo by Lauren Rosier for WXPN

This year’s Lancaster Roots and Blues festival featured close to 70 artists from around the world on 11 different stages throughout downtown Lancaster last weekend. The city’s music and arts scene shined throughout the entire weekend as the participating venues were key to providing an atmosphere crucial for live music.

From folk and Americana to New Orleans jazz and delta blues, the Roots and Blues Festival had something for everyone. Festival founder Rich Ruoff has been serving up incredible festivals for the last three years and this wasn’t any different. There were so many talented artists at the festival, but it was impossible to see each set, so I carefully chose a few that stood out. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Lauren Rosier’s top five shows of 2016

Anthony Green | Photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN | wendymccardle.com
Anthony Green | Photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN | wendymccardle.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2016 incredible. In this installment, Key Contributor Lauren Rosier shares the shows that she traveled to Philly for this year.

I have a love/hate relationship with year-end lists, only because I’m a huge music junkie and being forced to choose from so many incredible releases just isn’t right. With that said, I love going to see live music. I live in Central PA, so the music scene isn’t as large as in Philly, but still has a good scene. So when I do get to Philly for shows, it’s definitely something I’m appreciative of, and excited about. Philadelphia has a special place in my heart. Many of my friends live in and around the city and it obviously has the best music scene. So here’s a list of my top 5 Philly shows of 2016. Continue reading →

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The Stray Birds’ Oliver Craven looks back on a busy 2016

The Stray Birds | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
The Stray Birds | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Lancaster County country-folk trio The Stray Birds have been anything but dormant in 2016. From extensive touring, writing, and the release of their fourth proper LP, Magic Fire, the trio has definitely kept busy this year, and it’s been exciting.

I recently caught up with singer-guitarist Oliver Craven to find out what the trio has been up to since we last talked. For starters, Magic Fire has been met with positive acclaim from notable media outlets like NPR’s Mountain Stage and Folk Alley, as well as American Songwriter.

“There’s a lot of newness and it’s going well,” reflects Craven. “We started touring with a drummer [fellow Pennsylvanian Dominic Billett] and started touring new songs. The longest run with him was over in the UK for about three weeks. [It was] the best tour ever. We played in what felt were the right rooms, well-organized, and energized.” Continue reading →

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Interview: Anthony Green shares his experience with mental health, offers hope and light amidst the darkness

Anthony Green
Anthony Green | photo by Andrew Swartz | courtesy of the artist

It’s undeniable that Circa Survive frontman Anthony Green has been one of the most influential musicians not only in the Philadelphia music community, but also within the post-hardcore and progressive rock scenes for over than a decade now. But he’s also something of an advocate.

I spoke with Green in the midst of several calendar events intended to draw awareness to mental health issues. September is the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. October 10th is the World Federation of Mental Health’s World Mental Health Day. And this Sunday, October 2nd, is the American Foundation for Mental Health’s Out of the Darkness Walk at the Philadelphia Art Museum. Advocates that work for these organizations are constantly striving towards improving suicide prevention and destigmatizing mental health issues – since these issues are not uncommon. According to NAMI, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. – nearly 44 million or 18.5% – experiences mental illness issues in a given year.

In the past few years, Green has become more open with his personal struggle with mental health and addiction. Ahead of his headlining appearance at Union Transfer tomorrow, he was gracious enough to speak with me not only about his music and tour, but about his story, how music has been therapeutic for him. Green offers up some advice to those currently going through similar struggles – read our conversation below. Continue reading →