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Listen to Barney Cortez’s sophisticated lyrical pop on his Pretty Thin EP

BARNES | photo courtesy of artist

On his new EP, Pretty Thin, Philly songwriter Barney Cortez proves himself to be a student of many styles.

The songwriter (also known as BARNES, and one of the creative folks behind Nicos Gun) sounds equally comfortable writing a country stomp and a symphonic psych ballad, and can fuse the sounds of multiple decades within a single song. The sheer variety of influences recalls the Magnetic Fields, as do the brilliant and evocative lyrics. Nowhere is this quality more pronounced than on the stirring “Patti Smith,” a melancholic ballad with Lennon-McCartney melodies and nostalgic Mistki-esque production, the song is as absorbing as a soft bed. Continue reading →

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Listen to the title track from the upcoming Spirit of the Beehive album

Spirit of the Beehive
Spirit of the Beehive | photo by Emily Burtner | courtesy of the artist

Listening to a new Spirit of the Beehive song is a lot like putting a puzzle together. Every few bars the band can veer into a new style, redefining your expectations of their artistry.

Their latest single, “hypnic jerks”, the title track of their upcoming LP, seems miles from the sludgy shoegaze of their 2014 debut. It’s stiff and upbeat, shifting between time signatures and musical textures with perfect ease. The detached vocals recall the disaffected post-punk of Parquet Courts, while the offbeat instrumental passages sound inspired by 70’s prog. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Richard Thompson stuns a packed house

Richard Thompson | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

“For those of you listening on radio we have a room full of people here,” mused Richard Thompson at today’s Free at Noon, waiting only until the packed house finished their cheers to add, “a room full of people skiving off work!” Nobody can say Thompson doesn’t have a keen sense of humor, even if his songs are usually more likely to inspire tears than laughter. It’s a testament to his mastery as a performer that despite the emotional weight of his eight-song set, Thompson kept the Free at Noon crowd lively and captivated with his charming stage presence and unparalleled musicianship. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: The Monochrome Set will play PhilaMOCA next year

The Monochrome Set | via facebook.com/themonochromeset

Influential UK post-punks the Monochrome Set will return to PhilaMOCA for the first time since 2015 on March 3rd. The show comes as part of a world tour to promote this year’s Maisieworld album and celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary. Tickets and info are available here. Check out the stylish music video for the band’s 1983 classic “Jet Set Junta” below. Continue reading →

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Watch the Retinas’ tripped-out montage video for “Yellow Rocket,” listen to their new EP

The Retinas | via facebook.com/theretinas

In anticipation of their new EP Yellow Rocket, Philly punk trio The Retinas have released a music video for the title track. Combining vintage footage seemingly drawn from public access TV and B movies, the video is a sprawling montage of mid-century culture that ebbs and flows with the shifting rhythms of the power pop ballad. You can watch it below and stream Yellow Rocket, which just came out today, via Spotify. Continue reading →

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Listen to On The Water’s complex, compelling Falling Upwards EP

On The Water | photo by L.J. Brubaker | goodolljb.biz | courtesy of the artist

Avant-folk collective On the Water released a new EP, Falling Upwards, a dense three-track collection that highlights their singular approach to music-making. The complex, multi-stylistic arrangements recall the ornate compositions of Joanna Newsom, punctuated by the guttural howls of vocalist Fletcher VanVilet and bursts of heavy guitar. Continue reading →

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Listen to the psychedelic nostalgia of ST00PS on their debut LP

ST00PS | via Bandcamp

5-piece Philly rockers ST00PS have released their debut LP, a self titled collection fusing 60’s melodies, 80’s electronics, and vast sonic landscapes a la the Flaming Lips. Though this lens of adventure and nostalgia, ST00PS create a musical world that’s as familiar as it is excitingly new. Tracks like the opener “Holding Back Your Hair” set cutting melodic ear-worms against sonic hazes that are equally irresistible. It’s an engrossing, transporting listen that captures psychedelia at its most sugary and inviting; take a listen below. Continue reading →

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Listen to the first single from Thom Yorke’s Suspiria soundtrack

Radiohead | photo by Natalie Piserchio | nataliepiserchio.com

Radiohead’s Thom Yorke released the single “Suspirium”, his first release from the two-disc soundtrack for the upcoming film Suspiria. The song is a haunting piano waltz with some atmospheric flourishes and a typically ghostly vocal performance from Yorke. It’s also accompanied by a minimalistic video that captures the song’s plaintive mood. You can view it below. Continue reading →

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Full Bush’s self-titled LP takes aim at the patriarchy with shocking directness

Full Bush | via facebook.com/FullBushBand

On their self titled debut LP, Full Bush reveal themselves as the rare kind of band that defies any expectation. Their songs unfold like stories from the wittiest person you know, so spontaneous they feel improvised but so seamlessly constructed you’d think they were rehearsed for years. And like a great story, once you hear the beginning, you can’t stop listening until you hear the payoff. Continue reading →

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Listen to the multi-movement suite “The Fire” from Lemon Twigs’ upcoming musical LP Go To School

The Lemon Twigs
The Lemon Twigs | photo courtesy of the artist

Beloved Long Island rockers Brian and and Michael and D’Addario, better known as the Lemon Twigs, released a 6-minute multi-movement epic “The Fire”, the third single from their upcoming 15 track “musical” Go To School. 

The album “tells the coming-of-age story of Shane, a pure of heart chimpanzee raised as a human boy” and features contributions from Todd Rundgren, Big Star’s Joey Stephens, and the D’Addario brothers’ mom and dad. Rundgren is an obvious point of reference on “The Fire”, which feels something like a montage of 70’s styles from AOR singer-songwriters to the theatrics of Elton John and Queen. How exactly the song’s narrative fits into the larger plot is a mystery yet to be known, but the story of “The Fire” alone is satisfying and even a bit moving in its absurd drama.  Continue reading →