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Twin Peaks are young, restless, and ready to rock into your hearts

Photo by David Libman, via facebook.com/twinpeaksdudes
Photo by David Libman, via facebook.com/twinpeaksdudes

Chicago garage rock band Twin Peaks just released “I Found A Way,” off of their new album Wild Onion out August 5th. The young band consists of Connor Brodner, Jack Donlan, Clay Frankel and Cadien Lake James. Last year, Twin Peaks debuted their first full length album Sunken, a surprisingly lo-fi affair. In a recent interview with NME, the group explained that the lo-fi sound of Sunken was partly due to the fact that they were recording in Cadien’s concrete basement, with two mics onto Garageband, but that they were “happy to have the restriction.”

In May the group released “Flavor”, as well as a summer-themed video, also from their forthcoming album Wild Onion. Their new track, “I Found A Way” is an anthem about finding fresh perspective. It’s apt subject material for Twin Peaks, who manage to take classic 70s rock and give it a new spin. The song has a lot of energy, but it’s channeled into great guitar hooks and a driving drum beat.

Catch the band at the Barbary October 18th. Get more details here. Listen to “I Found A Way” below.

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Get friendly with Bear In Heaven, Ought, The Front Bottoms and more on tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Bear In Heaven | Photo by Dusdin Condren
Bear In Heaven | Photo by Dusdin Condren

After a special all-sessions edition for the 4th of July holiday, the Indie Rock Hit Parade is back in full force tonight at 10pm on XPN! There’s a little bit of catching up to do, new music-wise, so tune in for brand new tracks from newly released and just-announced albums. We’ll dig into the debut release from the Montreal-based art-punk band Ought, and hear a few of these fine recordings in the mix:


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Eddie Austin and Perry Shall made an insanely fun video for a catchy new Pujol song that you must watch

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

Pujol is a Nashville based artist who recently released his new album, Kludge on Saddle Creek Records. The album features a fun and ridiculously catchy song called “Youniverse,” the video for which was filmed in various parts of the greatest city on Earth, Philadelphia. Most notably, much of the video is shot in Circle Thrift. Directed by Eddie Austin and Perry Shall, the video features cameos from Ted Leo and members of the Screaming Females.

WARNING: Upon watching this video, the song will be inescapably stuck in your head all day. But it’s totally worth it.

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Ron Gallo’s whimsical “Fine Diners and Finer Whiners” gets a surreal visual counterpart

Ron Gallo | still from "Fine Diners and Finer Whiners" by Caitlin McCann
Ron Gallo | still from “Fine Diners and Finer Whiners” by Caitlin McCann

Ron Gallo teamed up with Dog Days Films’ Caitlin McCann to make the music video for “Fine Diners and Finer Whiners,” a track taken from Gallo’s debut solo effort Ronny.  Loosely following the song’s narrative of feeling out of place and wanting to get back to something familiar, the subtly dark clip shows Gallo waking up in a coffin behind a Philadelphia rowhome and his subsequent journey of getting back to his house with the help of a postman. Dialogue intertitles and technicolor kaleidoscope scenes cast a disorientating dream-sequence aura over the video, though the lyrics are still as sharply true and dryly humorous as you would expect from Gallo tune.

The song itself is a standout from Ronny (released last month via Gallo’s own American Diamond Recordings) and as Sameer Rao wrote in his review, “a look below this whimsical song’s surface reveal some more universal preoccupations… of feeling “awfully tired and alone” and wishing for a past love or some feeling of safety to return to him. This song, mid-tempo and subdued, weaves a tapestry of aural influences and lyrical preoccupations that subvert its easy classification (Americana, folk-rock, etc.) and get under listeners’ skin.”  Check it out below and learn more about American Diamond Recordings here.

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Chris Forsyth to release new full-band LP this October

Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band | photo by Constance Mensh
Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band | photo by Constance Mensh

Local guitarist Chris Forsyth has announced a few details of his next explosive and exploratory studio LP Intensity Ghost, out this October on No Quarter Records.  The album follows last year’s Solar Motel effort and is the first recording to feature the band Forsyth assembled for touring, including drummer Steve Urgo, guitarist Paul Sukeena (both of whom are known in the Philly for their own projects as well) and Brooklyn bassist Peter Kerlin.  From No Quarter:

Intensity Ghost is the follow-up to last years critically acclaimed Solar Motel album, which made year ends lists at The New YorkerUncut Magazine and Popmatters and provoked ecstatic comparisons; from Television and Neil Young & Crazy Horse to Richard Thompson and The Grateful Dead…. Forsyth brought the group into the studio in late 2013 to capture what became Intensity Ghost, a 5-track masterwork of grace and power.

Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band close out a summer tour with two hometown dates this month: a free show at the new Spruce Street Harbor Park on Thursday, July 24th and a show with Oneida at Boot & Saddle on July 25th.  Check out a live video of “Little Johnny Jewel” below and take a listen to Forsyth’s 2013 Key Studio Session here.

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The Gallerist weaves Twine and gives you plenty to take home at Saturday’s album release show

Photo by Tait Militana
Left to right: Mike Collins, John Holback, Kai Carter | Photo by Tait Militana

With a name that evokes classic notions of taste style, you might initially think of The Gallerist as something pretentious or esoteric – art school dropouts more concerned with presentation and aesthetics than the actual music. Well, you might think these things if you’re particularly judgmental about band names.

Nothing about this trio of Philadelphia musicians actually reeks of ostentatiousness, though. In fact, on this somewhat quiet Tuesday evening at Ortlieb’s in Northern Liberties, they’re the only people in the bar still talking about the heart-wrenching removal of the US Men’s National Team from this year’s World Cup. Talking about it with a distanced reverence for the team’s accomplishments (particularly goalkeeper Tim Howard, whose considerable talents are now meme boilerplate), the conversation goes towards local sports very quickly. These are men who would sit comfortably in a number of crowds, and their music – a spirited take on familiar Americana and folk tropes – does much of the same.

Maybe you saw them open for some other local artist like Ron Gallo at a place like Tin Angel or Fergie’s, playing one-off gigs with just frontman/guitarist Mike Collins. Or perhaps you were lucky enough to see them open for the quickly-ascendant English singer-songwriter Laura Marling at the historic Prince Music Theater last year. Either way, their driving hooks, deft harmonies, and impassioned lyrics stayed with you well after the performance. On their new self-released EP Twine, which is officially released on Tuesday, July 15th, (and which initially gets offered to the public tomorrow at an album release show at the Bourbon & Branch), the band presents their clearest manifesto yet: five songs, each more instantaneously catchy than the last. The Key’s Skye Leppo wasn’t kidding when she said that The Gallerist “may just be one of the Philadelphia folk scene’s best kept secrets”, and we suspect that they won’t stay in the shadows much longer.

But right now, Collins and his bandmates – bassist Kai Carter and drummer John Holback – are understandably shrouded in some misconceptions about who they are. This is probably thanks to their name, which has made some people think they’re a one-person act. To be fair, the band name is in the singular, which dates back to the project’s origins as Collins’s solo vehicle in 2011. He still plays some solo acoustic shows, like last night’s at the Tin Angel, as The Gallerist.

“If you think about somebody who owns a gallery or frequents galleries…they really like bringing things together into one place. I liked the concept of someone collecting different things…experiencing different things, collecting experiences,” he explains. The 29-year-old New Jersey native started performing as The Gallerist while living in Boston, where he released the gorgeous A Falling Waltz EP in 2011 as well. When he moved to Philadelphia later that same year for graduate school, he chose to keep the name while looking for other members. Holback came to Collins’s attention via a Craigslist search for a drummer and bassist, while Carter came to their collective attention via his own Craigslist ad nearly a year later. Collins and the 31-year-old Carter played a few shows together as a duo while Holback, 26, was serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer in the Midwest; when he returned, they began playing as a trio and building a slow buzz for their evocative songs and tight musicianship.

The happenstance way in which these three musicians came together is fairly indicative of how a lot of local bands start, but few sustain their chemistry for this long a period of time; one gets the sense, when spending time with them, that their chemistry is completely natural and consolidated over a dedication to craft. This carries over into how they create music, and the collaborative dynamic is important to all of them.

“I’m not making all the decisions in this group. There are sounding boards, and we all discuss what’s going on collectively,” says Collins.

“The Gallerist was a huge transition for me,” adds Carter. “I moved out to Philly and left my previous gig playing for a solo artist, where I got told what to do. I got really burned out on being in some guy’s band and being a hired gun. To be a member of a band, writing harmonies and arranging with Mike. To have more creativity was good for me.” Continue reading →

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Listen to Whirr’s ominous, glorious new song, “Mumble,” from Sway

Photo credit: Ryan McClain
Photo credit: Ryan McClain
Bicostal shoegazers Whirr have released their newest song, “Mumble.” The song is from their forthcoming album Sway (Graveface Records).

“Mumble” kicks in immediately with a thick blast of distorted guitar that gives way to a steady pulsing, anthem-like quality. It’s a sweeping, gorgeous wave of noise that never lets up, and retains Whirr’s characteristic ability to transport the listener into a different state of mind.

One of the members of Whirr is Nick Bassett, who is also a member of Philly’s Nothing. Whirr and Nothing recently toured together, and along with Nothing’s Dominic Palermo, have a group of their own, Death of Lovers. Bassett now lives in Philly.

“It’s not conceptual, entirely, but it’s intended to ebb and flow in a certain way—one song being aggressive, then dropping out and being pretty but devastating,” Bassett says about the new album. “We tried to create an atmosphere, where you listen and get vibed into one tone. The aesthetic of the band is more aimed at mature punk rather than alternative rock,” he says. “There are these more aggressive punk elements—noisy feedback, a snare roll that just goes into super-punchy, driving songs.”

Catch them at the Barbary September 15th. Get details here. Listen to Whirr’s newest song, “Mumble” below and preorder Sway here.

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