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Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s Alec Ounsworth on the role of constant reivention

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah | photo courtesy of the artist
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah | photo by Michael Regan | courtesy of the artist

Buzz is a fickle thing, especially in the world of indie rock, and few artists are more experienced in its ups and downs than Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. It was over 10 years ago that the band’s debut self-titled album cut so piercingly through the muddled early aughts indie scene, demanding attention like few other debuts. Notoriety, as many bands have found throughout the years, is truly a double-edged sword. Success is certainly rewarding but it also leads to oversimplification, from bloggers and listeners alike, who make their new favorite band into whatever they want them to be, ignoring the artist themselves.

Ounsworth could have easily succumbed to the pressure that arises in the face of such success. He could have doubled down, he could have churned out album after album of fan service and perhaps he would have been more ‘successful’ because of it, but that’s not what make Clap Your Hands Say Yeah the band they are. Even today, the release day of the band’s fifth LP The Tourist, Ounsworth remain steadfast in his individuality. “We didn’t get in this business to acquiesce,” Ounsworth told me during a recent phone interview. Continue reading →

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From P.U.R.E. to James Weldon and The Juice Jam, the evolution of a Philly MC

James Weldon | photo by Deej Spicer | courtesy of the artist
James Weldon | photo by Deej Spicer | courtesy of the artist

It’s always great to discover good music from local artists. You get to see a seed of talent grow and watch how the artists evolve with their music, seeing how long their progression takes, and seeing how they turn out throughout the four seasons.

Philadelphia’s P.UR.E., Presence Unifies Rap Everywhere, has always been a hip hop artist/producer with raw talent, but after the release of his 4th project Silence Is The Enemy it seems that P.U.R.E. has evolved into James Weldon, a more confident MC who possesses the ability to be open and pour more emotion on his lyrics making the connection between the listener and his music stronger.

I recently was able to sit down with local MC and discuss the evolution of his music, his recent EP Silence Is The Enemy, and his upcoming jam session / open mic The Juice, which happens tonight. Continue reading →

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There’s The Magic: Philly’s Dulls begins with shoegaze and branches beyond on their new Moon Violet

Dulls | photo by Emilia Randler | courtesy of the artist
Dulls | photo by Emilia Randler | courtesy of the artist

Last year, Fishtown four-piece Dulls played a couple shows with like-minded shoegazers, the Stargazer Lilies. However, neither band realized at the time of those summer and early fall gigs that the connection they’d made would bode so well, for Dulls specifically.

Dulls’ guitarist Evan Raab says the two bands just hit it off right away. He and drummer Jack Pfeifer had particularly liked the way the Stargazer Lilies’ albums sounded, and it just so happened that they were recorded by the band’s guitarist John Ceperano.

“I just like their sound,” Pfeifer says in earnest over a glass of water in a loud and crowded Fishtown Tavern. “So, I asked [drummer Tammy Hirata], ‘Who recorded this? Because it sounds really good.’ And she’s just like, ‘John recorded us, you should totally record with him.’ That was it. It just worked out like that.”

A couple months later, Dulls spent the first weekend of Novemeber taking in all Ceperano had to offer in his home studio in the Poconos. Raab, Pfeifer, singer and guitarist Erica Carter and bassist Kirk Bray, all agree that the experience left the band feeling positive. Even though it was just a weekend, Raab was looking forward to getting to the mountains. And as far as recording their first tape compared to this one upcoming, Raab says the setting couldn’t have been any more different. Continue reading →

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The Mellowells’ Jesse Barki releases thoughtfully-crafted Lightning Coma EP

Jesse Barki | Photo via jessebarki.bandcamp.com

Jesse Barki of Philly’s favorite Lancaster four-piece The Mellowells just released a solo record on Bandcamp called Lightning Coma and it’s a heck of a good listen. 10/10 would recommend to a friend. Swapping out The Mellowells’ indie pop-rock vibes for folky punk-esque feels not too distant from Pinegrove, Barki’s release features eight tracks of easy-flowing melodies and personal and introspective lyrics. Continue reading →

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Carol Cleveland Sings

Carol Cleveland Sings | Photo by Eric Schuman for WXPN

For our first Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session of 2017, we’re delighted to be joined by Carol Cleveland Sings. A multimedia pop group, CCS is formed around the duo of Thomas Hughes (The Spinto Band, The Music Tapes) and singer-songwriter Gretchen Lohse. Along with keyboardist/drum programmer Eric Hartman, Hughes and Lohse brought the music of their album Effervescent Lure to our studios.

Continue reading →