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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Diarrhea Planet

Diarrhea Planet | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Diarrhea Planet | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Joining us in the studio for our newest Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session is a hard-rocking, hard-partying six-piece from Nashville. Diarrhea Planet formed in 2009 and released their third full-length album, Turn To Gold, earlier this year on the Infinity Cat label. Outside of their, ahem, attention-grabbing name, DP’s most prominent feature is the stacked lineup of no less than four lead guitarists. Jordan Smith, Brent Toler and Emmett Miller (who also share songwriting and lead vocal duties) are joined by fourth axeman Evan Bird as well as the locked-in rhythm section of bassist Mike Boyle and drummer Ian “Tuff Gus” Bush. The result is a little bit like watching your best friends try to keep pace with one another as they pile on riffs and licks with increasing dexterity.

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Guided by Venues: Drummer Leah Shapiro on the continuing evolution of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club | photo by James Minchin III | courtesy of the artist
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club | photo by James Minchin III | courtesy of the artist

It’s been three and a half years since west coast psychedelic power trio Black Rebel Motorcycle Club last stepped onstage in Philly.

Their May 2013 appearance at the TLA on South Street was in the midst of a mammoth tour in support of Specter at the Feast, the band’s seventh album of garage rock noir; the run had been going on for several months already, and continued for several more.

“It’s pretty normal that our touring schedule is quite intense,” explains drummer Leah Shaprio. “The record comes out and we’re out for a good year or year and a half.”

Normally, returning home means hunkering down to write the next album, but at the end of this tour, things nearly fell apart for B.R.M.C. Shapiro was diagnosed with a brain condition, Chiari malformations, which affects balance and muscle strength. Time off was imperative, and in the fall of 2014, fans helped raise over $33,000 to help offset her medical costs.

Six months later, Shapiro was back on the drum throne, playing select festival dates and scattered shows with B.R.M.C. – this fall, the band embarks on its first full-scale tour since Specter, going out on the road with fellow aughties indie rockers Death From Above 1979. This Monday, the tour makes its way to The Fillmore Philadelphia, and word on Facebook is B.R.M.C. is using these shows to tease material from the eighth album in the works. We checked in with Shapiro via phone to get the lowdown on how things are progressing. Continue reading →

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Memory Tapes: Yikes the Zero gets nostalgic on The Animal Box

Yikes the Zero: a Philly hip hop artist to watch
Yikes the Zero | Photo courtesy of the artist

Like many young kids growing up in the 80’s, Jarrett Bair began his journey in music by sitting down with a cassette recorder, creating homemade pause tapes.

In a recent article on the history of pause tape making, hip-hop historian Gino Sorcinelli describes the basic process of this unique practice as such:

“For young hip-hop fans without the means to purchase expensive samplers of the day, pause-tapes were an early DIY way of producing. Using dual cassette decks, aspiring producers would play and record a sample from another tape or record, pausing the tape when the sample had finished its rotation. They would then rewind to the beginning of the sample and unpause the tape, starting the process again and extending the sample loop for several minutes.”

“When I was in like first or second grade, I would take a cassette player and sing and try to rap,” recalls Bair, more commonly known as Philly rapper Yikes the Zero. “I used to write and I was kinda shy about it, my brothers would make fun of me.”

Nostalgia and childhood memory are themes that consistently pop up in Bair’s work. Continue reading →

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The Key Presents: David Bazan

David Bazan| photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com
David Bazan | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

David Bazan isn’t exactly a household name. It’s both a blessing and a curse for Bazan, who actually prefers to keep things intimate with his fans. Even if you’re not particularly familiar with either his solo work or one the many projects that he’s had his hands in down through the past two decades, it’s almost certain that one of your favorite bands is. When he played at Johnny Brenda’s in July, the audience was a veritable who’s who of the Philadelphia scene. Members of Modern Baseball, mewithoutYou, Hop Along, Tiger’s Jaw and more filled the room, standing in awe of a one man powerhouse. Continue reading →

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This Day in Music History: Creedence Clearwater Revival release their 3rd album of 1969, The Police release their debut

The Police Outlandos d'Amour

1920 – KDKA in Pittsburgh becomes the first commercially licensed radio station in the United States. With consumers unsure about benefits of radio, the station announces results of the Harding-Cox presidential election, getting the news to those with a radio much faster than everyone who had to wait for the morning paper.

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A lesson in DIY with Nashville’s Natural Child

Natural Child | photo courtesy of the artist
Natural Child | photo courtesy of the artist

Natural Child printed a fresh batch of merchandise in September for a string of West coast tour dates. They were prepared with t-shirts, patches, buttons – what’s typically found on a merch table at a rock show. However, after only a few nights on the road, the country-leaning punk band was out of almost everything. Luckily they have some friends in high places.

“We hit up Burger [Records] and asked them if they knew anyone that could print stuff in like 24 hours,” guitarist and singer Seth Murray says over the phone from his Nashville home. “They were able to find someone quickly and they hooked it up. They’re the best dudes and would do a favor for anybody.” Continue reading →

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Spooky Scary: Celebrating Hurry-ween at PhilaMOCA

Hurry | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com
Hurry | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

Something wicked good this way comes. With autumn magic in the crisp evening air, the mood on Friday at PhilaMOCA was just right for a stacked bill of four Philly bands to transform into haunted visages of their former selves and take the stage by force. Put on by your friends and mine, the breezy power-poppers in Hurry presented the Hurry Halloween Spectacular — a veritable Hurry-ween. Continue reading →