By

The Key Studio Sessions: Radiator Hospital

Five years ago, Sam Cook-Parrot moved from Grand Rapids, Michigan to West Philadelphia with some guitars, some songs and a healthy Bandcamp back-catalog. His project, Radiator Hospital, pretty much became an instant hit around the scene, whether he was performing solo in the basement of Nacho House (where I first encountered him, opening for Ted Leo) or turning it up full-band style at Golden Tea.

Having trusted friends for collaborators helped. Sam knew drummer Jeff Bolt from back home, and the two relocated to Philly around the same time. They joke that they picked up Cleveland bassist Jon Rybicki along the way, while New Yorker Cynthia Schemmer joined on lead guitar after meeting Sam amid her own move to Philly. The chemistry was undeniable, the enthusiasm was contagious and the appeal was clear: this band had rip-roaring punk rock energy, classic pop songwriting motifs and themes — their honest, vulnerable songs tend to dissect love and yearning over hooky melodies — and a totally earnest, engaging delivery. Or, as their very on-point Facebook bio distills it: “We are a rock band of rockers who love to rock. We also can be just one person who is much quieter but still loves to rock.” Right on.
Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
By

Japanese Breakfast’s video for “The Body Is A Blade” meditates on memory and surviving tragedy

Japanese Breakfast
Japanese Breakfast | photo by Ebru Yildiz | courtesy of the artist

Japanese Breakfast‘s Michelle Zauner has proven herself as not only one of Philly’s best and most prolific artists of the last few years — with 2016’s Psychopomp and 2017’s Soft Sounds From Another Planet —  but as an accomplished music video creator, too. After directing the last few Japanese Breakfast videos, as well as Jay Som’s video for “The Bus Song,” Zauner is back today with another self-directed video — this time for Soft Sounds track “The Body is A Blade.” Continue reading →

By

AllegrA unpacks social anxiety in their new “I’m An Introvert” video

AllegrA | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

We first met Philly native Allegra Eidinger when they were living in Pittsburgh, playing bass in Yes Yes A Thousand Times Yes and just starting their solo project, AllegrA with an antifolk-tinged offering called My Legs Are Growing. Flash forward twelve months and Eidinger has moved back to Philly, started playing lead guitar in Kississippi and prepped an LP’s worth of new material, a self-titled outing that will see its release on November 10th via Sad Cactus Records.

To announce the record this week, AllegrA released a cosmically colorful video for “I’m An Introvert,” a song that honestly addresses the social anxiety all of us encounter on the regular. Continue reading →

By

Watch HOUND rip up “Born Under a Blacklight” in WXPN Studios

HOUND | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
HOUND | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Last November, Philly power trio HOUND brought some much needed sonic catharsis to WXPN studios for a ripper of a post-Election Day Key Studio Session. Under the leadership of singer-guitarist Perry Shall — who’s also a noted visual artist and occasional gig promoter — and powered by rhythm section Patrick Hickey of Shape Breaker on bass and Chris Wilson from Ted Leo’s Pharmacists on drums, the band raged away on two songs from its 2015 LP Out of Space and introduced a couple new selections from its album-in-the-works as well.

That record, Born Under 76, is seeing the light of day this Friday on Let’s Pretend Records — you can get an early listen if you’re so inclined — and the world it will make its way into is still very much in the need of sonic catharsis. So we dove back in and found footage of HOUND’s performance, aired on a cable access music video program and subsequently circulated among fans via bootleg VHS (or maybe that’s just videographer Jeremy Quattlebaum of The Angry Mountain working his magic). Continue reading →

By

Listen to The War On Drugs’ session and interview on World Cafe

The War on Drugs
The War on Drugs | photo by Emmett Malloy | courtesy of the artist

The War On Drugs‘ newest release, A Deeper Understanding is a masterpiece of epic proportions. It’s possibly the most ambitious project of one of our favorite hometown bands – no song is shorter than four minutes, and all are packed with intricate and deliberate soundscapes, a perfect mixture of fast and slow, heavy and light. It’s the album we’ve been waiting for. The first single they released, “Thinking Of A Place,” clocks in at eleven minutes and still manages to leave the listener wanting more. Continue reading →

By

Queen of Jeans goes ethereal with Aaliyah cover

Queen of Jeans | photo by Ben Wong for WXPN | brotherlylost.com

Philly indie pop group Queen of Jeans recently released a cover of Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody” on SoundCloud, and they’ve given this classic R&B jam a spacey twist that you’d probably never even think of. This cover is stripped down and guitar heavy; it echoes and flows and vibes and I love when artists totally reinvent a popular song. The vocals remind me of a darker, more soulful Birdy. It sounds like a completely different song, in the best way possible. Continue reading →

By

HOUND packs two new tracks with a punky urgency and devilish heaviness

HOUND | photo by Dawn Riddle | courtesy of the artist
HOUND | photo by Dawn Riddle | courtesy of the artist

Philly hard rockers HOUND are gearing up for a release of their new album BORN UNDER 76, and with the weather at last conjuring its charged, ominous atmosphere of spookiness, there’s no better time for some new HOUND tracks; the entire record is streaming now over at Allmusic, but we’d like to highlight its two new singles to jam to. Continue reading →

By

Screaming Females’ seventh LP All At Once comes out in February; watch the “Glass House” video

Screaming Females | photo by Farrah Skeiky | courtesy of artist
Screaming Females | photo by Farrah Skeiky | courtesy of artist

After releasing their head-banger single, “Black Moon,” a few weeks ago, Jersey rockers Screaming Females are back; this time with a video for their new track, “Glass House,” as introduction to their upcoming album All At Once — out on February 28th via Don Giovanni Records.

As Screaming Females have been kicking for more than ten years, they’ve had time to explore their capacity as musicians — and in their new track, “Glass House,” they’re trying something new: patient simplicity. With expert calculation and sparse arrangements, the “Glass House” is able to carve out a sound striking and severe. Continue reading →

By

Watch Eight’s new video for “839,” catch them at the church this Friday

Eight | photo by Scott Troyan | courtesy of the artist
Eight | photo by Scott Troyan | courtesy of the artist

Since the release of their debut EP EIGHT almost two years ago, Philly power trio Eight have been lying pretty low. They’ll pop up at shows around town every now and then, and joined us for a Key Studio Session earlier this year. Now the band — whose supergroup lineup includes Mimi Gallagher (Year of Glad), Cat Park (Amanda X) and Pat Brier (Queen Jesus, Three Man Cannon) — are back with a spirited video for “839” and news of 7″ to be released on Dead Broke Rekerds. Continue reading →