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The Key Studio Sessions: Sunwatchers

We’re heading a bit beyond our regular geographic region on this week’s Key Studio Session, but that’s okay – Sunwatchers is a band that knows no geographical boundaries.

I was hipped to them a few months back, care of NPR Music’s Lars Gotrich, who featured their song “Herd of Creeps” in his Viking’s Choice column (which you should definitely follow if you’re a fan of unusual and reliably compelling music). It’s a heavy, meditative jam rooted in Southeast Asian folk, krautrock and free jazz, exploding out of the speakers in simultaneous brilliance – and it totally bowled me over. Turns out, the New York-based four-piece features Philadelphian Peter Kerlin on bass, who we also know from Chris Forsyth’s Solar Motel Band. After swapping a few emails, the band was setting up in studio on a Thursday afternoon following a late night gig and a long drive back home.

There was no loss of energy, as Sunwatchers powered through a set of riveting instrumental music. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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#XPNDylanDay: Listen to Levee Drivers, Andrew Lipke, Nicole Reynolds and more pay tribute to Dylan

Levee Drivers
Levee Drivers | photo by Matthew Shaver | www.brightloud.com

All day long on WXPN, we’re celebrating the 75th birthday of a songwriting legend: the one and only Bob Dylan. But five years ago, a group of locals were a bit ahead of the curve, putting together a tribute to the man for his 70th birthday.

Highlights include Levee Drivers “Tell Me Momma,” The Bailey Hounds’ take on “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Allright,” a soaring “Just Like A Woman” from Andrew Lipke and a haunting “North Country Girl” from Nicole Reynolds. Continue reading →

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PREMIERE: Take a deep breath with a new single from Carter Fox called “Prayer For the World”

carter fox
Carter Fox | photo courtesy of the artist

While his band JuTaun is working on their debut album, bassist / multi-instrumentalist Carter Fox will be releasing his own collection of songs called Soulful Traveler on June 3rd. The Philadelphia native spent the last year and a half writing material for the EP, which opens with the ambient, natural sounds of “Prayer For the World.”

Continue reading →

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Pinkwash share low-fi, hi-color video for “Gumdrop”

Pinkwash |photo by AmyJuneBreesman | courtesy of the artist
Pinkwash |photo by Amy June Breesman | courtesy of the artist

Pinkwash just released their debut LP Collective Sigh on Don Giovanni Records, honing in on powerful hooks and heavy riffs that make it “one of the hardest-hitting indie pop albums you’ll hear this year (or one of the catchiest punk records).” Now the duo has shared a video for “Gumdrop,” premiered earlier on the AV Club.

Continue reading →

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Stream a new song from The Dove and The Wolf called “The Smell of Us”

dove and the wolf
The Dove & The Wolf | photo by Colin Kerrigan | courtesy of the artist

Duality is something that seems innately tied to The Dove & The Wolf. It’s in their name, it’s reflected in their sense of home (songwriters Paloma and Lou are French citizens who are now based in Philadelphia) and it courses through the themes of their songs. We hear some of that duality on “The Smell of Us,” a song taken from the duo’s forthcoming I Don’t Know How to Feel EP.

Continue reading →

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Psychic Teens rage for tweens in the “Everything” video

Psychic Teens | photo by Danielle DeCarolis

I don’t know about you, but I wish my birthday parties as a kid had been this awesome. Badass live band, fog machines, Rodney Anonymous of The Dead Milkmen serving cake to me and my gothed-up sugared-up friends.

The video for “Everything” from Psychic Teens‘ new LP Nerve depicts the coolest kids’ party ever (at least in a punk rock kind of way) – and in order to do that, the band basically threw the coolest kids’ party ever, inviting their longtime friends who’d reached child-rearing age to bring their families to PhilaMOCA for an afternoon shoot.  Continue reading →

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UNLOCKED: Go back to school with Thin Lips in “I Wonder”

Thin Lips
Thin Lips | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

So we’ve talked a bunch these past couple days about Philly four-piece Thin Lips, and the serious undertones of their seriously catchy punk rock. The way they find release from personal struggles in loud riffs and fast drums.

But there’s another way the band finds release: by making sure fun is a conscious a part of their personas. We certainly saw that in the video for “Never Again,” where the band plays itself, a rival band and various audience members in attendance at a musical face-off at Kung Fu Necktie. Chrissy Tashjian told Noisey that it was “our homosexual Blink 182 video” and that about sums up the goofy party vibe they chose to visualize their hard luck anthem.

Today, there’s a new video for another Thin Lips song. And yes, it’s also got a total party atmosphere. Continue reading →

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Lunacy channels the best of spectral 80s industrial on “Crypt Ring”

Lunacy | photo courtesy of the artist
Lunacy | photo courtesy of the artist

Digging deep into the unearthly tones and nervy vibes of Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance, of Cranes and Bauhaus, is the new Philly project Lunacy. It’s a solo outing by Nick Kulp from Far-Out Fangtooth and Creepoid, and it releases its debut five-song EP on Brooklyn cassette label Time Castle Tapes this Friday, May 20th.

With the release looming, Lunacy released a new music video for the song “Crypt Ring,” directed by Vince Alvare, Kulp’s longtime bandmate from Fangtooth. With layers of psychedelic colors and abstract projections co-mingling, it looks like something that might have been heavily circulated on homemade VHS comps picked up at South Street goth haven Digital Underground circa 1996. It looks like it would have shown in a Berlin art gallery circa 1990. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: The Snails

It’s like that Bob Marley song goes: roots, rock, reggae.

Central Pennsylvania rooted Philly rockers The Snails got their start playing reggae as high schoolers, but quickly expanded their sonic palette. A big influence, undeniably, was punk rock and The Clash, who dipped their feet in all manner of sonic waters in a decade-long career. But also The Specials, Bob Dylan…even the gruff soul of Dr. Dog, who you can hear undeniable traces of on “Sedated,” which opens The Snails’ Key Studio Session.

At the front of the band is songwriter-guitarist Todd Fausnacht, whose timeless vocals bounce and cavort across tracks that move energetically from one to the next. The swaying breeze of “Liberty Street Lights” glides directly into the swaggering garage rock dance of “Press Play,” into the confrontational anthem of “Basement,” an ode to authenticity and artistic integrity.  Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head