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Download “Shadow Of A Man” by neo folkies NEULORE

Photo by Rory White
Photo by Rory White

NEULORE are the Nashville based duo of lead singer Adam Agin and William T. Cook. They met in 2008 and released their debut EP, Apples & Eve, in 2010. The newest song, “Shadow of a Man,” was featured in Grey’s Anatomy and in May they’ll be on the Communion Music Tour with a stop in Philly at Underground Arts on Thursday, May 8th. Also on that bill are Bootstraps, Busy Living, Cub Sport, Joey Sweeney & the Long Hair Arkestra, Heyward Howkins and Our Griffins. Fans of Mumford & Sons, Imagine Dragons and American Authors will delight in both the “folksiness” and the hyper melodicism of this new song by NEULORE.

Below, download the anthemic “Shadow Of A Man.”

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Unlocked: The Key’s review of Ataloft’s self-titled debut

a3607964194_10Darren Schlappich might be known as the lead guy in one of the region’s  Americana staples, Frog Holler, but that doesn’t mean Americana is his whole world.

The singer-guitarist has an evident appreciation of expansive pop-rock productions stylists like Brian Wilson, Phil Spector and John Brion, and while those leanings might not always get a chance to shine in his main project, his new band does an admirable job of scratching that itch.

On the debut LP from Ataloft, released on ZoBird Records earlier this month, Schlappich explores tones and takes chances with his music that he might not have in Frog Holler. Banjo player and multi-instrumentalist Mike Lavdanski also made the jump from Holler to Ataloft for the project, and it’s clear that the two have a very distinctive writing style. We hear it in “Bucket of Blood” – the midtempo shuffle and the twangy chord changes – as well as the delicate “A Heart Attack on the Holidays,” a plaintive solo acoustic number. Indeed, these were selections from Schlappich’s songbook that he wrote thinking that they may wind up being Frog Holler tracks, but here they’re dressed up in different tones and textures, aided by third-member and studio guru Bruce Siekmann, who sparked the collaboration. Continue reading →

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Stream City Rain’s Songs for a High School Dance on American Songwriter

 

Photo by Ryan Treitel
Photo by Ryan Treitel

Local electro-pop duo City Rain will release their new LP Songs For a High School Dance next week but you can be ahead of the curve by streaming the full album over at American Songwriter right now.  Along with the record preview, bandmates Ben Runyan and Scott Cumpstone shared cut-by-cut videos to give fans some insight behind the writing, producing and inspiration of the songs.  Check out the album below.  City Rain celebrate the release of Songs For a High School Dance at Underground Arts on May 1st and then settle into a May residency at Ortlieb’s; more information on both at the XPN Concert Calendar.

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Marge release twee pop debut Not Bad

marge

You might get a vibe of cynical apathy from an initial look at local outfit Marge and its new EP. The album is called Not Bad, after all, and aside from a Bandcamp page there isn’t much else out there from the quartet, not even a Facebook page (edit: Facebook page is here).  But that doesn’t really matter once you listen to the twee pop songs on the effort – they speak for themselves as a collection of pop culture-referencing nuggets that are sugary and gritty at the same time.  Without a carefully curated social media presence, and only first initials / last names listed in the album credits, Marge is currently a local enigma that will hopefully keep doing what they’re doing.

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The Snails share new single “Strong Foundation” ahead of Songs From the Hydrogen Jukebox release

The Snails | photo by Maura Jeanne
The Snails | photo by Maura Jeanne

Local rocksteady group The Snails are in the midst of a half-country-wide tour that will take them from Philadelphia to Louisiana to Wisconsin and back again, all in support of their new four-part effort Songs From the Hydrogen Jukebox.  Though Vols. 1 and 2 of the album will not be available until the official May 2014 release via Asbestos Records, The Snails have gathered together a few tour-only CDs and LPs and have shared a stream of “Strong Foundation.”  It’s a great introduction to the band, showcasing an upbeat and positive outlook through encouraging lyrics and tightly crafted instrumentation.  Take a listen below and keep an eye out for the full release.

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Review: The Menzingers’ Rented World

menzingersRented World, the fourth full-length album from The Menzingers, is, for lack of a better word, big. That word can be construed in a few different ways. Yes, the track lengths themselves average in at a little bit longer (one song breaks the five-minute mark, a first for the Philly-by-way-of-Scranton punks) and they enlisted the audio muscle of producer Jon Low for this one, but there’s more to it than that. After three records, including 2012’s breakthrough On the Impossible Past, there’s a weight of confidence and precision laced throughout Rented World. And confidence allows songwriters to try some new things.

That idea presents itself pretty immediately on Rented World, especially when contrasted against On the Impossible Past’s Americana-leaning loose narrative of lyrical and melodic themes: Good things, nice things, American muscle cars, kids getting high, etc. Singer/guitarists Greg Barnett and Tom May keep the songs on Rented World decidedly contained. Barnett has mentioned in interviews recently that this was the first Menzingers album to not be solely written on an acoustic guitar; rather, songs were pieced and structured carefully instead of over a couple of chords. As a result, many tracks, with their riff-specific construction, feel like nods to ‘90s alt-rock – a fun direction to see The Menzingers explore.

But as with each Menzingers record, May and Barnett split songwriting duties nearly 50/50, and on Rented World, they continue to characterize their own differing methods. Continue reading →

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Philly’s Ill Fated Natives deliver their raw, bluesy first single “That Don’t Mean I Don’t Love You”

Photo via soundcloud.com/illfatednatives
Photo via soundcloud.com/illfatednatives

Ill Fated Natives’ first single is tough love at its finest. The guitar serves as the crunchy backbone of the track that compliments the chastising vocal. They even further the sentiment through an age-old thought experiment: “that don’t mean I don’t love you, just because I ain’t always around/ just ’cause you didn’t hear the tree fall, don’t mean it didn’t make a sound.” It’s definitely a cheeky comeback for any lover explaining his/her habitual absence. Check out “That Don’t Mean I Don’t Love You” below from their upcoming debut EP SAVAGES.