By

Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Mirah

Mirah | Photo by Eric Schuman for XPN

Joining us in the studio for this Indie Rock Hit Parade live session is an artist with a celebrated and ever-evolving approach to songwriting. Though she was born here in Philadelphia, Mirah Zeitlyn is most closely connected to the music scenes of Olympia, Washington (and, more specifically, the venerated K Records label) and New York City. Over the course of the last decade, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Mirah perform her one-of-a-kind compositions in a variety of configurations. There was the live presentation of her insect-focused song cycle Share This Place, a collaboration with the Spectratone International string section, that featured stop motion creepy-crawlies projected above the stage. In 2011, Mirah teamed up with Thao Nguyen of the Get Down Stay Down for a co-headlining album (and memorable World Cafe session). This time around, Mirah brought two of the versatile musicians that appear on her new album, Understanding, bassist Maia Macdonald and drummer Andrew Maguire, to perform a set of new songs in our studio.

Continue reading →

By

Rock and Roll Weirdness: An Indie Rock Hit Parade Chat with Jon Wurster

Jon Wurster | photo by Eric Schuman for WXPN

Anytime you get the chance to chat with Jon Wurster, do it. As the drummer for Superchunk, the Mountain Goats, Bob Mould and more, he’s got more than his fair share of stories as a touring musician. Add onto that his comedy writing chops, which can be heard regularly on The Best Show with Tom Scharpling, and his voracious appetite for music memoirs and biographies, and Wurster has become a kind of authority on the strangest corners of the music world. Take, for example, the Fun Topics™ that Jon and I discussed on his last visit. That kind of esoterica shows up daily on Jon’s social media profiles, particularly his Instagram account. It’s from that platform that the subject of this conversation originates: Rock and Roll Weirdness. Whether it’s an artist wearing their own band’s t-shirt onstage, Lemmy without facial hair, ‘How on Earth’ backstage meetings or something even stranger, Jon is the person who’s making these weird moments in rock history known to us all. Have a listen to our conversation and check out a few notable instances of Rock and Roll Weirdness below:

Continue reading →

By

Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Speedy Ortiz 2018

Speedy Ortiz | photo by Taylor Johnson for WXPN

Joining us in the studio for this Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session is a band that visited us back in 2015 when their last album was released. In the years since Foil Deer, Speedy Ortiz and its leader, singer/guitarist Sadie Dupuis, have kept rather busy. In addition to releasing a solo album as SAD13, Sadie relocated to Philadelphia and revamped her main band with a few new friends. Joining Sadie in the studio for this session are founding drummer Mike Falcone, guitarist/keyboardist Andy Molholt (also of Philly’s Laser Background), and bassist Audrey Zee Whitesides (whose credits include stints with Mal Blum and Lucky Cat). Speedy Ortiz dropped by our studios before they opened a sold-out show with Liz Phair at Union Transfer to perform songs from their newly released third album, Twerp Verse.

Continue reading →

By

The Key Studio Sessions: Gladie

Augusta Koch loves a poignant turn of phrase, no matter what the music backing her sounds like. You might know her best from her power trio Cayetana, and its jagged, guitar-bass-drums driven punk rock; her new project Gladie is built around softer, more serene synthpop and atmospheric electronic soundscapes; in both cases, the words are a crucial component to the music’s connectivity.

“I am angry, I am lonely, but I’m optimistic too,” she sings on “20/20,” a downbeat anthem about embracing the maddening uncertainty of life. On “The Problem Is Us,” she sums up the breakdown of interpersonal relationships so succinctly: “When it’s bad, it’s bad / when it’s good, it’s good / when you’re out, you’re out / just like I knew you would.” Koch doesn’t favor overly busy lyrics; she prefers an economy of words that get straight to the crux of whatever topic or emotion she’s seeking to illuminate, and she makes them an endlessly repeatable refrain. You hear it, you remember it, you feel it, you get it.  Continue reading →

By

Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: illuminati hotties

illuminati hotties | Photo by Katie Tapman for XPN

Joining us in the studio for this Indie Rock Hit Parade live session is a band who are pioneers in a genre of their own creation. Fronted by singer/songwriter/guitarist/drummer/engineer/everything else Sarah Tudzin, illuminati hotties released their full-length debut, Kiss Yr Frenemies, earlier this year. On the album, Tudzin plays nearly every instrument herself, but she’s joined in this session by guitarist Nathaniel Norton-Freeman, drummer Tim Kmet and, on the second day of his tenure in the band, bassist Chance Wells. Tudzin and her bandmates ply in a style of music they’ve dubbed “tenderpunk,” which is an incredibly apt description for her brand of heartfelt and energetic songcraft. A few days after their show at PhilaMOCA, illuminati hotties stopped by to perform a set of new songs in our studio.

Continue reading →

By

Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Khruangbin

Khruangbin | Photo by Katie Tapman for WXPN

Joining us in the studio for this Indie Rock Hit Parade live session is the band behind my favorite album of 2018 (so far, anyway). The road to Khruangbin’s formation is as swirling and easily-paced as the band’s music. Guitarist Mark Speer and drummer Donald “DJ” Johnson originally met when they played in a gospel band in their hometown of Houston, Texas. Later, Speer met bassist Laura Lee while touring with another band and the idea came up to form a group focused on performing a mélange of globally influenced music. Once the trio was assembled, their fusion of Thai funk, jazz, film music and more immediately caught people’s attention. Earlier this year, Khruangbin released their second album, Con Todo El Mundo. The album is an expertly crafted blend of in-pocket grooves, textural vocals and the occasional funk breakdown. Before the first of two sold-out shows opening for Leon Bridges at the Fillmore, Khruangbin stopped by our studio for a career-spanning live performance.

Continue reading →

By

Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: BODEGA

BODEGA | Photo by Katie Tapman for XPN

Joining us in the studio for this Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session is a band whose debut album is packed with energy, wit and irreverence. Formed out of the ashes of singer/guitarist “Bodega” Ben Hozie and singer Nikki “Icky” Belfiglio’s previous group, Bodega Bay, BODEGA‘s guiding principles are as much about stylistic exclusion as inclusion. With mantras like “No references to Glam Rock” and “No vocal effects,” BODEGA quickly rose as a fresh and exciting entity in the Brooklyn punk scene. It didn’t hurt that Austin Brown, co-leader of Parquet Courts, took notice and produced the band’s 2018 debut album, Endless Scroll, even employing the same recorder that his own band used for their 2013 breakthrough, Light Up Gold. After the dissolution of Bodega Bay, Hozie and Belfiglio teamed up with a new crew of musicians, including bassist Heather Elle, lead guitarist Madison Velding-Vandam, and drummer Montana Simone . The quintet made a special trip down to Philadelphia to record this session, which showcases a young band that’s already locked into a solid groove.

Continue reading →

By

Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: OHMME

OHMME | Photo by Eric Schuman for WXPN

Joining us in the studio for this Indie Rock Hit Parade session is a band whose co-leaders first met when they were in high school. Formed in Chicago in 2014, OHMME (previously HOMME) is fronted by guitarist Sima Cunningham and guitarist/violinist Macie Stewart. Though both are classically trained pianists, this project finds them exploring overdriven art-rock and intricate vocal harmonies. Cunningham and Stewart are joined in this session by drummer Matt Carroll, who also supplied all the drum parts on OHMME’s newly released debut album, Parts. The record is an energizing concoction of rock, jazz, folk and world music styles, centered around Cunningham and Stewart’s overlapping vocals. Before their Boot and Saddle show (which featured an opening set from IRHP session veteran Renata Zeiguer), OHMME stopped by to perform some of their new songs live in our studio.

Continue reading →

By

Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: wimps

wimps | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | senialopez.photography

Joining us for this Indie Rock Hit Parade live session is a band whose witty and effervescent songs are sure to bring a smile to your face. Formed in 2012 by three veterans of Seattle’s DIY punk scene, wimps released their fifth album (and second for Kill Rock Stars), Garbage People. Co-fronted by guitarist Rachel Ratner and bassist Matt Nyce, with drummer Dave Ramm rounding out the power trio, wimps blend energetic punk with thoroughly relatable lyrics. Before their show at Boot and Saddle, wimps stopped by our studio to record a session that turned out to be more like a mini radio concert!

Continue reading →

By

Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Tanukichan

Tanukichan | Photo by John Vettese for XPN

We’re joined for this Indie Rock Hit Parade live session by an artist who’s a member of an unofficial community that we’ve been celebrating for a few years. Based in Oakland, singer/multi-instrumentalist Hannah Van Loon has been recording as Tanukichan for a handful of years, and earlier this year she released her debut album, Sundays. Produced by Chaz Bear of Toro Y Moi (who’s been on the show with the Mattson2), the album is an extremely intimate listen, with close-sounding vocals and distorted instrumentation giving the impression that Van Loon is singing right across from you. Before her show at Kung Fu Necktie earlier this month, Van Loon and her bassist, fellow Oaklander Matt Horton, stopped by to perform live in our studio.

Continue reading →