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Charly Bliss confronts their fears in the “Hard To Believe” video

Charly Bliss | photo by Ebru Yildiz | courtesy of the artist

NYC indie rock band Charly Bliss is readying the release of their second album, Young Enough, and its already sounding like a big step ahead from the infectious indie pop of their 2017 debut Guppy. As the release and its adjacent spring tour nears, the band just dropped a music video for the ear candy single “Hard to Believe” that is equal parts paranoid and hysterical. Continue reading →

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Charly Bliss’ heist adventure in the Michelle Zauner-directed “Capacity” video is a cautionary tale about being a people-pleaser

Charly Bliss | still from video

In between releases with her Japanese Breakfast project, the multi-talented Michelle Zauner has become indie music’s most sought-after video director. Zauner first made the leap behind the camera to direct some of her own music videos, and she’s since branched out into creating visuals for other artists — and now she’s back with a new one for “Capacity” by power-pop faves Charly Bliss.

“Capacity” is the lead single off the Brooklyn band’s just-announced new album Young Enough, which will be out May 10. The 70s-styled video follows the aftermath of a not-so-well-thought-out bank heist, of which Charly Bliss frontwoman Eva Hendricks finds herself an unwilling participant who reaps the benefits nonetheless. While Hendricks tosses hundred dollar bills like confetti, Zauner makes a cameo as a wacky news broadcaster named Shelly Breakfast. Continue reading →

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Charly Bliss

Charly Bliss | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Joining us in the studio for this Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session is the NY “bubblegum punk” quartet Charly Bliss. Formed just a few short years ago by singer Eva Hendricks guitarist Spencer Fox, drummer Sam Hendricks and bassist Dan Shure. Charly Bliss released their debut album, Guppy, earlier this year. Plenty of other bands’ music sits at the crossroads of grunge and glitz, but what sets Charly Bliss apart is the band’s intricate harmonies. You’ll hear them on the three songs they performed live in our studio:

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The Guppy Effect: Charly Bliss LIVE, new Belle & Sebastian, The Clientele & Stars on the Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Charly Bliss | Photo by Jacqueline Harriet

After a short, festival-induced break, the Indie Rock Hit Parade is back and better than ever tonight at 11pm ET on XPN! Stay tuned after the similar return of Making Time RADio with Dave P for a full two-hour show that’ll waste no time in getting you back into an IRHP frame of mind. First up, we’ve got a brand new live session to share: NYC ‘bubblegum punks’ Charly Bliss released their debut album back in the spring, and they’ll play some tracks from Guppy live in our studio! There’s also a pile of brand new music that’s been growing taller and taller since our last meeting, so be sure to listen for new releases from Belle & Sebastian, Wolf Parade, Stars, The Clientele and more! Preview some of the new things below…

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Just Announced: PUP will headline Franklin Music Hall this September

PUP | photo by Vanessa Heins | courtesy of the artist
PUP | photo by Vanessa Heins | courtesy of the artist

By the looks of it, Toronto punk four-piece PUP is about to spend most of the next year of their life on tour around the world. And deservedly so — their new Morbid Stuff record is their strongest work to date, amplifying and expanding their trademark gang vocal ragers about mental health into sonic territory reminiscent of R.E.M. (the opening title track) and The Hold Steady (listen to frontperson Stefan Babcock get his Craig Finn on during the spoken-sung “Kids”). Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: John Vettese’s Top Six Philly Music Finds of 2018

Low Dose | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2018 incredible. To kick off the series, Key editor John Vettese recaps six of his favorite Philadelphia music finds from the past 12 months.

This page of the calendar is always a blur for me. Thinking back over the 300-some previous days of listening to records from Philly musicians, getting to their gigs, recording them in the WXPN studio, and spinning their music on the air is a lot to take stock of. Putting together my annual rundown of jaw-dropping artists that were new to me in 2018 quickly went from “hmm, I know I was stoked about these three” to “OMG I already have 20, I need to narrow this down.”

But that’s the blessing of living in Philly, as I say every year. We have amazing musicians operating on all tiers — the broadly-reaching Meek Mills releasing the best and most poignant records of their career, the War on Drugs-es returning home this week for a sold-out run of underplay shows, the Hop Alongs garnering widespread acclaim for their own masterpieces — but we also have musicians who are still sweating it out on basement show bills, touring in battered vans, hustling across the bar scene, and grinding to make it all work for them.

Finding the most exciting musicians in that latter space, and watching them make their way to the former, is easily my favorite part of my job. Here are a handful of artists I hope to see make that journey this year.

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Indie luminaries Death Cab for Cutie were in top form for a dynamic Tower set

Death Cab for Cutie | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Does anybody out there remember a thing called The Death and Dismemberment tour? Named in homage to a throwaway line Bill Murray’s existential comedy Groundhog Day, and savvily designed to get as many turn-of-the-millennium indie rock fans in a theater as possible, the 2001 run starred Death Cab For Cutie, hot off the release of their emotive third LP The Photo Album, and the beloved math rock outfit The Dismemberment Plan. I specifically remember the Philly press at the time puzzledly contrasting the high-octane DisPlan with the “quiet as a kitten Death Cab.”

Again, this was 2001. It’s now seventeen years later, and Death Cab is no longer quiet as a kitten. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Swearin’, Death Cab For Cutie, Gorillaz, Florence and the Machine, and more

Florence and the Machine | photo by Vincent Haycock | courtesy of the artist

This week, our concert agenda includes indie rock institutions as well as left-of-center art popsters, arena shows to DIY shows, rock and roll and folk and Afrobeat and everything in between. Here are 19 concerts you can see in and around Philadelphia over the next seven days. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Death Cab for Cutie adds a second show at the Tower

Death Cab for Cutie | photo by Eliot Lee Hazel | via NPR Music

Right after Death Cab for Cutie shared the first single from their forthcoming album, their October 9 show at the Tower Theater sold out. Coincidence or not, it seems like the promise of the first new Death Cab tunes in three years has folks eager to see the band in action on their upcoming fall tour.

Fortunately for Philly concertgoers, a second show has been added — Death Cab for Cutie will stick around town for an extra day to make a second Tower Theater appearance on October 10. Continue reading →