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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Aye Nako at Everybody Hits, PAWS at Ortileb’s, Twiddle at Sherman Theater

Aye Nako | via the band's Facebook page
Aye Nako | via the band’s Facebook page

New Jersey punks Aye Nako play Everybody Hits tonight with Pinkwash, Ursula, and Solarized. Their latest, Silver Haze, is out on April 7th via Don Giovanni Records. Check out “Particle Mace,” the hooky first single from the album, below. Then, head over to XPN’s Concert Calendar for tickets and more information. Continue reading →

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Get Better Fest 5’s initial lineup includes Solarized, Control Top, Big Nothing; benefits Morris Home and Black & Pink

Get Better Fest 3 | photo by Jeff Hersch | courtesy of Get Better Records
Get Better Fest 3 | photo by Jeff Hersch | courtesy of Get Better Records

Each spring for the past four years, Get Better Records has thrown an event that always leaves us looking forward to the next. The local independent label just announced Getter Better Fest 5, happening over three days in May at two locations — this year it’s the First Unitarian Church and LAVA Space. Not all of the bands have been announced yet, but with initial lineup we have so far, it’s already shaping up to be a stacked weekend of tunes. And Get Better Fest is as much about the community as it is the music — the festival always seeks to promote a diverse and inclusive lineup, all while raising money for local and national organizations. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Pinkwash

While we were setting up microphones and amplifiers in the XPN studio, I chatted with Pinkwash singer-guitarist Joey Doubek about shooting video of the band’s performance. “Oh, that’d be great!” he said. “Because y’know, I think our uncompromising live show is where we really shine.” We laughed — his statement was certainly tongue-in-cheek, a bit of fun poked at some music writing phraseology that gets applied to the heavy Philly duo again and again.

But there’s repetition for a reason. D.C. natives and longtime friends Doubek and drummer Ashley Arnwine are indeed a force when they perform at shows. The power of complex rhythms and intricate riffs, performed at a racing sprint at the nexus of prog and punk; Doubek yelling into the mic in a Robert Plant falsetto before switching gears into headbanging, Arwine franticly darting her head in every which direction depending on which part of the kit she’s laying into…between all of that, it’s virtually impossible to watch Pinkwash play and feel unmoved.
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Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Community and Eclecticism: Philly gig promoters All Mutable on making an inclusive, daring scene

Chicago-based footwork dance originator RP Boo plays an All Mutable show on March 4th | photo via facebook.com/Arpebu.Inc

As improbable a feat as this may seem, the still wet from the womb music promotions collective All Mutable has burned itself into the psyche of the Philly music scene with their daring vision of community and eclecticism. Even more improbable, they’ve managed to become one of the few promoters who force me– your friendly, neighborhood musical curmudgeon– to instantly smash “going” on all of the squad’s Facebook solicits even when I’m wildly unfamiliar with the bands they’re offering. Theirs is the ability to cultivate a strange, impossible oasis of color and sound within a sometimes diversity-barren landscape of independent DIY music.

While the group were all friends and music collaborators in various bands first– Jazz Adam from New York City, Nicki Duval from Connecticut, and Robin Meeker-Cummings from West Philadelphia (born and raised, naturally)– it is together with All Mutable that their true talents have reach an apex. While their roots are in experimental and noise music (and that aesthetic still rings true even as they expand), they’ve hosted raging punk noise outfits like Pinkwash, edgy afro-accoustic post-punk like Daphne, and minimalist drum and noise outfits like NAH under their umbrella and miraculously they’ve avoided any cross-genre clashing, eschewing the 10th grade mix CD model and have taken an approach that speaks more to the deliberate nature of their intention: freeing up class modalities and pushing forward with a futurist vision that is inclusive and liberating.

We sat down with the All Mutable squad for insight into their process, the origins of their name, and the future of DIY indie music Philadelphia and beyond. Continue reading →

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Joanna Gruesome headlined a two continent spanning show at PhilaMOCA

Joanna Gruesome | Photo by Chis Sikich
Joanna Gruesome | Photo by Chris Sikich

Last Thursday PhilaMOCA hosted a quartet of indie rock that spanned two continents. Headlined by the Cardiff-based Joanna Gruesome, the concert was a punk kick to the ears.

Philly locals Mercury Girls kicked off the night with their crunchy pop that literally leapt into the former mausoleum’s room (thanks to a jumping, feline-attired Kevin Attics). Led by vocalist Sarah Schimineck, they were infectious and certainly garnered the deserved attention of the ever-increasing crowd. Make sure to catch them live at their upcoming November 25 show at Kung Fu Necktie. Continue reading →

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Indiepop, feminist identity and Philadelphia’s Mercury Girls

Mercury Girls | Photo by Hippocampus Photography
Mercury Girls | Photo by Hippocampus Photography

It may be hard to pinpoint what about a retro C86 band might speak to the importance of modern feminism. But Philadelphia’s Mercury Girls recognizes it in a subtle, universal way.

Tomorrow, the band will play a PhilaMOCA show with Joanna Gruesome, Aye Nako and King of Cats. While the bands are different stylistically, their music shares a common reflection of gender issues, feminism and identity whether it be through composition, lyrics or onstage personas.

Unlike Joanna Gruesome’s overtly feminist lyrics, Philadelphia’s Mercury Girls are more subtle in their acknowledgement of gender identity with their Morrissey-like outlook and modern spin on 80’s English rock.

I spoke with the band about how femininity affects their music, particularly new frontwoman Sarah Schimineck, formerly of Pet Milk – this summer she took the reins from Adrianne Gold, who was previously featured on the bands’ debut demos. Continue reading →

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Philly punk party Rockers! returns to showcase diversity in a multisensory weekend festival

Rockers! founder Camae Defstar, left, performs at an event in 2011 | Photo via facebook.com/thegoodfolksatrockers
Rockers! founder Camae Defstar, left, performs at an event in 2011 | Photo by D1L0 via facebook.com/thegoodfolksatrockers

Few events can sustain themselves for periods of over 10 years. Few shows offer such diversity in terms of people, genres, and art. That’s what makes Rockers! so unique; it has both.

A long-running music and art showcase that promotes diversity, Rockers! began because of a desire to see more bands of color playing punk shows.

Camae Defstar is one of the founding organizers of Rockers! and books almost all of the shows. Defstar started Rockers! around 2005 with her friend and band member, Rebecca Roe.

Growing up, Defstar didn’t see people of color in punk music. They didn’t receive recognition. She felt like she was the only one into the punk scene. She says Rockers! showcases bands who have something to say and don’t fit the traditional mold of their respective genres.

“We wanted our band, the Mighty Paradocs to play. We didn’t know too much about booking, so we said ‘Hey let’s book an event with bands we like and want to play with.”

Rockers began at the now-defunct venue Aqua Lounge that was located near Front and Girard Streets. The series then moved to Tritone on South Street, where it grew and created a community.

“There [at Tritone] we started to have a community of artists that were trying to play but didn’t have the access or connections to do so. That’s how Rockers started getting steam,” said Defstar.

Tritone was the host location of Rockers until the venue closed in 2012. During that year, Kung Fu Necktie became the frequent site of Rockers.

Joe Jordan, right, performs at a Rockers show at Kung Fu Necktie | photo by D1L0 via facebook.com/thegoodfolksatrockers

Joe Jordan, former Mighty Paradocs drummer, has been a part of Rockers since its inception. Now, he creates music under the name the Joe Jordan Experiment. He still is a “regular” at the shows as a performer and spectator. He said Rockers gave him a sense of community.

“It’s like a home for a lot of us bands,” Jordan said. “I’d liken it to CBGB’s during its punk heyday. No fighting, just high-energy excitement. Usually people of color. [but] it’s all-inclusive. People of colors… any color…white, black, red. It’s about unity,” he said. Continue reading →

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Get ready for Ladyfest with a mixtape featuring Amanda X, Attia Taylor, U.S. Girls and more (happening in West Philly on 6/7-6/9)

 

Trophy Wife
Trophy Wife | Photo by John Vettese

The ball keeps rolling for Ladyfest Philly, a three-day event taking place around West Philly in June.  Organizers of the festival recently shared an hour-long mixtape showcasing the stellar line-up and including contributions from local favorites Attia Taylor, Trophy Wife and Amanda X alongside national acts Screaming Females, U.S Girls and a dozen more.  The festival, which is in its tenth year and celebrates women in arts, culture and activism, will also offer workshops on topics like “Amps, Pedals and PAs: Demystifying Electronics with Girls Rock Philly” and “Self Defense: From Eye Contact to Eye Poking.”  Tickets, information and an interactive schedule can be found on the Ladyfest website here.  Stream the festival mixtape below and pick it up in the physical form of a cassette tape at Ladyfest; see the track listing after the jump.

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Trophy Wife, Screaming Females, US Girls and more on Ladyfest Philly lineup (happening from 6/7 to 6/9)

Trophy Wife
Trophy Wife | Photo by John Vettese

Ladyfest Philly, a celebration of women in the arts and activism, announced the full lineup of musicians and workshops for its three-day event from June 7th to June 9th. Among those performing are local power duo Trophy Wife (pictured), New Brunswick noisemakers Screaming Females, Philly native Attia Taylor, new punk three-piece Amanda X, Toronto avant-pop artist US Girls, electronic artist Void Vision and many more.

Workshops include two from Girls Rock Philly – “Amps, Pedals and PAs: Demystifying Electronics” and a drumline – one on bike repair on the go from Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, and the Philly Weekly’s Tara Murtha leading a talk called “Victim Blaming in the Media: What It Is and What You Can Do About It,” to name a few. Participating venues include The Rotunds, Locust Moon Comics and Movies and Airspace Gallery, and proceeds will be split between two organizations: Women in Transition and Project SAFE.

Read the full lineup after the jump, and get ticket and weekend pass information at the Ladyfest Philly website. Continue reading →