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The Key Studio Sessions: Baroness

Baroness | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Scorching riffs and pulsing drums are two sounds you’d readily associate with Baroness if their albums were all you had to go off of. But these titans of the American metal scene, who call Philadelphia home, have lately taken to dialing down the volume — but not the intensity.

The first time we caught an acoustic Baroness set, it was at Boot and Saddle, where lead singer John Dyer Baizley was opening for Strand of Oaks’ Winter Classic in 2017. He brought lead guitarist and vocalist Gina Gleason along with him, and they played haunting renditions of cuts from the band’s most recent outing, 2015’s Purple. The way the songs transformed was remarkable; as we heard a generation ago in the MTV Unplugged era, not every heavy piece of music necessarily benefits from being stripped down to only an acoustic backing. And Baroness gets it: just because you’ve packed away the effects pedals and amplifiers, and given the drummer the day off, doesn’t mean you’ve arrived at something profound. Taking a song down to its skeleton can sometimes be a beautiful thing, and other times it’s an opportunity to rebuild in a new direction.

That night at Boot and Saddle, we saw Baroness take that opportunity, with thrilling results. The gravity of rock rager “Shock Me” came across palpably with urgent strums and impassioned cries, while “Chlorine and Wine” delved into the European folk influences suggested by its chord progression. Gleason tackled a nimble solo that danced up and down the fretboard, and shared subdued, yet moving harmonies with Baizley. We heard that version of “Chlorine and Wine” open up the band’s acoustic Key Studio Session this week, which comes on the tail end of something of an acoustic spring for Baroness. Continue reading →

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Baroness unveil Gold & Grey via NPR First Listen, play acoustic tonight at Creep Records

Baroness | photo courtesy of the artist

This week, the Savannah-born, locally-based heavy metal outfit Baroness are back with their latest album in four years, Gold & Grey. The album just premiered on NPR First Listen, and the band announced an accompanying tour, with the first stop tonight at Philadelphia’s Creep Records. Gold & Grey is the final entry in the band’s long-running series of color-coded releases, which began with The Red Album in 2007 and also saw Blue Record, Yellow & Green, and 2015’s Purple.

Differently than the band’s other albums, Gold & Grey sees the band becoming more improvisational and unconstrained, adventuring into new territory. The band explores more stripped-back approaches on “Tourniquet” and quiet piano passages on “Sevens,” while keeping true to their sludge metal roots on “Front Towards Enemy” and “Throw Me An Anchor.” This record is the first to feature guitarist Gina Gleason since the departure of Peter Adams. To their benefit, singer-guitarist John Dyer Baizley and Gleason employ a ton of blissful vocal harmony, contributing to the new experience that they bring to the table. Continue reading →

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Baroness is lean and mean on the new single “Throw Me An Anchor”

Baroness | photo by Dana Distortion | courtesy of the artist

Philly metal titans Baroness are releasing their new Gold and Grey album on June 14th, and on the record’s new teaser, “Throw Me an Anchor,” the band takes approximately the opposite approach as the lead single “Borderlines.” That song is an expansive six-minute journey, a burner that holds its core with a shimmering melody throughout; the new song might have a tighter run-time, but it finds the band at its most aggressive, a leaner / meaner Baroness, ready to take on its extended world tour. Continue reading →

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Baroness pushes the boundaries of their sound on “Seasons”

Baroness | photo by Dana Distortion | courtesy of the artist

Baroness frontman John Baizley describes the heavy rockers’ forthcoming record Gold & Grey as their “most adventurous” album to date, and the new video for the second single “Seasons” gives us some insight into that. The song is set to split-screen black and white footage of the band hard at work on the new album, pushing the boundaries of their own sound with equal parts intense concentration and cathartic joy. Continue reading →

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Baroness explores uncharted territory on “Borderlines” from new album Gold & Grey

Baroness | photo by Dana Distortion | courtesy of the artist

Philly metal outfit Baroness announced that their new album, Gold & Grey, will be released on June 14, and they’ve shared a video for the lead single “Borderlines.” Self-described as psychotic, the new album sees the band following a different, more unstructured and improvisational approach to songwriting than their previous work; it’s also their first release with their new guitarist, Gina Gleason. Continue reading →

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Strand of Oaks spaces out Hard Love, rocks out with Baroness at Union Transfer

Strand of Oaks | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN

Almost ten hours after walking offstage at the World Cafe Live, Strand of Oaks walked onstage at Union Transfer to play their second show of the day. Donned in all black attire and carrying a Goldtop Les Paul, Tim Showalter and co. blasted out the first chords of “Taking Acid and Talking to My Brother,” the psychedelic closer off the band’s latest album, Hard Love. Continue reading →

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Get a taste of a live Baroness show with “Try To Disappear” video

A photo posted by Baroness (@yourbaroness) on

Currently on tour in support of last year’s Purple LP, Savannah / Philadelphia metal outfit Baroness have shared a video for album standout “Try To Disappear.” The clip weaves together footage from on-stage and backstage, marking a return to form after a terrible bus accident in 2012 nearly derailed the band for good.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Arrah and the Ferns at PhilaMOCA, White Laces at Kung Fu Necktie, Dani Mari at Philadelphia Folk Festival Co-Op Showcase, Baroness at Union Transfer

FernsArrah and the Ferns play PhilaMOCA tonight.  The concert will act as both the band’s album release show for Make Your Mind as well as its final show before going on hiatus.  Formed in 2005 in Muncie, Indiana, the country / indie rock band has been a staple of the local show circuit for the last few years after settling down in Philadelphia in 2010.  They stopped by for a Key Studio Video Session last year – check it out below.  Tickets and information for tonight’s show with  Pretty & Nice, Andrew Cedermark and Jackie Paper can be found here.

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