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Belly helps the Union Transfer crowd find release in a maddening week

Belly | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

Toward the end of a first set at Union Transfer on Friday night, Belly singer Tanya Donelly seemed to sum up what was on the audience’s collective minds, lobbing this succinct lamentation: “What a shit week!”

The Rhode-Island rockers are maybe best known for a 1993 debut record of mind-bending, often dark songs that conjure imagery around funerals under trees, stolen children, melancholy breakups and blood moons — richly textured dream-pop landscapes forged with twisted takes on nursery rhyme cadences that you could call anything from mystical to macabre.

One thing they’ve never been, though, is overtly political, and even here Donelly seemed reluctant to really go into it further. But people knew. Continue reading →

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Belly of the Beats: Why Nothing’s Domenic Palermo is turning his sights to prison reform

Nothing
Nothing | photo by Ryan Lowry | courtesy of the artist

Domenic Palermo has been thinking a lot about his old neighborhood lately.

He thinks about the people he spent his childhood with; he thinks about how much things have changed and how much they have not. It makes sense, since the places we grow up shape us in innumerable ways. They’re our first impression of the world; they’re the center of our young universe. Our neighborhoods help us decide where we want to travel with our lives, whether we want to get as far away as possible or if we’d rather just stay in place. And the ramifications of those choices somehow touch the lives of people we knew; our family, our community. Even though he’s up in Brooklyn these days, the frontman of Nothing is constantly thinking about his childhood in the Frankford and Kensington sections of Philadelphia…and the things he can do to make it a better place in 2018.

This Friday, Nothing releases its third LP, Dance on the Blacktop, via Relapse Records; it’s an explosive and highly personal record, touching on themes of mortality, addiction and family, and after a long build-up of writing and working in the studio with producer John Agnello, the band will spend Saturday unwinding with family and friends in the Port Richmond section of Philly — just a short jump down the river wards from his old home.

The Nothing Record Release Block Party is just what its name suggests: a gimmick-free gathering with a DJ, games, food and fun; no Nothing live set, just a day-long hang. “We didn’t want it to be like a Diplo block party, we wanted it to be very neighborhood-friendly,” Palermo says when I caught up with him via phone last week. “We really just wanted to have a few hours where we can just see people enjoying themselves. I imagine that most of the people that show up to this block party aren’t even going to know why it’s really there, which is kind of the point. It’s purely just a Philadelphia celebratory kind of thing.”

For Palermo and his bandmates, its a way to kick back before getting into the grueling stress of another album cycle. But even in choosing the spot, he had a lot to think about. Continue reading →

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Belly draws on comic books and pop culture for the new “Mine” video

Belly | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

At the start of the summer, Belly sat down with World Cafe host Talia Schlanger to talk about reentry into the music scene, time away from the band, and the first practices back together. Schlanger described Belly’s reentry as throwing another party, after leaving the first party 23 years ago. In addition to bringing a new album, DOVE, to the party, they’ve also brought a new music video in the form of “Mine.” Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Belly keeps the crowd superconnected with old faves and new jams

Belly | photo by Dylan Eddinger | dylaneddingerphoto.squarespace.com

On the surface, you could say that NonCOMM 2018 closed with a doubleheader Free At Noon concert from two different eras of nostalgia acts — one from the 90s (Belly) and one from the aughts (Editors). Thing is, though, both of these artists came with fresh material in tow, and Belly’s set in particular showed that they are musicians who have not missed a beat in the 23 years since their sophomore album King and this year’s radiant return Dove. Continue reading →

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Belly dons bird heads in new “Shiny One” video

Belly
Belly | photo by Chris Gorman | courtesy of the artist

Long lost 90s faves Belly returned last month with their first new song in 23 years, the incredibly catchy “Shiny One,” and now the single has a mesmerizing new video to go along with it. The video, which features the band members decked out in bird masks and overlaid in psychedelic colorblock, is an eye-catching match for the song’s timeless and shimmery sound.

It’s also just strange enough to have us wondering about what the rest of the new Belly tunes we have coming our way will be like. Belly’s forthcoming album is called DOVE, and the new video takes the hints of bird themes to a new level. Plus, birds like shiny things, right? Continue reading →

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Listen to Belly’s shimmering new single “Shiny One,” from their first album in 23 years

Belly
Belly | photo by Chris Gorman | courtesy of the artist

After a couple decades of absence, it makes sense that legendary 90s alt-rockers Belly would keep us waiting to hear the details of their long-awaited return, building anticipation with each announcement. The band first broke the news of their reunion in 2016 with a short, nostalgia-packed tour. Then, last fall, they announced that a new album was in the works, along with an upcoming string of tour dates that includes a stop at Union Transfer on September 28. They also released their first recording in over 20 years, a cover of “Hushabye Mountain” from the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Now, we finally have more details on the forthcoming album — it’s called DOVE, and it’ll be released May 4. We also have Belly’s first new original song in 23 years — “Shiny One” is a song just as sweet and shimmery as its title suggests, and you can stream it now. Continue reading →

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Listen to Belly’s “Hushabye Mountain” cover, their first recording in 22 years

Belly | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

If we thought last year’s brief reunion of iconic 90s rockers Belly — which included a Philly stop at Union Transfer — was too good to be true, then we were proven wrong when the band announced last month that they’d be recording a new album, their first in two decades. The title of the forthcoming record is still unknown, but news broke of an April 6 release date, and we can now listen to the first Belly recording in 22 years — their “long-promised” cover of “Hushabye Mountain,” originally from the 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Continue reading →

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Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett’s album is called Lotta Sea Lice, features Belly covers and more

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile | photo by Danny Cohen | courtesy of the artist

Back in the spring, we were very excited to hear that Philly’s Kurt Vile and Melbourne’s Courtney Barnett recorded a collaborative album, and were taking it on tour together.

Today, thanks to a new interview in Rolling Stone, we have some details on the record. Continue reading →