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PREMIERE: Dig in to Easy Creatures’ new EP Low Fidelity

Easy Creatures
Easy Creatures | Photo by Photo by Tim Owen | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia’s Easy Creatures is the meeting of the minds among five punk scene veterans who have done time in bands like Walleye, Railhed, One Up and Kill Verona. In the 90s, they released records on revered scene label Jade Tree Records. A decade and a half later, they teamed up for a new project that releases the new Lo Fidelity EP on Charlotte, NC’s Self Aware Records this Friday.

In some ways, it’s a more mature approach to a sound that’s still amped-up and aggressive. Like Hüsker Dü, the music is loud, it’s fast, it hits hard, but there’s a undercurrent of melody and pop songcraft. Says vocalist Greg Polard: “I sorta want to say ‘adult themes’ to a degree and not in the pornographic way, but especially ‘Sick Day’ and ‘Fontanelle’ lyrically are songs I don’t necessarily think I would’ve written when I was a teen / in my early 20s.” Continue reading →

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Listen to some border-hopping rock on the four-band split State Line Machine

Easy Creatures
Easy Creatures | Photo by Photo by Tim Owen | courtesy of the artist

Spanning the borders of some of this countries’ first states, Dullest Records got together some of the east coast’s best post-punks for State Line Machine, a 4-way split featuring songs from Philly’s Easy Creatures (featuring members of One Up and Walleye) Son & Heir (ex-Boysetsfire) and Hold Down The Ocean and Delaware’s Worth.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Alex G at Union Transfer, Bleached at Johnny Brenda’s, Open Mike Eagle at Kung Fu Necktie and more…

alex g
Alex G | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

Alex G brings a spring tour home to Union Transfer tonight. The Havertown native has been supporting last year’s Domino Records debut Beach Music in a big way, criss-crossing the country, booking international festivals and now headlining his largest Philly show to date. Pretty cool stuff for a band that got its start in the Temple house show scene. Watch the video for “Mud” below and pick up tickets to the all-ages show with Porches and Your Friend here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Sun Flights at Bourbon & Branch, Former Belle at Steel City, Dogs on Acid at Ortlieb’s

The Sun Flights
The Sun Flights | Photo courtesy of the artist

Growing from a duo to a full band, The Sun Flights debut their new lineup at Bourbon & Branch tonight. We got a glimpse of the new members and a new song in the video for “Stories,” a beautiful example of their harmony-driven folk music. Tickets and information for the 21+ show with Friendship and Dylan Jane can be found here, watch “Stories” below.

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Here’s your instore guide to Philly Record Store Day 2015

Ben Arnold plays an in-store at Main Street Music | photo via Main Street Music's Facebook page
Ben Arnold plays an in-store at Main Street Music | photo via Main Street Music’s Facebook page

If you ask the most purist of vinyl record collectors, Record Store Day is a farce. If you ask those that aren’t jaded yet by the obscenely long list of RSD-exclusives and reissues each year, it’s pretty exciting. Regardless of whether you’re with side A or side B, there’s sure to be an event this April 18 that will be the needle that fits your groove. Continue reading →

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Foggy Notions: Philly artist Sonia Petruse on honoring Ryan Adams in drag

Sonia as Ryan | Photo by Laura Stock | courtesy of the artist
Sonia as Ryan | Photo by Laura Storck | courtesy of the artist

Sonia Petruse remembers exactly where she was the first time she listened to Ryan Adams. Like really, really listened to him.

She was familiar with the album 2001 Gold, of course, and its ubiquitous hit “New York, New York.” She remembered the song being paraded around patriotically in the months after 9-11, and hearing stories about how the songwriter wasn’t keen about its point being misconstrued.

But it was 2004 when the music really kicked in. She was 18, driving around her hometown of Leighton, Pennsylvania with a motley group of teenagers. They were in a small car, an old two-door BMW, and it was crammed to the gills. She sat on a friend’s lap. People were stoned. And “Dear Chicago” from the Demolition album came on the car stereo. Continue reading →

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Wither Not: A conversation with Andrew Bird ahead of his Electric Factory gig

Andrew Bird
Andrew Bird | Photo by Reuben Cox | courtesy of the artist

“Get out your dictionaries,” Andrew Bird instructs us on the title track of Are You Serious, the debonair multi-instrumentalist’s thirteenth-or-so album (it’s difficult to know what counts). It arrives tomorrow, on April Fools Day – yes, seriously – in advance of his appearance at the Electric Factory on Monday.  Perhaps a sly callback to a similar line on “Measuring Cups” (from 2005’s landmark The Mysterious Production of Eggs), it’s also just sound advice when dealing this guy, as avid Bird-ers know well; as he muses self-reflexively earlier in the song: “[I] used to be so willfully obtuse – or is the word abstruse?”  

On Serious, though, without fully laying off the brainy science references and polysyllabic repartee – check his discursive, meta-romantic exchange with Fiona Apple on the bluesy “Left-Handed Kisses” – Bird offers some of his most plainspoken, disarmingly personal lyrics to date. Significantly, the album comes in the wake of both marriage and the birth of his now four-year-old son.  It also features some of his most driving, immediate music in ages, encompassing tense, meaty funk (“Capsized”), Afrobeat inflections (“The New Saint Jude”) and bright, punchy power-pop (the atom-smashing “Puma”) alongside his more typical rustic fiddlings and gypsy-jazz balladry.

Even at its peppiest, Bird’s brand of thoughtful, folksy indie rock isn’t typically the sort of thing that packs venues like the Electric Factory.  Performing solo and (as he does on this tour) with a band, he’s made his name with dazzling violin-work, live looping and uncanny whistling; it’s a subtly spectacular performance style that, for better or worse, benefits greatly from an intimate setting. When Key editor John Vettese caught up with him on the phone from a Nashville tour stop this week, Bird discussed the contrast of performing in big rooms versus small spaces, feelings of being on display in performance and writing, and how a virtuosic output keeps his chops from withering. He also reflected on his beginnings with the Music of Hair LP, which turns 20 this year.

Read the interview below and listen to Are You Serious in full via NPR Music. -K. Ross Hoffman Continue reading →

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The Fantastic Imagination take acid, cover T. Rex’s “Born to Be My Unicorn”

Fantastic Imagination
The Fantastic Imagination | photo via Facebook

Before going full-on glam rock, T. Rex were a psychedelic folk band that released a record inspired by unicorns and fairy tales called, simply, Unicorn. Now, our own local psych-rock collective The Fantastic Imagination have dusted that album off and recorded a cover of “She Was Born to Be My Unicorn.”

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Guest VJ Herb Shellenberger previews his Tuesday Tune-Out series (kicks off at PhilaMOCA tonight)

Tonight PhilaMOCA continues its music-and-film summer series, Tuesday Tune-Out, with Herb Shellenberger coming in to curate the month of July.

From booking shows to performing in bands (currently with Pet Milk; formerly of Brown Recluse) and screening films (his day job is in the programming wing of the Ibrahim Theater at the International House), Herb is a longtime player in the Philly indie scene with a wealth of knowledge both musical and cinematic. We asked him to put together a guest VJ post previewing the musicians and the films he’s picked out for the next four weeks.

From Herb:
I was asked by Eric Bresler of PhilaMOCA (also of Cinedelphia) to curate a series of live music + film/video on Tuesdays in July. I have also been thinking about starting my own screening series, so it was a good time to inaugurate Black Circle Cinema. John Vettese asked me to share some videos on The Key so here’s a guide to that series with accompanying videos. All events are at PhilaMOCA (531 N. 12th Street), start at 7:30pm and are $5. Continue reading →