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DIY scene underdogs Greg Mendez and Sleepy Freak join forces for a digital split

Sleepy Freak | photo by Emily Dubin | thedubyscoop.com

There have been more than a few great splits from Philly musicians this year, and the latest, from Greg Mendez and Sleepy Freak, is really something special. Both artists are remarkably talented on their own, yet relatively quiet forces within the scene — they’ll pop up for sets at shows around town pretty often, but outside of the DIY community, they aren’t being talked about nearly as much as they should be. But the new split certainly gives us reason to talk about them. The six-track EP accomplishes what the best splits do, capturing both artists at their best and weaving their combined efforts into a powerhouse recording that’s impossible to ignore. Continue reading →

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Download Gregory Mendez’s new single “Mexican Dinner”

Gregory Mendez | photo by Daniel Lidon
Gregory Mendez | photo by Daniel Lidon

Local singer-songwriter Gregory Mendez has released his debut single “Mexican Dinner,” along with b-side “Give or Take.”  The two tracks will appear on an upcoming EP called Songs From a Stairwell.  The Getting Sick musician teamed-up with friends and bandmates at Headroom Studio to record the album, choosing the meaningful and intimate setting of a stairwell for the tracking location.

Exhibiting a different side of musicianship from Mendez’s other projects, “Mexican Dinner” rolls along on a mid-tempo country lope with loose guitar strumming and minimal flourishes, letting the spotlight land on Mendez’s witty lyrics and Justin Townes Earle-esque vocals.  “Give or Take” is even more stripped-down, an acoustic moment-in-time that recalls a vulnerable scenario of having to beg for money.  Stream both songs below and check out a video of Mendez performing “Getting Well” with Jenna Smith here.  Songs From a Stairwell will be released this spring.

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Watch singer-songwriter Gregory Mendez perform in a West Philly staircase, download a new split EP

Singer-songwriter Gregory Mendez – formerly of lo-fi outfit Getting Sick – recently returned home to Philly from New York and is working on a solo EP called Songs From The Stairwell with producers Evan Bernard (from Dangerous Ponies) and Alex Wilson (from Gypsy Death and You).

The title is a reference to a low point in his life where Mendez actually lived in back of a staircase in West Philly, and he recently released a video performance one of the new songs, “Getting Well”, in that very spot. Stuffed in a teal corner, Mendez strums guitar while harmonizing the Nashville-style country ballad with North Carolina singer Jenna Smith at his side. Drawing on his turmoil from that time period,  the EP is much more stripped down than his other works, Mendez tells us. It will feature country instrumentation (lap steel, fingerpicked acoustic guitar). It will also be recorded in the staircase, so expect some nice echo.

Watch the video of “Getting Well” below, check out a recently-released split EP recorded with Smith, and keep an eye out for updates on Songs From A Stairwell here.

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Philly Gets Alternative brings Oso Oso, Harmony Woods, Weller and more to Everybody Hits for a two-night fest

Harmony Woods | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

A double header at the batting cages might conjure up some sports-related imagery in any other city, but here in Philly, that’s code for two nights of live music. Philly show bookers Home Outgrown Presents have teamed up with New York-based music blog The Alternative to put together a showcase of acts from both regions over two consecutive nights — a mini festival of sorts, Philly Gets Alternative is happening December 2 and 3 at Everybody Hits. Continue reading →

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Our Graduation: Reflections on Modern Baseball’s final run of shows at Union Transfer

Modern Baseball | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

A phrase springs to mind: “don’t be sad that it’s over, be glad that it happened.”

I heard that over the summer at the final night of The Stone Roses’ reunion tour in Glasgow; frontman Ian Brown said it just before leaving the stage as the final chords of “I Am The Resurrection” rang out. And it certainly applies back home as well, to Modern Baseball’s sold-out run of three shows at Union Transfer, their last “for the foreseeable future.” Continue reading →