By

Get ready, because Harmony Woods’ Nothing Special might be the best indie rock record you’re going to hear this spring

Harmony Woods | photo by Emily Dubin | thedubyscoop.com | via harmonywoods.bandcamp.com

It’s hard to believe that Harmony Woods hasn’t even been a going concern for a year, and yet they’re ready to make a huge impact on the Philly music community. The project of singer-guitarist Sofia Verbilla went from knocking us out at basement shows in the fall to the announcement this spring of Nothing Special, the band’s debut long-player set for release on May 5th via Honest Face Records.

In addition to possessing a classically awesome voice that totally slays in an indie rock setting but could also slay in a pop sense given the chance, Verbilla is a gifted scene-setter and storyteller, and the attention to narrative detail all across the record reminds me a lot of Death Cab For Cutie’s The Photo Album — particularly on “Jenkintown-Wyncote,” Nothing Special‘s first single, which made its way into the world back on April 1st. Continue reading →

By

Underground Arts to host International Women’s Day benefit, featuring Louie Louie, Ivy Sole, Queen of Jeans, Harmony Woods and more…

Ivy Sole | photo courtesy of the artist
Ivy Sole | photo courtesy of the artist

This International Women’s Day — Wednesday, March 8th — Underground Arts will host a benefit concert featuring Louie Louie, Queen of Jeans, Ivy Sole, Grayling, and many more. The event will benefit the new Crossroads Women’s Center, a community based self-help space. You can find a full lineup of the fifteen, possibly sixteen (wink, wink)  bill below. Then, head over to XPN’s Concert Calendar for tickets and more information. Continue reading →

By

Tonight’s Concert Pick: Harmony Woods at The Pharmacy

Harmony Woods | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Harmony Woods | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Things have changed a lot for Sofia Verbilla of Harmony Woods over the past six months. For starters, hair has gone from sky blue to bright red — though in either case, she’s relatively easy to spot in the crowd at a show. More important than the visual changes, however, are the sonics. Verbilla started the project last as a place to collect her contemplative acoustic songwriting — a mix of spacious guitar leads and her captivating vocals, which shake with equal parts emotion and confidence. Her early gigs were played in this unadorned fashion, either solo acoustic or solo electric, but as she performed more, she began to assemble a live band, which totally shined last month when it played the Punk Talks benefit gig at Everybody Hits.  Continue reading →

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: New Sound Brass at Johnny Brenda’s, Harmony Woods at Milkboy, Atmosphere at TLA and more

New Sound Brass | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN
New Sound Brass | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Johnny Brenda’s is getting a taste of Bourbon Street tonight with headliners New Sound Brass. Expect ample doses of funk and soul with a touch of rock if they happen to perform one of their renowned covers of tracks by powerhouses like Black Sabbath and Bon Jovi to name a few. The Key was able to get up close and personal with these Philly musicians at a studio session at the end of September. Country/rock outfit Jim Mitchell and the Repeat Offenders are also scheduled to play tonight at Johnny Brenda’s. Check out the WXPN Concert Calendar for more information on this 21+ show, and listen to the audio from their session at The Key below. Continue reading →

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: Shannen Moser at The Pharmacy, Taxes at Ortlieb’s, Screaming Females at The Chameleon Club and more…

Shannen Moser | photo courtesy of the artist
Shannen Moser | photo courtesy of the artist

Local musician Shannen Moser leads tonight’s bill at The Pharmacy down in Point Breeze. Moser brought her latest Oh, My Heart release to the WXPN studios recently, sharing three of her beautifully, emotionally intimate songs in a joint Folkadelphia / Key Studio Session. Stream the session below and get more info for the all-ages show, also featuring Harmony Woods, here.

Continue reading →

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: Aphra at The Barbary, Louie Louie at Underground Arts, The Ok-Oks at Chameleon Club

Aphra | photo by John Groome for WXPN
Aphra | photo by John Groome for WXPN

We’re super thrilled with Sadness is a Gesture, the debut record from Philly electropop artist Aphra, which came out last week via Bay Area upstart label Inherent Sounds. There’s a limited edition clear vinyl version on the way, but tonight Aphra celebrates the moving collection of songs about heartache, addiction and finding inner strength tonight at The Barbary. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.
Continue reading →

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: Antibalas at Ardmore Music Hall, Mercury Girls at Underground Arts, Black Landlord at Milkboy

antibalas
Antibalas | photo via Facebook

Brooklyn funk band Antibalas are working some new songs on the road this month, stopping at Ardmore Music Hall tonight with Fresh Cut Orchestra. The afrobeat musicians have plans to release a new record this spring that would follow-up 2012’s self-titled LP. Back in November they paid tribute to David Bowie with a cover of “Let’s Dance” – watch a live performance of that below and pick up tickets for tonight’s 21+ show here.

Continue reading →

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: Punk Talks Benefit at Everybody Hits, Tesselations at Bourbon & Branch, Spot Collins at Boot & Saddle and more…

grayling
Grayling | photo by Kim Woodcock | courtesy of the artist

Grayling, Coping Skills, Curtis Cooper, and more team up at Everybody Hits tonight for a show that benefits Punk Talks. Founded in 2015, the Cincinnati-based organization supports musicians and music industry workers with mental health access and education while on the road and at home. Joining the headliners will be Harmony Woods (one of John Vettese’s top local discoveries of the year), the UK’s Parker Lee, Weller, David Bello of The World is a Beautiful Place, and Zoe Allaire of Kississippi. Tickets and information for the all-ages show can be found here. Stream “Bidding War” by Grayling below.

Continue reading →

By

The Key’s Year-End Mania: John Vettese’s Top Six Philly Music Discoveries of 2016

Harmony Woods | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Harmony Woods | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2016 incredible. To kick off the series, Key editor John Vettese recaps six of his favorite Philadelphia music discoveries from the past 12 months.

Ah, Philly. Keep on being awesome. It’s once again time for me to look back and reflect on the past year of music that came out of our community, and once again I’ve had a harder time than ever narrowing it down.

Locally rooted artists are breaking into the broader music conversation, whether they remain at home (Modern Baseball‘s Holy Ghost receiving international acclaim) or venture outward to other cities and scenes (Michelle Zauner’s sometimes-Philly / sometimes-Brooklyn Japanese Breakfast, Ron Gallo and Liz Longley taking up residence in Nashville). More people than ever are moving from other cities to Philly – including The Dove and The Wolf, who got their start in Paris. And as always, artists like Dr. Dog (who released an impressive two albums in 2016), Kurt Vile (who celebrates New Year’s Eve at The Fillmore) and The Roots (still rocking the late night TV party) rep the city on a national scale.

But this post isn’t about that. It’s my annual reflection on artists who I had not heard of prior to this year, who totally bowled me over and made me want to find out everything about them. These are artists that deserve to be one of those high profile artists in coming years. These are my favorite music discoveries of 2016. Continue reading →