The Key Studio Sessions: I Think Like Midnight

This week’s Key Studio Session is for those who love to hear artists venture outside their comfort zone.

West Philly guitarist Andrew Chalfen spent the late 80s and early 90s playing raucous power pop in The Wishniaks, around the same time that keyboardist Joe Genaro and drummer Dean Sabatino made weird and wonderful rock music in the Dead Milkmen. As the years passed, Chalfen shifted his focus to the soaring indie tones of The Trolleyvox and connected with folk-leaning bassist Josh Newman, who played with Philly scene staples American Altitude and Heyward Howkins.

The collective project of those four musicians, I Think Like Midnight, doesn’t sound like any of those bands, and is all the more special for it.

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I Think Like Midnight present an evening of instrumental rock next month

I Think Like Midnight
I Think Like Midnight | photo via Facebook

I Think Like Midnight was a project born out of necessity. That is, the necessity for Philadlephia musician Andrew Chalfen to hear another record by Pell Mell, a band that hasn’t released new material since 1997. Instead of waiting for that Portland instrumental outfit to reunite, Chalfen and his collaborator Dean Sabatino hiked up to Ithaca, NY last year and made their own Pell Mell-inspired record, Warm Seclusion Structure.

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The Skeleton Key: A Blizzard of gigs for March including Creten lutes, London postpunks, and a Bugg

Palm | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Palm performs at the First Unitarian Church on March 26th | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

You heard that story about Barbara Streisand getting her dog cloned, twice? I’ve been thinking about getting the same thing done to myself, just so I maybe can go to all the awesome shows happening this month. Unfortunately I went to school for journalism and not biomedical engineering so instead of having a mad scientist lair full of half-baked clones walking into walls while screaming, “I can’t wait for Superchunk and Swearin’ next month!” … I’m writing this column saying the same.

Welcome to the March edition of the Skeleton Key, your friendly neighborhood gossip column. As I sit here working on this, the weather report is calling for nonstop rain and possibly even snow for the next 24 hours. But just because it’s gross out doesn’t mean you should stay inside! It doesn’t keep bands home and so it shouldn’t keep you home. So bundle up and get to the gig. Continue reading →


Lefty’s Deceiver returns with their first two songs in 14 years

Lefty's Deceiver | photo courtesy of the artist
Lefty’s Deceiver | photo courtesy of the artist

Whether you fancy them math rock, indie rock or rock-rock, Lefty’s Deceiver was a fixture on the Philadelphia scene from the late 90s through the mid aughts, releasing a string of records and EPs that culminated in  2003’s excellent Cheats, a dizzying record of post 9-11 frustration and ennui.

By the middle of the decade, the band had parted ways to pursue various other projects — among them guitarist Ed Hogarty’s The Bigger Lovers, as well as Audible, featuring drummer Mike Kennedy and bassist Kristine Kennedy. However, surred by a Facebook fan group built on the promise of getting clocked in the head with a maraca at a Lefty’s Deceiver gig, the band reunited to play Johnny Brenda’s in 2011, with other shows following at MilkBoy and Boot & Saddle.

Lefty’s’ activity since has been semi-occasional, made a bit trickier by singer-guitarist and songwriter Andy Williams’ relocation to California. But their name recently popped up on the Boot & Saddle events calendar for a December 29th show, and this week we found out that they’re releasing a new record to go along with it. The Lefty’s Deceiver LP comes out on December 25th, and the band’s first two songs in 14 years are online right now.  Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Queue at Steel City Coffee, Hezekiah Jones at The Ardmore Music Hall, and Dead Milkmen at Clark Park

Queue | photo by Rebecca Aronow | via artist’s Facebook page

We were introduced to these then-Philly scene newcomers last year. Since then, five-piece outfit Queue has been making the moves. Recently, they debuted a live wire single, “Frontier.” It’s an an electric, gauzy track that doesn’t let up in energy. Listen below, and then check out the band live at Steel City Coffee tonight; info on tickets can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →


The Improbables’ new album Object To Be Destroyed will probably destroy PhilaMOCA on Friday

The Improbables | via

Philly garage rockers The Improbables play their first show in over a year on Friday as part of the closing night of the Suitable for Framing art exhibition at PhilaMOCA. They’ll be joined by a Jason Killinger (of Spacin’ and Birds of Maya) solo set and I Think Like Midnight, which features members of both the Wishniaks and Dead Milkmen. Doors open at 8 p.m. with the small entrance request of a $10 donation. Continue reading →


Just Announced: The Dead Milkmen will play Clark Park Festival in July

The Dead Milkmen
The Dead Milkmen | Photo by Morgan Smith for WXPN |

When it comes to hometown gigs, The Dead Milkmen sure know how to pick ’em. Autumnal outings in Laurel Hill Cemetery. Headlining The Trocadero on Halloween. And now — or rather, once again — West Philly’s gorgeous Clark Park.

We just got word that the band will perform the Clark Mark Music and Arts Festival on Saturday, July 15th. The free outdoor gig will also feature I Think Like Midnight, an instrumental band featuring the Milkmen’s Dean Clean on drums and Joe Jack Talcum on bass, along with Andrew Chalfen of aughties faves The Trolleyvox and Josh Newman of The Heyward Howkins Band.  Continue reading →


Weird Hot share cinematic video for “I Was At a Party,” prep for release of new LP

Weird Hot
Weird Hot | photo by David Kain

Weird Hot are set to release their new self-titled record at Johnny Brenda’s on December 19th.  The local “funk noir” six-piece has released a new video for their single “I Was At a Party” in anticipation of the LP, which shows a diabolical cast of characters carrying out a mission that surrounds a silver briefcase.

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