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Get the first taste of Katie Ellen’s Cowgirl Blues with “Lucy Stone”

Katie Ellen | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com
Katie Ellen | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

After her highly-touted Brooklyn punk band Chumped parted ways, singer-songwriter-guitarist Anika Pyle launched a remarkable new project called Katie Ellen, which first caught our attention when they opened for Cayetana and Mannequin Pussy at PhilaMOCA back in January of 2016. The pace was slowed down and the content amped up, with Pyle using midtempo anthems to reflect on womanhood, societal expectations, mental health and other concerns that are both talked about a lot in the music scene but at the same time not nearly enough. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Darla at Boot and Saddle, Katie Ellen at First Unitarian Church, Hawkwind at Kung Fu Necktie and more

Darla | photo by Karl McWerter | courtesy of the band
Darla | photo by Karl McWerter | courtesy of the band

Boot and Saddle gets one hell of show as fusion jazz hounds Darla take the stage, celebrating the release of their newest record Darla Rolls the Dice! with Nik Greely & the Operators, as well as Roz and the rice cakes. The octet keeps it upbeat by blending their smooth brass instrumentation with grooving back beats, staging a great night of good times and great tunes. More information can be found on the WXPN Concert Calender, and also check out Darla’s visit to The Key for a intimate Studio Session here (and listen to the audio below!) Continue reading →

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Katie Ellen rebounds from more than one breakup on their debut 7″

Katie Ellen | via katiebandellen.bandcamp.com

Earlier this year, Brooklyn pop-punkers Chumped parted ways after two sold-out shows at Bushwick’s Suburbia. If this left you feeling as empty as the time Alycia Merklin broke up with me over text in the tenth grade, you’re in luck, because guitarist Anika Pyle and drummer Dan Frelly have released their debut 7″ as Katie Ellen. Fans of Chumped will feel right at home with this pair of breakup bangers, as the band brings newfound punch and definition to an old sound. Continue reading →

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Download “Summer” by Katie Herzig, playing Boot & Saddle Saturday evening

Photo by Heidi Ross

Singer-songwriter Katie Herzig recently released Walk Through Walls, an excellent collection of songs from the Nashville based musician. Katie works in the same tangential musical universe as Brandi Carlile, Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles, however she adds her own distinctive voice and vision to the conversation. Her songs have appeared on various television shows including Grey’s Anatomy, Bones, One Tree Hill, and on commercials for Target, Dove, Kate Spade, and others. “We Belong,” a song from RAC’s Don’t Talk To EP, was given an amazing remix treatment by the high profile music remix collective.

Walk Through Walls eschews traditional singer-songwriter-with-guitar convention, and on the album she experiments with electronica sounds (synths and loops, layered vocals) and quirky, yet accessible song arrangements that bring her closer to Kate Bush or Imogene Heap than Brandi or Sara. The songwriting is complex, the sounds dreamy, yet Herzig still knows how to master a melody. Katie performs at Boot & Saddle tomorrow evening, Saturday, May 2nd, with Elizabeth & The Catapult opening. Go here for tickets and more information. Below, download “Summer.”

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Scenes from Cayetana’s New Kind of Normal album release celebration

Cayetana | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | <a href="http://racheldelsordophotography.com" target="_blank">racheldelsordophotography.com</a>
Cayetana | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

Philadelphia DIY trio Cayetana released their second LP, New Kind of Normalthe XPN Concert Calendar, and celebrated it earlier this month with a big release day throwdown in the basement of the First Unitarian Church. On the bill was Katie Ellen, the new four-piece fronted by Anika Pyle (formerly of Chumped), as well as Shannen Moser (who just joined the roster of Lame-O Records) and Aster More. With flowers and banners decked around the room and everybody on the bill bringing their A-game, it was a wonderful night of music, friendship and community. Check out scenes from the show below, care of our photographer Rachel Del Sordo; Cayetana’s next area dates are at Chameleon Club’s Lizard Lounge on July 8th with Camp Cope and Union Transfer with Waxahatchee on July 14th. More information on both shows can be found at . Continue reading →

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The Key Presents: Cayetana

Cayetana | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

Cayetana are done messing around. Not like they ever were from the very start, but with tracks titled things like “Serious Things Are Stupid” and “Hot Dad Calendar,” it might be easy to lose sight of the depth that the band packs into every ounce of songwriting. With this week’s release of sophomore record New Kind of Normal, things are coming into sharper focus for the band members. But it’s not only due to the the release of a new album– the band also had to dig deep and launch a new record label. They’re all carrying a lot of weight, and wearing it well.

With the new record wrapped up and all but out the door, you’d think they’d all want to take a hard-earned vacation before having to gear up for album promotion and the touring circuit. When we met with them a couple weeks ago for a Facebook Live stream, they seemed totally calm, cool and collected, casually enjoying a nice morning on their South Philly roof deck. It’s a good reminder that they’re taking everything in stride — really living the dream. Working hard, but having fun too, when it comes. This is The Key Presents: Cayetana. Continue reading →

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Cayetana take control with New Kind of Normal and Plum Records

Cayetana | photo by Jess Flynn | courtesy of the artist
Cayetana | photo by Jess Flynn | courtesy of the artist

The concept of Plum Records came in a dream. Well, the name of it did at least. The idea of putting out music themselves was something Cayetana had toyed with for a while. And it wasn’t a decision they made without lots of consideration.

“I think the decision mostly was born out of the idea that we wanted as much control over the timing of the record and how it was rolled out,” drummer Kelly Olsen says. “Because, you know, we have a lot of friends in bands who have done a lot of different things and worked with a lot of different labels. Through talking with people, we kind of realized that to have as much control over how the whole thing happens and how it rolls out, to have control over our own product and music and creativity, we decided that doing it ourselves made the most sense. And it’s been working out really well. We’ve been enjoying it.”

And from that, Plum Records was official, and would be the imprint for Cayetana’s new album, New Kind of Normal. It’s a fitting name for the circumstances around putting this album out. Learning how to run a record label is pretty tough, to put it lightly. There were a lot of things that they weren’t aware of or didn’t know how to do, but they learned by doing, and now are starting to feel comfortable with it. Continue reading →

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Stream Cayetana’s jam-packed and resilient LP, New Kind of Normal

Cayetana | photo by Emily Dubin | courtesy of the artist
Cayetana | photo by Emily Dubin | courtesy of the artist

Well, friends — the day has finally arrived. Philly’s favorite punk trio has gifted your patient waiting by dropping an early online stream of their new record, New Kind of Normal, over at Hype Machine. And gosh dang, what a gift this is.

Cayetana’s new album does not disappoint in the slightest, as the record’s twelve songs weave a beautifully powerful rollercoaster narrative where the band faces adversity and personal struggle with a resilient roundhouse kick to the face. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Jaguar Wright plays Nina Simone at Ardmore Music Hall, Arto Lindsay at Boot & Saddle, Amanda X at PhilaMOCA (Get Better Fest 4) and more

Jaguar Wright | via facebook.com/JaguarWright
Jaguar Wright | via facebook.com/JaguarWright

Jaguar Wright & Gerald Veasley perform the music of Nina Simone tonight at the Ardmore Music Hall. Wrapping up the Philadelphia Jazz Festival, this Unscripted Jazz Series show unites two renowned soul artists to celebrate the life and legacy of Ms. Simone. The show is 21+, and more information/tickets can be found on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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How Get Better Fest is delivering on the promise of hardcore and punk

Get Better Fest 3 | photo by Jeff Hersch | courtesy of Get Better Records
Get Better Fest 3 | photo by Jeff Hersch | courtesy of the artist

Alex Licktenhour wears their identity on their sleeve. Literally. The 27-year-old head of Get Better Records and the driving force behind the festival of the same name recently got the label’s logo, a sunflower bursting out of an upside down pink triangle, tattooed on the back of their arm. That logo, Lickenhour said, is a representation of, “Queerness [and] being non-binary.” Considering the history of the pink triangle being used to mark LGBTQ+ people in Nazi Germany, it also makes an obvious political statement.

This mixture of the personal and the political is reflected in their approach to running the label – going since 2010 – and booking the festival, which is happening for the fourth time at the end of this month. “I feel like through the label [and festival] I broadcast my politics,” Licktenhour explained. “Who is on the label, what I’m talking about. My politics are very open in terms of what I support and what I don’t support.”

Right now that includes a slew of releases from queer grindcore collective +HIRS+ (for whom Licktenhour is an occasional live drummer), rock n’ rollers Thin Lips, the post-G.L.O.S.S. band Tankini, and the final album from folk punk stalwarts Ramshackle Glory. Just as exciting is the recent announcement that the label would be putting out an album by Dark Thoughts, as well as the cassette release of Cayetana’s forthcoming New Kind of Normal.

What’s the unifying thread running through all these bands, outside of the fact that most are from Philadelphia? The label’s no-nonsense slogan addresses that: “DIY label. For the queers. No sexist, no racist, no transphobic, no homophobic, no apologist bullshit tolerated.”

The festival is a natural extension of that, especially since it serves as a fundraiser for progressive and radical non-profits. This year Get Better Fest – April 28th through the 30th – will be benefitting the Trans Assistance Project, Youth Emergency Services, and Women Against Abuse. Shows will be held at Glitter Galaxy, the First Unitarian Church and PhilaMOCA.

 

Continue reading →