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The Key Studio Sessions: Katie Ellen

Anika Pyle first came to prominence fronting the acclaimed Brooklyn punk band Chumped, which riffed and raged for a few exciting years and then, following the album cycle for 2014’s Teenage Retirement, decided to retire.

In its wake, Pyle refocused to explore the more sensitive side of her songwriting in the project Katie Ellen, which debuted with a Bandcamp demo called wild <3 in early 2016. The indie rock riffs were ever present, as was Pyle’s powerful vocal delivery, but the range was notably more dynamic. Songs could be a midtempo stroll (the title track) as easily as they charged (“Lucy Stone”); clean guitar tones mixed in with fuzzed-out overdrive; the arrangements and melodies were as east coast rock as they were Nashville roots.

A move to Philly later, and Katie Ellen released Cowgirl Blues this July on Lauren Records. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Katie Ellen introduces themselves to a psyched PhilaMOCA audience for Cowgirl Blues record release show

Katie Ellen | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN

Meet Philadelphia’s most exciting new band: Katie Ellen. You’ve seen them around, opening for Cayetana and various other bands over the past year or so. You also might know frontwoman Anika Pyle from her previous, Brooklyn-based band called Chumped. But without a true, full-length LP, you likely never put a name to the face. But that changes today. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Katie Ellen at PhilaMOCA, Chill Moody at Boot and Saddle (benefit for Beyond the Bars), The Cactus Blossoms at Johnny Brenda’s

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

The official release of Katie Ellen‘s debut LP Cowgirl Blues is tomorrow, but you can hear it live a night early at the band’s record release show tonight at PhilaMOCA. The new project of Anika Pyle, former frontwoman of punk outfit Chumped, Katie Ellen is her platform for anthemic, cathartic, feminist “sparkle pop twang punk fuzz core” jams. Listen to leading single “Sad Girls Club” below and check out the XPN Concert Calendar for tickets and more information. Continue reading →

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Join Katie Ellen’s “Sad Girls Club” in anthemic new single

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

It took a good two seconds into Katie Ellen’s new single, “Sad Girls Club,” for me to be completely hooked. Yes, I would like to join the club, please. Is there a mailing list? I will sign now, thank you.

The personal, lyrically-driven anthem of a song mashes together any kind of insecurity one might feel for being different or straying from the collective normativity that is life (sigh), and effectively stomps it to bits with clattering cymbals and searing guitars. Continue reading →

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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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The Key Studio Sessions: Worriers

As far as album titles to encapsulate the state of the world in the year 2017, Survival Pop is about as on the nose as you can get.

The sophomore outing from punk rock four-piece Worriers — the project of singer / guitarist Lauren Denitzio, who relocated to Philadelphia from Brooklyn last year — boils over with rage and frustration in an era where the rights of marginalized members of American society are under attack.
Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cool Moon at Lava Space, Worriers at Johnny Brenda’s, The Hooters at Keswick Theater, and a whole bunch more

Cool Moon | photo via artist’s Facebook page

Houston’s Cool Moon is passing through Philly tonight at West Philly’s Lava Space. Helmed by frontwoman Andrea Lisi — who was the lead singer of the early aughties’ DIY D.C. power trio, Del Cielo — this new trio still rocks just as hard. Find more info on the show over at the XPN Concert Calendar, then stream their latest album Postparty Depression on Spotify below. Continue reading →