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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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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 →