Since 2014, Illinois-based label Polyvinyl Records’ Single Series has been putting out monthly exclusive singles from their favorite artists, all recorded on the same Tascam 4-Track cassette recorder. We’ve already gotten dual singles from Ra Ra Riot, Tim Kasher, and Joyce Manor this year, and we just got word that Philly favorites Japanese Breakfastare this month’s featured artist will be featured in the series later this year.
Really, I cannot begin to imagine the intense pressure and stress and emotional drain of being an artist that hundreds of thousands of people adore. Your fans look up to you, they rely on you for an escape from or a catharsis of the negative energy in their lives. They rely on you for guidance and strength. But you’re human too, and you’re grappling with the same issues.
Philly indie rock four-piece Modern Baseball has always been up front and heart-on-their-sleeve about their feelings — it’s what sparked that connection with a massively devoted fan base in the first place, and what keeps it going. When the band launched their album Holy Ghost last year, they were very open about its true-to-life content: struggles with depression and mental health, for singer-guitarists Brendan Lukens and Jake Ewald alike.
When Lukens decided to sit out of the band’s European tour this winter to focus on his mental well-being, it was the right decision — not just because we care about Bren and want him to the best care of himself possible, but because it was a good lead-by-example moment. Acknowledge when you need to step away, acknowledge when you need help and accept it.
Modern Baseball is heading across the pond with Thin Lips and The Superweaks — but they’re making the run a member short, as guitarist / vocalist Brendan Lukens announced today he was not joining the band on the European tour to focus on his mental health.
Later this month, Modern Baseball will embark on a European tour with Thin Lips and The Superweaks, and as part of the tour, they’ve recorded a three-way split EP. Thin Lips’ track, “Not Losing Sleep”, premiered a few weeks ago, and now you can hear MoBo’s contribution. “This Song is Gonna Buy Brendan Lukens a New Pair of Socks” may not have much to do with buying socks, but it’s sure to knock yours off! Wow, that was awful. Forget that I said that. The song is good. Just keep reading. Please. Continue reading →
With a successful album release in their rear view and an opening slot for Brand New in their future, Modern Baseball has been having quite the year. At this point, It would be easy for guitarist/songwriter Jake Ewald to rest on his laurels, but he’s not done yet. Somehow, in the midst of everything going on with his main band, he’s managed to write and record the debut album for side-project Slaughter Beach, Dog. Continue reading →
Now this is huge. The mega-tour of my dreams was announced this week in the form of Philly punk sensations Modern Baseball heading out on a fall run with Brand New and The Front Bottoms. Speculation about this tour was flying around the internet a few days prior but it just seemed TOO good to be true, and so I brushed it off. Alas, you better believe your eyes because it is in fact happening and you’re not going to want to miss out on it. Although there’s no Philly date this time around, you’ll be able to catch them in Allentown, PA at the PPL Center on November 11th. Continue reading →
At the end of last month, Philly favorites Modern Baseball set out on a full North American headlining run, The Holy Ghost Tour, in support of their newest and most emotionally raw album yet, Holy Ghost. Another Philly band, Thin Lips, and Joyce Manor from California, were brought along on this tour to support the band. On Sunday night, Modern Baseball brought their highly anticipated tour home to Philly, where they played to a huge crowd that packed The Fillmore in Fishtown. Continue reading →
With the release of her debut LP Out of Love just last month, Rosali is in Philly tonight for a hometown record release show at Ortlieb’s. The folk singer songwriter premiered her music video for the track “Black As Ashes” with us earlier this month and you can check out the kaleidoscopic world she creates below. Check out the XPN Concert Calendar for tickets and more information on this show. Continue reading →
The day before they released Holy Ghost, Modern Baseball played an in-store set at Long in the Tooth for people who pre-ordered the new LP. The set consisted of most of the new record, plus older songs like “Your Graduation” and “Fine, Great.” The Key’s John Vettese was on hand to capture the event on film, snapping shots of the band setting up for the session, fans browsing for records, MoBo frontman Brendan Lukens taking selfies and signing autographs, and of course people singing along. Modern Baseball headline The Fillmore‘s main stage on June 26th; tickets and information can be found on the XPN Concert Calendar.
Let’s not mince words here – Modern Baseball‘s new Holy Ghost is out this week and it’s a frickin’ masterpiece.
The record finds the Philly four-piece stepping beyond the punk rock roots of its formative releases and into bigger, bolder sonic territories, armed with some of their most disarmingly honest and personal songwriting to date. Divided down the middle (a la Speakerboxx / The Love Below) with an A-side focusing on singer-guitarist Jacob Ewald’s tracks and a B-side collecting Brendan Lukens’ tracks, Holy Ghost – out Friday on Run For Cover – is a stirring meditation on loss and change.
Ewald’s grandfather passed away at the same time as he was entering a new romantic relationship and, as he describes it, he found himself torn between two types conflicting emotions, both very intense. Lukens, meanwhile, struggled with mental health issues, and tells us that his half of Holy Ghost focused the things he learned about his illness, his addiction and himself while at an out-patient psychiatric treatment center.
The songwriting duo’s unflinching self-reflection and fearless honesty resulted in their most engaging record to date, and some of their biggest shows as well. Continue reading →