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Powerful, Poignant, Fun: Open City celebrates City of Ash this weekend

Open City | photo by Scott Troyan | courtesy of Get Better Records
Open City | photo by Scott Troyan | scotttroyan.com | courtesy of Get Better Records

How much can you pack into just two songs? If you’re Open City, the answer is a ton. The hardcore quartet’s new 7” record City of Ash is seven minutes of incredibly powerful, poignant, and fun music. You might not consider ‘fun’ as being an important quality when it comes to purposely political art, but nobody wants to listen to something that is dull, even if it does share their ideals. Think of it as a ‘the medium is the message’ sort of thing. City of Ash is anything but dull. Continue reading →

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Meet Open City: Philly punk scene vets raging with abandon

Open City | photo courtesy of the artist
Open City | photo courtesy of the artist

Long running members of the Philadelphia hardcore punk scene got together this year to make new music under the Open City banner; the album, self-released today, is a fierce kick of energized outrage, deftly delivered by a crew with decades of experience under their belt.

Rachel Rubino of Bridge & Tunnel and Worriers fronts the band with gut-wrenching vocals and incisive lyrics; Andy Nelson and Dan Yemin from Paint it Black (and various others) play bass and guitar respectively, with Yemin on guitar for the first time since his Kid Dynamite days; pounding out the rhythms is Chris Wilson of Ted Leo & The Pharmacists and HOUND. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: XPN Welcomes Freelance Whales to The Abbey Bar, Dave Hause opening for Flogging Molly at The Electric Factory, XPN Welcomes The Stray Birds to World Cafe Live, Sour Mash at City Tap House

Brooklyn indie kids Freelance Whales head out to Harrisburg for a show at The Abbey Bar tonight.  The quintet followed up their 2009 debut with Diluvia last year.  The sophomore effort sees Freelance Whales expanding their sound and their narrative with more intricate arrangements and a complex sci-fi concept running through the tracks.  What hasn’t changed with the new release is the band’s accessible and appealing indie pop sound that got the buzz started in 2009.  Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with Hundred Waters can be found here.  Below, watch the video for “Spitting Image.”

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Hop Along and Kite Party at The Fire, RNDM at Union Transfer, Now Now Opening for Motion City Soundtrack at TLA, Milk Carton Kids at Tin Angel


Hop Along and Kite Party will be performing tonight at The Fire. Hop Along released their debut full-length album Get Disowned earlier this year in May, while fellow local band Kite Party have the entirety of their first album Hand Claps Music available as a free download here. The all ages show tonight starts at 6:30; tickets are available here. Below, watch Kite Party performing “Buried in Dogs.”

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Just Announced: Cold Fronts and City Rain opening for Vacationer at Underground Arts

Photo by Kirk Love | kirklove.tumblr.com

We love to see a musical pairing that’s working this well. Electro-pop outfit City Rain and swaggery rockers Cold Fronts first shared the stage at PhilaMOCA in August. Since then, they’ve opened the Work Drugs Endless Summer Kickoff at Johnny Brenda’s last weekend, and now they’ve both been added as openers on the September 28 Vacationer show at Underground Arts. Tickets to the 21+ show are available here; below, check out Cold Fronts’ video for “Blood.”

Cold Fronts – Blood from think/feel on Vimeo.

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MilkBoy Coffee’s Center City location opened this week, live shows start next month (including plenty of local acts)

MilkBoy Coffee’s third location opened earlier this week at 1100 Chestnut Street. The coffee shop, bar, and music venue joins the franchise’s two Main Line locations in Ardmore and Bryn Mawr. Like its sister sites, MilkBoy Philly will serve coffee as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare, with many vegetarian options available. The Center City spot is the first to hold a liquor license, and will feature a full bar on each of its two floors. The top floor will feature a 200-person standing room 21+ music venue, for which eight shows have already been announced. One highlight is sure to include a September 29th show with local Eastern European brass band-inspired collective West Philadelphia Orchestra and recent 2nd Street Festival performers, Philly band The Great Unknown. Other local acts with scheduled shows include Gang, Black Landlord, Meeting in the Aisle, and Man Like Machine.

Ticket prices for the concerts are cheap, ranging from $8 – $13.50, so be sure to check out the new venue and support some local music while you’re at it.

Preliminary MilkBoy Philly show calendar:

9/17: Gang w/ Hank & Cupcakes and Pink Skull
9/21: Jim Ward
9/24: Black Landlord
9/28: We Are Augustines
9/29: West Philadelphia Orchestra w/ The Great Unknown
9/30: Meeting in the Aisle (Radiohead Tribute Band) w/ Man Like Machine
10/6: Toubab Krewe w/ Gongo Junction
10/20: Lisa Hannigan

MilkBoy Philly is located at 1100 Chestnut Street. Its hours of operation are from 6am – 11pm. Tickets to all upcoming shows can be found here.

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Free At Noon Flashback: Shy Boys introduce Kansas City indie pop to World Cafe Live

Shy Boys performing at World Cafe Live for WXPN’s Free At Noon Concert | photo by Rich McKie

Shy Boys may be from out of town — Kansas City, Missouri, to be exact — but their two-day stint in Philadelphia has had them feeling right at home. After the band’s show at PhilaMOCA last night, they were gearing up for today’s Free at Noon performance with a hearty breakfast when frontman Collin Rausch noticed that the restaurant was playing XPN over the speakers. It got even more surreal for the band when they heard a promo for own show today, making them feel like they weren’t too far away from home after all. Continue reading →

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And now, eight minutes of Bad Brains playing City Gardens in 1991

Bad Brains in Trenton | still from video

Is there a venue in South Jersey more legendary than City Gardens? Is there a band in punk more fraught with turmoil than Bad Brains?

Here’s a snippet of a night on October 20th, 1991, when the energies of the Trenton club and the energies of the D.C. icons converged. Of course, it’s the third or fourth make of the Bad Brains lineup…so their energies are probably not the same as they were in the “Banned in D.C.” years. Core members Dr. Know on guitar and Darryl Jennifer on bass are rocking their distinctive interplay throughout, but if you’re looking at that grainy VHS transfer footage and thinking “Hmmmm, I don’t remember H.R. being that ripped,” your eyes are not playing tricks on you.

This concert took place after the second time the legendary and controversial vocalist departed the band along with his brother, drummer Earl Hudson — supposedly, the reason had to do with disagreements over whether Bad Brains should lean more to their punk side, or their dub/reggae side. This short-lived version of the band features Mackie Jayson on drums and Chuck Mosely on vocals, and if you’re picking up a LA style alternative funk rock groove going on with these performances, your ears are not playing tricks on you. Continue reading →

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Watch Rosali strip down Trouble Anyway for her Celler Session at City Winery NYC

Rosali
Rosali at City Winery | still from video

During her late summer solo tour, Philly singer-songwriter Rosali taped a Cellar Sessions set at NYC venue City Winery. Backed by colorfully illuminated wine barrels, she plays four songs from her standout 2018 record Trouble Anyway — “If I Was Your Heart,” “Dead And Gone,” “Silver Eyes,” and “I Wanna Know.”   Continue reading →