Along with all the other albums we’ve been waiting years for, Palehound‘s sophomore LP A Place I’ll Always Go was recently released on June 16th on Polyvinyl and it is as much fantastic as it is pure emotion. The trio from Boston brings their indie rock lo-fi sound to Boot and Saddle tonight as the second stop in their US tour in support of the new release. Joining them are Philly’s Queen of Jeans and Ursula at the 21+ show. For more information, see the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →
Singers and songwriters Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop bring their collaborative LP Love Letter for Hire to Philly tonight for a headlining show at Union Transfer. Last week, they dazzled the crowd at XPN’s NonCOMM-vention. Listen to their set here, and get tickets and more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →
Friday night’s bill at Union Transfer offered attendees a variety of punk acts, each with a distinct flavor.
The show began with Boston’s Palehound, who were celebrating their record release of debut full-length Dry Food. Singer Ellen Kempner brought a quiet energy with her band’s captivating brand of bedroom rock, playing tracks from Dry Food and 2013 EP Bent Nail. It was also encouraging to hear Kempner end her set by assuring audience members to come find her during the show if they felt at all uncomfortable with anyone’s behavior. Nice to see an artist making conscious efforts to keep the show as safe a space as possible. Continue reading →
Twenty-one-year-old Ellen Kempner is the brains behind Palehound. Known for writing songs that are both brutally honest and a pinch playful, Kempner – along with backing bandmates Jesse Weiss (drums) and Nick Koechel (bass) – has recorded a new LP, cleverly titled Dry Food. The album is streaming in its entirety via NPR Music’s First Listen series.
Beginning with “Molly”, a punchy track about a girl who “only knows how to love all alone,” Dry Food takes listeners on a journey through the head space of a young adult trying to assert herself and navigate life’s emotional landscapes. Continue reading →
New York based Palehound released the six song Bent Nail EP back in October, and I have to say I’m disappointed I did not hear about them until now. A lot of potential is wrapped up in this band, from the songwriting and lo-fi tunes, to singer Ellen Kempner’s striking voice.
Similarities can definitely be drawn to Philly’s own Hop Along – both feature passionate and aggressive front women backed by calculated hooks that result in something that is heartfelt and catchy.
“Drooler” contains a softly trudging verse that leads into a blown-up chorus where Kempner exclaims “Vandalize my body / If it helps you sleep soundly.” This song definitely grows on you. “Psycho Speak” is a trip through stories of rich lovers, bad neighbors, and laziness that flows with a non-stop upbeat guitar riff.
The band’s most notable song comes with “Pet Carrot,” with a great amount of humor and honesty intertwined throughout. Kempner takes us through this song as her voice dips and dives across her vocal range, but the guitar and bass also also pop. The EP finishes strong with “I Get Clean,” which focuses on the inability to clear your mind and “Flytrap,” which is a powerful humming ballad.
Out in the Storm, Katie Crutchfield’s fourth album under the Waxahatchee banner, is due out July 14th on Merge Records, and the band just announced a hometown Union Transfer show on record release day. Better news: Cayetana shares the bill, along with Snail Mail. Better still: Cayetana and Snail Mail will join Waxahatchee on tour through early august, hitting the midwest, Canada, Pacific Northwest and Southwest. From there, the tour branches off, with Palehound and Outer Spaces teaming up with Crutchfield & co.
South by Southwest: the festival to end all festivals. That time of the year when the entire world takes over the city of Austin for a week of networking, tacos, and lanyard tans. But somewhere amidst the corporate clutter, in between the long lines outside sponsored showcases and under the litter of promotional flyers strewn across the main drag of Austin’s 6th street by week’s end, is that which makes SXSW so strange and wonderful: the thousands of independent artists who chose to play more sets in just a few days than certain artists play in a year, compensated by the choice between $250 and a wristband, and the vague promise of discovery.
This year, I decided that I, myself, would participate in the SXSW hustle, running around the streets of Austin to the sound of a hundred bands at once, camera and notebook in hand (which is nothing, really, compared to the gear most musicians were toting) to catch up with nine of Philadelphia’s own artists showcasing at this year’s festival. Below, read excerpts from our conversations, and see photos from their live sets. Continue reading →
New York lo-fi indie rockers LVL UP, a year removed from a gig here in Philly at Union Transfer, shared a new song Tuesday titled “Hidden Driver.” The single is the second to be released off the forthcoming album Return to Love — the band’s third LP overall, but first with Sub Pop Records.
When I first walked into PhilaMOCA on a rainy Tuesday evening for the absolutely stacked quadruple-bill featuring I Tried to Run Away When I Was Six, PWR BTTM, Palehound, and Mitski, nearly everyone was sitting on the ground. I was confused – was I at the right show? Why aren’t people ready to mosh? Wasn’t this supposed to be a punk show?
It turns out that I was indeed at a punk show — the mostly twenty-something, denim-jacket-wearing crowd confirmed as much – but it didn’t have the raucous atmosphere I expected. Though the audience was forced to stand up and make room as more people trickled in through PhilaMOCA’s tiny doorway, the intimate atmosphere remained over the course of the entire evening. Continue reading →