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Celebrate 10 years of Two Piece Fest with The Afterglows, HIRS and more

two piece fest
The Afterglows | photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN

How do you squeeze over twenty bands on a bill for a festival in the basement of the First Unitarian Church and have the show run smoothly? Two stages, ten years of experience, and just enough time between acts for the packed crowd to shuffle from one end of the room to the other. The folks behind Two Piece Fest have been doing this for a decade now, so when the annual event hits the Church on February 25th we can expect the usual jam-packed day of celebrating duos of all sounds and styles.

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The Key Studio Sessions: The Afterglows

Here’s a perfect example of the influence of proximity in a tightly knit music community: Mikey Cantor has set up shop in West Philly for a couple years now with his spectral indie rock project The Goodbye Party, and moved in the same circles as the folks from Swearin’ and Waxahatchee, among others. A while back, he found himself housemates with Sam Cook-Parrot, who helms the prolific punk outfit Radiator Hospital. Both share an affinity for DIY home recording, playing gigs in warehouses and basements, and generally going against the grain in an oft-brutal music industry.

But as they told NPR earlier this summer, living together while working on music for their own projects made them realize their sonic similarities. Sure, Cantor reaches for stratospheric heights with shoegaze and psych-tinged anthems, while Cook-Parrott jams econo with distortion pedal rock at an incredible clip. But the songwriting bones of both date back to classic American pop of the 50s and 60s. Enter The Afterglows.
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Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Sam Cook-Parrot of Radiator Hospital + Mikey Cantor of The Goodbye Party = The Afterglows

The Afterglows | photo via NPR Music

Two well-known names around town have teamed up for a new project called The Afterglows. Radiator Hospital‘s Sam Cook-Parrot and The Goodbye Party‘s Mikey Cantor will release a collaborative self-titled album later this summer, sharing the news and lead single “Angels In the Sunshine Hotel” with NPR earlier this week.
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The Key Studio Sessions: Radiator Hospital

Five years ago, Sam Cook-Parrot moved from Grand Rapids, Michigan to West Philadelphia with some guitars, some songs and a healthy Bandcamp back-catalog. His project, Radiator Hospital, pretty much became an instant hit around the scene, whether he was performing solo in the basement of Nacho House (where I first encountered him, opening for Ted Leo) or turning it up full-band style at Golden Tea.

Having trusted friends for collaborators helped. Sam knew drummer Jeff Bolt from back home, and the two relocated to Philly around the same time. They joke that they picked up Cleveland bassist Jon Rybicki along the way, while New Yorker Cynthia Schemmer joined on lead guitar after meeting Sam amid her own move to Philly. The chemistry was undeniable, the enthusiasm was contagious and the appeal was clear: this band had rip-roaring punk rock energy, classic pop songwriting motifs and themes — their honest, vulnerable songs tend to dissect love and yearning over hooky melodies — and a totally earnest, engaging delivery. Or, as their very on-point Facebook bio distills it: “We are a rock band of rockers who love to rock. We also can be just one person who is much quieter but still loves to rock.” Right on.
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Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Vagabon at PhilaMOCA, Lil Kim at Santander Arena, Two Piece Fest at First Unitarian Church, and more…

Vagabon | courtesy of the artist
Vagabon | courtesy of the artist

Singer/songwriter/producer/creator Vagabon will headline PhilaMOCA tonight in support of her new record Infinite Worlds. She’ll be joined by recent Philly transplant Shamir and the enchanting Julie Byrne. Find a full write-up of the album here, and listen to lead single “Fear and Force” below. For tickets and more information, head over to XPN’s Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Three Man Cannon at Boot and Saddle, Kississippi at Chameleon Club, Cuddle Magic at World Cafe Live and more

Three Man Cannon
Three Man Cannon | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Lame-O Record’s annual residency at Boot and Saddle ends with a bang, leaving with a headlining set by Three Man Cannon. Their relaxed indie rock is quintessential to Lame-O’s roster, and Katie Ellen and The Afterglows as support makes this a stacked local bill not to be missed. The gig is 21+, and all proceeds will be donated to the Philly ACLU; more information and tickets can be found here. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Three Man Cannon

To be honest, I still can’t believe we got all four members of Three Man Cannon in the studio at the same time.

The Philly-based four piece — vets of the regional punk rock community — are busy, busy dudes. Singer-guitarist-keyboardist Matt Schimelfenig is a studio engineer by day (and night), and seems to always be working on someone or other’s records. Pat Brier drums plays in at least two other bands (8 and Queen Jesus) while Spenser Colmbs can sometimes be seen holding down the low end for Cherry, other times performing solo. As for guitarist Dennis Mishko, I’m not certain, but I believe TMC is his only project — so there’s that. But he also lives in Scranton.
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On-The-Job Training: Eric Osman of Lame-O on learning how to run a record label by running a record label

Eric Osman of Lame-O Records | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Eric Osman of Lame-O Records | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

When Philly record label Lame-O launched in 2012, the goal was simple: put out a record. Put out a very specific record, one that did not have a home elsewhere. As it happened, Modern Baseball‘s debut Sports was wildly successful, and it left many wondering what was next for the fledgling imprint — including its co-founders Eric Osman and Emily Hakes. Continue reading →