It’s been a while since we’ve heard from infamous Philly rockers The Extraordinaires. The band released its last album, Dress for Nasty Weather, back in 2012 and have pretty much kept quiet ever since, its members moving on to new projects. Until now, that is.
This year, Extraordinaires songwriters Jay Purdy and Matt Gibson are bringing the band back. Their entire catalogue, most of which is currently available on Bandcamp, will be released on Spotify next month. But them most exciting piece of news is that in just a few short weeks, we’ll be able to see The Extraordinaires live, as they take the stage at PhilaMOCA on February 6 to revisit their storied past with a deep dive into their catalogue, which reaches back to the early aughts. Continue reading →
Swedish musician Jose Gonzalez and New York classical music ensemble yMusic headline Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center tonight. Gonzalez, best known for his work with Junip and Zero 7, released a solo LP called Vestiges and Claws last year. And this is not the first time that yMusic is collaborating with a singer-songwriter; they joined forces with Ben Folds just last year. Check out Gonzalez and yMusic performing the former’s “With the Ink of a Ghost” below and pick up tickets for the all-ages concert here.
Matt Gibson had a tough decision to make in 2011. He either had to figure out how to keep his band, the Extraordinaires, alive in the wake of Punk Rock Payroll, the record label they’d been a part of going under, or accept an offer to go on tour playing in Man Man.
He ended up accepting and touring with Man Man as a multi-instrumentalist in support of their album Life Fantastic until 2012. His experience touring in a nationally recognized act didn’t yield the results he’d originally imagined though.
“I think I was going into it with a lot higher hopes of meeting more people and meeting more people that wanted to hear new music, or being able to share the Extraordinaires music with them,” Gibson says. “Or meeting people to make contacts with them that may be able to help with the Extraordinaires. But now looking back, that may have been a naive thought. Because the reality of it is that everybody is trying to do the same thing and you really need to have something that’s impressive to peak your head out above everybody else’s. Nobody really cares unless there’s really some hype behind it.”
But he did come away with added comfort for playing in front of larger crowds among other things that helped his main band after rejoining in 2012, which come up later in this piece.
However, Gibson later found out what he thought about bands needing hype to catch the attention of the public may not be true. He and the rest of the Extraordinaires took the crowd-sourcing approach in the winter of 2012 to aid in releasing their upcoming album, Dress for Nasty Weather, their first on their new label, Color Theory Records, which they are running with Justin Wolf of Lux Perpetua. Through a Kickstarter campaign the Extraordinaires surpassed their goal by $2,000.
“Because for what we accomplished with Punk Rock Payroll,” Jay Purdy says, “it was really hard to lose that support system. But it was really inspiring to know that people had taken notice enough that we could do another book.”
Now working under the Color Theory flag, the Extraordinaires want to “keep the spirit of Punk Rock Payroll alive,” as Purdy puts it about the original label that released their first couple albums – with handmade books.
“Our current goal is to be an outlet for bands to do interesting releases,” he says. “As far as vinyl, CDs and digital downloads go that’s kind of standard practice. Because when we were on Punk Rock Payroll, simply by aggregating all of our resources, we were able to do these really unique releases.”
Punk Rock Payroll started as a small merchandise company in 2003, by Frede Zimmer focusing on buttons and screen printing and eventually grew into to being a label for a small roster of bands. Releases on PRP weren’t just conventional CDs, tapes, vinyl records, or even digital downloads, but much more. The boutique label put out music that were more like art projects than just albums.
For example, the Extraordinaires have put out each of their albums on CD accompanied by a hard bound book with the albums’ lyrics printed on its pages. This is more than appropriate for the band’s tendency of telling stories in their music. A song about to come out on Dress for Nasty Weather and personal favorite of Purdy’s is “Stray Bullet,” a tune that he says a bit like a modern version of Pinocchio but a bit darker. And don’t forget about “The Egg of Columbus,” from 2009’s Electric and Benevolent that tells the story of that certain Italian that discovered the Americas. And from the upcoming Dress for Nasty Weather, they are bringing their first music video to light for “Blue Moon.” In it each member of the band plays the role of a Charlie Chaplin-like character, meets what Purdy describes as an “Amerlia Earhart character,” document their day together with her and maybe fall for her, too.
Philadelphia storytellers The Extraordinaires have been out of the limelight for much of this year, playing only sporadically and keeping mostly to themselves. But there’s good reason for the reclusiveness – the pop-rock outfit has been working on a fourth full-length album, which they recently reported has been recorded and mixed and is off to the renowned mastering studio of Joe LaPorta (Vampire Weekend, Neutral Milk Hotel, etc.). Still in need of a name and a release date, the new album was recorded at Fancy Time Studio in Kensington with Kyle “Slick” Johnson and follows a pair of 2012 EP / single releases.
In their latest Kickstarter update, The Extraordinaires shared a studio video of footage from the tracking sessions set to a sneak peak of “Stray Bullet.” The song strolls along a melodic path of jazzy trombone solos, marching snares and vaudevillian piano playing while Jay Purdy sings a narrative built around living in the city. Watch the video below and read a brief Q&A about the record here. While there are no set live dates for The Extraordinaires yet, it was promised in the update that the band will tour once the album is out.
Here at The Key we love local music every day. Today is extra special because the folks at Loves Local Music are celebrating the inaugural Philadelphia Local Music Day. In our interview with Loves Local Music founder Monika Julien, she explained “the primary mission of Loves Local Music is to build relationships with musicians, artists, businesses, innovators, and other visionaries to organize creative events that give local Philadelphia musicians more exposure, bring awareness to Philadelphia’s local music scene, and make local music more accessible to the community.” Today, many local businesses around the city will be playing the music of five bands, putting the spotlight on Work Drugs, Bandname, Buried Beds, Cheers Elephant and The Extraordinaires. Some of the businesses participating include Johnny Brenda’s, The Lola Bean, Repo Records, Trophy Bikes North, The Marvelous! Music record store, Federal Donuts and more. Today at 1 p.m. The Extraordinaires will be playing a free show at The Rocket Cat Cafe. All participating businesses will also be handing out a download card with a song from each of the bands. Thanks to the bands and to Loves Local Music, you can download the five song sampler here.
We’ve got a rare double-header in today’s Philly Local Philes. First, there’s the delightful indie-pop four-piece When I Was 12. Their self-released EP, Recollections Of Affection, is bouncy and chipper, but it’s also got teeth. Check out the sharp strums and pointed lyrics of “Vanilla Vodka” in the first half of the Philly Phile, and catch the band live this Saturday, April 16, when it plays Danger Danger Gallery with Slow Animal, Gypsy Death And You, and Caboder.
Next up, we’ve got a guest appearance from Evan Smoker of The Extraordinaires who’s going to tell us about his band’s entry in the Road to Roo competition—which could win them a spot on this year’s Bonnaroo lineup. And you can help, by downloading their song “Patent Pending” from the contest webpage (we hear a short clip of the number in the Philly Phile). Voting ends Friday at 11:59 p.m., and the guys are currently performing well: out of 400 bands nationwide, they’ve cracked the top 20.
Just before the Philly-based rock act wraps up its spring tour, it has made “Laugh Out Louder”—the second track from the band’s three-song Postcard EP (on Punk Rock Payroll)—available for free. You can give it a listen below.