Yesterday we gave those of you spending pope weekend in Philly some tips on what is going on and how exactly you should get there. But many are probably wary of what will be one of the most crowded weekends in the city’s history – and thankfully, there’s plenty of live music a short roadtrip away. Today, we bring you a roundup of concerts that are worth venturing outside of Popeville to catch. Continue reading →
If you are a fan of beer and Philly’s own Man Man — and, uh, who isn’t — than The Brooklyn Brewery Mash may be the thing for you. The event, which the brewery describes as, “America’s largest traveling food and arts festival” will hit Philly the week of October 17 and will feature food, comedy, film, music and of course beer. Continue reading →
Man Man‘s Honus Honus teamed up with Hot Karate‘s King Cyrus on a cover of The Nerves’ “Hanging On the Telephone” for a new vinyl box set. Recording as Eel Bros, the pair are joined by No Age, Sean Bonnette (of Andrew Jackson Jihad) and Rozwell kid in the collaborative tribute to classic punk, eighties rock and nineties alt-rock.
The Indie Rock Hit Parade returns tonight at 11pm on XPN! What should you expect to hear? Nothing but the best in new and classic indie stuff, of course! On tonight’s show, we’ll spotlight the newly released (and downright terrific) ninth album from Belle & Sebastian, Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance. We’ll also get to a these tracks, hot off the presses:
Sunday morning, Man Man‘s lead howler Ryan “Honus Honus” Kattner posted the above image on his (very amusing) Instagram. What could have been an easily ignored spam message has turned into something far more magical over the ensuing days, as Kattner has engaged “Man Man” in a conversation about his possible adoption by the Philly crew.
What better way to wrap up the Marina Stage run at the 2014 XPoNential Music Festival than with Philadelphia’s beloved ever-changing art-rock ensemble Man Man. From Honus Honus’ rock star entrance, to his “costume changes” that included an iridescent cape and white fur coat, the band that consistently brings us far-out, way fun experimental songs absolutely rocked the crowd to their feet.
I’ve been a fan fan of Man Man for almost a decade now—the same amount of time I’ve lived in Philadelphia. Coincidence? Maybe. But I think there’s something quintessentially Philly about this wacky foursome—something passionate, and unhinged, and maybe a little sweaty—with a big heart underneath all the face-paint. For the past 10 years, I’ve loved watching them grow with the city, transitioning from a ragtag group of gypsy punk weirdos singing fantasy-inspired chants—to a (more) polished quartet crafting real moments of heartache—while never losing their unique essence.
From the start, front man Ryan Kattner (a.k.a. Honus Honus) has been the driving creative force behind the band, as well as one of our fave interview subjects. One year after our last chat, I rung up Kattner again, in advance of Man Man’s set at XPoNential Fest. We talked kids, celebs, and audience requests—read on to get the full scoop. Continue reading →
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.
Eric Lockwood, Music Director of the School of Rock in Charlotte, North Carolina, decided to show some of his camp kids a video of Philly’s Man Man performing live. He told them they were the “world’s best rock band” and that they were about to perform the “best song in the world.” Hilarity shortly ensued.
A few of the reactions in the video, featured over at Philly Mag earlier today, included:
“What’s wrong with him?”
“This is a creepy band!”
“Dude, you’re going to break your drumsticks.”
“They look like they’re drunk!”
Watch the full video below and make sure you (and your family) catch Man Man when they play #XPNFest next month.
In some ways, the story of Northern Arms is a story of redemption. It’s also a story about friendship, and being true to one’s self emotionally.
“I always felt that a lot of bands held back if they did anything emotional—like they had to do it ironically, or with a smirk,” says Eric Bandel, from the back balcony of Standard Tap. “The stuff we were working on—we just wanted it to be true. We didn’t want to hold back.”
His band mate Keith Pierce nods in agreement. Emotional honesty has always been at the core of Northern Arms’ process, leading to beautiful, complex compositions that juxtapose highs and lows, for a result that feels startlingly cathartic.
Over the past 13 years, the band’s gone through several incarnations, including the 10-person rock monolith it is today. This Friday, they’ll celebrate the release of their debut, self-titled record with a party at Johnny Brenda’s. Afterwards, they have plans to tour the East Coast. These days everything seems to be falling into place.
But that wasn’t always the case.
“[When we first started playing together] we made some really beautiful stuff, but we were fuck-ups,” says Pierce. “We couldn’t keep it together. We would play out just enough that we could sustain our drinking. We let our worldview weigh on us, and it had bad effects.”