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Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties releases full discography as pay-what-you-want to benefit the ACLU

Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties at Made In America | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN
Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties at Made In America | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

For the next few weeks you’ll be able to download the full discography of Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties for a pay-what-you-want donation as the local musician raises money to support the American Civil Liberties Union. This comes alongside announcements from many artists around the country that they will be donating proceeds to support organizations that may be negatively affected by the incoming President.

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The Key Studio Sessions: Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties

Dan Campbell has always been a powerful storyteller, going back to the howling vignettes of personal catharsis he’s been delivering as frontman of The Wonder Years for the past decade and change. A few years ago, the Lansdale native decided to pick up an acoustic guitar and stretch out his narrative scope with the solo project Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties.

It debuted on 2014’s We Don’t Have Each Other by tracing the story of the band’s fictional namesake — a young man who, between drinking problems, divorce and deaths in the family, has a very difficult year. When we chatted earlier this year, Campbell said he was inspired to pursue the project after seeing The Mountain Goats for the first time. Songwriter John Darnielle bowled him over with his ability to create intensely detailed songs about very specific situations that nevertheless connect in a universal sense.

That’s exactly what Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties achieves, between its debut and the new Bittersweet EP, both on Hopeless Records. Campbell estimated there are at least two more albums worth of songs in the Aaron West saga. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Down the Shore: Aaron West delivers a spontaneously special set in OCNJ

Aaron West on the Ocean City boardwalk| photo by Joe Bloss
Aaron West on the Ocean City boardwalk | photo by Joe Bloss

Ah, the Jersey Shore. It’s home to pesky seagulls, lame t-shirts, and now, Aaron West concerts. The side project of The Wonder Years frontman Dan Campbell made an appearance at the 17th Street boardwalk pavilion Tuesday in Ocean City, NJ…although, if there’s one thing to take away from the set, it’s that Aaron West & The Roaring Twenties is much more than some side project.

After fans stuffed into Underground Arts to see an Aaron West solo performance early last month, a venue like the tiny boardwalk pavilion doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. But considering Campbell (West? I’m never too sure of where to draw the line between character and reality) shared the news of this impromptu set on Twitter just two days ago, it couldn’t have made for a better setting. Continue reading →

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Rihanna, Coldplay, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Chance The Rapper, Grimes, Car Seat Headrest + more playing Made In America

coldplay
Coldplay | press photo by Julia Kennedy

Here’s your Made In America lineup: Coldplay, Rihanna, Chance The Rapper, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, DJ Khaled, Jamie XX, Gary Clark, Jr., Lil Uzi Vert, Gallant, Car Seat Headrest, Kevin Devine, Aaron West & The Roaring Twenties, Grimes, ColleGrove (Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz) and more.

It’s happening September 3rd and 4th on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Tickets go on sale Wednesday, June 22nd through Tidal at 10 a.m. General public on-sale is June 27th at 10 a.m. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties at Underground Arts, Big Thief at World Cafe Live, The City and I at Kung Fu Necktie and more…

Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties
Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties | photo by Mitch Wojcik | courtesy of the artist

Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties bring their new Bittersweet EP to Underground Arts tonight. The project of former Wonder Years’ frontman Dan Campbell, the Roaring Twenties chronicle an historical character living in the South. Campbell recently shared album single “Goodbye, Carolina Blues,” which you can listen to below. Pick up tickets for the 21+ show here.

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PREMIERE: A master class in songwriting on Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties’ “Green Like The G Train”

Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties
Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties | photo by Mitch Wojcik | courtesy of the artist

Many moons ago, punk scene vet Dan Campbell was playing a festival gig in Florida when a chance encounter with another artist on the bill planted the seeds for his next project.

It was 2010, and Campbell recalls bouncing from stage to stage around the St. Johns County Fairgrounds, taking in the eclectic lineup of the Harvest of Hope Festival, when he found himself simply bowled over by a solo performance from The Mountain Goats. Intending to just check out a couple songs and move on, he was immediately hooked, and an hour later, he’d watched frontman John Darnielle play his entire set.

“He was so unbelievably human, without ego or pretense,” Campbell recalls. “Just a person with a guitar playing songs that meant a lot to him.

“His ability to craft stories,” he continues, “was what made me want to do Aaron West in the first place.” Continue reading →

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Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties will bring Bittersweet EP to Underground Arts in June

aaron west
Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties | photo courtesy of the artist.

Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties, the folk-punk band fronted by The Wonder Years‘ Dan Campbell, has announced a summer tour with Allison Weiss, Can’t Swim, and Cold Collective. This includes a stop at Underground Arts in Philly on Thursday, June 2nd.

Campbell also recently announced the Bittersweet EP, which will be out on May 20th. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties at The Foundry, The End of America at Boot & Saddle, A.M. Mills at Ortlieb’s

aaron west
Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties | photo via facebook.com/aaronwestandtheroaringtwenties

Dan Campbell brings his Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties project to The Foundry tonight. The Wonder Years’ frontman by day, Campbell started this conceptual folk-rock band as “a character study conducted through music” last year. His first release under the moniker was We Don’t Have Each Other, which will be performed in its entirety tonight. Tickets and information for the show can be found here; watch “Our Apartment” below.

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Warped Tour Camden Orientation: 10 bands you need to see

The Kenneths from the UK will appear at the Philadelphia stop of the Warped Tour this year | via facebook.com/WarpedTour

‘Tis the Warped Tour season once more, where alternative acts from all across the world converge and kids wear all black in 90-degree weather. As always, the lineup is massive, and it includes bands from as far as the UK and Australia to as close as right here in Philadelphia.

For those of you who are new to Warped Tour, you might have no clue who to make time to see. Don’t worry! We’ve compiled a list of standout performers that will be at the Philly-area stop this year this Friday. And even if you’re a seasoned Warped Tour-goer, you might want to pay attention – you don’t want to miss these artists. Continue reading →

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Aaron West: A punk popster’s personal transformation into a Llewyn Davis styled troubadour

Photo courtesy of the artist.
Photo courtesy of the artist.

The Wonder Years’ 2011 release, Suburbia: I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing, with its frequent references and allusions to Allen Ginsberg’s marathon poem “America,” felt like a turning point in singer Dan Campbell’s songwriting. There was something about the way he appropriated Ginsberg’s text to work with his own that broke out of the traditional pop punk tropes. The next Wonder Years record, last year’s The Greatest Generation, established a wide thematic scope in its choruses, couplets and bridges, all reprised in a seven-minute closing track, “I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral” — not totally unlike musical theatre. Aside from penning relentlessly catchy pop punk songs, Suburbia and Generation proved Campbell not only capable of viewing The Big Picture in writing a record; he’s highly literate in it.

That’s why Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties, Campbell’s conceptual folk-rock solo release, doesn’t come as much of a surprise. We Don’t Have Each Other (out today on Hopeless follows a very rough year in the life of Aaron West, Campbell’s proxy and all-around Llewyn Davis-troubadour-type sad sap. Gone are the heavy, three-guitar-strong power chords that always trustingly flank Campbell’s voice — always vulnerable and without shame — in the Wonder Years. In their place, We Don’t Have Each Other is flush with keys, horns, pedal steel guitars, banjos and what would almost be a heavy-handed smack to the face telling you, “This is Americana! This is a departure!” if the whole thing wasn’t so expertly executed. The opening track “Our Apartment” delivers all of this before the song is even half finished.

Campbell may be trying on hats, but they look pretty good on him and complement his figure. Part of what makes this record work so well is that while the whole idea here is to assume a character, an identity, by no means does that experiment isolate any listener knowledgeable of Campbell’s past work. Instead of making some swift, stylistic left turn, these songs instead feel filtered through that lens of trying something new. “St. Joe Keeps Us Safe” and “Runnin’ Scared” feel comfortable in the way the alt-country instrumentation is organized; these could be stripped-down Wonder Years songs, even. But it’s in the quieter, mid-tempo songs, in “Divorce and the American South” or “Get Me Out Of Here Alive,” that feel carry to most excitement, as they stray furthest from Campbell’s assumed comfort zone.
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