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Weird out to the latest from experimental Philly outfit Banned Books

Banned Books | Photo courtesy of the artist
Banned Books | Photo courtesy of the artist

In three short minutes, “Fuselage,” the new release from Philly experimental three-piece Banned Books, undergoes an impressive number of mutations. Beginning with nine crushing chords, the track kicks off with an oppressive feeling of angst.

It lasts about ten seconds.

A brief moment of silence ensues, and we’re suddenly given a taste of a delicate, shimmering guitar riff. Just as quickly, the track morphs yet again, this time adding a grimy layer of bass underneath the melody. It’s an appropriate opening for a song that is bound to keep you off balance in the best way possible. Continue reading →

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April’s Communion Showcase hosts The Lawsuits, Banned Books, Gretchen Lohse and more

Gretchen Lohse | photo by Thomas Hughes
Gretchen Lohse | photo by Thomas Hughes

Following this month’s strong showing at the Communion Club Night at Underground Arts, the monthly event has announced the bill for the next installment, taking place on April 3rd.  NYC pop artist Johnny Stimson headlines, with support from local indie rockers The Lawsuits, Kentucky country bard Sturgill Simpson, and Philly experimental rock duo Banned Books.  XPN and The Key are pleased to welcome local folk musician Gretchen Lohse as April’s featured artist as well.  Check out songs from each musician below, and get more information on the show here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Banned Books at Kung Fu Necktie and Yuna at World Cafe Live

Banned Books | Photo via facebook.com/bnndbks
Banned Books | Photo via facebook.com/bnndbks

Local rock duo Banned Books will take to the Kung Fu Necktie stage tonight. The band hasn’t made much noise since 2012’s Flawless Demo aside from last year’s single “AEIOU”. Their sound is quirky and artsy but still melodic in its own way. Get tickets here and watch “AEIOU” below.

Banned Books – “AEIOU” (Official Video) from Ross Brubeck on Vimeo.

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From Banned Books to Bad Braids, an eclectic all-local lineup hits Boot and Saddle on 1/24

Banned Books | via Facebook

An upcoming show at Boot & Saddle on January 24th will leave you wondering how much strangely awesome music can come out of one city. Local hard art rock group Banned Books headlines the eclectic show with support from Son Step, Laser Background, and Bad Braids.

If you are into psychedelia or really any kind of experimental music, this is a must go to show. Bad Braids will be opening the show with some hauntingly powerful acoustic-based songs, followed by the sometimes spacy, sometimes video game soundtrack-sounding tunes of Laser Background.

Son Step will be prepping for this show with the arrival of new band member Joel Gleiser (Modern Inventors), and word on the street is they’ll have some new songs to share. In the meantime, check out their existing collection on Bandcamp. Banned Books closes out the night with their truly unique racket of multiple instruments and sounds. Check out the mayhem they create below and get tickets to the gig here. ($10, 21+)

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Photos: Man Man and Banned Books threw a pre-New Year’s party at Underground Arts

Man Man | Photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com
Man Man | Photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com

After a year of hard touring in anticipation (and then in celebration) of their excellent 2013 outing On Oni Pond, Philly’s Man Man closed out the year last night with the riled-up live show we’ve come to know and love from them, this time headlining Underground Arts. Opening the show was fellow Philly avant-pop crew Banned Books; check out a gallery of images from the show below.

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Stream a Magic Death Sounds mixtape for the label’s block party, featuring Banned Books, Tygerstrype and more (happening in Kensington on 8/10)

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Magic Death Sounds, local purveyors of cassettes and vinyl for bands like Cold Fronts, Banned Books and Rexedog, are throwing the first Magic Death Sounds Block Party this Saturday, August 10th.  The celebration of music, food and art will feature two stages showcasing the MDS roster with performances by the bands just mentioned as well as Meghan’s TV, Phonographiq, Dream Safari and more.  Admission gets you free BBQ and beer, and local craft vendors will be set up on Randolph St. between Cecil B. Moore Ave and Montgomery Ave behind The Sewing Factory in Kensington – visit the Facebook event page for more information.  Stream the block party mixtape below.

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Human BBQ XXXV in photos ft. Delicate Steve, Norwegian Arms, Ghost Light and more

West Philly’s long-standing punk rock frat Pi Lam threw its annual Human BBQ celebration (35 years strong!) this weekend with a stacked lineup of Philadelphia favorites like Cold Fronts, Norwegian Arms and Ghost Light as well as out-of-town artists like Delicate Steve. Check out scenes from the day-long musical endurance test in the gallery above.

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Watch Delicate Steve perform “Afria Talks To You” for Out Of Town Films (playing Pi Lam on 4/6)

Delicate SteveNew Jersey experimental / instrumental outfit Delicate Steve put on a hypnotic and absolutely transcendent performance at PhilaMOCA last time they were in Philly, and local live session crew Out Of Town Films were on hand to record the sound check.  The Luaka Bop artists are continuing to tour in support of 2012’s phenomenal Positive Force LP and will join Norwegian Arms, Cold Fronts, Total Slacker, Banned Books and more at Pi Lam’s Human BBQ XXXV on Saturday, April 6th.  Tickets and information for the event can be found here.  Watch Out Of Town Films’ recording of “Afria Talks to You” from Positive Force below and dig into Delicate Steve’s approach to both their music and their image with Nikki Volpicelli’s interview for The Key here.

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Matthew Borlik’s Top Five Local Albums of 2011

Psychic Teens

This week, we’ll be taking a look at several WXPN/XPN2 staff members’ Best Of 2011 lists. Today, The Key editor Matthew Borlik’s five favorite local albums of the year.

1. Psychic Teens, Teen (Golden Voyage Records) Listen to Psychic Teens’ Key Studio Session

 

2. Meg Baird, Seasons On Earth (Drag City)

 

3. Creepoid, Horse Heaven (Ian Records) Listen to Creepoid’s Key Studio Session

 

4. Arches and Banned Books, Split 10″ (Magic Death Records) Listen to Arches‘ Key Studio Session

 

5. White Birds, White Birds EP (self-released) Listen to White Birds’ Key Studio Session

 

Honorable Mentions:
Break It Up’s self-released single “Excavate,” which the band posted on Bandcamp earlier this year and is easily my favorite local song of 2011. Had it received an official release this year (either as a 7-inch or on a full-length), it definitely would been included on my list. Unfortunately, it looks like we’ll have to wait until next year for the band to release its debut. Listen to Break It Up’s Key Studio Session

 

Lantern and Dirty Beaches’ self-released live album, Live At Glasslands—because live albums don’t count. Listen to Lantern’s Key Studio Session

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Arches and Banned Books release split 10-inch single


Arches and Banned Books have released a split 10″ single on the Philly based Magic Death Sounds record label. Each band contributes two songs. Purchase the vinyl (which comes with a digital download card) here. The songs from each of the bands on this EP nicely complement each other. With Banned Books you get songs with intricate rhythms and catchy indie-pop melodies. Arches bring their more ambient leaning bliss pop to the mix. All four songs make for an excellent release.