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The Return of The Tough Shits: Hear a new song, catch them at Repo Records this Saturday

The Tough Shits | Photo by Nikki Volpicelli
The Tough Shits | Photo by Grey Haas | courtesy of the artist

The Tough Shits recently played a show at Beautiful World Syndicate, a record shop just down the street from the bar we’re meeting at. It wasn’t was very publicized, and lots of their longtime fans could’ve missed it if they didn’t catch the Facebook note the group posted eight hours before showtime. There was no setlist because they never make setlists, and there were mistakes because they admittedly always make mistakes.

That show has helped the Philly band – who are quietly emerging from the several-year hiatus that immediately following the release of their self-titled debut – devise a plan for this weekend’s Record Store Day showcase at Repo.

“This time John will realize what’s wrong with his guitar after the first song instead of six songs in. I will remember all of the words…” singer/guitarist Mark Banfill begins. Continue reading →

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Jo Kusy brings new tape Giant Black Dog In the Snow to Beautiful World Syndicate next week

Jo Kusy
Jo Kusy | photo courtesy of the artist

Jo Kusy will be performing an in-store session at Beautiful World Syndicate in East Passyunk next Friday, January 30th. The Far-Out Fangtooth guitarist released a solo cassette called Giant Black Dog In the Snow late last year on Brooklyn label Time Castle Tapes as his primary band wrapped up a European tour.

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The Key’s guide to your Record Store Day shopping spree

Siren
Siren Records | photo by Liora Arianna | via facebook.com/SirenRecordsDoylestown

It’s the time of year to trade in all those hard earned dollars for some new vinyl – as if you didn’t do that all year long already.

And if you don’t, Record Store Day – this Saturday, April 19th – is a good a day as any to start. While the debate continues as to whether or not the “holiday” has outgrown its original goal of celebrating independent record stores across the country, and turned more towards larger labels reissuing classics to cash in, that’s not to say you shouldn’t take advantage of what’s been released and take advantage of any potential deals.

When heading out this Saturday, be ready for something unavoidable – crowds. Blair Elliot, owner of Doylestown’s Siren Records, says that RSD has blown up a little more every year to the point of bringing more people through his shop’s doors than the Christmas shopping season. His store will have most of the RSD-exclusive releases. And if you check the RSD website; that’s quite a formidable list; must be a big investment for an independent store.

“We hope it’s big this year because it’s costing us a lot,” Elliot says laughing. “I don’t think it’s a risk, but you just need to make sure you sell enough of what you get.”

OurGriffins
Our Griffins will play an instore set at Siren Records in Doylestown

Siren Records will also be hosting Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band and Our Griffins for an in-store performance starting at 6 p.m. Forsyth and company will be releasing, Solar Live 11.15.13, a recording of the band’s November show at the Rotunda.

The show happening at Siren is just one of many in-store shows this year. Northern Liberties’ Creep Records is treating RSD as a “grand re-opening” as they expand into a neighboring store in the Piazza at Schmidt’s (shoppers will be able to enter from a new door on the inside of the Piazza). They plan to mark their stock down ten percent and expect to have all the RSD-exclusive releases. Goddamnit, Ex Friends, Good Graces and Families will be playing their in-store show starting around 4 p.m. Continue reading →

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Unlocked: Take a trip record shopping with Psychic Teens

Photo by John Berry
Photo by John Berry

Tonight, Psychic Teens celebrate the release of their new LP, COME, by performing at Center City record store Long in the Tooth. We thought a record shopping trip with the band would be a good way to warm up for the show.

It’s 1 p.m. on a bright August afternoon in South Philly. Larry Ragone, guitarist and singer of raw post-punk annihilators Psychic Teens, is sifting through the “new arrivals” bin of vinyl records at Beautiful World Syndicate. He’s arrived before his bandmates. And that’s a good thing.

“Sometimes when we shop together we fight over who gets what records if there’s only one in the store,” Ragone says. “I’m glad I got here first.”

The vinyl record collecting boom isn’t a new craze, but audiophiles are especially embracing the LP’s resurrection. The format is a bit glorified by its enthusiasts, but the praise is warranted because of vinyl’s superior sound quality, enlarged artwork and pursuit of owning different versions and packages that many bands offer with their albums.

The sound advantage lies within each record’s grooves, which capture the entire sound wave of the music within by replicating the wave’s shape. That replication is what sets vinyl apart from other formats. CDs are much more inclined to lose certain tones of the music as it’s converted from its analog form to digital. And think about it, if vinyl is projecting the sound of vibrations from the shapes and indentations in its grooves, it’s actually natural sound. As opposed to digital downloads and CDs which is a laser reading of what laypersons may call, “computer language,” (read: 001011000011101, etc.). But the appeal of owning the physical copy of an album, may be an even bigger part of the vinyl collectors’ culture. Continue reading →

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Interview: Creepoid’s Pat Troxell looks back on the Philly scene of yesteryear, looks forward to the scene of tomorrow

Creepoid

After spending several years toiling away in Austin—both on stage in hardcore bands and behind the scene at venues such as Emo’s—Willow Grove native Pat Troxell moved back to the Philadelphia area in late 2008 to find a significantly different scene than the one he left. But, if you ask Troxell—who now plays drums in the psych-rock quartet Creepoid—that suits him just fine. Prior to tonight’s record-release show at Kung Fu Necktie, Troxell spoke with The Key about blowing off local record producers, the differences between the music scenes in Austin and Philadelphia, and how to maintain your DIY roots while pursuing more widespread success.

The Key: One of the things Austin is known for is its thriving arts and entertainment scene, especially when it comes to independent music. Based on your time there, how is the Austin scene different from Philadelphia’s?

Pat Troxell: I really think the weather affects people—especially musicians. [Laughs.] That’s one of the things I loved about Philadelphia’s hardcore scene. I grew up listening to punk and hardcore, and it’s, like, real negative and real angry. Philadelphia is good at that, because when it’s cold here it’s really cold and when it’s hot it’s so hot. In Austin, everybody was super laid-back and relaxed and comfortable. It’s the weather.

TK: As a Philly hardcore guy living in Austin, how did you spend your time?

PT: I moved down to Texas right after the Killtime and Stalag 13 in West Philadelphia closed down, and Licenses And Inspection was coming down hard on the Church and R5 Productions. One of the things I did right away was move into a warehouse in Austin and open it up as a DIY spot. It was all-ages, and I was running it like a Philadelphia venue. A lot of kids down there had never seen anything like that before, because they already had all-ages clubs and all that stuff. I was like, “This is a lot different. You’re going to pay your five dollars, you’re not going to pay ten dollars…and bring whatever beer you want. I don’t care.” It was definitely bringing a little bit of Philadelphia to Austin. It was awesome while it lasted.

TK: Now that you’re back in Philadelphia, how has the local scene has changed since you originally left?

PT: Well, one of the things is that the bands got a lot better. [Laughs.] I mean, there have always been great bands from Philadelphia. Don’t get me wrong there. There have always been good bands, there have always been good people from Philadelphia who ended up starting better bands in other cities. Philly really breeds a hard-working class, you know? Everyone works really hard at what they’re doing, and it’s really showing now. There are so just many good bands playing right now, getting out there and doing it on their own. It’s impressive.

TK: Can you think of a certain period of time, in either Austin or Philly, when you were working within a scene and you thought to yourself, “This is it, this is what a scene should be?”

PT: That was the Killtime. That was Stalag 13, and 40/40, and the Rotunda. Pretty much mid-to-late ’90s—and even into the early 2000s—there was a thriving punk scene in Philly…I started going to shows when I was really young, and the first thing I’d do was fill my pockets with flyers from the table by the door. Everyone had something to say. And, on top of that, I realized that the guys who where booking these bands I really loved were only, like, two or three years older than me. They weren’t that much different. It was just really DIY. That’s something I learned from Tony Pointless and Sean Agnew and guys like that, who really went out and did it. They put their name on the line, they put themselves on the line. And sometimes they got in trouble. But that’s what punk was and that’s what punk is. I can see it building back up again. Except now we’re going to have to be a little bit quicker than Licenses And Inspection. [Laughs.]

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