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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Steve Gunn at Johnny Brenda’s, The Felice Brothers at Mauch Chunk Opera House, Cough Cool at Kung Fu Necktie

Steve Gunn

Indie singer-songwriter/guitar virtuoso Steve Gunn is playing a record release show at Johnny Brenda’s tonight. The New York musician and his band are releasing Time Off on June 25th, not long after finishing up a tour with Kurt Vile. Gunn has a classic, old-soul sound to his music, along with a lot of solo acoustic jamming out – all of which you can hear in his recent studio session with The Key. Below, check out Gunn performing in Philly earlier this year. Tonight’s show will also include performances by Endless Boogie and Psalmships. Tickets and information can be found here.

Americana/Folk-rock outfit The Felice Brothers will be performing at the Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe. Their last album, God Bless You Amigo, is available only online. It is an effort to raise some money after the band’s home and equipment were almost destroyed in a hurricane, among other unfortunate events you can read about on the album page. Below, you can listen to a song off of the new album called “Lincoln Continental.” Tickets and information can be found here.

Another album release party – local poppy fuzz rock outfit Cough Cool is dropping their album 29 this weekend and is celebrating with a show at the Kung Fu Necktie! The album is already streaming on soundcloud, which you can check out below. Tickets are to be purchased at the door, but you can find some more information here.

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Cough Cool’s 29 is now streaming on Bandcamp (playing Kung Fu Necktie 6/22)

you can stream ‘29’ in full. also read some words at the fader.<br /><br /><br />

We cover Cough Cool a lot on The Key and it’s not just because it’s a local band.  The group’s fuzzy brand of pop-rock is incredibly catchy, combining electronic sounds with distorted guitars and hazy vocals. Today, Dan Svizney (the man behind Cough Cool) is streaming his new album, 29, in its entirety on Soundcloud.  After hearing the album, it’s incredible to see how Cough Cool manages to create such diverse songs with such a unified ambiance.  Check and the full stream below and be sure to catch Cough Cool’s record release show next week at Kung Fu Necktie on June 22nd.

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New Music: Cough Cool’s “Misfits 4×4″ via Impose Magazine (playing Kung Fu Necktie on 6/22)

cough-cool.30Things you should know about Philly / Jersey noise-pop outfit Cough Cool. It’s the brainchild of Dan Svizney, who you see at right in the photo above. He’s a snarky and oft-hysterical twitterer. He likes filtering pop/rock tendancies through electronic drumbeats and reverby ambiance. He’s got a new LP coming out on Bathetic Records called 29, and the songs that we’ve heard from it are good stuff. And he took his band name from an old Misfits song. As the folks at Impose Magazine pointed out when premiering his newest track today, his namesake gets a shoutout in “Misfits 4×4.” It begins as a pitter-pattering, distant romp and gradually ramps up the energy – in a Suicide by-way-of Crystal Stilts way. Give it a listen below, and check out Cough Cool’s album release show for 29 at Kung Fu Necktie on June 22nd.

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Listen to “Cross,” a song from Cough Cool’s new LP 29

Maybe it’s the flowers on the album art, maybe it’s the holiday today, but Dan Svizney sounds positively romantic on “Cross,” a song from Cough Cool‘s upcoming release on Bathetic Records. “You hold your heart, I’ll hold your hand,” he warmly sings. A surprising turn of events! But not too much of a turn, since this song still chugs along to the fuzzy guitar tones and pumping industrial beat we’ve come to expect and dig from Svizney. The album will be called 29, it’s due out in May, and we expect it will be markedly different from Ryan Adams’ 29. Listen to “Cross” below.

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Cough Cool, Brendan Codey and more appear on experimental music holiday comp

If you like Christmas but don’t necessarily get into the more cheesy / campy / sentimental elements of Christmas music, this might just be the compilation for you. Put together by Vancouver musician Crystal Dorval, who performs as White Poppy, Whiteout is a chilling, windswept set of lo-fi experimental rock – including two of Philadelphia’s own tape-hiss heads. Listen to Cough Cool‘s “Joy to the World” and Brendan Codey‘s “I’ll be Home for Christmas” below, and stream / download the entire set here.

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Does cover art make the album? (plus 10 great album covers from the Philly scene in 2012)

Hideaway
Hideaway Music in Chestnut Hill uses album art as wall art

We can all agree (I hope) that the old “can’t judge a book by its cover” adage applies just as easily to albums. From Magical Mystery Tour to Rumours, The Talking Heads to The Smashing Pumpkins, and even this year’s standout Cat Power LP Sun, there’s a rich history of great music hiding behind heinous artwork. So does album art matter?

I think no and yes. “No” in that it’s about the music, not the packaging. In a world of digital listening, we interact with the songs themselves more immediately than ever before – there’s not that barrier of a bizarro / ugly sleeve to “get over,” in the event you find the sleeve bizarro and / or ugly. But also, “yes” in that cover art is still a way an musician represents themselves and their work. It may no longer be a first impression, but it is an impression, and you can almost look at it as an indicator of how much care they put into their overall project. And even on a more practical end, sure, physical releases no longer drive sales, but they are prized by collectors – the 180 gram vinyl editions and so forth are the sort of thing where people use the download card, then frame the LP cover and hang it on their wall. Would you really want to have Grimes’ frantic scribbled acid freakout hanging in your living room? (Okay, maybe you do.)

This week, UK music and culture blog The 405 listed their worst and best album covers of the year – lively reads, always – and it got me thinking about the role album art plays in 2012. Do you ignore it? Do you (like me) get antsy when your iTunes doesn’t have artwork for all its mp3s? What was the worst decade for album covers? (Hint: the 90s.) Which album covers blew you away this year? Which made you wretch? Discuss in the comments section, and check out some standout Philadelphia album covers from 2012 after the jump. Continue reading →

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