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Review: Cousin Brian, The Snails, and more at The Old Folks Home

Brandon Ayes of Rasputin's Secret Police

The Snails, Cave Life, Rasputin’s Secret Police (above), and Cousin Brian played a house show in Fishtown on Friday night at a spot christened “The Old Folk’s Home.” Photos by Abi Reimold

The show kicked off around 8:30 with an energetic set from roots/reggae band The Snails. This seemed to come as a happy surprise to most of the crowd, many of whom took to dancing along to the laid-back tunes which featured technically impressive but always tasteful guitar and organ solos alongside singer Todd Fausnacht’s bluesy vocals. The Snails were soon followed by Cave Life, a new trio from Delaware, playing their very first show. Their set started off with an unfortunately uninspired attempt at post-rock which featured some cool guitar effects but failed to hit home in intensity. The rest of their set continued in a more agreeable fashion and consisted of about five or so tunes that were reminiscent of the more upbeat side of Broken Social Scene.

About half an hour went by as the third band, Rasputin’s Secret Police set up their equipment. A large portion of the show’s attendees were here to see this Drexel Hill two-piece and as the anticipation grew and drinks were imbibed the crowd became noticeably eager. RSP didn’t fail to deliver what everyone wanted – loud, dirty guitar, intense drumming and eerie vocals. Their set was mostly brand new songs and everyone from the superfans in the front row to those hanging in the back of the room seemed more than pleased. The show was rounded out by rowdy punk band Cousin Brian, who also seemed to bring a sizable portion of the crowd. Cousin Brian’s performances rely more on inspiring energy in the audience than exact execution of their respective parts, but all attendees were pleased by their presence.

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Free Download: Get a snapshot of the Philly DIY scene from across the globe in this Slovakian digital compilation

Start Track is a new digital label based in Slovakia that showcases bands and local music scenes from other corners of the world for the Central European audience. Their latest comp, Philly, was released yesterday, and provides a thorough snapshot of the Philly DIY / house show / basement punk circuit, from Key Sessions alums Cousin Brian and groove-poppers Night Panther, to singer-songwriter Abi Reimold and nihilistic rockers Pill Friends, who provided the inspiration for the set. Says the compiler, who goes only by Filip:

this mixtape has been collected by a great homie Ryan Wilson from Pill Friends pillfriends.bandcamp.com

all bands are active in a beautiful music scene formed in Philadelphia and its neighborhood and they will be pleased with your support

there many other incredible bands from this scene which are not covered in this compilation, but you should definitely listen to them

You can listen to the compilation and get to know some of your neighbors – from an across-the-globe perspective – in the player below. To grab a free download, head to Start Track’s Bandcamp.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Beth Orton at The Trocadero, Cousin Brian and Vintage Kicks at PhilaMOCA, Bell X1 at World Cafe Live, David Gray at American Music Theatre, Gossip at The TLA

Singer-songwriter Beth Orton will take the stage at The Trocadero tonight.  The English musician’s forthcoming record Sugaring Season is her first in six years and represents a time of self-reflection and transitions in both her personal life and her music career.  Supporting Beth Orton is Vermont-bred folk singer Sam Amidon.  Tickets for this seated all-ages  show are $29.50, available here.   Doors are at 7:00 p.m. and music begins at 8:00.  Below, watch the video for Beth Orton’s single “Magpie”.

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Download The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 5 (feat. The Spinto Band, Turning Violet Violet, Heyward Howkins + more)


The latest edition of our Key Studio Sessions compilations is out today – now streamable and downloadable from Soundcloud! Dig into the best of what we’ve been doing since May with The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 5, including some sprightly indie pop from The Spinto Band, driving country-folk from Carsie Blanton, funk jams by Swift Technique and hip-hop from Ground Up. Special thanks to guest engineer Jeff White and production assistants Fred Knittel, Madeleine Lesperance, and Dan Malloy as well as photographers Kate Bracaglia, Eric Ashleigh, David Kain, Michael Passanante, Kevin Kennedy, Rachel Barrish and Bryan Shreck for sharing their work.

Looking for more? Visit WXPN’s Soundcloud page to download The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 1 through Vol. 4.

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The Key Studio Sessions: Cousin Brian

And here we are, once again. Last week in August. Symbolic end of summer and all that. Time to stay out late, crank the speakers, skip town, get crazy, whatever floats your boat. If there’s a band in Philly that embodies reckless abandon right now, it’s Cousin Brian. Their self-titled record (which got a vinyl release on Mallrat Records, the label started by Slutever’s Nicole Snyder) is an aggravated sugar rush, an adrenaline high of skittish pop rhythms and aggressive hardcore grit. The bass is cranked and buzzing, singer Sean Caruthers voice sears and hollers, and the four-piece tears across its 11 songs in just about 25 minutes. It’s not the most accessible album, but if you’re along for the ride, it’s so freaking good. Likewise, they’re not the most accessible live act. Might even call them a bit confrontational. At PhilaMOCA back in May, they taunted the crowd in true punk rock fashion for not standing closer to the stage (“We played to a bunch of 30-year-old metal dudes in the northeast last week and they were more excited than you!”). When this had no effect, Caruthers dove offstage and sang right in the middle of the fray. Evidently, he’s fond of doing this. And don’t even get me started on the between-song banter when they recorded their Key Studio Session back in June. (Hint: it involves awkward jokes and mouth noises. Listen to the XPN2 Philly Local Show tomorrow if you’re curious.) Point being – these guys are insane, they live in the moment and shrug off the consequences, and their infectious songs are all the awesomer for it. Dig into the session below if you dare, enjoy your last hurrah of summer, and make plans to catch Cousin Brian at the North Star Bar on Oct. 13.