Let’s go back for a moment. Before the torrential downpour, before the lightning and thunder, before Spoon got cut off after a rousing “Don’t You Evah” two songs into their first time on the Made In America stage. The second day of Jay Z’s Philly megafestival (now in its third year and first time with a bicoastal setup) offered a lively assortment of groovy summertime pop, roof-raising EDM, badass rap and solid rock and roll. Continue reading →
Summertime Sips and Summertime Sounds is our occasional, seasonal foray into summer vibes with our fave “summertime” bands, in which we meet up, share a drink, and revel in the sunny weather (check out the first edition, featuring Work Drugs, here). Today we hold shop with Philly’s Cruiser; read on to experience the adventure.
When it comes to soundtracking summer in Philadelphia, there are few bands as likely to land on an open-road playlist as Cruiser, a four-piece formed around singer-songwriter Andy States, who first started composing songs in his bedroom in 2012, then gathered a full band soon after. Since then, the group—made up of States, drummer Jon Van Dine, bassist Kyle Cook, and guitarist Bruno Catrambone (who also leads introverted folk outfit Former Belle)—have become a force to be reckoned with, crafting breezy, radio-friendly gems that have attracted the attention of fans in Philadelphia and beyond. Now fresh off a set at Firefly Music Festival, the band is hard at work on their new EP, due out this fall, but still took time off to meet with me and drink some beers.
We meet up on a Monday night at States’ and Van Dine’s apartment in Kensington, complete with an awesome roof-deck, a grill, and Van Dine’s absurdly adorable Jack Russell-Chihuahua mix, Gene. Over the course of our interview, we grill burgers (Van Dine smothers his with an ungodly amount of ketchup and mustard), knock back some Hell or High Watermelons, and lust over the neighbor’s pool, which we have a great view of from above.
The band tells me said neighbors aren’t too fond of them because they lit off too many fireworks during the 4th of July; later that night, they light off a whole bunch more for my benefit, even though it isn’t quite dark yet. Everyone takes pictures of the experience, and we all almost die when one firework goes awry and shoots back towards us.
Luckily, we all survive, and in between shenanigans manage an interview. Read on to learn about blue holes, gin drinks, and whether they’d prefer to ride the Weezer or 311 cruise. Continue reading →
Summing up an entire region’s music scene in an hour-ish long compilation is pretty much impossible. But dangit, we try our best. I’m very psyched for the roster of artists we’ve lined up on The Key Studio Sessions Volume 10, out today as a free download you can grab below. Pop-punk wave makers Modern Baseball did a version of “The Weekend” from their 2012 debut LP Sports, and the mini XPN shoutout they deliver at the end of the first chorus might be my favorite moment of the set. The song as a whole is insanely fun and on point, and MoBo’s basement-scene brethren W.C. Lindsay (more synthpop leaning) and The Hundred Acre Woods (more folk-leaning) also make solid appearances. There are several acts on the comp who you’ll see this summer at the XPoNential Music Festival: Ginger Coyle, Commonwealth Choir, Marah and Marian Hill. I love using our studio to allow more experimental-leaning artists to blaze new paths, whether its Trophy Wife‘s expansive rager “Neil Young” (very reminiscent of the Dead Man score for sure), Tutlie‘s elegant dreamscape “Kaito” or Bleeding Rainbow‘s noise-punk jam “Time or Place.” Suave downbeat crooners Elegant Animals knock a track from their back catalogue out of the park, and though the comp is admittedly short on hip-hop, eclectic electronica soundscaper Ganou spits a fierce verse on “Detainment.” (We’ll have a lot more Philly hip-hop on volume 11 in August, don’t worry.) A summation of an entire scene? Of course not. I think of this more of an incomplete but nonetheless awesome snapshot of Philadelphia-area music circa spring 2014, one we’ll continue building on. Major thanks go to production assistants Dan Hatton and Dan Malloy; photographers Rachel Del Sordo, Megan Kelly, Allison Newbold, Dominique Montgomery and Ian Lewis; videographers Bob Sweeney, James Powers, Ryan Chowansky and Bands in the Backyard; and guest engineers Mattias Nilsson and Adam Staniszewski. Listen to the comp and download it for free below.
Philly four-piece Cruiser gets pegged as summer-pop quite often, possibly because its music is indeed poppy and its debut EP was released in the summer. But that’s selling it way short – this is catchy music for the year ’round. We can hear it in this week’s Key Studio Session, and we’ll see it tonight when they headline Kung Fu Necktie (info at the XPN concert calendar here).
The project of songwriter-guitarist Andy States, Cruiser has been tinkering around the scene since about 2011. It expanded into a four-piece with the addition of guitarist Josa Lazas, bassist Kyle Cook and drummer Jonathan van Dine, and the band really kicked things into overdrive last year with the release of an infectious single called “Kidnap Me.” The song quickly clocked up over 100,000 plays on Soundcloud; when we did their Key Session (recorded and mixed on location by Mattias Nilsson at Studio A in South Philly) this October, the guys were baffled at the response, jokingly wondering what a band known for summertime jams is supposed to do in the winter.
The answer: gettin’ stuff done. Cruiser recently announced it’s signing to The Windish Agency, a booking agent – which sounds like such a boring industry insider news item, but it’s actually a big deal. In an time where record deals are harder and harder to come by, having a booking agent to land an artist good touring slots and a way to make a living off music is just as important (if not more so) than having a label – and Windish is one of the heaviest hitters out there. It’s already paid off for the Cruiser dudes, since they are on the Firefly Music Festival that was announced yesterday, and hopefully we’ll see bigger things from them as the year unfolds – the summer and beyond.
Ohio’s Saintseneca, led by singer-songwriter Zac Little, brings its indie-folk tunes to World Cafe Live tonight. The band recently signed to Anti- Records and plan to release their new LP Dark Arc this year. They released a two-track single a few months back which featured “Uppercutter” and “Visions”. Stream the former below and get tickets here.
Local dream pop four-piece Cruiser played a re-vibed version of their latest single “Kidnap Me” at a Sofar Sounds: Philadelphia event recently. Taking the summery, upbeat dance-pop track in a new direction, Cruiser slowed things down a bit and gave it a drifting feel that evoked a sense of cloud watching in lieu of beach parties. Watch the video below and see Cruiser live at Kung Fu Necktie on January 15th with Suburban Living and Dream Safari. Tickets and information can be found here.
Philadelphia dance pop four-piece Cruiser are scheduled to headline Kung Fu Necktie on January 15th with Suburban Living and Dream Safari as support. The summery band recently remixed Dream Safari’s track “Aztec,” following up a release of their own single “Kidnap Me.” Check out what Cruiser’s been up to this year below and pick up tickets for the 21+ show here.
The Quarterly Project recently released their Fall compilation, featuring local artists like Pocket, Cruiser, These Polar Opposites, and Molly Rhythm. The bands cover every spectrum of the Philly music scene, from rock n roll to emo, and you can’t help but be impressed. Not only does this project support the diversity of Philly’s music scene, but it works to help young Philadelphians develop the skills to be musicians. The proceeds from this compilation album (and the concert) go to local nonprofit Rock to the Future, which provides free music education to Philadelphia youth.
On Thursday November 21, The Quarterly will hold their fall listening party and concert at The Fire. The eclectic mix of Philadelphia musicians is sure to put on a good show, with music ranging from Family Vacation‘s nostalgic indie rock to Brian Fitzy‘s improvisational electronic funk. Also expect raw sets from the ambient yet powerful Last Full Measure and emo rockers When Ships Collide. Each of these bands have released killer new material in the past year, so make sure to check them out even if you cannot make it to the show.
Find tickets and information to the listening party and concert here. Stream the fall compilation below and pick it up on Bandcamp.