Matt Gibson had a tough decision to make in 2011. He either had to figure out how to keep his band, the Extraordinaires, alive in the wake of Punk Rock Payroll, the record label they’d been a part of going under, or accept an offer to go on tour playing in Man Man.
He ended up accepting and touring with Man Man as a multi-instrumentalist in support of their album Life Fantastic until 2012. His experience touring in a nationally recognized act didn’t yield the results he’d originally imagined though.
“I think I was going into it with a lot higher hopes of meeting more people and meeting more people that wanted to hear new music, or being able to share the Extraordinaires music with them,” Gibson says. “Or meeting people to make contacts with them that may be able to help with the Extraordinaires. But now looking back, that may have been a naive thought. Because the reality of it is that everybody is trying to do the same thing and you really need to have something that’s impressive to peak your head out above everybody else’s. Nobody really cares unless there’s really some hype behind it.”
But he did come away with added comfort for playing in front of larger crowds among other things that helped his main band after rejoining in 2012, which come up later in this piece.
However, Gibson later found out what he thought about bands needing hype to catch the attention of the public may not be true. He and the rest of the Extraordinaires took the crowd-sourcing approach in the winter of 2012 to aid in releasing their upcoming album, Dress for Nasty Weather, their first on their new label, Color Theory Records, which they are running with Justin Wolf of Lux Perpetua. Through a Kickstarter campaign the Extraordinaires surpassed their goal by $2,000.
“Because for what we accomplished with Punk Rock Payroll,” Jay Purdy says, “it was really hard to lose that support system. But it was really inspiring to know that people had taken notice enough that we could do another book.”
Now working under the Color Theory flag, the Extraordinaires want to “keep the spirit of Punk Rock Payroll alive,” as Purdy puts it about the original label that released their first couple albums – with handmade books.
“Our current goal is to be an outlet for bands to do interesting releases,” he says. “As far as vinyl, CDs and digital downloads go that’s kind of standard practice. Because when we were on Punk Rock Payroll, simply by aggregating all of our resources, we were able to do these really unique releases.”
Punk Rock Payroll started as a small merchandise company in 2003, by Frede Zimmer focusing on buttons and screen printing and eventually grew into to being a label for a small roster of bands. Releases on PRP weren’t just conventional CDs, tapes, vinyl records, or even digital downloads, but much more. The boutique label put out music that were more like art projects than just albums.
For example, the Extraordinaires have put out each of their albums on CD accompanied by a hard bound book with the albums’ lyrics printed on its pages. This is more than appropriate for the band’s tendency of telling stories in their music. A song about to come out on Dress for Nasty Weather and personal favorite of Purdy’s is “Stray Bullet,” a tune that he says a bit like a modern version of Pinocchio but a bit darker. And don’t forget about “The Egg of Columbus,” from 2009’s Electric and Benevolent that tells the story of that certain Italian that discovered the Americas. And from the upcoming Dress for Nasty Weather, they are bringing their first music video to light for “Blue Moon.” In it each member of the band plays the role of a Charlie Chaplin-like character, meets what Purdy describes as an “Amerlia Earhart character,” document their day together with her and maybe fall for her, too.
Singer-songwriter Gregory Mendez – formerly of lo-fi outfit Getting Sick – recently returned home to Philly from New York and is working on a solo EP called Songs From The Stairwell with producers Evan Bernard (from Dangerous Ponies) and Alex Wilson (from Gypsy Death and You).
The title is a reference to a low point in his life where Mendez actually lived in back of a staircase in West Philly, and he recently released a video performance one of the new songs, “Getting Well”, in that very spot. Stuffed in a teal corner, Mendez strums guitar while harmonizing the Nashville-style country ballad with North Carolina singer Jenna Smith at his side. Drawing on his turmoil from that time period, the EP is much more stripped down than his other works, Mendez tells us. It will feature country instrumentation (lap steel, fingerpicked acoustic guitar). It will also be recorded in the staircase, so expect some nice echo.
Watch the video of “Getting Well” below, check out a recently-released split EP recorded with Smith, and keep an eye out for updates on Songs From A Stairwell here.
The annual Phreak ‘N Queer Arts And Music Festival returns for its third year this summer. From August 1 through the 4th, the LGBTQ festival will host literary and art events, performances, and concerts across different venues in Philly. According to the festival, Phreak ‘N Queer is run by volunteers who “acknowledge the need for safe performance spaces and supporting local queer / trans talent.” There will be all ages events as well as those for the 21+ crowd. Below, get a sampling of some of the varied and interesting musical acts you can check out this year. Continue reading →
We’re saddened to have just read news that one of our favorite Philly bands, Dangerous Ponies, are calling it quits. This just in from their Facebook page
we have some news to share.
its not happy news.
we will be playing our final show on May 26th in Philly.
These last four years together have been a beautiful and wild rollercoaster and we are all the better for having met all of you. Thank you for the couches, floors, and porches you shared with us, for eating endless breakfast burritos with us, for showing us the coolest parts of your towns and the secret swimming holes that only you know about, for thrift shopping with us, for getting on stage and playing with us, for telling your friends about us, but most importantly thank you for constantly supporting our music. It’s a dream to be able to travel the country with a group of your friends and play shows to keep the van moving. so seriously..thankyou.
It’s currently unclear as to what will happen next. You can find Evan playing with Holy Death and Kyle is always over Headroom Philadelphia recording bands. and Chrissy I’m sure will start a new project soon. So stay tuned. and hopefully you can make it on the 26th.
so much love forever.
♥ ♥ ♥ dp.
In October, 2010, Dangerous Ponies recorded a Key Studio Session. Listen to it here.
Philly’s DRGN King just wrapped up a spring tour, and it left frontman Dominic Angelella sonically inspired. This morning we bring you the premiere of a tour mixtape he compiled, which ranges from folks they shared stages with to hearty van jams. From Dominic:
“Last month, my band Drgn King went on our first tour ever. This isn’t such a momentous occasion for most people but it was very exciting for us. We met some great bands on the way, saw people we knew play mind-blowing music, and listened to a lot of bizarre records in the minivan. This mix focuses on friends of ours we listened to/hung out with/drank with on the trip. hopefully you all enjoy this as much as we do. Hidden somewhere in the mix there’s a Drgn King song that didn’t make Paragraph Nights. It was too quiet.”
Minivan Problems: A Spring Mix by Drgn King
1. “The Sykesville Strawberry Festival” by Boat Water (from Home is a Place To Give)
2. “20 Different Days” by Eros and The Eschaton (from their Bandcamp)
3. “Cocaine and Guns A$AP” by Ape School (from Junior Violence)
4. “Dedicated” by Grande Marshall feat. Saudi Money (from #MUGGAMAN)
5. “Pusher” by Walking Shapes (from Soundcloud)
6. “Sparks” by Dangerous Ponies (from Tenderheart)
7. “Eldersburg Fun Arcade Near The Fashion Bug” by Boat Water (from Home is a Place To Give)
8. “Pretty Lil’ Preacher” by Drgn King (scrapped from Paragraph Nights)
9. “The Iceman” by Norwegian Arms (ripped from Youtube)
10. “Accessory” by Neighbors (from I Love Neighbors)
11. “TLW are Deaf” by Trans Upper Egypt (from North African Bezerk)
12. “Erica Western Teleport” by Emperor X (from Erica Western Teleport)
13. “Sleep It Off” by Asaad feat. Drgn King (from Dirty Middle Class)
Dangerous Ponies will be playing at MilkBoy tonight in celebration of their brand new four-song EP Tenderheart. Released just this month, Dangerous Ponies shifts their sound between fun loving indie, as well as some pop influence, but mostly, it is just a plain good time. The new release can be found to buy on their Bandcamp, where you can also purchase the release on vinyl. Also to be taking the stage is Philadelphia’s two piece punk band Slutever. The duo has various material available on their Bandcamp, one of which is their single released in February of this year. Tickets and information for the 21 and up show can be found here. Below, listen to the title track off of Dangerous Ponies EP Tenderheart.
We had a blast catching the excellent Philly pop troupe Dangerous Ponies in Austin, Texas last week for the MilkBoy / Bonfire Philly-centric SXSW showcase. They’re lively as ever, the new tunes are sounding great, and it’s always impressive to see how they squeeze their many members onto stages of various sizes. With their new Tender Heart 7″ in heavy rotation, we’re excited for their return to Philadelphia next weekend when they play MilkBoy for an EP release show.
Equally awesome is the opening set from power duo Slutever, who were also out on tour this winter and home just in time for the gig. The duo has been working up new material since their Pretend to be Nice 7″, and in the meantime treated us to their raucous cover of Hole’s “Violet” in a free download. With inbetween sets from touring bands from Utah and NYC, it’s sure to be a solid night of Philly-centric lady-centric rock and roll, and we’ve got a pair of tickets for you. Just comment below and you’ll be entered to win; we’ll choose a winner next Thursday. To get your pumped, listen to “Sparks” from the Tender Heart EP and Slutever’s “Violet” cover.
Dangerous Ponies are back at it again with a new EP, tenderheart, that you can listen to, and purchase below. The EP has four songs that showcase the band’s fantastic command of dynamics; the stop/start, the loud/soft, the controlled cacophony; all under the guidance of Chrissy Tashjian’s powerful vocals. The Ponies music has matured significantly on these new songs, and the excellent songwriting and production brings out the best of their Broken Social Scene-isms on songs like “Sparks” and the anthemic “Dogfite.” If it’s detail and nuance the band paid attention to while writing and recording the EP, it’s certainly paid off. Currently out on tour, we’re looking forward to seeing them blow some minds next in Austin, Texas, when they play at SXSW, and we’re looking forward to welcoming them home to Philly when they play MilkBoy on March 29th.