The Key Studio Sessions: Glocca Morra

Okay, let’s get right to it and start of 2013′s Key Studio Sessions with a bang. Glocca Morra is a feisty and fun punk rock group from Philadelphia. Last year the band toured a lot, released the broad-reaching Just Married LP and the scuzzy follow-up An Obscure Moon Lighting an Obscure World, and expanded its lineup to include Nate Dionne, late of Lehigh Velley underground faves Snowing. Like that band, Glocca Morra has an unbridled, cathartic, barely-holding-it-together sound that hearkens back to influential emocore band Cap’n Jazz. But it doesn’t fall apart, it plows forward – jagged guitars, gut-wrenching screams and all. On January 19, the band plays The Barbary, opening for Everyone Everywhere’s album release show. Get a taste of their feverish live sound with the five session tracks they recorded in our studio.

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

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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Just Announced: Everyone Everywhere playing a record release show at The Barbary on 01/19

Everyone EverywhereIt’s a slightly-delayed record release party for Everyone Everywhere!  The Philadelphia four-piece put out their second self-titled album (which we Unlocked) this past August and promptly fled the country for a tour through Europe.  The good news is that the band is back in their hometown and will be playing a show at The Barbary on January 19th with a stellar line-up local punk rock openers in Slingshot Dakota, Band Name, and Glocca Morra.  Tickets go on sale this Friday, December 7th at noon.  Head over to our Concert Calendar for more information.  Below, watch Everyone Everywhere’s music video for “Queen Mary II.”

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Unlocked: Listen to a Spotify playlist from Everyone Everywhere

Between the time of their their 2010 debut, and its followup that released this week, the four guys in Everyone Everywhere massively expanded their music listening habits. In my Unlocked interview with the band yesterday, bassist Matt Scottoline talked about these new musical fixations, and the impact they had on they had on the sound of the new record. I asked the band to elaborate, and they did so with a Spotify playlist, which you can listen to in the player below.

Everyone Everywhere (2012) is the featured album in this edition of Unlocked; hear the spotlighted single “Queen Mary II” in Monday’s post, read Tuesday’s album review; watch the “Queen Mary II” video in Wednesday’s post, read my interview with the band from yesterday. And stay tuned to The Key for future album spotlights on Unlocked.

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Unlocked: Everyone Everywhere on existentialism, finance and making a great punk record

Everyone EverywhereThis week on Unlocked, we’re featuring the latest full-length record from Philly indie / emo four-piece Everyone Everywhere. Like its previous release, this album is self titled, and the band built some buzz for it earlier this summer by selling vinyl copies in a name-your-own-price presale and making a music video that featured barely any music. There’s a lot of absurdity in Everyone Everywhere, but also a lot of serious thought, and I sat down with singer-guitarist Brendan McHugh, bassist Matt Scottoline and drummer Brendan Graham to get to the bottom of it.

The Key: The record is out and it’s your first new music in a couple years. So it kind of
took me by surprise when the first piece of press you had from it is not necessarily about the
music per se, but about your business / marketing acumen, that piece in Forbes. Were you surprised when they approached you for that?

MATT SCOTTOLINE: Kind of. The journalist is a freelancer, and had written a review of our last record. And he just happened to now be employed by Forbes, so it kind of worked out.

BRENDAN MCHUGH: It wasn’t totally out of the blue, he knew our band.

BRENDAN GRAHAM: And the way we released the new album tied into his new gig.

TK: Do you feel like that article led to any kind of notice of Everyone Everywhere that may not have happened otherwise?

BM: Some. My uncle shared it with some of his friends where he wouldn’t normally, because it’s Forbes or something. It made them scratch their heads and think a little more about our band as an entity. Continue reading →

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Unlocked: Watch Everyone Everywhere’s anti-music-video for “Queen Mary II”

When I reviewed their new self-titled full-length yesterday, I talked about the serious, sobering undertones of the latest batch of songs from Philly indie / emo four-piece Everyone Everywhere. But as fans of the band well know, these are four irreverent, ridiculous dudes when they’re onstage, on Facebook; pretty much everywhere outside of the lyrical world of their songs. The music video for “Queen Mary II” is a total blast to watch, so much that it’s easy to overlook that it barely features the actual song. Check it out below.

Continue reading →

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Unlocked: The Key’s review of Everyone Everywhere (2012)

When Everyone Everywhere emerged from the Philly emo / punk scene in 2010, it was concerned more with the smaller things. Its self-titled debut featured a “Tiny” suite (“Tiny Planet,” “Tiny Town,” etc.), where songs addressed topics like lovelorn ennui and whose apartment they were next crashing at. Compare those themes to the practically philosophical declaration that concludes its current album – also self-titled – in the song “Wild Life”: “I wanna go, I wanna know and understand the basic concept of human completeness.”

That’s not to say these four guys have all of a sudden gone bookish (although they do somehow make a catchy refrain out of “bicameral progress, dichotomous” and other words I still need to look up). But there is an obvious and exciting degree of growth, both sonic and lyrical, in their latest offering. With speedy, askew guitar lines reminiscent of The Dismemberment Plan, Everyone Everywhere (2012) is a bright and layered record that adds instrumental flourishes and enriched production to the standard guitar-bass-drums grind. Warm counterpoint vocals and harmonies ring across “The Future,” while the chugging, Weakerthans-ish single “Queen Mary II” rattles with nervous auxiliary rhythms, then bursts into a sunny and hopeful saxophone solo. Continue reading →

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