Take in the vintage punk influences on Ex Friends’ newest single “Fadeage”

Photo by Isaac Turner
Photo by Isaac Turner

Philly punks Ex Friends are mending acquaintanceships with the release of their single “Fadeage (City Inspector)” out via Alternative Press today.

It will be featured band’s latest EP, Animal Needs, which is set for release on 7-inch vinyl on May 13. However, “Fadeage (City Inspector)” gives us plenty to digest until then. The tune starts out with a guitar build up while symbols introduce singer Joel Tannenbaum’s raspy, in-your-face vocals. The song calms down a bit later in the track with the addition of a sax and melodic ahhh’s from bassist Audrey Crash.

“Fadeage (City Inspector)” has got that modern Philly-punkness to it, but somehow puts an older twist with obvious Clash influences. (Seriously though, listen to track next to “Career Opportunities”.) The band plays Kung Fu Neckgtie on May 21st with Shell Corporation; for tickets and more info on the show, check the XPN Concert Calendar. Listen to “Fadeage (City Inspector)” here via Alt Press.


Local punk band Beach Slang gets raw and loud on their debut EP, announce they’ll be playing Fest 13

Beach Slang
Beach Slang / via bandcamp

Beach Slang recently released a raw four song EP entitled Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken?, which you can stream below and pick up on vinyl in Spring via Dead Broke Records. While this band kind of seemed to pop up out of nowhere, its members are no strangers to the Philadelphia scene. Vocalist and guitarist James Snyder is a member of the inactive but memorable pop punk band Weston. With Ed McNulty from Crybaby on bass and JP Flexner from Ex Friends on drums, this is a sort of a local Philly supergroup. The EP was recorded with Dave Downham at Gradwell House Recording Studio in Haddons Height, NJ and mastered at Armstrong Studios by Stephen Egerton, known for his work with The Descendants.

Beach Slang’s debut EP is nothing short of breakout. Snyder authors some amazing lyrics for grungy hearts that find themselves in love in “Filthy Luck”. To me, the line “Carve your name soft across my lungs / I want to breathe you until I’m numb / We’re not loved, well, hardly anyway / with filthy luck in such a filthy haze” speaks to the dingy basement scene that has sparked so many relationships by chance.

These lyrics seem to describe the lives of modern day punks, with cleverly written takes like “The kids are still alright / We’re just too high to fight” or “Who called the cops? / Whatever, we’ll never get caught”. Delivering the avidly truthful and hopeful lyrics with catchy melodies and harmonies, Beach Slang nailed the vocals. The EP’s raw indie sound is textured with distortion and feedback alongside the fast-paced rhythms and punk mentality. The three piece band blasts through catchy riffs and drum fills, with trudging bass and texturing feedback at the best moments.  Definitely check out “Filthy Luck” and “Punk or Lust”.

Beach Slang also announced they’ll be heading down to Fest 13 this upcoming Fall. Check out the insane lineup and get tickets here.


Philly’s Ex-Friends release a new video for their anti-establishment anthem “Sympathy for the Sociopath”

Ex-Friends | Photo via
Ex-Friends | Photo via

Ex-Friends have a bone to pick with society’s misfits. In their new (lyric) video, you’ll see a left-handed man scribbling the song’s lyrics in an endless notepad. Their sympathy extends to lots of folks, not just sociopaths. The list includes type-A males, capitalists, and prison guards.

(Read More – Digging up the past with Philly punk vets Ex-Friends)

Lifted from their late 2013 release Rules For Making Up Words, the track sounds like a cathartic release for the band, who in true punk rock fashion, have lots to say.


Digging up the past with Philly punk vets Ex Friends

Photo by Danny Flexner
Photo by Isaac Turner |

Historical context, and the role it plays as we view our own present, is important to Joel Tannenbaum. He teaches history at the Community College of Philadelphia – why wouldn’t it be? His fixation on the past and its relationship to the current state of things is evident right from the first few seconds of “Dirty Ben Franklin,” the opening track to Rules for Making up Words (Paper + Plastick), the first record from Tannenbaum’s Ex Friends, when he growls:

“If you listen closely, you’ll hear the sound / Of ghostly feet walking on the old hunting grounds / Then you’ll hear voices, troubled and vexed / With vague premonitions of what’s coming next”

“I’m really genuinely proud of that song,” Tannenbaum says. “I feel like it let me do a lot of different things at once that I think are important in songs. It’s about history, which is very important to me obviously. It’s about this city in a very particular way.” He stops for a second, before finishing his thought. “And it’s an anthem.”

There’s a distinct air of weariness and exhaustion that runs through Rules for Making up Words, but we’ll get to that in a second. Right now, a little bit of Ex Friends history.

The band was conceived backstage at 2011’s Riot Fest, where Tannenbaum was performing with a  Plow United, the popular power trio he played bass in during the mid-90s. The band played its first show in a dozen years for the festival, and after the set, Tannenbaum was talking to his friend, artist and drummer JP Flexner. He realized that he needed to start playing music again. Continue reading →


Go six feet under with Ex Friends in their “Dirty Ben Franklin” video

d1ca9b5828e3174e720a8a0c7a717e41When the folks at Noisey premiered the new music video for “Dirty Ben Franklin” from Ex Friends, they asked the Philly punk four-piece what the deal was with the title. “Did you not pay attention in American history class?” the band replied. “The man was filthy.” But while the video doesn’t literally depict any of Franklin’s, er, indiscretions, it’s pretty nasty all the same – while friends guffaw and drink at a bougey dinner party, the band is out back digging a shallow grave for a reveler that was, in the course of things, killed. Watch it below; the song comes from a digital single available today from Paper and Plastick Records; download it for $1 here. Ex Friends’ Rules For Making Up Words is out on P&P on November 19th.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Black Francis at The Abbey, Ex Friends at The Fire, XPN Welcomes Arlo Guthrie to the McCarter Theatre

Pixies frontman Black Francis comes to The Abbey Bar tonight.  When his influential college-rock band called it quits in 1993, Francis (born Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV) turned the sudden void in his life into the start a solo career that now includes a couple of 4AD releases, multiple aliases and an eventual Pixies reunion.  Recently Francis struck up a collaboration with Reid Paley, which resulted in the 2011 LP Paley & Francis.  In addition to Paley and Francis providing guitars and vocals, the Nashville-recorded album features Muscle Shoals studio stalwarts Spooner Oldham (piano) and David Hood (bass).  Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with Reid Paley can be found here.   Watch a live video of the duo performing “Magic Cup” below.

Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Aspiga with Ex-Friends at North Star Bar, Ominous Ominous Ominous at The Trocadero

South Jersey punk band Aspiga will be rocking out with Ex-Friends at the North Star Bar tonight.  Aspiga released their second full-length Every Last Piece a couple of months ago via Paper + Plastick Records and found some time between East Coast tour dates to record a crushing Key Studio Session (listen back here).  Aspiga will be joined by Ex-Friends (bassist Joel Tannenbaum of the recently re-banded Plow United), Relatives and Goddamnit.  Tickets and information can be found here; below, stream and download “On The Defensive” from Aspiga’s Key Studio Session.

Continue reading →


The Key’s Year-End Mania: Joel Tannenbaum’s top music news headlines of 2012

For The Key’s year-in-review, we asked our trusted sources – our writers and photographers, XPN’s on-air staff, fellow bloggers in the Philly scene and even a few musicians – to send us their Top Five Whatevers. Could be the traditional music route – albums, songs, concerts of the year – or it could be only loosely connected. We’ll be sharing these recaps every day through to the end of the year. Today, Plow United bassist, Ex-Friends singer-guitarist and occasional Key contributor Joel Tannenbaum shares his top music news headlines* of 2012.

5. Julio Iglesias releases Saludos desde Asbury Park, NJ, a song-by-song rebuttal to Bruce Springsteen’s Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ. 

4. Joey Sweeney releases digital-only retrospective spanning his 80+ year career.
Early vaudeville material largely ignored.

3. The Spin Doctors’ “Two Princes” certified top-selling mini-disc single of 2012.

2. Ben Nichols of Lucero cast as Eddie in Ang Lee’s Eddie and the Cruisers remake.
Other members of Lucero not cast as Cruisers.

1. Chris Christie realizes lifelong dream of meeting Glenn Danzig.
Meeting facilitated by President Obama during Hurricane Sandy aftermath.

*entirely fabricated

Thanks to Justin Agnew and Tom Kretchmar.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ex Friends at PhilaMOCA, Rebecca Jordan at the Tin Angel

Photo by Isaac Turner
Bands in the Backyard‘s month curating PhilaMOCA‘s Tuesday Tune-Out wraps up with a performance from Ex Friends tonight. The local punk act released their eponymous EP this September through Paper + Plastick Records, which you can stream here. The group began as a side project of Plow United bassist (and occasional Key contributor) Joel Tannenbaum, but their raucous lyrics and lively / aggressive sound made waves pretty quickly. Information about their all-ages show tonight is available here; the concert starts at 8. Below, listen to “The Legend of the Holy Drinker” from No Wonder We Prefer The Dark. 

Continue reading →


Guest VJs Kyle Costill and Dave Kain preview Bands In The Backyard’s Tuesday Tune-out Lineup (kicks off at PhilaMOCA tonight)

It’s the last month of 2012, meaning one final round of Tuesday Tune-Out showcases at PhilaMOCA. This month’s curators are the venerable Bands In The Backyard crew, who bring some adventurous pairings of music and film for the next three Tuesdays.

I knew that I dug what these guys were up to as soon as I saw their video of Ages playing in the back of Johnny Brenda’s. In the year and a half since then, they’ve faithfully documented the Philly scene in videos that range from lo-fi immediacy to multi-camera productions, showcasing the town’s up-and-coming acts as well as buzzing national bands that make their way through. I’m happy to welcome them to this space to talk about what they have in store for the December Tune-Out. All events are at PhilaMOCA (531 N. 12th Street), start at 7:30 p.m. Continue reading →