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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Spelling Reform at Ortlieb’s, Ought at Johnny Brenda’s, Com Truise at First Unitarian Church

Spelling Reform
Spelling Reform | photo courtesy of the artist

Local indie rockers Spelling Reform continue a month-long residency at Ortlieb’s tonight with help from Ashley Cubbler and Luke Pigott.  Stylizing each show as a tribute to a different band, tonight’s event will honor the songs of Wilco.  Spelling Reform sprung up earlier this year out of several other Philadelphia bands, including The Quelle Source and Monday Appreciation Society.  You can listen to their debut single “Together Apart” below.  More information for the free 21+ show can be found here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Lantern at Johnny Brenda’s, Imelda May at Union Transfer, and Christopher Willits at First Unitarian Church Side Chapel

Lantern | Photo by John Vettese
Lantern | Photo by John Vettese

Philly blues-punk outfit Lantern will headline Johnny Brenda’s this evening. The three piece rock outfit have proven that rock and roll is most definitely not dead in Philly. With a distortion-induced sound similar to that of Dan Aurbach, the group has an ability to come out with instant hits that will stick in your head. Their most recent album, Rock n’ Roll Rorschach, received much attention locallly and nationally; Tiny Mix Tapes called their sound “a blessing of garage noir”. Check out their music video for “King Of The Jungle” below and find tickets and more information on XPN’s Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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The Chiptune Summit: 8static Music Festival

Cheap Dinosaurs will play the 8static music festival
Cheap Dinosaurs

Fresh off an “Event of the Year” nomination in the 2014 Philadelphia Geek Awards, experimental electronic collective 8static is preparing to host its second 8static Festival from October 16th to 18th at the First Unitarian Chuch. The festival will consist of both and audio and visual art by artists using only technology considered to be old or obsolete, re-purposing and giving new life to old gaming objects such as GameBoys and other 8-bit adventure tools. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Mary Lattimore and Jeff Zeigler at First Unitarian Church, Glenn Tilbrook at Tin Angel, Reagan Youth at Underground Arts and more…

Mary Lattimore and Jeff Zeigler
Mary Lattimore and Jeff Zeigler | photo courtesy of the artist
Locals Mary Lattimore and Jeff Zeigler open for Nico Muhly and Richard Reed Parry at the First Unitarian Church tonight.  The harp / guitar / synth duo released its debut full-length Slant of Light last Tuesday, an LP that was recorded during the city-stopping snowstorm of last winter.  Lattimore and Zeigler have been performing live together for a few years now, but this release expands on the droning, exploratory, freeform pieces they have played in the past to include subtler, more introspective works as well.  Listen to “The White Balloon” below and get information for the show here. Continue reading →
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Listen to Joshua Thomas’ passionate piano-centric single “Beast”

Joshua Thomas | photo via facebook.com/jthomasmusic
Joshua Thomas | photo via facebook.com/jthomasmusic

Sometimes less is more, and the latest from Joshua Thomas is certainly one of those times. The talented local singer and songwriter has released a track titled “Beast” off his upcoming EP The Harboring. The tune is beautifully and simply composed, with the only pieces being Thomas’ strong voice and his expert tickling of the piano keys. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Obscura at A-Space, DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist tribute to Afrika Bambatta at The TLA, and Cassavetes at the First Unitarian Church

Obscura
Photo via Kieko Photography

After a successful debut showcase in June, the Obscura series is returning to A-Space. The brain child of journalist and promoter Melissa “Lissa Alicia” Simpson, Obscura‘s goal was to gain recognition for hip-hop artists in the West Philadelphia area that had unfortunately slid under the radar. Local rappers Verbatum Jones and The Bul Bey are featured on the bill, as well as Luci Rising, an eclectic songwriter and poet. Click here for tickets and more information. Below, watch The Bul Bey’s music video for “Where I’m From.” Continue reading →

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The spirit of Fugazi is alive in Philly’s Cassavetes and Split Red

Cassavetes
Cassavetes | Photo via facebook.com/cassavetesphilly

Sure, it’s possible that Philly punk four-piece Cassavetes picked its name as a tip of the hat to the American actor-director who starred in Rosemary’s Baby and directed Faces, A Woman Under the Influence and a host of others. It’s equally possible – and, listening to the music, maybe more probable – that the band is making a nod to “Cassavetes” the song, which appeared on In on the Kill Taker, the killer 1993 album from DC DIY icons Fugazi.

The members of Cassavetes have been kicking around the scene for a while now. Continue reading →

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California punks Ceremony deliver a chaotic, cohesive set of old and new material at The Church

Ceremony | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com
Ceremony | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

Rohnert Park, California five-piece Ceremony have a long and storied history in the Philadelphia punk and hardcore scene, especially at the fan-favorite venue, The First Unitarian Church. On Saturday, July 19th, the band made a triumphant return to “the Church”, a stop on a twenty-five day-long tour with Philadelphia’s own shoegaze phenoms, Nothing, and Seattle’s dark powerviolence duo, Iron Lung.

Much like any Ceremony gig since the release of 2012’s Zoo, this set was a diverse collection of the band’s efforts that span their ten-year history. Ceremony started out in 2004 as Northern California’s premier powerviolence hardcore act. Their first few releases were bitter, aggressive, outbursts that channeled an alienation from societal norms coupled with hateful contempt for government and authority figures. The focus shifted with the group’s last three full-length releases Still Nothing Moves You (2008), Rohnert Park (2010), and Zoo (2012). The songs maintained their dark, and often bleak, lyrics, but the music shifted from aggressive powerviolence hardcore, to a garage influenced post-punk. The atmospheric Zoo was the most abrupt shift, leaving some fans behind.

The remaining Ceremony enthusiasts, much like those in attendance at this sold out show, embraced the shift. Ceremony delivered a chaotic, yet cohesive mix of old and new. The driving post-punk tunes “Hysteria” and “Citizen” sat perfectly in the set-list amongst hardcore classics, and fan-favorites “Kersed” and “He-God-Has Favored Our Undertakings”. While the harder songs may have elicited a bigger crowd response, including a few pile-ons where the microphone was completely lost at the bottle of a pile of screaming fans, the energy remained consistent throughout the stage-dive ridden set. When the show was over, injuries were nursed, fluids were replenished, and surely no Ceremony fan, old or new, left disappointed.

Nothing | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com
Nothing | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

An opening set was provided by hometown boys Nothing. This group has run into phenomenal success on the heels of their latest full-length, Guilty of Everything. The critically-acclaimed album, released in March of 2014, showed the world that Nothing could deliver a well-written, catchy, and darkly haunting record. Touring non-stop since releasing the album, Nothing have also backed-up their promise to be the loudest band you’ve ever seen. They delivered soaring shoegaze melodies over pounding bass that was sure to shock those up front. An emotionally charged set coerced an appropriate response from Nothing’s passionate fan base, including one concertgoer drawing blood from repeatedly slamming his hand on the monitor speaker. True to the pedigree of the members of Nothing (past and current members of hardcore acts such as Horror Show, Beware, Night Sins) the set was as intense and chaos-filled as a hardcore set, stage dives and all. Nothing continues to reinforce their place in Philadelphia’s aggressive music scene.

Filling out the touring lineup, and reinforcing the hardcore roots of the tour were powerviolence act, Iron Lung. Leading the charge of current heavy bands, Iron Lung has consistently been delivering brutal and dark records for over fifteen years, mostly self released through their own label, Iron Lung records. The two-piece band delivers a heavier and more intense performance than most four or five-piece acts. Jumping from joking with the crowd into scathing hardcore songs, filled with blastbeats and chaotic stops, Iron Lung delivered a performance that solidified their reputation as pioneers of newer, and weirder, heavy music.

Rounding out the show was local groups, Bad Side and Anxiety Hammer. If you live in or around Philadelphia and haven’t seen Bad Side yet, make a point of it. These West Philly favorites deliver a chaotic and fun-filled set of gutsy and dirty punk rock, played by some of the scene’s hardest-working DIY contributors. Anxiety Hammer are a relatively new gritty punk band that hail from South Philly. Opening the night with a tight and aggressive set this group set the tone for a night of dark, gritty and progressive forms of punk, played in one the city’s best venues for a punk show.

The infamous multicolored alphabet carpet was the perfect backdrop for a summer classic. Sweaty summer hardcore and punk shows at the Church never get old, and this was one for the ages.