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Parquet Courts, White Fence (playing UA 10/21), & Speedy Ortiz (playing OK Fest 8/2) releasing benefit singles

LAMC vh1 save the music artwork

Since 2012, the Famous Class LAMC series has been releasing 7″ splits from “under-recognized artists” to contribute to the Ariel Panero Memorial Fund at VH1 Save The Music. LAMC’s announced their next three hand-picked artists, which include White Fence, Parquet Courts and Speedy Ortiz.

On each split, the selected artist contributes an unreleased track and then handpicks another artist to appear on the B-side. So far, White Fence is first to put out a track, “Nero (Has A Lot To Think About),” which features LA’s Jack Name on the B-side with “Belly Full of Blood.” This split is due out September 2nd.

The second split, out September 16th, has a track from Parquet Courts called “This Is Happening Now,” and the Brooklyn boys have chosen fellow Brooklynites Future Punx to grace the B-side with “Spike Train.”

And last but not least, Speedy Ortiz will release a track called “Doomsday” for their split, which is coming out October 7th. The B-side single, “I Took it Off a Record,” comes from VT singer-songwriter Chris Weisman.

You can see White Fence performing at Underground Arts on October 21st with King Grizzard & The Lizard Wizard (information is on our concert calendar here), and Speedy Ortiz will be performing on Day 2 of OK Fest at Golden Tea House on August 2nd. Go here for the full OK Fest line-up. All the LAMC singles will be available to download on Famous Class’s Bandcamp page here upon release. Below, you can listen to the tracks from the White Fence/Jack Name split.

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A night of vocal powerhouses at Golden Tea House featuring Frances Quinlan, Emperor X, Abi Reimold

Frances Quinlan | photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com
Frances Quinlan | photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com

Frances Quinlan has a voice that can fill a room, and on Wednesday night, it did just that. The Hop Along frontwoman’s evocative singing carries a compelling range of emotion, from playfulness to sorrow to anger and frustration, and its dynamic rise and fall cuts powerfully through the heavy and ambitious art-punk of her bandmates.

But at Golden Tea House, there was no need for it to cut through anything. Quinlan played solo, without loud amplifiers or heavy drums; just a clean electric Gibson and her singing resonating off the tall brick walls, an experience all the more affecting for the listeners. The crowd was exceptionally attentive – it was one of those “you could hear a pin drop” nights, which is rare at house shows, or rock shows of any sort for that matter, and especially so considering Quinlan’s set was mostly made up of unfamiliar material. Aside from two selections from 2012′s Get Disowned (“Some Grace,” “Trouble Found Me”) and a couple covers (a spot-on “Carry the Zero” by Built to Spill into “Barstool Blues” by Neil Young), the songs she played were all works in progress – hopefully to see the light of day on the next Hop Along album.

It’s probably premature to really evaluate the music at this stage – it sounded great, but was definitely in a skeletal state compared to how it will sound in a full band context – but suffice it to say, Quinlan nicely mixed up moody slow burns with riffy uptempo moments, and there’s an absolutely awesome song about the disappearing grave of jazz musician Buddy Bolden.

Joining Quinlan on the bill were two other vocal powerhouses: Abi Reimold (a former Key intern and occasional Key photographer), who performed a stunning and totally PJ Harvey-ish set backed by guitarist Nick Morrison of Mumblr, bassist Zach Kuntz and drummer Alex Giannascoli (of Alex G). Her new EP Forget is a knockout, but most of the songs she played weren’t on it, showing great promise for things to come. Emperor X from Jacksonville has a delivery in the vein of John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats – sorta nasal but supremely confident – and come to think of it, his clever and erudite songwriting was sort of Mountain Goats-esque too, as was his lively banter and command of the crowd. Switching between guitar and keyboard, he sang into a echo-filtered vocal mic on the quiet parts and stepped back to project to the entire room the rest of the time. “At A Rave With Nicolas Sarkozy” was a winning number; I knew nothing about this dude at the beginning of the night, and left a converted fan.

On the opposite extreme was Foot, the solo project of Pat Conaboy of Kite Party. It had a distinctively slowcore sad-rock vibe a la Red House Painters and Low; a lot of minor key progressions interlocking with somber and withdrawn vocals. While some points in Foot’s set were a bit too wandering and introverted to really connect with, its best points were chilling in their own sort of way. Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.

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Surprise! The Menzingers threw a secret album release party at Golden Tea House

 

photo by Rachel Del Sordo
photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Yesterday, The Menzingers released their fourth full-length album, Rented World. (Read our review here.) The band surprised its hometown fans when it was revealed that they were playing a secret CD release show at the Golden Tea House last night with Nona and Holy Mess opening. With less than a day’s notice, fans flocked to this West Philadelphia venue. Punk rock time was thrown to the side as the show was sold out before doors were scheduled to open. The Menzingers threw a crazy party, and you can check out scenes from the show in the gallery below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Bondage and Discipline at Kung Fu Necktie, TacocaT at Golden Tea House, River City Extension at Boot and Saddle and more

Photo by Jon Stars | photo courtesy of facebook.com/bondageanddisciplinemusic
Photo by Jon Stars | photo courtesy of facebook.com/bondageanddisciplinemusic

Philly raucous rock outfit The National Rifle was moving in a decidedly 80s electronic direction on their last album, Almost Endless, and three of the bandmates have rechristened themselves with a evocative new name – Bondage and Discipline – and continue to chase that sound further. The band plays it debut headlining set tonight at Kung Fu Necktie. Download “Only Your Love” below and get tickets and more information at the XPN Concert Calendar.

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PUP proves they are a band to look out for at Golden Tea House

photo by Rachel Del Sordo
photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Toronto punk four-piece PUP is enroute back North after taking SXSW by storm (see The Key and PureVolume), and they stopped by Golden Tea House this past Saturday night to showcase their aggressive style of raspy pop punk. They played second, alongside Tender Vision, Great Red Spots, and Dead Tenors.

photo by Rachel Del Sordo
photo by Rachel Del Sordo

The band sped through songs off their forthcoming self-titled album, and they were as precise as they were maniacal. Vocalist and guitarist Stefan Babcock stood atop the drum kit as he slammed on his instrument, before rushing back to the mic to chime in with his scratchy, heartful shouts.

They tore through heavy and fast riffs, and nailed every tasteful guitar solo. Some people sang along, and the crowd turned into a lively mosh pit once PUP jumped into their anthemic single “Reservoir”. Babcock put his back to the crowd as he jammed out, being pummeled by bodies as he stood on the edge of the jumping punks. Towards end their set they played an amazingly raw cover of “Sabotage” by The Beastie Boys, during which Babcock jumped up on top of the crowd and managed to climb his way up on to the balcony. These guys seriously killed it live, they are gritty, real, and have the talent to pull off their craft while going crazy at the same time.

PUP’s self-titled album is coming out April 8th via SideOneDummy Records, you can preorder it here. In the meantime, give a listen to “Reservoir” and “Dark Days”.

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The Key Studio Sessions: Bleeding Rainbow

Photo by Dominique Montgomery
Photo by Dominique Montgomery

Philly’s Bleeding Rainbow make the music of survival. I mean that in a few ways, the first being a sheer reflection of their sound. The torrent of interlocking guitars – founding member Rob Garcia chugging away in your one speaker alongside feedback-wrangler Al Creedon in your other – driven forth by the propulsive drums of Ashley Arnwine and the aggressive bass of Sarah Everton. The music is a shield, a defensive noise-punk barrier build to guard not only the vocal ruminations of Everton and Garcia, but to protect the hard-working hard-touring Philly four-piece in general.

It’s also about survival from the perspective of struggling artists, frustrated wage-earners, deeply thoughtful creatives who are endlessly pigeonholed – as fellow Philly writer Elliott Sharp observed, it must be frustrating to have Pitchfork determine your band’s narrative. It’s the survival of the women in the band who face marginalization and sexist dismissiveness in day-to-day life, and unfortunately in their music lives as well – people, Arnwine is simply an asskicking drummer, and to qualify it any other way (“actually” “surprisingly”) is the most heinous of backhanded compliments.

This is a band that gets buzzed up and knocked down by the music intelligentsia and perseveres; it’s a band which, when I saw it perform at Golden Tea House in January, flipped a hellish series of technical / PA / microphone mishaps into a transcendent and cathartic set of meditative, Glenn Branca-ish drone. It’s taken the band years of growth to get to this point, pushing through roadblocks that may have derailed others. You hear it in its ever-expanding sound – compare the raging and powerful “White Nose” as they play it below for this week’s Key Studio Session to the first time they played it for us in 2010, when they were a two-piece and still called Reading Rainbow.

Bleeding Rainbow plays Golden Tea again this Saturday to celebrate the release of the new Interrupt, its new album out this week on Kanine Records. It’s not their easiest to listen to – at turns it can be raw, biting, forlorn, enraged and rarely poppy – but it’s undoubtedly the truest to where the band is at artistically, what they’ve experienced as musicians and as people, and what it’s taken for them to get through the time, noise to combat the noise, a catharsis for emotions and situations that are at once deeply personal and specific and yet oddly universal. Stream and download the Key Studio Session the band recorded for us below, and get more information on the album release show here.

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Get amped for The Weaks’ album release with “Dunce Pageant”

theweaks
Photo by Daniel Lidon, courtesy of facebook.com/theweaks

Philly pop punk band The Weaks are celebrating the release of their first EP on Lame-O Records in two big ways. First, The World Is A Terrible Place and I Hate Myself and Want To Die is streaming on BrooklynVegan in advance of its February 11th release date. In addition, The Weaks – featuring Evan Bernard and Chris Baglivo, formerly of Dangerous Ponies – are holding a record release show this Friday at Golden Tea House for the EP.

The name of the record is a play off of scene-famous Connecticut punkers, The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, as well as a Nirvana deep cut from the 1993 compilation The Beavis and Butthead Experience. Celebrating with The Weaks will be Washington-based band Cowardice, Philly natives Kite Party and Thin Lips (other former members of Dangerous Ponies playing their debut show).

(Hear More – Listen to two new songs from Thin Lips)

Lame-O Records, based in Philadelphia, is also home to Ma Jolie, Modern Baseball, Hundred Acre Woods and Steady Hands. Check out the band’s interview with Modern Vinyl here.

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Watch Winthrop of The Hundred Acre Woods perform an acoustic version of “Base of My Heart” (playing Golden Tea House tonight)

The Hundred Acre Woods | via Facebook

Folky Philly indie rock outfit The Hundred Acre Woods recently visited Space Jam Sessions – the new video project of local photographer (and Key contributor) Allison Newbold – where frontman Winthrop Stevens performed the gut-wrenching “Base of My Heart.” Totally stripped down to an acoustic and his voice, the music thrives with its simply heavenly melody. The band throws a release party for its new EP Cold In the Morning tonight at Golden Tea House alongside Alex G, I Kill Giants, Au Revoir, and SHMNS. For more info, check out the Facebook event.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Goodnight Lights at Boot & Saddle, Speedy Ortiz at Golden Tea House, Ma Jolie at Siren Records

Goodnight Lights
Goodnight Lights | Courtesy of the artist

Local alt-rock outfit Goodnight Lights headline Broad St.’s Boot & Saddle tonight.  The Collingswood, NJ natives released a blistering new track “Convince” at the end of 2013, prequel-ing a 5-song EP set for release this year.  In addition to the EP, Goodnight Lights are currently filming a music video that will be completed at tonight’s show.  Tickets and information for the 21+ show with Shorty Boy Boy and Roof Doctor can be found here.  Listen to “Convince” below.

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Speedy Ortiz release new song “Everything’s Bigger” off of Real Hair EP (playing Golden Tea House on 1/4)

 

Speedy Ortiz | photo via www.facebook.com/speedyortiz
Speedy Ortiz | photo via www.facebook.com/speedyortiz

Massachusetts band Speedy Ortiz will release their Real Hair EP via Carpark Records in February, following up this year’s Major Arcana full-length with four more angular indie rock tracks.  ”Everything’s Bigger” balances cleanly picked electric guitar melodies with extended moments of heavier, distorted guitar parts as frontwoman Sadie Dupuis expounds on a few of her fears.  Speedy Ortiz is heading out on a four month international tour this week, stopping at the Golden Tea House in West Philly for a show with Bleeding Rainbow, Grass is Green and Hermit Thrushes on January 4th.  More information can be found here.  Listen to “Everything’s Bigger” below.

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