Pick up an ACLU benefit 7″ featuring Sad13, Purling Hiss, Louds, and more

Sad13 | Photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN |

Philly and Minneapolis-based label Dirty Pillows just released a compilation featuring local artists from both of their homes. Titled ACLU Benefit Vol. 1 Phl/Mpls, the compilation is the first in a series of benefit releases that will split its tunes between two cities, and then donate the proceeds to those local community’s ACLU chapters.

This a-side of this first installment boasts Philly artists (woo we’re #1!) including Sad13, Louds, Dulls, Harsh Vibes and Purling Hiss. Making up the b-side are Minneapolis-based artists France Camp, Sasha Conda, 3M 1995, The Cult of Lip and Fog. Continue reading →


Suite Life: Harsh Vibes on mastering the movements of their new psych opus

Harsh Vibes | Photo courtesy of the artist
Harsh Vibes | Photo courtesy of the artist

Not every album requires a significant amount of dedicated listening to find everything that’s lingering beneath its surface. And then there are others that reveal themselves in layers, a little more with every spin. But the latter doesn’t develop by chance. It’s the product of deliberate writing, tweaking and attention to sonic detail.

The latest Harsh Vibes release, You Left Me Far Behind, is exactly the that. The five-piece has stepped up its songs from being largely free-of-form jams to being some of the most detailed space explorations in Philadelphia. Guitarist and singer Chris Bergen is still the band’s primary songwriter on this two-song EP, and the songs still come from him arsenal of ideas he’s amassed over the years, but You Left Me Far Behind wasn’t recorded as improvised jams as their prior tape releases had been.

“This is the first thing that we’ve put out that’s fully pre-written material entirely,” Bergen says in the back patio of a Fishtown bar where a jazz band is settling into a groove just inside. “These are totally written ahead of time and then I was still producing stuff while we were recording so I’d add little parts here and there. I ended up doing that for a really long time. That’s why it’s so baroque or compositional. Really, it was kind of a pain in the ass.” Continue reading →


Why cassette is the perfect medium for Philly drone jammers Harsh Vibes (playing Kung Fu Necktie on 8/22)

1013980_654407297920201_1770778459_nEven though it’s been a trend for the past five years, when a band releases a cassette tape in 2013, it still feels a bit archaic, or at least novelty. But for Fishtown’s drone-psych noise explorers Harsh Vibes, who recently put out their second cassette in seven months, it’s actually the appropriate format for this dense, four-song journey into dark and shadowy places.

Two tracks from Dead Collective Soul from Dirty Pillows Records are available on Harsh Vibes’ Bandcamp page. The tape’s title suggests a recurring theme for Harsh Vibes. Their first tape, released in December 2012, Psychedelic Gin Blossoms, also clearly references the now-defunct 1990’s rock band of “Hey Jealousy” fame.

The nearly twelve-minute “Jam Forever,” sounds more structured than the title suggests. It lays down a landscape of indistinct vocals, highs climaxes with crashing cymbals, over-fuzzed guitar and low points with murmuring synths throughout. The third song on the tape, “Hidden Doors,” is a bit more conventional in that it has a clear melody. These tracks are best when examined from start to finish, taking in each psychedelic nuance, which is why the cassette format fits it so well. Because, really, no one wants to fast forward and rewind to find the start of the next track. Just let Dead Collective Soul play and don’t interrupt it.

Harsh Vibes play Kung Fu Necktie Thurs., August 22, 8 p.m., $10, w/ Survival & Sore Saints.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Black Landlord at Union Transfer, Gladys Knight, Freddie Jackson, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, and The Delfonics at the Dell Music Center, and Harsh Vibes at North Star Bar

Tonight Black Landlord are headlining the All Star Beasties’ Rock N Tails benefit show for the non-profit organization Street Tails Animal Rescue. Curse of Samsara, The High Five, Goddamnit!, and Hang Up to Flat will round out the line-up for a night of . Tickets for the all-ages show are on sale for $20 here.

R&B music legends Gladys Knight, Freddie Jackson, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, and The Delfonics are coming together tonight at the Dell Music Center to honor the 30-year career of WDAS radio host Patty Jackson. The anniversary show starts at 7PM and tickets are on sale here for $35-$75.

Local band Harsh Vibes, along with Spotted Atrocious, are opening up for Parlor Mob at the North Star Bar tonight. Tickets for the 21+ show are available for $12 here. Listen to Harsh Vibes’ 7″, Magic Pentagram, below.