In a way, Doylestown rock outfit Heat Thunder has always been shrouded in an air of mystery. The wandering, dream-like blend of hazy ambient rock and acoustic Americana, the murmuring stream-of-consciousness lyrics, the psychedelic album art. So it’s no surprise that the band’s parting-of-ways is not exactly clear-cut, nor is it a surprise that it comes with one final puzzle: a totally surreal music video for their song “Wearin’ Black.” Continue reading →
When we first heard Heat Thunder‘s new single “River Song” it was in the band’s Key Studio Session back in May, the song was rousing and intriguing, walking a fine line between wistful ambience and locked-in folk rock. In the studio version we’re premiering today, those elements of the song are magnified tenfold.
English singer-songwriter Ben Watt will play tonight at Tin Angel with Bernard Butler, former lead guitarist of the British alternative rock band Suede. Known best for his part in the dance music duo Everything But the Girl, Watt has recently made the switch back to a more folksy sound (which is how EBTG originated) with the release of his newest album, Hendra, in April — his first solo album in 31 years. For more information and tickets, check out the XPN Concert Calendar and listen to the single, “Hendra,” off the new album below.
Indie-folk band Heat Thunder will be hosting its first annual Heat Thunder Summer Cookout at Siren Records in Doylestown this Friday, July 18. The Doylestown Food Co-op will provide the food and local bands Heat Thunder, Auctioneer, Teach Me Equals, Seagulls and Holdfast will provide the music. The night begins at 7 p.m. and admission for the cookout is $12, but that price includes free barbecue. More information can be found on the Facebook event page here; and check out a video of Heat Thunder’s recent WXPN Key Studio Session below.
Doylestown indie folk band Heat Thunder plays two locations on Saturday, June 21st for Make Music Philly. Catch them first at Philly Yoga Factory from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and again at Fleischer Art Memorial from 3-4 pm. Their music pairs an intense sparse, atmospheric sound with pensive lyrics. The group first came into prominence in 2012 when the Tumblr YVYNL premiered their beautiful video for “Melody, Love and Soul.” Earlier this year, the band did a Key Studio Session where they released three new songs in addition to favorites from 2013’s Solo World. The band promises to release new music in the upcoming year. Listen to “Song of Deception” below. Get more information about the event here.
Although Upperfields‘ second single “Runner” may sonically be very dream-like and whimsical, it is far heavier than it sounds. Lead singer, Shaun Gould explains in a personal essay on yvynyl how the theme for the song was inspired from a two-week hospital visit when he was 15. Gold recalls that while he was on morphine for the pain, he had vivid sci-fi-inspired dreams about “someone looking out of their confinement and longing for the free and sacred woods past the fence.” “Runner” is about someone who wants the most out of life and will not settle for anything less than they deserve. Gould explains in his post on yvynyl that the message here is sometimes it may feel scary to step out of your comfort zone, but once you do it is completely worth it.
Escape in many situations is the first brave act we must make. Instead of being cowed with our certain and present unhappiness, we embrace the hope of the unknown and launch into it.
“Runner’s” airy melody manages to lull us into the type of fantasy world that Gold created in his dream. They succeed in delivering a song that is both simultaneously carefree and serious. Quite plainly, “Runner” is an uplifting reminder about chasing your dreams and feeling free to do so.
This week’s Key Studio Session featured Doylestown outfit Heat Thunder, who released a debut EP in 2012. Between EP tracks “Solo World” and “Love” the ambient Americana four-piece performed three new cuts including “Wearin’ Black,” which you can stream and download below. Get the full set here.
Folkadelphia welcomes solo artist Ryan Lee Crosby in for a session during the musician’s recent east coast tour. The one-man band performed tracks from his new full-length Institution Blues, which channels “Mississippi hill country artists, acoustic blues, and a touch of swirling psychedelic.” Take a listen and download the performance below.
From local musician Zach Stock and Philadelphia Folksong Society’s Levi Landis comes a new podcast called We Need To Talk. Covering all creative aspects of Philadelphia (not just music and art), the duo invited Pizza Brain founder Brian Dywer as a guest on the first episode. Grab a download of Episode 2 below and get the full story here.
They’re based in Doylestown, and considering the nuanced nature and pure potency of their music, you have to wonder how often Heat Thunder actually leaves Doylestown. Their music is thoughtfully arranged and intensely affecting – rhythmic acoustic guitars jangle alongside evocative ambient electrics, and the use of generous minimal space is mesmerizing. My go-to comparison is a middle ground between the songwriting clarity of John Ritter with the hazy soundscaping of Radiohead, and it’s clear that a lot of care and thought went into crafting this music by primary songwriter Joe Montone (along with more recent additions of bassist Matt Phillips, Luming Hao on guitar and William Chamuris on drums). Not to mention a lot of time – since first emerging with a film / EP combination Melody, Love and Soul in 2012 (which got the attention of tastemaking Tumblr Yvynyl the following year), the band has only released a handful of tracks, although its process is gradually beginning to accellerate. Last night, it headlined World Cafe Live upstairs, and on May 24th Heat Thunder plays Random Tea Room in Northern Liberties with Upperfields. They’ll be at Bourbon and Branch in June, and a 7″ is in the cards for this year. You can hear three new songs in the mix in this week’s Key Studio Session; in addition to back-catalog cuts “Solo World” and “Love,” there’s the ultra-catchy “Wearin’ Black,” the contemplative “Song of Deception” and the rousing anthem “River Song,” which you can see them perform in the below video by Elijah Lee Reeder. Check it out below, and get information on the band’s upcoming shows on the XPN Concert Calendar.
Experimental Philly duo Air is Human will take up residency at Ortlieb’s this month and, as music to our ears, the shows will all be free. Every Wednesday night, Air is Human will have a hand-picked opener and jam out for our listening pleasure.
The composed-yet-dissociative two piece – made up of Jeff Lucci (guitar, bass, Rhodes, synth) and Josh Aptner (drums, vibraphone, percussion) – stylistically stretches somewhere between jam band, hard rock and psychedelic, without being reduced to one particular form (“Euclid’s Daydream” off of TheInfinity Limit is a perfect example of the whole). Known for ripping it live, Air is Human manage to stray from the wispy free-form of a jam session while also refusing to compromise their music with sampling and electronically backing tracks. To be honest, it’s remarkable there’s only two of them.
The opener’s for the first two weeks have already been announced, with Doylestown’s Heat Thunder opening on 3/5 and Left of Logic taking stage 3/12. The final two shows are under wraps but promise to be worth the wait. Stay tuned for that announcement closer to the date. Get updates on the free shows here and stream “Euclid’s Daydream” below.