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Columbus alt folk five-piece Saintseneca brings Dark Arc to Johnny Brenda’s

Saintseneca-15
Saintseneca | photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Columbus, Ohio-based indie folk band Saintseneca returned to Philly on Wednesday night. Playing a show at Johnny Brenda’s in support of their latest LP, Dark Arc, the multi-instrumental band led by frontman Zac Little played a lively set of alt folk songs. Throughout the show, each member of the band swapped instruments between songs. Indie pop group Memory Map opened second with an energetic set of music off of their new album,The Sky As Well As Space. Scranton 4-piece band Three Man Cannon opened the show playing a set in support of their latest release, Pretty Many People. Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.

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PREMIERE: Listen to Fabric Room, the latest from resident Wilmington folk-rock five-piece New Sweden

New Sweden photo by Joe del Tufo
New Sweden photo by Joe del Tufo

Wilmington band New Sweden is back with its latest EP, Fabric Room. With its unruly, foot-stomping sound, New Sweden is a folk powerhouse, but its not just folk that can be heard in the new EP — there’s a little bit of everything that lands the band in limbo between genres. There is an essence of Dr. Dog to it, some of The Avett Brothers and maybe a little Dawes, as well, but even with these influences in toe, the band definitely doesn’t have problem finding its own voice. The sound is robust and rugged — distinct in its own way.

“It was certain that things had to change after going from a six piece to a five piece (we parted ways with our violinist),” frontman Will Dobies said. “Because of this, we were able to introduce new lead instruments: the electric guitar and keys seemed to do the trick. We are a rowdy bunch with a soft side.”

Fabric Room is set to be released July 15, but is available one week early here through the band’s pre-sale store. Each EP purchase comes with a free download of the new single, “Eighty Seven” and every purchase from the pre-sale will automatically enter you into a drawing for a free pair of Firefly Music Festival day passes for Saturday, June 21 when New Sweden will be playing at the festival. See New Sweden in Philly on June 26 at Johnny Brenda’s and listen to our premiere of Fabric Room below.

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How music and friendship saved Philly noir-rock army Northern Arms

Northern Arms (photo by Max Gaines, http://www.thechurchofmax.com)
Northern Arms (photo by Max Gaines, http://www.thechurchofmax.com)

In some ways, the story of Northern Arms is a story of redemption. It’s also a story about friendship, and being true to one’s self emotionally.

“I always felt that a lot of bands held back if they did anything emotional—like they had to do it ironically, or with a smirk,” says Eric Bandel, from the back balcony of Standard Tap. “The stuff we were working on—we just wanted it to be true. We didn’t want to hold back.”

His band mate Keith Pierce nods in agreement. Emotional honesty has always been at the core of Northern Arms’ process, leading to beautiful, complex compositions that juxtapose highs and lows, for a result that feels startlingly cathartic.

Over the past 13 years, the band’s gone through several incarnations, including the 10-person rock monolith it is today. This Friday, they’ll celebrate the release of their debut, self-titled record with a party at Johnny Brenda’s. Afterwards, they have plans to tour the East Coast. These days everything seems to be falling into place.

But that wasn’t always the case.

“[When we first started playing together] we made some really beautiful stuff, but we were fuck-ups,” says Pierce. “We couldn’t keep it together. We would play out just enough that we could sustain our drinking. We let our worldview weigh on us, and it had bad effects.”

But perhaps we should start from the beginning. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Acid Mothers Temple at Boot and Saddle, Spaceship Aloha at Johnny Brenda’s

via facebook.com/acidmotherstempleofficial
via facebook.com/acidmotherstempleofficial

Japan-based psychedelic rock ensemble Acid Mothers Temple is coming up on twenty years of cranking amps and tripping out minds the world around. Their discography is so sprawling that it merits its own Wikipedia entry, and I won’t even speculate how many records they’ve put out before this year’s Astrogasm From The Inner Space. Suffice it to say, band leader Makoto Kawabata and his rotating cast of players have a strong Philly following (thanks to the enthusiasm of local promoters R5 Productions, as well as like-minded locals Bardo Pond) and tonight’s show will be a loud, expansive and expressive journey in the best imaginable way. Listen to Astrogasm‘s title track below, and get more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Apache Relay at North Star Bar, Wolf Gang at Johnny Brenda’s, Deleted Scenes at Boot & Saddle and more

The Apache Relay | photo via facebook.com/theapacherelay
The Apache Relay | photo via facebook.com/theapacherelay

The Apache Relay arrive in Philadelphia tonight for a 9 p.m. show at The North Star Bar with The Weeks.  The band, currently on tour for their self-titled new album, took its name from Heavyweights, a 1995 movie starring Ben Stiller, and haven’t looked back since.  Their first album, American Nomad, debuted in 2011 and introduced the world to Apache’s acoustic folk sound.  Their new album takes their great folksy music to an entirely new level.  Listen to a new song entitled “Katie Queen of Tennessee” below, and get tickets for the 21+ show here.

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Birdie Busch’s 4th annual Philly Opry at Johnny Brenda’s features Slowey and the Boats, The Sermon! and Victory beer

Photo by Lisa Schaffer | skylerbug.com
Photo by Lisa Schaffer | skylerbug.com

Birdie Busch has curated a mini music and arts festival called the Philly Opry for the past 3 years, and the 4th installment will be held on June 7th at Johnny Brenda’s. Today, the lineup was announced, and it has the host performing with her band Birdie Busch & the Greatest Night; joining her will be local act Slowey and the Boats, featuring steel guitar playing from Isaac Stanford (formerly of Townhall), and The Sermon!, a jazz / soul / funk revue from West Chester. The festival will cap off Philly Beer Week featuring special brews from Victory Brewing. Tickets for the event can be found here.

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Today’s Concert Picks: MØ at Johnny Brenda’s, Eternal Summers at Underground Arts, Stone Jack Jones at World Cafe Live

MØ | photo courtesy of the artist
MØ | photo courtesy of the artist

Danish musician  will perform at Johnny Brenda’s tonight with Erik Hassle.  Currently touring the U.S. for the first time in support of her debut LP No Mythologies to Follow, Karen Marie Ørsted has been making quick work of moving to the forefront of the electronic-pop dance scene.  She released her first singles in 2012 and has since worked with Avicii while topping the line-ups at festivals across the globe.  Tickets and information for the 21+ show can be found here.  Check out “I Don’t Wanna Dance” below.

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