Go inside the studio as Restorations makes the most important album of its career

Restorations Jon Loudon records vocals at Miner Street | Photo by Mitchell Wojcik |
Restorations’ Jon Loudon records vocals at Miner Street | Photo by Mitchell Wojcik |

When a young music fan hears stories about their favorite bands recording new music, they often invent grandiose visions of the studio and its space. There’s a certain mystique inherent for those who haven’t stepped foot in one; like most unlived experiences it’s portrayed in our heads as distant, unattainable, a place where all-time art is created. A place where “regular people” don’t ever go. Of course, that’s not really true. Studios come in all shapes, sizes and budgets, from cavernous state-of-the-art compounds where million-dollar records are made, to dirt-floor basements walled with smoke-stained eggshell padding.

Philadelphia’s Miner Street Recordings, which has gone through several locations in its two decades of existence (and is no longer located on Miner Street, for the record – the name comes from its original location in West Chester), lies somewhere in between the two extremes of the studio spectrum. Situated at a central crossroads in Fishtown, it’s a nondescript, vaguely abandoned-looking building in a city full of them. Off-white and faded blue paint peels from the exterior walls, exposing bricks underneath. The only visual confirmation that it’s the right place is a small piece of black tape on the front door with the words “this is Miner Street” written on it.

Before spotting the “sign” though, there’s an aural confirmation; standing on the sidewalk outside, the sound of muffled, droned, noteless guitar strumming breaks through the walls. We’re here to observe Restorations as they record their third full-length and second for SideOneDummy Records, and even those distant, cacophonous non-notes are immediately identifiable with the band’s growing reputation for weaponizing sharp, bright melodies by weaving them into heavy, distorted riffs, an unassumingly thunderous rhythm section and the occasional organ, all of it anchored by the throaty vocals of Jon Loudon. Continue reading →


Listen to “Coke Beat,” the new single from The National Rifle

This just in from The National Rifle: the debut full-length they’ve been recording at Miner Street, Almost Endless, is wrapped up and ready for a late 2012 release. Below, you can hear the album’s first single, “Coke Beat.” In itself, it might just be the best thing these goofy rockers have ever done, a pensive number simmering in haunting synths until the beat slams in. The prospect of a full album of equal measure is kind of staggering. Well done, TNR!


Shaking Through: Recording Creepoid with producer Kyle “Slick” Johnson and engineer Jon Low

In case you missed it, the current Shaking Through episode is with Philly’s Creepoid who recorded a new song called “Old Tree” for the series. The session was curated by Sean Agnew of R5 Productions and was produced Kyle “Slick” Johnson and engineered by Jon Low at Miner Street Recording. You can watch the video of the session here. Below, download Creepoid’s “Old Tree” and watch a new video with Johnson and Low talking about the technical aspects of recording the session.


Watch Marissa Nadler’s new video for “Baby I Will Leave You In The Morning” (recorded at Philly’s Miner Street)

Boston singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler is releasing her new self-titled album on June 14th on her own label, Box Of Cedar. So, what’s the local tie-in? The album was recorded in Philly with at Miner Street with Brian McTear of Weathervane Music, WXPN’s partner in Shaking Through. The album was produced by McTear and engineered and mixed by McTear with Jonathan Low; Nadler was also joined by local musicians Jim Callan and Helena Espvall (in addition to some out-of-towners) on the album. Below, check out the video for the song “Baby I Will Leave You In The Morning.”