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Tales of the Open Road: Get Real Gang leader Juston Stens on riding his ’72 Triumph cross-country to write and record Share the Road

Juston Stens | Photo by Ellie Tremple | courtesy of the artist
Juston Stens | Photo by Ellie Tremple | courtesy of the artist

About 45 minutes before I’m supposed to meet Philly pop rebel Juston Stens for a poolside cocktail at North Shore Beach Club, I get a text: “Kate, I’m so sorry. My van broke down in South Philly. Should we reschedule?”

I’m headed back to South Philly myself, and his van just so happens to be near my neighborhood. So I tell him no worries, we can do the interview as he waits for a tow. It’s about 90 degrees out and by the time I reach him, he’s already been waiting 4 hours. “They sent a guy out already, but the trailer bed wasn’t big enough,” he quips, gesturing towards his monolith of a vehicle.

Considering how long he’s been waiting, he’s in a surprisingly good mood. He apologizes profusely for ruining our pool plans, then eagerly starts describing his new record. When the tow truck arrives, he chats with the driver, then helps push the van into a parking spot post-tow. “I work as a mover, part-time,” he tells me, unphased by its enormity. “This is nothing.” Continue reading →

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Juston Stens goes rogue in new documentary I Lay Where I Fall

Juston Stens | photo courtesy of the artist
Juston Stens | photo courtesy of the artist

After leaving his post in Dr. Dog, drummer Juston Stens knew he wanted to do things on his own terms.  And those terms took root in an open-ended, collaborative project that saw him ride across the country on his motorcycle to work with musicians from Wilco, Spoon, Those Darlins and a dozen more while recording a new album.  The Get Real Gang leader knew he was “starting back at square one” with this transition, and his journey is the focus of a new documentary called I Lay Where I Fall, premiering at the Nashville Film Festival next month.  You can check out the trailer for the film below and stay tuned for local screening dates.

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Juston Stens reissuing first album on vinyl, new album coming out in October (playing Ortliebs 7/6)

Philly’s Juston Stens released his debut solo album Trash or Treasure in March of last year, and as of this Tuesday, the record has been reissued on vinyl. Each copy comes with its own digital download code, and the first 100 pre-orders will come on limited edition gold vinyl. The album is also available to stream, via Stens’ bandcamp, here. Juston is already hard at work on his next solo album, Share the Road, which is due out in October, and he’ll be playing his hometown this weekend, headlining Ortliebs Lounge on Saturday, July 6th. Tickets and info can be found here, and check out the video for the Trash or Treasure track, “Lonely Lonely Night”, below.

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Introducing: The Hot Philly 15

Photo of Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee by Rachel Del Sordo
Photo of Kate Crutchfield of Waxahatchee by Rachel Del Sordo

The Hot Philly 15 is a completely subjective list of Philly-made and Philly Local music happenings we love this week. It’s somewhat informed by what we’re playing on the radio, what we’re blogging about and what you’re talking about.

1 – Waxahatchee: With an excellent new album, Cerulean Salt, a fantastic Key Studio Session, a high profile upcoming gig at SXSW with NPR Music, and Best New Music on Pitchfork, we’re in love. You should be too.

2 – The Delfonics – Who would have thought 45 years after the release of “La La Means I Love You,” William Hart would still be kickin’ it? Listen to Adrian Younge Presents The Delfonics here. Download the new song, “Enemies” here.

3 – Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel: Philly Bands heading to SXSW include: DRGN KNG, Blayer Pointdujour and The Rockers Galore, Creepoid, Lantern, Bleeding Rainbow, Norwegian Arms, A Life Once Lost, Dangerous Ponies, The Fleeting Ends, Lushlife, The Kalob Griffin Band, Katie Frank & The Pheromones, Nothing, Cold Fronts, Free Energy, Thee Idea Men. If we forgot you, sorry. We never got your press release.

4 – Chill Moody: We want him to be the mtvU Freshmen Video of the Week. Vote for him here.

Lawsuits
The Lawsuits | Photos by Matthew Smith | Montage by Bryan Schreck

5 – The Lawsuits Key Studio Session – listen to it here.

6 – Heavy Rotation: The Fleeting Ends release their poptastical new album, Our Eyes Are Peeled, on March 22nd. It’s getting lots of advance play in the office here.

7 – The Hotbox Studio (video) Sessions recently kicked back into action with Cheers Elephant and Grandchildren

8 – Tayyib Ali dropped his new mixtape, Keystone State Of Mind 2. Download it here.

9 – Tara Murtha’s Philly Weekly cover story on the closing of Fluid. Read it here.

10 – Stereogum premiered a new jam from our friends Free Energy. Download it here.

11 – Questlove and D’Angelo get down at the Brooklyn Bowl here. Okay, so the Brooklyn Bowl isn’t Philly. Neither is D’Angelo. But Quest is.

12 – Mike Slo-Mo Brenner gets all world music on our asses with a new collection of Indian slide guitar music he recorded in Calcutta.

WD13 – Duet of the moment: Juston Stens and Jessica Lea Mayfield, “Strange Love.” Download it here.

14 – Entertainment Weekly debuted the new Purling Hiss video for the song “Mercury Retrograde” here. It’s psychedelic, baby.

15 – Work Drugs: The Philly smooth-fi music machine drops yet another new single, “Sunset On High Street.” Download it here and don’t miss them tomorrow night with Night Panther at Kung Fu Necktie.

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With Love, From WXPN Philly Local: Download Juston Stens & Jessica Lea Mayfield’s “Strange Love”

Kicking off this week’s love-filled download offerings are Juston Stens & Jessica Lea Mayfield with “Strange Love,” a tale of long distance connections and making the most of time spent together.  The jangly duet is track #4 in the Valentine’s Day compilation, curated by XPN Philly Local’s Helen Leicht.  Each day leading up to February 14th The Key will post a new track by a local musician for free download (last week’s picks featured The Hooters, Jesse Ruben and Joe D’Amico).  Go here to get the full With Love, From WXPN Philly Local collection, and see Juston Stens with his band The Get Real Gang at Johnny Brenda’s on March 1st.  Tickets and more information can be found here.