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The Essential Love Songs of Philadelphia: “Lucy Stone” by Katie Ellen

katie ellen
Katie Ellen | photo courtesy of the artist

Every day leading up to Valentine’s Day this year, The Key is recapping 14 songs that scream “love” just as strongly as they scream “Philly.” The Essential Love Songs of Philadelphia continues with “Lucy Stone” from Katie Ellen’s 2017 album Cowgirl Blues.

Though she was born 200 years ago, it’s still possible to find heaps of inspiration in a historical figure like Lucy Stone. The 19th century activist was among the early feminists, fighting first for the abolition of slavery and later for women’s rights and suffrage. She was also one of the first high-profile women to keep her last name when she married — a bold move in 1855. In Lucy Stone’s story, Katie Ellen found the name for a song, and it’s the modern day feminist anthem we didn’t know we needed.

With “Lucy Stone,” songwriter Anika Pyle digs into the sexist social expectations that have stuck around even as times have changed. Even with a society that’s moved further toward equality, there’s a gray area when it comes to personal relationships — plenty of people are happy to conform to patriarchal social norms without question, but what are the folks who view marriage as a “social economic prison” to do? As Katie Ellen reveals, traditional parameters are not so easily shed. Continue reading →

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Listen to Anika Pyle of Katie Ellen contemplate guilt, shame and self-identity in the stirring solo song “The Void”

Anika Pyle | photo via anikapyle.bandcamp.com

Known these days as the singer-guitarist and songwriter at the front of Katie Ellen, and know previously as the voice of Brooklyn punks Chumped, Philly’s Anika Pyle occasionally forays into solo compositions and contemplations — as she did this week with the new track “The Void.” Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Katie Ellen

Anika Pyle first came to prominence fronting the acclaimed Brooklyn punk band Chumped, which riffed and raged for a few exciting years and then, following the album cycle for 2014’s Teenage Retirement, decided to retire.

In its wake, Pyle refocused to explore the more sensitive side of her songwriting in the project Katie Ellen, which debuted with a Bandcamp demo called wild <3 in early 2016. The indie rock riffs were ever present, as was Pyle’s powerful vocal delivery, but the range was notably more dynamic. Songs could be a midtempo stroll (the title track) as easily as they charged (“Lucy Stone”); clean guitar tones mixed in with fuzzed-out overdrive; the arrangements and melodies were as east coast rock as they were Nashville roots.

A move to Philly later, and Katie Ellen released Cowgirl Blues this July on Lauren Records. Continue reading →

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Katie Ellen introduces themselves to a psyched PhilaMOCA audience for Cowgirl Blues record release show

Katie Ellen | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN

Meet Philadelphia’s most exciting new band: Katie Ellen. You’ve seen them around, opening for Cayetana and various other bands over the past year or so. You also might know frontwoman Anika Pyle from her previous, Brooklyn-based band called Chumped. But without a true, full-length LP, you likely never put a name to the face. But that changes today. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Katie Ellen at PhilaMOCA, Chill Moody at Boot and Saddle (benefit for Beyond the Bars), The Cactus Blossoms at Johnny Brenda’s

Katie Ellen | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com
Katie Ellen | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

The official release of Katie Ellen‘s debut LP Cowgirl Blues is tomorrow, but you can hear it live a night early at the band’s record release show tonight at PhilaMOCA. The new project of Anika Pyle, former frontwoman of punk outfit Chumped, Katie Ellen is her platform for anthemic, cathartic, feminist “sparkle pop twang punk fuzz core” jams. Listen to leading single “Sad Girls Club” below and check out the XPN Concert Calendar for tickets and more information. Continue reading →

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Join Katie Ellen’s “Sad Girls Club” in anthemic new single

Katie Ellen | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com
Katie Ellen | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

It took a good two seconds into Katie Ellen’s new single, “Sad Girls Club,” for me to be completely hooked. Yes, I would like to join the club, please. Is there a mailing list? I will sign now, thank you.

The personal, lyrically-driven anthem of a song mashes together any kind of insecurity one might feel for being different or straying from the collective normativity that is life (sigh), and effectively stomps it to bits with clattering cymbals and searing guitars. Continue reading →

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Get the first taste of Katie Ellen’s Cowgirl Blues with “Lucy Stone”

Katie Ellen | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com
Katie Ellen | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

After her highly-touted Brooklyn punk band Chumped parted ways, singer-songwriter-guitarist Anika Pyle launched a remarkable new project called Katie Ellen, which first caught our attention when they opened for Cayetana and Mannequin Pussy at PhilaMOCA back in January of 2016. The pace was slowed down and the content amped up, with Pyle using midtempo anthems to reflect on womanhood, societal expectations, mental health and other concerns that are both talked about a lot in the music scene but at the same time not nearly enough. Continue reading →

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Stream Cayetana’s jam-packed and resilient LP, New Kind of Normal

Cayetana | photo by Emily Dubin | courtesy of the artist
Cayetana | photo by Emily Dubin | courtesy of the artist

Well, friends — the day has finally arrived. Philly’s favorite punk trio has gifted your patient waiting by dropping an early online stream of their new record, New Kind of Normal, over at Hype Machine. And gosh dang, what a gift this is.

Cayetana’s new album does not disappoint in the slightest, as the record’s twelve songs weave a beautifully powerful rollercoaster narrative where the band faces adversity and personal struggle with a resilient roundhouse kick to the face. Continue reading →

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Party with Cayetana alongside a stacked lineup at New Kind of Normal record release shindig

cayetana
Cayetana | photo by Jess Flynn

May 5th just went from an awesome day to a supremely wonderful hooplah of a day.  In addition to the upcoming Cayetana record New Kind of Normal being released, Guild Shows just announced that Cayetana will rock a record release show that night at First Unitarian Church alongside the likes of Katie Ellen, Shannen Moser, and Aster More. Can I get a heck yee. Continue reading →