80’s pop rock sensations The Bangles headline World Cafe Live tonight. After a long 8-year hiatus, the women produced their first album in 2011, Sweetheart of the Sun, and rejoined the music scene with gusto. The group achieved early success with their pop hits including “Eternal Flame” and “Walk Like An Egyptian” and became one of the handful of all-female groups to achieve international attention in the 80’s. You can watch their music video for their hit “Manic Monday” below. Find more information on tonight’s show on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →
This weekend, up in northern Montgomery County, Philly Folk Fest reigned under mostly sunny weather. The 53rd annual gathering treated the crowd to its trademark mix of sounds and styles: heavy on the promising up-and-coming acts (El Caribefunk, Sturgill Simpson) and locals (Kicking Down Doors, Ryan Tennis, Katie Frank and the Pheromones), but also showcasing scene favorites (Old Crow Medicine Show, The Lone Bellow) and heritiage artists back for another set in front of familiar faces (Janis Ian, Loudon Wainwright III). Our photographer Michelle Montgomery was at the festival for all three days, and shot an immense amount of pictures capturing the scenes, the sights, the sound-makers and, most vividly, the folk folks. We whittled down her photos to our favorite 150, encompassing three days and nights of lively festivity and high spirits. Continue reading →
On Wednesday night Rittenhouse Square played host to the first of two Concerts in the Park sponsored by Philadelphia Weekly. The 24th year of this concert series kicked off with three woman-fronted acts: DJ Lisa Love, Folk Fest-bound band Katie Frank & The Pheremones and Divers. It was a diverse mix of musical interests on display, from the Americana and roots of Frank to the indie rock of Divers, with some classic hip-hop thrown in from Love. Continue reading →
Katie Frank and the Pheromones play a free show tonight at Rittenhouse Square as part of Philadelphia Weekly’s Concerts in the Park series. Last year, the band recorded a rockin’ Key Studio Session and released their debut single, “Tunnel Vision.” This year, the band’s timeless debut LP Counting Your Curses came out. In an interview for the band’s feature on The Key’s Unlocked, Frank explained the difference between performing solo to performing with The Pheromones: ““I feel so much more empowered when I’m onstage with the band. I can be timid when it comes to singing my songs.” Catch the empowered Katie Frank and the Pheromones, along with DJ Lisa Love and Divers tonight. Get more details about the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Listen to the title track from Counting Your Curses below. Continue reading →
Every year you’re bound to catch a smattering of local music at the Philadelphia Folk Festival – from the Helen Leicht-curated WXPN Philly Local Stage (which we’ll preview tomorrow) to the Folksong Society’s Philadelphia Music Co-Op (which has given rise to Cheers Elephant and Toy Soldiers). The 2014 festival, however, is particularly strong in highlighting the music of the Southeastern and Central Pennsylvania region. Here are six local artists to make sure you catch as you’re making your way around the Folk Fest grounds this weekend. Continue reading →
The first time I saw Katie Frank, it was very simply just Katie Frank. The BITBY crew sent me a black and white video they shot of her strumming an acoustic guitar after dark one summer evening in “a dirty backyard in south Philly.” The song she plays is “False Alarm” – the track that opens Counting Your Curses, the new album from Katie Frank and the Pheromones that we’re spotlighting all week on Unlocked.
Frank wasted no time in ditching the solo acoustic persona. She got together guest players for her debut EP, Covered Bridge Road, and many of those players remained to form her band. “False Alarm” as The Pheromones play it is pounding and urgent, built around a hammering kickdrum, accented with touches of pedal steel and punctuated with Frank’s unbridled vocal on the refrain.
In the early BITBY video, the song is there, but in skeletal form. It’s hushed and sensitive, like she’s trying to reason with someone through whispers. In the album version, she puts her foot down. Check out the growth of “False Alarm” below by comparing the BITBY video to the recorded version on Counting Your Curses.
Counting Your Curses is the featured album in this week’s edition of Unlocked. Download “Halfway Gone” in Monday’s post, read Tuesday’s album review and check back the rest of the week for an interview and more.
What makes a record timeless, anyway? Is it the warm electric guitar tones, or the punchy and resonant drumbeats? Is it a lack of lyrics mentioning cell phones, computers, the internet? Is it a sepia-toned cover photograph showing a young woman dressed like somebody from the L.A. of the late 60s who might just as easily have been spotted in West Philly late last week?
Katie Frank and The Pheromones’ debut Counting Your Curses has all of those things. It doesn’t sound like classic rock, but is undeniably informed by a classic rock heritage. By the same token, it’s contemporary music that isn’t so aggressively contemporary that it will sound dated in five years when trends run their cycle. It’s now music made by always musicians. It’s a strong blend of country, rock, singer-songwriter and pop. And while Frank walks well-traveled roads amid a very bustling scene, she needn’t worry because – as we said a couple months back when introducing you to her single “Tunnel Vision” – she’s got the hooks to stand out.
Counting Your Curses isthe product of not only Frank and her band – longtime guitarist Josh Werblun and drummer Jon McNally, more recent bassist Greg Orlando and guitarist Kevin Killen – but it also features collaborations with an earlier generation of Philly musicians: backing vocals from Jim Boggia, piano from Ben Arnold and guitar from The Hooters’ John Lilley. Continue reading →
Katie Frank is a singer, and a songwriter, but she’s not necessarily a singer-songwriter. In the past year and change that she’s been on the scene, the Philly musician has asserted herself a gutsy rocker and a true band leader. Hence the album Counting Your Curses, which came out last week, being credited not solely to her – it’s a Katie Frank and the Pheromones release.
The nine-track LP is rich in tones and tempos, leaning country-Americana one moment and switching to anthemic gang vocal rock the next. Frank crafted this dramatic ebb and flow with her long-time collaborator Josh Werblun, her co-Pheromones and with outside collaborators like Philly music mainstay Jim Boggia. There are moments of subtle sensitivity as readily as moments of brash aggression, and while the songs would certainly stand up should Frank decide to perform them by herself, the musical chemistry among this crew seems like that wouldn’t be a decision made hastily.
This week we’re spotlighting Counting Your Curses on Unlocked, The Key’s regular spotlight on new and significant releases by Philadelphia area artists. We’ll have an album review tomorrow, plus an interview and live band photos later in the week. Today we begin with one of the songs that best encapsulates the band-oriented nature of the record – “Halfway Gone” chugs across a Tom Petty style verse into a roaring refrain with thundering drums and a sea of voices. Those voices, that urgency, are necessary to the lack of emotion Frank chastizes in her refrain: “Give her something because she’s halfway gone / ambivalence has stripped her to the bone.”
Download “Halfway Gone” below all week long, courtesy of the band, and check back every day for more from Katie Frank and the Pheromones on Unlocked.
Foot-stomping folk rock band Katie Frank and the Pheromones will fill MilkBoy with their Americana roots sound tonight. This is the band’s record release party for Counting Your Curses, their debut full-length from Elizabethtown, Pa. native Frank. The band broke through with their country-influenced, twangy sound and shared their tunes with us in a Studio Session. Fit to their sound and style, their newest record was recorded in a homey, carriage-like recording studio outside of Philadelphia with Kawari Sound, according to an interview they did about the new album with The Vinyl District. Joining them will be indie-pop folk favorites The Lawsuits and folk/Americana artist Kevin Killen. This 21+ show will start at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $8 in advance, $10 at the door and can be purchased here.