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Experience the energy of the Philly Folk Fest in 150 photos

Old Crowd Medicine Show at Philly Folk Fest | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Old Crowd Medicine Show | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

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 →

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Twang and Rock in Rittenhouse: Katie Frank, Divers, DJ Lisa Love play Philly Weekly’s Concerts in the Park

Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

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 →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Katie Frank and the Pheromones at Rittenhouse Square, Steady Hands and W.C. Lindsay at The Fire, Leana Song at Penn Museum

Katie Frank and the Pheromones
Photo by Will Hoover


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 →

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Six locals to catch at the 2014 Philadelphia Folk Festival

Kicking Down Doors
Kicking Down Doors live at the Mermaid Inn | Photo by Valentine Gorski | via facebook.com/KickingDownDoors

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 →

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Unlocked: Check out a gallery of photos from Katie Frank and The Pheromones’ album release party by Caitlin McCann

Photo by Caitlin McCann | caitlinmccann.4ormat.com
Photo by Caitlin McCann | caitlinmccann.4ormat.com

Wrapping up our week with Katie Frank and the Pheromones here on Unlocked, we’re pleased to bring you some visuals of the band in action care of Caitlin McCann, a Brooklyn-based photographer who – in a twist of geography – does a lot of work shooting the Philly roots music scene. (Check out her amazing travelogue of The Districts on tour that Rolling Stone published today, or similar work with Satellite Hearts and Toy Soldiers). The gallery below was shot at Katie Frank and The Pheromones’ album release party for Counting Your Curses on February 21st.

Counting Your Curses has been the features album on this week’s edition of Unlocked. Download the song “Halfway Gone” in Monday’s post, read Tuesday’s album review, watch an early video of “False Alarm” in Wednesday’s post, read yesterday’s interview, and keep checking back for future editions of Unlocked.

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Unlocked: Katie Frank’s “False Alarm,” then and now

Photo by Will Hoover
Photo by Will Hoover

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.

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Unlocked: The Key’s review of Katie Frank and The Pheromones’ Counting Your Curses

CountingYourCursesWhat 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.

(Hear More – Katie Frank and the Pheromones blend introspective songwriting and country sass on “Tunnel Vision”)

Counting Your Curses is the 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 →

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Unlocked: Download “Halfway Gone” from Katie Frank and the Pheromones’ Counting Your Curses

Photo by Alex Burkett
Photo by Alex Burkett

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.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Katie Frank and the Pheromones at MilkBoy, The Wood Brothers at Prince Music Theater, Lancaster Roots and Blues Festival and more

Photo by Will Hoover | Courtesy of facebook.com/katiefrankmusic
Photo by Will Hoover | Courtesy of facebook.com/katiefrankmusic

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 KillenThis 21+ show will start at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $8 in advance, $10 at the door and can be purchased here.

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Katie Frank, The War on Drugs, City Rain

Photo by Caitlin McCann | caitlinmccann.4ormat.com
Photo by Caitlin McCann | caitlinmccann.4ormat.com

Local roots outfit Levee Drivers stopped by for this week’s Key Studio Session.  The band recorded their signature 2008 track “Tennessee Girl” that all fans know and love, but surrounded it with brand new songs from their latest Live at East Coast Recording EP.  Stream and download “Bourbon Coated” below and get the full set here.

Electro-pop duo City Rain have released a new song from their upcoming Songs From a High School Dance LP.  ”Mama I Want to Come Home” is a move in a new direction for City Rain with its slow tempo and gentle acoustic guitar base, but it still sparkles and builds in the classic City Rain style.  Stream and download the song below.
Continue reading →