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Philly needs an all-ages show space. TWOB Fest wants to make that happen.

The Hotelier | photo by Rachel Del Sordo
The Hotelier plays an all-ages show at The Fire. They headline TWOB Fest this weekend | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

DIY punk’s openness, accessibility and ability to survive (and thrive) hinges upon the existence of the right mix of venues. For the most part, Philadelphia has just that. The scene here is so nurturing that just about anyone can start a band, write a few songs, practice them and eventually, play a show. That conduciveness can almost seem passé sometimes just because we’re so acclimated to it, but the reality is that it’s just not like that in most cities. It takes a lot of hard work, some clever maneuvering, and the right mix of personalities to save a subculture from stagnation. In Philadelphia, that means a plethora of non-traditional, not-exactly-legal venues. Pennsylvania’s draconian alcohol laws, along with operating costs that are almost universally prohibitive for broke punks, mean that the vast majority of all-ages punk shows here are happening off the grid in musty basements, dirty kitchens and cavernous lofts, which makes for a uniquely wonderful, but perhaps unsustainable experience.

Daniel Anderson wants to create something sustainable. Since 2011, he and his roommate Ruben Polo have run local label Kat Kat Records, while booking shows both in their own West Philadelphia basement and at others across the city. They’ve also booked festivals of their own, beginning with Kat Kat Phest and culminating with the inaugural TWOB Fest this weekend, which will see local favorites like Kite Party, Marietta and By Surprise performing alongside out-of-town acts like Laura Stevenson, Sundials and The Hotelier to raise money for an all-ages, DIY show space in Philadelphia to hopefully open in the fall. Continue reading →

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Three Man Cannon blends styles on their LP Pretty Many People, streaming now

via facebook.com/threemancannon

As they prepare to head out on tour with fellow Philadelphians Kite Party, Scranton natives Three Man Cannon are streaming their new album Pretty Many People. The band’s new album has a particularly melodic style of punk mixed with a dab of shoegaze and emo to go along. Highlights include the morose “Bleed,” which contains mournful lyrics such as “I don’t want to see you die/ I just want to see you bleed that’s all” as the song crescendos into a powerful outcry. Listen to the record below, and see Three Man Cannon open for Saintseneca on June 4th at Johnny Brenda’s. Tickets and information at the XPN Concert Calendar.

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A night of vocal powerhouses at Golden Tea House featuring Frances Quinlan, Emperor X, Abi Reimold

Frances Quinlan | photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com
Frances Quinlan | photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com

Frances Quinlan has a voice that can fill a room, and on Wednesday night, it did just that. The Hop Along frontwoman’s evocative singing carries a compelling range of emotion, from playfulness to sorrow to anger and frustration, and its dynamic rise and fall cuts powerfully through the heavy and ambitious art-punk of her bandmates.

But at Golden Tea House, there was no need for it to cut through anything. Quinlan played solo, without loud amplifiers or heavy drums; just a clean electric Gibson and her singing resonating off the tall brick walls, an experience all the more affecting for the listeners. The crowd was exceptionally attentive – it was one of those “you could hear a pin drop” nights, which is rare at house shows, or rock shows of any sort for that matter, and especially so considering Quinlan’s set was mostly made up of unfamiliar material. Aside from two selections from 2012′s Get Disowned (“Some Grace,” “Trouble Found Me”) and a couple covers (a spot-on “Carry the Zero” by Built to Spill into “Barstool Blues” by Neil Young), the songs she played were all works in progress – hopefully to see the light of day on the next Hop Along album.

It’s probably premature to really evaluate the music at this stage – it sounded great, but was definitely in a skeletal state compared to how it will sound in a full band context – but suffice it to say, Quinlan nicely mixed up moody slow burns with riffy uptempo moments, and there’s an absolutely awesome song about the disappearing grave of jazz musician Buddy Bolden.

Joining Quinlan on the bill were two other vocal powerhouses: Abi Reimold (a former Key intern and occasional Key photographer), who performed a stunning and totally PJ Harvey-ish set backed by guitarist Nick Morrison of Mumblr, bassist Zach Kuntz and drummer Alex Giannascoli (of Alex G). Her new EP Forget is a knockout, but most of the songs she played weren’t on it, showing great promise for things to come. Emperor X from Jacksonville has a delivery in the vein of John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats – sorta nasal but supremely confident – and come to think of it, his clever and erudite songwriting was sort of Mountain Goats-esque too, as was his lively banter and command of the crowd. Switching between guitar and keyboard, he sang into a echo-filtered vocal mic on the quiet parts and stepped back to project to the entire room the rest of the time. “At A Rave With Nicolas Sarkozy” was a winning number; I knew nothing about this dude at the beginning of the night, and left a converted fan.

On the opposite extreme was Foot, the solo project of Pat Conaboy of Kite Party. It had a distinctively slowcore sad-rock vibe a la Red House Painters and Low; a lot of minor key progressions interlocking with somber and withdrawn vocals. While some points in Foot’s set were a bit too wandering and introverted to really connect with, its best points were chilling in their own sort of way. Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.

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The ever-evolving Kite Party will celebrate their new record on May 8 at PhilaMOCA

Kite Party | courtesy of the artist
Kite Party | courtesy of the artist

On May 6, Kite Party will unveil their second full-length album, Come on Wondering. On May 8, they’ll celebrate with a record release show at PhilaMOCA.

The twinkly Philly punkers have waited three years to follow up their popular album, Baseball Season, which features staples like “Arizona” and “Spirit Gum.” However, the band’s fans have been treated to small previews of the upcoming album and it sounds unexpected in the best possible way. Both “Halflife” and “Summery Dream” have a light, atmospheric sound that’s heavy on the psychedelic vibes, less so on the loud guitars and raspy vocals.

Surely, they’ll performance will be a bit different, too, but we’re looking forward to it. Celebrating alongside Kite Party at their record release show will be punkers and/or indie rockers Three Man Cannon, Gunk, Thin Lips and The spirit of the beehive. The all-ages show starts at 7:30 p.m. and admission is $7.

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Kite Party releases hazy new single, “Summery Dream”

Kite Party | courtesy of the artist
Kite Party | courtesy of the artist

 

Nah, you’re not dreaming. Kite Party really did release their latest single yesterday. The five-piece indie rock band’s second full-length album, Come on Wandering, comes out on May 6 via Animal Style Records. But until then, they’ve been giving fans some long-awaited previews. First up was ambiance-induced single “Halflife,” and now it’s “Summery Dream.”

The latter single has less of that in-your-face, twinkly but somehow gritty feel Kite Party manages to show through “Arizona” and “Spirit Gum” off of their first album, Baseball Season, but instead is rather spacey. And the new song is true to its name. Slower-paced than what Kite Party fans are used to, it does have that hazy, nearly hypnotic “summer” feel to it. And through its filtered sound, the band still keeps their signature melodies and harmonies. Think Youth Lagoon meets Real Estate. Prediction: this’ll be a “windows-down required” kind of album.

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Kite Party releases first single off forthcoming full length album, Come On Wandering

Kite Party | courtesy of the artist
Kite Party | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia based five piece Kite Party just released the first single off their forthcoming full length album Come On Wandering, which is due out May 6th on Animal Style Records. The album was recorded at The Headroom with local producers Joe Reinhart (Algernon Cadwallader, Hop Along) and Kyle Pulley (Dangerous Ponies, Thin Lips). ”Halflife” is warm and atmospheric, yet seemingly downbeat and moody. Soulful vocals howl amidst slowly churning instrumentals, and a keyboard adds even more texture on top of the three guitars. In this song, vocalist/guitarist Russell Edling focuses on ‘feeling off,’ but that is only one of many dark topics covered lyrically on this album. Preorder Come On Wandering here, and listen to “Halflife” below.

 

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ellie Goulding at Liacouras Center, Kite Party at Kung Fu Necktie, and John Byrne Band Pogues tribute at World Cafe Live

Photo via facebook.com/elliegoulding
Ellie Goulding | photo via facebook.com/elliegoulding

Shimmery pop goddess Ellie Goulding will light up the Liacouras Center tonight on her US tour. Her signature breathy tone is sensual and alluring as it fills in her illustrious pop tunes. Watch the visual for “Burn” from her 2013 release Halcyon Days below and get tickets here.

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Get amped for The Weaks’ album release with “Dunce Pageant”

theweaks
Photo by Daniel Lidon, courtesy of facebook.com/theweaks

Philly pop punk band The Weaks are celebrating the release of their first EP on Lame-O Records in two big ways. First, The World Is A Terrible Place and I Hate Myself and Want To Die is streaming on BrooklynVegan in advance of its February 11th release date. In addition, The Weaks – featuring Evan Bernard and Chris Baglivo, formerly of Dangerous Ponies – are holding a record release show this Friday at Golden Tea House for the EP.

The name of the record is a play off of scene-famous Connecticut punkers, The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, as well as a Nirvana deep cut from the 1993 compilation The Beavis and Butthead Experience. Celebrating with The Weaks will be Washington-based band Cowardice, Philly natives Kite Party and Thin Lips (other former members of Dangerous Ponies playing their debut show).

(Hear More – Listen to two new songs from Thin Lips)

Lame-O Records, based in Philadelphia, is also home to Ma Jolie, Modern Baseball, Hundred Acre Woods and Steady Hands. Check out the band’s interview with Modern Vinyl here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Goodnight Lights at MilkBoy, Alex G at PhilaMOCA, Kite Party at Boot and Saddle

goodnightlightsPhilly alterna-indie mainstays Goodnight Lights must have cranked up the “epic” knob on their amps since we heard from them last. Yesterday, the five-piece band quietly unleashed a new track called “Convinced,” a selection from their recent recording stint with Bill Moriarty over at Waking Studio in East Falls, and it’s thundering drums and soaring guitar licks sound massive in a Siamese Dream via Synthetica kind of way. The song is a teaser for a five-song EP the band plans to release in 2014, but tonight, they open up the show at MilkBoy alongside Born Cages and NGHBRS; tickets and information can be found here. Listen to “Convinced” below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Marijuana Deathsquads at Kung Fu Necktie, Kite Party acoustic show at PhilaMOCA for Tuesday Tune-Out, Ton Taun at Silk City

marijuana deathsquads

Marijuana Deathsquads play a late show at Kung Fu Necktie tonight.  Ryan Olson of GAYNGS and POLIÇA started the Minneapolis-based noise / hardcore-electronic band in 2009 and released three subsequent records.  Their first proper studio album, however, will be released this summer and is called Oh My Sexy Lord.  Like GAYNGS, Marijuana Deathsquads’ live shows have been known to include appearances by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Josh Klinghoffer and Dirty Projectors’ Brian McOmber.  Tickets and information for the show can be found here.  Watch the video for “Crazy Master” below.

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