Philly indie-pop quartet Literature released their newest track “The English Softhearts”. The song is off of their upcoming album Chorus out August 19th on Slumberland Records. A few months back, the band did a session with The Cherry Blosom Clininc on WFMU. Recently, they played a great show with the UK group Flatmates in Philly.
“English Softhearts” starts off where their previous albums, Tie Dye and Arab Spring left off. In the intervening year, the group tightened up their sound, and slowed down from the manic energy of Arab Spring.It’s an carefree, upbeat pop affair. As the song’s title suggests, it’s a bit of a tribute to English pop classics like the Cure and the Smiths. The group actually played a version of the song on their Key Studio Session last year.
On Thursday, Connie’s Ric Rac played host to a quartet of time-traveling indie pop acts. Bringing the past to the present was the recently resurrected 1980s U.K. band The Flatmates. Playing music inspired by the sound fashions of the time, whether it be the dreamy (Tender Vision), jangle-pop (Expert Alterations) or a toned-down Cure (Literature), the rest of the lineup were appropriate complements.
With two original members in tow — Martin Whitehead on guitar and Rocker on keyboards — The Flatmates played classics like “Shimmer” alongside songs from an upcoming release and a cover of Prince’s “When You Were Mine.” With new vocalist Lisa Bouvier leading the charge, the songs were quite infectious and had the compact crowd shaking their hips. Despite playing the second-to-last set of the night, they were certainly the highlight.
But each of the other bands had their shining moments, with Philly bands Tender Vision and Literature bookending the night. The reliably elusive Adrianne Gold, formerly of Catnaps, fronted Tender Vision with her catchy hooks. The six-piece may not always have been tight, but their potential was palpable. Baltimore-based Expert Alterations rocked well, while Literature turned the lights down and got the crowd to dance into early Friday morning.
Year End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2013 awesome. In this installment, photographer Melody Chiang shares the best of who’s new to town.
When I first moved to Philadelphia four years ago, alot of people questioned my sanity for electing to leave California. In the beginning, I stayed almost exclusively inside the comfortable, familiar bubble of University City. But with help from some friends, locals, and of course the XPN crew, I began to spend more time exploring other parts of the city and getting to know Philly’s amazing, rollicking music scene a little. Now as I head into my final semester of college that will quickly be followed by another period of terrifying transition, I’ve discovered that I’ve kind of fallen in love with this vibrant, unapologetically spirited, sometimes disconcerting, one of a kind place. And I hope I get to stick around here longer.
So, for my 2013 year end list I wanted to compile my favorite recently local acts who, like me, all hail from elsewhere but have come to call Philadelphia home. Here are my top five Philly transplants of 2013:
5. Maitland Maitland originally hail from Williamsport, PA. Josh Hines and Jeff Mach play gorgeous atmospheric folk songs that have oft elicited comparisons to Bon Iver and Jose Gonzales. Their EP (from a cabin in the woods), which was technically released last fall in 2012, is sonically minimalistic but chock full of natural imagery and nostalgic snapshots in time.
Ali Wadsworth is not a new voice in Philly by any means, but she’ll be releasing her debut solo LP at Ruba Club tonight. The celebration will be an incredible one: a cocktail hour, sets by Auctioneer, Thom McCarthy and Divers and a “super top secret party band” will surround the centerpiece performance by Wadsworth and her band. Before striking out on her own, Wadsworth was a member of Unlikely Cowboy with Good Old War’s Dan Schwartz, Goldiebox with her sister Claire and Philly super-group Fantasy Square Garden. The new album, recorded by Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man), features songs written for Wadsworth by her friends and fellow musicians. Tickets and information for the all-night party can be found on the Facebook event page. Watch Wadsworth perform “Still Not Over You” at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology below.
Five years really flies! I remember first catching wind of the Philly local music scene bloggers at The Deli when I caught The Armchairs playing a Johnny Brenda’s gig with Jukebox the Ghost back in early 2009. If memory serves, this was a Deli-sponsored show, they had been around for about six months, and brought in banners and handouts and the whole shebang. I left wondering “who are these folks?” And as I discovered over time, they’re a massively positive group of music enthusiasts as well as Philly enthusiasts, knowledgeable and on point about what’s happening in this city, and it’s been a good deal of fun covering the scene alongside them. So big ups to them on hitting the five year anniversary mark this fall, and what a fun show they’ve got lined up to celebrate on Saturday, October 5th at PhilaMOCA: boisterous indie rock four-piece Literature, sexy groove-pop crew Night Panther, and a costume contest. No kidding. Writeth Q.D. Tran of The Deli in their announcement:
Dig out your finest vintage attire, and join us for martinis and plenty of hard stuff on the rocks or neat at our rad free cocktail hour before the music showcase. We’ll be giving away neat prizes, like R5 show passes and your own personal bottle of Jameson (like mine ;o), for the best time-warping outfits.
More info at The Deli. Congrats, dudes and dudettes. Below, check Night Panther’s Shaking Through session and a track from Literature.
Catnaps, Literature and Sam Cook of Radiator Hospital are joining Florida’s Cassolette for a pop-heavy house show at Hausu tonight. It’s a last-minute, semi-secret show that’s got some of the best in Philly indie pop that will range from heartfelt confessions to fuzz-filled twee. Check out videos of the bands below and get more information at the event page here.
Philadelphia-via-Austin outfit Literature open for Pet Milk at MilkBoy tonight. The psych / pop quartet released their debut album Arab Spring in January 2012 and followed it up with a 7″ single “Tie Dye” a year later. For their recent Key Studio Session, Literature recorded the single alongside four new songs – check out the full session here. Tickets and information can be found here. Below, stream the title track to Arab Spring.
Recent Philly transplants Literature previewed four new tracks in this week’s Key Studio Session. With a sound made for indie dance club nights, Literature are a surf-y, high energy bunch of polished musicians with well-coiffed songs. Stream and download “Court Date” below and check out the full session here.
About a year ago, the snappy and warped psych-pop band Literature relocated to Philadelphia from Austin, Texas with an awesome LP called Arab Spring in tow. Hard tourers, sharp dressers and a buzzing name on the indiepop circuit, they specialize in a sound that’s a bit more direct than the washed-out hazy dazy Pain of Being Pure At Heart aesthetic of a few years back. There’s a lift to their sound (though still a reverb’d surface) and a galloping-out-the-gate energy (with some oddball lyrical diversions). For their Key Studio Session, Literature recorded four new “barn burners” in the words of guitarist Kevin Attics, including their latest 7″ a-side “Tie Dye” and a couple unreleased numbers. “Grifted” slowed down the pace and dipped back to their LP, but kept the momentum going enough that it may as well just plow straight into the Johnny Brenda’s show they’re playing (and KDU is hosting) next week. They’re opening the night on May 22nd, with Key Session alums Pet Milk headlining; tickets and information can be found here, while the session is available for your streaming and downloading (and bopping around the room) pleasure below.
For more than 25 years, Kristin Hersh has been a steady source of stunning music, from intensely expressive art-rock with Throwing Muses, the band she founded with her cousin Tanya Donnely in 1985, to haunting songs as a solo singer-songwriter and straight-ahead thrash in 50 Foot Wave. If you’re not familiar, this great Q&A in last Wednesday’s Philadelphia Weekly oughta get you up to speed – it touches on Hersh as a songwriter, guitar wizard and author (her 2010 memoir, Rat Girl, is a fantastic read and highly recommended). Tonight’s show at World Cafe Live is billed as a solo appearance, which for Hersh can mean just about anything – songs from her mid-90s catalog, throwbacks to the early days of the Muses, new pieces she’s workshopping and posting to YouTube for her fans to weigh in on. You can watch a video of one of those below, a number called “Chipping Teeth” that’s tense on the verses, catchy on the refrain and somewhat mysterious on the outro. Kristin Hersh and James Maddock play World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street, tonight at 7 p.m. Tickets to the all ages show are $16 and available at the door.
Newly relocated to Philadelphia, Family Band – singer-guitarists Kim Krans and Jonny Ollsin, plus a sea of collaborators – is celebrating the release of their excellent new record Grace and Lies (No Quarter) with an appearance at the First Unitarian Chapel tonight. Labelmate Jennifer Castle opens, and the resonant room ought to serve both artists well, as they make use of dreamy tones and emotive sonic space. Check out an interview with Family Band in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, see a video they shot for Free People below and check back to The Key later today for a download from their Folkadelphia session this past weekend. Family Band and Jennifer Castle perform at the First Unitarian Church Chapel, 2125 Chestnut St., tonight at 8:30 p.m. Tickets to the all-ages show are $10.
Carnivalesque indie pop ensemble Dangerous Ponies hit up Johnny Brenda’s tonight for their last show until autumn. With a slew of new songs in their setlist, the band plans to take the rest of the summer off for recording and other summer-y things. We can’t wait to hear the new record this results in. Meanwhile, listen to their song “Bumbershoot” below. Dangerous Ponies perform with Green Paper and Ghost Light at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave, tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets to the 21+ show are $10.
And finally, tonight is the final night of Herb Shellenberger’s month curating the Tuesday Tune-Out series at PhilaMOCA. Joining him are the band Literature, who recently relocated to Philadelphia from Austin, and filmmaker Shawn Kornhauser, who will screen a series of shorts. Find out more information at Shellenberger’s guest VJ post from earlier this month. Tuesday Tune-Out happens at PhilaMOCA, 531 N. 12th St., tonight at 7:30 p.m. Admission to the all-ages show is $5.