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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Melody Chiang’s Top 5 Philadelphia Transplants of 2013

Radiator Hospital | via Facebook
Radiator Hospital | via Facebook
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.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ali Wadsworth at Ruba Club, The Deli’s 5th Anniversary Bash at PhilaMOCA, River City Festival at Penn Treaty Park and more

Screen shot 2013-08-20 at 9.30.04 PMAli 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.

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Literature, Night Panther heading up The Deli Philly’s 5-year anniversary throwdown

Literature | Photo by Abi Reimold
Literature | Photo by Abi Reimold

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.

Shaking Through: Recording Night Panther from Weathervane Music on Vimeo.

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Catnaps, Literature and more playing a pop-up show tonight at Hausu

catnaps

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.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Literature at MilkBoy, The Bailey Hounds at Ortlieb’s Lounge, XPN welcomes Paul Kelly to The Tin Angel

Photo by Abi Reimold
Photo by Abi Reimold

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.

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The Week’s Best MP3 Downloads, incl. Literature, Market East, Morning River Band

Photo by Abi Reimold
Photo by Abi Reimold

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.

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The Key Studio Sessions: Literature

All photos by Abi Reimold | Abireimold.22slides.com

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.