Watch Hurry record a song for a Lame-O Records charity split

Hurry | Photo by Ally Newbold |
Hurry | Photo by Ally Newbold |

It’s always great when a handful of Philly bands come together to collaborate. But it’s even greater when this collaboration is fueled for a good cause.

The upcoming Strength in Weakness EP, due out on Lame-O Records, is the product of original tracks from six Philly bands: Spraynard, The Weaks, Modern Baseball, Marietta, Beach Slang and Hurry. Album proceeds will be donated to both the Philadelphia chapter of United Cerebral Palsy as well as the national branch. Continue reading →


Listen to the new Modern Baseball song featured on Lame-O Records charity split

Modern Baseball | Photo by Allison Newbold |
Modern Baseball | Photo by Allison Newbold |

In less than nine hours, the records of the Lame-O Records charity split, Strength In Weakness, completely sold out. All of the proceeds from the split benefit United Cerebral Palsy. As part of the release, Philly’s Modern Baseball released their latest tongue twister of a song, “Alpha Kappa Fall Of Troy The Movie Part Deux.” Continue reading →


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 →


You Blew It!, Prawn, Crying, Marietta, and Secret Plot bring ‘The Emo Revival’ to the Fire

You Blew It! | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo
You Blew It! | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo

The Fire held an all-emo showcase Sunday night, bringing together Florida punk four piece You Blew It! alongside New Jersey’s Prawn, New York’s Crying, and Philly’s  Marietta and Secret Plot to Destroy the Entire Universe. Each band brought their emotional cues forward in their own way, showcasing how creative and loud they can be with the copious amount of tiresome energy that come through in their music.

Secret Plot To Destroy The Entire Universe | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo
Secret Plot To Destroy The Entire Universe | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Secret Plot opened up the night with a set of their vocally-driven and abrasive songs. Teetering in that delicate spot between destructive and beautiful, this band sure knows how to get their feelings across, especially live. New songs filled their performance, and the band mentioned that an album is in the works. Keep an eye out for that, and check out their other stuff on Bandcamp.

Local emo four piece Marietta was up next, playing a set of tracks from their debut album Summer Death. Their twinkly riffs and huge crescendos made for a terrific sing-a-long experience. The band plays faster and yells a little harder live, which really showcases their punk influence and how invested these guys are in the feelings of their songs. Drummer Andrew Weigel was especially crazy to see live; during some of the build ups he would be absolutely pounding on his toms while also shouting the lyrics at the top of his lungs. Listen to Summer Death here. Continue reading →


Twinkly pop-punkers Marietta and Secret Plot rekindle at The Fire this Sunday

Marietta plays at the Golden Tea House this past January | photo by Jasmine |

Not one, but two Philly pop punk favorites will be playing together this Sunday at The FireSecret Plot to Destroy the Entire Universe and Marietta will be playing with out-of-staters state punkers Crying, Prawn and You Blew It!

After a month-long tour together along the Northeast, Marietta and Secret Plot will reunite for the show. Though Secret Plot hasn’t released any new music since its last album, I Only Miss You When I Want To, came out in December 2012, they might share some of the new material they’ve been working on for a reported full-length on Kit Kat Records. This will be one of Secret Plot’s last shows in town until they return from a month-long March tour.

Joining them are twinkly pop punk band Marietta, who released their 8-track album Summer Death appropriately in October. In late January, the band announced a limited-edition new pressing of the eight-song album on marbled “red and white wine” vinyl in honor of “Wineuary.” The reissue will come out via Soft Speak Records.

The all-ages show starts at 6:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10, or in advance for $8 here.


The accidental success of Kat Kat Phest, and how founder Daniel Anderson is building on it this year

The Hundred Acre Woods | photo by Ally Newbold Photography
The Hundred Acre Woods will play opening night of Kat Kat Fest on Saturday | photo by Ally Newbold Photography

Think of last year’s first Kat Kat Phest as an accident that went almost as smoothly as the organizers could have asked for.

“There were seven or eight different bands that hit one of us up saying, ‘Hey, I need a show,’ in a four-day period, “ says the Philly-based indie label founder Daniel Anderson about what happened around this time last year. “By the end of it, all four days had a show, and we were just like, ‘Whatever, let’s just make it a four-day thing with some after shows.’”

Anderson started Kat Kat Records in order to help out friends’ bands and put out their records, so requests for help booking shows in the area were not uncommon. That’s why his friend Ruben Polo (also his band-mate in the local four-piece Secret Plot to Destroy the Entire Universe) started helping out with promoting events, which he also does for a living.

For a last-minute festival with mostly touring bands on the bill, the two organizers couldn’t have imagined it would go so well, even selling out the show on the final day.

“[Our band] left for an eight-week tour after that, and off and on, we were just talking about, ‘Who should we get next year? We should do this for real,’” Anderson says. “Last year’s was kind of an accident. This year is a test to see if we can make it go as well when we’ve actually meant to do it.”

So this weekend, DIY musicians and local music supporters will once again gather for Phest 2, which will span five days, feature eight all-ages shows and boast about 50 bands. The all-festival passes, a bargain at $22, were sold out by December 20. Saturday night’s show with local heroes Smoother and Marietta, as well as New York-based Lemuria headlining, was moved to the North Star Bar after selling out at The Fire. But tickets are still available for all eight shows, a la carte style, at the show’s Facebook event page, and they range from $3 to $10…so it’s still a lot of bang for your buck.

Several bands associated with Kat Kat Records will also play this year’s Phest, including By Surprise, Hightide Hotel and Tyler Daniel Bean. But Anderson and Polo don’t make it a priority to put their own bands on the bill.

“If bands deserve to play cool shows and work really hard and are good people, then they play what they should play,” Anderson says. Continue reading →


Orlando emo four-piece You Blew It! brings Keep Doing What You’re Doing to The Fire 2/9

You Blew It! | via Facebook

Orlando, Florida emo / punk group You Blew It! recently announced their second full length album Keep Doing What You’re Doing will be released January 14th via Topshelf Records. In recent weeks, the band released two songs off the upcoming album, “Award of the Year Award,” and “House Address,” both which you can stream below. Each song is seemingly more mature than what we heard on their debut album Grow Up, Dude, and “House Address” particularly has awesome guitar riffs and truly heartfelt vocals. In addition to the improved song writing quality, the band had the help of producer Evan Weiss (Into it. Over it.) in the making of the record.

You Blew It! joins The Front Bottoms on a full US tour, which stops in Bethlehem at the Blast Furnace Room on 1/31. After that tour, You Blew It! is staying on the road and plays The Fire on 2/9. Pre order Keep Doing What You’re Doing hereGet tickets to the You Blew It! show in Bethlehem with The Front Bottoms here, and get tickets to stacked show at The Fire with Prawn, Marietta, and Smoother here.


The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Kurt Vile, Marietta, Shawn Kilroy


Photo by David Kain
Photo by David Kain

This week’s Key Studio Session featured local storytellers Northern Arms.  Fittingly for the season, the ten-piece band creates dark and haunting songs in the form of narrative vignettes like “Warm Springs Georgia “below.  Stream and download the track, then check out the full session here.

Singer-songwriter Jessica Pratt stopped by recently for a Folkadelphia Session.  The San Francisco native released her debut LP earlier this year somewhat out of the blue and without much explanation, adding to the already mysterious nature of her music.  For this session, Pratt recorded songs that did not appear on the LP.  Stream and download the full set below.

Continue reading →


Album Review: Experience Marietta’s Summer Death

Photo by user tranzatlantique

Photo by Allison Newbold |

Philadelphia-bred emo/pop-punk outfit Marietta are broken, bruised, and brutally honest about it on their newly released debut album Summer Death which brings to mind titans of the genre, Taking Back Sunday and The Early November. They waste no time getting to the point of how they really feel. Nobody likes to be left and these guys are no exception, a point made clear on the opening track “…so they left me at a gas station” as Evan Lescallette (guitar, vocals) and Ethan Willard (guitar, vocals) sing: “so have I been forgotten?/oh yeah, I’ve been forgotten/I don’t see the silver lining, I give up on trying”. This refrain is repeated multiple times with added aggression over the quiet guitar riff and loud drums.

Downhearted and resigned, the band continues onto a “cinco de mayo sh*t show” in which they describe an identity crisis of sorts that creates a divide between emotions. This sentiment is expressed in two contrasting scenarios: “if i wake up and accidentally crawl into your arms, it’s nothing personal/Personhood has always seemed so strange…”if i freak out and crash my f***ing car into your house, of course it’s personal. Personhood has made me feel this way”. It’s as if vulnerability is foreign and makes them feel disembodied, but anger is all they know and therefore all they feel comfortable expressing. Emily Sheerin’s guest vocals on this particular section help to convey this notion. Things don’t get much brighter on the mostly acoustic “you’ve got the map backwards, matt” where the band admits: “oh I am seeing the dreariness of this/oh, i’m believing now that i can’t fix this”.

Midway through the record we find Marietta mourning their fleeting youth as they sing of “neighbors always getting younger, dying off, waiting for winter” (“deck wine”) and “screaming at my skin, ‘please stay younger’” (“chase, i hardly know ya”) over melodic guitar riffs and static drums. On “god bless, eric taylor”, they invite listeners to talk them down from their fear of death: “Come with me, I promise the water is fine/I need something else to convince me I won’t die.” They deliver their most poignant proposition on “ever is a long time (ever is no time at all) as they ponder the worth of good over evil: “I could be a soul to keep/or I could keep on living soullessly.” By album’s end, they confidently express disbelief and “the need to reaffirm with God that I’m none of his concern”.

Ultimately, the raw production quality of Summer Death allows Marietta to shine lyrically and emote effectively on their debut record. Stream it below.