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mewithoutYou announce end-of-year show at Johnny Brenda’s on 12/29

mewithoutYou | Photo by John Vettese
mewithoutYou | Photo by John Vettese
Local rock outfit mewithoutYou will do their part to celebrate the changing years with a show at Johnny Brenda’s on December 29th.  The five-piece experimental band released its fifth full-length Ten Stories in 2012, followed by a companion EP called Other Stories this past summer.  Working across a wide variety genres, mewithoutYou compose songs in the style of stories with narrative lyrics that occaisonally reference and expand on each other over the course of the band’s discography.  Other Stories is available as a name-your-own-price download here.  Tickets and information for the 21+ show with The Lighthouse and The Whaler can be found here.  Listen to “Julian the Onion” below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Glenn Tilbrook at World Cafe Live, Funky Blues Finale w/ James Cotton and David Dye at TLA, mewithoutYou at Musikfest Cafe

Squeeze80s British power pop sensation (and former Squeeze frontman) Glenn Tilbrook is playing at World Cafe Live tonight. Tilbrook has been touring the UK and U.S. in support of his upcoming solo release, expected to be out later this year. Find more information and tickets for tonight’s all ages event here. Watch as Tilbrook and his crew arrive to the states in his 2013 tour video below, and prepare for the show by listening to Tilbrook’s 2001 acoustic version of “Tempted” below.

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Surprises and horses as mewithoutYou, Rocky Votolato and Auctioneer wrap up tour at The Depot (photos, review)

mewithoutYou | Photo by John Vettese
mewithoutYou | Photo by John Vettese

It was the last night of tour, so surprises naturally came out of the woodwork when mewithoutYou headlined The Depot in York on Saturday – everything from unexpected collaborations to a singer rocking out in a horse’s mask. But we’ll get to that.

Opening the show was Philly art-rock four piece Auctioneer, who recently starred in an episode of the Shaking Through series and has been along for the ride since tour kicked off in June. The last time we caught them (at Nikki Volpicelli’s Tuesday Tune-Out this spring), the set was heavy on the visuals – a black and white 70s experimental film, a live mix of psychedelic footage shot in present day Philly – so the notion of Auctioneer unadorned was a little uncertain. Thankfully they more than delivered, showing how songwriter Craig Hendrix’s avant pop compositions don’t need to rely on trippy visuals to grip your attention. Their producer Todd Scheid was only a car-ride away, so he joined the band on gon bops caxixi, a bell-shaped percussion instrument of woven wicker, during “Our Future Faces” (the title track to Auctioneer’s new LP). As the set wrapped to a close, mewithoutYou’s Greg Jehenian and Brandon Beaver also rushed the stage to play tambourines and sing backing vocals.

Seattle songwriter Rocky Votolato followed, delivering a hushed set of acoustic folk in the vein of Elliott Smith and Red House Painters – forlorn, but undeniably poppy, and downright singalongable at moments, particularly the fan-requested “Om Ma” from a split 7″ Votolato released with Matt Pond in 2011.

On the second leg of a tour in support of their 2012 record Ten Stories, mewithoutYou were tight and hard-hitting. They took the stage shortly after 10, kicking off their set with the roaring scene-setter “February 1878.” Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: mewithoutYou at The Depot, Vietnam at Milkboy, Marc Broussard at Sellersville Theater

mwYUpper Darby-bred art-rock five piece mewithoutYou released their latest album, Ten Stories, last year, blending their heavier early sound with the orchestrations of their later albums.  The record features quirky tales of life and death mostly told through tales of anthropomorphic animals surrounding the wreck of a circus train.  The band is still on tour in support of the album, and will play at The Depot in York tonight with Philly’s Auctioneer.  Check out the Space Odyssey-inspired video for their song “All Circles” below and click here for ticket information.

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Watch mewithoutYou’s new clay-mation video for “All Circles” (playing The Depot on 7/6)

mwY

The new video from Upper Darby’s mewithoutYou is a trippy 2001: A Space Odyssey meets Planet of the Apes tale of evolution, competition and self-destruction.  “All Circles” comes from the art-rock band’s latest LP Ten Stories and features Hayley Williams of Paramore on back-up vocals. With an initial homage to the tool-discovering apes of Kubrick’s film and an ending that could have someone yelling a line similar to that of Charlton Heston’s parting words in Schaffners’, the video is a cautionary critique of human tendencies.  mewithoutYou play The Depot in York, PA on July 6th with Auctioneer and Rocky Votolato; tickets and information can be found here. Watch the clay-mation video for “All Circles” below.

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mewithoutYou announces summer tour, takes Auctioneer along for the ride (ends at The Depot in York on 7/6)

mwYUpper Darby-bred art rock five-piece mewithoutYou announced a run of summer tour dates, and they’re bringing like-minded Philly outfit Auctioneer along for the ride. The former is continuing to tour behind their excellent 2012 LP Ten Stories, while the latter is prepping their debut LP for release this summer sometime (and if their recent show at PhilaMOCA is an indicator, it’s going to blow some minds).

The tour wraps up at The Depot in York, PA, on the 6th of July with Rocky Votolato also performing; information on the show can be found here.  For the full tour dates, click here. Below, watch mewithoutYou’s video for “February, 1878″ and Auctioneer’s recent session for Weathervane Music’s Shaking Through series.

Shaking Through: Auctioneer from Weathervane Music on Vimeo.

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Ten stories from The Key that got you excited in 2012

The Menzingers (Photo by Madeleine Lesperance)

The amount of news that surfaces in a 24 hour period is astronomical anymore; multiplied by 365, that’s an onslaught of information we present you with during the calendar year. But some items always rise above the fold and prove to be something bigger. Here are the ten stories from The Key that drew your collective attention (and eyeballs) in 2012. Continue reading →

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Does cover art make the album? (plus 10 great album covers from the Philly scene in 2012)

Hideaway
Hideaway Music in Chestnut Hill uses album art as wall art

We can all agree (I hope) that the old “can’t judge a book by its cover” adage applies just as easily to albums. From Magical Mystery Tour to Rumours, The Talking Heads to The Smashing Pumpkins, and even this year’s standout Cat Power LP Sun, there’s a rich history of great music hiding behind heinous artwork. So does album art matter?

I think no and yes. “No” in that it’s about the music, not the packaging. In a world of digital listening, we interact with the songs themselves more immediately than ever before – there’s not that barrier of a bizarro / ugly sleeve to “get over,” in the event you find the sleeve bizarro and / or ugly. But also, “yes” in that cover art is still a way an musician represents themselves and their work. It may no longer be a first impression, but it is an impression, and you can almost look at it as an indicator of how much care they put into their overall project. And even on a more practical end, sure, physical releases no longer drive sales, but they are prized by collectors – the 180 gram vinyl editions and so forth are the sort of thing where people use the download card, then frame the LP cover and hang it on their wall. Would you really want to have Grimes’ frantic scribbled acid freakout hanging in your living room? (Okay, maybe you do.)

This week, UK music and culture blog The 405 listed their worst and best album covers of the year – lively reads, always – and it got me thinking about the role album art plays in 2012. Do you ignore it? Do you (like me) get antsy when your iTunes doesn’t have artwork for all its mp3s? What was the worst decade for album covers? (Hint: the 90s.) Which album covers blew you away this year? Which made you wretch? Discuss in the comments section, and check out some standout Philadelphia album covers from 2012 after the jump. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Young Statues, Bill Mallonee, Juston Stens & The Get Real Gang, Lockets, and mewithoutYou

Young Statues are a five-piece band from Philly who makes acoustic sounding beats that sound like early pop punk rounded off with a softer, gentler side. Their self-titled debut album came out in late 2011, hefty with sweet rock vibes honing in their truthful and simplistic lyrics. They venture to The Barbary tonight for an all ages performance along with Turnover and PJ Bond. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here. The night starts out early at 6:30 p.m. Below you can listen to an acoustic EP they released in February.

Starting out as the frontman for the  alt-country rock band Vigilantes of Love, and continuing as a solo artist after their disbandment, Bill Mallonee has always enjoyed writing and singing. The band has since reconvened but Bill still continues to write and record his own music. He will be playing the early show tonight at 7:30 at the Tin Angel. The 21+ show is $12, snag your tickets here.

The non-profit art and culture space, Little Berlin hosts a music series entitled ‘Dream Oven’ and the series continues tonight with a performs from Juston Stens & The get Real Gang. Juston, former drummer of Dr. Dog, always had a head full of songs, and he was finally able to extract them with the creation of his band The Get Real Gang. Their debut album Trash or Treasure was released in March of this year, an eclectic combination of rock genre similar to dreamy 60′s rock bands like Zeppelin or Jefferson Airplane. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. and there is a $5-7 donation.

The dream pop duo, Lockets will be performing a 21+ show this evening at Kung Fu Necktie. Although Lockets is a duo they do live performances as a full band featuring drums, bass, synthesizer, and guitar. You can catch them along with Attia Dancers and Language Problems at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are only $10.

Last but not least, XPN welcomes the Philadelphia-based ensemble mewithoutYou back home for the last stop on their tour at the TLA. They released their fifth studio album, Ten Stories this past May. They have been touring along with Kevin Devine and Buried Beds, you can buy tickets to the 7:30 p.m. show here.