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The Kominas unpack the paradox of identity and music in recent Shaking Through session

The Kominas | photo via artist’s Facebook page

Philly / Boston punk outfit The Kominas recently stopped by Miner Street Recordings as the focus of Weathervane Music’s latest Shaking Through installment. If you’re new to the series, for an uber quick rundown, it’s a super interesting feature that goes behind the scenes — both in artist background and technical production — as a band works through the process of recording a new song, from it’s personal, creative idea of a beginning, to its end jam of a result.

In this episode, the twelve year old band (though three years old with the current lineup) delved into the topic of identity, and the unfair media fetishism The Kominas faced almost immediately as a band; where they were, and still are, externally branded as a political “Muslim punk band,” even though not all members are Muslim, and they do not sing with religious-minded intentions.

Guitarist Shahjehan Khan questions in the video, “This idea of being a political band.. what does that mean? Your art is gonna be about your life. And if it’s good and honest, you’re gonna talk about your identity. It’s not political, it’s just what it is.” Continue reading →

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Go inside the studio as Restorations makes the most important album of its career

Restorations Jon Loudon records vocals at Miner Street | Photo by Mitchell Wojcik | mitchellwojcik.com
Restorations’ Jon Loudon records vocals at Miner Street | Photo by Mitchell Wojcik | mitchellwojcik.com

When a young music fan hears stories about their favorite bands recording new music, they often invent grandiose visions of the studio and its space. There’s a certain mystique inherent for those who haven’t stepped foot in one; like most unlived experiences it’s portrayed in our heads as distant, unattainable, a place where all-time art is created. A place where “regular people” don’t ever go. Of course, that’s not really true. Studios come in all shapes, sizes and budgets, from cavernous state-of-the-art compounds where million-dollar records are made, to dirt-floor basements walled with smoke-stained eggshell padding.

Philadelphia’s Miner Street Recordings, which has gone through several locations in its two decades of existence (and is no longer located on Miner Street, for the record – the name comes from its original location in West Chester), lies somewhere in between the two extremes of the studio spectrum. Situated at a central crossroads in Fishtown, it’s a nondescript, vaguely abandoned-looking building in a city full of them. Off-white and faded blue paint peels from the exterior walls, exposing bricks underneath. The only visual confirmation that it’s the right place is a small piece of black tape on the front door with the words “this is Miner Street” written on it.

Before spotting the “sign” though, there’s an aural confirmation; standing on the sidewalk outside, the sound of muffled, droned, noteless guitar strumming breaks through the walls. We’re here to observe Restorations as they record their third full-length and second for SideOneDummy Records, and even those distant, cacophonous non-notes are immediately identifiable with the band’s growing reputation for weaponizing sharp, bright melodies by weaving them into heavy, distorted riffs, an unassumingly thunderous rhythm section and the occasional organ, all of it anchored by the throaty vocals of Jon Loudon. Continue reading →

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Explore Philadelphia with Dave Hartley and BlackBook Magazine

Photo by Dominic Neitz | blackbookmag.com

Dave Hartley is a man of many roles. He’s the versatile bassist who performs regularly with The War on Drugs, and has joined the Lindsey Buckingham Appreciation Society, and Buried Beds on occasion. He’s the sonic mastermind behind Nightlands. He’s the scribe behind Top of The Key. Adding to this ever-growing list, you could now call Hartley a civic and cultural ambassador for the City of Philadelphia. The twelve-year resident recently took the folks at BlackBook Magazine out of Brooklyn and on a tour of Philadelphia, stopping at popular locals Letoah’s Coffee, Miner Street Recording, Loco Pez and more. Add into the mix a collection of stunning portraits by photographer Dominic Neitz and it’s a rich and multi-sensory look at our fair city. (I can almost smell the basil in the Pizza Brain photo.) Get a look at the article here.