On Wednesday July 16th, The Fire hosted one of the best emo rock shows of the summer. Hailing from San Diego, California, Weatherbox headlined the sold-out show in support of their new record, Flies in All Directions, released this year via Triple Crown Records. On tour with Weatherbox is Dikembe, from Gainesville, on tour in support of their new record, Mediumship, released this month via Tiny Engines.
The surprise local support for this show was Philly favorites Modern Baseball, who was only announced a day before the show, and Hightide Hotel. This sold out show was easily one of the best line ups of the summer and was a truly incredible night full of stage dives, crowd surfing, sing alongs, and sweat.
Legendary Scranton punks, the Menzingers released their fourth full lenghth, Rented World to well-deserved praise in spring this year. Follow the band through a typical concert day through The Key’s Load-In to Load-Out. Listen to “Mexican Guitars” from their Key Studio Session below.
Local favorites Modern Baseball released their second, amazing album You’re Gonna Miss it All this year. The album portrays being a 20 something in perfect, witty detail. Continue reading →
You have to hand it to Philly pop-punk buzzmakers Modern Baseball – with all the momentum at the band’s collective feet right now, they’re very much about staying true to their roots. Following up a U.S. stint opening for The Wonder Years earlier this spring, the band returned to Philly to play its first headlining shows in support of the awesome new You’re Gonna Miss It All at the pocket-sized Fishtown venue The Barbary. Note that I used the plural there – when an evening show sold out like instantaneously, the band added an afternoon matinee, which also sold out. Hundreds of revved-up and enthusiastic fans packed the joint, crowd surfed, slam danced, screamed along to every one of the band’s myriad screamalong refrains, and generally showed how much this band is busting at the seams.
MoBo has very evidently outgrown spaces like this; these two small shows could have been one big sold-out show at the First Unitarian Church basement. If the ticket price and the lineup were right, I’d even wager that the band could hold their own at The TLA or Union Transfer. But the guys realize that part of the joy in performing – and part of the joy in watching them perform – is the intimate experience of being up close and tight with your crowd, with whom they converse with tones of jovial warmth and friendship, with whom they give hi-fives and lean into heavily, sharing the microphone with outstretched arms in the front row (drummer Sean Huber does a bangup job of that during his cathartic verse in “Your Graduation,” as you can see above, though the room was so densely populated at this point that I couldn’t see who took over for him on drums). It’s an amazing vibe, and of course they want to continue creating that experience for as long as possible.
Singer-guitarist Brendan Lukens powered through the two sets despite a bout of walking pneumonia – which, I don’t even know what that means to have a walking sickness, but it sounds pretty awful. The afternoon set was fun but a bit restrained; the band had loosened up by the night, really letting fly with selections like the very fun “The Weekend,” an absolutely stellar performance of the Death Cab-esque “Two Good Things” (bassist Ian Farmer’s playing totally makes this song) and the fan favorite “It’s Cold Out Here” which was punctuated by the voices of a couple hundred fans joining in on the coda. Crowd surfers flailed, die-hards lunged at the microphones, and singer-guitarist Jacob Ewald at one point said “Let’s give it up for security for keeping you all safe,” acknowledging that, yes, it looked like mass chaos out there, but this was a band that cares and doesn’t want to see anybody hurt in the process of having an ecstatic time.
Opening both shows were Minnesota screamo three-piece Tiny Moving Parts, Massachusetts hardcore faves The Hotelier and Sorority Noise from Connecticut. Check out photos in the gallery below.
Summing up an entire region’s music scene in an hour-ish long compilation is pretty much impossible. But dangit, we try our best. I’m very psyched for the roster of artists we’ve lined up on The Key Studio Sessions Volume 10, out today as a free download you can grab below. Pop-punk wave makers Modern Baseball did a version of “The Weekend” from their 2012 debut LP Sports, and the mini XPN shoutout they deliver at the end of the first chorus might be my favorite moment of the set. The song as a whole is insanely fun and on point, and MoBo’s basement-scene brethren W.C. Lindsay (more synthpop leaning) and The Hundred Acre Woods (more folk-leaning) also make solid appearances. There are several acts on the comp who you’ll see this summer at the XPoNential Music Festival: Ginger Coyle, Commonwealth Choir, Marah and Marian Hill. I love using our studio to allow more experimental-leaning artists to blaze new paths, whether its Trophy Wife‘s expansive rager “Neil Young” (very reminiscent of the Dead Man score for sure), Tutlie‘s elegant dreamscape “Kaito” or Bleeding Rainbow‘s noise-punk jam “Time or Place.” Suave downbeat crooners Elegant Animals knock a track from their back catalogue out of the park, and though the comp is admittedly short on hip-hop, eclectic electronica soundscaper Ganou spits a fierce verse on “Detainment.” (We’ll have a lot more Philly hip-hop on volume 11 in August, don’t worry.) A summation of an entire scene? Of course not. I think of this more of an incomplete but nonetheless awesome snapshot of Philadelphia-area music circa spring 2014, one we’ll continue building on. Major thanks go to production assistants Dan Hatton and Dan Malloy; photographers Rachel Del Sordo, Megan Kelly, Allison Newbold, Dominique Montgomery and Ian Lewis; videographers Bob Sweeney, James Powers, Ryan Chowansky and Bands in the Backyard; and guest engineers Mattias Nilsson and Adam Staniszewski. Listen to the comp and download it for free below.
Modern Baseball brought Philadelphia-based videographers Space Jam Sessions into their house to film the band recording a pair of acoustic live videos. ”Two Good Things” and “Rock Bottom” are taken from the local emo outfit’s recent LP You’re Gonna Miss It All and feature frontmen Brendan Lukens and Jacob Ewald sharing double duty on guitar and vocals. The songs showcase the band’s knack for creating catchy pop / punk songs about seemingly unremarkable things, like drinking too much coffee and trying to go to sleep, while drawing larger meaning from those events. Check out the videos below. Modern Baseball headlines The Barbary on June 1st; tickets and information can be found here.
Modern Baseball may have just wrapped up a tour with The Wonder Years, but that doesn’t mean they’re slowing down any time soon. The never-wavering Philly based pop-punk band has announced a stacked summer tour with the likes of post-harcore band Tiny Moving Parts, emo/rock band The Hotelier and pop-punk outfit Sorority Noise. And to top it off, the tour kicks off right here in Philly.
Coming off of the release of their highly acclaimed album You’re Gonna Miss it All, MoBo played a sold out show with The Wonder Years at the E Factory April 13, and if you missed it, the Barbary show on June 1 should be at the top of your list. Tickets go on sale tomorrow via TicketWeb. Get tickets when they become available here, and see the full list of tour stops via MoBo’s facebook page. Check out the studio session Modern Baseball did with The Key here.
Philly electro-pop ensemble W.C. Lindsay is no stranger to bridging musical genres. Whether it be pop vocals on synth-heavy electronic beats, or hip hop infused rap verses over live instrumentals, W.C. Lindsay’s music is constantly evolving, constantly changing. Today, the band releases its newest album Easy Victim, Charitable Deceptions via charity label Big Footprints, founded by Modern Baseball’s Brendan Lukens, and you can listen to the record streaming in its entirety via Red Bull Music.
Frontman Will Lindsay told Red Bull that Easy Victim, Charitable Deceptions is “about the idea of nostalgia, and all the emotional legitimacies and misgivings it can bring. The ‘Charitable Deceptions’ half is the darker portion of the record that examines what it means to reach that age that was once so desired, and to find that you only wish to go back to the age of naivete. It’s a record about growing up.” This may seem like a heavy burden to bear, but the band is serious about positively effecting America’s youth: for every W.C. Lindsay album purchased, Big Footprints will donate $1 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
Easy Victim, Charitable Deceptions has a palpable pop feel, with catchy, melodic vocal hooks and a heavy percussion presence. The track “Little Ghost” features the pounding synth beats and hip hop feel that we’ve come to know and love from W.C. Lindsay, making the track an easy favorite. “Tree” has a Bright Eyes/ Conor Oberst feel, marking the drastic way in which W.C. Lindsay’s music can range. “Kids These Days” returns to the band’s electronic roots, with pop vocals reminiscent of the band Fun. It’s an intelligent album on the whole, and with ten unique tracks there is literally something for music fans of every genre.
Check out a couple tracks below and stream the album in its entirety here. Want more? Be sure to check out W.C. Lindsay’s Key Studio Session here.
Delaware five-piece Innoko have released a debut EP called First Light, available as a free download on their Bandcamp. The release bridges the mellow form of psych rock with a “beachy and serene vibe” perfect for the warm days ahead. Stream and download the EP below.
Modern Baseball brought its basement-bred pop punk to the Key Studio Sessions this week, performing songs off of this year’s You’re Gonna Miss It All. Along with the six live tracks, including “The Weekend,” which you can stream and download below, the KSS crew recorded a video of the band playing “Your Graduation.” Check out the full session here.
Fourteen year old Charlie Hickey was featured in Tuesday’s My Morning Download with his song “Odds.” The track comes from singer’s new EP, which also includes a cover of Smashing Pumpkins’ “Disarm.”
Chris Kasper brought friends Phil D’Agostino and Kiley Ryan along to his Folkadelphia Session, premiered this week and posted as a free download. The local collaborator extraordinnaire performed cuts off of his latest Bagabones LP, as well as a few older numbers. Stream and download the full set below.
Dirty Dollhouse have released a live session performed at East Coast Recording as a free download. The six-track EP features vocalist Chelsea Mitchell with backup singers Vanessa Winters and Amber Twait singing beautifully harmonized and lyrically descriptive songs. Download a copy below.
To say that Modern Baseball has transcended the punk scene would be an understatement. The band had already been solidly successful, touring tirelessly, amassing an impressive discography, cultivating a rabid fan base even before they released one of the best records of the year.
You’re Gonna Miss It All is a rare album that spans musical worlds. On the one hand, it stays absolutely true to MoBo’s trademark self-effacing, brutally honest songwriting self-portraiture of life as an awkward and uncertain twentysomething. It’s funny and its sad, it’s silly but lyrically sophisticated, and the hooks are in no shortage. On the other hand, or perhaps because songwriters Jake Ewald and Brendan Lukens come from such a sharp and smart perspective, the record is one that will appeal to listeners outside the pop-punk world. There’s a Weakerthens-ish sense of melody and wit for the bookish indie rock types, there is an unbelievable pop-rock production for people who just like good music, every single song is one you’ll sing along to. With righteous jams like “Charlie Black, “here is no reason for MoBo not to be burning up the radio waves. (In my own small way on the XPN Philly Local show, I’m doing my part.)
The record impressed the tastemaking blog world, notably Vice and Pitchfork; the band landed a massive tour with punk scene stars The Wonder Years, who headline a sold out show this Saturday night at The Electric Factory. if you have tickets, get there early – Modern Baseball is not a band whose set you want to miss. Get a taste with the six-song Key Studio Session they recorded below, and check out a video of the band playing “Your Graduation” care of photo-video crew Allison Newbold, Megan Kelly and Rachel Del Sordo.
Lee Porter has a fascination for two things: film-making, and local folk scene mainstay David Falcone’s monstrous beard.
Sprinkled in with a bit of comedy, he’s combined the two together, somehow convincing Falcone, who frequently plays World Cafe Live, and his facial hair to make his acting debut in a three-minute webisode called “Sales” (about shaving, who would have guessed?) for Porter’s series, My Ruined Life.
In the episode, actor Nathan Holt tries to sell shaving cream for the company he works for by targeting random passer-bys in a park.
Holt remains unsuccessful, but the comedic aspect of the short begins when Falcone enters the shot.
Dressed casually, he walks up to Holt and stands with his massive beard and long, fluffed locks of hair, staring at Nate and camera. End scene, cue laughter.
And though this is Falcone’s first acting performance, it isn’t Porter’s first time behind the camera.
“This is my baby,” Porter said. “This is my project I started myself.”
He gathered a group of four actors along with animators, musicians and more together to form the series in 2011. Now, the group is in their third season, releasing a new three-minute short every Sunday at 5 p.m. The plot now stars two characters, Brian and Eric, played by actors Brian Cowden and Eric Wunsch who meet up after work on a various park benches in the Philadelphia area to comedically discuss “their ruined lives.”
To keep things exciting, Porter started reaching out to Philly musicians during the second season. Continue reading →