Since 2014, Illinois-based label Polyvinyl Records’ Single Series has been putting out monthly exclusive singles from their favorite artists, all recorded on the same Tascam 4-Track cassette recorder. We’ve already gotten dual singles from Ra Ra Riot, Tim Kasher, and Joyce Manor this year, and we just got word that Philly favorites Japanese Breakfastare this month’s featured artist will be featured in the series later this year.
Modern Baseball is heading across the pond with Thin Lips and The Superweaks — but they’re making the run a member short, as guitarist / vocalist Brendan Lukens announced today he was not joining the band on the European tour to focus on his mental health.
Later this month, Modern Baseball will embark on a European tour with Thin Lips and The Superweaks, and as part of the tour, they’ve recorded a three-way split EP. Thin Lips’ track, “Not Losing Sleep”, premiered a few weeks ago, and now you can hear MoBo’s contribution. “This Song is Gonna Buy Brendan Lukens a New Pair of Socks” may not have much to do with buying socks, but it’s sure to knock yours off! Wow, that was awful. Forget that I said that. The song is good. Just keep reading. Please. Continue reading →
It’s been tough year for Philadelphia hard-rock outfit The Superweaks. Bassist Corey Bernard, the brother of vocalist/guitarist Evan Bernard and dear friend to the rest of the band passed away last May at the age of 22. Despite this, the group continued on writing their LP Better Heavens released via Lame-O Records, which is dedicated to Corey and finally dropped on November 4th. The boys of the band did an early electronic release of the LP on October 30th, what would have been Corey’s 23rd birthday. The album can be purchased physically and digitally through Lame-O Records.
The twelve-track record delivers big time: alluring riffs and captivating lyrics persist throughout the album. These familiar aspects of each song draw listeners in, but what makes us stay is the candid way that the band incorporates discussions of depression, loss and attempted escapes from reality into each track. (UPDATE: The band says, via Twitter, “.@TheKeyXPN wrote a lovely article about our new album ‘Better Heavens.’ To clarify though, Corey passed after the album was completed.” They added, “.@TheKeyXPN it is lovely that you get that sentiment from those lyrics. It’s eerie how the meaning of songs can change to fit experiences.”)
The record opens with the introspective track “Paralyzed” that acts as a feeble attempt to motivate both the band and listeners to “Get off your ass / Just do what you enjoy” in the wake of tragedy set to heavily distorted guitar that dominates the background. The LP continues on to “Run Away,” a track expressing the need to breakaway from everything that is holding you down in life. The boys released a video that depicts the struggle of a teenaged girl trying to do just that, in a much more literal way, in which she fights with her dad and runs away from home. The video premiered on the same day as the record release, and you can watch it below. Continue reading →
When an established musician starts a new band, it’s hard to avoid drawing comparisons. There’s almost bound to be some overlap, especially when that musician is a primary songwriter for both projects. While this is definitely the case on Welcome, the debut record from Jake Ewald’s Slaughter Beach, Dog, the Modern Baseball guitarist manages to take his songwriting in a new direction. In fact, he takes it in several, and it’s those deviations that make the album so successful. Continue reading →
Now this is huge. The mega-tour of my dreams was announced this week in the form of Philly punk sensations Modern Baseball heading out on a fall run with Brand New and The Front Bottoms. Speculation about this tour was flying around the internet a few days prior but it just seemed TOO good to be true, and so I brushed it off. Alas, you better believe your eyes because it is in fact happening and you’re not going to want to miss out on it. Although there’s no Philly date this time around, you’ll be able to catch them in Allentown, PA at the PPL Center on November 11th. Continue reading →
With the release of her debut LP Out of Love just last month, Rosali is in Philly tonight for a hometown record release show at Ortlieb’s. The folk singer songwriter premiered her music video for the track “Black As Ashes” with us earlier this month and you can check out the kaleidoscopic world she creates below. Check out the XPN Concert Calendar for tickets and more information on this show. Continue reading →
Giving fans a taste of what’s to come, the conglomerate of uber-talented Philly musicians Broken Beak are streaming another single off their upcoming debut album Some Nerve being released by Near Mint Records on Friday, July 1st. The brainchild of spirited songwriter Beau Brynes has caught fire in the scene with the help of Brendan Lukens and Jake Ewald of Modern Baseball — playing guitar and producing, respectively —who have been riding a wave of success following their latest release Holy Ghost just last month. Drummer Jeff Malt and bassist Evan Moorehead come in to round out the band’s roster, each appearing in multiple other Philly-based musical projects.
“Humble” has a different sound sonically compared to first single “Saint,” yet both tracks work together to tell different parts of a rich story, thanks in part to Brynes’ knack for relatable and engaging lyricism. This new track encapsulates some of the best components of Modern Baseball’s past and present tourmates — think of the zany and electrifying guitar work of Tiny Moving Parts matched with the wailing urgency of Joyce Manor. Continue reading →
The day before they released Holy Ghost, Modern Baseball played an in-store set at Long in the Tooth for people who pre-ordered the new LP. The set consisted of most of the new record, plus older songs like “Your Graduation” and “Fine, Great.” The Key’s John Vettese was on hand to capture the event on film, snapping shots of the band setting up for the session, fans browsing for records, MoBo frontman Brendan Lukens taking selfies and signing autographs, and of course people singing along. Modern Baseball headline The Fillmore‘s main stage on June 26th; tickets and information can be found on the XPN Concert Calendar.
Let’s not mince words here – Modern Baseball‘s new Holy Ghost is out this week and it’s a frickin’ masterpiece.
The record finds the Philly four-piece stepping beyond the punk rock roots of its formative releases and into bigger, bolder sonic territories, armed with some of their most disarmingly honest and personal songwriting to date. Divided down the middle (a la Speakerboxx / The Love Below) with an A-side focusing on singer-guitarist Jacob Ewald’s tracks and a B-side collecting Brendan Lukens’ tracks, Holy Ghost – out Friday on Run For Cover – is a stirring meditation on loss and change.
Ewald’s grandfather passed away at the same time as he was entering a new romantic relationship and, as he describes it, he found himself torn between two types conflicting emotions, both very intense. Lukens, meanwhile, struggled with mental health issues, and tells us that his half of Holy Ghost focused the things he learned about his illness, his addiction and himself while at an out-patient psychiatric treatment center.
The songwriting duo’s unflinching self-reflection and fearless honesty resulted in their most engaging record to date, and some of their biggest shows as well. Continue reading →