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No Stranger wrestles with spirituality on “Cornerstone” off new LP In Tangible Company

No Stranger | photo by Connor Feimster | courtesy of the artist

Jonathan Cooney is joined by a full band for the first time on his long-running No Stranger project, and their latest LP In Tangible Company is due later this summer. In the meantime, the EP’s single “Cornerstone” is here and waiting. The synthetic-acoustic track tells a story of nostalgia and present-tense removals from the past. In order to make Cooney’s transition from solo artist to full band easier, he enlisted the help of co-producer Lifted Bells’ Matthew Frank in Chicago. By alleviating some of the technical responsibilities, Cooney was able to channel his spiritual anxieties into something that can only be described as “baroque emo.”

“Cornerstone” our first peek at Cooney’s next step from playing as an artist of one to integrating more intricate and powerful forces into the project as a whole. It’s a beautiful song. The vocals are smooth and flowing and the guitar never seems to stop. This track could be played on a continuous loop and I wouldn’t complain. I’m really excited for this EP, if the rest of it sounds anything like the single. Cooney definitely stuck to his roots on this one, considering he began back in 2012 with just a guitar, and the string work on “Cornerstone” is elegant. Continue reading →

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No Stranger explores life and regret on his introspective EP Haste

No Stranger | Photo by Emily Dubin
No Stranger | Photo by Emily Dubin | thedubyscoop.com | via facebook.com/nostrangermusic

Haste is the title of Jonathan Cooney’s new EP, and it’s an appropriate name. The fleeting two-track EP was recorded over the span of two days with Cooney, who records under the stage name No Stranger, and his friend Sam Berry.

The result is an EP that is shockingly cohesive and alluring, given how little time was put into it. Cooney’s crisp, emotive vocals are reminiscent of early 2000s emo, while his quietly prolific acoustic guitar approaches the somber, introspective moods of Elliott Smith and Carrie & Lowell-era Sufjan Stevens. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: No Stranger at Kung Fu Necktie, Sam Smith at Liacouras Center

No Stranger | Photo by John Vettese
No Stranger | Photo by John Vettese

Jonathan Cooney’s solo songwriting project No Stranger headlines Kung Fu Necktie tonight. A mix of contemplative acoustic guitar, ethereal electric guitar and introspective lyrics, No Stranger recalls Jonah Matranga’s Onelinedrawing and The Weakerthans in its emotive reflections on life, faith and humanity. Tickets and information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: No Stranger

I first caught Jonathan Cooney onstage in the basement of the First Unitarian Church in the spring, performing a set as No Stranger at one of music / education nonprofit The Quarterly’s fundraising showcases. It seemed, in a peculiar way, like I’d been transported to a Church show some ten or fifteen years earlier. Cooney’s style – intricate, acrobatic guitar playing with soaring and emotive vocals – is firmly rooted in the emo / acoustic era of the early thousands, stuff like Jonah Matranga, The Weakerthans, Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes and so on. It’s bittersweet, sensitive, contemplative and totally engaging. Continue reading →

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Pi Lam announces line-up for Human BBQ XXXVI, including Slingshot Dakota, Laser Background, Alex G and more

Slingshot Dakota | photo by Ryan Russell | www.ryanrussell.net
Slingshot Dakota | photo by Ryan Russell | www.ryanrussell.net

West Philly’s punk frat house Pi Lam has announced the line-up for its 36th annual Human BBQ, taking place Saturday, April 5th.  The 18-band, day-long festival will feature performers from across the genre spectrum, including Haverford fan favorites Alex G, psych-Americana outfit Heat Thunder and “rotten fuzz punk” four-piece Mumblr.  Heading up the meat and music event are upbeat pop punkers Slingshot Dakota, post-hardcore emo outfit Secret Plot to Destroy the Entire Universe and indie rockers Cold Fronts.  The mostly-local bill is filled out by Laser Background, Roof Doctor, ScooterJinx, Told Slant, Is and of The, No Stranger, Memorial Gore, The Interest Group, David Phosphor Walrus and Teenage Bigfoot.  More information can be found on the Facebook event page here.  Check out music from some of the acts below.

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