By

Failure and Hum keep the 90s torch burning bright at the Electric Factory

Failure | Photo by Matthew Shaver | brightloud.com
Failure | Photo by Matthew Shaver | brightloud.com

I don’t wanna be accused of hyperbole here, but the 90’s may have been the greatest decade for music in the history of time (yes,  including the 60’s).  John Vettese is doing a swell job of proving that with his show What’s The Frequency??? #WTFXPN (full disclosure: he’s my editor).  What could be a more wonderful way to celebrate the 90’s than on ‘Frequency’ Friday with a pair of woefully underplayed acts of the 90’s?

Failure began as so many behemoths did, with Steve Albini behind the boards.  Some touring with Tool and they should have been next up roster after Soundgarden.  Twas not to be, and they reached the status of popular bands that never quite broke through the surface (see Far and Quicksand).  Hum was a one hit wonder (if you let the charts tell you what a hit is) and much more expansive than that title implies.  More dynamic and dirty than their contemporaries, with a tendency to drone on a bit, and make the unpolished feel polished. Continue reading →

By

Nothing release music video for Nirvana’s “Something In The Way”

nothing
Nothing | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

Earlier this year ,local noise-rockers Nothing were included on Whatever Nevermind, a Nirvana tribute album, with their cover of “Something In The Way.” Their rendition is almost as haunting than the original (if not more), with the inclusion of a piano-centric melody. They recently released a cinematographic music video to go along with their take on the song. You can check out the video (the last 30 seconds are NSFW) below. Continue reading →

By

Pitchfork gazes into the future of Will Yip and Studio 4

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Pitchfork recently published a feature story about Will Yip, the celebrated and highly-regarded producer based in Conshohocken, and the studio and scene surrounding his work.

Yip has produced albums for numerous Pennsylvania bands, including Circa Survive, Title Fight, Tigers Jaw, Balance and Composure, Nothing, and Superheaven. He works out of Studio 4, a legendary area recording space run by Phil Nicolo. The article explores his work with some of these bands in-depth, observing their genre-bending tendencies that draw heavily from music of the latter 20th century. It also touches on the fact that Yip’s bands have reached younger generations that are constantly told underground music scenes are “dead”. Continue reading →

By

Philly noisemakers Nothing will release their next album on Geoff Rickly’s Collect Records

nothing
Nothing | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

After promising us big news late last night with an Instagram of frontman Nicky Palermo buried in guitars and cables, the word about Philly noisemakers Nothing is out. The band will release its second album on Collect Records – the boutique label curated by Geoff Rickly of Thursday and home of Creepoid’s awesome new Cemetery Highrise Slum- and is currently recording with Will Yip at Studio 4, Noisey reports. In a Q&A, Palermo told editor-in-chief Fred Passero about his studio process and the plans for the record. Continue reading →

By

Philly artists Creepoid, Nothing, Jeff Zeigler and Mary Lattimore descend on Austin Psych Fest

Mary Lattimore and Jeff Zeigler
Mary Lattimore and Jeff Zeigler | photo courtesy of the artist

Tonight, Jeff Zeigler and Mary Lattimore are setting up shop at the Alamo Ritz in Austin to play their live soundtrack of Philippe Garrel’s 1968 avant-garde film, Le Revélatéur. This will be an intimate gig compared to the next of the weekend, when they’ll switch gears to play for hundreds at Austin Psych Fest’s Levitation festival at Carson Creek Ranch.

“In terms of performing at Levitation, as per usual we’re going into our set with little or no real formal preparation as it’s all improvised, so I guess the plan is to have no real plan. We may discuss the overall arc and vibe but beyond that it’ll be fairly loose,” Jeff writes.

May 8th thru the 10th marks the 8th annual festival, which was rebranded this year as “Levitation” to celebrate the first-ever reunion show from the 13th Floor Elevators, who will close out the festival Sunday night. Continue reading →

By

Nothing covers Nirvana’s “Something In The Way” for tribute comp

Photo by Shawn Brackbill
Photo by Shawn Brackbill

April 5th was the 21st anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s tragic death. Since then, we’ve had The Weaks release Bad Year - with two tracks that put a spin on the Seattle band’s song titles – and now we have Nothing’s cover of “Something In The Way.”

The Philadelphia shoegazers premiered the somber song through Noisey and the track will be featured on label Robotic Empire’s second Nirvana tribute album, Whatever Nevermind. The compilation, which includes covers off Nirvana’s 1991 album, Nevermind, features another Philly-based band’s, Circa Survive, take on “Drain You.” Continue reading →

By

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Bruce Warren’s Best of Philly Music 2014

Amanda X: Tiff Yoon, Cat Park, Kat Bean | Photo by Peter Murray | petermurrayphotography.com
Amanda X: Tiff Yoon, Cat Park, Kat Bean | Photo by Peter Murray | petermurrayphotography.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, XPN Program Director Bruce Warren weighs in on the 2014 Philly music scene.

We thought 2013 was a fantastic year for the Philly music scene, however 2014 proved to be even better. Continue reading →

By

Nothing release video for acoustic “B&E,” announce show at Ortlieb’s

nothing
Nothing | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

Local shoegazers Nothing have released a new video for an acoustic version of their song “B&E,” taken from the band’s 2013 effort Guilty of Everything.  The video comes in tandem with a reissue of the band’s 2011 LP Downward Years to Come, which includes new additions like this acoustic cut.   Continue reading →

By

Before the Rain: Made In America day two grooves with Grimes, Danny Brown, Vacationer (and two songs from Spoon)

Grimes | Photo by John Vettese
Grimes at Made in America | Photo by John Vettese

Let’s go back for a moment. Before the torrential downpour, before the lightning and thunder, before Spoon got cut off after a rousing “Don’t You Evah” two songs into their first time on the Made In America stage. The second day of Jay Z’s Philly megafestival (now in its third year and first time with a bicoastal setup) offered a lively assortment of groovy summertime pop, roof-raising EDM, badass rap and solid rock and roll. Continue reading →

By

California punks Ceremony deliver a chaotic, cohesive set of old and new material at The Church

Ceremony | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com
Ceremony | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

Rohnert Park, California five-piece Ceremony have a long and storied history in the Philadelphia punk and hardcore scene, especially at the fan-favorite venue, The First Unitarian Church. On Saturday, July 19th, the band made a triumphant return to “the Church”, a stop on a twenty-five day-long tour with Philadelphia’s own shoegaze phenoms, Nothing, and Seattle’s dark powerviolence duo, Iron Lung.

Much like any Ceremony gig since the release of 2012’s Zoo, this set was a diverse collection of the band’s efforts that span their ten-year history. Ceremony started out in 2004 as Northern California’s premier powerviolence hardcore act. Their first few releases were bitter, aggressive, outbursts that channeled an alienation from societal norms coupled with hateful contempt for government and authority figures. The focus shifted with the group’s last three full-length releases Still Nothing Moves You (2008), Rohnert Park (2010), and Zoo (2012). The songs maintained their dark, and often bleak, lyrics, but the music shifted from aggressive powerviolence hardcore, to a garage influenced post-punk. The atmospheric Zoo was the most abrupt shift, leaving some fans behind.

The remaining Ceremony enthusiasts, much like those in attendance at this sold out show, embraced the shift. Ceremony delivered a chaotic, yet cohesive mix of old and new. The driving post-punk tunes “Hysteria” and “Citizen” sat perfectly in the set-list amongst hardcore classics, and fan-favorites “Kersed” and “He-God-Has Favored Our Undertakings”. While the harder songs may have elicited a bigger crowd response, including a few pile-ons where the microphone was completely lost at the bottle of a pile of screaming fans, the energy remained consistent throughout the stage-dive ridden set. When the show was over, injuries were nursed, fluids were replenished, and surely no Ceremony fan, old or new, left disappointed.

Nothing | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com
Nothing | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

An opening set was provided by hometown boys Nothing. This group has run into phenomenal success on the heels of their latest full-length, Guilty of Everything. The critically-acclaimed album, released in March of 2014, showed the world that Nothing could deliver a well-written, catchy, and darkly haunting record. Touring non-stop since releasing the album, Nothing have also backed-up their promise to be the loudest band you’ve ever seen. They delivered soaring shoegaze melodies over pounding bass that was sure to shock those up front. An emotionally charged set coerced an appropriate response from Nothing’s passionate fan base, including one concertgoer drawing blood from repeatedly slamming his hand on the monitor speaker. True to the pedigree of the members of Nothing (past and current members of hardcore acts such as Horror Show, Beware, Night Sins) the set was as intense and chaos-filled as a hardcore set, stage dives and all. Nothing continues to reinforce their place in Philadelphia’s aggressive music scene.

Filling out the touring lineup, and reinforcing the hardcore roots of the tour were powerviolence act, Iron Lung. Leading the charge of current heavy bands, Iron Lung has consistently been delivering brutal and dark records for over fifteen years, mostly self released through their own label, Iron Lung records. The two-piece band delivers a heavier and more intense performance than most four or five-piece acts. Jumping from joking with the crowd into scathing hardcore songs, filled with blastbeats and chaotic stops, Iron Lung delivered a performance that solidified their reputation as pioneers of newer, and weirder, heavy music.

Rounding out the show was local groups, Bad Side and Anxiety Hammer. If you live in or around Philadelphia and haven’t seen Bad Side yet, make a point of it. These West Philly favorites deliver a chaotic and fun-filled set of gutsy and dirty punk rock, played by some of the scene’s hardest-working DIY contributors. Anxiety Hammer are a relatively new gritty punk band that hail from South Philly. Opening the night with a tight and aggressive set this group set the tone for a night of dark, gritty and progressive forms of punk, played in one the city’s best venues for a punk show.

The infamous multicolored alphabet carpet was the perfect backdrop for a summer classic. Sweaty summer hardcore and punk shows at the Church never get old, and this was one for the ages.