Japanese Breakfast, Modern Baseball, Beach Slang and more Philly artists to contribute to Polyvinyl’s Single Series

Japanese Breakfast | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

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 Breakfast are this month’s featured artist will be featured in the series later this year.

In addition, Modern Baseball, Beach Slang, Owen, Jay Som, and more are coming out with singles in the next couple months.

Continue reading →


Interview: Cherry Hill native Evan Weiss makes waves with emo pioneers in Their / They’re / There

Photo via
Photo via

It’s about 10 degrees in Chicago, but Evan Weiss is glad to be home.

The indie / emo / punk musician is back after a three-week full-band European tour with his solo project Into It. Over It., and coming off a year jam-packed with other tours, releases and other musical endeavors.

For now, it’s time to relax.

“When I’m home, I do some music stuff, but I don’t really have a job or anyone to answer to aside from doing music-related things,” Weiss says. “So I’ve just been hanging out since we got back. … I’ve been kind of relaxing and nesting for the last week.”

Weiss hasn’t always called Chicago home. He moved there five years ago from his hometown of Cherry Hill, and his home music scene of Philadelphia. His participation in past local projects includes The Progress, Damiera and Up Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start.

But it’s Chicago where Weiss was able to collaborate with fellow Windy City punks Mike Kinsella (Cap’n Jazz, American Football, Owls and his solo project Owen) and Matthew Frank (Loose Lips Sink Ships) to form punk supergroup There / They’re / Their. The band will stop by First Unitarian Church Friday as part of a short four-day run with Mansions and Birthmark.

With Frank’s intricate guitar parts, Kinsella’s post-punk drum beats and Weiss’ bass playing and distinctive vocals, news about T / T / T came out this past April when they put out a self-titled EP to coincide with Record Store Day. But the band had been formed more than a year prior in late 2011, instigated by Weiss’ desire to play with Frank.

“Matt and I had met through his old band. We hadn’t really been hanging out, but we’d see each other around at shows and I was very familiar with Matt’s guitar playing,” Weiss recalls. “I had this idea about doing a band that was his style of mad-house guitar playing, but kind of making it poppy. Not poppy, maybe catchy? Basically taking his crazy way of guitar and putting something memorable to it so it wasn’t just crazy guitar all of the time.”

Into It. Over It. then played the record release show for Owen’s Ghost Town, when frontman Kinsella told Weiss how much he missed playing drums in a band.

“I kind of mentioned starting a band with him, and how I’d had this idea to start a band with Matt. So I go to Matt and tell him, you know, ‘Hey I’d like to start a band with you. I think I have a drummer in mind,’” Weiss says. “It kind of came together pretty organically.”

After Kinsella’s initial shock at the first practice that Weiss would not be playing guitar (that’s what he’s known for playing with Into It. Over It.), the three musicians successfully ran through the few songs Weiss and Frank had written.

“He doesn’t write guitar the way I think about guitar, ” Weiss said of Frank. “His ideas are really out of the box and crazy for me … [but] I think that the way the vocals are written and the way the bass and drums are written, it kind of fools you into not thinking it’s as complicated as it is. That was the idea, to take something really crazy and make it sound really straightforward, even though it’s totally not. So, that to me is fun.”

Continue reading →


Listen to “New Blood” by emo supergroup Their / They’re / There (playing First Unitarian on 12/20)


They’d probably object to us calling them a “supergroup,” of course. But this collaborative project of Evan Weiss (Into It. Over It.), Matt Frank (Loose Lips Sink Ships) and Mike Kinsella (Owen, plus virtually every influential emo band and post-emo band from the 90s and aughts) is a slick and lively meeting of the minds. Dubbed Their / They’re / There, the project yesterday announced its debut EP, Analog Weekend, which will be released on December 10th through Polyvinyl and Topshelf Records. The single “New Blood” was premiered on Pitchfork, and it’s got number-crunching complexity and nimble guitar licks – the stuff that, back in the day, used to get called math rock, that today is referred to with the livelier and less nerdio-technical “twinkle” tag – but as the song chugs along, it gives way into a roaring raging refrain. Listen to “New Blood” below; we’re pretty amped to see this performed live when Their / They’re / There plays The First Unitarian Church on December 20th. Tickets and information can be found here.


The Week’s Best MP3s, incl. Bad Braids, Les Professionnels, Owen, Fort Frances


Previewing songs from an upcoming album, Mike Kinsella brought his solo project Owen to Folkadelphia recently.  The Chicago native and former member of Cap’n Jazz and American Football performed four intimate songs for the session, including “Love is Not Enough,” which you can stream and download below.  Check out the full session here.

Local remixers Les Professionnels kicked off their inaugural Just Say Yes Party last week with a free download of “Just Say Yes.”  The dance jam features contributions from a number of collaborators including Anna Lunoe and The Dead Rose Music Company.  Stream and download “Just Say Yes” below.

This week on Unlocked, The Key looked at Bad Braids‘ new album Supreme Parallel.  The feature started off on Monday with a free download of “Pennies” from the local project of Megan Biscieglia, a track that shows off the delicate but powerful traits of the multi-instrumentalist’s music.  Take a look back at the ful Unlocked installment here.

South Philly singer-songwriter Ryan Tennis and his nine-piece Clubhouse Band stopped by recently for a Key Studio Session.  Recording four songs that span Tennis’s creative palate, the band worked their numbers to the greatest advantage during the session.  Download “Madeline” below and get the full session here.

Chicago’s Fort Frances were featured on Tuesday’s My Morning Download with their song “I Had Love.”  Melding a rootsy jangle with a singer-songwriter vibe, the new band are instant ear catchers and are now supporting their second studio effort, this week’s Harbour EP.


The Week So Far: 11 must-read stories on The Key (incl. Bad Braids, Pattern is Movement, Johnny Marr)

richie havens

Legendary folk musician Richie Havens is remembered for his soulful voice and historic set at Woodstock [link]

Mike Kinsella of Owen previewed new material in this week’s Folkadelphia session [link]

In celebration of Earth Day, The Key took a look back at Philadelphia’s Earth Week in 1970 [link]

Suzie Brown, Cheers Elephant and more to play the 65th Annual Pastorius Park Free Summer Concert Series in Chestnut Hill [link]

Ryan Tennis brings his nine-piece band to XPN for a Key Studio Session [link]

Make Music Philly brings DIY concerts to the streets on June 21st [link]

Johnny Marr gives advice and talks about his new solo album in an interview with Nikki Volpicelli [link]

Get a look inside Pattern is Movement‘s recording process with an “album screening” at PhilaMOCA [link]

Bad Braids‘ upcoming Supreme Parallel is featured in this week’s Unlocked series [link]

Download “I Had Love” from Chicago’s Fort Frances [link]

Kennett Square’s Friday Nights Under the Stars announces their line-up with New Sweden, Ryan Tennis and more [link]


Folkadelphia Session: Owen (performing songs from his forthcoming release)

IMG_20130321_152727_999 There really is no time like the present. Owen, the longstanding solo project of Chicago music veteran Mike Kinsella, is gearing up to release his brand new album L’Ami du Peuple this summer. Owen has always dazzled listeners with his patented acoustic music complexities- a manipulated form of playing drawn from the spastic noodling of his former band (and seminal scenesters) Cap’n Jazz or the math rock repetitions of another past project American Football. For a number of releases, the Owen project felt as if it was the logical step for this style of music to be performed in a solo capacity. However, with the last few albums (personally, I would say starting from At Home With Owen), Owen’s output has felt richer, the songwriting has been more penetrating, the pieces, as well as the whole, seem more thought out and cohesive. In a way, the writing has caught up to the playing. I have no doubt that L’ami du Peuple, when it is released, will be the strongest Owen album yet, especially based on the record’s initial pre-release offerings – from the album with “Bad Blood” and from three of the four songs in our session “Love is Not Enough,” “I Got High,” and “Who Cares?” The present finds Kinsella at the high of his creative powers (and busy too, as he also drums in a new grammar conscious band Their/They’re/There).

True to the project (or perhaps because it is expensive to schlep around a backing band), Kinsella often performs and tours solo. It is in this lonesome configuration though that Owen’s saturnine lyricism and guitarwork feel most effective and intimate. It is captivating to behold in a tiny chapel, an concert hall, or here, in this Folkadelphia Session, which we recorded on March 21st, 2013 at the XPN Performance Studio.


Owen keeps it intimate in the First Unitarian basement (review, setlist)

Photo by Abi Reimold |
Though he wasn’t performing in the sanctuary or the chapel, Mike Kinsella kept it intimate in the basement of the First Unitarian Church last night. His hour-long solo acoustic set under the Owen moniker opened with “A Trenchant Critique” from 2009’s New Leaves, prompting the fanboys in the audience to gush audibly about Kinsella’s voice, describing it as “pretty butter.” It’s true; the man has the voice of an emo angel.

Acting as if he was playing for a small crowd (instead of the few hundred squeezed in the room), Kinsella asked if we wanted to “talk about anything” as he slugged a Kenzinger. After some murmurs from the crowd, he segued into “Oh, Evelyn…” from  2011’s Ghost Town and then “She’s a Thief” from 2004’s I Do Perceive, which complemented each other beautifully. The two songs highlighted some of the best work from his early and present career.

“Bad News” was dedicated to a member of the audience, Cody, whom Kinsella acknowledged for being genuine. “Thanks man,” Cody shouted afterwards. “That made me cry!” A song later, Kinsella’s guitar string broke and he offered to end the show early, or fix it. The church pumped intermission music while Kinsella tended to the string. Finishing up with a new track entitled “I Got High,” and then “Good Friends, Bad Habits,” Kinsella wished his audience well as they funneled out of the basement and into the night. See the setlist from the show after the jump. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Little Green Cars at Johnny Brenda’s, Lucero/Shovels and Rope at Union Transfer, Owen at First Unitarian Church

LittleGreenCarsIreland’s Little Green Cars arrive to Johnny Brenda’s to provide their indie/fifties influenced style tonight. The band has recently been touring to promote the release of their EP Harper Lee throughout the United States.  Coupling the release of their EP, the band has been hard at work and will be celebrating their forthcoming debut album Absolute Zero.  Set to hit stores and iTunes July 15th, the band will no doubt be playing songs off the record during their set tonight.  The album is already available for pre-order on the band’s website here.  Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with Dan Croll and The Quelle Source can be found here.  As fans await the release of Absolute Zero, enjoy the music video for “Harper Lee”.

Continue reading →


Contest: Win tickets to see Owen at the First Unitarian Church on 3/21 (plus a copy of Ghost Town on vinyl)

Photo by Jerry Troiano

If you listened to the sounds of the indie/emo underground any time from the mid-90s to present, you probably know who Mike Kinsella is. Founding member of seminal post-hardcore band Cap’n Jazz, sonic adventurer in Joan of Arc, Maritime, Owls and so many more. Since 2001 or so, he’s been the solo introspective songwriter performing under the Owen banner, and later this month, Kinsella takes Owen on a short run of east coast dates, stopping at the First Unitarian Church on Thursday, March 21st.

This week we have your chance to win a pair of tickets, plus a vinyl copy of Owen’s 2011 release Ghost Town. Just tell us your favorite non-Owen Kinsella project in the comments, and we’ll announce a winner on Thursday afternoon. Ground rules: you have to leave your first and last name, and you have to enter an email where we can contact you if you win (the e-mail address will not be made public). To get you in the mood, here’s Owen performing “Too Many Moons” for Dickies’ YouTube channel.