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Elvis Depressedly and Mitski turned it up at PhilaMOCA. Way up.

Elvis Depressedly | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com
Elvis Depressedly | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

I’m not saying they’re easygoing on record or anything. Even when an artist’s studio work skews quieter and contemplative, it can have nuance and depth. Sure, their Bandcamp discography is filled with chilled-out and downtempo moments, but Asheville’s Elvis Depressedly is the antithesis of a beachy bro-band; Brooklyn’s Mitski is a singer-guitarist who writes songs, but she’s hardly a naval-gazing singer-songwriter. Both acts boast a reserved intensity, and when you put them in front of a crowd, it turns up and explodes. Which is what made them great tour partners, and made their sold-out show at PhilaMOCA last Wednesday so captivating. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Spraynard

West Chester power trio Spraynard is having their second go as a band, and it sounds phenomenal. Regional punk scene vets Pat Graham (guitars / vocals) and Pat “Dos” Ware (drums / vocals) formed the band in the aughts and had a pair of cult fave LPs with 2010′s Cut and Paste and 2011′s Funtitled. Their cathartic, shout-along-at-the-top-of-your-lungs brand of introspective / extroverted punk made their shows feel like a community, and it teetered on the point where the band was beginning to look looking like it could be their full-time gig. But then some internal second-guessing and self-questioning put the breaks on that when they wrapped a three-month tour in 2012. (Graham opened up about that experience in this Q&A with Noisey last year.)

After a couple years in side-projects like NONA and Martin, the Pats decided to test the waters with a pair of reunion shows: one at Grand Slam USA in Malvern, for their superhometown crowd, and one in Philly in the basement of the First Unitarian Church. Both shows were a rousing success (check out our Megan Kelly’s photo-documentation of them) and with new bassist Jake Guralnik in tow, Spraynard set to work recording Mable, their excellent new record out on Jade Tree this month. Continue reading →

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Bethlehem’s VoirVoir reminds us what local music is really about

VoirVoir | photo by Jess Cuttic | via facebook.com/Voirvoir
VoirVoir | photo by Jess Cuttic | via facebook.com/Voirvoir

Bethlehem, PA was once a towering empire, thanks to Bethlehem Steel, America’s second largest steel producer during much of the 20th century. Now, as the buildings and machinery of a bygone era rust away, a new empire is taking the reins in Bethlehem: the music scene.

With the help of annual events like Musikfest, as well as the addition of the SteelStacks and Sands Bethlehem Casino venues, Bethlehem’s music scene is growing at an astounding rate. Behind the scenes, local and underground venues are popping up all over the city. This is good news for bands that are working their way through the music world. One of these bands is indie rock outfit VoirVoir.

I had a chance to talk with one of the band’s masterminds, Matt Molchany. We chatted about the recording of VoirVoir’s debut album, their upcoming shows, and what’s happening in the Bethlehem music scene. Continue reading →

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Spraynard’s Mable may sound more mature, but it’s still a whole lot of fun

Mable | photo via jadetree.com
Mable | photo via jadetree.com

Do you remember where you were when Spraynard hung their hats in 2012? That was a sad day in the PA music scene. The trio was known for its unique brand of pop-punk that praised the quirks of suburban living rather than the “I-hate-this-town” bashing that other bands sung about. They took their bland surroundings of their home in West Chester and built something amazing.

Luckily, the breakup didn’t last long – Spraynard sold out reunion shows at Grand Slam USA in Malevern the First Unitarian Church, and the members decided they wanted to commit to the band again full-time. Continue reading →

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Pushing Boundaries: Walla Fest breaks out of the suburbs with focus on art of all shapes and sizes

Walla Fest
Clique, one of the bands performing at this year’s Walla Fest | photo by Sabrina Jacot

“We actually never really call it a ‘festival.’ It’s in the name, but I think the word ‘fest’ is more about the vibe of many things happening at once over a longer period of time.”

That statement from co-founder Keba Robinson pinpoints the underlying motivation of annual music, art and film event Walla Fest.

“We prefer calling it something along the lines of a ‘gathering.’ It’s a gathering of people but also a gathering of art and experiences.”

Now in its third year, Walla Fest is breaking away from its suburban roots in Norristown to take up residence at PhilaMOCA on August 8th and 9th. And with that venue’s alternative approach to showcasing art, this seems like a match made in heaven.

Continue reading →

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PhilaMOCA to co-present the entertainment stage at 6/18 Night Market

Night Market | via http://thefoodtrust.org/night-market
Night Market | via thefoodtrust.org/night-market

Night Market, Philadelphia’s favorite street food festival, returns this year in the Callowhill district of Philadelphia (aka The Eraserhood) on June 18. The festival celebrates the city’s restaurants, gourmet food trucks, and coolest neighborhoods. There will be street eats abound, plenty of art galleries, and what we care most about at The Key – live music!

This year, beloved art space / venue PhilaMOCA - recently named one of the “21 ways Philadelphia is the coolest city in America” by the Huffington Post – will be co-presenting the musical acts performing at Night Market. Continue reading →

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Spraynard release new single “Applebee’s Bar” off upcoming album Mable, gear up for summer tour

Spraynard | via spraynardband.tumblr.com
Spraynard | via spraynardband.tumblr.com

After a brief three-or-so year hiatus, West Chester pop-punk/emo act Spraynard is firing on all cylinders once more.

Drummer Patrick “Dos” Ware’s stint with NONA, as well as guitarist/vocalist Pat Graham’s projects Adult Braces and Martin, have come to an end for the foreseeable future. That means all three members are back full time, and they’re releasing their third album Mable on July 10 via Jade Tree. The album is now up for pre-order.

One thing Spraynard has perfected is never taking life too seriously. Not even their hiatus could change this attitude, as the new single proves. Continue reading →