Slingshot Dakota, Mal Devisa, Ill Fated Natives, Orion Sun, Old Maybe, Deer Scout and a gabillion more will play Pi Lam’s 40th BBQ

Slingshot Dakota
Slingshot Dakota | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

The annual Pi Lam BBQ turns the big 4-0 this year, which is kind of bonkers to think about. It’s been around longer than SXSW, longer than Lollapalooza. Independent minded folks have been bringing a daylong live music extravaganza to Spruce Street’s legendary “punk rock frat” since before most artists on this year’s lineup were born, and the show continues to get wilder and more expansive every year. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Human BBQ at Pi Lam, Amy Ray at World Cafe Live, No Other at Kung Fu Necktie and more

Photo courtesy of the event's Facebook page
Photo courtesy of the event’s Facebook page

University of Pennsylvania’s punk rock frat, Pi Lam, is ringing in spring the right way: by way of 18 local acts paired with a “face-melting” BBQ (with vegan-friendly items) they call “Human BBQ XXXIV.” On the bill, we’ve got bands like Roof Doctor, Mumblr, Cold Fronts, Secret Plot to Destroy the Universe and Slingshot Dakota with plenty, plenty more. The event costs $15 (that’s not even a buck per band!) and starts at noon and is scheduled to go until midnight at the frat.

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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 |
Slingshot Dakota | photo by Ryan Russell |

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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Download “Living Room” from Ra Ra Rasputin (playing Lamb Pie on 9/4)


Washington D.C. dance rock outfit Ra Ra Rasputin are heading up 95 in few weeks to play a show with like-mind Philadelphians Night Panther at West Philly’s “Lamb Pie.”  The Depeche Mode-influenced new wave-y band has released “Living Room” in anticipation of new material to follow up 2010’s self-titled debut, and the single is available as a free download below via Ra Ra Rasputin’s Bandcamp page.  The “future-fi” track uses a prominent bass melody to anchor the whirring and panning synths as lead singer Brock Boss’s baritone croons about “running out of time” (making it clear the title is referring to having the ability to live freely rather than the room in a house).  Stream and download the track below.  More information about the September show with Night Panther and Leverage Models will be available on Local & DIY.


Human BBQ XXXV in photos ft. Delicate Steve, Norwegian Arms, Ghost Light and more

West Philly’s long-standing punk rock frat Pi Lam threw its annual Human BBQ celebration (35 years strong!) this weekend with a stacked lineup of Philadelphia favorites like Cold Fronts, Norwegian Arms and Ghost Light as well as out-of-town artists like Delicate Steve. Check out scenes from the day-long musical endurance test in the gallery above.


Watch Delicate Steve perform “Afria Talks To You” for Out Of Town Films (playing Pi Lam on 4/6)

Delicate SteveNew Jersey experimental / instrumental outfit Delicate Steve put on a hypnotic and absolutely transcendent performance at PhilaMOCA last time they were in Philly, and local live session crew Out Of Town Films were on hand to record the sound check.  The Luaka Bop artists are continuing to tour in support of 2012’s phenomenal Positive Force LP and will join Norwegian Arms, Cold Fronts, Total Slacker, Banned Books and more at Pi Lam’s Human BBQ XXXV on Saturday, April 6th.  Tickets and information for the event can be found here.  Watch Out Of Town Films’ recording of “Afria Talks to You” from Positive Force below and dig into Delicate Steve’s approach to both their music and their image with Nikki Volpicelli’s interview for The Key here.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Delta Rae at World Cafe Live, Into It. Over It. and Restorations at First Unitarian, Forest Fools and Tweeds at Pi Lam, Richie Sambora at Electric Factory (UPDATE: canceled)

XPN Welcomes North Carolina sextet Delta Rae to World Cafe Live tonight. The band is currently on tour promoting their debut album, Carry The Fire, which was released in June. The show tonight begins at 8 and tickets are available here. Below, watch the video for “Morning Comes” from Carry The Fire.

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Interview: Laser Background’s Andy Molholt and Norwegian Arms’ Brendan Mulvihill on making music in unconventional spaces (house show tour begins tomorrow)

Laser Background
Laser Background

Yesterday evening, Andy Molholt of Philadelphia psych-pop group Laser Background and his longtime friend Brendan Mulvihill of the junkyard folk act Norwegian Arms moved into Dreamcastle, a house-show space in South Philadelphia. They’re living there temporarily, leading up to the kickoff show of their house show “tour” tomorrow night. The plan is an imaginative one: the band is performing four DIY spaces in Philly over the next four weeks. They have to live in each house for two days prior to the show, possibly constructing a pillow fort. They must adhere to “a strict food / drug regimen.” And they’ve got to write music, and perform the results. I grabbed drinks with Molholt and Mulvihill last week to talk about the unconventional residency series, its ambitions, and their affinity for Philly’s vibrant DIY scene.

THE KEY: Let’s sum up this mini-tour (that you’re not leaving the city for). You’re playing four house shows, and the rules are you have to stay in the house two days before playing the show, and collaborative preparational activities will take place while you’re staying there…

ANDY MOLHOLT: Collaborative preparational activities, I like that.

BRENDAN MULVIHILL: That’s really good.

AM: Make sure you put that in there.

TK: …and a song may result that you’ll perform at the show?

AM: More like a song must result.

BM: It’s a must?

AM: It’s a must! We’re good enough songwriters.

BM: We’re in this house for three days, we might as well do something.

AM: We didn’t really ever talk about if the song was going to be collaborative or not, we still have to figure that out. I thought we’d each write a song for our respective projects and perform them as our respective projects. But since I play in Norwegian Arms, and Brendan’s going to play in Laser Background for one of these shows where some of the guys can’t make it, maybe we can do that too.

BM: We’re not entirely sure what’s going to happen. It’s kind of just a big experiment. We might get into a fight. Or we might make out, that might be cool.

TK: It reminds me of the Netherfriends project where he lived in each state, had to write a song in each state. I guess that project is still ongoing. Was at all an influence on this project?

AM: If any of that factored in, it was definitely unintentional. I used to play with Netherfriends for a little bit, but I didn’t think about that. Residencies are kind of a silly idea to begin with – why would you want to go see a band in the same venue every night for four weeks straight?

BM: Not every night! “Come see us play 31 times…”

AM: [laughs] You know what I mean, though. I get that it’s good for the venue if the band’s popular enough. And you get different crowds each night because there’s different openers playing. But I just think it’s kind of silly. I thought it would funny to self-anoint our own residency at house shows. Then the actual living there idea developed, and Brendan had the idea that we had to write songs too.

BM: I mean, why not, right? Only seems natural.

AM: Brendan and I have known each other since we were 13, so these kinds of ideas come naturally.

BM: And we’re used to sleepovers. Continue reading →


The Key Studio Sessions: Sunny Ali and the Kid

Without even checking our archives, I can tell you that this week’s Key Studio Session packs the greatest number of songs in the shortest amount of time. But that’s what Philly duo Sunny Ali and the Kid is all about: directness and simplicity. When the band stopped by the station to record the eleven tracks beolow, Abdullah “The Kid” Saeed likened it to J Dilla’s 2006 record Donuts: when you hear music that’s so exciting, but so short, you almost involuntarily want to listen to it again right away. Hassan “Sunny” Malik points back to seminal UK art-rock act Wire, and the craft of making short songs feel epic and information-packed. The duo’s own musical brevity mixes tongue-in-cheek cowboy stylings with raw punk aggression and a cinematic flair. Check it out in the music (and video clips) below, and catch Sunny Ali and the Kid this Saturday when they’re on the massive lineup of Pi Lam’s Human BBQ XXXIV.