Norristown’s weekend Walla Fest is back for its fourth year with a stacked line-up of local music including Pine Barons and Vita and the Wolf. Pine Barons recently went up to Lafayette Hill’s Kettle Pot Tracks studio to record an On the Hill Session, which you can check out here. Meanwhile, Vita and Wolf have released two singles on their Bandcamp – listen to “Mary” below. More information for the festival, which takes place at the Centre Theater in Norristown today and tomorrow, can be found here.
American metal/ prog-rock band Mastadon will bring their crushing sound and screaming vocals to the Electric Factory tonight. With a new album, Once More ‘Round the Sun, due out June 24 via Reprise Records, there should be plenty of new material for the show. Get tickets to the event here. Watch “High Road” below.
Summing up an entire region’s music scene in an hour-ish long compilation is pretty much impossible. But dangit, we try our best. I’m very psyched for the roster of artists we’ve lined up on The Key Studio Sessions Volume 10, out today as a free download you can grab below. Pop-punk wave makers Modern Baseball did a version of “The Weekend” from their 2012 debut LP Sports, and the mini XPN shoutout they deliver at the end of the first chorus might be my favorite moment of the set. The song as a whole is insanely fun and on point, and MoBo’s basement-scene brethren W.C. Lindsay (more synthpop leaning) and The Hundred Acre Woods (more folk-leaning) also make solid appearances. There are several acts on the comp who you’ll see this summer at the XPoNential Music Festival: Ginger Coyle, Commonwealth Choir, Marah and Marian Hill. I love using our studio to allow more experimental-leaning artists to blaze new paths, whether its Trophy Wife‘s expansive rager “Neil Young” (very reminiscent of the Dead Man score for sure), Tutlie‘s elegant dreamscape “Kaito” or Bleeding Rainbow‘s noise-punk jam “Time or Place.” Suave downbeat crooners Elegant Animals knock a track from their back catalogue out of the park, and though the comp is admittedly short on hip-hop, eclectic electronica soundscaper Ganou spits a fierce verse on “Detainment.” (We’ll have a lot more Philly hip-hop on volume 11 in August, don’t worry.) A summation of an entire scene? Of course not. I think of this more of an incomplete but nonetheless awesome snapshot of Philadelphia-area music circa spring 2014, one we’ll continue building on. Major thanks go to production assistants Dan Hatton and Dan Malloy; photographers Rachel Del Sordo, Megan Kelly, Allison Newbold, Dominique Montgomery and Ian Lewis; videographers Bob Sweeney, James Powers, Ryan Chowansky and Bands in the Backyard; and guest engineers Mattias Nilsson and Adam Staniszewski. Listen to the comp and download it for free below.
The video was recorded outdoors, with the band surrounded by brick walls and Christmas lights. Singer Dan Bruskewicz’s voice maintains the whiskey-soaked rasp that’s become characteristic of Kong, and the arrangements Only Band in Illyria add a tender edge to the song.
The video comes in anticipation of TJ Kong’s EP, Kong, due out this Friday April 18. Their EP release party is happening the same night at Johnny Brenda’s, and T.J. Kong will be joined by Ali Wadsworth and Pine Barons. Find tickets and info for the EP release show here. Watch the video from the Random Tea Sessions recording below.
Saturday XPN welcomed Doylestown’s intrinsic and frolicking Commonwealth Choir to MilkBoy, along with local three piece Big Tusk, with who Commonwealth Choir recently collaborated on a limited edition cassette tape. They only made 50 tapes and sold them all out by the end of the evening; maybe we’ll get lucky and the new “Big Choir” will release more music together.
The evening started out with Brooklynites Vintage Villain making their Philly debut. The crowd responded well, grooving their keyboard sounds and deep vocals reminiscent of Phantogram and Deerhunter.
Next up was new Big Tusk, who performed songs off their most recent EP, Flood. They brought the energy forward with trickling pop guitar riffs, banging drums, and zinging keyboards. Drummer, Howe Pearson got so jazzed up and that he ripped his shirt off and began swinging it around, sort of a nod to Commonwealth Choir, who last year released an EP called Shirtless. For their final song, Big Tusk brought up a bassist and a second percussionist who played the washboard, a tin can, and a tambourine.
South Jersey natives Pine Barons hit the stage next, and they brought out an extremely excited and enthusiastic crowd of folks who were amped up from seeing their debut music video, “Don’t Believe What They Told You,” earlier in the day. The band played a selection of tracks from their self-titled EP, released last March; they’re currently recording a follow-up with Kyle Pulley at Headroom Studios in Fishtown.
Last but certainly not least, Commonwealth Choir took to the stage feeding off the crowd’s good spirit and eagerness, jumping right into jangling bells and rockin’ rhythms singing cuts from Shirtless. Frontman Davis Howley howled the melodies of tunes like “Rest” and “Movie Song,” jangling out sweet grooves on his guitar and bringing up buds from Big Tusk up during “Palace,” riling up an already feverish audience.
Pine Barons have released a new video via The Vinyl District for their track “Don’t Believe What They Told You” off of their debut self-titled album. The South Jersey-bred matched the mind-warping, psychedelic-ness of the song with a video that holds milk, masks and pie in its narrative center. Taking their name from New Jersey’s expansive pine barrens, which criss-cross the landscape and supposedly definitely provide shelter for the much revered and feared New Jersey Devil, it’s no surprise that a likeness to that storied creature is subtly featured in one sequence of the video. Other sequences are even stranger but don’t listen to what I’m telling you, you’ll have to see it to believe it. Check out “Don’t Believe What They Told You” below and pick up tickets here for Pine Baron’s show at Milkboy tomorrow night.
Tonight at The Fire, day two of Northern Liberties Winter Music Festival is in full swing with slated performances by a bunch of local acts including Pine Barons, Family Vacation, Rosu Lup, Keepers, Chelsea Mitchell (of Dirty Dollhouse). Hailing from New Jersey, experimental indie-rockers Pine Barons released their self-titled debut album last year. Last month, the four-piece joined us for a Key Studio Session where their signature harmonies stole the show. Listen to “Smile America” below. North Philly’s Family Vacation released their indie pop album Trails last year. Watch “Mountain Dreams” below and get more details on the event here.