Weekend Picks: The War On Drugs at Union Transfer, BITBY Episode Five Premiere with Break It Up at Little Bar

The War On Drugs performs Dec. 17th at Union Transfer

FRIDAY DECEMBER 16th XPN Welcomes The Key Studio Session Live featuring Summer Fiction, Pink Skull, and Attia Taylor at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, FREE with RSVP); Atlas Sound + Balkans, Carnivores at First Unitarian Church (8:30 p.m., all ages, $15); Atomic Square + Ages, Panic Years, Strangled By The Stereo Wire at Highland Gallery (9 p.m., 21+, $5–$10); Cuddle Magic + The Milkman’s Union, Lady Lamb The Beekeeper at First Unitarian Church (all ages, $8); The Wonder Years + Man Overboard, Fireworks, Wheatus, Into It Over It, Moving Mountains at Union Transfer (6 p.m., all ages, SOLD OUT); Wu-Tang Clan + Ground Up, DJ CruCut at The Trocadero (10 p.m., 18+, $45)

Though The War on Drugs released its debut album three years ago, 2011 has been a breakthrough year for the locally-based band. With the release of its second LP, Slave Ambient, the three-piece gained praise from everyone from Pitchfork to Spin and solidified themselves as Philly’s latest pride and joy. This is partly due to the neo-classic rock group’s nonstop touring this year; after wrapping up a tour with Destroyer last spring, and later a fall tour that lasted through October, the group announced yet another tour to close out the year, which appropriately wraps up in its hometown. Between the band’s choice of finale location and its stop at XPN earlier this year for a Studio Session (which we’ll be re-posting later this morning), it’s safe to stay the group is staying loyal to the place where it all began. The War On Drugs performs with Sun Airway and Ape School at 8:30 p.m. at Union Transfer; tickets to the all-ages show are $14. —Marielle Mondo

Also Playing: Andrew Lipke And The Prospects With The Azreal Quartet + The Codes, The Heat Run, Claire Wadsworth at North Star Bar (9 p.m., 21+, $10); Bands In The Backyard Episode Five Premiere featuring Break It Up + Psychic Teens, PC Worship, Spirit Animals, Streetwalkers at Little Bar (8 p.m., 21+, $7); American Babies at World Cafe Live (9 p.m., $13)

Free Range Folk + The Jersey Corn Pickers at Tritone (7:30 p.m., 21+); Shannon Pelcher And The Iron Threads (record-release show) at Tin Angel (7 p.m., 21+, $10)


Listen to the “Expeighyenmigks” mixtape by Pink Skull (performing at The Key Studio Sessions Live 12/16 at Johnny Brenda’s)

Photo by Shane McCauley

Earlier this week, we interviewed Summer Fiction and Attia Taylor, two of the three acts performing at this Friday night’s Key Studio Sessions Live concert at Johnny Brenda’s. For Pink Skull—the DJ-and-producer duo of Julian Grefe and Justin Geller—however, we decided to do something a little different. Grefe and Geller spend a good amount of time in Pink Skull mixing elements of ’70s disco, ’80s new wave, and ’00s dance pop, so we asked them to put together a mixtape for us. They agreed, and gave us “Expeighyenmigks,” which includes some of the above and a whole lot more.

You can listen to the mix via the XPN Media Player here; you can get the full track listing below. You can also listen to the single “Hot Bubblegum” off Pink Skull’s third full-length album, Psychic Welfare, (released earlier this year on RVNG Intl).

Pink Skull performs with Summer Fiction and Attia Taylor at 9 p.m., Friday, December 16th, at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are FREE with RSVP.

Track list:
Yusef Lateef – Technological Homosapien
Todd Rundgren – International Feel
Sun Ra – Solar Symbols
Can – Sunshine Night and Day
Tangerine Dream – Sequent C
Boards of Canada – Triangles and Rhombuses
Suicide – Cheree (Remix)
Beta Band – Space
This Heat – Cenotaph
Bennie Maupin – Past Present and Future
David Axelrod – Mucho Chupar
John Cale and Terry Riley – Church of Anthrax


Download “Quiet In The Noise Room” by Attia Taylor

Attia Taylor, along with Summer Fiction and Pink Skull, are performing at The Key Studio Sessions Live concert at Johnny Brenda’s on Friday, December 16th. This is our second Key Studio Sessions Live concert and we hope you can join us for this free show with three Philly bands. Registration is required and you can sign up for the show here. Attia recently released a new EP called Wild Forest that you can download for free here. Attia also recorded a Key Studio Session for us last February that you can listen to here.Below, download “Quiet In The Noise Room” from that session.


The Key Studio Sessions LIVE w/Summer Fiction, Pink Skull, Attia Taylor at Johnny Brenda’s Dec. 16

Pink Skull

WXPN and The Key are happy to announce the second in our Key Studio Sessions LIVE concert series, which will feature Philadelphia’s own Summer Fiction, Pink Skull, and Attia Taylor. The concert will be held at Johnny Brenda’s at 9 p.m. on Friday, December 16th; tickets to the 21+ show are free, but you must RSVP in advance, which you can do here.

Singer-songwriter Bill Ricchini‘s latest musical project, Summer Fiction, finds the former solo artist collaborating with a handful of other musicians, tying together his self-professed love of late-’60s pop and old movie scores. While recording Summer Fiction’s Key Studio Session, XPN2’s John Vettese described the band’s 2010 self-titled debut as a mix of “stylish arrangements and eclectic sounds, wistful love songs and breezy waltzes”—and it made a strong enough impression to land a spot in his Top 10 Philly Albums Of 2010 list. Below, you can listen to “By The Sea” from Key Studio Session Summer Fiction recorded earlier this year; the full session can be found here.

Pink Skull recently released its third full-length album, Psychic Welfare, via RVNG Intl. The DJ-and-producer duo (composed of Julian Grefe and Justin Geller) mixes elements of ’70s disco, ’80s new wave, and ’00s dance pop. You can listen to the album’s lead track, “Hot Bubblegum” (described as a “a Television-inspired piece of pop perfectly pushes this dichotomy of psychotic playfulness’) below.

Girls Rock Philly alum Attia Taylor has just released her third EP, Wild Forest, which is currently available on a pay-what-you-can basis over at Bandcamp. The EP follows up on last year’s Short Stories And Small Glories EP, which features seven tracks of experimental electronic pop. Below, you can listen to “Did I Look Like Myself” from the Key Studio Session she recorded earlier this year; the full session can be found here.


This weekend: A double dose of Making Time

Making Time RADio w/ Dave P returns to the XPN airwaves for its monthly two-hour excursion into the “futuristic sounds” this Friday night at 7 p.m. This Saturday evening is a Making Time event featuring The Drums, WU LYF, Crystal Antlers and Beautful Swimmers and the coterie of Making Time DJ’s including Dave P and Sammy Slice, the Broadzilla DJ’s, Adam Sparkles, a DJ set from Pink Skull, Dave Pax and Mike Z. The 21+ show on Saturday is at Voyeur, 1221 St. James Street. Advanced tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Below, check out a video for “How It Ends” by The Drums.


Listen to “Hot Bubblegum” by Pink Skull (performing a DJ set at Making Time on October 21st)

From NPR Music:

Continuing in the tradition of alternative dance-pop exemplified by The Dandy Warhols in the late ’90s and early ’00s, Pink Skull stakes its claim in effervescent electronic noiseplay. Philadelphia DJ-and-producer duo Julian Grefe and Justin Geller, known for their adventures in mixing and remixing, have expanded into a live band for which “programming” still plays a necessary role. Traipsing gleefully through styles like disco-punk, acid house and psychedelic tropicalia, the group’s recent Psychic Welfare finds Pink Skull showcasing a tight, focused sound.

“Hot Bubblegum” also appears on WXPN’s World Cafe: Next compilation, which we mentioned last week. This month, as part of World Cafe‘s 20th anniversary, David Dye will be highlighting one artist every weekday during his World Cafe: Next segments. All 20 tracks are currently available as a free download, which you can get in exchange for your email address here. You can also listen to Pink Skull’s recent appearance on World Cafe: Next here. The members of Pink Skull will also perform a DJ set alongside Dave P & Sammy Slice, Adam Sparkles, and the Broadzilla DJs at Making Time on Friday, October 21st, at Voyeur; the event will also feature live performances by The RaptureStill Corners, and Metronomy. Tickets to the 21+ show are $15.


Tonight’s concert picks: Hank and Cupcake with Gang and Pink Skull at Milkboy, White Birds at Johnny Brenda’s, The Zombies at the Keswick

Tonight’s concert picks:

When it comes to indie-rock bands that are composed of romantically involved couples (Mates Of State, The Rosebuds, Handsome Furs), Hank And Cupcakes offers something slightly off-kilter. For one thing, the married pair hails from Israel; for another, along with their silly adopted monikers, the two sport a cheerfully irreverent sensibility. The video for “Hit” features Hank And Cupcakes cavorting in nothing but body paint. With growing popularity and a new album in the works, Hank And Cupcakes is poised to spread its dance party aesthetic beyond the band’s Brooklyn base. Hank And Cupcakes performs with Gang and Pink Skull at 9 p.m. at Milkboy Philly; tickets to the 21+ show are $10. —Kiley Bense

Also Playing:
Blayer PointDuJour + The National Rifle, Adam And Dave’s Bloodline at The Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art (8 p.m., $10)
Purples + White Birds, Mike Quinn at Johnny Brenda’s (9:15 p.m., 21+, $10)
Mutlu + George Stanford at World Cafe Live (Downstairs) (8 p.m., $21–$31)
The Zombies + Acoustic Strawbs at Keswick (8 p.m., $29.50-$48.50)
Ian Axel, Bess Rogers and Allie Moss at World Cafe Live (Upstairs) (7:30 p.m. $10 plus $3 service charge) Download a tour sampler from Axel, Rogers and Moss right below.


Philadelphia’s Pink Skull to release Psychic Welfare on September 13th

From the band’s publicist:

Psychic Welfare comes after Julian Grefe waded through the cosmic slop that accumulated around him the two years following the release of Endless. Grefe alongside Justin “JG” Geller, forms the central nervous system of a Pink Skull. The duo expanded to include Jeremy Gewertz (drums), Mike Hammel (bass), and Sam Murphy (guitar) for the recording and live realization of Endless, and then expanded once more to include Adam Sparkles (programming) and Robin van der Kaa (bass, programming) for Psychic Welfare.

Psychic Welfare was produced by Pink Skull and Jeff Zeigler (Kurt Vile, War On Drugs) between the band’s Philadelphia studio and Brooklyn, NY. Contending with the seismic swells in both the macro and micro worlds around him, Grefe refracted the polluted waves in a fantastical fit to write the 13 songs of Psychic Welfare. The album is a map of time and space portals in which the listener can navigate from the corroded corners of machinated life to boundless, amorphous space in mere seconds.”

The album comes out Sept. 13th via RVNG Intl. (the LP includes a 48″x96″ heavy-stock poster); it will become available digitally September 17th. You can listen to the track “Bee Nose” below.


Philly Local Philes: Arc In Round’s “Spirit”

Arc In Round

With a sound that’s a little bit Cocteau Twins, a little bit Throwing Muses, it wouldn’t be surprising if askew Philly popsters Arc In Round eventually get snatched up by revered UK boutique label 4AD Records. But, for the present, the foursome is concentrating on its long-in-the-making debut. This Thursday, Dec. 2, the band is putting out the Diagonal Fields EP; the record-release show at Johnny Brenda’s also features Golden Ages, Post Post, and Pink Skull on the bill. Keep an eye on the band heading into 2011, since its debut full-length (which reportedly features collaborations with scene buds Chris Ward of Pattern Is Movement and Kurt Vile) is fixing to be a noisy, blissful tour de force.

Arc In Round performs with Golden Ages, Post Post, and Pink Skull at 9 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are $10.


Introducing: The Hypercage Record Club (via Making Time HQ)

Great news from Making Time headquarters: Announcing the Hypercage Record Club a collaboration between Pink Skull, Adam Sparkles, and the Broadzilla DJs as they launch the label with a totally rad mega mix of today’s hottest indiedancediscorollerskatingrock jams.

The Hypercage crew are kicking it old school and if you want the entire mix you need to send an e-mail to receive a free download of the debut Hypercage Record Club mix. Another way to join the club is to show up at this Friday night’s launch party at Making Time at Voyeur w/ Tensnake’s first live performance in the States and and Teengirl Fantasy’s first show in Philly. Dave P and the entire Making Time crew will be on hand to put some slide in your stride and yes, of course the Hypercage will be rocking with record club radness. And if you get there early they may have some record club treats for you.

Listen to the sample and check out the complete track list below.

Track List

1. Neurotic Drum Band – Neurotic Erotic Adventure (Dub Mix)
2. Crimeax – Liubov
3. Hot Toddy – Won’t Let Go
4. Rollmottle – Take A Break (Maurice Fulton Remix)
5. Dextrax – E-Glez
6. Kid Deep – Looking 4 Someone
7. Chamboche – On The Streets (Brontosaurus Remix)
8. LSB – Cosmic Wild Boar
9. Scissor Sisters – Any Which Way (Tensnake Remix)
10. Cosmic Kids – Reginald’s Groove
11. Sun, Sun, Sun – Curious (Instrumental)
12. Murphy Jax ft. Mike Dunn – It’s The Music
13. Pete Heller – Nu Acid
14. Prinzhorn Dance School – Off The Radar, Off The System
15. The Glimmers & Baby G – Esta Si Esta No (In Flagranti Remix)
16. Munk – La Musica (Azari & III Remix)
17. MMM – Donna
18. Triangle Orchestra – The Strip