Spirit of the Beehive and Amanda X return from tour for a gritty gig with Pile and Big Ups

Pile | Photos by Rachel Del Sordo |
Pile | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo |

Four young and talented post-punk bands brought their peculiar musical stylings to First Unitarian Church on Wednesday. This show marked the first stop of tour for Boston’s Pile and New York’s Big Ups, and served as a solid homecoming for Amanda X and Spirit of the Beehive, who recently returned home from a month-long tour across the US. Continue reading →


It’s American Punk Time on tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Black Flag | Photo via Huck Magazine
Black Flag | Photo via Huck Magazine

Is there really any better way to celebrate America’s birthday than getting a good pit going? Heck no. That’s why tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade will help you exercise your right to throw some elbows as we celebrate American Punk Time! From hardcore to garage, pop-punk to psych fuzz, we’ll devote tonight’s two hour show to all generations of American noisemakers. Tune in at 11pm to hear more songs than we’ve ever packed into an episode of the Hit Parade, including a few of these:

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A resurrected Rocket From the Crypt bring high energy to a sweaty Underground Arts

Rocket From the Crypt | Photo by Pete Troshak |
Rocket From the Crypt | Photo by Pete Troshak |

San Diego’s Rocket From The Crypt proved they were back from the dead last week, rocking a sweaty, aggressive packed house at Underground Arts. The group disbanded in 2005 after fifteen years and seven guitar-and-horn-fueled punk albums together, including the classic Scream, Dracula, Scream! in 1995. The band was also known for saying that anyone that got a Rocket From The Crypt tattoo would be admitted to any show by the band for free. They reunited under the most bizarre circumstances, due to a children’s TV show. Singer John “Speedo” Reis is a recurring character on Yo Gabba Gabba called “The Swami” and the band reunited to play on an episode in 2011. One thing led to another and the band has since played some dates and a handful of festivals, sticking to their old material while being warmly received by fans that never expected to see them together again.

Timothy Olyphant look-alike Dan Sartain opened, delivering a memorable forty minute rapid fire set of his rumbling rockabilly punk rock. Joined by just a drummer, Sartain sweated and bashed out chords on his battle-worn Silvertone hollowbody guitar. The Ramones influence is obvious in his music and fittingly he kickstarted most songs with a hearty 1-2-3-4 countdown. The crowd seemed very familiar with his material, and sang along frequently. Sartain seemed to really appreciate the crowd’s reaction, and proved he was one of them by showing off an old Rocket From The Crypt tattoo on his upper right arm. Sartain has a new album called Dudesblood due out soon.

After Sartain’s set ended there was a forty five minute wait for Rocket From The Crypt to take the stage, which led to some grumbling in the sell-out crowd. All was forgiven when the band hit the stage and ignited the crowd with a trio of songs from their ‘95 EP The State of Art is on Fire – “Light Me,” “A+ In Arson Class” and “Rid Or Ride.” What followed was an intense twenty-plus song set spanning their career with neither the band nor crowd taking their foot off the gas pedal till the end. The six piece band barely fit on the small stage and the crowd was even packed around the open sides of the stage, giving the show a claustrophobic but exciting vibe. The crowd cheered and smiled throughout, regularly surging forward to get closer to the band. The highlight of the night was a swaggering blitz through the first three songs from Scream, Dracula, Scream! – “Middle,” “Born in ‘69” and “Rope”.that sent the crowd into a sweaty, moshing, roaring frenzy. The band’s performance spoke louder than words, and it said that this is a band that is still powerful and that can have a future to add to their past success. Here’s hoping that they stay together and make more music.


Local punk band Beach Slang gets raw and loud on their debut EP, announce they’ll be playing Fest 13

Beach Slang
Beach Slang / via bandcamp

Beach Slang recently released a raw four song EP entitled Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken?, which you can stream below and pick up on vinyl in Spring via Dead Broke Records. While this band kind of seemed to pop up out of nowhere, its members are no strangers to the Philadelphia scene. Vocalist and guitarist James Snyder is a member of the inactive but memorable pop punk band Weston. With Ed McNulty from Crybaby on bass and JP Flexner from Ex Friends on drums, this is a sort of a local Philly supergroup. The EP was recorded with Dave Downham at Gradwell House Recording Studio in Haddons Height, NJ and mastered at Armstrong Studios by Stephen Egerton, known for his work with The Descendants.

Beach Slang’s debut EP is nothing short of breakout. Snyder authors some amazing lyrics for grungy hearts that find themselves in love in “Filthy Luck”. To me, the line “Carve your name soft across my lungs / I want to breathe you until I’m numb / We’re not loved, well, hardly anyway / with filthy luck in such a filthy haze” speaks to the dingy basement scene that has sparked so many relationships by chance.

These lyrics seem to describe the lives of modern day punks, with cleverly written takes like “The kids are still alright / We’re just too high to fight” or “Who called the cops? / Whatever, we’ll never get caught”. Delivering the avidly truthful and hopeful lyrics with catchy melodies and harmonies, Beach Slang nailed the vocals. The EP’s raw indie sound is textured with distortion and feedback alongside the fast-paced rhythms and punk mentality. The three piece band blasts through catchy riffs and drum fills, with trudging bass and texturing feedback at the best moments.  Definitely check out “Filthy Luck” and “Punk or Lust”.

Beach Slang also announced they’ll be heading down to Fest 13 this upcoming Fall. Check out the insane lineup and get tickets here.


Digging Through the Archives: Dancetorium brings unseen 70s and 80s punk video into the 21st century

Courtesy of Brendan Gilmartin
Bush Tetras circa 1980 in a still from Ivers’ and Armstrong’s footage Courtesy of Brendan Gilmartin

Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong were exposed to American rock n’ roll and the British Invasion at a young age.

Ivers grew up in Philadelphia and worked at an auto part factory as a teenager. In lieu of joining her coworkers for lunch, she much preferred to sneak outside and listen to her transistor radio.

Armstrong, on the other hand, grew up in Long Island, and was introduced to music by a friend’s parent who’d generously chauffeur them from rock show to rock show. With his help, Armstrong saw the Rolling Stones and the Beatles during their first U.S. tour.

“He would collect our money and drive us,” Armstrong said. “Wherever he is, I thank him.”

After meeting while working together at Manhattan’s Public Access Television, the budding videographers teamed together to record over 300 hours worth of footage that would later be digitized and shown at museums and exhibits across the country.

This Thursday, the two are showing a significant amount of footage they collected during the up-and-coming New York punk scene in the 70′s and 80′s at International House; Dancetorium screens as the centerpiece of the venue’s spring preview event.

Before they met and joined creative forces, Ivers and Armstrong coincidentally lived on the same block in New York. They were also neighbors with Patti Smith.

“We’d see Patti seeing on her stoop,” Armstrong said. “We knew her as a poet.”

It wasn’t until posters for concerts started to pop up that they realized Smith was a musician as well. With the help of these posters – which also advertised bands like Talking Heads, Blondie and more – Ivers began to take on a film project documenting this musical uprising along with coworkers at Public Access Television.

The GoNightclubbing Archive Video from GoNightclubbing,Ltd. on Vimeo.

After some time, her and her team, who called themselves Metropolis Video, didn’t see any point as to why they were filming bands – they weren’t making money, and her coworkers abandoned ship on the project. But Ivers wasn’t quite done. Continue reading →


Watch a new music video from Lansdale punks, Dugout

 Dugout is a pop punk rock band from Lansdale, PA that recently released a new music video for their song “Towamencin” off their most recent EP On Our OwnShowing skill in the way of instrumentation, this band has joined the breed of pop punk/hardcore bands that have begun to spring up. The single starts off swift and melodic with a poppy voice, but as it progresses it gets more intense the with the introduction of the screaming vocalist. Lyrics like “Another drive down Sumneytown with a sinking feeling / That everyone is way better off than me” paints this song as a hometown anthem. The song ends by slowing down a little and then leading right into a pretty brutal breakdown. Recently signed to Painted Ox Records, Dugout is in the planning stages of recording a new album, but with no release date in sight, here’s the music video for “Towamencin” to hold you over.


Watch The Front Bottoms perform “Au Revoir” for AltarTV

The Front Bottoms | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo
The Front Bottoms | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo

The Front Bottoms released their fourth album Talon of the Hawk this past spring, and have been getting a good amount of attention for their unique style of indie punk. They have been praised for their creative lyrics and unconventional songwriting, which have placed them on tours with the likes of Manchester Orchestra. After touring Europe and Canada, they will be stopping in Wilmington, DE at World Café Live on 11/14 and Lancaster, PA at the Chameleon Club on 11/16. Below, watch an acoustic version of “Au Revoir” from Talon of the Hawk.


This is what the Philly punk scene looked like in the 1980s

Photo by Pier Nicola D’Amico |

Yesterday afternoon, a random tweet from King Britt led me to a stunning online gallery of work by Philadelphia-based photographer Pier Nicola D’Amico. “Check some of the Philly punk scene with homie @pndamico,” King wrote, followed by a link to the new collection Between Glam Rock and New Wave: The Lost Archive. How am I going to say no to something like that, right?

The work that I saw upon clicking through was even better than I anticipated. D’Amico’s collection showcased faces and friends. Personalities, not celebrities, the community that you discover when you dig a little bit deeper than the music at its surface. In fact, of the 32 images in the collection, only one explicitly depicts music – a great shot of an old school DJ rig at a loft party. Folks are wearing berets, the wheels of steel are the fliptop models that look like they were borrowed from somebody’s living room, the DJ seems pensive as he scans the room for a read on the crowd.

It plays a background role in other images – speakers on the shelves of a silhouetted young woman’s apartment, magazine cutouts of pop stars taped to the wall of another friend’s bedroom wall, a vintage WKDU magnet on the fridge of a denim-vested, bleach-haired lad in a kitchen. In the rest, it’s more implicit. You know these people listen to music, and you know that music is probably a major force that draws them together in friendships. But you also get to see what their lives are like beyond it. Continue reading →


Watch Flag return to their first venue, Moose Lodge; get amped to see them at The Trocadero on 9/18


This may get a little confusing, but bear with me.

Black Flag formed in the late 70s and basically brought punk to California with their intense and experimental sound that at times leaned towards metal.  As the group evolved, their sound developed as well, become less about intense two minute songs and more about longer, improvisational mid-tempo songs.  Along with these evolutions came a ton of lineup changes, breakups, reunions and more breakups and reunions.  And now, the band has basically split in two.

Black Flag features Greg Ginn, the original guitarist and owner to basically all the rights to the band. Their reunion tour happened this summer, and hit up Union Transfer in June. Flag, on the other hand, features several members of the band throughout the years including one of many singers Keith Morris of Circle Jerks and Descendants guitarist Stephen Egerton.

Still following me? Good. On September 18th, Flag will perform at The Trocadero with all the energy and intensity a punk band can muster.  Below, is a video of the group from April, where they played the Moose Lodge, the very same venue where Black Flag first played live.  In it, the band seems just as hardcore as ever, wailing away at instruments and belting out vocals as the crowd jumps around in enthusiasm.  It’s just a glimpse of what you’ll see in September, but it looks like an incredible show.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Big Country at Sellersville Theater, Holy Death and MOSS at PhilaMOCA


For a little reminiscing, Big Country is headed to Sellersville Theater tonight.  Though they only gained fame in the US for their 80s hit, “In A Big Country,” Big Country were very popular in Europe, gaining fame for their celtic rock sound and maintaining a huge cult following to this day.  Back in April, the group released their ninth studio album, The Journey and are in tour in support of the album.  The group often added elements of traditional celtic music into their songs, whether it was lyrically, or musically (“In A Big Country” used guitars engineered to sound somewhat like bagpipes).  Check out the song that made the group famous in the US below, and be sure to catch these Scottish legends tonight.

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