Some musicians route their tours around it. Others plan major releases to coincide with it. Others still will travel thousands of miles to play a one-off show at it, turn right around and head home.
The annual FEST in Gainesville, Florida, has become something of a DIY scene mecca over its 13-year existence. A series of punk concerts housed in a handful of venues over the course of a weekend where, as legend has it, the University of Florida’s football team is always out on an away game, THE FEST – usually written in all-caps, but not for any particular reason – is a huge draw, especially for artists from the Philadelphia region. Continue reading →
Restorations has continued to pump out new material this past month, including a music video and a new single called “Separate Songs,” all leading up to the eagerly-anticipated October release of LP3. The Philly-based punk outfit last week teased a second song from the album; this one is called “Misprint,” and it’s a winner. Continue reading →
We normally prefer photographs to show flyers around these parts, but wow, that’s a pretty wicked show flyer. Great show too – Philly’s Restorations, who are about to unleash their epic new LP3 via SideOneDummy Records on October 28th, will celebrate the album with Cayetana (who just threw their own excellent album release party at Golden Tea House), Three Man Cannon and Hurry on the 15th of November. Continue reading →
When a young music fan hears stories about their favorite bands recording new music, they often invent grandiose visions of the studio and its space. There’s a certain mystique inherent for those who haven’t stepped foot in one; like most unlived experiences it’s portrayed in our heads as distant, unattainable, a place where all-time art is created. A place where “regular people” don’t ever go. Of course, that’s not really true. Studios come in all shapes, sizes and budgets, from cavernous state-of-the-art compounds where million-dollar records are made, to dirt-floor basements walled with smoke-stained eggshell padding.
Philadelphia’s Miner Street Recordings, which has gone through several locations in its two decades of existence (and is no longer located on Miner Street, for the record – the name comes from its original location in West Chester), lies somewhere in between the two extremes of the studio spectrum. Situated at a central crossroads in Fishtown, it’s a nondescript, vaguely abandoned-looking building in a city full of them. Off-white and faded blue paint peels from the exterior walls, exposing bricks underneath. The only visual confirmation that it’s the right place is a small piece of black tape on the front door with the words “this is Miner Street” written on it.
Before spotting the “sign” though, there’s an aural confirmation; standing on the sidewalk outside, the sound of muffled, droned, noteless guitar strumming breaks through the walls. We’re here to observe Restorations as they record their third full-length and second for SideOneDummy Records, and even those distant, cacophonous non-notes are immediately identifiable with the band’s growing reputation for weaponizing sharp, bright melodies by weaving them into heavy, distorted riffs, an unassumingly thunderous rhythm section and the occasional organ, all of it anchored by the throaty vocals of Jon Loudon. Continue reading →
Philly anthemic punks Restorations have kept sort of on the quiet side this year, short of a sold-out February headlining show at Boot and Saddle and a run across Europe. But they’ve got good reason for being reclusive – they’ve been putting the finishing touches on their third LP with producer Jon Low at Miner Street Recording. Continue reading →
Last month, Jersey-bred punk five-piece The Early November celebrated the ten-year anniversary of their debut LP The Room’s Too Cold with a string of shows, including one locally at Union Transfer on December 21st. Joining them on the bill were local melodic punk favorites Restorations and indie rock four-piece Little Big League.
Early November guitarist Joseph Marro told photographer Ally Newbold that celebrating the anniversary of the album – and seeing the fan response – was a special thing for the band.
“When we were making that record we really just wanted to make something we thought was cool and that made a statement for us and maybe one day people would like it as much as I liked some of my favorite records,” Marro said. “To see all those people there and to hear their voices singing along was really incredible. I’ve met a lot of people who said that that record is special to them. In my mind, even though we’re not a very big band, that means were successful.”
Ben Pierce of Restorations says it was one of his favorite shows, and describes it as “something between a high school reunion and my music career coming full circle.”
“My old bands played shows with early versions of The Early November through our high school years,” Pierce said. “So it was great to share a stage with them a decade later surrounded by the same South Jersey / Philly friends and family.”
Michelle Zauner of Little Big League said that even though “I was pretty freaked out” playing to a sold-out Union Transfer crowd, the camaraderie between bands and between the Union Transfer crew made it feel like an intimate show for friends. “We had a blast,” Zauner said, “and it’s always inspiring to see a band still doing what they love 10-plus years later.”
Local rockers Restorations made a stop at SideOneDummy Records during a trip to L.A. this year to participate in the label’s inaugural episode of Live From SideOneDummy. The video shows the Philadelphians performing “New Old” while cooking up a lunch of tacos. Restorations have also announced a show at Boot & Saddle on February 8th where they’ll debut “a ton of new songs” following the release of this year’s LP2. Watch the new episode below and get tickets for their 21+ show here.
Going twelve years strong, The Fest is an annual gathering in Gainesville, Florida, that brings together a cross-section of players in the national DIY scene for four days of action. Though it began firmly rooted in punk and hardcore, it’s expanded over time to include a broader range of sounds and styles, from singer-songwriter (Tim Kasher) to metal (Torche) and indie pop (Slingshot Dakota). Think of it as an anti-corporate response to the music festival circuit.
Every year, an impressive swatch of Philly bands make the trek down to Gainesville for the festival, whether as a tour stop or as a single destination. Photographer Allison Newbold made the trip this year, and caught up with several of them: below, check out images of Daylight, The Menzingers, Slingshot Dakota and more. She also collected thoughts from some of the artists on how Fest 12 was treating them and why they Fest in general. Check them out below.
Mark Quinlan from Hop Along
“Fest always treats me in a way that’s far better than I deserve. There are friends on every corner. Once a year, Gainesville is my punk rock home away from home”
Jacob Ewald from Modern Baseball
“My first Fest was perfect. I got to hang out with all the friends we made across the country this summer and I got to see all my favorite rock and roll bands. Woo!”
Ben Pierce from Restorations
“Of the multiple fests I’ve been to, this one was the most relaxing. I saw about 4 bands out of 400 which is fine because I was about to see about 400 friends. Nice weather, nice beverages and great conversations with friends. Fest.”
Philadelphia post rock band Restorations stopped by Audiotree a few weeks ago for an energetic in-studio session. This is an awesome performance by the band, and it is awesome to see in the video that they still get into their music while playing in a studio. Their rumbling sound, which ranges from mellow to forceful, is exceptional, with distortion-filled choruses that pound as frontman Jon Loudon yells his lines. As Audiotree says on their site: “If a band sounds great, it’s because they played great.”
It is no surprise that Restorations sound so good live; with an underground cult following they have been playing shows for five years and are currently on tour as we speak. This Philly band continues to grow in popularity and in skill, with their latest release, LP 2, coming out on SideOneDummy back in April. There are not any Philadelphia shows in the queue for Restorations at the moment, so make sure to watch the live Audiotree session here to get your fix. Below, a Restorations track from the Key Studio Sessions archives.