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Review: Restortions forges its sound on anthemic LP3

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Restorations’ LP3, out today on SideOneDummy

Somewhere deep in the recesses of Jon Loudon’s subconscious, in his wildest dream, or worst nightmare, he is picturing himself as the raw-throated, growling lead vocalist of one of the world’s biggest arena rock bands. He comes to in the middle of a break at practice, the reverie having left him with the chills, and one of his bandmates calls over, “how do you wanna do this take?” Loudon walks back to his guitar, picks it up and answers, “louder.”

And on LP3 (SideOneDummyRecords) Restorations are loud and fast and even soft and tender (they have plenty of that in them too) when they want to be, but mostly they rock, compulsively and beautifully. It seems so familiar and simple (Then why can’t more bands do it this well?): tempo, noise, and tunes, guitars on guitars on guitars. It’s a near miracle when you find a band that has somehow managed to imbue this kind of music with a sense of discovery, as if they’ve managed to rehear it as something new. Continue reading →

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The Ultimate Basement Show: Why Gainesville’s FEST is so important to the Philly DIY scene

Philly's Restorations is headed to Gainesville's FEST for the fifth time, and timed it's new album release around it | photo via restorations.tumblr.com
Philly’s Restorations is headed to Gainesville’s FEST for the fifth time, and timed it’s new album release around it | photo via restorations.tumblr.com

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 →

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Listen to “Misprint,” another song from Restorations’ LP3

Restorations | Photo by Andy Johnson
Restorations | Photo by Andy Johnson

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 →

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Restorations will celebrate the release of LP3 at the Church on 11/15

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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 →

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Go inside the studio as Restorations makes the most important album of its career

Restorations Jon Loudon records vocals at Miner Street | Photo by Mitchell Wojcik | mitchellwojcik.com
Restorations’ Jon Loudon records vocals at Miner Street | Photo by Mitchell Wojcik | mitchellwojcik.com

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 →

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Holy smokes this 37-second clip of Restorations in the studio with Jon Low has us psyched for their new record

Restorations | Photo by John Vettese
Restorations | Photo by John Vettese

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 →

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Recap: The Early November and more celebrated the ten-year anniversary of The Rooms Too Cold at Union Transfer

The Early November | Photo by Allison Newbold | allynewbold.com
The Early November | Photo by Allison Newbold | allynewbold.com

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.”

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Watch Restorations slice avocados and sing songs at SideOneDummy Records in LA (playing Boot & Saddle on 2/8)

Restorations | Photo by John Vettese
Restorations | Photo by John Vettese

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.

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Restorations to play “a ton of new songs” at Boot & Saddle on 2/8

Restorations | Photo by John Vettese
Restorations | Photo by John Vettese

Restorations recently announced their next local headlining show, an intimate set filled with “a ton of new songs” at south Philly’s Boot & Saddle. The post rock band has had a productive year with the release of LP 2, and a plethora of live shows including a performance at Audiotree and their trek down to Gainesville’s Fest. With more new material apparently on the way, it is safe to say Restorations will continue to make a mark on Philadelphia’s punk and post rock scenes for the foreseeable future. Before their February headlining show you can catch them opening for The Early November at Union Transfer (12/21) or for The Bouncing Souls at Asbury Park (12/29). Their set at Boot & Saddle will be supported by local punk band The Holy Mess and Dogs on Acid (ex-Algernon Cadwallader). It’s $12, and you can get your tickets here.

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Why Fest? A Philly perspective on Gainesville’s main music attraction, and photos of locals who made the trek

Hop Along | photo by Allison Newbold | allynewbold.com
Hop Along | photos by Allison Newbold | allynewbold.com

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.”