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Getting to Know Royal Shoals: A Philly surf-rock trio guided by rock vibes and good times

Royal Shoals: Jamie Wilson, Matt Lyons, Greg Pavlovcak
Royal Shoals: Jamie Wilson, Matt Lyons, Greg Pavlovcak

It’s a funny business, being in a band these days. In some ways, it’s the same as it always was: friends, hanging out in basements or someone’s garage, writing jams and probably shooting the shit. But then there are all the other things that go along with being in a band these days: tweeting and maintaining Facebook accounts, sending out press releases, cramming into the van together and playing DIY spots across the country, fueled by Taco Bell and the dream of “making it”—or at least scoring enough blog buzz to live off your tunes.

Royal Shoals do things old skool. The trio of Jamie Wilson,  Matt Lyons, and Greg Pavlovcak have been playing in bands most of their lives; a sampling of recent projects includes The Ropers, Saturday People, Public Record, and Motor. They’re not interested in spending their summers tucked into a van eating tacos (“I get upset when I don’t have the right type of peanut butter,” says Wilson)—and they’re definitely not doing this to score blog buzz.

“We’ve liberated ourselves from the burden of success a long time ago,” says Wilson with a grin from the bar at Fishtown’s Cedar Point.

No, Royal Shoals are doing this for the same reason they’ve always been doing this: to have fun, and play some tunes.

“In the beginning, it was really meant as a fun excuse to hang out and mess around,” says Lyons, who’s known Wilson for years from growing up around Wilmington, DE. “We never had big goals.”

royal art star
Royal Shoals at this year’s Art Star Craft Bazaar (photo via Facebook)

Over the past five years, the band’s been slowly incubating, playing shows and recording sporadically. This Thursday, they’ll celebrate the release of their sophomore EP, Hotel, with a release party at Kung Fu Necktie. Throughout the years, they’ve won fans as respected as The Walkmen’s Peter Bauer (who they played with last March) and The War on Drugs’ Adam Granduciel (who, they tell me excitedly, bought a shirt). They’ve also turned on dozens to breezy summer pop jams with a surprising amount of bite—all while maintaining a low-key attitude that prioritizes fun over fame.

“In the beginning we were just going to be a band in the summer,” says Wilson. “The loose rule was we would only play shows outside, preferably on docks and such. The point of the band was just to have fun.” Continue reading →

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Hear hints of The Buzzcocks and The Feelies in Royal Shoals new single “Com Et Dius?”

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

With driving surf-rock influences, jangly guitars ala The Feelies and a propulsive rhythm section, the new song from Philly’s Royal Shoals picks up where the band’s last EP, Surrender + 3 left off. “Com Et Dius?” comes from their forthcoming EP, Royal Shoals Hotel; its title is Catalan for “what’s your name,” and has a joyful urgency to it. As they’d done in the past, the band recorded the song with Jeff Ziegler at Uniform Recording. Deserving of repeated plays, the song is drenched in guitar greatness and takes on the youthful abandonment of a song like “Ever Fallen In Love” by The Buzzcocks.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Bats at Johnny Brenda’s, Tomahawk at Union Transfer

batsNew Zealand indie pop cult faves The Bats play Johnny Brenda’s tonight. Going strong for over 30 years, the band is making a somewhat rare Philly appearance tonight to showcase songs from its most recent release, 2011′s Free All The Monsters, the band’s eighth LP. Opening are Philly indie troopers Royal Shoals; the 21+ begins at 8 p.m., tickets and information can be found here. Also be on the lookout for a free afterparty at R.U.B.A. featuring live appearances from Catnaps, Rugburn and DJ sets from members of Literature and A Sunny Day in Glasgow. Below, watch the music video for “Simpletons” from The Bats’ Free All the Monsters.

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Royal Shoals playing with The Bats tomorrow at Johnny Brenda’s

RoyalShoalsA few months ago, Philly band Royal Shoals released their solid second EP Surrounderer +3 as a pay-what-you-want download on Bandcamp.  For the EP, Royal Shoals have found influence ranging from punk to pop to new wave, creating a sharp, danceable sound all their own.  Tomorrow, they’re set to play Johnny Brenda’s with New Zealand rock band The Bats, who released their latest full-length Free All the Monsters back in 2011.  With such amazing acts, this is one Tuesday show you don’t want to miss.  You can find out more information about the concert here. Check out “Life’s A Boy” from Surrounderer +3 below.

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The Week’s Best MP3 Downloads, incl. Calexico, Quilt, The Naked Sun

Bringing their sunny psychedelic sounds to Philadelphia, Boston’s Quilt recently stopped by the Folkadelphia studios to record a live session full of warmth and color.  The 60s vibe of the band seems so natural it’s easy to slip into a dreamy daze while listening to the five tracks they recorded.  Stream and download “Arctic Shark” below and head over to Folkadelphia’s Bandcamp to get the rest of the session.  Quilt will be back in town this Saturday, February 16th for the 2013 Northern Liberties Winter Music Festival at The Fire.  Tickets and information can be found here.

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Royal Shoals release Surrounderer + 3 EP (playing Kung Fu Necktie on 2/28)

Working once again with Philly producer Jeff Zeigler at Uniform Recording, local new wave / indie rock band Royal Shoals released Surrounderer + 3 this week.  The four-track extended player tightens up the post-punk / surf rock sound established on the local outfit’s debut Dirty Water EP (2011) and sees them stepping into a more mysterious and polished underground club while retaining the liquid-y guitar riffs of their upbeat surf rock influences.  Take a listen to “Surrounderer” below and grab a name-your-price download.  Royal Shoals play Kung Fu Necktie on February 28th with Lorelei; tickets and information can be found here.

 

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Download a song from Faux Slang (playing Johnny Brenda’s tonight)

Photo by John Vettese
A plucky four-piece that’s been kicking around the Philly scene for the past five years, Faux Slang is a group that doesn’t fit neatly into a predetermined package. They play late-90s style indie rock, but the keyboard (not guitar) is the dominant instrument; their bread and butter is slammin’ three-minute punky nuggets (check out the self-titled EP they released last summer), but their best song might just be the soaring, six-minute, krautrock-inspired “Mass Hysteria” that was featured on Bands in the Backyard’s BITBY Tape Club Vol. 1 comp earlier this summer. Download the song below (or grab the entire comp here), and check out Faux Slang tonight at Johnny Brenda’s. Faux Slang, Last Tide and Royal Shoals play Johnny Brendas, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., tonight at 9 p.m. Admission to the 21+ show is $10.

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Philly Local Philes: Royal Shoals’ “Started Dancing”

With a little bit of ’60s sunshine pop and a little bit of ’80s college rock, new Philly trio Royal Shoals delivers a slick blend of tones and textures on their debut, Dirty Water. The band is offering the entire EP as a pay-what-you-will download on their Bandcamp page; get a taste below with today’s Philly Local Phile, “Started Dancing.” Royal Shoals performs with Arc in Round and Brown Recluse Fri. Aug. 26 at Kung Fu Necktie. Tickets to the 21+ show are $8.

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