Unsung Folkadelphia #1: Jason Molina and Songs: Ohia’s Didn’t It Rain

Jason Molina, courtesy of Secretly Canadian.
Jason Molina, courtesy of Secretly Canadian.
From the 'Didn't It Rain' session, Jennie Bedford's lyric work sheet to "Steve Albini's Blues"
From the ‘Didn’t It Rain’ session, Jennie Bedford’s lyric work sheet to “Steve Albini’s Blues”

Welcome to the first chapter of Folkadelphia’s new project that we’ve gotten in the habit of calling Unsung.

In the history of music, there are many unsung artists and albums that we firmly clutch close to our hearts. These artists create the kind of music that we wish other people knew more about or cared more deeply for. We wish that we could share with others our exact feelings about how we’ve been touched and affected by some musicians. We want to show them the light. We want to sing these musicians’ unsung song for everyone to hear.

With this series, we hope we can provide a way for people to connect with music that has been influential beyond its commercial impact and, perhaps, appeal. It’s never too late to find a new favorite band and honor their legacy and discography.

For this first part, we focused on what has become one of my favorite albums: Songs: Ohia’s Didn’t It Rain, which was recorded in Philadelphia in 2002. Continue reading →


Stream a Beach Boys Spotify playlist curated by Dave Hartley (The War on Drugs, Nightlands)

The Beach Boys made their mark in the mid-sixties with pop hits like “God Only Knows” and “California Girls” but War on Drugs bass player and Nightlands main man Dave Hartley is here to tell us why the band’s real genius didn’t show itself until later on.  From Dave:

The Beach Boys are much more than the just Pet Sounds and Surf-Car-Girl party songs. Here are twelve strange and beautiful songs that came after.”

In a Spotify playlist he created for his bands’ label Secretly Canadian, Hartley handpicks his favorite Beach Boys tracks from albums including 1967’s Smiley Smile, 1970’s Sunflower, 1971’s Surf’s Up and more. Continue reading →


Secretly Canadian (The War On Drugs) and Dead Oceans (Sun Airway) among indie labels affected by the Sony Music/PIAS warehouse fire in London

As you’ve probably heard by now, a Sony Music warehouse containing stock from 150 indie labels burned to the ground yesterday during the riots in London. Thankfully, no one was hurt during the incident. (And, when looking at the big picture, it’s nowhere near the top of the list of important issues and concerns brought up by the riots.) However, for many of these labels, the loss of property and damage will prove difficult, if not impossible, to recover from. The long list of labels affected includes Secretly Canadian (which has released albums by Philadelphia’s The War On Drugs and Nightlands) and Dead Oceans (Sun Airway); you can see a full list here.

For their part, the folks at Secretly Canadian/Dead Oceans/Jagjaguwar have said in a statement that they “[L]ost significant amounts of stock in this fire. This being said, our primary thoughts and concern are with the Sony warehouse staff and PIAS sales staff whose lives were all massively disrupted by the tragic event, as well as our independent label peers who had a more significant portion of their worldwide stock committed to the Sony DADC / PIAS warehouse… Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar and Secretly Canadian are in the fortunate position of having significant stock holdings dispersed around the world. We’re working very quickly now to shift some of that existing stock to make our records available in the UK and Ireland as soon as possible.”

If you’re interested in helping out any of the indie labels that have been affected, now would be a great time to buy a few tracks directly from the labels’ websites, as doing so will get needed money to the companies faster than buying from iTunes. A donations page has also been set up here.


This Month’s Shaking Through Session: Dreamers Of The Ghetto

This month’s episode of Shaking Through—the online audio and video collaboration between Weathervane Music and WXPN—features a new song by Dreamers Of The Ghetto, “Heavy Love.” The Bloomington, IN-based quartet was selected by guest curator Ben Swanson (co-founder of Secretly Canadian); the song will appear as the B-side on the band’s next single (to be released on Roaring Colonel Records). You can listen to the track below; visit the Shaking Through website to see photos, interviews, and more from the session.

From the Shaking Through folks:

We asked guest curator, Secretly Canadian co-founder Ben Swanson, to select an artist for Shaking Through — with one catch: they couldn’t be on his label. He insisted on Dreamers of the Ghetto, whom he originally discovered at a basement show in his hometown. “They’re something special and unique that I hadn’t seen,” says Ben. “It’s got this sweetness that’s also got a ton of soul.”

Dreamers of the Ghetto hail from Bloomington, IN and are a “family band” comprised of Luke Jones on bass and vocals, his wife Lauren on keys and vocals, brother Jonathan on guitar and vocals, and close friend Marty Sprowles on drums.

“This is our first time as a band to actually travel and do a legitimate recording project,” states Luke. “There’s some intimidation that comes with the recording process but when you’re working with good people you have nothing to be afraid of. It brought out the best in us.”


Just Announced: The War On Drugs releases summer tour dates (including August 18th kickoff at Johnny Brenda’s)

As we mentioned a month ago, Philadelphia’s The War on Drugs, “the vehicle of Adam Granduciel — frontman, rambler, pied piper guitarist and apparent arranger-extraordinaire,” will be releasing its sophomore album, Slave Ambient, on August 16th via Secretly Canadian. The band will be touring across the U.S. )and overseas) in support of the album from mid-August to mid-September; the tour dates are listed below.

Thu. Aug. 18 — Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
Fri. Aug. 19 — Brooklyn, NY @ Cameo Gallery
Sat. Aug. 20 — New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
Sun. Aug. 21 — Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
Tue. Aug. 23 — Montreal, QC @ Casa Del Popolo
Wed. Aug. 24 — Toronto, ON @ TBD
Thu. Aug. 25 — Ann Arbor, MI @ Blind Pig
Fri. Aug. 26 — Chicago, IL @ Schuba’s
Sat. Aug. 27 — Milwaukee, WI @ Club Garibaldi
Sun. Aug. 28 — Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
Tue. Aug. 30 — St. Louis, MO @ Billiken Club at St. Louis University
Wed. Aug. 31 — Lexington, KY @ Cosmic Charlie’s
Thu. Sep. 1 — Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe
Fri. Sep. 2 — Washington, DC @ Red Palace
Thu. Sep. 8 — Lisbon, Portugal @ Terraza Hotel Regency
Fri. Sep. 9 — San Sebastian, Spain @ Club Victoria Eugenia
Sun. Sep. 11 — Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Paradiso w/ Megafaun
Mon. Sep. 12 — Tilburg, Netherlands @ Incubate Festival w/ Megafaun
Tue. Sep. 13 — London, UK @ Lexington
Wed. Sep. 14 — Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
Thu. Sep. 15 — Sheffield, UK @ Drowned In Sound presents at The Harley
Fri. Sep. 16 — Brighton, UK @ Green Door Store
Sat. Sep. 17 — Brussels, Belgium @ AB club
Tue. Sep. 20 — Copenhagen, Denmark @ Loppen
Wed. Sep. 21 — Stockholm, Sweden @ Lilla Hotelbaren
Thu. Sep. 22 — Malmo, Sweden @ Debaser
Fri. Oct. 14 — Pensacola, FL @ DeLuna Festival


Nightlands announces first batch of tour dates

In other new-bands-from-Philly-garnering-national-acclaim-related news, Nightlands has just released its first set of tour dates (which includes a January 22nd performance at The Ox with Ape School. Dates below). The tour is in support of Nightlands’ debut album, Forget The Mantra, which was released last month on Secretly Canadian. It’s actually only five shows—which, technically, is more “road trip” or “jaunt” than an actual tour—but we’re not going to complain. In fact, we’re pretty much thrilled whenever a local band gets in the van and does the whole making-a-name-for-itself thing the old-fashioned way.

Jan. 20 Brooklyn, NY- Glasslands w/ The Tony Castles, and Dustin Wong
Jan. 22 Philadelphia, PA- The Ox w/ Ape School
Jan. 26 Chicago, IL- The Empty Bottle
Jan. 27 Pontiac, MI- The Pike Room
Jan. 28 Bloomington, IN- FARM Root Cellar w/ Tammar

Vote for Nightlands in Magnet Magazine’s weekly poll of most-anticipated releases

ballot box
Cool stock photo, brah!

As you might have noticed in the post right below this one (seriously, do you really need a link? It’s right there!), The Key is pretty excited about tomorrow’s release of Nightland’s debut LP, Forget The Mantra, on Secretly Canadian. The label just sent out a tweet asking fans to vote for the band in Magnet‘s recent poll of most-anticipated releases of the week.

As it currently stands, Nightlands isn’t doing so hot, with only 7 total votes (which is worth a sad 0%). Meanwhile, Tom friggin’ Howie has 31% of the votes with 638. Tom Howie? Are you kidding me? Come on, Philadelphia—you’re not going to let that acoustic-guitar-toting Canadian singer-songwriter walk away with this week’s honors, are you? Doesn’t Dave Hartley deserve better than that?

We’ve done our part. Have you?


Philly Local Philes: Dave Hartley steps into the solo spotlight w/Nightlands’ “Suzerain”


Photo by Darshana Borah

Tomorrow marks the vinyl release of Forget The Mantra, the debut full-length from Dave Hartley’s solo project Nightlands, and let me tell you: it’s one thrilling collection of sounds and styles. A dreamy wash of pulsing loops, soaring tropical melodies, and collaged audio blends together to evoke fellow experimentalists from Os Mutantes and Flaming Lips all the way up through El Guincho. Hartley is best known as a bassist-in-demand around Philly (War On Drugs, Yellow Humphrey, The Lindsay Buckingham Appreciation Society, and a brief stint with The Capitol Years), and seeing him own the show here is a treat. “Suzerain” is the obvious standout—it’s made the blog rounds, and even showed up here a month and a half ago. Figured we’d reprise it and remind you to pick up the record and get your turntable fired up for some tripped-out listening tomorrow evening.


The War On Drugs releases new MP3, offers free download with pre-order of Future Weather EP

The War On DrugsThe War On Drugs‘ upcoming EP, Future Weather, doesn’t drop until October 26th—but, for those who can’t wait, Secretly Canadian is offering a free instant download of the album to anyone who pre-orders it. And, to entice fans of the band to do so, they’re offering up a new MP3 for download, “The History Of Plastic.”

But what madness is this? The new free single is not actually a “single” (in the common sense of the term) at all, but one of the eight-song EP’s deep cuts? And not just any deep cut, mind you, but the EP’s closing track? “An outrage!,” some might say. “What illicit substance is this so-called War On Drugs smoking, anyhow?” True, it might not be the most conventional way to reel in new listeners. But, so sayeth the band (or, at least, their publicist):

Unlike previous Drugs singles— like the lyrically-driven first single from Future Weather “Comin’ Through” —”The History of Plastic” is the quintessential deep cut. Of course, a great single is where a lot of bands are introduced to the world (and the Drugs have plenty of gems to go around), but it is the B-Side, the sixth or seventh track, the tune that clocks in over eight minutes that give bands their flavor, their depth. This is where The War On Drugs are unparralleled— that place where they have all the room in the world to stretch out in a meditative musical exploration.

And stretch out it does—to the glorioius length of eight minutes and four seconds. And you know what? We’d be lying if we said it wasn’t one of our favorite tracks on the album.