Weekend Picks: Islands at First Unitarian Church, Buried Beds, Slutever + Little Big League


Islands‘ fans were shown some love on Valentine’s Day with the release of the Canadian indie-rock band’s latest full-length album, A Sleep & A Forgetting. Yet blissful romance is hardly the album’s focal point: it was written following the end of frontman Nick Thorburn’s thorny relationship. One of the album’s earlier tracks, “This Is Not A Song,” is a somber telling of the past, and is indicative of most of the album’s tone. Not much has changed, however; we’re still graced with the same enchanting vocal harmonies and dreamy piano-pop feel. Due to popular demand, a second Philadelphia performance was added to the tour—and, with both shows now sold out, the men of Islands should be feeling plenty of love. Islands performs with Idiot Glee at 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. at First Unitarian Church; tickets to the all-ages shows are SOLD OUT. —Lisa Henderson

Also Playing: 1964 The Tribute at Keswick Theatre (8 p.m., all ages, $35-$40); Galactic + The Soul Rebels Brass Band at Union Transfer (9 p.m., all ages, $25); Zee Avi + Geology at Milkboy Philly (9:30 p .m., 21+, $12–$14)

NOTE: The The Twilight Sad + Forest Fire and Micah P. Hinson show at Johnny Brenda’s has been CANCELED.

Buried Beds is no stranger to the local music scene. In fact, the band has been around for quite a while, having received recognition as “Best Band” in Philadelphia Magazine’s “Best of Philly” issue all the way back in 2004. The band has always had a knack for switching things up, whether it’s alternating male and female leads on vocals or adding a whopping six members to its live orchestral ensemble (complete with piano and strings). More recently, the band has made guest appearances on albums by other local artists such as mewithoutYou and Dr. Dog. Perhaps, as Buried Beds continues to slowly but surely gain the recognition it deserves in Philly, it will eventually start turning some heads outside of its hometown. Buried Beds performs with The Spinto Band and The Building at 9:15 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are $10. —Lisa Henderson


Slutever, Little Big League, Dear Althea, and Mannequin Pussy: four bands on the same bill at Kung Fu Necktie, all of which are rooted in the Riot Grrrl and punk scenes. The noisy punk duo Slutever sounds like it was directly transported here from the early ’90s. The recently formed Little Big League, meanwhile, finds itself on the mellower end of the angst spectrum—which is to be expected from a group composed of Michelle Zauner and Kevin O’Halloran of Post Post, punk rocker Ian Dykstra of Titus Andronicus, and Deven Craige of Strand Of Oaks. It wouldn’t be a local Grrrl Punk showcase without the Sleater-Kinney-inspired Dear Althea. (Listen to John Vettese’s recent Philly Local Philes featuring Little Big League and Dear Althea.) Rounding out the show with the most rage is Mannequin Pussy, which brands itself as “childhood pals turned degenerates,” and sounds exactly like that. Slutever, Little Big League, Dear Althea, and Mannequin Pussy perform at 8 p.m. at Kung Fu Necktie; tickets to the 21+ show are $8. —Naomi Shavin

Also Playing: 1964 The Tribute at Keswick Theatre (8 p.m., all ages, $35-$40); Blayer Pointdujour + The Reckless Dodgers, Faux Slang at The Level Room (9:15 p.m., 21+, $10); Heartless Bastards + Hacienda, Devin Therriault at Union Transfer (8:30 p.m., all ages, $16–$18); The Pink Floyd Experience at Electric Factory (8:30 p.m., all ages, $26); Laura Mann And The Lifeboys at Tin Angel (21+, $10)

John Condron + Mickey Harte at Tin Angel (7 p.m., 21+, $10); Modern Inventors + Boom Chick, The Best Westerns at Kung Fu Necktie (8 p.m., 21+, $8)


Weekend Picks (NYE Edition): Phonographic Arts bash at The Level Room, Philebrity’s Snowflake Ball at Johnny Brenda’s

Reading Rainbow
Bleeding Rainbow performs at The Level Room on Dec. 31st

Gandalf Murphy And The Slambovian Circus of Dreams at World Cafe Live (7:30 p.m., $30–$40); Mock Suns + Music Box Dynamo, Phantasm, Man The Fire at Milkboy Philly (9:30 p.m., 21+, $8–$10); Orbit to Leslie + The Circadian Rhythms, Your Children Is Beautiful (9:15 p.m., 21+, $10); Thursday + mewithoutYou, Screaming Females, Make Do And Mend at Theatre Of Living Arts (6 p.m., SOLD OUT)


Phonographic Arts presents Bleeding Rainbow with Eternal Summers + Creepoid, Arc In Round, Pink Skull, Slutever, Fire In The Hearts And Mind, and Exploding World at 8 p.m. at The Level Room; tickets to the 21+ show are 8 p.m.

Also Playing: Johnny Brenda’s and Philebrity present The Second Annual New Year’s Eve Snowflake Ball featuring DJ sets by Nick Krill (The Spinto Band) + Chris Powell (Man Man), Eric Slick (Dr. Dog), John Barthmus (Sun Airway), Schoolly D at Johnny Brenda’s (8 p.m., 21+, $5); Nico’s Gun + Lady, Greg D, Black Stars at The Fire (9 p.m., 21+, $10); Prowler + Busses, Hott Tubb at Kung Fu Necktie (8 p.m., 21+, $5)

Beth Hart + Christine Santelli, Gina Sicilla, Aster Phoenix at The Blockley ($45)


Weekend Picks: Deer Tick at UPenn, RJD2 + Icebird at Union Transfer, Slutever + Break It Up at Kung Fu Necktie

Deer Tick takes all the right steps to stay disheveled yet oddly dapper. Though members of the Providence-based group typically come equipped with the standard beards and other facial hair common for their country-tinged folk genre, they still manage to channel a retro, Don Draper-esque appreciation for suit jackets and nice shades. This same balance between shabby and chic resonates in the group’s relentlessly heavy emphasis on guitar-driven rock, songs often wavering between thick, overwhelming chord progressions and delicate, almost dainty, riffs. The opening track of the group’s latest album, Divine Providence (set for release on October 25th) keeps the balance alive, maintaining singer John McCanley’s coarse, sinister vocals with the song’s friendly, sing-song melodies. Deer Tick performs with Fun and Virgin Forest at 8 p.m. at UPenn’s Harrison Auditorium; tickets to the all-ages show are $15. —Marielle Mondon

As we mentioned earlier this month, RJD2 and singer-songwriter Aaron Livingston are collaborating together as Icebird and released their debut album, The Abandoned Lullaby, on October 11th. You can download the first single, “Going And Going. And Going” hereRJD2 performs with Icebird and Lushlife at 8 p.m. at Union Transfer; tickets to the all-ages show are $15-$17.

Meanwhile, the members of Arrah And The Ferns—whom John Vettese highlighted in yesterday’s Philly Local Philes—will celebrate the release of their latest EP, Soldier Ghost, at Phila MOCA. Arrah And The Ferns performs with Univox and Conversations With Enemies at 9 p.m. at at Phila MOCA.

Also Playing: Illinois + Carousel, A Victim To Good Times at Milkboy Philly (9 p.m., 21+, $8–$10); Esperanza Spalding + Chamber Music Society at Merriam Theater (8 p.m., $35–$45)

Break It Up

Two of The Key’s favorite local acts, Slutever and Break It Up, perform together (alongside L.A.’s Bleached) at Kung Fu Necktie tonight. Back in April, we featured Slutever in our Key Studio Sessions; a month later, we interviewed guitarist/drummer Rachel Gagliardi about her children’s music side project, The Weenies. Over the summer, we interviewed all three members of Break It Up and featured them in our Key Studio Sessions as well. You can listen to a track from each session below; click on the above links for the full sessions. Slutever performs with Bleached and Break It Up at 7:30 p.m. at Kung Fu Necktie; tickets to the 21+ show are $10. 

Also Playing: Blocktoberfest featuring The Walkmen + Cozy Galaxies, Kuf Knotz, Toy Soldiers, Suzie Brown, New Pony, Reckless Amateurs, Paper Monster, Parsnip Revolt, Andy Dalzell on South Street between Broad and 17th Sts. (noon–8 p.m., all ages, free); Minus the Bear + The Velvet Teen at Electric Factory (8:30 p.m., all ages, $27); Dick Dale + The Levee Drivers at North Star Bar (9 p.m., 21+, $20–$25)

Southern Culture On The Skids + Pokey LaFarge And The South City Three at World Cafe Live (7 p.m., $21–$39); Richard Thompson at Keswick Theatre (7:30 p.m., $29–$39)


Tonight’s Concert Pick: The Coathangers + Slutever at The Barbary

We get it: All-female punk bands from the riot-grrrl era will forever own the genre, and anything that comes after will be a mere shadow of Bikini Kill and Bratmobile. No one’s going to argue that Kathleen Hanna is a damn hard frontwoman to best. (Anyone who would say differently should probably check out the Le Tigre tour documentary Who Took the Bomp? LE TIGRE on Tour, which was recently released on DVD.) But wouldn’t it have been incredibly sad if those angry, we’re-not-taking-your-crap feminist punk genes had died off in the late ’90s? Someone needed to carry the torch, and while many younger acts try, few do it with the same sass (and success) as The Coathangers. With punch-in-the-gut guitar riffs and drums, shrieking and yelping at all vocal ranges, and attitude-laden songs like “Don’t Touch My Shit” and “Shut the F*!k Up”, the quartet from Atlanta deserves credit for getting so much mileage out of a band that started as a joke among friends, while still managing to rep the riot grrrls as well as they do. The Coathangers perform with the Tough Shits, Slutever, and Mean Streets at The Barbary at 6 p.m.; tickets to the all-ages show are $10. —Danielle Wayda


Donate to Slutever’s “Do America Tour” Kickstarter campaign to get merch, videos, prank calls, + more

Kickstarter campaigns can be a wonderful means of fundraising, especially when your target donor audience is on the functioning half of the digital divide. In preparation for their first coast-to-coast U.S. tour, the punk duo Slutever has just launched a Kickstarter campaign in the hopes of raising a minimum of $2,000 to help them fund their venture. Unlike other bands that would promise to reward donors with the standard t-shirt or record, Slutever offers an extensive and creative variety of gifts for pretty much every donation level imaginable (in addition to digital copies and 7” of their latest release, Pretend To Be Nice).

Among the most intriguing offers are:

  • Personalized SLUTEVER rolling papers, with a mandatory $4.20 donation.
  • For a mere $50, the band offers anyone in the tri-state area a scandalous night of bowling and nachos.
  • Postcard updates from various cities with tales of crazy tour antics for $75 donations
  • A seventh-grade style mall-cruising date in the city of your choice (for those non-tri-state people) at the $100 level

As the ladies plea on Slutever’s website: “WE KNOW YOU ARE JUST AS POOR AS US, BUT WE REALLY NEED YOUR HELP!!!! Any donation is tremendously appreciated. TELL ALL YOUR RICH FRIENDS ABOUT IT.”

To help Slutever out and get some really personal thank you’s in return, visit their Kickstarter here. The SLUTEVER DO AMERICA tour lasts from July 1 through August 19. Slutever will also be performing at The Barbary with the Coathangers on June 23. —Danielle Wayda


Interview: Slutever’s Rachel Gagliardi discusses her children’s punk band (and senior project), The Weenies


The Weenies

The local punk band Slutever is many things: For starters, it’s an all-female duo that writes riff-heavy rock more powerful than most four- or five-piece acts. It’s also one of The Key’s favorite bands in Philadelphia (which is why we brought them into the XPN studio for a recent Key Studio Session). But one thing Slutever clearly is not is a band for children. So, when guitarist/drummer Rachel Gagliardi—a student in Drexel University’s Music Industry Program—decided to make her senior project a children’s-music-oriented endeavor, her side project The Weenies was born. Saturday night’s show featuring The Weenies is a benefit for VH1′s “Save The Music” Foundation, “a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music education in America’s public schools, and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child’s complete education.” (To date, the Foundation has provided more than $47 million in new musical instruments to 1,750 public schools in more than 100 cities around the country, impacting the lives of over 1.6 million children.) Prior to the show, we spoke to Gagliardi about pursuing a career in the music industry, why children are inherently punk rock, and what “selling out” actually means anymore—if it still means anything at all.

The Key: In your senior project proposal for The Weenies, you said that you were lucky enough to have influential music teachers throughout your life that shaped you into the music lover you are today. Who were those music teachers, and how did they shape your perspective of music?

Rachel Gagliardi: The high school that I went to was just a public high school in the suburbs, but it had a really good music program. Our chorus program went to Europe when I was in the 10th grade. So I got to go to Europe, which was awesome. We had a music theory program that was amazing—it was, like, four different years that you could take. I took three years of that. And we had a music mentors’ program, which is probably why I got interested in teaching kids. But yeah, my music theory teacher’s name was Ms. Schmidt, and she was awesome. In that program, we actually got to create our own musical. They do it every year, and my year we did Hey Arnold!. We wrote all the songs ourselves and wrote the play. Nicole [Snyder, of Slutever] was in it, too—that’s kind of where we became friends. It was cool, and she was pretty much the teacher who got me really into music. She went to college for music, and when I told her I thought that I wanted to do that, too, she was really encouraging. I guess if it wasn’t for my music program in high school I probably never would have gone to college for music. I definitely owe her.

TK: You also mentioned that, through your high school’s music program, you were “able to realize that music can be more than a hobby—it can be a sustainable career.” Are you interested in pursuing a career in music, given the state of the industry?

RG: Absolutely. Even though it’s kind of crappy, yeah. I don’t really have anything else that I’m this passionate about. And going to college for music taught me about a lot of careers that I would never have thought about, like publishing, or teaching. I never really thought I would go to school and want to be a teacher. But all of my teachers are full-time music professionals as well. They have stuff outside of school. In a way, they kind of do school on the side. I think I could really do well with that. Obviously for now I just want to be in a band and see where that takes me, and just do something else on the side for money.

show posterTK: As far as potential future careers in music go, are you more interested in the performing and writing side, or the industry side?

RG: Oh, definitely performing. If I could just be in a band, that’s all I would do for the rest of my life. But it doesn’t really pay the bills, yet. I don’t think I’ll ever want to be an actual industry person, unless I had already tried to be a performer and gotten burned out on it. So probably not for…a few years?

TK: Some people might tell you that few things will burn you out on music more than pursuing a career in the industry.

RG: [Laughs.] Yeah.

TK: As far as a career as a performer goes, though, how does one make such a career sustainable?

RG: You kind of have to think about performance as not your only outlet. You have to think about merchandising, and definitely publishing. More opportunities are coming up in strange revenue streams. It’s not the traditional, “you go out, you play shows, you sell CDs” thing anymore. So I think you have to have really innovative ideas based on marketing your music besides just playing shows. You know, like, movie soundtracks and television licensing opportunities.

Continue reading →


Download the new Key Studio Sessions Compilation Volume One for free

The Key Studio Sessions Compilation Volume OneThe Key Studio Sessions Compilation Volume One—which you can download for free here—features one exclusive track recorded at the WXPN studios by 17 local acts, including Cheers Elephant, Grimace Federation, Summer Fiction, Moon Women, Prowler, Attia Taylor, 5 O’Clock Shadowboxers, Res, Purling Hiss, The Shackeltons, Soars, Johnny Miles And The Waywards, Creepoid, By Surprise, Lady, Slutever, and American Babies.

Want to hear more? Click here to listen to the full sessions by all 17 local acts. You can also download The Key Studio Sessions Compilation, Volume One in its entirety as a .zip file.


The Key Studio Sessions: Slutever


Photo by Jaclyn Hardgrove

They make it look so simple. Drums and riffs, loud amps and unbridled vocals, short and to the point. That’s not to say rock-n-roll is a cakewalk for co-drummer/guitarists Nicole Snyder and Rachel Gagliardi. When they recorded their Key Studio Session with us in March (right before hopping on the South By Southwest caravan), the ladies of Slutever were impressively adroit – excited to record in such a big room and determined to get just the right sound. The nervy, frustrated number “So Prone” caused a spot of nervous frustration in the studio when the feedback drone at the beginning wasn’t droning correctly. The band took a couple passes through the song, we did some technical troubleshooting in the control room, and on the third go-round, Snyder absolutely nailed it, making her guitar rumble and wail like a raygun firing in some cavernous outer-space realm. Other songs flowed in more of a spunky one-and-done fashion—the catchy “ooh-ooh” harmonies on “R.I.P. Maple” were perfect each time they came up, and “No Offense” was a total blast. Watching Gagliardi and Snyder work, it becomes harder to describe what they do using words like “reckless” and “sloppy.” There’s a serious amount of craft to being as punk as them. Slutever performs Thursday April 21 at The North Star Bar with The Pipettes and Dear Althea. Tickets to the 21+ show are $12.


A quick recap of Slutever’s SXSW experience (in pictorial form)

Click on the photo for a larger, more readable version

Earlier this month, before the members of Slutever left Philadelphia for the bright lights of SXSW in Austin (which was part of the band’s first tour), we asked them if they’d be interested in documenting the experience for us. They said yes—and, when they asked what kind of stuff we’d like to get, we basically said, “Whatever seems appropriate.” So, here it is: Slutever’s SXSW experience, in pictorial form (with additional commentary from Rachel below). Personally, we can’t imagine anything more appropriate.

SXSW was insane. I have never been so sore, tired, and beaten up in my whole life. We saw more shows in the span of a week than I think most people see in their lifetime. The best showcase we attended was the Hardly Art/Sub Pop showcase—literally one of the best shows I’ve been to in my life. Hunx and his Punx almost made us quit music—the man is a genuis and his band was fucking onnnn! It was great to see so many local Philly bands be a part of the scene—the crowd loved the Extraordinaries (as they should!) and it was fun to hang out with our Philly buds in the blazing Texas heat.

In general, it was scary to be involved in something so much bigger than ourselves. We have only been a band for about a year and this was our first time experiencing anything like this. What I took away from SXSW is an even greater love for the DIY and local community scenes. It was really apparent which bands like to stick together, what scenes are killing it right now (NASHVILLE), and just how many bands there are that are trying their darndest to share their music with the world. Of course I’ve always known the music industry is saturated—but at SXSW there is no way to ignore just how many bands there actually are.

All I can hope is that as a female, two-piece punk band, what we are doing is fresh and innovative enough—not to mention EXCITING enough—that people will actually care to listen and support us. We’re doing our best, and we’ll see what the future will bring! —Rachel


Reaching For The Brass Ring: Philly Bands at South By Southwest (Part II)

Reading Rainbow
Reading Rainbow

One of the many good things about being a duo is the relative ease of setting up and breaking down your equipment. In an environment like SXSW, where bands are rushed on and off the stage with barely enough time to perform a five-song set, that kind of hassle-free setup can save a band a lot of aggravation. So we hope that—while five- and six-piece bands are sweating it out, trying to get all of their guitars, synthesizers, laptops, basses, and drum kits from one show to the next—local duos such as Reading Rainbow and Slutever get to take their sweet time and actually enjoy the experience. Reading Rainbow and Slutever perform at the WXPN/YVYNYL showcase on Thursday, March 17th, at the The Broken Neck. You can find both bands’ additional SXSW dates on their websites.

The electronica band Golden Ages are performing several shows in Austin (including our local showcase with YVYNYL). Last summer, the music blog universe raved over Golden Ages’ cover of Toto’s “Africa” (which you can download below), and many a blog referenced Animal Collective as a point of comparison. We, on the hand, hear a young band with a sophisticated sense of melody set to an electro-rhythmic, somewhat noisy background.

We’ve been fans of Kurt Vile’s singer-songwriter stoner haze for a long time. His new album Smoke Ring For My Halo is his best yet, with Pitchfork giving the album a Best New Music award. Kurt is performing Saturday at Auditorium Shores Stage at 4:30 Central Time as part of NPR Music’s live radio broadcast on WXPN (4:30 Eastern).