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Listen to the beautifully layered world of Son Step’s natural majique

son step
Son Step | photo courtesy of the artist

It’s not easy to pin a genre to Son Step. Some have compared to the Philadelphia experimental outfit to Animal Collective, which is fair. But, really, Son Step is unique, and the band fully demonstrated that on their recent LP natural majique, released May 27th.

Listening to “Steam Team,” track one of natural majique, I can’t help but be reminded of a video game soundtrack. And back when I was a kid and playing my Game Boy too however many hours a day, I would sometimes have to mute soundtracks because they were so bothersome. But the electronic intro of this song is just so catchy, enough so that surely they would never be muted. As the vocals are brought in, it’s becomes much more than some dope beat — the song emerges from it’s third minute as a multi-layered jam that proves all of this is just the beginning. Continue reading →

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PREMIERE: Son Step embraces the unknown on “Mai Lai Wah”

Son Step | Photo by Matthew Roberts
Son Step | Photo by Matthew Roberts

Grooved-up Philly experimental four-piece Son Step returns this winter with an LP called Natural Majique, and today the band teases it with the release of a new two-song single. You can listen to our premiere of the “Mai Lai Wah” single below, and indeed, the title song does take its name from the Race Street restaurant with the rad neon in the windows.  Continue reading →

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Philadelphia is blowing up NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Contest and it’s amazing

Levee Drivers' Tiny Desk submission | photo by Bob Sweeney
Levee Drivers’ Tiny Desk submission | photo by Bob Sweeney

For those of you who don’t know about NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, you may want to head over to their site and root through their enormous and equally impressive archive. Their 15-minute videos feature live performances from artists of all genres held in the quaint offices of NPR at All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen’s desk.

Ranging from big names like Adele and Alt-J to up-and-coming artists such as Angel Olsen and Rubblebucket, viewers are able to watch the artists perform in the intimate setting, giving the performances a stripped-down, no B.S. vibe. While these videos are ultra fun to watch (perhaps continuously, one after another…), NPR kept things interesting this winter by kicking off a contest to feature a new artist in their series.

Based entirely off of video submissions from all over the United States, an artist will be chosen to perform a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR headquarters in Washington D.C. as well as snag a slot in the big Lagunitas Couchtrippin’ showcase in Austin, Texas. Philadelphia, brimming with the amazing musical talent that it is, seems to have jumped at this opportunity. Continue reading →

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After reading this, you’ll find yourself humming Roof Doctor’s newest album (released today!)

Roof Doctor | photo by Abi Reimold
Roof Doctor | photo by Abi Reimold

Punk Philly band Roof Doctor released their newest album in a way that’s as sweet as the album itself.

This morning, a link to Mobile Freedom Home was accompanied by one line: “Hey guys, here is our album. We love you. We hope you like it. <3”

The band’s fans have been anticipating the release for quite some time. Since November of 2012, in fact, and the album’s intimate sound and intricate instrumentation reflect their hard work laboring in at Fishtown’s Headroom Studio.

Mobile Freedom Home is the kind of album that you listen to once through and can’t quite distinguish track by track (except for “Bottle It Up,” man, give that one a listen), but instead familiarize yourself with the sound, finding yourself humming the tune as you mosey through your apartment. Then, you find yourself wondering, “What the hell is that song called?” only to return back the 10-track album hunting through the tracks discovering additional treasures off of the album. That’s how Roof Doctor gets you.

But upon second and third listen, you’ll start to notice the small jangly, irresistable details that accompany each track’s unmistakable vocals.

Join the band and their fellow punk and/or experimental friends Son Step, Mumblr and Soda Bomb as they celebrate the release of Mobile Freedom Home on Saturday at 8 p.m. at PhilaMOCA. Oh, and of course, take a listen to the album itself below.

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Roof Doctor set to release sophomore album Mobile Freedom Home at PhilaMOCA

Roof Doctor | photo by Abi Reimold
Roof Doctor | photo by Abi Reimold

The “emo” genre can sometimes have a skewed connotation – often dubbed whiney, or flat out depressing – but local emo/rock band Roof Doctor have managed to completely redefine the term. Roof Doctor will be celebrating the release of their sophomore album, Mobile Freedom Home, at PhilaMOCA March 29th with Son Step, Mumblr and Soda Bomb. The album was recorded at Philly’s own Headroom Studios in Fishtown with Kyle Pulley.

The heartfelt and, yes, emotional lyricism of Mark Harper manages to weave beautifully with the band’s unbelievably catchy guitar riffs and intermittent sax-stylings of multi-instrumentalist Chet Williams. Roof Doctor have been compared to other emo-oriented bands like Built to Spill, but at Harper’s vocal height he comes eerily close to Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum – and it’s awesome. The sole single released from the album, titled “Dad”, takes the emo/punk route, and we can’t wait to hear what the album has to offer as a whole.

Get more info on Roof Doctor’s PhilaMOCA (Philadelphia Museum of Contemporary Art) album release show on the Facebook event page here. Stream and download “Dad” from Mobile Freedom Home below.