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 →


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 →


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.


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.



Watch home videos of the ’89 Turkey Bowl in Jon Coyle’s video for “Family Ark”

Courtesy of Jon Coye
Courtesy of Jon Coyle

Jon Coyle is promoting his family’s 1989 Turkey Bowl in a way that’s as experimental as his music.

The Philly musician, also known as the vocalist in the avant-pop group Son Step, is scheduled to release his second solo project, Family Ark, on February 23rd on cassette and digital release via Marmara Records. But has given a little taste to his fans by ways of Bandcamp and a new music video for “Family Ark,” that fits its name and sound.

Capturing Coyle’s precious family moments, the footage is a promotional video for his family’s 1989 Thanksgiving Turkey Bowl – a sort of gag put together for entertainment’s sake in hopes of stirring excitement for the upcoming game. The gritty 80s VHS camcorder footage also fits the dreamy sound of the song and rest of the EP.

“I love the super-vague story line, as well as the color and older feel of the footage,” Coyle said in an email. “I thought it would make for a great ‘Family Ark’ video with a little bit of editing, and I still get a serious kick out of watching it. There’s definitely a calming and mysterious vibe that the music and visuals create together, and I hope people can get into that.”

The three-song EP, featuring “Family Ark,” “Vaux” and “Moon Country” has enough ambiance to fill up an entire room. The sleepy sounds and reverb muffle the lyrics, making the listening experience different than the average EP, but similar to the ambiance of any Youth Lagoon album.


From Banned Books to Bad Braids, an eclectic all-local lineup hits Boot and Saddle on 1/24

Banned Books | via Facebook

An upcoming show at Boot & Saddle on January 24th will leave you wondering how much strangely awesome music can come out of one city. Local hard art rock group Banned Books headlines the eclectic show with support from Son Step, Laser Background, and Bad Braids.

If you are into psychedelia or really any kind of experimental music, this is a must go to show. Bad Braids will be opening the show with some hauntingly powerful acoustic-based songs, followed by the sometimes spacy, sometimes video game soundtrack-sounding tunes of Laser Background.

Son Step will be prepping for this show with the arrival of new band member Joel Gleiser (Modern Inventors), and word on the street is they’ll have some new songs to share. In the meantime, check out their existing collection on Bandcamp. Banned Books closes out the night with their truly unique racket of multiple instruments and sounds. Check out the mayhem they create below and get tickets to the gig here. ($10, 21+)


Chasing The Outside Sound with West Philly musician and educator Chris Coyle

Photo by Nikolai Fox
Photo by Nikolai Fox

“Oh, take me to the piano!”

Philadelphia songwriter / improv-artist Chris Coyle musters up a quirky falsetto to reenact the excited voice of one of his clients in Boston, who inspired one of his songs. With a genuine smile and a smooth tenor tone, Coyle explains that many people are naturally attracted to the keys because they are so conducive to experimentation.

“It’s lined up,” he says. “It’s very visual. Obviously there is a technique to it if you want to study that, but you can pick notes with your fingers and it’s very physical and very easy to kind of experiment. Anyone can express themselves to some degree on a piano.”

For about two years, Coyle has been working within arts-based facilities providing opportunities for adults with developmental and physical disabilities. While leading musical workshops, he was blown away by the visual art that was made by the participants in the programs, and began working more closely with them.

Others might call them “students,” but these are the people Coyle prefers to think of as “clents.” Perhaps another appropriate word might be “collaborators.” Inspired by the personalities he encountered, Coyle started his own project called Outside Sound, creating multi-media performances that set the artwork of these students to Coyle’s original music. Continue reading →