Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Forth Wanderers

Forth Wanderers | Photo by Eric Schuman for XPN

Joining us for this Indie Rock Hit Parade live session is an up-and-coming New Jersey band that proves the power of friendship. Forth Wanderers formed in 2013, when singer Ava Trilling and guitarist/songwriter Ben Guterl were in high school. What began as a casual songwriting partnership quickly blossomed into a full-fledged band, rounded out by guitarist Duke Greene, bassist Noah Schifrin, and drummer Zach Lorelli. The group’s newly released self-titled album is their second overall and first for Sub Pop. The morning after their show at the First Unitarian Church, Forth Wanderers dropped by to perform some of the new songs live.

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Pissed Jeans brings punk commotion to Ardmore Music Hall

Pissed Jeans | Photo by James Breslin
Pissed Jeans | Photo by James Breslin

On Friday night, Pissed Jeans bombarded the Ardmore Music Hall with their cataclysmic sound as part of their recent escapade with Tired Hands Brewing Company. The brewery recently teamed up with the snazzy Ardmore venue to host shows, and the gritty Philadelphia punk band was the first to be invited to perform and craft a unique beer with the enthusiastic brewing team. The brew, named “People Person,” contained juicy tastes of honey, smoke, and wheat, and was delightful to drink while watching some in-your-face live music. Continue reading →


Randy Randall of No Age starts anew with Pissed Jeans’ Sean McGuinness in Rat Fist

Photo via
Photo via

Randy Randall was caught up in how good he and Sean McGuinness were feeling about starting their new project, Rat Fist, to the point that while laying the music, they’d looked past a crucial part: vocals.

“Sean and I were driving back to recording one day and we were saying, ‘Well, now all we have left to do is the vocals,’” Randall says. “So I asked him, ‘Do you want to sing?’ and he’s like, ‘No, do you want to sing?’ And then we’re both like, ‘Uh… well, let’s both do it. We can both give it a shot.’”

It’s the first time Randall and McGuinness – best known for being the guitarist in No Age and drummer in Pissed Jeans, respectively – are singing in a band, so it’s taken a little bit of adjusting. They’re splitting lyric writing roles too, another first for them both. And the lines on “Disrupt yr DNA,” “You smile and burp while your insides are rotting/ The stench of your decay is… offensive,” are Randall’s doing.

“But it’s an equal collaboration,” he says. “He came up with some songs, I came up some songs. That song, ‘Disrupt Yr DNA,’ I’m singing on that one and I’m not really a trained singer but it has a punk feel to it so whatever. It doesn’t really matter too much what sounds my mouth makes when I open my mouth.”

Even singing and playing guitar simultaneously is something new for Randall. He says that since his bandmate Dean Spunt writes the lyrics and sings in their experimental punk-leaning two-piece No Age, he generally refrains from it entirely. So the prospect of taking his song, “Disrupt yr DNA” out on the road is exciting. Continue reading →


Unlocked: From prog-metal to funk jams, what makes Daughn Gibson tick?


This week, Daughn Gibson released the hard-hitting, unapologetically twangy and uncannily experimental LP Me Moan on Sub Pop Records. The Carlisle, Pa. songwriter – whose roots lie in the prog-metal scene of the aughties – went into the studio with the intention of making the antithesis of a laptop record. He wanted it to pop, he wanted it to come out charging – and he wanted it to be something that would make for a compelling live show. In all those cases, it’s a winner, and chatting with Gibson, it’s quickly evident much thought and sincere appreciation of a wide spectrum of music goes into his work. You can also tell how the 32-year-old Gibson’s approach was shaped by the decade-plus he’s clocked in as a performing musician.

The Key: With solo artists, a lot of times it’s one person doing a little bit of everything. Is that how you’ve operated thus far?

Daughn Gibson: Last year, my first record All Hell came out and I quickly had to figure out how to do something live. I was living in Carlisle, and I was having a hard time finding players, so I had to pretty much do it solo. I built everything in a laptop…I built it like a hip hop record would be built. I figured, well I’m not rapping, I’m just singing over this, so I’ll try it that way and maybe have one person helping me out with piano or guitar. I grew up playing in bands and turning up to 11 and wanting to hear volume…so doing this, I was like ‘Something’s weird. This is not happening for me.’

TK: I feel like as an audience member, sometimes you can see people play to a track on a laptop and put on a good show. But sometimes you wind up with the syndrome of somebody just standing there and staring at the computer. How do you feel in instances like that, as somebody who goes to see music?

DG: I love to dance as much as the next guy, and if there’s a good DJ, my head is firmly in the front-of-house speaker and I’m watching him and thumping along. However, I suppose if someone is making their stuff on the laptop and singing on top of it, I do want to see a little more engagement with what they’re doing, if it’s on the fly or improvised. So, that’s a totally fresh and new idea for me as a performer – to try and figure out how to do that. It’s been a year, so now I can do those things I’ve learned with a band and it now feels great. It feels like it used to, except now there’s bizarre samples and laptop shit going on in the background.

TK: Me Moan definitely feels a lot bigger, a lot bolder as a record. Do you think that was a result of that progression you just described?

DG: Absolutely. When I started writing the record, I set out that I want to do this live, I want it to be loud, and I want it to feel like I’m behind chicken wire. So with just about every song I kept in mind that this is going to get played live, and certainly there were piles of songs that were very easygoing electronic songs…which didn’t make the cut for me. Continue reading →


Pissed Jeans release new video for “Romanticize Me” (playing free show at Morgan’s Pier in August)

pissed-jeans-9Local punks Pissed Jeans just debuted a new music video for their song “Romanticize Me.” The track is off the band’s latest full-length release, Honeys, which came out earlier this year on Sub Pop. The video is sure to be the only place you’ll find a figure skater using Pissed Jeans as his backing music; check it out for yourself below. The band is playing a free show at Morgan’s Pier on August 28th – which should be awesome, since the show they played there last summer ruled. Get more information at the R5 Productions website here.


Low release new video for “Plastic Cup” (playing World Cafe Live 6/21)


Slowcore pioneers Low have just released a new video for the track “Plastic Cup”, off their most recent, Jeff Tweedy produced album, The Invisible Way, which is currently out via Sub Pop. The black and white, Ryley Fogg-directed video features the band decked out in black-tie formal wear, playing instruments that appear to be covered entirely in tin-foil. Did I mention the floating glitter everywhere? If that somehow wasn’t enough, in addition to the band, the video also stars a group of guys in strange hoods passing around what looks like a crystal ball…and doing some other strange things, too. Despite its avante-garde aesthetic, the video does hone in on a conceivable plot towards the end (kind of). Low will be making a stop in Philly, on June 21st, at World Cafe Live for a show with Mike Doughty. Tickets and information can be found here, and watch the “Plastic Cup” video below.


My Morning Download: “A Tattered Line of String” by The Postal Service (playing The Mann Center June 17)

Photo Credit: Brian Tamborello
Photo Credit: Brian Tamborello

The Postal Service – Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) and prodcer Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel) – have reunited for a tour and the 10th anniversary release of Give Up, a collection of electro-pop songs that has a lasting influence on indie rock since its release in February, 2003. No one foresaw the influence the record would have. The album’s most popular song “Such Great Heights,” began to seep into the zietgeist of pop culture over a period of a couple of years. It was covered by Iron & Wine on the 2004 film and soundtrack, Garden State, and was prominently featured on Greys Anatomy in 2005. The band has not released a second album, however have taken the anniversary of Give Up’s release to tour, which bring them to The Mann Center on Monday, June 17.

The deluxe edition of Give Up features two new songs, “A Tattered Line of String” and “Turn Around.” Below, download “A Tattered Line Of String.”

The Postal Service play The Mann Center on Monday, June 17 with Ra Ra Riot. Go here for tickets.
Purchase Give Up here.


Sub Pop Art Show at Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction in Philly this August

Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction presents “Sub Pop Art Debt,” an art show featuring over two decades worth of odds and ends from Sub Pop‘s art department archives. The collection includes, but is not limited to, art work, sketches, label ads, press sheets, blue-lines, and cutting room floor scraps from the Seattle indie record label that has represented bands such as Nirvana, Fleet Foxes, The Shins, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Sunny Day Real Estate, and more in their nearly 25 year career.

There is an opening reception for the exhibit on August 3rd from 6 P.M. to 8 P.M. Afterwards, the exhibit will be open to the public throughout the month of August until the 24th at Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction during their store hours, which are listed on their website.


Tonight’s Concert Pick: Handsome Furs at Kung Fu Necktie

Handsome FursThe members of Handsome Furs have said that the title of their 2009 album, Face Control, was a reference to the practice of bouncers at Russian nightclubs denying partygoers access to reserved tables based on their appearance. So what to make of the title of the Canadian duo’s upcoming album, Sound Kapital? Perhaps Dan Boeckner (of Wolf Parade) and his wife, Alexei Perry, are trying to make a statement about the relative worth of various instruments (and the sounds they create) as far as the production of music goes; given that Sound Kapital was written entirely on keyboards, however, that might suggest they feel the sonic value of guitars are plummeting. Or maybe the already-stripped-down duo is just following the same do-even-more-with-even-less economic model the rest of the world subscribes to. Either way, Handsome Furs’ 80s-Eastern-Bloc-inspired album (which drops on June 28th on Sub Pop Records) promises “cleaner sound and absence of slower tempos” that aim to “instill listeners with hope—or at least the rush of endorphins that accompanies vigorous dancing.” Handsome Furs perform at 8 p.m. at Kung Fu Necktie; tickets to the 21+ show are SOLD OUT.

Also playing: Andrew Lipke + Jill Jacobs And The Know How (8 p.m., 21+, free); Ólöf Arnalds at First Unitarian Church (8 p.m., all ages, $12)


Listen to Pissed Jeans’ new single, “Sam Kinison Woman”

Pissed Jeans

From the folks at Sub Pop:

Pissed Jeans, Allentown, PA’s not least favorite sons recently recorded two new songs, unassociated with nor otherwise promotionally leading up to any upcoming full-length album they have yet to record. These are just two exceptionally great new Pissed Jeans songs. They are called “Sam Kinison Woman” and “The L Word,” and were recorded for this 7″ single. That’s it and that’s enough.

Pissed Jeans – Sam Kinison Woman by subpop