Sunny Ali and the Kid talk scene politics, The Kominas, and the last Rockers! show of the year

Photo courtesy of artist
Photo courtesy of artist

Amongst punk-leaning and DIY-defined artists in this city, Sunny Ali and the Kid are virtually peerless. Singer/guitarist Hassan Malik and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Abdullah Saeed took their music through an evolution from cheeky rockabilly and minimalist garage rock to a newer sound that incorporates electronics and ethereal soundscapes – all the while vaguely repurposing South Asian musical themes and punk urgency in punchy songs that defy easy categorization.

The band took a significant break through a roughly year-and-a-half-long period that saw Saeed’s journalism work flourish (he works with several publications and writes a popular VICE column on marijuana) and both his and Malik’s ongoing work with The Kominas, a punk band known for songs that similarly play with South Asian and Islamic musical tropes while incorporating lyrics that involve jabs at Western misconceptions of Muslim belief.

As men of Pakistani descent with a comprehensive and intuitive understanding of why their music and livelihoods defy racial stereotyping, Sunny Ali and the Kid personify the mission that the folks behind Rockers! (whose events highlight artists who otherwise don’t fit into the white-male-heterosexual-dominated rock world) take into every show. This is probably why Malik and Saeed are playing their first show in two years by headlining the last Rockers! show of 2014 at West Philly Ethiopian spot Dahlak Paradise.

We caught up with Malik and asked him about their return, race and class in scene politics, handling geographical divides and making music with a mission. Continue reading →


Listen: “Muslim Rage” by Sunny Ali & the Kid

Photo by Corey Cohen
Photo by Corey Cohen

Uber cool and genre bending, Philly duo Sunny Ali & the Kid mix country, garage, punk, and occasionally a slew of other musical styles. Their songs are short, not always so sweet, but always energetic. Their new tune “Muslim Rage” clocks in at just over 2 minutes, yet it’s jam packed with hip-hop, psychedelic, and garage influences, all mixed into a slightly gritty, lo-fi sound. Check out their new track below, and click here to listen to and download the wildly extensive studio session they did for us last year.


New Video: Sunny Ali And The Kid “High Treason”

SunnyAliSunny Ali And The Kid, a mega-cool two-piece from South Philadelphia, has been the subject of a whole lot of buzz lately. Apparently they just played in Milan, Italy, which is pretty wild. They have taken to the singles route, releasing four singles in the last year, and recently a two-song EP. They just released a music video (below) for one of these singles, “High Treason,” which came out back in August. Both the song and video are very short and simple, which is definitely part of this groups charm. Check out the video below, and listen to the band’s Key Studio Session from last year here.


Just Announced: Prowler throwing an EP release party at Johnny Brenda’s on 10/13

Local dance-rockers Prowler have a big night planned for Johnny Brenda’s on October 13th.  The band will be releasing their new EP Y’all Don’t Know at a show that “will surely be the last time Prowler rears it’s ugly head for quite some time” so now’s your chance to get in on the action.  Also playing will be Sunny Ali & the Kid, Busses and DJ Jeffrey of The Magic Message.

The band recently posted a couple of cover tracks on their Bandcamp, collectively titled We Can Do it Too, which you can download for free.  Stream their take on INXS’ “I Need You Tonight” and The Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” below.


Listen to “High Treason,” a new single from Sunny Ali and the Kid (playing Johnny Brenda’s on Sunday)

A couple weeks back, Philly garage-punk duo Sunny Ali and the Kid released their latest single, “High Treason,” as a free download. It’s a simmering slow-burner, a trot across a dusty western landscape (or bikeride across a dusty West Philly landscape, take your pick), and you can check it out below. The band plays Johnny Brenda’s twice in the next month and change – on Sunday, September 16, opening for Firewater, and on Saturday, October 13, opening for Prowler. You can download their raw and raucous Key Studio Session here.


Download The Key Studio Sessions Compilation Vol. 4 (feat. City Rain, Pink Skull, Lushlife, Chill Moody, + more)

Photo by Arrah Fisher

Special thanks to all of the bands for coming to our studio, and to John Vettese for recording them. We’d also like to thank volunteer production assistants Fred Knittel, Madeleine Lesperance, and Dan Malloy as well as photographers Kate Bracaglia, Corey Cohen, Sarah Fry, Shamus McGroggan, Noah Gabriel Merenda, Sylvia Ramirez, and Heidi Schlenzig for sharing their work.

Click here to download the 18-track compilation in its entirety as a .zip file. Want to hear more? Click here to listen to the full sessions by all 18 local acts; you can also download The Key Studio Sessions Compilation Volume IVolume 2, and Volume 3.

Zakee “Spotlight”
City Rain “Real Good”
Pink Skull “Oh, Monorail”
Mason Porter “Back To Where We Started From”
Univox “What’s More”
Arrah and the Ferns “Waterproof Gold Watch”
Acid Kicks “Take My Soul Away”
The Menzingers “Mexican Guitars”
Music For Headphones “Why”
Lushlife “Gymnopiede 1.2″
Griz “The Secret In The Garden”
New Sweden “Saint, Don’t You Lie”
Sunny Ali and the Kid “Stop the Haiti”
Peasant “Girls”
Chill Moody “Cotton”
Little Big League “St. John’s”


The Key Studio Sessions: Sunny Ali and the Kid

Without even checking our archives, I can tell you that this week’s Key Studio Session packs the greatest number of songs in the shortest amount of time. But that’s what Philly duo Sunny Ali and the Kid is all about: directness and simplicity. When the band stopped by the station to record the eleven tracks beolow, Abdullah “The Kid” Saeed likened it to J Dilla’s 2006 record Donuts: when you hear music that’s so exciting, but so short, you almost involuntarily want to listen to it again right away. Hassan “Sunny” Malik points back to seminal UK art-rock act Wire, and the craft of making short songs feel epic and information-packed. The duo’s own musical brevity mixes tongue-in-cheek cowboy stylings with raw punk aggression and a cinematic flair. Check it out in the music (and video clips) below, and catch Sunny Ali and the Kid this Saturday when they’re on the massive lineup of Pi Lam’s Human BBQ XXXIV.


The National Rifle, Sherman, Sunny Ali and the Kid and more play last Rockers show at Tritone tonight

After a half-dozen years raising eclectic hell on a monthly basis, the Rockers gang is having its last hurrah at Tritone tonight before the famed bar / venue stops hosting live music. On the bill are Key Studio Sessions alums The National Rifle, along with minimal cowboy punks Sunny Ali and the Kid, the rock-n-soul swagger of The Baptist Preachers, gritty grunge heads Sherman the Band and series hosts Mighty Paradocs. The 21+ show begins promptly at 9 p.m., and we expect it to go late as the crew burns the house down (not literally, of course) with it’s trademark boundary-blurring bravado that mixes up folks of different ages, cultures and scenes. When the dust settles (again, not literally), Rockers plans to relocate to The Legendary Dobbs at 15th and South – but this is one farewell party you won’t want to miss. Check out tracks from some of the bands and watch a series preview below.


Rockaphilly presents Brown Recluse, Lushlife and Sunny Ali And The Kid at Johnny Brenda’s on Oct. 28th

Rockaphilly is presenting a concert with Brown Recluse, Lushlife, and Sunny Ali And The Kid on Friday, October 28th, at Johnny Brenda’s. Doors open at 8:00 p.m.; show time is 9:00 p.m. Tickets to the 21+ event are $10. For more information and set times click here. Rockaphilly is also having a contest to win a pair of tickets to the show if you’re one of the first two people to identify the pictures of rock stars on this poster. Below, listen to a song from Brown Recluse and Sunny Ali And The Kid.


Philly Local Philes – Sunny Ali and the Kid

Go ahead, call ‘em minimal surf. Call ‘em country-punk. Those labels are common and certainly fitting when it comes to talking about Philly’s Sunny Ali and the Kid, but try not to over-complicate things. After all, the collaboration of Hassan Ali (formerly of the Mad Decent-approved trio PoPo and drummer Abdullah Saeed is a straight-to-the-freaking-point garage band: minute-long songs, grizzled vocals and a surplus of energy. Today’s Philly Local Phile showcases a digital single they recently released, “Hijabi Girl.”

Words by John Vettese