Matt Gibson had a tough decision to make in 2011. He either had to figure out how to keep his band, the Extraordinaires, alive in the wake of Punk Rock Payroll, the record label they’d been a part of going under, or accept an offer to go on tour playing in Man Man.
He ended up accepting and touring with Man Man as a multi-instrumentalist in support of their album Life Fantastic until 2012. His experience touring in a nationally recognized act didn’t yield the results he’d originally imagined though.
“I think I was going into it with a lot higher hopes of meeting more people and meeting more people that wanted to hear new music, or being able to share the Extraordinaires music with them,” Gibson says. “Or meeting people to make contacts with them that may be able to help with the Extraordinaires. But now looking back, that may have been a naive thought. Because the reality of it is that everybody is trying to do the same thing and you really need to have something that’s impressive to peak your head out above everybody else’s. Nobody really cares unless there’s really some hype behind it.”
But he did come away with added comfort for playing in front of larger crowds among other things that helped his main band after rejoining in 2012, which come up later in this piece.
However, Gibson later found out what he thought about bands needing hype to catch the attention of the public may not be true. He and the rest of the Extraordinaires took the crowd-sourcing approach in the winter of 2012 to aid in releasing their upcoming album, Dress for Nasty Weather, their first on their new label, Color Theory Records, which they are running with Justin Wolf of Lux Perpetua. Through a Kickstarter campaign the Extraordinaires surpassed their goal by $2,000.
“Because for what we accomplished with Punk Rock Payroll,” Jay Purdy says, “it was really hard to lose that support system. But it was really inspiring to know that people had taken notice enough that we could do another book.”
Now working under the Color Theory flag, the Extraordinaires want to “keep the spirit of Punk Rock Payroll alive,” as Purdy puts it about the original label that released their first couple albums – with handmade books.
“Our current goal is to be an outlet for bands to do interesting releases,” he says. “As far as vinyl, CDs and digital downloads go that’s kind of standard practice. Because when we were on Punk Rock Payroll, simply by aggregating all of our resources, we were able to do these really unique releases.”
Punk Rock Payroll started as a small merchandise company in 2003, by Frede Zimmer focusing on buttons and screen printing and eventually grew into to being a label for a small roster of bands. Releases on PRP weren’t just conventional CDs, tapes, vinyl records, or even digital downloads, but much more. The boutique label put out music that were more like art projects than just albums.
For example, the Extraordinaires have put out each of their albums on CD accompanied by a hard bound book with the albums’ lyrics printed on its pages. This is more than appropriate for the band’s tendency of telling stories in their music. A song about to come out on Dress for Nasty Weather and personal favorite of Purdy’s is “Stray Bullet,” a tune that he says a bit like a modern version of Pinocchio but a bit darker. And don’t forget about “The Egg of Columbus,” from 2009’s Electric and Benevolent that tells the story of that certain Italian that discovered the Americas. And from the upcoming Dress for Nasty Weather, they are bringing their first music video to light for “Blue Moon.” In it each member of the band plays the role of a Charlie Chaplin-like character, meets what Purdy describes as an “Amerlia Earhart character,” document their day together with her and maybe fall for her, too.
Philadelphia storytellers The Extraordinaires have been out of the limelight for much of this year, playing only sporadically and keeping mostly to themselves. But there’s good reason for the reclusiveness - the pop-rock outfit has been working on a fourth full-length album, which they recently reported has been recorded and mixed and is off to the renowned mastering studio of Joe LaPorta (Vampire Weekend, Neutral Milk Hotel, etc.). Still in need of a name and a release date, the new album was recorded at Fancy Time Studio in Kensington with Kyle “Slick” Johnson and follows a pair of 2012 EP / single releases.
In their latest Kickstarter update, The Extraordinaires shared a studio video of footage from the tracking sessions set to a sneak peak of “Stray Bullet.” The song strolls along a melodic path of jazzy trombone solos, marching snares and vaudevillian piano playing while Jay Purdy sings a narrative built around living in the city. Watch the video below and read a brief Q&A about the record here. While there are no set live dates for The Extraordinaires yet, it was promised in the update that the band will tour once the album is out.
Indie poppers The Spinto Band are playing the spooky-scary “Dress Up and Make a Sound” event tonight at Johnny Brenda’s. The Deleware outfit has promised to scare your face off and give you goosebumps (what else could you ask for?) with the help of Philadelphia rock ‘n’ rollers Toy Soldiers, Pittsburgh’s Delicious Pastries and DJ Langor. Tickets are $10 here; doors will open at 8:00 p.m. for the 21+ show. Check out The Spinto Band’s video for “Muesli” below.
When you’re covering a local music scene like we do here at The Key, you get to know the folks who are out there with you every week in the proverbial trenches. Editor Q.D. Tran and his staff at The Deli are good people through and through – friendly, enthusiastic and passionate about the Philly scene and everything that goes along with it, from spoken word to art. I’m happy to call them my buddies (as well as friendly competitors or what have you), and I’m happy to invite Q.D. to our corner of the internet to give an overview of The Deli’s offerings for the month. All events are at PhilaMOCA (531 N. 12th Street), start at 7:30pm and are $5.
Hola – so when Eric Bresler, PhilaMOCA’s Creative Director, approached me about a new series that he was working on which integrated live music and film and would have different curators each month, I immediately volunteered to take a month. Combining music and movies is a no-brainer in my book, I grew up loving both as I am sure many of you who are reading this have. Obviously, it was a blast to get to put together the lineup of featured artists for September – so much so that I decided to recruit openers for most of the evenings as well. John Vettese asked me to “Guest VJ,” sharing a few videos and words about my picks. Below is what I came up with last night. I hope that it gets people inspired and pumped up as much as all of us are who are participating in Tuesday Tune-Out this month. Continue reading →
Here at The Key we love local music every day. Today is extra special because the folks at Loves Local Music are celebrating the inaugural Philadelphia Local Music Day. In our interview with Loves Local Music founder Monika Julien, she explained “the primary mission of Loves Local Music is to build relationships with musicians, artists, businesses, innovators, and other visionaries to organize creative events that give local Philadelphia musicians more exposure, bring awareness to Philadelphia’s local music scene, and make local music more accessible to the community.” Today, many local businesses around the city will be playing the music of five bands, putting the spotlight on Work Drugs, Bandname, Buried Beds, Cheers Elephant and The Extraordinaires. Some of the businesses participating include Johnny Brenda’s, The Lola Bean, Repo Records, Trophy Bikes North, The Marvelous! Music record store, Federal Donuts and more. Today at 1 p.m. The Extraordinaires will be playing a free show at The Rocket Cat Cafe. All participating businesses will also be handing out a download card with a song from each of the bands. Thanks to the bands and to Loves Local Music, you can download the five song sampler here.
Monika Julien is the founder of Loves Local Music, a new organization dedicated to promoting Philly’s local music scene and supporting the local cultural economy. Currently a senior at Drexel University, Julien has been active in the local music scene throughout her college years. She’s a ska music fan, and hosts a weekly ska show at WKDU called University Goes Ska. Julien also served as the Drexel station’s Program Director during her freshman and sophomore years. A musician, she’s promoted, booked, and managed bands. Loves Local Music’s first “event” takes place on Saturday, May 12th, with Philadelphia Local Music Day, where local businesses will be playing recordings of five featured local musicians for one full workday, with the intention of increasing awareness about these bands. The five bands that will be featured include Cheers Elephant, Work Drugs, Bandname, Buried Beds and The Extraordinaires. Businesses including Johnny Brenda’s, The Rocket Cat, Repo Records, Federal Donuts, The Lola Bean and many more will be playing music from these five bands throughout the day. WXPN will also be featuring the music of these band’s throughout the day during it’s programming. The Key recently did an e-mail interview with Monika Julien, founder of Loves Local Music about this exciting, new initiative.
The Key: Why did you decide to start Loves Local Music?
Monika Julien: Being a musician and having played in bands, I know how difficult it is to get people to come to your shows, buy your records, and even just listen to your music. Today, bands have to get creative about how to promote their music – it’s not always as easy as putting your songs on the internet. Musicians are creative by nature, but I believe a great businessperson is equally as creative. I’m looking forward to using Loves Local Music as a platform to take an artistic and innovative approach to business and promotions for musicians. I have had the opportunity to meet people across the country that have launched local music initiatives in their cities, and because Philadelphia is so community-driven, I felt that bringing together the local music scene and local businesses is something that this city would totally embrace. And it is! I have been inspired by people who have taken a proactive role in promoting local culture and unifying their community, and I hope Loves Local Music inspires others in the same way.
TK: Broadly, what’s the mission of Loves Local Music?
MJ: The primary mission of Loves Local Music is to build relationships with musicians, artists, businesses, innovators, and other visionaries to organize creative events that give local Philadelphia musicians more exposure, bring awareness to Philadelphia’s local music scene, and make local music more accessible to the community.
TK: Philadelphia Local Music Day is on May 12th. This is the first “activity” you guys are doing. What other things do you have planned?
MJ: There are already plans to make Philadelphia Local Music Day an event that occurs multiple times a year, each time featuring new musicians and some new surprises. There are also ideas in the works for a few other events that will give musicians the opportunity to gain exposure in some unique ways. You will hear about them soon.
TK: What would you consider to be a successful outcome of the first Loves Local Music day?
MJ: If one person comes away from Philadelphia Local Music Day and learns about a local band that they have never heard of before, I consider this event a success. My goal is to make people aware of Philadelphia’s music scene – especially people who may not be able to attend a late-night rock show or may not know how to access information on local Philadelphia musicians. I really want people to come away from Philadelphia Local Music Day and remember the local bands being featured for the event. In an effort to make this happen, each of the participating locations will be giving download cards with a song from each of the featured bands to their customers. People will be able take a piece of Philadelphia Local Music Day home with them! My hope is that this encourages people to further explore the featured bands’ music and inspires people to want to know more about Philadelphia’s local music scene.
TK: You’ve been involved in the local music scene for the last several years; what do you like about it?
MJ: First and foremost, the music! Honestly, there wouldn’t be Loves Local Music or Philadelphia Local Music Day if this city wasn’t full of amazing musical talent. On a personal level, most of my best memories in Philadelphia involve playing shows and going to shows, working with local bands and seeing them grow. Loves Local Music is definitely a vehicle for me to tell the world how great Philadelphia’s musicians are and bring attention to the city’s local music scene. I also love the sense of community and collaboration within Philadelphia’s music scene. Of course there are amazing bands, but there are also visual artists, graphic designers, videographers, promoters, venues, bloggers, radio stations, record stores, even the people that are willing to host shows in their basements all working together to help the Philadelphia local music scene thrive. We couldn’t do it without each other. It’s the DIT ethic – “Do It Together.” While Loves Local Music is primarily focused on promoting musicians, I also hope that an event like Philadelphia Local Music Day encourages people to support the city’s local economy; Philadelphia is home to so many amazing local businesses as well as musicians. I’m trying to bring them all together.
WXPN Welcomes The Spinto Band May residency at Kung Fu Necktie every Tuesday in May starting next Tuesday, May 8th. Today, The Spinto Band release their new album Shy Pursuit and next week they begin their month long residency celebration with some incredible opening bands for each show. On May 8th Purples and Alec Ounsworth open; Nightlands and Via Audio open on Tuesday, May 15th; The Extraordinaires and Heyward Howkins have the honors on Tuesday, May 22nd and Cheers Elephant and Langor open the final show of the residency on May 28th. Go here for tickets and more information about the shows. The Spinto Band have compiled a free sampler of the bands playing the Kung Fu Necktie shows that you can download here. The band recently stopped by the XPN studios to record a Key Studio Session. You can download a sneak preview of it here.
Loves Local Music, a local advocacy organization “dedicated to promoting the diverse music scene that Philadelphia continues to foster,” will present its inaugural “Philadelphia Local Music Day,” on Saturday, May 12th. As part of the organization’s goal to “plan creative events that give local musicians more exposure within the Philadelphia community,” LLM has coordinated with a handful of local businesses, which will be playing music by Philly-based bands in their establishments all day long.
From the folks at LLM:
On Saturday, May 12, 2012 Loves Local Music is proud to present the inaugural Philadelphia Local Music Day, featuring the music recordings of Work Drugs, Buried Beds, The Extraordinaires, Cheers Elephant, and Bandname. On Philadelphia Local Music Day, local businesses throughout Philadelphia will be playing the recordings of the five featured local bands in their establishments for one full workday. Philadelphia Local Music Day aims to bring awareness to Philadelphia’s vibrant, talented arts community and encourage Philadelphians to support the city’s local culture and economy.
Businesses throughout Philadelphia will be playing the music recordings of the featured local bands in their stores on Philadelphia Local Music Day, including Federal Donuts, Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat, Johnny Brenda’s, The Abbaye, Honest Tom’s Taco Shop, The Marvelous! Music Record Store, Rocket Cat Café, Trophy Bikes North, Lola Bean, Ultimo Coffee, Green Aisle Grocery, Repo Records, Smak Parlor, and Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.
You can find more information at the Loves Local Music website.