When Liz & the Lost Boys released its debut All My Charm and Grace, it kept things simple. Led by frontwoman Liz Ciavolino’s intricate harp playing and lilting vocals, the songs mixed light keys, accordion and melodica to craft a serene and folksy vibe over four tracks. But since that release in late 2011, the band has grown. The group that performed in our studio for The Key Studio Sessions a couple weeks ago – Will Wright on bass, Dane Galloway on guitar, Eric Huefner on drums – brings out other elements of Ciavolino’s songwriting. Jazz, rock, even a bit of a theatrical flair. The sound you hear in these recordings is a hint of where Liz and the Lost Boys is heading in their new, Jeff Zeigler-produced LP, due out in June and celebrating its release June 14th at MilkBoy. Get a taste of the new album here, get tickets and information on the show here and enjoy the performances in the downloads below.
I knew as soon as I heard last fall’s Pack Light but Bring Everything that Philly’s Ryan Tennis would be recording in our studio in the not-too-distant future. What I didn’t know was how many folks he’d have in tow. I figured singer-songwriter, plus backing players, would equal what – three people, four tops? As we were swapping emails to coordinate plans, he sorta casually mentioned “Yeah, I’d like to bring in my nine-piece band, hope that’s cool.” NINE players?! Once the surprise wore off, and I got everyone loaded into our studio, I realized how essential the large group was. They’re called the Clubhouse Band, and it’s a testament to the community vibe of their South Philly HQ, the spot they have regular and freewheeling house concert group jams. These folks were riffing full-tilt on a rootsy chord progression with vocal harmonies, trumpet and bongo percussion before I even had all the mics plugged in. In our session we get a few different sides to Tennis’ crew – the quiet-to-exhuberant swell of “Madeline,” the contemplative “Walk On” the cathartic “Fight Song” – with local MC Max MilLionz spitting a verse – and the very introspective, pleading closer “Best for You.” Listen and download the tracks below, and look for more local live music from Tennis and the Clubhouse Band this summer.
I first heard Philly by-way-of-Jersey heavy psychedelic four-piece Ruby The Hatchet back in September while I was holed up in my house, watching the winds of Hurricane Sandy (er, excuse me, Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy) spew sheets of rain on my porch and blow large branches down my block.
The music fit the scene outside – an intense torrent of hammering drums and swirling guitar riffs, with Jillian Taylor’s powerful vocal booming above the fray. It’s not music that celebrates aggression or destruction – just like a storm doesn’t necessarily have anything against you personally when it causes your basement to flood or makes trees fall on your roof – but it more provides a reflection of natural forces at work in an occasionally difficult world. But these are artists that can see the positive side too; the album I had cranked that September night, Ouroboros, takes its title from the mythological dragon eating its own tail, which metaphorically speaks to life moving in cycles. And for its part, Ruby the Hatchet donated proceeds from the record to Hurricane Sandy relief.
We have them in studio this week playing two amped up songs from Ouroboros – “Wicked Ones” and “The Lean” – as well as a brand new number, “Paralyzed,” a rager with a raucous Dead Weather / Motorhead drive to it. Check out the music below, and see a video of the band playing “Paralyzed” in our studio shot by Jeremy Quattlebaum and Sean Bolton of The Angry Mountain. As the band prepares its followup LP, you can catch them in concert next Thursday, April 25th at Kung Fu Necktie opening for the like-minded LA troupe The Warlocks. Tickets and information on the show can be found at the venue’s website.
Relatively new faces in the Philly DIY scene, Cayetana crafts focused, passionate indie-punk nuggets exploring a broad spectrum of subject matter – from city living to old age. “South Philly” is an incisive, observational look at rowhome life that’s a world away from the trendy Passyunk Ave strip; “Miss Thing,” a nod to singer-guitarist Augusta Koch’s grandmother, is a moving reflection aging (the lyric “at the end of your life all you’ll eat is ice cream” is at once humorous and heartbreaking). The band just signed to Tiny Engines Records and is looking to release its debut full-length later on this year. This weekend, it plays a benefit show for Ladyfest Philly at Little Berlin featuring Bad Braids and the Girls Rock Philly allstars. Information on the all-ages show can be found here; stream and download this week’s Key Session below.
Modern Inventors impressed a broad cross-section of the Philly music scene last year. They naturally had the pedigree to win over the singer-songwriter crowd – singer-guitarist Matt Kass’ old band The Brakes was a known name, after all. But their soulful harmonies drew in listeners from the pop realm, and their skill as players and songwriters attracted indie rock ears. Not too long after a sold-out show at Johnny Brenda’s celebrating the release of Trains and Aeroplanes in December, the band found itself in our studio performing a set of mostly unreleased new songs. The excellent, rambling rhythms of “Goodbye, Northbrook Drive” were the only familiar sounds we heard – they instead took the opportunity to lay down some new cuts that show their sound reaching even broader. “Old Habits,” filmed by the folks at Out of Town Films, is a mellow smash of 70s proportions. “This Sign” is a snappy, country-fied Wilco-style number, while “The Deep End” has a sytlish and expressive Jeff Buckley thing going on. And set-closer “Selfish Generation” would play well on present day pop radio. Download and listen to it all below, and keep an ear out for more from the Inventors this spring.
Country singer/songwriter Caitlin Rose will be playing at MilkBoy tonight. Rose hails from Nashville, Tennessee, the heart of country, and it shines through her music. To date, she has released an EP, two albums, and a seven inch record, and her latest album, The Stand-In, was released just last month. The album was released on According To Our Records (or ATO) and can be purchased via Rose’s website, or through ATO’s website. Also through Rose’s website, you can listen to “I Was Cruel” off of her new record, as well as watch a teaser video to her album. Tickets and information for 21 and up show with Andrew Combs and August John Lutz II (of Levee Drivers) can be found here. Below, check out Caitlin Rose’s teaser trailer to her new album The Stand-In.
Canadian-born singer-songwriter Anjuli Josephine has been making music out of Philadelphia for a couple years now, and just released her whimsical self-titled debut EP. With mix of emotional, introspective lyrics and a poppy sensibility, Josephine fondly recalls performers like Regina Spektor, Ingrid Michaelson and Fiona Apple, and her backing players – Karl Rieders on bass,
Al Daniels on keys, and Nate Kowalski on drums – are top notch. The band plays The Tin Angel this Saturday, March 30th, and gave us a taste of the set they have in store in this week’s Key Studio Session. Check it out below – it’s a wide-ranging set, from the bopping “Can’t Keep Up” to the drifting, lilting closer “Heart Heart Heart Hurt” – and get more information on the show here.