Welcome Home: The Wonder Years tear the roof off The Electric Factory

The Wonder Years | Photo by Cameron Pollack |
The Wonder Years | Photo by Cameron Pollack |

“Philadelphia, it’s so fucking good to be home.”

The feeling – expressed from the stage by The Wonder Years‘ frontman Dan “Soupy” Campbell – came for me in waves, each more forceful than the last. I was returning to shoot at one of my favorite venues, wearied from a long semester, a considerable lack of sleep, and most recently the wonderful, unpredictable mess of Philadelphia pre-Thanksgiving traffic. Continue reading →


The Wonder Years and Motion City Soundtrack challenge one other on tour split 7″

The Wonder Years and Motion City Soundtrack | photos courtesy of the artists

The Wonder Years and Motion City Soundtrack just released a limited edition 7″ split to celebrate their upcoming tour together. However, this isn’t your conventional split record. Given only the instrumental arrangement and song title, the vocalists of both bands – Dan Campbell of The Wonder Years and Justin Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack –  were given the challenge of creating their own lyrics and melody to one of the other band’s songs. The reinventions of these two track blend the styles of the each band. Continue reading →


Happy record release day to The Wonder Years! Listen to “Thanks for the Ride.”

Today, Lansdale sons The Wonder Years release No Closer to Heaven, their latest full-length of cathartic punk rock anthems (get it here), and the album finds the band in top form after ten years in the game. Following a series of pre-release teasers – including “Cardinals” and “Cigarettes and Saints” – the band dropped one more yesterday, the sentimental “Thanks for the Ride.” Frontman Dan “Soupy” Campbell told Spin that the song imagines what life would be like if a deceased friend of his were still living. Continue reading →


Watch the music video for The Wonder Years’ powerful slow-burner, “Cigarettes & Saints”

Forget the obsession with pizza and complaining about your hometown. Everyone has to grow up sometime, even pop-punk bands. It looks like Lansdale, PA’s The Wonder Years are finally coming to terms with that fact.

The band just released the new music video for their song “Cigarettes and Saints”, taken off their upcoming fifth studio album, No Closer to Heaven. The video was directed by Jeremi Mattern and shot in Austin, TX. It depicts a girl who’s upset with her current life. She runs away and leaves behind only a note. Continue reading →


Came out Swinging | Celebrating 10 years of The Wonder Years and the fans that got them there

photo by Rachel Del Sordo
Photo by Rachel Del Sordo |

“Three days. 3,600 tickets. 10 minutes.” This was how Dan “Soupy” Campbell set the stage for fans as he started performing The Upsides on the first day The Wonder Years‘ 10th anniversary celebration.

This fact that the Philly favorites’ three-night stand  at Union Transfer wound up being such a hot ticket may have stunned the band, but was no real surprise for thousands of fans from around the country. They knew that they would have to be sitting next to their computer clicking refresh when the clock struck 10:00 a.m. to even have a shot at coming to this event. Over the past decade, The Wonder Years went from being a less-than-serious band playing basement shows in Philadelphia andVFW halls in Lansdale to redefining the genre of pop punk and amassing a legion of diehard fans in their wake.

We went to all three days of The Wonder Years’ anniversary shows to talk to those fans about what the band has meant to them over the years.  Continue reading →


The Wonder Years celebrate a decade of pop punk with three nights at Union Transfer

The Wonder Years playing the First Unitarian Church basement in 2013 | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo |
The Wonder Years playing the First Unitarian Church basement in 2013 | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo |
One of the most triumphant shows I caught this year was The Wonder Years‘ sold-out headlining gig at The Electric Factory. The Lansdale-bred heroes of the U.S. pop punk scene had the venue packed to the rafters as the second leg of their Greatest Generation tour rolled through town, making for the best kind of homecoming. Frontman Dan “Soupy” Campbell reminisced to the crowd about coming to the Factory growing up and being in the front row for Saves the Day, and the corresponding thrill of being able to perform on its stage. This speaks to the massive growth TWY have had over their own career, and today the band announced what’s sure to be another round of triumphant gigs: three nights in a row at Union Transfer to celebrate their tenth anniversary. Continue reading →


Aaron West: A punk popster’s personal transformation into a Llewyn Davis styled troubadour

Photo courtesy of the artist.
Photo courtesy of the artist.

The Wonder Years’ 2011 release, Suburbia: I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing, with its frequent references and allusions to Allen Ginsberg’s marathon poem “America,” felt like a turning point in singer Dan Campbell’s songwriting. There was something about the way he appropriated Ginsberg’s text to work with his own that broke out of the traditional pop punk tropes. The next Wonder Years record, last year’s The Greatest Generation, established a wide thematic scope in its choruses, couplets and bridges, all reprised in a seven-minute closing track, “I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral” — not totally unlike musical theatre. Aside from penning relentlessly catchy pop punk songs, Suburbia and Generation proved Campbell not only capable of viewing The Big Picture in writing a record; he’s highly literate in it.

That’s why Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties, Campbell’s conceptual folk-rock solo release, doesn’t come as much of a surprise. We Don’t Have Each Other (out today on Hopeless follows a very rough year in the life of Aaron West, Campbell’s proxy and all-around Llewyn Davis-troubadour-type sad sap. Gone are the heavy, three-guitar-strong power chords that always trustingly flank Campbell’s voice — always vulnerable and without shame — in the Wonder Years. In their place, We Don’t Have Each Other is flush with keys, horns, pedal steel guitars, banjos and what would almost be a heavy-handed smack to the face telling you, “This is Americana! This is a departure!” if the whole thing wasn’t so expertly executed. The opening track “Our Apartment” delivers all of this before the song is even half finished.

Campbell may be trying on hats, but they look pretty good on him and complement his figure. Part of what makes this record work so well is that while the whole idea here is to assume a character, an identity, by no means does that experiment isolate any listener knowledgeable of Campbell’s past work. Instead of making some swift, stylistic left turn, these songs instead feel filtered through that lens of trying something new. “St. Joe Keeps Us Safe” and “Runnin’ Scared” feel comfortable in the way the alt-country instrumentation is organized; these could be stripped-down Wonder Years songs, even. But it’s in the quieter, mid-tempo songs, in “Divorce and the American South” or “Get Me Out Of Here Alive,” that feel carry to most excitement, as they stray furthest from Campbell’s assumed comfort zone.
Continue reading →


Pop-punkers Only On Weekends are releasing a new EP and celebrating with some Philly shows

Only on Weekends | photo by Meg Hawkey

They’re the epitome of pop-punk. If you combined Saves the Day and The Wonder Years toned down a few notches, you’d get Only On Weekends. And with one album and an EP under their belt, the band is prepared to unleash its newest endeavor.

The new Light Years and Heavy Lifting EP is set to be released on May 30 and is produced by Fred Mascherino, who’s played in Taking Back Sunday and Terrible Things. Until, Only On Weekends has given the  of new tracks off the EP, including the thrashy, punky and shouty song, “The Prince of East 187th Street,” which showed up on AbsolutePunk last week.

Check out the track below and catch them as they play two upcoming shows. The first is on 5/18 at Connie’s Ric Rac, and the second marks their album release show at the Barbary.


Modern Baseball will kick off its summer tour at The Barbary in June

Modern Baseball | Photo by Allison Newbold |

Modern Baseball may have just wrapped up a tour with The Wonder Years, but that doesn’t mean they’re slowing down any time soon. The never-wavering Philly based pop-punk band has announced a stacked summer tour with the likes of post-harcore band Tiny Moving Parts, emo/rock band The Hotelier and pop-punk outfit Sorority Noise. And to top it off, the tour kicks off right here in Philly.

Coming off of the release of their highly acclaimed album You’re Gonna Miss it All, MoBo played a sold out show with The Wonder Years at the E Factory April 13, and if you missed it, the Barbary show on June 1 should be at the top of your list. Tickets go on sale tomorrow via TicketWeb. Get tickets when they become available here, and see the full list of tour stops via MoBo’s facebook page. Check out the studio session Modern Baseball did with The Key here.

“Your Graduation” by Modern Baseball: The Key Studio Sessions from WXPN FM on Vimeo.