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The Wonder Years find parallels between Philly and Japan in the “Raining in Kyoto” video

The Wonder Years
The Wonder Years | photo by Jonathan Weiner | courtesy of the artist

The Wonder Years‘ new album Sister Cities is built around the idea of human connection. It’s only fitting, then, that the band would continue this theme on film. The Wonder Years have shared a video for the track “Raining in Kyoto,” the opening track off Sister Cities, and one of the most personal songs on the new record.

“Raining in Kyoto” reflects on the death of vocalist/songwriter Dan Campbell’s grandfather, who passed away when The Wonder Years were on tour in Japan. Unable to attend the service, Campbell had to find a different way to pay tribute to his grandfather — on the song, he sings “Raining in Kyoto, I’m starting to shake / They’ll hold a service tomorrow, I’m an ocean away.” Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: The Wonder Years

photos by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

It should be no surprise that the word “connection” comes up a lot when talking about The Wonder Years‘ sixth album, Sister Cities.

For one thing, it’s the primary theme that singer and lyricist Dan Campbell wanted to explore this time around — the idea of coming together, while also being further apart than ever before, both geographically and philosophically. The idea of finding common ground between humans divided by cities and continents, by the distance between Kyoto, Japan and Santiago, Chile and Cheyenne, Wyoming and their hometown of Philadelphia. There are Wonder Years fans in all of those places, and by superficial traits, they could not be any more different, but get them in front of a stage and they’ll be equally passionate about screaming along to “Dismantling Summer” or “Coffee Eyes” or “Came Out Swinging” or “Logan Circle.”

That’s the other reason why connection is an enduring theme of The Wonder Years. There’s a distinct feeling, being in the crowd at one of their gigs, an electricity in the air as the lights dim low and the bandmates step to the stage — Mike Kennedy on drums, Josh Martin on bass, Casey Cavaliere on lead guitar, multi-instrumentalist Nick Steinborn, rhythm guitarist Matt Brasch, and Campbell taking the lead vocal mic. The endorphin rush is palpable, the physical rush is sometimes treacherous as the audience surges forward to create as little distance as possible between them and the band. They want to lock eyes and grip hands, they want to share the moment with one another and with the band. To say The Wonder Years have a connection with their fans is an understatement.

And there’s also their connection with one another. Of the band’s six members, five have been in the lineup since first getting together in 2005 in the suburbs of Lansdale; Steinborn is the closest thing to a “new kid,” and he’s been on board since 2009. The band toured its last record, 2015’s No Closer to Heaven, for a solid two years of international dates. Those travels inspired much of the music on the new record, but when they concluded, the band fanned out to their separate lives. These fixtures of the punk community are no longer banging on in a South Philly basement every night; they’ve moved to different places in the greater Philadelphia orbit, many have wives or long-term partners, and the time they get together as a band is increasingly rare and precious. But when it happens, that connection is such a strong one that there’s no warm-up period — they go all in from the start.

That’s exactly what we saw this March when The Wonder Years set up shop in WXPN studios to record a live set for The Key Studio Sessions. Continue reading →

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Listen to The Wonder Years new album Sister Cities a day early

The Wonder Years
The Wonder Years | photo by Jonathan Weiner | courtesy of the artist

Local favorites The Wonder Years have made their sixth album Sister Cities available to stream ahead of its full release this Friday. The band’s latest work sees some of the heaviest material written to-date. Previously noted in the album’s teaser video, frontman Dan Campbell shared that “It’s about how we all eventually lose the people that mean the most to us, it’s about how we all experience grief and successes in these alternating tidal waves of joy and devastation.” Continue reading →

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The Wonder Years share new videos to support Puerto Rico relief efforts

The Wonder Years | photo by Carolyn Ambriano | courtesy of the artist

In addition to churning out hits for over a decade, The Wonder Years are also known for their dedication to using their platform to do good. Last fall, the band played a series of shows in New York that were livestreamed to raise money for Fondos Unidos de Puerto Rico, an organization that aids relief efforts following devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

The performances, which followed the release of The Wonder Years’ acoustic Burst & Decay EP, show a quieter, more stripped-down side of the band, and they were joined onstage by The Little Kruta String Quartet and Laura Stevenson.

Now, months later, Puerto Rico is still far from fully recovered. To continue to raise relief funds, The Wonder Years have released footage of last fall’s performances. The series of five videos is available to watch on YouTube, and donation links are included with each video. Continue reading →

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The Wonder Years go from a whisper to a wail on new Sister Cities track “Pyramids of Salt”

The Wonder Years | photo by Jonathan Weiner | courtesy of the artist

Ever since they formed in Lansdale, PA over a decade ago, The Wonder Years have never been ones to shy away from heavy topics or intense emotions. The band — which has grown from Philly pop-punk to a more genre-defining sound today — has been unveiling detail after detail of their forthcoming sixth album Sister Cities, out April 6, and recently released a second single, “Pyramids of Salt.”

The song is full of sweeping melodies and big crescendos — it’s a bit quieter and bleaker than the lead single/title track “Sister Cities,” but by no means less powerful. At almost five minutes long, The Wonder Years take their time to explore the complicated feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, which take the form of everything from a whisper to a wail. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: The Wonder Years will bring Sister Cities to The Fillmore in June

The Wonder Years
The Wonder Years | photo by Jonathan Weiner | courtesy of the artist

After announcing their sixth album Sister Cities last week, Philly’s The Wonder Years rolled out their spring tour schedule today — and it’s a stacked show.

Joined by scene faves Tigers Jaw, Tiny Moving Parts, and Worriers, the band begins the run this May in Pittsburgh and wraps it up in June in Baltimore, with a stop at The Fillmore Philly on June 8th in between. Tickets go on sale Friday, February 16th at 10 a.m.; more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Boot & Saddle’s 2018 Peace & Noise benefit shows to feature Cayetana, The Wonder Years, and more

Cayetana | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

Last January, Philly’s favorite music venue Boot & Saddle staged a three-part series of benefit shows featuring some of Philly’s favorite music acts. Good news: it appears that this series, called Peace & Noise, is becoming an annual event, and this time will feature an even more ambitious lineup of local bands. Happening over three Wednesdays in January, the upcoming shows will benefit local charities The Attic Youth Center, Project HOME and Rock to the Future. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: The Wonder Years to play a stripped-down set at TLA

The Wonder Years | photo courtesy of Big Picture Media

It’s been too long, The Wonder Years. The Philadelphia pop-punk band last performed in Philadelphia at the Fillmore for a sold out hometown show in November, and today they have announced the date of their triumphant return. In a nice twist, the six-piece will not be moving up to a larger venue but rather will be playing a stripped-down acoustic set at the Theatre of Living Arts on October 6th as part of a quick run of intimate dates to accompany the acoustic EP Burst and Decay. Continue reading →

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The Wonder Years came out swinging with a confetti-filled hometown gig

The Wonder Years | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com
The Wonder Years | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

The Wonder Years, Philly natives, and proud as f*ck of it, have been playing some of our favorite pop-punk anthems for more than 10 years now. The six-piece has been getting bigger and bigger, which is well deserved, over the course of those 10 years — starting out in basements and bars, to now, ending their biggest tour yet, playing in front of a sold out, hometown crowd at The Fillmore, right here in Philly on Wednesday night. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: The Wonder Years will headline The Fillmore in November

The Wonder Years
The Wonder Years | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | cameronpollackphotography.com

Wrapping up their jaunt through South America at the end of this month, followed by two appearances at Riot Fest (Denver and Chicago, respectively) and a month of rest, Philly’s The Wonder Years take off on a North American tour in October. The two month trek across the U.S. comes to a close with a hometown show at The Fillmore on November 23rd. They’ll be joined with pop punk up-and-comers like Real Friends, Knuckle Puck, Moose Blood and Seaway throughout the dates. The band’s fifth studio album No Closer To Heaven dropped last fall through Hopeless Records. Continue reading →