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UNLOCKED: The inner workings of Thin Lips, or how its better not to keep secrets

Thin Lips practice at Big Mama's | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Thin Lips practice at Big Mama’s | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

It’s a soggy Monday night in Philadelphia and we’re crammed into small room in Fishtown’s Big Mama’s House arts space. The room, which maybe measures 15-by-15 feet, is the practice space of Philly punk four piece Thin Lips, but it also doubles as drummer Mikey Tashjian’s living quarters. He moved in not long ago, and started lightly decorating the room with random artifacts – record sleeves, iridescent fabric, a blue-ish abstract print made by his aunt.

The band is workshopping many things at once on this particular evening – it’s about to head out on tour in support of Riff Hard,  their debut LP out today on Lame-O Records (that we’ve been featuring all week long on Unlocked), and it’s been a while since they played these songs together live. Kinks are worked out, particularly on raging album opener “DEB.”

“It’s about how being a girl is hard,” says singer-guitarist Chrissy Tashjian, Mikey’s sister. “And how being a girl who dates girls is hard.”

After a few passes through the two-minutes-and-change blast of energy, the band stops for a breather and we casually chat about the items Mikey has scattered the room. Above his bed, a polo work shirt on a hanger dangles from a hook on the wall. It belongs to the Tashjian’s late brother Billy, who passed away at 22 in January of 2014, right before what was supposed to be Thin Lips’ live debut opening for Radiator Hospital and Potty Mouth at Boot and Saddle.

Mikey says the shirt is a reminder. “You can work hard,” he says. “You can be a good person. And you’re still going to die.” Continue reading →

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UNLOCKED: Go back to school with Thin Lips in “I Wonder”

Thin Lips
Thin Lips | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

So we’ve talked a bunch these past couple days about Philly four-piece Thin Lips, and the serious undertones of their seriously catchy punk rock. The way they find release from personal struggles in loud riffs and fast drums.

But there’s another way the band finds release: by making sure fun is a conscious a part of their personas. We certainly saw that in the video for “Never Again,” where the band plays itself, a rival band and various audience members in attendance at a musical face-off at Kung Fu Necktie. Chrissy Tashjian told Noisey that it was “our homosexual Blink 182 video” and that about sums up the goofy party vibe they chose to visualize their hard luck anthem.

Today, there’s a new video for another Thin Lips song. And yes, it’s also got a total party atmosphere. Continue reading →

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UNLOCKED: The Key’s review of Riff Hard by Thin Lips

Thin Lips' Riff Hard
Thin Lips’ Riff Hard | courtesy of the artist

In the third act of Riff Hard, the fierce new long-player from Philly punk four-piece Thin Lips, frontwoman Chrissy Tashjian crafts a particularly striking image.

“Smoking out my window,” she sings. “Learning to let go.” Eight words, eleven syllables, five seconds. Yet so perfect. The song is “I Wonder,” a sprinting rager with twinkling hammer-on guitar leads and a chrunching, crushing rhythm. It’s invigorating in sound, boasting serious flail-around-the-room / go-for-a-hard-run / bike-from-West-Philly-to-Fishtown-in-the-rain kind of energy. But more affecting is the lyrical content, where Tashjian opens herself up as vulnerably as possible.

What is she learning to go of? A friend, a lover, a companion. Or more to the point, a connection in her life that she desires but knows is not working. “I still want you / but I don’t want to.” She sings. She knows that the person on the other end deserves something she’s unable to provide. It’s the moment of that tragic realization that something you dearly want is not something you’re able to have.

With any kind of tragedy, as we discussed in our introduction to Thin Lips’ new record, there are two ways of responding. You can huddle down, go inward, wallow in self-pity – an approach that, with the above situation, might result in a song like “Something I Can Never Have.” Or you boldly challenge the setback and circumstance through joyous melodies, through top-of-your-lungs shoutalongs with your friends. You make fast and loud and upbeat noise with your instruments. You riff hard.
Continue reading →

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UNLOCKED: Thin Lips wax poetic about compassion on “No Obituary”

Thin Lips
Thin Lips | photo courtesy of the artist

“What defines you as a person,” muses Chris Diehm, “is how you deal with tragedy.”

It’s a rainy Monday evening and the guitarist of Philly punk four-piece Thin Lips has been getting deepy contemplative with his bandmates over beers as we gather in a side studio at Big Mama’s Warehouse. The room has a markedly different vibe from the rest of the long-standing Fishtown arts community – instead of expansive floor-to-ceiling bright pageantry and reckless, paint-spattered abandon, this space is all about toned-down, quiet focus. Which carried over to our conversation.

Diehm, along with bassist Kyle Pulley, drummer Mikey Tashjian and singer-guitarist-songwriter Chrissy Tashjian, just wrapped up a long run of production on Riff Hard – Thin Lips’ debut LP, out this week on Lame-O Records. Recorded by Pulley at Headroom Studios, it’s a total blast: amplified, high-octane punk rock guitar jammers that are complex, catchy, fun — and most importantly, cathartic. Continue reading →

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Listen to the new Thin Lips single, “My Mouth Is Skinned Like An Apple”

Thin Lips
Thin Lips | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Philly pop-punks Thin Lips will be releasing their debut full-length Riff Hard on May 20th via Lame-O Records, and today they shared the album’s newest single, “My Mouth Is Skinned Like An Apple.”

Vocalist Chrissy Tashjian sings honest and confessional lyrics such as “I won’t settle for anything less” and “Cut me loose from your memory” over guitars and drums that sound like a gritty and off-kilter Jimmy Eat World. The band previously shared the single “Never Again” and its accompanying music video.  Continue reading →

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Thin Lips filmed a video for “Never Again” at Kung Fu Necktie and it’s so much fun

Thin Lips | photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com
Thin Lips | photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

Philly punks Thin Lips are getting ready to head out on a long spring and summer tour – which includes dates with The Front Bottoms, Modern Baseball, and The Max Levine Ensemble. Along the way, they’ll release their debut full length – Riff Hard – on May 20th via Lame-O Records.

Today, we got a taste of the forthcoming LP in a super fun music video for “Never Again,” filmed at Kung Fu Necktie by Adam Peditto and featuring members of Cayetana and Year of Glad in the crowd. Thin Lips itself also stars as, well, the band – as well as various members of the audience (Kyle Pulley as a erudite, Catcher In The Rye-reading fan at the bar is ace) and, cosmically, another band that crashes the party at the end. Continue reading →

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Thin Lips kick off Divorce Year with “Nothing Weird”

Thin Lips | Photo by John Vettese
Thin Lips | Photo by John Vettese

A few weeks ago, Philly punk trio Thin Lips announced an exciting spring tour with hometown pals and equally solid rockers Hop Along. This week, the band (made up of former members of Dangerous Ponies) released “Nothing Weird,” the first single off their forthcoming album Divorce Year. Mixed up in crunchy guitar distortion, the track appears to be an anthem to an unwarranted farewell to someone. “I would comb out your hair, but I would just tangle you into the brush.” Continue reading →

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Hop Along, Thin Lips and Roses rang in 2015 in a big way at Johnny Brenda’s

Hop Along | Photo by John Vettese
Hop Along | Photo by John Vettese

To say that Johnny Brenda’s has been crushing its New Year’s Eve game in recent years would be an understatement. After an epic 2012 with War on Drugs and a blazing 2013 with Screaming Females, last night the Fishtown venue had Hop Along bid farewell to 2014 with an explosive performance for a sold-out crowd. There was champagne, a 50s pop cover, an onstage engagement ceremony, the debut of two new songs and a whole lot of cathartic singing along.  Continue reading →