After re-emerging with a late summer gig at SteelStacks last summer, indie rock icons Modest Mouse are back to the Bethlehem venue tonight with their latest album in tow. Strangers to Ourselves follows up 2007′s We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank in fine form, with frontman Isacc Brock’s wry, observational wordplay taking center stage around driving guitars and pensive arrangements. Tickets for the show are still available and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →
Soon a day will come when I no longer have to write “band got all their gear stolen” but, alas, today is not that day. Word has been making the rounds this evening (first via a heartfelt Tumblr post by Cayetana’s Augusta Koch, and next by a report on Property of Zack) that Philly-via-Scranton punk four-piece Three Man Cannon had a massive amount of instruments, pedals and hardware stolen tonight.
The worst part about it is that they weren’t on tour. Not that being on tour would have made it okay, but still, you expect to some degree that your stuff is safe and secure when you’re at home. While the particulars of how it happened are not yet clear, what exactly is missing can be found in the list below. Continue reading →
On Saturday night, hard-hitting Philadelphia rock band Restorations throw an enormous party at the First Unitarian Church to celebrate the release of their third full-length album, appropriately titled LP3. Friends, family and local fans poured into the Church to share in the celebration. Restorations also brought with them some fellow Philadelphia bands to share the stage with them. Continue reading →
Ben Walsh likens it to being in a relationship with someone nearly eight years when they to suddenly tell you, “I can’t do this anymore.”
“Obviously it took us by surprise when they told us that they weren’t going to continue on with the band,” he says of when three of the five members of his Scranton-bred, indie-leaning pop punk band Tigers Jaw decided to leave. “We kind of weren’t sure what was going to happen.”
Walsh and band mate Brianna Collins broke the news that vocalist/guitarist Adam McIlwee, bassist Dennis Mishko and drummer Pat Brier to fans via their Tumblr page in March 2013. Many followers interpreted the message as a definite end of the band. But now it’s more than a year later, and Tigers Jaw’s just released its third LP Charmer – an album that debuted at number 49 on the Billboard charts, and one the departed members still helped Walsh and Collins record when they decided to carry on as the band’s sole permanent line-up.
“We talked about the record and got them back on board because it was something that we all worked so hard on and were really proud of the songs,” Walsh says, adding that more than half of the songs for the album had been written when McIlwee, Mishko and Brier announced they were leaving. “We all wanted to see it come into fruition.”
What came to fruition on Charmer is what Walsh calls the band’s most cohesive record, and what Collins says is “exactly how I was picturing our band would sound recorded at the time.” If the album art for their break-out 2010 self-titled release – an unidentifiable 20-something preparing to eat a slice of stringy cheese pizza – was a sign of Tiger Jaw’s then youthful energy, Charmer’s artwork – an ornate doily handmade by Collins – is an apt sign of the band’s maturity.
“There’s a mix of slower, more delicate parts and there’s plenty of faster, more hard-hitting parts as well,” Walsh says of the album. “We were able to cover a lot of ground on the record, and still managed to make it sound pretty cohesive. We were able to experiment a little bit more with dynamics and layering not only vocals, but layering acoustic guitars and things like that that we haven’t really done a lot of in the past. Another big difference was getting Brianna more involved with writing and singing.”
“Working with Will had a huge impact,” adds Collins of Studio 4′s Will Yip, who produced the record. “Layering vocals and all of his little input and ideas that were really on the same page with, at least in my opinion, what we were trying to do.”
Walsh and Collins have been through a lot in the past few years that has forced them to grow up, not only stemming from their experiences with Tigers Jaw. Both came to the end of college and were faced with many new responsibilities, along with new freedoms. It’s this transition that Walsh is responsible for Charmer’s darker vibe, both lyrically and in the way it sounds.
“There’s still a lot of energy put into it,” he says. “Maybe [it’s] not as raucous as some of the earlier stuff, but just as much enthusiasm was put into these songs as any other songs that we’ve written, if not more.”
Though he’s sometimes heavily influenced by what he’s going through personally, writing for Charmer was the first time that Walsh really turned to another medium for inspiration. More specifically, it was interplay between characters on the show Twin Peaks, which is even cited by name in the song “Nervous Kids.” Both Walsh and Collins really enjoy the show.
“It’s so interesting. It’s so in depth and the themes are so dark,” Walsh says. “I got pulled in by just the small town interactions that everybody has, where there is so much going on underneath the surface. I think that’s the really cool thing, you go to a place that may be completely different than what you expected based on its outside appearance. I think there are a lot of themes on this record of duality, and things that can maybe be taken more than one way. That’s definitely something that we pulled from a lot of the stuff that happens in Twin Peaks.”
While they’re not writing music or binge-watching TV, both Walsh and Collins have also almost completed all requirements for becoming teachers in their designated fields – Collins for art whilst living in Kingston and Walsh for speech therapy while working at a school in Central Pennsylvania.
“Nobody at my job knows what I do,” Walsh says. “None of my kids, none of my coworkers or anything, know that I play in a band or anything like that. It’s kind of a strange separation. It’s almost like working two full-time jobs [because] we don’t work with a manager, so we both have a lot of extra responsibilities apart from our jobs and also from writing and practicing music. So it’s a lot, it’s a big commitment, but it’s been totally worth it.”
“It was weird today, I had to tell my bosses that because they were like, ‘What are your plans for the summer?’ being like, ‘Yeah, I’m traveling and having a life. I am actually in a band,’” adds Collins. “‘My hair will be blue tomorrow, so be warned.’”
Tigers Jaw will start their summer tour on Monday when they headline Union Transfer. Playing in Philly feels much like playing to a hometown audience, Collins says, with Walsh adding that it’s one of the next best things now that Scranton is almost devoid of places to perform.
“It’s definitely different working with different musicians when we’ve played with the same people for so long,” Walsh says. “It’s sort of refreshing. I kind of miss the styles of the guys who aren’t in the band anymore, but at the same time it’s cool having some new experiences and drawing influence from the new people we’re playing with.”
Walsh says that he’s still very much on good terms with the band’s former members. McIlwee is still making music under his solo moniker, Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, while Brier and Mishko remain in Philly’s own Three Man Cannon.
“They’ve always been one of my favorite bands and they don’t get nearly as much attention as they deserve,” he says of Three Man Cannon, who released a new album just one week before Charmer was scheduled to drop.
“Hopefully more people start to pay attention. I’ve definitely been seeing them get some more press, seeing song premieres on different websites and stuff, which is not something their band has really gone after too much in the past. But it’s really nice to see them getting some credit for the great art that they create.”
When news broke that Three Man Cannon was set to release its new LP, Pretty Many People, on May 27 via Lame-O Records, most headlines made sure to include that the band featured “ex-members of Tigers Jaw.” Drummer Pat Brier deems that widespread association, well, kind of silly.
“Dennis and I, we were in Three Man Cannon for about two years before we joined Tigers Jaw,” he says. “We weren’t actually in the band, we were just filling in. … For me, and I think Dennis and I have talked about it, it’s so silly because none of us really thought about it like that with either band. It’s something that is very much, unfortunately, fabricated. Not fabricated, but just totally taken out of perspective.” Continue reading →
Columbus, Ohio-based indie folk band Saintseneca returned to Philly on Wednesday night. Playing a show at Johnny Brenda’s in support of their latest LP, Dark Arc, the multi-instrumental band led by frontman Zac Little played a lively set of alt folk songs. Throughout the show, each member of the band swapped instruments between songs. Indie pop group Memory Map opened second with an energetic set of music off of their new album,The Sky As Well As Space. Scranton 4-piece band Three Man Cannon opened the show playing a set in support of their latest release, Pretty Many People. Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.
As they prepare to head out on tour with fellow Philadelphians Kite Party, Scranton natives Three Man Cannon are streaming their new album Pretty Many People. The band’s new album has a particularly melodic style of punk mixed with a dab of shoegaze and emo to go along. Highlights include the morose “Bleed,” which contains mournful lyrics such as “I don’t want to see you die/ I just want to see you bleed that’s all” as the song crescendos into a powerful outcry. Listen to the record below, and see Three Man Cannon open for Saintseneca on June 4th at Johnny Brenda’s. Tickets and information at the XPN Concert Calendar.
Scranton natives (and, more recently, Philly transplants) Three Man Cannon have dropped another song off of the forthcoming Pretty Many People with “Something I Found” following initial single “Patiently.” Brooklyn Vegan premiered the track, saying it “throws a surfy twang into the mix.” The guitars certainly call to mind the dreamy instrumentals of Real Estate, but Three Man Cannon make sure to balance the prettiness of the first half of the song with a fuzzy, pedal-infused second half. Pretty Many People will be released on May 27th through the Philadelphia-based Lame-O Records, and Three Man Cannon will be playing PhilaMOCA this Thursday, May 8th with Kite Party. You can also catch them at Johnny Brenda’s on June 4th with Saintseneca. Listen to “Something I Found” here and watch the video for “Patience” below.
The twinkly Philly punkers have waited three years to follow up their popular album, Baseball Season, which features staples like “Arizona” and “Spirit Gum.” However, the band’s fans have been treated to small previews of the upcoming album and it sounds unexpected in the best possible way. Both “Halflife” and “Summery Dream” have a light, atmospheric sound that’s heavy on the psychedelic vibes, less so on the loud guitars and raspy vocals.
Surely, they’ll performance will be a bit different, too, but we’re looking forward to it. Celebrating alongside Kite Party at their record release show will be punkers and/or indie rockers Three Man Cannon, Gunk, Thin Lips and The spirit of the beehive. The all-ages show starts at 7:30 p.m. and admission is $7.