Kingston, Pennsylvania crew Title Fight marked its ten-year anniversary this fall, and threw a big celebration in true punk rock style: with a sold-out five-band all-ages bill at an American Legion hall in nearby Glen Lyon. Joining them were fellow local noisemakers Balance and Composure and Daylight, along with Wilkes-Barre hardcore band Dead End Path and touring act Justice (a punk band from Belgium, not the dance band from France). In addition to their ten years and dozen or so releases together, Title Fight also had a forward-thinking cause to celebrate: the new Spring Songs EP 7″, available now via Revelation Records. Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.
Before heading off to tour Australia and Japan, Daylight put together a quirky music video for “No One’s Deserving”. The video opens with a man singing along to the lyrics “Afraid / to be myself / alone / I can’t be loved” as he puts on a mouse mascot head. Watch the physical and personal journey this mouse-man takes below, and listen for Daylight on The Key Studio Sessions on tonight’s Philly Local show on WXPN.
Title Fight‘s latest release, a four song EP entitled Spring Songs, is another move forward for the Kingston punk band. Some of these songs could fit into their 2012 LP Floral Green, but others like the single “Be a Toy” are fuzzier and more laid-back than older releases. The guitars are as lazy as the vocals, as Jamie Rhoden sings “Being used / I’m used to it” in the most melancholy tone. This EP is definitely a change up for Title Fight, and it is awesome to see them write songs that sound different, but are just as good as their back catalog.
In the video for “Be a Toy,” Title Fight’s friend Susy Cereijo documents the band’s recent trip around Europe: showing show clips, the beauty they saw on their travels, and the band’s everyday life. Check out the retro video, which was shot on Super 8 film, below. Pick up Spring Songs here, or stream it after the jump.
The punk rock guys from Kingston and Doylestown, PA put on a phenomenal hometown show at a sold out Union Transfer last week. Both Title Fight and Balance and Composure displayed just how heavy they can be, and how tight they are, even with stage divers running by them for almost the entirety of the show.
After opening sets from poppy Lehigh Valley duo Slingshot Dakota and Portland, Maine’s Cruel Hand, Balance and Composure kicked off a set of songs mostly from their second album The Things We Think We’re Missing. These tracks sounded huge, and even better than they do on the record. The grittiness in the music came through very well, especially as Jon Simmons poured his heart out in every way from melodies to all out screams. As they played “Parachutes” and “Notice Me” it was as if the band transcended into a space between beautiful and grungy, bringing the chanting crowd along with them. With all the explosions and layered guitar grooves in their powerful music, Balance and Composure has continued to progress as one of the best bands in the area.
Title Fight is a band that has not only put out great records in the recent past (see Floral Green), but has risen to prominence in the national punk rock scene for their intense live shows. Title Fight came out as hard as they always do, head banging and thrashing all over the stage, dodging the multitude of fans that had made their way on to the stage. They did not skip a beat the entire time (except for an injury that caused the show to be put on halt for some time), and picked up one song right as the previous one had ended. Playing old favorites such as “Symmetry” among newer songs like “Secret Society,” they kept the crowd on their feet and in the show. Of course, the crowd was yelling lyrics right back in the band’s face and they seemed to know every single word. The performance was heartfelt, and the ecstatic reaction from the crowd only reinforced just how good this band is.
Within a few hours of Title Fight‘s new single “Be A Toy” popping up online this week (including yesterday’s Pitchfork nod) folks were already weighing in on the Kingston, Pa. punk outfit’s latest progression. On YouTube and Soundcloud, some talked of the band blending their aggressive old and melodic new sounds and not wanting to be pigeonholed by the pop-punk world. Others drew fond comparisons to The Strokes and Weezer. My favorite, from YouTube user Christopher7937: “Dear Title Fight, I know you change your sound every 7″/LP but please keep this. It’s the jaaaam”
Listening to the track, which will appear on the band’s Spring Songs EP, due out November 12th on Revelation Records, its immediately apparent that this is Title Fight at its most direct and accessible – and that for this band, accessibility does not mean wimping out on volume or distortion. For a crew that’s built its rabid fan base from the ground up, without much mainstream attention outside of the alt-punk world, this signals a brilliant middle ground that could both usher in new listeners while maintaining the loyalty of the old ones. Check out “Be a Toy” below, and get more information on Title Fight’s headlining Union Transfer show on October 12th here.
Settled between a row of gleaming gold records and a wall of shiny metal knobs, producer Will Yip looks at right at home behind his Neve console in Conshohoken’s Studio 4.
He and Wayne Wildrick, guitarist for Jersey-based pop punk band Man Overboard, listen to drummer Joe Talarico play in the next room. He’s tracking for a fast, new and un-demoed Man O song, and still not quite getting it despite take after take. Yip gives direction on hitting the crash and keeping tempo as the drummer’s bandmate offers more pointers in reference to the other instrumentation in the song. The click track whirs by again and again; the BPMs are so high, it’s more like a hum than a rhythm.
“How is it possible for any human to play along with that?” Yip asks jokingly. But as a drummer who’s played every style from hardcore to R&B, he probably has some idea.
There’s a wealth of knowledge and experience, coupled with a can-do attitude, that has brought bands to record with Yip in Studio 4 since he was just barely out of his teens. Now, the 26-year-old remains laid back and constantly smiling despite the pressure one might think would come with recording some of the best bands in the current punk/pop punk/hardcore scene, and working to bring out the best in all of them.
“He’s something else, that’s for sure,” Wildrick says of working with Yip. Man Overboard recorded for the first time with him in January for their third studio album Heart Attack, and credits Yip with its success. “He brings the performance out of bands. It’s just a whole other thing.”
From hometown heroes of the greater Philadelphia area – Circa Survive, Title Fight, Balance and Composure and Daylight – to national acts, bands from every area of alternative have been flocking to Yip for his stamp of production approval. In turn, he’s helped these bands reach vocal and instrumental lengths they never dreamed of, given them releases worthy of the Billboard Top 200, and most likely became one of their best friends in just that short month or so spent in the studio.
All of Yip’s efforts, from his work ethic to his approachable demeanor, are a part of his 30-year rule. Continue reading →
The last time the Philly punk band Title Fight played Union Transfer, it was in support of the reunited emo quartet, Texas Is The Reason (find photos and a recap of that show here). They’ll be making their return to UT on Saturday, October 12th, the only difference is, this time they’re headlining. Their most recent full-length, Floral Green, came out in September of 2012 via SideOneDummy Records. The local punks will be supported by fellow Philly-natives Balance and Composure, as well as the Brooklyn-based two-piece, Slingshot Dakota. Tickets go on sale this Friday, June 14th, at noon. Information for the show can be found here, and listen to the track “Head In The Ceiling Fan”, off of Floral Green, below.
New York City’s Texas is the Reason is one of the most influential and trendsetting bands to emerge from the 90′s emo-punk movement. After almost two decades, only one album, multiple breakups and an immense cult fan base, Texas is the Reason will once again be hitting the road for a few tour dates in 2013. The band will be stopping in nine major cities, including Philadelphia’s Union Transfer on February 16th. This tour is in support of their remastered anthology, which includes two never-before-released songs (recorded with Jawbox’s J. Robbins in 1997) that will mark the band’s final goodbye. The complete remastered discography will be released by Revelation Records on February 12th The band will be supported in Philadelphia by the Kingston, Pennsylvania 4-piece Title Fight, who recently released a new album in September of 2012. Title Fight’s new album can be found here. For more information and ticket sales visit the R5 page located here. Below, watch video of Texas is the Reason playing the First Unitarian Church in 1996.
For The Key’s year-in-review, we asked our trusted sources – our writers and photographers, XPN’s on-air staff, fellow bloggers in the Philly scene and even a few musicians – to send us their Top Five Whatevers. Could be the traditional music route – albums, songs, concerts of the year – or it could be only loosely connected. We’ll be sharing these recaps every day through to the end of the year. Today, contributing writer Beth Ann Downey ranks her top collaborations from regional artists.
We music lovers read, browse, skim, agree with, disagree with and soon forget so many of these lists this time of year. But if you’re a rock/punk/alternative lover from in or around Philadelphia, hopefully you’ll remember this one.
Collaborations amongst hard-working artists are undoubtedly how the best music is made. And in a time when folk, hip-hop and electronic music seem to top most of these other lists this year, I wanted to highlight the local singers, instrumentalists and producers who work together to do what they love despite what’s popular.
Collaborations are also where we see scene veterans training or complimenting emerging talent, and vice versa. Whether it’s bringing them out on tour or asking them to provide guest vocals on a new track, it’s great to see bands helping each other, or big-time producers working diligently on what they think should become the next big thing.
Here are five examples, in no particular order, of just how much love and talent the city of Brotherly Love has to go around. Continue reading →