Many events strive to be diverse. Few are as deeply committed to the cause as the people behind Rockers!.
A long-running monthly series in Philadelphia that promotes cultural diversity, the Rockers! shows are mix of genres, ethnicities, and even mediums. Spoken word events and workshops occur often—it’s not strictly music. The event series grew out of a desire to see more bands of color playing punk shows. Continue reading →
Summing up an entire region’s music scene in an hour-ish long compilation is pretty much impossible. But dangit, we try our best. I’m very psyched for the roster of artists we’ve lined up on The Key Studio Sessions Volume 10, out today as a free download you can grab below. Pop-punk wave makers Modern Baseball did a version of “The Weekend” from their 2012 debut LP Sports, and the mini XPN shoutout they deliver at the end of the first chorus might be my favorite moment of the set. The song as a whole is insanely fun and on point, and MoBo’s basement-scene brethren W.C. Lindsay (more synthpop leaning) and The Hundred Acre Woods (more folk-leaning) also make solid appearances. There are several acts on the comp who you’ll see this summer at the XPoNential Music Festival: Ginger Coyle, Commonwealth Choir, Marah and Marian Hill. I love using our studio to allow more experimental-leaning artists to blaze new paths, whether its Trophy Wife‘s expansive rager “Neil Young” (very reminiscent of the Dead Man score for sure), Tutlie‘s elegant dreamscape “Kaito” or Bleeding Rainbow‘s noise-punk jam “Time or Place.” Suave downbeat crooners Elegant Animals knock a track from their back catalogue out of the park, and though the comp is admittedly short on hip-hop, eclectic electronica soundscaper Ganou spits a fierce verse on “Detainment.” (We’ll have a lot more Philly hip-hop on volume 11 in August, don’t worry.) A summation of an entire scene? Of course not. I think of this more of an incomplete but nonetheless awesome snapshot of Philadelphia-area music circa spring 2014, one we’ll continue building on. Major thanks go to production assistants Dan Hatton and Dan Malloy; photographers Rachel Del Sordo, Megan Kelly, Allison Newbold, Dominique Montgomery and Ian Lewis; videographers Bob Sweeney, James Powers, Ryan Chowansky and Bands in the Backyard; and guest engineers Mattias Nilsson and Adam Staniszewski. Listen to the comp and download it for free below.
Folkadelphia welcomed Basia Bulat into the studio for a live session last fall and premiered it this week on XPN. The singer-songwriter performed poignant songs from both her recent Tall Tall Shadow release and her debut Oh, My Darling. Stream and download the stripped-down performance below.
Trophy Wife stopped by for this week’s Key Studio Session. The local genre chameleons recorded raw takes of songs that will appear on their upcoming third LP, expected later this year. Check out the “metaphysical pondering” of “Transition” below and get the full set here.
Philly punks Restorations will play tonight at Boot & Saddle. The five-piece will likely play some tunes off of its latest album, LP2, released last April, but according to the band’s Facebook page, they have some new songs in store for the audience. The Holy Mess and Dogs on Acid are also on the bill. The 21+ show will start at 8:30 p.m.; tickets cost $12 and can be purchased here.
Philly’s Trophy Wife is many things: expressive, aggressive, impressionistic, sensitive, empathetic, empowering and any number of attributes that adjectives just don’t do justice to. The power duo of Diane Foglizzo (guitar and vocals) and Katy Otto (drums and vocals) has roots in punk rock and hardcore – check their shared time in the D.C. scene before moving to Philly and founding the band in 2009 – but the music they create now spans so many styles. There are hints of metal, prog, noise and experimental music in their blend, and the dynamic sounds they create is perfect for underscoring thought-provoking lyrical topics.
In the past, Trophy Wife has sung about intolerance and self-reliance (“Boundaries,” performed in this week’s Key Studio Session, hits on some of these themes) while its newest work takes imaginative departures. “Transition” is a metaphysical pondering of our roles in the universe inspired by science fiction and Afrofuturism, while the raga-esque guitar tones of “Neil Young” – my favorite of the four new songs they debuted for us – set a haunting mood to minimal lyrics that seem to meditate on strength versus powerlessness. These are raw live performance of music that will be available in more fleshed-out versions later this year when Trophy Wife releases its third album. To experience it further in the meantime, though, catch the duo opening for Pissed Jeans and Purling Hiss this Saturday at Union Transfer; tickets and more information can be found here.
Year End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2013 awesome. In this installment, contributing photographer Chris Sikich recaps the year’s best under-the-radar bands as seen through his lens.
The cramped and barely lit First Unitarian Church was the perfect place for this band fronted by two rock geniuses — Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (The Mars Volta, At the Drive-In) and Teri Gender Bender (Le Butcherettes) — to make their Philly debut back in February. Though Bosnian Rainbows stands as the most well-known group of this list (this show sold out and their return in the summer to Underground Arts was very well attended), their self-titled debut was not easily found at record shops and is missing from year-end lists, despite being one my top five records of the year. Continue reading →
Why not start the year off on the heaviest foot possible with Pissed Jeans, Purling Hiss and Trophy Wife at Union Transfer on February 8th? Ultra-thrash punk band Pissed Jeans released their Honeys LP on Sub Pop this year, while scuzzy distortion kings Purling Hiss celebrated their major label debut with Water On Mars and Drag City. Fellow local duo Trophy Wife are prepping to head into the studio in January, so we can expect to hear some new songs from the socially-conscious rockers as well. Tickets and information for the all-ages show can be found here. Watch Pissed Jeans’ video for “Bathroom Laughter” below.
Four bands rocked First Unitarian Church to the core on Sunday night on the final stop of the Don Giovanni Records tour of Screaming Females with Waxahatchee, Tenement, and Trophy Wife. The night got under way on the basement floor where the dynamic duo of Philadelphia’s own Trophy Wife – drummer Katy Otto and guitarist Diane Foglizzo – took the breath away of all in attendance. It was this critic’s third time seeing them live and with each new performance, their rock prowess seems to grow exponentially. They are one of Philly’s greatest music treasures.
Next up was Wisconsin’s punkers Tenement. They were brash and energized, with lead singer and guitarist Amos Pitsch pouring every ounce of sweat into their set. They certainly know how to get the crowd moving, but their aesthetic is one of style over substance, so before one knew it they were gone.
Philly’s own Waxahatchee brought their indie cred to the forefront of the barely lit church stage. Band kingpin Katie Crutchfield and company unleashed tracks mainly from their 2013 masterpiece Cerulean Salt. The angular rock was the night’s counter to the punk and hard rock of the other three bands. Their set was a memorable slice of the contemporary hip.
The finale of Screaming Females was a culmination of the night’s styles, from the shredding expertise of Trophy Wife’s Foglizzo to the punk of Tenement and a dash of the present and future combined as found in Waxahatchee. Led by the mesmerizing Marissa Paternoster, they transported the packed basement of sweaty mostly twenty and thirtysomethings to the raw center of the desired elixir of perfect parts guitar, drum, and vocal. Swallowing the microphone and using her guitar as an axe of grand sound, Paternoster stirred the audience into a moshing frenzy that carried through to the end.
This was the 7th show in 10 days for this critic and the one I was looking forward to the most for the total music experience. It certainly lived up to and exceeded these expectations.
With its new album Kill My Blues in tow, The Corin Tucker Band celebrated record release day at Johnny Brenda’s last night with Philly power duo Trophy Wife playing an opening set. Check out a photo recap of the show in the gallery above.