Up the Chain bring some new music to Bourbon & Branch tonight. We recently premiered the trio’s single “Sidecar,” an track written by frontman Reed Kendall a few years ago that got a rejuvination for the band’s upcoming LP The Prison Break. Tonight’s show sends Up the Chain off on a European tour; pick up tickets here and listen to “Sidecar” below.
Philly singer and songwriter Reed Kendall and his band Up The Chain have always been spoken of interchangeably.
“[Up until this year], it was essentially a solo project with a lot of loyal compadres helping out,” Kendell tells me. “It wasn’t a band in the sense of being the others’ first priority. But I even hesitate to say stuff like that, because their contributions were incredible. All the guys I played with are fantastic, and every time I played a show, it felt like a band.
Kendall pauses, and continues: “But at the end of the day, when I wanted to do something, I’d see who was available. And if people weren’t, the show went on.”
This approach served Kendall well on his 2011 debut full-length Holy, Open, Drying Road, and the followup LP Seeds and Thorns, released in November of 2013. Gusts of spectral Americana mixed in blues, soul and southwestern swampy sounds to give the records and shows a nice Tom Waits / Kris Kristofferson / Randy Newman vibe: husky and mysterous, but with an impeccable pop sensibility. This spring, Kendall locked in the trio of Noah Skaroff on bass and Kirby Sybert on drums and released the EP Windows Into Worlds, the first release from Up The Chain as a full-time power trio.
“The Hardest Stone” is the first track from Up The Chain‘s latest EP, Windows Into Worlds, and the song now has a great new video to go along with it. Matching the catchiness and jubilation of the song, the video features the band sing and dancing along while making pancakes for morning breakfast. Continue reading →
“Windows Into Worlds” marks Up the Chain‘s second single as a fully-committed trio, and is also the title track off of their upcoming EP, scheduled to be released April 21.
The new song, released this week, is telling of the diverse sound from the Philly indie-rock group. It’s gentler (solely vocals and piano), compared to the rough guitar riffs on “The Hardest Stone,” the first release off of the upcoming EP. When vocalist Reed Kendall croons, “You’ve got all of me,” make no mistake– it’s a love song. Continue reading →
Up The Chain used to encompass frontman Reed Kendall and various musicians enlisted for live performances. Now, a fully committed trio has been formed, and the first release from the group, a track titled “The Hardest Stone” – which you might remember the band playing during its Key Studio Session last year. The song is crisp display of Kirby Sybert on drums and Noah Skaroff on bass, mixing fittingly with Kendall’s smooth vocals and guitar riffs. You can listen to the track via Baeble Music. Continue reading →
Bringing back some of the jazz history of the newly-remodeled Ortlieb’s, evocative Philly trumpet player Paul Gless plays a set tonight with his eight-piece band. His music ranges from interpretations of songs he heard growing up in a Unitarian Universalist church and emotive, introspective compositions. Outside of this group, Gless’ work has pushed the boundaries of what jazz can be, incorporating electronic textures and synthesizer sounds, and his trumpet playing has scored independent short films – including the surreal Des Images Clairesby Tailor Wilcox, where the score has a sultry Hollywood jazz vibe. Joining the Paul Gless Group tonight is Tom Moon’s Ensemble Novo. Tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →
This is a song for a rainy day. ”For To Give Away,” taken from Up the Chain‘s second full-length Seeds & Thorns, represents the band’s sonically softer and more soulful side though the lyrics and the video, which we’re premiering here today, are full of inner and outer conflict. Continue reading →
Tonight, Johnny Brenda’s will help raise money for the documentary-in-progress, Voice Of The Eagle: The Enigma Of Robbie Basho, a study of the late and influential steel guitar player and composer. Performers will include Daniel Bachman, a fingerpicking folk guitar player who is a master of the six strings, along with Arborea, a husband and wife duo from Maine, Check out Daniel Bachman’s amazing NPR Tiny Desk performance below. Tickets for the show can be purchased here. 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.
Up The Chain (aka Reed Kendall) channeled his inner balladeer in a sweet and simple rendition of The Lawsuits’ “You Won’t Love Me If You Don’t” recorded for Root Down in the Shadow‘s Cover Club series. This is just one of many forms the song has taken. Originally a solo tune written and recorded by frontman Brian Dale Strouse, it became a full band affair and was featured on the Lawsuits’ album Cool Cool Cool with Vanessa Winters on vocals. Kendall’s version resonates in a quietly somber way that’s just enough to draw you in and keep you listening. Check it out below and get tickets to Up The Chain’s April 26th show at Ardmore Music Hall here.