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Listen to Slaughter Beach, Dog’s new album Safe And Also No Fear

Slaughter Beach, Dog | photo by Jess Flynn | courtesy of the artist

When the beloved local band Modern Baseball dissolved two years ago, frontman Jake Ewald’s occasional side project Slaughter Beach, Dog became his main gig, and the project’s rise came with a built-in fanbase of MoBo devotees. But with the release of Slaughter Beach, Dog’s third album, Safe And Also No Fear, this Friday, Ewald taken a bigger leap beyond the emo and pop-punk that defined his old band, and this time it feels like he’s cemented the project as its own fully-established band — and one that’s going to stick around for awhile. Continue reading →

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Mother Moses turn toward indie rock on new EP Bowling Shoes

Mother Moses | via facebook.com/mothermoses

Earlier this month, local trio Mother Moses released Bowling Shoes, a lovely new EP that finds the group turning toward the aesthetics of indie rock. The band, which formed in 2013 and currently includes Jon CoxGenevieve DeGroot and Collin Dennen, constructed their previous releases Slow the Fire and Traveling Glass on American folk and roots foundations with acoustic guitar, upright bass and fiddle. Every track on Bowling Shoes still relies on Cox’s acoustic guitar work, but electric bass, drum set, and electric guitars also play important roles on the EP. Continue reading →

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Listen to Practice, the lovable debut EP from local indie trio Soupy

Soupy | via soupy.bandcamp.com

Earlier this summer, the emerging local trio Soupy released a sweet and lovable debut EP entitled Practice on Bee Side Cassettes. The sounds on the DIY release are small in the best way, as in the intimate work of indie darlings like Free Cake for Every Creature and Frankie Cosmos. A recent Facebook post declares the group “recently voted west philly’s cutest rock band by all the bugs in the yard AND bees on the roof.” Continue reading →

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Philadelphia house singer Lady Alma returns with Twilight, her first studio album in ten years

Lady Alma at Kindred Presents | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Lady Alma, Philadelphia’s First Lady of House Music, put out Twilight on Friday morning, a collaboration with producer Mark de Clive-Lowe and her first full-length release in ten years. The album is packed with punchy vocal performances and colorful, buoyant instrumentals, amounting to some of her most memorable recent work. Continue reading →

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Summer Scouts sophomore LP Endless Light offers unwavering energy

Summer Scouts | photo by K. Egan | courtesy of the artist

Allentown rock band Summer Scouts has just released their newest project, an album called Endless Light. The five-piece’s debut took place in 2016 with Furthest Reach, which proved that their energetic sound could hold its own in the PA alt rock scene. The group has done it again three years later, their new album bringing even more chill-inducing harmonies and fiery guitar leads. Continue reading →

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Mannequin Pussy burn brighter than ever on new album Patience

Mannequin Pussy | photo by Marcus Maddox

Friday morning, rising Philadelphia rock band Mannequin Pussy released Patience, their third full-length album and their most cohesive effort to date. Vocalist and guitarist Marisa Dabice pushes her voice to all its extremes, and the band — with Athanasios Paul on guitar, Colins Rey Regisford on bass, and Kaleen Reading on drums — pushes every song forward with a new urgency.

The band’s previous albums GP and Romantic, both put out by Tiny Engines, feature harsher sounds and drier mixes on spite-filled indie-punk jams that usually lasted two minutes or less. On Patience, their first release on Epitaph, they seem to have deepened their ambitions, with admirable results. Many of these songs — “Drunk II”, “Fear/+/Desire”, “In Love Again” — burn brighter and longer than any of their past work. Mannequin Pussy recorded the new material at Conshohocken’s Studio 4 with local producer and engineer Will Yip, and they achieved warm, thick mixes with guitars and drums spread out wide in stereo space. The band has distilled their tense DIY sound into something steadfast by incorporating elements of grunge and shoegaze, but they have not lost their edge. Continue reading →

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On Keepsake, Hatchie demonstrates a mastery of dream pop

Keepsake cover art | courtesy of the artist

“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” This is the philosophy Hatchie has embraced on her debut album, Keepsake, out now via Double Double Whammy. The Australian artist, real name Harriette Pilbeam, pulls from Cocteau Twins, New Order, and Sky Ferreira to craft a 2019 dream pop treatise. The album rarely strays from genre norms, making it easily accessible and as addicting as Heaven or Las Vegas. Throughout the album, she proudly wears her influences and heart on her sleeve. The opening track “Not That Kind” begins with vicious drums and then morphs into a syrupy indie pop jam. It sets the stage for the rest of the album, introducing both Pilbeam’s remarkable voice and songwriting patterns.

The album’s first single, “Without a Blush”, is a jangly and punchy pop tune. It pulls listeners further into Hatchie’s hazy sonic world. “Unwanted Guest” is another jolt of energy that pops up at the album’s halfway point. These tracks mirror last year’s Sugar & Spice EP, but also show Hatchie sounding even more confident. The woozy, guitar-heavy outro on “Guest” makes a bold statement without words. Pilbeam’s lyrics are piercing throughout the record, so when she chooses to be silent, she is still saying something. Her silence represents an acceptance of vulnerability and letting others figure you out a bit. What is a debut album if not an opportunity for people to try to understand who you are, or want to be?

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Andrew Lipke returns with a exploratory new EP Overture

Andrew Lipke | courtesy of the artist

Andrew Lipke, the Philly-based, South African born composer and multi-instrumentalist, is known for his fusion of musical genres. His innovative and ever-evolving style has built him a career that ranges from composing classical music to covering Led Zeppelin, but what stands out most is his rich catalogue of solo songwriting, which showcases his ability to find common ground among his varied inspirations.

The newest addition is Overture, a new six-track EP that came out Friday. Lipke calls the EP “a collection of some of the music I’ve created so far in my exploration of themes and concepts within Herman Hesse’s novel Siddhartha.” The novel, which follows the title character’s spiritual journey in search of enlightenment, has inspired countless readers to follow their own paths of self-discovery — one can only assume that Lipke, through his songs, is on a similar journey. Continue reading →

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Bruce Springsteen and The Meaning of Life: Western Stars is uneven, but unafraid

Bruce Springsteen | photo courtesy of the artist

At this point in history, Bruce Springsteen doesn’t need to try anymore.

If we’re being completely honest, he hasn’t needed to try for a long time. The man wrote, recorded, and released no fewer than three masterpieces in the first ten years of his career – 1975’s Born to Run, 1980’s The River, and 1983’s Nebraska. The albums that surrounded them were all valiant efforts filled with strong, nuanced songwriting and major radio hits. His live shows have been things of legend since he was playing The Stone Pony and The Main Point. On legacy alone, arenas of fans the world around will continue flocking to the man who put Asbury Park on the map, regardless of what he brings to the table – whether it hits or misses.

Springsteen’s newest offering, Western Stars, is out today. It is his nineteenth studio album, and on the surface could be heard as a lackluster late-career move by a 70s rock veteran. But if you consider the road that led to it, it’s not that at all. Continue reading →

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Distantstarr keeps repping introversion and self-reliance on new mixtape Fine

Distantstarr | photo via facebook.com/distantstarr

Earlier this month, Philadelphia producer and emcee Distantstarr released Fine, a new mixtape that combines his psychedelic production and sound collaging with wry honesty. In eight curious tracks totaling less than eighteen minutes, the hip-hop artist brings us along on an introverted trip, and he explains how he’s gotten so comfortable with himself.

Distantstarr has been a prolific contributor to the local beats scene fo almost a decade, though his tastes have kept shifting throughout that time. His Bandcamp catalog — the most extensive collection of his output — dates back to 2012 and contains nineteen different releases, including six releases in the time since The Key caught up with him in February 2018. Continue reading →