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Mal Blum doesn’t need a reason to be Mal Blum on “I Don’t Want To,” from new album Pity Boy

Mal Blum | courtesy of the artist

A few weeks back, Mal Blum released “Things Still Left To Say,” their first new song three years. Now, they’ve followed the new tune with the announcement that their new LP, Pity Boy, will be released July 12 on Don Giovanni Records. Mal Blum also shared the second single from the forthcoming record, the upbeat and assertive “I Don’t Want To,” that proves you don’t need a reason to be yourself. Continue reading →

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Mal Blum needs to be heard on “Things Still Left To Say”

Mal Blum | photo by Emma Mead

Before they head out on tour next month, Mal Blum has shared some new music — their first in three years. Out now via Don Giovanni Records, “Things Still Left To Say” is a deceptively upbeat song that tackles themes of loneliness and vulnerability as Blum realizes that too many things have been left unsaid. The New York singer-songwriter, who’s spent the better part of the last few years on the road, is joined by friends and fans in the accompanying video to share the sentiment of the song while making sure their own voice is finally heard. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Mal Blum and the Blums at Everybody Hits, Jaheim at the Dell Music Center

Mal Blum and the Blums | photo by Chris Sikich via artist’s facebook

Singer-songwriter Mal Blum along with her band (the Blums) are coming through Philadelphia for the second show of their three-city July mini-tour, their last time in Philly being a sold out night at PhilaMOCA. Mal’s last album You Look A Lot Like Me was released in 2015 via Don Giovanni Records and balances exploration of periods of depression with well-placed humor. Catch the show tonight at Everybody Hits. Click here for more information. Continue reading →

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Going outdoors with Screaming Females, Shellshag at Don Giovanni Records showcase

Screaming Females | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Screaming Females | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

To spend the last Saturday of summer outside in beautiful weather is a must. But to get live music with the sun and warmth is even better. Throw in some punk and indie rock sensibilities and you get last weekend’s Don Giovanni Records showcase at Boyd Park in New Brunswick, New Jersey. With the Raritan River as a stunning backdrop, the awesome forces of Screaming Females, Shellshag and six other bands were quite a treat. Continue reading →

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Listen to Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz guest host the Indie Rock Hit Parade

DJ Sad13 aka Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz | Photo by Eric Schuman

In just over six years of hosting the Indie Rock Hit Parade, I’ve had plenty of guests on the show. Usually it’s a live in-studio performance or a fun-filled DJ visit from Jon Wurster. After all this time, though, there’s one thing I’ve never had, and that’s a vacation. This past week, while I was in San Francisco, I left my beloved Friday show in the capable hands of the Hit Parade’s first-ever guest host, DJ Sad13 aka Sadie Dupuis.

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Curtis Cooper takes us through their new Graceful LP, one song at a time

Curtis Cooper | photo by Kristina Abuladze | courtesy of the artist

A year and a half ago, Philadelphia singer-songwriter Curtis Cooper was emerging from a haze of addiction and depression, of deep personal lows and tragic losses in their circle of friends. The intense emotion surrounding this time period was channeled into Messy, Cooper’s turbulent sophomore album that is equally infused with propulsive punk, explosive electric guitar jazz and psychedelic rock, as well as cathartic screams into the void.

By the time the album was released in the autumn of 2017, Cooper was in a much better place in life then when it was written. They had come out as nonbinary — meaning that they don’t identify their gender as exclusively male or female, and use they/their pronouns —  they realized what a strong support network they had in their family and friends, and they were looking forward to their next chapter. In an interview at the time, Cooper told us that the new songs they were writing were more acoustic-based, with vocals in their upper register. “It’s a prettier voice, a falsetto,” Cooper said. “Which I didn’t think I was allowed to do because men aren’t supposed to sing high.”

They also said the album “is going to be a lot about gender and happiness. It helped coming out as nonbinary because it takes a lot of pressure off yourself. ‘I’m supposed to look this way, I’m supposed to act this way.’ All that crap is worked out. I’m definitely writing happy songs now, or at least positive songs now.”

Today, we’re happy to give you a first listen to the resulting album, Graceful. As Cooper’s quote suggested, reducing it to “happier” isn’t quite accurate — there are songs on here about navigating mental health struggles (“All of my life I’ve given a sign / And i know we don’t see what others see” in “All Of The Time”), there are songs about trying but still feeling not entirely comfortable with one’s outward appearance (“Does this fit right? / I can’t tell.” in “Best Dress”). But in the same way gender is complex, and not an either-or thing, so to is emotion, and to deny the nuance and range in our mental states is to deny our true selves. Cooper is right that the outlook at the end of Graceful is a positive one, as its best moments are about bravely expressing gender (“Graceful”), appreciating that you and your loved ones are alive (“I’m Glad”), and pushing to be the best person you can be.

On top of the lyrical themes, which Cooper has always excelled at unpacking, is an impressive musical range that dabbles in Appalachian folk and dreamy Beatles progressions a la Elliott Smith (“Outta Here”), urgent acoustic R&B and soul (the Ganou-featured “I Wish I Could Love You”), and nimble Latin jazz guitar (“Latency”). It’s Cooper’s strongest work to date, and we asked them to take us through the album one song at a time.       Continue reading →

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Lucy Dacus is haunting, yet optimistic at Union Transfer

Lucy Dacus | photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

When Lucy Dacus appeared onstage, there was an audible shift in the room, background murmur dying down to a rapt hush. “I’m from Richmond,” she said, introducing the song “Yours & Mine.” “I wrote this in frustration of where I live and to write myself out of the shame of being an American. I think you have to do things that make you active and feel like you’re participating in the good parts of the world.” The lyrics describe the disillusionment of returning home, that feeling of not belonging anymore. Much of her acclaimed album Historian grapples with similarly tough themes, asserting a stony optimism in the face of disaster. This resilient demeanor carried across the breadth of her Thursday night concert in Philadelphia.  Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Lucy Dacus will headline Union Transfer in March

Lucy Dacus | courtesy of Matador Records

After a busy 2018, Lucy Dacus has just announced her next tour, which will bring her to Union Transfer on March 21 for her biggest Philly show yet. The tour will take Dacus up and down the East Coast and through the Midwest, stopping in some smaller cities she’s never played before. She’ll be joined by illuminati hotties for the first leg and Mal Blum and Fenne Lily for the second leg. Continue reading →