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The Key Studio Sessions: The Warhawks

Maybe it’s their working-class roots in Gloucester City, New Jersey, but the work ethic exhibited by rock and roll four-piece The Warhawks is tough to match.

We first met them at WXPN care of the Jake Rabid-hosted Local Show on our XPN2 webstream, and they were just-out-of-high-school teenagers who had already spent years hustling their music at shows around the Delaware Valley and online. They impressed us with a revved-up proto-Key Sessions set featuring serious Kings of Leon vibes; five knockout songs, blazed through on a Sunday afternoon. A couple years later, I ran into them on the streets of Austin, Texas and saw that work ethic in action again when they literally showed up to an unofficial SXSW showcase I was watching and talked their way onto the bill. Chatting to them afterward, that was pretty much their plan — pile in their van, drive to Austin, get their music of the hands of anyone who would listen, play every street corner that would take them.

They’ve kept me in the know about every piece of music they’ve put out since then — brash garage rock bruisers collected on like 2011’s Thief, or 2012’s Ordinary Time. And after a while, I admittedly almost began to take The Warhawks for granted as part of our local music fabric: four dudes who kicked out reliably asskicking projects now and again.

And then this year’s Never Felt So Good happened. And it was that level-up that we’d all been waiting for.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Steve Gunn at PhilaMOCA, Kopecky Family Band at Union Transfer, and The Jawn at Bourbon and Branch

Steve Gunn | photo by Constance Mensh
Steve Gunn | photo by Constance Mensh

Brooklyn-based guitarist Steve Gunn will be playing PhilaMOCA tonight. Known for dabbling in different genres, Gunn has incorporated various styles into his eclectic sound including psychedelic, Gnawa and classical Indian music. He’s had a steady stream of new releases since his initial appearance on the scene and shows no sign of stopping, with this year alone producing three separate albums: a collboration with guitarist Mike Gangloff, Melodies for a Savage Fix; another with Mike Cooper, Cantos de Lisboa; and just this month, his solo album, Way Out Weather. Be sure not to miss this music maniac tonight! For more information, head to the XPN Concert Calendar. You can check out his NPR Tiny Desk Concert performance below. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Pretty Greens at North Star Bar, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at Chameleon Club, The Warhawks at Kung Fu Necktie and more…

The Pretty Greens
The Pretty Greens | photo by Jason Blake | http://www.jason-blake.com

Local punk trio The Pretty Greens play North Star Bar tonight.  The self-described feminist art-garage pop-punk outfit released an EP called Jealous Waves earlier this year, reaching out to melodic surf punk to create a Best-Coast-with-a-mission vibe.  Watch the band play the title track to the EP live below.  Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show can be found here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: A.M. Mills at Ortliebs, Dawn Hiatt at Tin Angel, The Warhawks at Kung Fu Necktie and more

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

Philly singer-songwriter A.M. Mills celebrated Record Store Day at AKA Music and tonight he plays at Ortlieb’s. Last month, he released a stellar track titled “Wreckin’ My World” which has a ’70s California-rock ballad feel to it (think Tom Petty). It’s simple, melodic and feels good all around. Check it out below and get tickets here.

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Hit the garage with The Warhawks in their “Just Let Me” video; see them at Kung Fu Necktie on 5/9

The Warhawks | Photo by Kate Kell
The Warhawks | Photo by Kate Kell

Gloucester City rockers The Warhawks are self-releasing their latest EP, Exodus, and celebrating this Friday May 9th at Kung Fu Necktie. The set finds the band traveling loud and dark paths with their sound, which was pretty heavy stuff to begin with. Whereas before our point of reference was heavy arena rockers Kings of Leon, the new stuff sounds notably rawer and more punk. The video for “Just Let Me,” released a couple months back, has a definite Buzzcocks by-way-of Queens of the Stone Age vibe to it. The clip shows the band going HAM in a garage with an American flag draped from a wall behind their drumkit – the feverish intensity is pretty much in line with the band we’ve seen rock out at venues from Johnny Brenda’s to the backyard party they crashed at SXSW a  few years back. Check out the video below and get tickets and information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar.

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Download a heavy new single from The Warhawks called “Just Let Me”

The Warhawks | photo by Kate Kell
The Warhawks | photo by Kate Kell

South Jersey rockers The Warhawks have released a new single called “Just Let Me.”  The track is taken from the four-piece’s forthcoming effort called Exodus, set for release this spring.  The manic and aggressive nature of “Just Let Me” ups the heaviness from previous releases, ripping into a dexterous guitar solo while recalling the energy of The Clash (though they have been compared to the grittier, early manifestation of modern rockers Kings of Leon as well).  Take a listen to “Just Let Me” below and stay tuned for details on a record release show coming soon.

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Interview: South Jersey rockers The Warhawks talk heavy sounds and hustling their CDs (playing Kung Fu Necktie tonight)

The Warhawks are hungry. You could see it when they piled in a van and drove to South By Southwest this spring, performing on Sixth Street in Austin by the highway overpass and hustling their way into unofficial showcase lineups. And you can hear it in the jagged, intense hard rock tones of their latest EP, Times and Tides. The band – made up of four longtime friends from Gloucester City, New Jersey – is this month’s featured artist in the new Strangled by the Stereo Wire 90s DJ night at Kung Fu Necktie. This week, they stopped by WXPN to talk about lessons learned and plans yet to be made.

The Key: Last time I saw you, you were in Austin down at South by Southwest, guerillaing it and playing on street corners and whatever bills you could get on. How did you feel about that experience? Would you do it again?

Matt Orlando: We’d definitely do it again. We’ll probably get a hotel room next time. We were in the van for seven of the ten days. But we learned a lot about promoting, the proper way and techniques. Getting down there, actually meeting people, putting our CD in their hand – that’s a big thing.

Patrick Bilodeau: A lot of other bands were about visuals, flyers, hype for what’s going on that night.

MO: We found that it was important to talk to people, tell them about what we were doing. They responded well to that.

Tom Lipski: You could tell the difference – the bands that had showcases were kind of just chilling. Since we didn’t have an official showcase, we were pushing really hard to get people out to the shows we were playing.

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SXSW Dispatch: Greetings from the BITBY Backyard

Our video-blogger friends at Bands In The Backyard are big supporters of Philadelphia music, even when they’re in Austin. For its inaugural (and unofficial) SXSW showcase—which was presented by WXPN and The Key—BITBY put a half dozen Delaware Valley artists on a backyard stage (more like a back porch) in a quiet neighborhood just outside of Austin’s bustling downtown. The vibe was tremendously positive, from next-door neighbors extending warm welcomes early in the day, to Key favorite Attia Taylor performing her first-ever solo electronic set (which was mesmerizing). South Jersey rockers The Warhawks even stopped by to check out the show and squeezed in an unplanned set at the encouragement of the BITBY crew. Also on the bill were Brooklyn post-rockers The Veda Rays, Denmark indie folkie Dad Rocks!, and Spain experimentalists Za!. Check out a gallery of the afternoon above, and listen to greetings recorded by each of the artists below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Kyle Costill

 

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The Warhawks Want To Be Rock and Roll Friends

warhawksWe think of The Warhawks as South Jersey’s answer to Kings of Leon. And hey, that’s not an insult, music snobs. Sure, KoL’s “Use Somebody” is a trite mess, but if you think back to before they were overblown and overplayed, the Tennessee troopers could kick it with the best of the gritty American rockers.

Likewise, The Warhawks – a four piece from Gloucester City – are the real deal. Genuine and unpretentious, these four young dudes have a knack for 90s hooks, tight arrangements and making loud amplifiers do their bidding. They blew Jake Rabid and myself away with their Local Tracks Session this past Sunday night, so much so that we want to hear it again.

Here’s an exclusive download of their performance of “South River” from the session they did for Y Rock Local Tracks