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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Chris Sikich’s Top 5 Photos of Under-The-Radar Bands

Bosnian Rainbows at the First Unitarian Church | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Bosnian Rainbows at the First Unitarian Church | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

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.

Bosnian Rainbows, First Unitarian Church, Feb. 19

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 →

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Just Announced: Pissed Jeans, Purling Hiss and Trophy Wife will play Union Transfer on 2/8

Pissed Jeans | Photo by Abi Reimold | abireimoldphoto.com
Pissed Jeans | Photo by Abi Reimold | abireimoldphoto.com

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.

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Screaming Females, Waxahatchee and more wrap the Don Giovanni Records tour with a bang at The Church

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

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.

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Photo Recap: The Corin Tucker Band and Trophy Wife at Johnny Brenda’s

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.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Corin Tucker Band at Johnny Brenda’s, Joe Jackson at The Keswick, Florence and the Machine with The Weeknd at SBC, Market East at Kung Fu Necktie


Get your riot grrrl on for The Corin Tucker Band album release show at Johnny Brenda’s tonight!  Tucker was the vocalist/guitarist in the influential feminist punk band Sleater-Kinney alongside Carrie Brownstein in the nineties, but took a break from recording to start a family after the band’s split.  She has since returned to the studio and releases her solo band’s sophomore album Kill My Blues today.  Also billed are fishtown duo Trophy Wife.  Doors for the 21+ show are at 8:00pm.  Tickets and information can be found here.  Watch the video for “Riley” below, off of The Corin Tucker Band’s 2010 album 1,000 Years.

Continue reading →

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Get to know Trophy Wife (playing PhilaMOCA tonight)

Trophy Wife
Trophy Wife | Photo by John Vettese
This week, Philadelphia duo Trophy Wife released its sophomore album, Sing What Scares You, on Durham, NC label 307 Knox Records. An emotive nine-song arc of what’s best described as musical essays – exploring broad topics like social change and nonconformity from a feminist and LGBT-conscious perspective – the record’s roots lie in art rock and hardcore punk, at turns recalling early PJ Harvey, Bikini Kill, Fugazi and Converge. So, in short, this is heavy stuff. But it’s not all gloom and doom; there is an undercurrent of hope and empowerment throughout the album, and seeing Trophy Wife perform – as they’ll do tonight at PhilaMOCA – is practically a celebration. I swapped e-mails with singer-guitarist Diane Foglizzo and singer-drummer Katy Otto to learn more about the band, its new album and its perspective on making musical statements. Continue reading →

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Ian MacKaye to speak at the All-Ages Movement Project’s East Coast Summit at The Rotunda

Ian MacKayeIan MacKaye—co-founder of Dischord Records, former member of Minor Threat and Embrace, current member of Fugazi (on indefinite hiatus) and The Evens, and all-around DIY icon—has just been confirmed as the keynote speaker for the All-Ages Movement Project‘s East Coast Summit. The event, which is being organized by Exotic Fever Records co-founder (and Trophy Wife drummer) Katy Otto, will be held at The Rotunda on Saturday, February 26th.

The summit will feature “[a]n evening of panels, speakers, training, networking and live music designed for staff, volunteers, allies, and fans of all-ages music venues and youth music organizations.” AMP says the goal is for participants to “[h]ear what your peers around the region are doing, learn how we can take collective action to advance the field, and strengthen young people’s access to the tools of participatory cultural production.” Other confirmed speakers include R5 Productions‘ Andy Nelson, Sugar Town’s Sara Sherr, Fredericksburg All Ages‘ Adam Bray, and Girls Rock Philly!‘s Beth Warshaw-Duncan; Grace Ambrose, who organized last week’s panel discussion with Kathleen Hanna and Sara Marcus, will moderate the discussion. As if that list of local names isn’t impressive enough, the summit will also feature performances by Philadelphia’s own Slutever and SGNLS. The sliding-scale admission of $10-$15 will also get you a copy of AMP’s book, In Every Town: An All-Ages Music Manifesto.

If you’re currently under 21, you probably don’t need us to tell you why all-ages shows are of critical importance to the local music community; the frustration and disappointment that comes with not being able to see one of your favorite bands perform live (because you’re not legally old enough to buy a beer from the venue) is likely a regular occurrence. And, if you’re 21+, it shouldn’t take much more than a quick reminder of that experience to stir up the old frustration. Needless to say, it’s an important cause, so you can expect plenty of reminders and other related coverage from us in the next week and a half.

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Tonight’s Concert Pick: Girls Rock Philly! benefit show w/Trophy Wife, Cat Vet, Whore Paint, and Slutever at The Rotunda

GRP Benefit ShowAs we mentioned this morning, tonight’s must-see “Revolution Girl Style Again” panel discussion (simulcast via streaming video at The Rotunda) is immediately followed by a Girls Rock Philly! benefit show. The lineup features three local acts—Trophy Wife, Cat Vet, and Slutever—as well as Providence, RI’s Whore Paint. I won’t even bother trying to tone down my unbridled enthusiasm for tonight’s discussion + concert one-two combo; February 8th has been circled on my calendar since the moment I first found out about the two events. Between the speakers, the musical acts, the venues, and the organizations involved, it promises to be an invigorating evening on multiple levels. So, basically, if you didn’t have any plans for tonight, you do now—and, if you had plans for that didn’t include The Rotunda, you should change them. Trophy Wife, Cat Vet, Slutever, and Whore Paint perform at 8 p.m. at The Rotunda; tickets to the all-ages show are $5 (all proceeds benefit Girls Rock Philly!).

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RSVP to the “Revolution Girl Style Again” panel conference feat. Kathleen Hanna, Sara Marcus, + more

If you’re a product of, inspired by, or simply interested in the Riot Grrrl feminist punk movement of the early ’90s and haven’t already picked up a copy of Sara Marcus’ Girls To The Front: The True Story Of The Riot Grrrl Revolution (released last September by Harper Perennial) you probably owe it to yourself to do so. And make sure to read it by February 8th, when Marcus—along with Bikini Kill/Le Tigre frontwoman Kathleen Hanna, Philly (by way of D.C.) musician and Exotic Fever Records co-founder Katy Otto, and Girls Rock Philly founder Beth Warshaw-Duncan—drops by the Kelly Writers House‘s Arts Cafe (3805 Locust Walk) on The University Of Pennsylvania campus for a panel discussion.

From the event organizers:

On Tuesday, February 8, beginning at 6:00 p.m., we’ll be celebrating and investigating all things Riot Grrrl. REVOLUTION GIRL STYLE AGAIN brings together a panel of national and local experts on this two-decade-old musical-feminist movement, a cross-section of musicians, writers, and activists featuring KATHLEEN HANNA, SARA MARCUS, KATY OTTO, and BETH WARSHAW-DUNCAN…Organized by this year’s Kerry Prize winner Grace Ambrose (C ’11), the event will culminate in a concert at the Rotunda, open to all. This event is part of Penn Women’s Week.

Author Sara Marcus will read from her critically acclaimed Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution and moderate a discussion among legendary Riot Grrrl musician Kathleen Hanna, activist and founder of Exotic Fever Records Katy Otto and the founder of Girls Rock! Philly, Beth Warshaw-Duncan. Topics will range from discussion of the panelists own participation in the movement to what women in music can and should be doing today. A concert at the Rotunda (4014 Walnut) will follow, featuring Philadelphia bands Trophy Wife and Cat Vet, as well as Providence’s Whore Paint, with all proceeds benefiting the Girls Rock! Philly organization, which encourages teenage girls to pick up instruments and start bands.

Full details (including speaker bios) can be found here. Seats are extremely limited at this point, so you should RSVP by emailing wh@writing.upenn.edu or calling (215) 746-POEM.