Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

James Alex’s Beach Slang is back with his first LP since 2016’s A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings. I didn’t know what to expect when I clicked on that link but this first single rips from front to end. Replacements Tommy Stinson helps out on this album.

While James Alex has always infused his anthemic power pop with the earnestness of a gutter poet, Deadbeat Bang sneaks up on you. Like all Beach Slang albums, the eleven tracks are all written and arranged by James. It’s big, loud, and brash, immediately setting the tone for a record more inspired by the stadium classic rock of Cheap Trick than early Replacements. The record was mixed by heavy-hitter Brad Wood, celebrated for his work with the Smashing Pumpkins and Liz Phair.

Downtown lust, switchblade blues, runaway stutter going tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick boom. Lipstick thump, baby, I’m bulletproof. Boulevard thunder going tick-tick-tick-tick-tick. Bam rang rang. Go bam rang rang. The deadbeat bang of heartbreak city. I’m a cigarette with nothing to lose. I’m a filthy rat, a heart attack, a no-good nothing with an itch to scratch. Bam rang rang. Go bam rang rang. The deadbeat bang of heartbreak city. I got a dimestore strut and a cold gin stare. I’m a loaded gun with a sawed-off sneer. You betcha.
From the upcoming full-length album “The Deadbeat Bang Of Heartbreak City”
Released October 14th, 2019

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Over a month after sharing “Best Laid Plans” from her sophomore album as Harmony Woods, Sofia Verbilla is rewarding our patience with one more single from “Make Yourself at Home” in the form of that track’s sequel, the equally heartfelt “Best Laid Plans II.” Where the former detailed the first cracks in a young relationship, the latter explores the tension that arises when this rift can no longer be ignored.

“This song is the culmination of all the angst and tension that has built up since the two characters have realized they may not be right for each other,” Verbilla explains. “Moments from the first ‘Best Laid Plans’ are echoed as the narrator realizes that giving into this infatuation early on was not the best idea. They genuinely care about the other person, and they want things to feel good again, but they ultimately attempt to postpone this fight because they know deep down it will lead to the end.”

“Months ago, I promised you / I would never dare to let us go to bed angry / Can you feel the resentment building?” sings someone who definitely listens to both boygenius and Paramore.

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All songs written by Sofia Verbilla

Vocals/Rhythm Guitar/Keys – Sofia Verbilla
Lead Guitar – Chance Halter
Bass – Hank Byerly
Drums – Jeremy Berkin

Released October 4th, 2019

Recorded October 8th-10th 2018 at Uniform Recording in Philadelphia, PA. Produced, arranged, composed, and performed by Sam Cook-Parrott. Engineered by Jeff Zeigler. Mastered by Ryan Schwabe. Cover design by Perry Shall. Photos and bouquet by Kate Illes. Center label design by Michael Cantor. Special thanks to Marco at Salinas for putting it out, my band for not being mad that I made a record without them, my roommates for putting up with my loud ass while writing and practicing this, to all my friends and family, and most of all to anyone who considers themself a “fan.” It’s my life’s great honor to rock for youWe are a rock band of rockers who love to rock. We also can be just one person who is much quieter but still loves to rock.. –Sam We are a rock band of rockers who love to rock. We also can be just one person who is much quieter but still loves to rock.
released May 10th, 2019

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Until its removal in 2015, an enormous sign for the store King Of Jeans—depicting a towering, shirtless man bending over to kiss a kneeling woman—loomed large in South Philadelphia. It’s no coincidence that the band Queen of Jeans, who also hail from South Philly, took their name from the sign’s egalitarian-minded replacement. Since releasing their eponymous EP in 2016, the group has made a point of celebrating female identity, in both their music and their public persona. That message is amplified on their dazzling sophomore album, If you’re not afraid, I’m not afraid. While the group previously incorporated elements of doo-wop into their indie rock anthems, here they pull from a wide swath of rock history, embracing a sumptuous hi-fi sound, to deliver a resounding message of resilience in the face of dissolving relationships. It also addresses the death of frontwoman Miriam Devora’s mother (whose photograph graces the album’s cover), and the challenges of being a queer woman in fraught times.

Devora doesn’t merely process these traumas individually—she identifies situations in which they intertwine. “Tell Me,” for instance, turns an account of gaslighting (“You can’t sign away my rights on a dotted line”) into a testament to Devora’s resolve: “I’m a woman / And a woman knows her mind.” In “Rum Cheeks,” which channels the stately melancholy of Leonard Cohen, she searches for herself in the context of a tense relationship: “At your place / At our place?” she asks deftly.

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Instead of shying away from these moments of conflict, Queen of Jeans confront them with bombast. The epic kiss-off “Get Lost” evolves into a euphoric pop anthem in the vein of the B-52’s “Roam” or Fleetwood Mac at their most grandiose. Fueled by Patrick Wall’s thunderous drums and Mattie Glass’s vivid guitar figures, tracks like “Tell Me” and “Centuries” evoke the smart arena-rock of The Bends-era Radiohead. The album ends with “Take It All Away,” a cleansing, cathartic tidal wave of sound. “Break down that sorrow,” Devora cries alongside the tempestuous arrangement, summing up the album’s mission statement, “Rebuild things tomorrow.”

releases August 23rd, 2019

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Sheer Mag return with their sophomore album, “A Distant Call”. They’re still writing about surviving our current hellscape, but this time around, the politics get extra-personal. The album verges on being a concept piece, and the protagonist resembles frontwoman, Tina Halladay herself. The songs document a particularly alienating time in her life when she was laid off from a job. Broke and newly single, her father passed away, leaving her with more wounds than felt possible to heal. It’s heavy power-pop so sleek it gleams.

“We’ve been waiting to write these songs since we started the band and we were able to take these experiences and build a story out of them,” Halladay says. A Distant Call makes an argument for socialism on an anecdotal level. We’re talking about how late capitalism alienates and commodifies whatever is in its path without using the term ‘late capitalism.’” Palmer and Halladay’s new approach to lyricism extended to the recording process, too. Once the Seely brothers had laid down the tracks, Halladay recorded vocals with producer Arthur Rizk (Power Trip, Code Orange).

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Releases August 23rd, 2019

The Band:

Christina Halladay- Vocals
Kyle Seely- Lead Guitar/Drums
Hart Seely- Bass
Matt Palmer- Rhythm Guitar

Philadelphia four-piece Queen of Jeans are the band you didn’t know you were missing, shimmying around your ears with vibrant three-part harmonies and ‘60s girl group and doo-wop hooks you don’t hear on your typical punk rock bill.  Queen of Jeans offers a rebuttal to that take in a few ways. First, their sneaky use of tried-and-true 50s arrangements, melodies, and song structures to critically comment the latent (or overt) misoginy of music that American society teaches us is canonical. Songs deemed “classic” by older generations that actually advocated a kind of unhealthy idea of what love is and what it should be

Their debut LP Dig Yourself(released on Topshelf Records) is an all ‘round winner, and now, they’ve given the cleverly-referential music video treatment to one of its true jukebox jams.

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releases August 23rd, 2019

Band Members
Miri Devora, Mattie Glass & Patrick Wall

By the time you’re reading this, you may have noticed that two Slaughter Beach, Dog songs have surfaced on the internet. We’re here to tell you, loyal Lame-O Records that the new SBD album, ‘Safe and Also No Fear’ will be released on 2nd August.

Across the previous Slaughter Beach, Dog albums, Jake Ewald has crafted a specific sound. It’s one that incorporates pop music, indie-rock, folk, and just the faintest dash of punk in order to create something that’s accessible but still artistically rich. With Safe And Also No Fear, the band’s third album,

In the wake of 2017’s Birdie, an album awash in warm tones and bubbly pop hooks, Safe And Also No Fear can’t help but feel like a turn toward darkness. It’s not one that’s instigated by the outside world—as inescapable as it may be—but instead the dramatic shifts of a person’s interior life. Where Ewald once offered tightly woven vignettes about characters that mirrored the people in his life, Safe And Also No Fear finds him naked at the album’s center, questioning everything he knows about himself. Around him, bassist Ian Farmer, guitarist Nick Harris, and drummer Zack Robbins spin out songs that are dense, swirling amalgams of difficult questions and hard-earned realizations—the kind that can’t be expressed through the accepted structures of pop music.

This isn’t to say there aren’t hooks, as songs like “Good Ones” and “One Day” have effervescent melodies anchoring them, but Safe And Also No Fear generally avoids taking the clear-cut path. As Ewald tells it, that’s a horrifying thing to put out into the world. After putting the finishing touches on the album, he sat down and listened back to the demos he’d first made, then the album itself, and realized it sounded unlike anything he’d ever done before. His creative impulses had changed over the years, and the result was a record that maybe his followers wouldn’t actually like.

Ewald seemingly addresses this anxiety during the album’s most ambitious track, the seven-minute long “Black Oak.” It’s fitting that midway through the longest song Ewald has ever written he offhandedly remarks, “Realizing this may put my career on the line.” It’s part of a larger narrative, but one that’s more textural and ambiguous than what the band has been known for. Is that lyric about Ewald and Slaughter Beach, Dog? We’ll maybe never know—and that’s the beauty of Safe And Also No Fear. It’s an album so profoundly singular, one that sees the band willing to wade out into deep waters without a life vest, that it encourages you to go out there with it. You hear the band fully embrace the unknown at the end of “Black Oak,” when the song explodes open and Ewald’s vocals are looped into a refrain that’s haunting and impossible to sing along with accurately. You can pick out phrases and hum a melody, but there’s no didactic meaning behind it. It’s there for you to find if you need it.

Safe And Also No Fear is a bold gesture, not just because of the music contained therein, but because it required Ewald to interrogate his artistic tendencies, breaking himself of his habits in service of making something he never thought he could. That involved trusting his band, with whom Ewald collaborated for a full year of writing and recording. Unlike Birdie, where Ewald played every instrument, with Safe And Also No Fear everyone’s fingerprints are on it. Though the album is a product of Ewald committing to his vision, it’s also proof of the way that Farmer, Harris, and Robbins are able to expand Slaughter Beach, Dog’s sonic boundaries in subtle, evocative ways.

The result of that collaboration is Safe And Also No Fear, an album that doesn’t leave easy clues as to its influences or intentions, instead offering up vague sketches of what it feels like to be a person who is constantly confused and anxious, yet completely committed to finding a way through it. It’s not simple, and Ewald’s never didactic, but the message begins to come through the more you revisit it. Every part of Safe And Also No Fear is a risk, and that’s exactly what makes it so beautiful. It’s a record that sees a band fully committed to their art, in spite of what everyone else would advise. And if you’re listening close enough, it really does make a lot of sense.

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Chris Forsyth’s All Time Present is an adventurous and, considering its length, remarkably tight double LP of riff-heavy rock solid enough to bang your head on, but not really to bang your head to as the overall vibe here is of a vintage that pre-dates punk. But that’s not to say this is dad rock—All Time Present gives the classics an almost ambient treatment, flattening out the edges of the songs while preserving the technical frills, ultimately landing somewhere around a less self-interested style of prog. This is rock music for the people. That said, fair warning to all ye who enter: things start to get real groovy around track three, “The Man Who Knows Too Much,” after which Forsyth and company plunge fully and without reservation into a heady well of eerie psychedelia and British folk-rock whimsy on the following track, the 11-minute long number “Dream Song,” which also features some appropriately hazy double tracked vocals from Rosali Middleman. But never fear, intrepid listener. Trust in Forsyth to lead the way through long stretches of extended, expansive jamming, and by the time you get to final track, “Techno Top,” it’s 1980 and we’re all dancing to the Talking Heads.

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released April 12th, 2019

Chris Forsyth – guitar, vocal, Space Echo
with
Shawn Edward Hansen – Prophet 12, Mellotron, piano, saxophone
Ryan Jewell – drums, percussion
Peter Kerlin – bass guitar
Rosali Middleman – vocal on (4)
Jeff Zeigler – Onde Magnétique on (5)

“…a near-perfect balance between 70s rock tradition and present day experimentation,”

“…one of rock’s most lyrical guitar improvisors,”  -NPR Music

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After a year of touring, The Solar Motel Band returned to the studio last spring with Jeff Ziegler (War on Drugs, Kurt Vile) to put to tape the massive and immense “The Rarity of Experience”. This double album (officially The Rarity of Experience part I & II) sees Forsyth and his band stretching out their sound beyond anywhere they’ve gone before, touching on all corners of progressive, psychedelic and post-rock.

They began as more of an out-there, avant-garde experimental jam rock/jazz rock kind of guy who’s been moving towards the center. The Rarity of Experience was made about three years ago, and  I was just blown away by the record.  Forsyth has been traveling along the roads that bands like Television did.  He brings a lot of other elements, too. I hear Led Zeppelin when I hear him, I sometimes I hear jazz stuff like Coltrane, if he had played guitar. They did an impromptu freeform show where they played three songs for one hour at a club in New York City called Nublu.

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This is an absolute barnstormer!, Mighty fine…oh, yes indeed!
‘The Calvary Cross’ is incandescently stunning!!…Richard Thompson filtered through Lou Reed.

Chris Forsyth · The Solar Motel Band The Rarity of Experience ℗ 2016 No Quarter Records

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Petal is a singer-songwriter from Pennsylvania. Kiley Lotz, is a the singer and songwriter who records under the name Petal, released a strong under-the-radar debut album called Shame in 2015. Since then, she’s covered Fleetwood Mac and released a very impressive 7″.

Her music reminds me of Blake Babies sometimes. On this song, the guitars that are fuzzed out and grungy, but her voice is really melodic and it reminds me of Aimee Mann. She has this sob in the back of her throat that Aimee Mann had, but over a much grungier, fuzzier guitar base. She’s the guitar player in the band. This song is this really cool kind of fuzzed-out description of queer life right now.

Of the new album, Lotz says:

Magic Gone is the physical and sonic representation of me fighting for my right not only to survive but live all while coming to terms with encroaching adulthood. I was a closeted queer person struggling with chronic mental health disorders; terrified that if I tried to deal with these two major issues in my life I would lose everyone and everything I loved. Coming out was the beginning of a long and continuing process of self-actualization, of taking a hard look at myself and the problems I had and how I could fix them. This record is the result of being the most honest I have ever been in my life, and the constant battle of overcoming the thought that, “maybe if I were just someone else completely, everything would be better.” Magic Gone is about letting go of the anger induced by all the paranoia, anxiety, guilt and pain, and embracing the magic of your own endurance and hoping for the best.

Better Than You” by Petal from the upcoming album ‘Magic Gone’, Originally released June 15th, 2018 on Run For Cover Records