Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia’

People often wonder why Philadelphian band Nothing are so damn loud. In the case of many artists, the volume stems from a preoccupation with negativity, misanthropy and the human condition, drawn from the band’s own personal experiences. In the case of Nothing, that volume, rather than a selling point, is the only way the band has been able to translate the difficulty of real-life into musical form.

Philadelphia’s Nothing – ‘Tired Of Tomorrow’, their beautifully profound follow-up to 2014’s widely-acclaimed ‘Guilty Of Everything’. Recorded over the course of a month at Studio 4 with Will Yip (Circa Survive, Title Fight), ‘Tired Of Tomorrow’ is a modern, nihilistic take on the triumphant fuzzed-out guitar rock of the 90’s, replete with huge hooks and brooding melodies. Much like the events it’s based on, the album displays an unparalleled balance of opposites and contradictions, rife with sweet-and-sour themes, downcast grooves, infectious choruses, and blissfully expansive washes of sound. With ‘Tired Of Tomorrow’, Nothing have worked the deepest influences of their youth and maturation into a confident, memorable album that is sure to soothe old wounds while simultaneously opening up new ones.


originally released May 13th, 2016

2016 Relapse Records 

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On February 27th, 2018, Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band (comprised, in this iteration, of long-time SMB bassist Peter Kerlin and Kerlin’s Sunwatchers battery mate Jason Robira on drums) were close to wrapping up an 18-date tour of the EU and UK with a two-set, one hour and 45 minute show at Cafe OTO, London’s premier venue for adventurous music. Highlights of that show are included in this live release, “Rare Dreams: Solar Live 2.27.18, recorded before a packed house seated mere feet from the band’s amplifiers. These recordings reveal a band that is clearly in high spirits and high gear, operating with an expansive, improvisatory fleetness that allows them to stretch the material to almost ludicrous extremes and then let it to snap back to some semblance of form while somehow seemingly never wasting a note, a beat, a gesture.

The four tracks included here comprise material culled from (at the time) the two most recent Solar Motel Band records “Dreaming In The Non-Dream” (No Quarter, 2017) and THE RARITY OF EXPERIENCE (No Quarter, 2016) plus covers of two Neil Young songs – the autobiographical plaint “Don’t Be Denied,” lyrically relocated by Forsyth from Young’s Canada and Hollywood to the more personally relevant geography of New Jersey and Philadelphia, and encore “Barstool Blues” (they’d run out of material to play, so another Neil Young tune it was).


While the covers establish Forsyth’s basis, serving as an homage to Young and the quest for self-realization, the long tracks’ jams showcase the trance-inducing power of the Solar Motel Band as a performing entity. Kerlin’s gymnastically propulsive bass playing locks in with Robira’s relentless thud, each serving as counterpoint to some of the most blistering guitar work of Forsyth’s career. The telepathically dynamic interplay of the trio explodes with whiplash intensity across the 15-plus minute takes of “Dreaming In The Non-Dream” and “The First 10 Minutes of Cocksucker Blues,” each song’s structure serving as a framework for extended lava flows of energy. At one point late in the “Dreaming” jam, Forsyth unplugs the jack from his guitar, dragging it across the strings and lashing the body of his single-pickup “parts” Esquire, producing a desiccated barrage of percussive static. This is music beyond the notes; it is an expression of pure electric ecstasy, a simultaneous negation and celebration of rock music’s (indeed all musics’) essential energy. In contrast to the expansive but meticulously detailed guitar arrangements of his recordings, here Forsyth’s unhinged live guitar sound positively roars with a barely restrained vocal intensity, from liquid melodic lines to gnarled blasts of free jazz scree, to pulsating lead/rhythm vamping. I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing this band up close for a number of years now and I can authoritatively attest that while every show is different, when the SMB is running down a steep hill at full speed (as on these takes), they become a single leaderless vibrating sonic tornado, possibly beyond the control and logic of the players themselves, picking up listeners along the way and taking them along for the ride straight into a solar furnace of sound.

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

Chris Forsyth and the rhythm section of the almighty Sunwatchers form an unholy power trio to absolutely scorch through a set of extended jams and Neil Young covers.

Chris Forsyth: guitar, vocal
Peter Kerlin: bass guitar
Jason Robira: drums

Recorded Live at Cafe OTO, London on February 27th, 2018

Releases April 23rd, 2021

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Remember Sports was a self-categorized “basement rock band” when they formed as a group of Kenyon College students in 2012. The band’s electrifying pop punk bonafides and the inimitable vocals of frontperson and primary songwriter Carmen Perry found them quick acclaim and a home at Father/Daughter Records. 2018’s Slow Buzz, their first as Philadelphians, saw a new line-up of the band collaboratively writing, building depth and elaboration to their compositions and production. Heavy touring alongside high-energy art punk heroes like Jeff Rosenstock and Joyce Manor brought their tightly synced playing to a stronger level, while headlining dates supported by favourite artists like Lomelda, Trace Mountains and Pllush inspired them to embrace meandering flourishes in their songs. When they came off the road, they were ready to write, entering a meticulous pre-production and demoing process, rehearsing in sectionals to help every moment blossom. Like a Stone, the result of that work, contains some of the smartest performances and arrangements in contemporary indie rock. While they’ve maintained the warmth and immediacy that made the quartet so beloved when they first connected to one another years ago, it’s hard to imagine songs this huge relegated solely to the basement.

Remember Sports’ is the third album for Father/Daughter which builds on the promise of their last, with an elevated sense of space and sound. Taking a multi-instrumental approach, the band members—bassist Catherine Dwyer, guitarist Jack Washburn, drummer Connor Perry and guitarist and singer Carmen—traded instruments throughout, resulting in biting bass-and-drum grooves, entrancing percussion layers, saturated synths and drum machines, and found sound minutiae from Connor’s circuit-bent electronics the band calls “evil items.” Carmen’s singing, meanwhile, even more expertly turns on its heel from pop-perfect vocal runs to squirmy sneers. “I like mixing the pretty and polished with our vibe, which is more detuned and discordant,” says Carmen of their distinctive approach.

Remember Sports’ most influential rock forebears make compelling reference points, from the interlocking guitar sophistication of Built to Spill, the eclectic pop snark of Rilo Kiley, the blown-out might of Sleater-Kinney’s The Woods, and the catchy intimacy of Yo La Tengo, who the band went to see together on a tour field trip. Former tour mates also provided inspiration, especially Nadine, whose Carlos Hernandez and Julian Fader engineered and mixed the album while frontperson Nadia Hulett provided backing vocals. Catherine describes the experience of working with proper analogue out-fittings as “thrilling” and used the studio environment to channel another of the band’s co-writing heroes: Fleetwood Mac. “I love Tusk and tried to copy the lovely straight into the console tone they get on some guitars on that record,” she says. “I love when a guitar sounds like it has absolutely no air around it at all.”

Despite its sometimes heavy themes, Like a Stone’s twelve tracks riff better than your very best memories of MTV, and never quibble about shifting genres when it suits the song. Gates-storming opener “Pinky Ring,” road-tested by the band on its headlining 2019 dates, takes a teasing schoolyard melody and pairs it with bright tambourine. “Eggs” and “Odds Are” show off Nashville licks and croon-along vocals respectively, drawing from Carmen’s childhood love for Tejano music and country, including her uncle’s band Los Jackalopes; the latter has one of the album’s best examples of her darkly funny lyrics when she asks, “Why’d you lick those tongs – the ones you just got raw meat on?” With gated drums reminiscent of an aughties pop highlights comp, “Out Loud” sees the contributors trading lead vocals over portamento synth scoops, resonant strums and even bongo overdubs from Connor. “Carmen got to go full Ariana Grande,” Jack says of the diva-leagues vocal chops on display, “and the whispering she does on that last chorus is one of the most special moments on the record for me.” “Flossie Dickie,” composed by Catherine, nods to the band’s punk roots with untethered fretboard acrobatics. And “Coffee Machine,” with music written by Jack, manages to meld easy organs, muted surf guitar, and aloof group harmonies in an eerily cozy 39 seconds.

Releases April 23rd, 2021

Remember Sports is Catherine Dwyer, Carmen Perry, Connor Perry, and Jack Washburn

Music and lyrics by Carmen Perry
“Like a Stone” lyrics by Carmen Perry and Jack Washburn
“Coffee Machine” and “Like a Stone” music by Jack Washburn
“Easy” music by Carmen Perry and Jack Washburn
“Eggs” music by Carmen Perry and Catherine Dwyer
“Flossie Dickie” music by Catherine Dwyer

‘Like a Stone’ out April 23rd, 2021.

Sofia Verbilla has always been good at telling stories in the songs she makes as Harmony Woods. On her 2017 debut Nothing Special and its 2019 follow-up Make Yourself At Home, the Best New Band honoree occupied narratives that let her navigate thorny situations from a distance, like on her pair of “Best Laid Plans” songs that depicted two characters who know a relationship has failed but are unwilling to meet its inevitable end.

Her third album, “Graceful Rage” which is being released this week is a good deal more personal, or at least it seems that Verbilla is finally ready to let down the shield of Harmony Woods, a name-like moniker that allows for some distance from what she’s singing about. From its very first track, Graceful Rage is withering and direct. “I’m tired of being led to believe things aren’t what they seem when they’re standing right in front of me,” 

Philadelphia’s Harmony Woods surprise-released a new album, “Graceful Rage”, on Friday. Produced by Bartees Strange, the newest LP follows 2019’s Make Yourself at Home. Power courses through Harmony Woods’ latest creation, an album that songwriter Sofia Verbilla describes in a statement as “a record about confronting the emotional rubble that this trauma leaves in its wake.” “Graceful Rage” the band’s third LP basks in the sheer magnitude of letting revelations and recoveries blossom on their own terms.


Verbilla lyrically explores the great disappointment of having a personal idol fall from grace in your mind’s eye, and the rush of emotions that follows. Standout tracks include the haunting and raw ballad “Easy” which opens with chamber choir-esque layered vocalizations from Verbilla. The impassioned pop-punk of “God’s Gift to Women” is particularly scathing, with notable one-liners like “You’re not the person the world person the world pretend you are” and “I watch the skeletons fall / this is your wrecking ball.” Potent and gripping, Graceful Rage is an apt name for a record that so masterfully turns Verbilla’s bitterness into a work of art.

She frequently pulls from the geography of Philadelphia, in Rittenhouse Square with its cringing pigeons or the Fishtown row homes she walks by while trying not to fall apart. She likens public perception and her own relationships to cities, seemingly impenetrable fortresses until they come crumbling down. “Your city’s not as bright as you think/ Demons hidden inside all the buildings,” she sings on “God’s Gift To Women,” a song directed at that features some venomous put-downs like: “Keep writing those records about how you know best/ Like you’re a walking fucking copy of Infinite Jest.”

Produced by Bartees Strange, the songs alternate between sounding like billowing thunderclouds and the calm after a rainstorm. Verbilla’s voice has never sounded better and neither have the backdrops she surrounds herself with, filled with searing guitars and bashing drums. 

All songs written by Sofia Verbilla
Vocals/Guitar/Piano – Sofia Verbilla
Bass – Josh Cyr
Drums – David Juro
Additional Guitar – Bartees Strange

Cello – Kate Rears
Horns – Brian Turnmire
Lap Steel – Graham Richman

Skeletal Lightning released March 12th, 2021


Katie Crutchfield’s southern roots are undeniable. The name of her solo musical project Waxahatchee comes from a creek not far from her childhood home in Alabama and seems to represent both where she came from and where she’s going.  These are Katie’s 2018 re-recordings of some of her favourite songs by Great Thunder, a previous band of hers that is now dormant.

Katie Crutchfield knows her way around a rock album. In 2009, three years before the first Waxahatchee record, Crutchfield and her twin sister Allison released their first works as P.S. Eliot, a punk outfit they formed in Birmingham, Ala., their hometown. In 2016, they released a collection of other lost P.S. Eliot tunes, a wild, searing conglomeration of 50 rock songs and coinciding demos that sing of fleeing the South and pay homage to Sleater-Kinney.

On the heels of last year’s critically acclaimed Out in the Storm, Crutchfield found herself looking to take a sharp turn away from the more rock-oriented influences of her recent records towards her more folk and country roots. “I would say that it is a complete 180 from the last record: super stripped-down, quiet, and with me performing solo, it’s a throwback to how I started,” writes Crutchfield. “Overall, the EP is a warm, kind of vibey recording.”


Katie would take a softer approach on her first Waxahatchee releases before returning again to rock and punk on her 2017 master work, Out in the Storm. But rather than release Storm b-sides or tarry further down a road to rock ‘n’ roll, Crutchfield slips back into her folk roots on “Great Thunder”, an EP so calculated in its quietness you wouldn’t dare utter a word during its slow-burning 17 minutes. Great Thunder is actually a reimagining of songs Crutchfield wrote while recording with an experimental-rock project of the same name, and while working on those early Waxahatchee releases, Cerulean Salt and Ivy Tripp, which certainly have more in common with this EP than Out in the Storm. On Great Thunder, Crutchfield swaps electric guitar and thundering drums for a single piano and the occasional acoustic guitar, turning all attention to her voice and lyrics.

You sense that following the loud success of Storm, this is really the EP Crutchfield wanted to make. It’s intimate and untarnished by production of any kind. It’s uplifting, spiritual and anti-chaotic, just what the doctor ordered in a year defined by mayhem. Crutchfield probably isn’t shelving her electric guitar forever, but, for now, her piano, voice and soul-bearing words are more than enough to keep us content.

Another Michael: New Music and Big Pop: Coke Bottle Green Vinyl LP + Signed Print

This week Philadelphia-based trio Another Michael shared the song “Row,” another sneak peek from their upcoming album. “New Music and Big Pop” will be out next Friday (February. 19th) on Run For Cover Records,

Frontman Michael Doherty speaks about the song in a press release: “‘Row’ is a song that I built around a rhythm guitar line that to me, resembles the feeling of rowing a boat. I wanted to create a song that allowed our acoustic and electric elements to ring out as one texture, and to showcase the range of musical styles that we’ve touched on since the start of this project.”

For Another Michael, it all boils down to trust. In mid-2017, the critically acclaimed indie three-piece packed their bags and collectively relocated from Albany, NY to a shared house in West Philadelphia. This move signalled not only the start of a new chapter for the trio, but also a deepening of the bonds that would come to define their captivating debut LP, ‘New Music and Big Pop.’  “It’s hard for a group of people to get closer than living together,” says bassist and producer Nick Sebastiano. “The stronger our connection grew, the more it shaped the music we found ourselves making.”

It should come as little surprise, then, that ‘New Music and Big Pop’ is Another Michael’s most collaborative work yet. Recorded in a small A-frame house-turned-makeshift studio outside Ferndale, NY, the record finds the trio pushing their sound in a dreamier, more folk-influenced direction, building songs around vulnerable, intimate performances using an ethereal palette of breezy guitars, subtle keyboards, and layered harmonies. As on the band’s early EPs, singer and songwriter Michael Doherty’s mesmerizing voice is front and centre here, calling to mind Robin Pecknold or Ben Bridwell in its reedy, crystalline timbre, but it feels more at home than ever before amidst the album’s lush, Technicolor landscape, which the band partnered with producer and fellow housemate Scoops Dardaris to create. The result is a masterfully understated record that belies its status as a full-length debut, a thoughtful, poetic, collection all about growth and change, hope and faith, endings and beginnings, delivered by a band that’s only just begun to scratch the surface of their story.

The band has previously shared the songs “Big Pop,” “I Know You’re Wrong,” and “New Music” from their upcoming album.

“New Music” by Another Michael from the 7″ / 2 song digital single ‘New Music’ out now via Run For Cover Records

For their new EP, Philadelphia’s The Obsessives met up with producer Will Yip to get the best out of them in the studio. The result? A 3-song EP called ‘Monastery’ that finds the band settling on a mellowed sound after having gone through numerous stylistic changes over the years that ranged from grunge and alternative to more math-y endeavours.

They kick things off with single ‘Lala,’ a breezy slice of dream pop with a synth solo, big hooks and warm layers of twinkly guitars that make the song feel weightless. Equally easy-going is ‘I’ll Always Love You,’ a song that benefits especially from its simple yet highly effective chorus. Rounding things out is a cover of the Breeders’ 1993 classic ‘Divine Hammer,’ which The Obsessives have not only slowed down, but only stripped down. An unfortunate choice, as the result is a rather lifeless shell of a song that does not hold up to the original, leaving the listener behind on a bit of a sour note.


Released February 12th, 2021

May be an image of 4 people, people standing, food and text that says 'THE OBSESSIVES A MEMORY-MUSIC 7" EP MONASTERY AVAILABLE 2.12.21'

May be an image of 4 people, people standing, food and text that says 'THE OBSESSIVES A MEMORY-MUSIC 7" EP MONASTERY AVAILABLE 2.12.21'

The Philadelphia lads known as The Obsessives are back later this month with a new EP they made with Will Yip, titled “Monastery”. Ahead its release, they’ve offered sweet and rousing paean to getting tactile before “the big one drops.”

Nick Bairatchnyi and Jackson Mansfield built The Obsessives at fifteen, out of a childhood friendship and a misplaced love for blues-rock. “We wanted to start a band with a “The” because bands like that three years ago were cool, like The Black Keys and The White Stripes,” Bairatchnyi remembers while laughing at his ninth-grade naivety. Three years later, the band became fixated on a new form. The Obsessives released their debut record, Heck No, Nancy in 2015. The album chronicled a series of revelations which centre around a musical mentality that volleys between the expressive texture of bands like Braid and the bouncy indie of bands like The Pixies and Violent Femmes.

On March 17th, 2017, The Obsessives will release their follow up self-titled album on Lame-O Records, continuing even further along their indie rock inspirations, the band has found an acclivity for pop hooks and vibrant instrumentation that give a nod to their heroes (even naming a song referencing listening to a Pixies record), while also fitting alongside the top artists of the modern indie/emo scene (like Modern Baseball, who’s tour they’ll be opening in the spring of 2017).

Welcome The Obsessives to Memory Music. New single ‘Lala’ available now! Listen and preorder the 7″ here

2nd Grade

This album answers a critical question: What if Robert Pollard wasn’t a heroic drunk, but instead a lovestruck, heart-on-his-sleeve bard? Employing the Guided By Voices’ frontman’s philosophy that every idea is a good one and songs longer than two minutes are bloated messes, this Philadelphia band blows through 24 cuts in a scant 41 minutes on their sophomore album. Fans of Big Star, the Magnetic Fields and Yo La Tengo will appreciate the group’s sensitive song writing approach, which comes in forms of power pop (“Boys in Heat”), alt-country (“100 Hrs”), and lo-fi fuzz rock (“Jazz Chorus”).

For Peter Gill (Friendship, Free Cake For Every Creature), the fearless leader of Philadelphia power-pop group 2nd Grade, being our full, open selves means we can be as sincere as we are sarcastic. New album “Hit To Hit” is about wearing your heart on your sleeve but at arm’s length. It’s about being both earnest and ironic.

Hit To Hit mirrors our multifaceted existence over 24, tiny tracks. Continuing with the fun-size structures of his previous LP, Wish You Were Here Tour (Sleeper Records), the songs act like a collection of short stories. There’s the adolescent, heartbroken tale of “When You Were My Sharona”, the anticipation of making memories on “Summer of Your Dreams”, the first taste of freedom on “My Bike”. While Hit to Hit is absolutely an intricate exploration of the human experience,

Sonically speaking, the songs cover an impressive range of stylistic ground. The sweet, peppy pop-banger “Velodrome” is juxtaposed by the gnarly wailing of “Baby’s First Word” while the sturdy twangs of the Jon-Samuels-sung “100 Hours” bashes against the gentle, ethereally delicate acoustics of “You’re So Cool”. “It almost can’t even hold together because it is so at odds with itself but it does in the end. It’s one group of musicians presenting all these different ideas and directions of songwriting and miraculously, it holds together.” Gill says.

Double Double Whammy Records

Over the last eight years, the Goodbye Party has remained a hidden gem to devoted fans. The music of Michael Cantor, the Philadelphia-based musician behind the project, has been a well-kept secret that holds the sacredness of loss close to the heart through classic pop ballads, atmospheric soundscapes, cassette tape noise, swirling guitars, and an affinity for staying present in the dark corners of our minds. On October 9th, 2020, the Goodbye Party released their sophomore album, “Beautiful Motors”, on Double Double Whammy Records, with which Cantor is ready to be fully unearthed.

Beautiful Motors is a culmination of Cantor’s previous releases, showcasing a full bloom of profound and haunted narrative song writing. He’s always had a knack for vividly portraying the auditory flight of spectre’s and feelings of loss and surrender, except this time he’s leaned into the grief of growing older while also looking back on the rock sounds of his youth. The songs inhabit you as the appearance of a ghost does; they remain long after the encounter, running through your brain like an omnipotent refrain.

The Goodbye Party has shared “No Reason” a gentle power-pop number his upcoming albumBeautiful Motors”. it “nails a balance between warm, summery melodies and autumnal melancholy — the perfect kind of song to drop on the first official day of fall.”

Of the song, Cantor says “this song deals with a couple of themes. One is how people you no longer keep in your life can show up in some of your favourite memories. It’s also about the experience of passing through the same place across different tours and seeing decay creep along, seeing cascading effects from hurricanes, and recognizing that slow change in yourself. My friend Emi Knight from Strawberry Runners sings on this song. She, along with a handful of local songwriters, held monthly salons where we would demo and critique each other’s songs. Having that space helped me focus, write, and rewrite songs for this record.”

Recorded in Philadelphia with Kyle Gilbride (Swearin’) at Wherever Audio, Beautiful Motors was engineered between December 2018 and November 2019. The year-long timeline resulted in plenty of opportunities for refining, rewriting and arranging at home and during studio sessions. Cantor is joined by friends and musicians new and old to the Goodbye Party lineup, including Gilbride, Cook-Parrott, Maryn Jones (Yowler), Joey Doubek (Pinkwash, Speedy Ortiz), Emi Knight (Strawberry Runners), and pedal steel guitarist Zena Kay.

Beautiful Motors is available everywhere October 9th. The Goodbye Party

All songs by Michael Cantor