Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia’

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

Image may contain: text

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.

http://

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

Growing up and growing old with The Menzingers

Since forming as teenagers in 2006, The Menzingers have shown their strength as rough-and-tumble storytellers,turning out songs equally rooted in frenetic energy and lifelike detail. On their new album Hello Exile, the Philadelphia-based punk band take their lyrical narrative to a whole new level and share their reflections on moments from the past and present:high-school hellraising, troubled relationships, aging and alcohol and political ennui. And while their songs often reveal certain painful truths,Hello Exile ultimately maintains the irrepressible spirit that’s always defined the band.

The Menzingers’ Greg Barnett turned 31 this year, but his fans don’t need to be told that. On just about every record the Philadelphia band has released over the last 12 years, the singer and guitarist has alluded to how old he is and how he feels about it.

The band’s first four albums saw the four-piece navigating youth with reckless abandon: driving drunk, living in rodent-infested apartments, stomaching romantic failures, getting high on shift breaks at shitty jobs, partying way too much, and struggling to pay rent. But the band’s most recent album, 2017’s After the Party, opened with “Tellin’ Lies,” a song that had Barnett staring down the big 3-0, sobering up, and pondering, “Where are we gonna go now that our twenties are over?”

“My dad made fun of me when he first heard that song,” says Barnett. “He was like, ‘What are you talking about, man? Your thirties are the best decade of your entire life! In your twenties, you have no idea what’s going on. You and all your friends are broke, you’re constantly trying to figure things out, it’s a train wreck. But in your thirties, you start to understand yourself and understand others. You find your career path and things start to make sense.’ And I was like, you know what? You’re right. Why did I put it in my head that it’s all doom and gloom? It really shifted my mindset.”

Then again, Barnett’s father never played in a punk band. Time moves faster in music than in the real world. One day you’re the new kids on the scene and the next you feel aged out of it. When Barnett started The Menzingers as a quasi-ska project with three high school friends Tom May, Eric Keen, and Joe Godino in Scranton, he was a baby-faced teenager who got teased by older, more established bands.

“When we first started touring, all of us were always the young ones. We played a couple shows with NOFX and they just made fun of how little we were. And touring with Against Me!, too, we were always that young band,” says Barnett. “I always think about how we got to play The Lawrence Arms’ ten-year anniversary show in 2008. That was a really big show for us at the time — a sold-out show at The Metro, a historic club. I think I was 19 or 20, and I remember Brendan [Kelly] and Neil [Hennessy] and Chris [McCaughan], they were like my age now, and they had to constantly remind me of what a little baby I was. I was like, ‘What are you talking about? I’m an adult here!’”

But after over a decade of heavy touring and grinding it out, sharing stages with Philadelphia’s next crop of young bands like Modern Baseball, Barnett woke up one day to realize that The Menzingers aren’t punk’s little babies anymore. Now, five albums into their career, they’re on the verge of easing into a new role as the genre’s elder statesmen. Their new record, Hello Exile out October 4th via Epitaph Records embraces that, and kicks off with them already looking ahead at what comes next with the lyric: “How do I steer my early thirties, before I shipwreck, before I’m 40?”

“That line was me thinking I wanted to write a political song but asking: What else am I going to do about that?” says Barnett. “You need to do things besides just saying it. I want to make sure I start off a new decade by making sure I’m fighting the right fight and I’m on the right team and I’m helping the causes I believe in. How do I make sure I don’t let an entire decade go by without helping any type of social change that I believe in?”

It’s a thought Barnett wouldn’t have had the foresight to consider on the band’s early records, which were largely marked by the mistakes of adolescence. But now he’s contemplating how to mature gracefully and, as he’s been discovering, so are his fans.

“Our fanbase has grown with us this entire time. When we first started out, everybody was 17, 18, 19. The fans we get now, it tends to be people who are relatively close to our age group,” he says. “A lot of fans come up and say that it’s special to have a band that they’ve been able to follow as they’ve grown up — a lot of similar life challenges and similar questions and things they’re facing.”

Most fans hopped on the Menzingers train around their breakout album, 2012’s On The Impossible Past, a masterpiece of mid-twenties misadventures. The album is a young person’s idea of what it means to feel old. It’s when Barnett started noticing more Menzingers tattoos and when fans started telling him that his music has helped them transition into adulthood. He’s heard from more than a few people that the album’s love ballad “Gates” has been used as a wedding song.

“We make jokes sometimes that we just need to become a wedding band because the amount of emails we get about playing people’s weddings is insane,” Barnett laughs. “It’s so flattering, the idea that this is the biggest moment in a couple’s life, and they want us to be a part of it. That’s really incredible. A lot of people have connected with these songs in ways we had never even dreamed of.”

Hello Exile, The Menzingers’ greatest statement on adulthood to date, ends with a reflection on how far they’ve come since their scrappy Scranton beginnings. Its closing track, “Farewell Youth,” is, as the title suggests, something of a eulogy for the carefree nights of their impossible past. “Farewell, youth, I’m afraid I hardly got to know you / I was always hanging out with the older kids,” Barnett sings.

“I was a person who grew up really fast,” Barnett says of the track. “I was 13, hanging out with the seniors, going to shows, and they were giving me records. I remember being an 18-year-old on tour, having to wait outside the club because I was under 21. I had to wait until I had to play, and then be kicked out of the club again. We toured a lot like that, and it did feel like youth went very fast in that way. I always rushing to be older, always rushing to change.”

Looking at the road ahead, it’s hard to know whose footsteps The Menzingers should follow. All of the bands they’ve looked up to and cite as influences have faced problems of their own. Their Turnpike brethren in The Gaslight Anthem went on indefinite hiatus after their fifth album. Against Me! still endure, but have gone through their share of member changes over the years. The Menzingers have maintained the same lineup since the band’s inception, and have never gone more than three years without releasing a new album.

The Menzingers Are:
Eric Keen – Bass
Greg Barnett – Vocals, Guitar
Joe Godino – Drums, Percussion
Tom May – Vocals, Guitar

Image description

House of Sugar – (Sandy) Alex G’s ninth overall album and his third for Domino – is a highly meticulous, cohesive album: a statement of artistic purpose, showing off his ear for both persistent earworms and sonic adventurism.

At the southern tip of Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood, there’s an imposing structure on the Delaware River that somehow looks equal parts parking garage, hospital and convention center. The building is none of these things, but it’s just as overwhelming as each one of them. It houses Sugar House Casino, a dystopian abyss of colorful images leaping forth from slot machines and laser-bright ceiling lights hovering over card tables where gamblers can earn $150 in blackjack, lose it and swear off gambling forever (which may or may not have happened to this writer). Philly resident (Sandy) Alex G’s newest album, House of Sugar, his third for storied label Domino Recordings (and eighth or ninth overall, depending on who you ask), is named for this casino.

As unsettling as its namesake, the newest record from Alex Giannascoli at times improves on the inscrutable, circuitous experimentation of his Domino debut, Beach Music. At other times, it refines the accessible but still characteristically sauntering country-lite of Rocket, his masterful second album for the British indie label. In other words, House of Sugar sounds like a middle ground between the two albums that preceded it.

“Hope” appears on (Sandy) Alex G’s new album ‘House of Sugar’ – out September 13, 2019 on Domino Recordings.

“Gretel” appears on (Sandy) Alex G’s new album ‘House of Sugar’ – out September 1th3, 2019 on Domino Recordings.

“Southern Sky” appears on (Sandy) Alex G’s new album ‘House of Sugar’ – out September 13, 2019 on Domino Recordings.

House of Sugar, the new album from (Sandy) Alex G. Out September 13th on Domino Record Co.

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

Image may contain: text

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.

http://

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

Image may contain: 4 people, people standing, sunglasses and outdoor

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).

http://

Releases August 23rd, 2019

The Band:

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

Hear Strange Ranger’s beautiful, apocalyptic indie LP, <i>Remembering The Rockets</i>

Philadelphia-based indie quartet Strange Ranger’s lush-sounding third album, Remembering The Rockets, is pockmarked by the apocalypse; anxious moments poke through in the middle of lead vocalist Isaac Eiger’s verses, then recede from view. “I think he’s evil privately / Hold my tongue and do the dishes,” he sings over the summery pop-rock of “Sunday.” The breezy humming on “Pete’s Hill” is preceded by two troubled hypotheticals: “If I tried my best but killed again / If I hit your chest with gold cement.” On the fluidly synthetic “Living Free,” he thinks about a planet on fire and asks: “What if I just want a family?”

“It’s hard for me to write a song that’s about one event,” Eiger says over the phone from his girlfriend’s house in Philadelphia. “There are explicit references to wanting to have a family in a world that is not guaranteed to be the same, and latching onto that as a narrative is totally natural. But there are tons of lyrics on the album that are just about my relationships with the people in my life, just looking at the world. Climate change politics are a part of that.”

Recorded mostly at an ad hoc studio Eiger’s parents’ home in Montana, Remembering The Rockets — premiering in full below — upends the occasionally scuzzy and almost always fraught guitar rock that the band put out on their last two LPs, 2016’s Rot Forever (as Sioux Falls) and 2017’s Daymoon. A Korg M1 synthesizer finds its way onto most of the songs here, usually to warm the mix on instrumentals like “athens, ga” and “rockets” or to provide a dreamlike backdrop for the already uncanny lyrics. Bassist, keyboardist, and singer Fred Nixon creates drummer Nathan Tucker, and occasional vocalist Fiona Woodman distort, harmonize, and augment around Eiger’s guitar, turning most of these songs into delicate, miniature hallucinations.

That often beautiful detachment from reality fits with Eiger’s perception of reality — half rooted in the day-to-day, half off in metaphor. “Planes move through the sky / I walk to work in fading light,” he sings over the hum of “Planes in Front of The Sun” before again projecting forwards and scaring himself out of it: “Daddies with their kids / I still want that / I still feel sick.”

Listen to Remembering The Rockets below ahead of its release this Friday, July 26, via Tiny Engines

Sheer Mag

Here’s another glammy rocker from Sheer Mag’s forthcoming “A Distant Call”. Says the band’s guitarist, Matt Palmer, of the song and its video: “In ‘Hardly to Blame’ we see the psychic landscape of Philadelphia transformed by the collapse of Tina’s relationship with her partner. The streets they used to walk together, the bars they used to drink at, and the friends they used to share have all been tainted by the lingering memories of their time together. Closing out side A of A Distant Call, ‘Hardly to Blame’ shows Tina spiraling further down and down. Unfortunately the worst is yet to come, but “Hardly to Blame” gives us a glimpse at someone who thinks they’ve hit bedrock, unaware that the bottom is about to drop out.”

“A Distant Call” is due out 23rd August 2019

Image description

House of Sugar – (Sandy) Alex G’s ninth overall album and his third for Domino – is a highly meticulous, cohesive album: a statement of artistic purpose, showing off his ear for both persistent earworms and sonic adventurism.

Alex Giannascoli’s new album, House of Sugar, is populated by gamblers, chancers, and conmen — the same spirits that have haunted his work for a decade. Now that (Sandy) Alex G has outgrown his status as indie’s best kept secret, he’s grappling with those demons in public.  Alex — the 26-year-old singer, songwriter, bandleader, pitch-shift enthusiast, poet, session guitarist, book-lover, son, friend, brother, boyfriend, and aspiring pool shark better known as (Sandy) Alex G — is in New York for a few days to put some final touches on his new album a collection of haunted-feeling collection of off-kilter Americana.

“Hope” appears on (Sandy) Alex G’s new album ‘House of Sugar’ – out September 13th, 2019 on Domino Recordings.