Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia’

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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.

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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

The Philadelphia band Sheer Mag have announced their sophomore album, ‘A Distant Call’, with a new single, ‘Blood From a Stone’. On the fist-pumping track, vocalist Christina Halladay sings of poverty and struggle: “It’s hard luck living and I just make do/But if one thing goes the rest follows suit/What do you expect when you’re living cheque to cheque?”

According to a press statement, ‘A Distant Call’ is loosely based on Halladay’s own experiences going through a breakup, the loss of a loved one and being laid off. The album is due out August 23rd, two years after their acclaimed debut, ‘Need To Feel Your Love’, which was named among one of the best albums of 2017.

“Energy, desire and that indefinable cool that any great rock band must have burst from every angle. This album feels like a celebration, and Sheer Mag sure deserve one,” Sheer Mag will also be embarking on an extensive tour of North America, the UK and Europe.

“A Distant Call” is out 23rd August 2019

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This week (Sandy) Alex G (aka Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter Alex Giannascoli) announced a new album, “House of Sugar”, and shared a video for its first single, “Gretel.” House of Sugar is due out September 13th via Domino Recordings.

House of Sugar is Giannascoli’s ninth album overall and his third for Domino. It’s the follow-up to 2017’s Rocket. Jacob Portrait, who mixed both Rocket and 2015’s Beach Music, also worked on House of Sugar. Zev Magasis directed the “Gretel” video.  Despite the record’s title, the lead single from (Sandy) Alex G’s House of Sugar opens with striking darkness and bitterness before easing into the sweet. In “Gretel,” (Sandy) Alex G weaves two seemingly disparate talents of his — writing beautiful, melodic refrains and creating strange, unsettling soundscapes — into a captivating, fresh take on the Brothers Grimm.

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

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

Hailing from Berks County, PA, Shannen Moser grew up steeped in folk and country music. Influenced by the historically rich area, stretching farmland, and local folkers, Shannen credits the area with giving her the tools to write the music she does today, influencing her self-taught guitar plucking style and confessional lyricism. She vividly recalls her first encounter with folk music in her dad’s old truck, playing “I’ll Be Here In The Morning” by Townes Van Zandt. Since then, her love for songwriting has continued to grow.

In 2014 Shannen moved to Philadelphia and began pursuing music more earnestly. Her debut LP “Oh, My Heart” was released in January of 2017, and reissued by Lame-O Records later that Spring. Mostly recorded in a barn in Earlville, NY, the record brought a more expansive sound to her small bedroom recordings, moving Moser forward sonically as an artist while preserving the sincerity of her earlier work and showcasing Moser’s folk and country influences.

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Shannen Moser’s intimate sophomore album “I’ll Sing” was released on September 7th on Lame-O Records. An evocative and vulnerable storyteller, Shannen Moser’s narrative style makes every song on I’ll Sing like a short story, pulling listeners into the details while tackling big topics like heartbreak, loss, and battles with mental health. Written over a tumultuous year, Moser shows a willingness throughout the album to bear her scars, utilizing vulnerability in a way that feels powerful.

I’ll Sing was produced by Eric Muth and Cameron Konner at the Grey Ferry Warehouse in Philadelphia. Muth, Konner, and cello player and longtime touring band member Julia Peters were Moser’s backing band on the record.

Philadelphia power pop trio Hurry have just announced “Frustrate You”, a new two-song single out now on Lame-O Records. The new songs “Frustrate You” and “An Element Of Surprise”. What was once a solo project for principal songwriter Matt Scottoline has evolved into Hurry, a power pop trio from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania composed of Scottoline, Rob DeCarolis (Univox), and Joe DeCarolis (Psychic Teens). The DeCarolises are cousins and they are both very talented. “As talented as Matt Scottoline?” Of course. Please don’t attempt to pry the band apart with potentially hurtful questions.

Hurry’s album Every Little Thought was released on February 23rd, 2018 on Lame-O Records. The album, written by Scottoline, is a light and dreamy plunge into life’s crushingly relentless uncertainty and doubt. The album is more pop-driven than Hurry’s previous efforts, focusing on catchy melodies, hooks, and harmonies influenced by Teenage Fan club, Robyn Hitchcock, Yo La Tengo, and Guided By Voices. Of the new album, Scottoline — a natural salesman — says, “I tried even harder this time to make it good.”

Hurry released it’s previous album, Guided Meditation, on Lame-O Records in 2016. It was recorded at Noisy Little Critter with Mike Bardzik. The album was likely critically acclaimed, however Hurry does not place much value on things like “critical acclamation,” nor do they place much value on “awards.” In fact, Hurry did not even pay attention to 2017’s Grammy winners. Ultimately, who knows if Guided Meditation won any (or all) of those awards.
Since Guided Meditation’s release, Hurry has toured and played shows with Yuck, Nada Surf, and Tommy Keene, and have had their music featured on FXX’s Man Seeking Woman. Scottoline, however, is not sure how important any of that information actually is. “I don’t really think it is [important],” he says. Hm. You can judge for yourself.
Every Little Thought focuses on the general indecision of existence and how it can affect interpersonal relationships, as well as the frame of mind with which you approach day-to-day life. It is nice to listen to and it will make you smile.

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Band Members
Matt Scottoline, Rob DeCarolis, Joe DeCarolis

There’s always been a tenderness beneath the buzzing, brassy noise that has become characteristic of Radiator Hospital. For their latest project, the Philadelphia-based band have chosen to further indulge their sentimental side. True to its title, Sings “Music for Daydreaming”, is introspective and unassuming, the perfect soundtrack to drift away to.

Noticeably more acoustic than past albums, “Stories We Could Tell” opens with a bluesy guitar riff that develops into what can only be described as an upbeat polka-rock song — think the Felice Brothers, only grittier and more garage, the kind of song indie-heads could line-dance to.

On “Guitar,” however, the band strips down to bare essentials: Sam Parrot-Cook’s whiny vocals, which double and harmonize beautifully during the chorus, are accompanied only by a simple, spare piano melody. The song tells the story of how Parrot-Cook left his favourite guitar, which once belonged to his sister, backstage at a dive bar in Savannah. “Never thought I would lose something I loved so much,” goes the chorus.

Music for Daydreaming is a significant departure from the grunginess of Torch Songfor example, but no less raw. Though they rarely pass the three-minute mark, each track is dense and intricate enough to get lost in.

Recorded October 8th-10th 2018 at Uniform Recording in Philadelphia, PA. Produced, arranged, composed, and performed by Sam Cook-Parrott.
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 you. –Sam
Releases May 10th, 2019