Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia’

While the days when you might spot David Byrne at a Clap Your Hands Say Yeah show are behind us, Alec Ounsworth has continued to hone his skills as a songwriter. Born out of a dark year, “New Fragility” finds Ounsworth inspired and the songs shared so far are terrific. If it doesn’t end up being Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s best since 2005 it definitely will be the best to feature a song called “CYHSY, 2005.” New single “CYHSY, 2005” isn’t about the days when David Byrne would come to their shows, it’s about home. “Part of being away so often is leaving people behind, and never feeling you’re able to establish conventionally meaningful relationships,” says Ounsworth. “You can be searching for stability – being in one place – and discover that that’s an illusion.”

In any discussion regarding songwriters and lyricists of 21st century indie music, Alec Ounsworth and his moniker, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, will feature prominently. Few have been as consistently brilliant, eclectic, and intimate; fewer still remain defiantly independent, refusing to sign deals that compromise artistic vision. That is what characterizes Ounsworth’s oeuvre, especially the lifetime project he initiated sometime in the early 2000s, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. And with each release since its landmark self-titled debut, he has refined and broadened his sound, indulging an ever wider set of influences.
Prolific and enigmatic as ever, his recent works marry the quirky, left-field spirit of the early years with a well-earned confidence, and grander sense of scale and ambition. Always heading down new avenues of song arrangement and organic connection to his audience, after nearly two decades Ounsworth remains one of music’s most distinctive voices.


The upcoming album New Fragility (February 12th, 2021 CYHSY/Secretly Distribution), including the advance singles Hesitating Nation / Thousand Oaks and Where They Perform Miracles, was produced by Alec Ounsworth, with additional production from Will Johnson
New Single of upcoming album ‘New Fragility’

Image may contain: text

Philadelphia punks Mannequin Pussy’s made their best album yet with 2019’s Patience. They’ve hinted that their fourth is done now, too, tweeting that the new songs include “1 classic MP song. 1 pop song. 1 sad bitch bedroom song. 1 happy slut bad-bitch song. 1 Bear song. These songs make up our collective feelings over this stupid fucking year.” Producer Will Yip calls them “bonkers,” which has us all the more excited.

The cover art of Mannequin Pussy’s third album, “Patience”, is an apt illustration of what you’re about to hear. An old-school globe is aflame, setting the scene for the Philly punk band’s strongest effort to date—as well as one of the best (and most cathartic) punk albums of the year. The artwork springs to life especially on one of the record’s most delicate and simultaneously powerful tracks, “High Horse.” Vocalist/guitarist Marisa Dabice reaches into a crescendo while she belts, “Your world’s on fire, as I watch up from my high horse / Your world’s on fire, and I walk away.” The climactic moment in which Dabice exits an abusive relationship epitomizes the immense strength fueling Patience, and acts as a prelude of sorts to the message that supplies the project’s lifeblood: You are enough. “Who You Are” echoes that same sentiment, exploring how to quiet your inner critic (and how to say “screw you” to the systems that put this critic in your head in the first place). Unlearning harmful thought patterns is a challenge, but can ultimately set you free. Patienceis all about chasing that freedom—and more importantly, being patient with yourself in the process.

“High Horse” by Mannequin Pussy from the album ‘Patience,’ available now

Philadelphia rock quartet Soraia are giving fans new music for the start of the New Year: The single Tight-Lipped, with a B-side cover of Aerosmith’s Angel, featuring a cameo by Jessie Wagner. Frontwoman ZouZou Mansour says, “Tight-Lipped is about a woman who politely refuses to challenge the status quo and direction of her life. It’s a final recognition of the part she has played in her own oppressive censoring — a soulful rebuke of her former beliefs on how to live. But by the end of the song, it becomes a triumphant declaration of who she now is: Meet Ophelia — no more promises. I refuse to be so tight-lipped.”

some fun hard rock with some really good vocals.


Side A: Tight-Lipped
(Soraia Mansour/Travis Smith) Green Eyed Lady Publishing (BMI)/Real
Bad Music Publishing (BMI)
Side B: Angel (ft. Jessie Wagner)
(Steven Tyler/Desmond Child) Primary Wave Steven Tyler/Universal
Polygram International Publishing

ZouZou Mansour: Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Organ Nick Seditious: Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar Travis Smith: Bass Guitar Brianna Sig: Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals John Hildenbrand: Organ Geoff Sanoff: Backing Vocals, Organ Jessie Wagner: Featured Artist singing on “Angel” Soraia Released January 8th, 2021

There’s a vague sense of unease that permeates Corey Flood’s debut full-length, “Hanging Garden”, It came out September 4th via Fire Talk. From the surface, the record appears to break through the dark fog of the band’s 2018 EP, Wish You Hadn’t, but just below lay themes of ambivalence, uncertainty, and anxiety, layered elegantly in fuzz. Recorded in Philadelphia by Jackie Milestone, mixed by Natasha Jacobs, and mastered by Sarah Register, Hanging Garden pushes through feelings of discomfort and repressed emotions to discover what truly lies beneath.

Born in Philly circa 2017, Corey Flood began as the post-grad bedroom project of bassist Ivy Gray-Klein (formerly of Littler) and drummer Juliette Rando. A month after their first show with guitarist Em Boltz, the band signed with New York’s Fire Talk Records and turned four planned demos into a full-fledged, delightfully menacing debut EP. Now, after two years of intense growth and collaboration, the trio continues their “whirlwind trajectory” with the long-awaited, nine-track LP, “Hanging Garden”.

Inspired by Throwing Muses, Helium, Pale Saints, and Brix Smith-Start’s work with the Fall, Gray-Klein calls Hanging Garden “a reckoning with internal discord.” Through soft melodies, lush guitars and churning rhythms, the dual vocals of Gray-Klein and Boltz recall relatable experiences with gaslighting, imposter syndrome, and repetitive thoughts. Hanging Garden feels intimate and familiar but is strewn with playful surprises, like 70s krautrock guitar work and samba-influenced drum parts. Hanging Garden is a mature stride forward, and a bewitching amble towards the unknown. 

From Corey Flood’s debut album ‘Hanging Garden’ Out September 4th 2020 on Fire Talk. “Blissfully nostalgic and compelling lo-fi guitar-pop.” – Noisey/Vice

“Their abstract, evocative lyrics are deeply contemplative cyclones—just like how their saw-toothed guitars will rattle around your brain, thoughts swirling until they begin to fester, gnawing at one’s psyche.” –  Paste

Released September 4th, 2020

Guitar + Vocals: Em Boltz
Bass + Vocals: Ivy Gray-Klein
Drums + Vocals: Juliette Rando

Shamir is Shamir and remains Shamir through and through, no matter what the universe puts him through. This album is so different than anything Shamir has released in their discography. It’s more pop rock than anything before this. I can see myself jamming to this live at a festival. But we can’t do that, so a festival at home while playing this album will have to do. Stand out tracks include On My Own, Pretty When I’m Sad, Diet & In this Hole.

I’m all about albums that move from genre to genre with ease. Shamir has done that with this record, with a few skits thrown in for good measure. We get some country “Other Side”, indie rock “Pretty When I’m Sad” and “Paranoia”, and pop “Running”. Shamir’s voice is very much the hook here as that high pitch singing sounds like no one else. “On My Own” also swings towards pop and feels like an anthem for feeling comfortable in your own skin. “Diet” has such a great groove to it that I found myself dancing around no matter when I listened to it. “I Wonder” is truly a heart breaking song that sounds like Shamir was going through that moment in a relationship where you look at the other person and go, “is this going to work?.” “In This Hole” ends the record as Shamir reaches deep down inside to deliver the lyrics as strings swirl around eventually taking over and fading out. It’s a gorgeous end to the quick album and it leaves you more than satisfied. 


Released October 2nd, 2020

Shamir Bailey: Bass, Guitar, Synth
Kyle Pully: Production, Mixing, Bass, Synth
Grant Pavol: Production
Matty Beats: Production
Justin Tailor: Mixing
Zack Hanni: Engineering
Danny Murillo: Drums, Production
Mike Brenner: Lap Steel
Molly Germer: Violin, Viola, String Arrangement

Since the band Modern Baseball announced their indefinite hiatus three years ago, Jake Ewald has committed fully to his Slaughter Beach, Dog project, releasing a handful of albums, including last year’s Safe And Also No Fear, He’s put out a whole new full-length called “At The Moonbase”, whose only advance warning was an advent calendar-style countdown on his social media accounts.

Despite being recorded in a year where it was hard to get together and make music, At The Moonbase is very much a fleshed-out effort, put together at home and at Ewald’s Philadelphia studio the Metal Shop. It’s filled with the sort of down-on-your-luck narratives that Ewald has populated his songs with over the years, twangy and comforting and filled with wry observations that cut to the bone.  it’s always wonderful seeing Jake’s song writing improve and evolve over the years and it shows quite a bit on this record in particular. it’s much subtler of an album, might even be a grower to some, but i think it’s a great way to end the year


In the time since Modern Baseball went on hiatus, Jake Ewald turned Slaughter Beach, Dog from a solo project into a full-fledged band, and in 2019 SB,D released their best album yet, Safe and Also No Fear. With the pandemic keeping Jake at home more, he returned to Slaughter Beach, Dog’s roots, writing and recording a comparatively stripped-back new album, At The Moonbase, alone at home and at his East Kensington recording studio The Metal Shop. (He did end up getting some accompaniment, though, including sax by Wil Schade and vocals by Lucy Stone.) The album is out now, and it finds Jake’s unmistakable singing and song writing style in fine form.

Released December 24th, 2020

Produced by Jake Ewald at The Metal Shop in Philadelphia, PA and at home June – October 2020

Image may contain: one or more people and beard, text that says 'ΠΟΤΗΙΠα THE GREAT DISMAL NOTHING' 4th full -length album explores existentialist themes ofisolation, extinction, and human behavior in beface 2020's vast wasteland. OCTOBER 30 ON DLX. LP/LP/CD/CS/DICITAL RELAPSE YEARS'

On their fourth album The Great Dismal, Philadelphia shoegaze outfit Nothing triumph with both bold and subtle sounds. The band have always excelled at details and dynamics, and they deliver here without fail. The final passages of opening track “A Fabricated Life” really cement the album’s prodigious and intimate themes: “Long before the fall / Did we have it all along? / Sing the same old songs / Beat the same old tired drum / But what else can I ask for? / I’m nauseous from the ride / Degeneration in the wind / A fabricated life.” These moods of erosion, numbness and uncertainty pervade the album, and their mythical soundscapes bolster the weight of these feelings and elevate their sense of urgency. 

The Great Dismal watches as humanity is put through the wringer and responds with godlike, pummelling guitars and metaphorical, emotionally revealing lyrics. One minute, they’re contemplating themes of love, reason, perception and death on a grand scale, and in simple terms, and the next, they’re marvelling at people’s reaction to rain (“Isn’t it strange / Watching people / Try and outrun rain”). It’s a sweltering expulsion of anxieties and a thoughtful chronicling of our species’ downfall. 

Nothing return with their highly anticipated new full-length, The Great Dismal. Recorded entirely during quarantine, The Great Dismal explores existentialist themes of isolation, extinction, and human behaviour in the face of 2020’s vast wasteland. The Great Dismal came out October 30th on LP/CD/CS/Digital via Relapse Records.

Philadelphia rock band Nothing has a way of putting words and sounds to the rock-bottom moments in life. Consider the title of their wide-eyed and beautiful fourth album—The Great Dismal and see if you can think of a better way to sum up the combination of slow heartbreak, frustrated ambition, and deadening boredom that took up so much of our emotional bandwidth this year. In their best moments, Nothing does us one better, taking these states of psychic purgatory and blowing them up widescreen, so that they feel pregnant with a significance that is hard to put into language but also darkly addicting. 

On The Great Dismal, which they recorded during the first few weeks of the pandemic, they let the guitars do a lot of the talking; from the wailing bends on the “April Ha Ha” to the shimmering, oceanic tones on “Blue Mecca,” the shoegaze influence is more apparent than ever, rendered with a clarity of signal that makes every texture pop. Even frontman Domenic “Nicky” Palermo’s voice sounds more feathery than usual, which somehow makes his words cut even closer to the bone when he startles us with a line like “Trapped / In skin that fits me / But never fit me / Was never mine.”

The thing I love about Nothing and their new album The Great Dismal  is you don’t know what to expect as each song takes a different twist and turn. Are they GodfleshThe Cocteau TwinsRorschach… what the fuck is this? Every time I listen and think I have it figured out they switch moods making it a brand new record spinning in a swan dive from your mind into your soul. While I don’t advocate drugs, Nothing makes one appreciate hallucinogens while braving a new flight. The first single off the album, “Say Less,” is a great introduction to what you’re about to receive, and it’s only available on widescreen. 

Image may contain: 1 person, guitar and indoor

It was a sort of dark time in my life when I was struggling to find my way. I was in a relationship when it occurred to me that a lot of times you find yourself apologizing to someone after you’ve let them down. So, the idea came to me to apologize in advance. Instead of waiting to apologize until I mess up, let me apologize before, ha ha!

The song went through a lot of changes. From point A to point B there was a bunch of things I put in and took out but what I ended up with was weirdly similar to what I started out with… In spite of that, all the things that I did were necessary. There were times when I took out the main electrical piano that I started with and tried to fill the space with something different, but it never sounded right to me, so I put it back in.

This comes up a lot, I think. You’re always looking for this vibe or tone, you want it to be as pristine and well-recorded as possible, but sometimes there’s really no substitute for the feeling you that had in the beginning. At this point I don’t even remember where I played that electric piano sound or where it came from, but after trying to duplicate it in the studio with all the grand equipment I just couldn’t seem to get the right sound. Sometimes you have to try things that are wrong to figure out what you don’t want, just to confirm that your original idea was right.”– Aaron Earl Livingston,

“Demon To The Dark” by Son Little from the album ‘New Magic,’ available September 15th

In the decade-plus I’ve known Maxwell Stern, he’s never been one to stop. And I’ll go out on a limb and say that anyone else who has come to know Max—maybe from one of his several bands (Signals Midwest, Meridian, Timeshares), or perhaps sweating it out in the pit at a show at some point in time, or maybe from a ska message board in the early 2000s—would say the same thing. Max has this undeniable urge to create. It’s like an impulse, really; an uncontrollable desire to try and make sense of the thoughts and emotions and anxieties about the world that swirl around our heads at any given point in time—and funnel it all into a song. Maybe it’s a song that people can relate to. Hopefully it’s one that they can sing along to.

For Max, ​Impossible Sum​—his first proper solo record—is an honest-to-God effort to wrangle heartfelt and sometimes confusing feelings of adjustment, displacement, and settling into song. These songs have the kind of heart-on-the-sleeve vulnerability that fans of his other bands have come to admire, but presented in a completely unfiltered fashion, existing exactly as they need to be. ” Max tells me. “So I really tried hard to throw that kind of thinking out for the sake of making something different.”

Independent venues have given me everything – jobs, friends, inspiration and a means of self-discovery. I don’t know who I’d be without places like The Grog Shop, Johnny Brenda’s, Boot & Saddle, O’Briens, Great Scott, and the Beat Kitchen. I became a better version of myself in these rooms, as have countless others. The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) is an organization working to secure financial support for independent venues across America. These establishments are not just places of employment – they’re tourism destinations, revenue generators and so much more.
Independent venues were the first to close as COVID overtook the American ecosystem, and they will be the last to reopen, and when they do they will require help and solutions unique to the live music industry that we all love so dearly. Tying Airplanes to the Ground · Maxwell Stern · Ratboys

Bardo Pond guitarists, brothers John and Michael Gibbons revive their long-term sonic sparring side project Vapour Theories for a genre-shattering new release ‘Celestial Scuzz’.

Six years after a split LP with Loren Connors, and 15 years after ‘Joint Chiefs’ the duo have assembled a brand new Vapour Theories album that sees their symbiotic union travel deeper, shaping and re-shaping itself as the harmonious power struggle unravels…

Michael: “The balance of power definitely shifts. When the record is put together it is equal parts from me and my brother. The collaboration is complete and represents both sides of our taking the lead on material.”

‘Celestial Scuzz’ is a monumental sound piece created from hours of jam sessions and crafted into a cohesive mind-blowing trip. Featuring their take on Brian Eno’s ‘The Big Ship’ (‘Another Green World’, 1975), the album has a heavy ambience like Eno locked in a dark room with Sunn-O))))) rehearsing next door.

“When we play together there’s a kind of connection to vibrations for us. When it happens, we become vehicles for some unknown forces that work through us to create the music. A kind of spiritual. Most of the time it leaves us stunned; the more stunned we are the better the jam.”


While Bardo Pond’s trajectory takes them deep into rock music’s ever-imploding sound, the brothers Gibbons surf a more ethereal and eclectic plain; from a heady and consuming space, a “sanctuary; balm for the soul.”
Released on limited edition gold vinyl, ‘Celestial Scuzz’ is available on 26th February on Fire Records

Releases February 22nd, 2021