Slutever // “1994”/”Spit”
My favorite Philly ladies are back with a new 7” on (insert genuine surprise here) Jade Tree Records. I told them this last night, but seeing them next to Pedro the Lion on the Jade Tree Soundcloud made me so happy that my head seriously almost exploded. These ladies are really doing it and people are taking notice and it’s everything that I’ve wanted for them since I first heard the promise on their gritty Sorry I’m Not Sorry EP. That was three years ago and they’ve come a long way since recording angsty punk anthems straight to tape in dingy bathrooms.
The two tracks on this new 7” find Slutever at their loudest and surprisingly sludgiest. The B-side gets a little raucous in its final moments, but for the most part these two new tracks find the ladies adopting a languid, mid-tempo demeanor with sticky guitars, thumping drum beats, and their usual distortion and reverb-drenched vocals. If you’re worried that the girls are growing up though, you can those frets put that to bed. This is still the same I-want-to-throw-up-on-your-face Slutever we fell in love with. The high school obsession lingers as well as lyrics about Courtney Love, bleached roots, and detention. They are still loud and bratty and they don’t care what you think, it’s just that this time around they’ve tricked someone into giving them studio time. Now all that’s left to do is strap yourself in and get ready to see who these girs conquer next.
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Blackhawks // Blackhawks
Comprised of members who also plays in bigger, more active bands, Blackhawks always seemed like more of a project that was done for fun more than anything else. Featuring Dan Svizeny (Cough Cool, Nude Beach [no, not that Nude Beach]), Yohsuke Araki (BAnanas Symphony, The Interest Group), and Adam Magerman (Nude Beach); the band Blackhawks was always more what I am going to call semi-active. Putting out tracks at their own pace, the band never really made great strides to put themselves out there in a big way (other than their excellent split album with Radiator Girls). Damn, there are a lot of links in this post. Bear with me.
Then there is the case of the band’s Facebook page, which has been pretty much inactive since last October (and then July before that). But, lo and behold, on April 1st the band shared a link to a new song with the message: “Thanks to all of our fans for hanging in there while we worked out our differences. Blackhawks will be out tomorrow, 4/2/2013” Ok, I’ll take it. Did I mention that they are one of my favorite Philadelphia bands? Whatever.
So now after all this time here we are with Blackhawks’ proper, self-titled, debut album. Featuring 10 new songs of jangly pop goodness, Blackhawks is easily the best stuff that the guys have put out to date. I didn’t know that there were differences brewing within the band, but now that they are behind them it seems that the band has a renewed focus on writing just great music. I’m not sure what sort of release this is going to see outside of a Souncloud stream (cassette please?), but I’m a happy camper nonetheless.
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Congenital Death // From My Hands
Been waiting for this one for a minute. After their strong (albeit raw) demo tape last year, Philadelphia powerviolence powerhouse Congenital Death is finally ready to deliver on all the promise they evidenced on those early tracks. Right now you can pre-order the band’s upcoming EP From My Hands which is out soon on 7” vinyl through Ranch Records and Molars & Fangs and stream it in its entirety on the band’s Soundcloud page.
If you’re new to the band (which you shouldn’t be), just know that they like their hardcore gnarled, fast, and ferocious. True to form their tracks rarely break the 1-minute mark and yet they manage to pack in all of the energy and twisted metal of a five-car pileup into that short runtime leaving the listener with a ringing in their ears and grasping for breath. For the regular listener it will probably be too much digest, but for the metal-loving thrill seeker it’s all you can ask for.
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Artist: pill friends
Pill Friends // It’s Kyle’s Birthday Everyday
If there is one theme that comes screaming through on the new EP by Philadelphia band Pill Friends it’s chemical dependency. I mean come on, the band is called Pill Friends, they’ve got tracks with titles like “Klonopin” and “Pillspillspills,” and they talk about stuff like methadone dependency. And although the tracks on It’s Kyle’s Birthday Everyday seem catchy and upbeat, I can’t help but coming away from it feeling a bit depressed. It’s the same sort of tongue-in-cheek bitterness that is shared by similar acts like Teen Suicide and Coma Cinema. Think of it as like an evolved form of emo without any of the cheese.
Sharing the same sort of home-recorded production vibe as the aforementioned bands, Pill Friends boasts some pretty good, catchy songwriting with elements of surprising instrumentation… well, surprising instrumentation for music that seems so fixated on manic depression. I guess I just never expected to hear cellos accompanying lines like “And I stab myself in the chest” which are being sung in rounds. But hey, if that sort of thing appeals to you, then you’ll probably gleefully gobble this EP up.
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Congenital Death // “Disapproval”
Really really really digging this new Congenital Death track that the band posted on their Soundcloud a few days ago. I knew that the band was recording in preparation for an upcoming release, and yet I still peed my pants a little when I saw that they had dropped this tease of a track.
It’s important to note that there are a few key differences between what we heard on the band’s 2011 demo tape and what’s going on with “Disapproval.” First of all the production is noticeably cleaner, which in reality is to be expected (“demo tape” speaks for itself). Also the band has switched gears a bit by shifting from straight on, eye-gouging powerviolence to a more traditional hardcore punk sound. It’s a move that quite obviously suits the band since the track rules so hard. Finally, powerhouse Kerri has toned down her vocals a bit since her display of brutal throat-shredding on the demo tape. In my opinion, this will allow her to get more mileage out of those pipes, which should be a good thing for both band and listener alike.
Now it remains to be seen if this track will be indicative of whatever release the band is prepping, but I gotta say that it’s a move in the right direction. All in favor, say “I.”
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Boy Scout of America // Bad Dreamer
It’s been quite a while since I’ve shared anything from Kyle Lambert (over a year! gee whiz!). The Philadelphia noisemaker turned producer known as Boy Scout of America has been plenty busy in the meantime though. Molting layers of noise and watching them blow away down the street, Kyle has emerged on the other side a more than competent producer; and yet he still retains the gnarled edge of his earlier content.
Although I’m not really a connoisseur of electronic music, Bad Dreamer is really scratching the occasional beats ‘n bass itch for me. On it Kyle manages to combine elements of mangled noise, industrial, and hip-hop into an amalgam that’s all his own. Even though there are so many great tracks on the album, the easy standout for me is “Say It Out Loud”, a collaboration with b.u.i.l.t. (Lord knows how much I adore that guy). I mean, come on, once Burke’s vocals crashed the party I was emphatically sold on what was already building up to be a great album.
Oh, and if you’re the sort that likes free stuff you can grab Bad Dreamer for free for a couple days (or until Kyle changes his mind).
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Laser Background // Laser Background EP
James Batsford is a really cool guy. He runs the London-based label Stroll On Records and I got to know him through a few releases that he did with Acid Glasses. Since then James has kept me up to date with everything the label has done (and has even sent me some cool stuff in the mail, too). His most recent release comes from Philadelphia native Andy Moholt’s weirdo pop project Laser Background. The self-titled EP contains five tracks of brilliant and somewhat paranoid psych pop. In many ways it reminds me of the weird transitional phase that pop music went through as it moved from the 1970’s to the 1980’s.
The best description for what’s going on here comes from Andy himself. As he puts it:
“The Concept Of Laser Background Centers Around Childhood. The EP’s Artwork Is In Fact A Picture From My Second Grade School Photo. A Lot Of The Ideas Laser Background Tries To Invoke Focus On How Confusing And Crazy And In A Lot Of Ways How Psychedelic It Feels To Be A Child Trying To Make Sense Of A Fucking Crazy Adult World.”
The EP is limited to and edition of 100 cassettes, so make sure you grab one from the label’s store if you dig it!
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mewithoutYou // “February, 1878”
I was totally broadsided by this track today. We are talking jaw on the floor here. A friend of mine who loves the band as much as I do posted it to my Facebook wall today and I’ve been listening to it nonstop all day.
I don’t know if you’re familiar with mewithoutYou or not, but they are one of Philadelphia’s best and most exciting bands. I’ve been a huge fan of theirs ever since I saw them play in support of their debut album [A→B] Life. Back when they pulled out trash bags of dried flowers and moss and draped them all over the stage. So you can imagine my excitement at hearing the band’s first new track in over three years.
Given the band’s love for penning sequels to their own tracks, “January, 1878” picks up where “January, 1979” left off. Listening to the track it seems that Aaron Weiss has returned to his original shouting/spoken word delivery while still retaining the singing that he went all out for on It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All A Dream! It’s Alright (which admittedly I was not crazy about).They’ve struck common ground between both their old and new sounds and it’s a working combination that has me pumped for their new album.
The new album Ten Stories will be out May 15th on the band’s own label Pine Street Music Collection. Date marked.
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Title: Walk Two Moons
Lantern // Burned Youth
Existing easily as one of Philadelphia’s best kept secrets, Lantern has recently prepped Burned Youth, their second release for Night People. The cassette is a collection of bits and pieces that the band recorded between 2009 and 2011. Originally sold as a tour-only release, the cassette is being repackaged and rereleased. And even though the tracks were homeless prior to this release they sill manage to play together really well.
If you ever got a chance to listen to the band’s prior releases then you’ll know that they revel in that sort of straight-to-tape production quality. And while the fidelity is certainly better than that of their first Night People release, the band still finds opportunity to shred the speakers here or there (i.e. “Bop-A-Bop-A-Bop [I’m Yr Porkchop]” present so much feedback and reverb that it basically becomes an onslaught of ceaseless noise.) But the thing that will keep me coming back to this release is the effortless mashing up of bluesy garage rock with hazed-out psych folk. It’s the kind of stuff that’s perfectly suited to a night of impromptu music in a humid backyard. BBQ optional.
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Cough Cool // “Plastic Jewelry”
I am always in the mood to hear some new Cough Cool jams from Dan Svizeny and company. And now that I think of it, these Philly dudes really don’t get as much credit as I think they deserve. Not only does it seem like they are always in a state of creation, but everything they share is worth listening to. If you need proof check out their excellent Clausen cassette that they released earlier this year on Bathetic. (it’s definitely been one of my favorites).
So yeah, I wasn’t really intending on posting today (been way too busy with other stuff), but once I heard this new track I knew I had to share it. Dedicating the track to a friend of Dan’s who passed, “Plastic Jewelry” will scorch your ears leaving them feeling like you just dipped them in acid. It’s the kind of slow burning jammer that I identify with the band and it is a perfect example of why I dig on their music so much.
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Title: Floating Hands
Artist: White Birds
White Birds // White Birds
Oh, Philadelphia, how I miss you and your blessed music scene. Honestly, the city and its suburbs never fail to impress me with the amazing music that is spawned there. And thanks to some recent heavy hitters, the City of Brotherly Love is receiving some long overdue attention to the wonders that are happening there. New to my ears is this band White Birds who recently reached out to me and subsequently wormed their way into my brain via these beautiful jams.
Pulling influence from some notable artists (ahem, The Beach Boys… ahem, Simon & Garfunkel…) they manage to create some righteous stomping ground in between and nimbly craft a world of warm and fuzzy folk pop. For me the main selling point were the harmonies. I mean, you can’t buy harmonies that lush and compact, man! It all lends itself to a sound that feels altogether comfortable and familiar and I can’t remember the last time that I felt so at home in my headphones.
The boys have an upcoming self-titled cassette that you can pre-order from Grizzly Records. So if you dig, make sure you get on that.
*As I was cooking up this post I realized that the most excellent No Modest Bear posted up another track from the EP. So check that out too while you’re at it!*
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Caprice Syndicate // “In the Dark”
I noticed a scurry of activity on BAnanas Symphony’s Tumblr site today (followed suit by several Cough Cool related blogs) surrounding this track “In the Dark”. Last time this sort of thing happened we were gifted that amazing Poppers track. So right away I knew it was in my best interest to check out this new jammy jam.
Now being a monster fan of BAnanas Symphony I expected to like this track (whatever it was), but what I was not expecting was to be utterly knocked off my feet by how awesome this three and a half minutes of music is. On his bandcamp site it says “BAnanas Symphony presents…” so I don’t know if this is just another one of his projects or what (although Dan from Cough Cool hinted at possibly being part of the live band in the future). It’s entirely possible that this is just another ring being added to that Philly brotherhood of bands. Either way I’m totally on board.
Now the track itself is a sort of nightmarish take on doo-wop complete with bouts of random crashing noise and wobbling surf rock guitars. It will lodge itself in your brain and just linger there. The balance of the dark and ominous with the bittersweet nostalgia of the 1960’s here reminds me of something that David Lynch would have hinted at in his film Blue Velvet. So check out this mysterious little present that’s been left on our doorstep and cross your fingers that it hints at more to come.
check him out: BANDCAMP | TUMBLR | BLOGSPOT | MYSPACE
Title: DO YOU LIKE TV?
Poppers // “Do You Like TV?”
Wow wow wow. Poppers is a new band (supergroup?) featuring members of Birthdays, BAnanas Symphony, Cough Cool, Nude Beach and BlackHawks. As if all these dudes’ bands weren’t already interconnected enough…
If there was a way for a seedy night club to be housed in a cave, then this is what the live band would sound like. It feels undeniably chilly and if you close your eyes you can even see/hear the water droplets plinking as they fall from the ceiling into shimmering pools on the cave floor. Everything about this track feels so right. The way the reverb-soaked guitars and vocals bounce around and the devilishly seductive percussion create this perfect atmosphere. I am digging this track HARD, and hoping that we hear more from Poppers in the very near future.
(via The Human Touch)
Cough Cool // “Stolen”
Here is a new video from some of my favorite Philly dudes, Cough Cool. If you know anything about them then you know that they loves sports just about as much as they love making music. Their fierce loyalty to not only Philadelphia’s sports teams but also the city’s thriving music scene is just one reason why these guys are so great.
If you haven’t familiarized yourself with them yet, then check out their bandcamp where you can download a couple of their past cassettes for free. This particular track, “Stolen” is off a future release of theirs that will be coming out on Not Not Fun. Can’t wait.