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Artist of the Month
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July 2016
Spring Onion
"Please Relax
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Catherine Dwyer, also known as the guitarist for the alt-rock outfit Sports, offers fans the perfect soundtrack for summer feelings with the release of her solo EP Please Relax. Recorded under the moniker Spring Onion, her new album is DIY at its best. Mostly written and recorded within the walls of her Philadelphia home, Please Relax is an intimate portrait of yearning, infused with dream-pop nostalgia, heartfelt riffs, and candid poetics.

 

“Egg (Driving Song),” the EP’s opener, unfolds with an Aimee Mann-meets-Girlpool earnestness. Telling the story of a commute clouded by desire, the song is a catchy confessional, with lines like “I'm sorry for what I said and didn't say” and “I'll write songs about my flaws/cause that's a way to self absolve.” The lo-fi grit of Dwyer’s anthem instantly tugs at the heartstrings, transforming even the most jaded listener into a hopeful romantic with each iteration of its fuzzed-out beats.

 

That sentiment is extended on "Chili". Twangy chords are quickly followed by Dwyer’s straightforward but evocative vocals, bringing to mind Built To Spill’s “Carry the Zero” and B-sides by indie darlings like The Babies. The track, although laidback, is unflinchingly sincere, the steady build of its instrumentation, urging its audience to actively listen and exist in the moment. The hissing snare and piano of “Poem 3 (Piano)” cast a similar spell, making each reprise of “but I don’t live alone” a testament to the millennial plight of finding solace in a shared space, while the EP’s title track and atmospheric closer serves as a suitably melodic mantra to calm the anxieties and emotional side effects of living.

 

Despite its brevity, the openness of Please Relax is astonishingly raw and brave. Listening to her songs will remind you that you’re not alone. - Dianca London

 

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Dopestroke Providing Fun Aggression at KFN Jan. 27

Dopestroke Providing Fun Aggression at KFN Jan. 27

Dopestroke started off playing raucous, tradition-bound hardcore, and they've never swerved from that formula, but don't let that deter you - they're fun, and they sound like they're having fun in every one of their songs. Aggressive group vocals abound, as do crusty lyrics about negativity, depression, and society's ills, which are somehow transformed into a good time for all. Take a listen to "Social Loathing (I.II.III.)" for a primer on what they're all about - any band that delivers their screeds in movements are alright by me. This night promises to be a truly aggressive one, with Hound and GA$H rounding out the locals, and Illegals coming to us from Pittsburgh. Kung Fu Necktie, 1201 Frankford Ave., 8pm, $10, 21+ - Alyssa Greenberg 

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