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December 2014
The Spirit of the Beehive
"The Spirit of the Beehive
"
mp3
There is something rather dark and mysterious about a band that takes its name from a classic Spanish film that focuses on its protagonist, a young girl, who becomes fascinated by the 1931 horror movie, Frankenstein. And with an album cover that portrays a child in a bee costume positioned in front of a tombstone saying, “Here Lies Mom-n-Dad Now Their Gone Isn’t That Sad,” you can’t help but be intrigued, if not a bit disturbed. The Spirit of the Beehive is a local fledgling outfit who has popped up on my radar this past year, appearing on numerous bills, oftentimes at DIY spaces. The band has further grabbed my attention with its debut self-titled full-length album, which was recorded by The Weaks/ex-Dangerous Ponies, Evan Bernard and Chris Baglivo, and released via rising Philly indie label Ranch Records.  
 
The record’s opening track, “Roll Over,” begins with an eerie instrumentation before a languid female voice comes in with barely intelligible lines. “Cycles in and out of morphine hazes. Finding spaces between your floorboards. And I watch the dust move.” Thankfully the group provides us with lyrics on its Bandcamp page; otherwise, the beautifully poetic verses filled with drug-fueled imagery would be lost in the wash of power chords and feedback. “All lost in the black market. To wait in the fix aisle, I roll over.” You also get a sense of the band’s lo-fi, DIY aesthetic when you are abruptly taken out of the world, created by the album’s first, with studio chatter before moving on to the next track. With “Short Walk,” you can’t help but feel the influences of greats like Nirvana and more recently Creepoid with the hushed vocals and sonic bursts. These two tracks set the tone for the first half of the LP, where you travel in and out of the territories of dream pop and shoegaze when the female lead vocals grab a hold of you and then the grungier, harder-edged side takes over with the male lead. This juxtaposition provides quite an enjoyable balance that I actually wished went on longer throughout the record.
 
It’s not until “Ether,” where the two combine forces, changing the dynamic of their relationship. The title of the song suggests that you might be finding something more ethereal; however, the driving bass line provides a sense of urgency throughout the track. It also marks the point where the male lead begins to dominate the rest of the album, while taking on some of the characteristics of its counterpart. What remains a constant is a psychedelic, drug-filled angst full of guitar licks and distortion, giving off the vibe of a band that is here to rock, and they don’t care if you are ready for it or not.
 
The Spirit of the Beehive closes out their ambitious LP with the longest and cleanest sounding recording on the album, “Fever Dream,” demonstrating that they don’t need to hide behind studio effects, while making you wonder where their follow-up release will go next. It’s an eclectic and modern sounding record that also pulls from past genres I hold close to my chest. I highly recommend that you go download it ASAP. - Q.D. Tran

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Leather

New Leather Album Available for Streaming & Purchase

Good morning! Did today's snow and chill snap you out of your springtime daydream? Well, throw your middle fingers to the air, and bash the hell outta something to the soundtrack of Leather's lupine new record Easy! The band quietly dropped the nine-track album last week, and the release once again loudly demonstrates why the hardcore four-piece is the real deal from Philly with no need (or desire) for hype. (And Noisey's Dan Ozzi definitely slept on these guys for his half-assed piece about the Philly punk scene.)

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Leather & Residuels Opening for The Oblivians & The Strapping Fieldhands at Underground Arts Oct. 4

Hardcore outfit Leather understands the power of ferocity playing with a raw undeterred one speed-fits all determination that will shake the pillars of Underground Arts tonight and smack you in the face. The unfiltered garage reverb loaded alliance of Moon Women frontman Justin Pittney and Creepoid drummer Pat Troxell known as Residuels will also be on display creating a carnal retro feeling sound filled with raunchy guitar licks a steady-driving backbeat and guttural vocals. They will be setting the stage for the re-formed garage-punk trio The Oblivians and the forefathers of Philly indie rock The Strapping Fieldhands. Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St., 8pm, $15, 21+ - Michael Colavita
 

Leather Debuting New Material at KFN Jan. 25

Leather is currently working on a new full-length record that will feature artwork from Philly photographer Matthew Gallagher, whose work you may have come across through releases from the band Nothing. The hardcore four-piece will be debuting material from their forthcoming album tonight at Kung Fu Necktie, and they’ll also be hosting rising Cali rapper and former Leather bandmate Antwon. Opening the evening will be Heathen Reign, which is fronted by Creepoid’s Pat Troxell. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., 10pm, $10, 21+ - Alexis V.

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Leather Opening for Double Negative at Vox Populi Aug. 31

Leather may only have a handful of punishing-yet-complex recordings to their name, but there's absolutely nothing ephemeral about them and the reputation they've crafted. This Philly band's muscle-bound, crazed-circle-pit-inducing hardcore has been hailed as the heir to the throne left vacant by the Cro-Mags, and they've kept themselves uppermost in the minds of hardcore enthusiasts by staying aloof: tantalizingly doling out as few solid hints about their upcoming album as possible without their more frantic fans beating a path to their door. They're showing up tonight to the sweaty lair in the summertime that is Vox Populi with Raleigh tour-mates Double Negative, who bring with them an unparalleled pedigree (members have played in Erectus Monotone and Polvo), and Long Island's Brain Slug. With a forecast of high temperatures, savage loudness and apeshit windmilling, this show is going to be painful in all the right ways. Vox Populi, 319 N. 11th St. - 3rd Floor, 8pm, $6 - $8, All Ages - Alyssa Greenberg

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