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The Deli’s Featured Artist(s) of the Month: Music for Headphones

We had a chance to throw our get-to-know-you questions at Jonathan Allen, founder/songwriter of Music for Headphones. They recently won our bi-monthly fans/readers poll, and just released their latest Neu!/La Düsseldorf/Faust/Can inspired album Life.in.Mono. Will someone please release their record in Europe already!?! Here’s some info below in case you wanted to learn more about Music for Headphones.
 
The Deli: How did the band start? 
 
Jonathan Allen: The band first started in 2000 in Athens, GA at the end of a previous band. Our guitar player was leaving in the middle of a recording project, and the drummer and I decided to make a record on our own. It was called Dreaming through this Coma Life, self-released via the internet in 2000. Shortly there after, we moved to Portland, OR, and the project never materialized as a live band. I ended up being a founding member of Portland's The Upsidedown, but left before their debut record, Trust Electricity, came out on Reverb Records. At that point I switched my focus from performing to production. However, in 2005, I found myself in Philadelphia furiously writing spacey, droney, shoegazey songs reminiscent of Dreaming through this Coma Life so I brought back the Headphones name, and put a band together. Here we are six years later.
 
TD: Where did the band name Music for Headphones come from?
 
JA: During early mixing sessions for Dreaming through this Coma Life, someone in the mixing room mentioned the songs sounded like "music for headphones". As the project was yet to be named, we went with that.
 
TD: What are your biggest musical influences?
 
JA: Growing up in the early 90's it was all about Sonic Youth, the Flaming Lips, and Mercury Rev. In 1997, I saw the Dandy Warhols for the first time that led me in the world of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Spacemen 3, and Spiritualized. My Bloody Valentine and Jesus and Mary Chain came after that. I am a huge record collector, and it all influences me. That's a big part of why our sound is constantly evolving. If you have heard our latest record, Life.in.Mono, it's clear I find Neu!, La Düsseldorf, Faust, and Can huge influences.  
 
TD: What artists (local, national and/or international) are you currently listening to?
 
JA: I am constantly listening to Neil Young, Luna/Galaxie 500, and the Ronettes. I love Screen Vinyl Image and Asteroid No. 4, so they both get a lot of play at home as do the Warlocks. I've been on a buying spree of early Factory Records releases, so I am getting into things like Swamp Children, and rediscovering how much I love A Certain Ratio.
 
TD: What's the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?
 
JA: The first concert I remember seeing was Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Who knows if that was the first, my parents were always taking us to concerts. The first tape I ever purchased was Guns 'n Roses’ Appetite for Destruction in 1988, the first CD was in 1991, INXS’ Live Baby Live
 
TD: What do you love about Philly?
 
JA: I love the walk-ability of the city. It’s nice not having to drive on a daily basis. Clearly I love all the friends I've made here. There are some really great people in my life.
 
TD: What do you hate about Philly?
 
JA: The PPA. They actually stole my car. I got it back from outside of a chop shop.
 
TD: What are your plans for 2011?
 
JA: The third Sunday of every month we host an event called Fuzz Factory at Teri's DinerBar (1126 S. 9th) that focuses on shoegaze, garage, ambient, experimental, and noise musicians. We just had our fifth event and looking forward to that continuing throughout the year. We should be heading out towards Chicago in late May and down to the DC area as well. We are trying to figure out how to get over to Berlin in the fall to support Life.in.Mono which is doing really well in Europe. Finally, we are going to start recording the next record within the next 6 weeks. Hope to have something new out by November.
 
TD: What was your most memorable live show?
 
JA: Probably opening for Spectrum at Johnny Brenda's in 2007. We debuted a two drummer lineup and began the ultimate descent into kraut rock. Sonic Boom said we sounded like "a Stereolab mindfuck" and stole our sushi.
 
TD: What's your favorite thing to get at the deli?
 
JA: Ha! Italian hoagie. Or the weekend preview.
 
- The Deli Staff
 
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Blood Feathers Gang Back Together Again at KFN Feb. 27

Tonight at Kung Fu Necktie there will be vintage licks, fancy footwork and pompadours galore because Philly’s time-traveling rockers Blood Feathers are back from the 50’s and ready to get down. Ben Dickey and Drew Mills have been playing out as a duo quenching peoples’ thirst for Blood (Feathers) and unveiling some new tunes they have been working on while their drummer is on tour with Sun Airway. This evening could be your chance to hear some of those new ditties full band style, and it will be your last chance for a while because tonight is their only scheduled Philly gig until the summer! If comfort in familiarity is your thing, then come out and hear them croon their way through cuts from their latest stellar LP Goodness Gracious. I would personally love to hear them cover “Greased Lightning” but it may take some convincing. Joining Blood Feathers is tape-deck southern rockers who are actually from Bucks County/Philly, The Cobbs, led by, yes, two Cobb brothers. It’s beautiful outside! See you there! Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 Front St., 8pm, $8, 21+ (Photo by Derek Brad) - Adam G.
 
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Folkadelphia Wraps-up w/Meg Baird at JB’s Feb. 27

To say that Meg Baird is experienced is an understatement. Really, the word doesn't rightly encompass her dues paid in the indie music scene. After all, the Philly-based New Jersey native started and fronted in the much adored freak-folk outfit Espers, collaborated with her sis, Laura, in the equally adored The Baird Sisters, has appeared on albums by Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Sharon Van Etten, and now sits behind the skins for Richie Charles’ new punk band Watery Love. If anything, she's more of a success story, even if it's in the confines of the underground. And it's only right, too. Her bittersweet acoustic strums, weary lullaby vocal teases, and stark but swaying melodies can draw in deeply--just listen to her 2007 solo debut, Dear Companion (it can leave you breathless, no doubt). Check out the power of her verse this afternoon at Johnny Brenda's for the final installment of the Folkadelphia concert series. Baird, along with Maine's husband/wife experi-folk duo Arborea (local musicians Helena Espvall, Mary Lattimore, and Jesse Sparhawk will sit in for the set). And make sure to stay for the show's Q&A session with Gene Shay of XPN's Folk Show radio show. You won't regret it. Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 1pm, $7, 21+ - Annamarya Scaccia
 
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AMP It Up! East Coast All-ages Music Summit at The Rotunda Feb. 26

Get ready for a one of a kind forum on all things DIY and all ages. AMP It Up! East Coast All Ages Music Summit is a rare panel, training, and networking session designed for staff, volunteers, allies, and fans of all-ages music venues and youth music organizations, it’s happening at The Rotunda this evening. In honor of the release of the book In Every Town: An All-ages Music Manualfesto, this forum looks to bring likeminded peers together to figure out how they can strengthen young people’s access to the tools of participatory cultural production. So although they’re in for a busy weekend of fests, there’s a good chance that you might see some peeps from the likes of Danger Danger Gallery and The Ox in attendance, as well as some familiar musicians, especially since Ian MacKaye of Fugazi/Minor Threat/Dischord Records will be on hand as a keynote speaker. An event of this nature naturally wouldn’t be complete without some rockin’ live music, and one of the bands providing it will be Slutever who will be doing double duty today because they’ll also be hitting up 2 Piece Fest 4 at The Ox. The grrrls have been kicking ass and puffing bowls all over the place, and will be releasing their first vinyl Pretend to be Nice on Bantic Media (which can be pre-order with a limited edition screen printed stencil and poster here). So they’re sure to bring the shred before they get ready for SXSW! They’ll also be joined by SGNLS who have been hard at work on a full length LP, and our getting ready to tour with Drums Like Machine Guns in March. The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St., 5pm - 11pm, $5 - $15, All Ages - Bill McThrill
 
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Do You Need the Service? & Univox at JB’s Feb. 26

Even though Philly's Do You Need the Service? has been performing in these parts for three years now, they're no strangers to the local music scene - bassist Justin Hallman has tracked time in Pros from Dover and Bitch Slicer, and saxist Mike Tranmontana jammed in Black Landlord and Afterdinner Mints. The four-piece instrumental rock outfit, which also includes keyboardist Tim Day and drummer Mark Sconyers, is also no stranger to attention. They received positive reviews for their latest album, I Hurl Myself Towards Glory, released in July, were mentioned in Metro and Philadelphia Weekly, and even landed a live gig on NBC 10. You can catch their fusion of rock, funk, jazz and new-wave tonight at Johnny Brenda's, where they'll play with local staples Univox, whose penchant for wickedly fierce, raucous noise makes them Deli favorites, and Brooklyn five-piece The Better Letters. Johnny Brenda's, 1201 Frankford Ave., 9pm, $10, 21+ - Annamarya Scaccia
 
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