The 13th annual NON-COMMvention, the three-day industry and music conference for non-commercial radio stations hosted by WXPN, kicks off this evening at World Café Live. WXPN will be broadcasting performances from the event throughout the next three days. We suggest catching Foxygen, Kurt Vile, Free Energy, Phoenix, Tom Tom Club and The Lone Bellow. You can view the rest of the schedule of performances HERE.
Heyward Howkins’ music transports my jaded urban heart to a rural landscape saturated with the smell of pine needles and the serene sounds of a rolling brook. It’s escapism at its finest with the simplicity of genteel vocals, polished songwriting and a lone guitar. After cutting his teeth in the local music scene as the guitarist for defunct outfit The Trouble with Sweeney and founding member of The Silver Ages, Howkins has been delighting audiences around town with material from his debut album The Hale & Hearty. Tonight at Ortlieb’s, leave your worries behind by taking in his set alongside a mixed bag of artists like Dreambook, Break It Up and Taggart. It’s good way to get you over the hump this week. Ortlieb’s Lounge, 437 N. 3rd St., $5, 21+ - H.M. Kauffman
Ladyfest Philly, an activism, music and arts festival, will be held from June 7 - 9 at various locations. They made a compilation to showcase the talent that will be performing at their events, and will also be selling it on cassette to benefit Project SAFE and Women in Transition. Check out the mix that incldues such artists as Screaming Females, U.S. Girls, Void Vision, Trophy Wife and much more! You can purchase your tickets for Ladyfest Philly HERE.
Reef The Lost Cauze and producer Haj of Duhmi just dropped a badass new EP entitled Sirens on Snyder. It features contributions from Ethel Cee, Burke the Jurke, Random and Side Effect. Below is what Haj had to say about the evolution of this collaboration, and you can also check out the music video for their track “Moonshine” HERE. Enjoy!
So, we are finally here.
Back in 2008, I met up with Reef the Lost Cauze for the first time. We made a song called "Squeeze" that night. We have made a LOT of songs together since.
Last October we were recording what would become B.Dawk and Reef was like "we might as well just knock out a little Ep, man." I was like, "Let's go!"
I won't do anymore dialogue in this email. I promise.
So while Reef and Caliph were finishing up "Reef the Lost Cauze is Dead", I started sketching some beats together and in about January, we started rocking out on Wednesday nights in the basement.
Here's a long-awaited new track from Break It Up called "New Penzance." The song will appear on their upcoming debut self-title LP, which was recorded with Uniform Recording's Jeff Zeigler. The trio will be popping up tomorrow night at Ortlieb's Lounge to perform alongside Dreambook, Heyward Howkins and Taggart, and the first 25 attendes will receive a download code for their latest single.
Local indie vets The Strapping Fieldhands just shared their first new song in 10+ years called "Impossible to Say" that will appear on their upcoming release later this year. It's a good one too! Special thanks to TestosterTunes for posting.
It's been quite a bit since we've received any original material from Psychic Teens after loudly bursting onto the Philly music scene. The gothic post-punk outfit recently shared an explosive new track "RIP" from their upcoming release COME that is scheduled to drop on August 13 via local area label SRA Records. You can catch the power trio at Kung Fu Necktie this evening opening for No Joy. (Photo by Greg C)
Tonight YVYNYL (a.k.a. Mark Schoneveld) continues this month’s curation of Tuesday Tune-Out at PhilaMOCA with Jesse Sparhawk. Though Sparhawk is a multi-instrumentalist, he is probably best known for his nimble plucks on the acoustic guitar. The gifted musician has worked with a diverse list of artists throughout the Philly music community so the billing of “Jesse Sparhawk and friends” should gather an array of talent to help him perform live scores over recorded footage. Expect a peaceful calm to takeover the multi-purpose art space this evening. PhilaMOCA, 531 N. Front St., 8pm, $5, All Ages - H.M. Kauffman
You may have caught Arrah Fisher of Arrah and the Ferns at work last night on The Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Well, here she is working hard at rocking out the first single from the band's forthcoming LP Make Your Mind called "Go Back." Arrah and the Ferns will be celebrating the release of their new record on Friday, May 24 at PhilaMOCA, which will be the group's last show "indefinitely."
Philly emcee Gliss just premiered a new single earlier today via VIBE called “Inner Visions,” which was produced by Chigz. The track will appear on his forthcoming LP High on a Weekday due out this summer, but you can listen to and download it for free below. We’d also like to congratulate Gliss on his recent nuptials this past weekend - wishing him and his lovely wife Tiara all the best! Cheers!
For those who decide whether to come or go based on the first forty seconds of an album, Restorations’ LP2 is practically tailor-made for snap judgments. After a chiming, anthemic guitar opening, the band already known for fist-raising jams lets all hell break loose with “D,” their most unrestrained opener yet. The drum kit-mauling, earth-shaking bass lines and ascendant guitar riffs can only be described as complete sensory overload, and make it clear that the following eleven songs are going to be fueled by pure viscera. If your preferences run towards structure over huge sound, this release may leave you cold; LP2’s predominant means of exploring the band’s wealth of ideas are stadium-sized instrumentation and endless waves of atmospherics, as well as a dose of ennui.
This is a murkier, more inward-looking Restorations than we’re used to. Everything that was there before, musically, is blown sky-high this time around. They’ve managed to pack ideas into every iota of the song list, aided by Jon Low’s miles-deep production; the density of the music itself is offset by an album-long meditation on place, belonging, and the ramifications of leaving the familiar behind, which makes the outsized sound that much more of an interesting direction. Juxtaposing the existential discomfort with more sophisticated, complex forays into Restorations’ sonic wheelhouse.
The spiraling guitars, one of the album’s specially prominent features, are everywhere, serving various purposes in each song. “Kind of Comfort”’s jittery glam rock aspirations accompany lyrics of searching and wanderlust. Even the more downbeat cuts (“In Perpetuity Through The Universe,” “New Old”) are propelled beyond their subject matter by the songs’ barely-concealed restless energy. At its more pensive moments, like the folk-inflected “Civil Inattention,” there is a restless undercurrent of texture and volatility that never quite lets up.
Album closer “Adventure Tortoise” is all monster buildup laced with extraterrestrial effects, kicking off into a sort of requiem for the band’s neighborhood. “I’d really like to stay to help this place,” growls Jon Loudon through his teeth, but the allure of letting it all go is too strong to resist. The longing for a place “where nobody knows your name” isn’t quite all-consuming enough to inspire real action, but it is definitely the new paradigm Loudon means.
It takes guts to pull off a release that feels ten minutes long but contains more emotional and musical texture than most records. Restorations cover a whole lot of ground on LP2, and for the most part, pull off their ambitions. A bit too sanguine for shoegaze, and maybe too heady for punk, Restorations’ second full-length album brings an intriguing palette of aspirations to their open road-ready sound, prepared to try anything and everything. - Alyssa Greenberg