Tag: Philadelphia PA

Over the last half of 2016, I had written quite a bit about the Philadelphia, PA-based indie rock quartet Oldermost, and as you may recall, the band led by its creative mastermind and primary songwriter Bradford Bucknam received attention from this site and elsewhere for a 70s AM radio rock sound that immediately brought to mind  Nick Drake, and Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd with the release of singles like “Honey With Tea”  “Finally Unsure” and a gorgeous cover of  Graham Nash’s I Used To Be A King,” that emphasized the song’s bittersweet nature.

Now, up until recently, some time had passed since I had written about the band, which had spent the better part of last year writing and recording their fourth, full-length album, How Could You Ever Be The Same?, which is slated for a July 13, 2018 release through AntiFragile Music. Reportedly, the album finds the band continuing to move towards more complex sonic territory while the material carefully blends neuroticism and mysticism. Album single “The Danger of Belief” was a rollicking and anthemic track centered around a twangy guitar line, a propulsive bass line and shuffling drumming that seemed to draw from Tom Petty while possessing the intimacy of old friends, who have the same arguments, know how to needle each other, and yet they wouldn’t have it any other way. “Same To Me,” the album’s second album is a wistful track that brings to mind, a dusty, beer soaked honky tonk at 3am or so, when you’re left with that last half pint of beer, that last bit of whiskey and the lingering ghosts of regret; in this case, the song focuses on how relationships subtly change as the people within them change — but oddly enough, they’re rooted in a comfortable routine, and old memories.

 

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Live Footage: Hot Snakes Performing Material from Their First Album in 14 Years at The Troubadour on “Last Call with Carson Daly”

Over the past few months, I’ve written a bit about Hot Snakes, and as you may recall the band, which was led by its then-San Diego, CA-based founding duo of Swami John Reis and Rick Froberg formed in 1999 when Reis’ primary band Rocket from the Crypt went on hiatus after the departure of long-time drummer Atom Willard and when they were in between labels. And while searching for a new label and drummer, Reis started his own label Swami Records and began experimenting with other musicians, which resulted in the formation of Hot Snakes and Sultans. Hot Snakes in particular, can trace their origins to when Reis recorded a batch of material with Delta 72‘s Jason Kourkounis, and then contacted his former bandmate and collaborator Froberg to contribute vocals, and most of those recording sessions eventually comprised their full-length debut Automatic Midnight.

Although Reis and Froberg collaborated together in Pitchfork and Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes proved to be a logistical challenge as Reis was in San Diego, Froberg had relocated in New York to start a career as a visual artist and illustrator, and Kourkounis was based in Philadelphia. Naturally, this resulted in sporadic and intense recording and touring schedules that frequently included bassist Gar Wood, best known for his work in Beehive and the Barracudas, Tanner and Fishwife. And while Hot Snakes shares some musical similarities to Reis’ and Froberg’s previous projects, they developed a reputation for a much more primal, garage punk sound influenced by Wipers, Suicide, and Michael Yonkers Band — and for a completely DIY approach to recording, touring and merchandise with the band releasing material through Reis’ Swami Records. (Unsurprisingly, Hot Snakes’ debut Automatic Midnight was the first release through Reis’ label.)

After releasing two more full-length albums, 2002’s Suicide Invoice and 2004’s Audit in Progress, the band called it a day in 2005 but they reunited for a world tour in 2011 which reportedly set the stage for the band’s fourth, full-length album Jericho Sirens, the band’s first album in 14 years, which was released earlier this year through Sub Pop Records. Recored in short bursts over the past year in San Diego and Philadelphia, the album features Reis and Froberg collaborating with Wood and drummers Kourkounis and Mario Rubalcaba — both of whom have been on prior Hot Snakes albums but never on the same one until now. And as Reis explained in press notes for the album, one of the most rewarding aspects was continuing his  collaboration and creative partnership with Froberg. “Our perspectives are similar. Our tastes are similar. He is my family. And more is there to say? My favorite part of making this record was hearing him find his voice and direction for this record. I came hard,” Reis says.

Reportedly, the material thematically commiserates with the frustration and apathy of our daily lives while pointing out that generally we don’t have a fucking clue. As Froberg says of the album, “’Songs like ‘Death Camp Fantasy’ and ‘Jericho Sirens’ are about that. No matter where you look, there’re always people saying the world’s about to end. Every movie is a disaster movie. I’m super fascinated by it. It is hysterical, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. It snowballs, like feedback, or my balls on the windshield.” Sonically, the album reportedly finds the band incorporating some of the most extreme fringes of their sound while staying true to their long standing influences — but interestingly, some songs feature nods to AC/DC and others. As Reis says in press notes, “It sounds like panic and chaos. Restlessness and unease. That’s a sound that I would ask for. I want that record. The inspiration would be simple, maybe even kind of straightforward. Very early rock ‘n’ roll DNA with lots of rules. I would find some note or rhythm in it that captivated me and I dwelled on it and bent it. That’s where I found dissonance. Bending and rubbing against each other uncomfortably. Marinate and refine. A lot of the other Hot Snakes records always had tension and release, but this one is mainly just tension.”

Recently, the member of Hot Snakes made their national, late night TV debut on Last Call with Carson Daly, which filmed the band performing three mosh pit friendly album singles — the anthemic and furious Curses-era Rye Coalition-like “Six Wave Hold-Down,” the blistering and “I Need a Doctor” and “Having Another?” And obviously, the live footage should be a ample taste of what to expect for the latest leg of the band’s tour that will include two NYC sets — a sold out June 4, 2018 stop at the Bowery Ballroom and a June 5, 2018 stop at Elsewhere.

 

Over the last half of 2016, a lifetime and a half ago, based on our current sociopolitical climate, I had written about the  months, Philadelphia, PA-based indie rock quartet Oldermost. And as you may recall, the band led by its creative mastermind and primary songwriter Bradford Bucknam received attention from this site and elsewhere for a 70s AM radio rock sound that immediately brought to mind  Nick Drake, and Wish You Were Here-era Pink Floyd with the release of singles like “Honey With Tea” and “Finally Unsure” and a gorgeous cover of  Graham Nash’s “I Used To Be A King,” that emphasized the song’s bittersweet nature.

Now, it’s been some time since I’ve personally written about the band; but as it turns out they’ve spent some time writing and recording their fourth full-length album How Could You Ever Be The Same?, which is slated for a July 13, 2018 release through AntiFragile Music, and interestingly enough the album reflects the band’s continuing move towards more complex sonic territory while thematically walking a tightrope between a blend of neuroticism and mysticism. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “The Danger of Belief” is a rollicking and anthemic track centered around a twangy guitar line, a propulsive bass line and shuffling drumming — and while seemingly drawing from Tom Petty, the song possesses the intimacy of old friends, who have the same arguments and know how to needle each other, and they couldn’t have it any other way. But underneath that is a bittersweet meditation on belief and in believing in anything too much; it’ll break your heart, just like everything else will.

Grant Goldsworthy is a Central Pennsylvania-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter, who over the past 15 years has played with a number of bands across Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Boston and New York — and with his latest project, Snow Villain, which he started in 2015, Goldsworthy began collaborating with a rotating cast of musicians from Philadelphia, Harrisburg, PA and NYC. Although some have said that Snow Villain’s sound nods at Death Cab for Cutie, Smashing Pumpkins, St. Vincent, Nine Inch Nails, Weezer, Ween and Beck, the project’s latest single “Torches.” off the forthcoming EP 1 strikes me as nodding heavily at early Rage Against the Machine, as the song is centered around enormous power chords, rousingly anthemic hooks, and politically-charged lyrics delivered with a swaggering, hip-hop like flow.

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Stark Sounds and Visuals of The Soft Moon’s “Give Something”

Luis Vasquez is an Oakland, CA-based singer/songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind the critically applauded industrial/dark wave/post-punk recording project The Soft Moon. Vasquez’s latest Soft Moon album, the recently released Criminal is reportedly one of his most confessional albums he has released to date, as the material is written through a stark lens of shame and guilt, in which the material thematically focuses on a man at war with himself, battling with self-hatred, insecurity, self-entitlement paired with the fear of those things transforming him into the type of person he normally despises.

Criminal’s latest single is the broodingly stark and atmospheric “Give Something,” a track that pairs his falsetto with thumping beats, razor sharp synths and industrial clang and clatter. Interestingly, as Vasquez explains in press notes, the track focuses on his inability to reciprocate love and tenderness to another person. “Having no control over the constant urge to sabotage all things that are good for me, there is irony and frustration in knowing that in the end, the impossibility of love is what ultimately will save me from my myself.” It’s a plaintive and gut wrenchingly urgent call for help from a deeply troubled, emotionally damaged yet incredibly self-aware person.

Directed by Kelsey Henderson and featuring video effects and color by Victoria Keddie, the recently released video for “Give Something” focuses on a split screen throughout — one the left, a topless woman with her back to the screen and a couple seemingly in the middle of intense coitus, with the same woman from the left hand side grabbing and scratching the back of her lover with a desperate, painful grip that leaves marks. At points the visuals go through stuttering visual effects that on one level makes it look as though the woman may be abusing herself  — or her lover — out of selfish motivations.

Live Concert Photography: The Goodnight Darlings with herMajesty at Mercury Lounge 2/28/18

Featuring core members Kat Auster (vocals); Wilson (guitar), who has had lengthy stints touring with in the backing bands of The Fugees and Wyclef Jean; and Jaramillo (drums), the New York-based indie act The Goodnight Darlings have received both local and national attention for a sultry, dance floor friendly sound that draws from 80s pop, hip-hop, Combat Rock-era The Clash, New Wave, post-punk and shoegaze. The local indie rock stalwarts headlined an early show at Mercury Lounge that featured JOVM mainstays herMajesty as the night’s opener. Check out photos from the show below.

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Over the years, I’ve written quite a bit about the New York-based art rock/glam rock/indie rock act and JOVM herMajesty. And although the band has gone through a number of lineup changes, the band which is currently comprised of founding member and primary songwriter  JP (vocals, samples, guitar), David (bass, lead guitar), Joan (bass) and Konrad (drums) has maintained a reputation for crafting lush, moody and contemplative material that’s heavily indebted to Roxy Music, David Bowie, U2 and others. Since the release of the My Body Your Mind EP and a series of standalone singles, which included gorgeous cover of Patti Smith’s “Dancing Barefoot,” “One by One” and others, the band has developed a regional profile with the New York-based rock act opening for the likes of  The B52s, Tom Tom Club, Say Hi to Your Mom and The Boxer Rebellion — and have made frequent tour stops in Rochester, Providence, Philadelphia and Boston, as well as regular shows at Rockwood Music Hall and The Bowery Electric in the Lower East Side. Of course, their set included those singles and their latest single, the shimmering and disco-tinged “Weightless,” which you can check out below.

 
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For these photos and more, check out the Flickr set here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmgRTPnz

New Audio: Hot Snakes Return with an Anthemic Mosh Pit Worthy Track from First Album in 14 Years

Led by its then-San Diego, CA-based founding duo of Swami John Reis and Rick Froberg, Hot Snakes formed in 1999 as a side project, when Reis’ primary band Rocket from the Crypt went on hiatus after the departure of long-time drummer Atom Willard — and being in between labels. While searching for a new label and drummer, Reis started his own label Swami Records and began experimenting with other musicians, which resulted in the formation of Hot Snakes and Sultans. Interestingly, Hot Snakes can trace their origins to when Reis recorded a batch of material with Delta 72‘s Jason Kourkounis, and then contacted his former bandmate and collaborator Froberg to contribute vocals, and most of those recording sessions eventually comprised their full-length debut Automatic Midnight.

Although Reis and Froberg collaborated together in Pitchfork and Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes proved to be a logistical challenge as Reis was in San Diego, Froberg had relocated in New York to start a career as a visual artist and illustrator, and Kourkounis was based in Philadelphia. Naturally, this resulted in sporadic and intense recording and touring schedules that frequently included bassist Gar Wood, best known for his work in Beehive and the Barracudas, Tanner and Fishwife. And while Hot Snakes shares some musical similarities to Reis’ and Froberg’s previous projects, they developed a reputation for a much more primal, garage punk sound influenced by Wipers, Suicide, and Michael Yonkers Band — and for a completely DIY approach to recording, touring and merchandise with the band releasing material through Reis’ Swami Records. (Unsurprisingly, Hot Snakes’ debut Automatic Midnight was the first release through Reis’ label.)

After releasing two more full-length albums, 2002’s Suicide Invoice and 2004’s Audit in Progress, the band called it a day in 2005 but they reunited for a world tour in 2011 which reportedly set the stage for the band’s fourth, full-length album Jericho Sirens, the band’s first album in 14 years, slated for a March 16, 2018 release through Sub Pop Records. Recored in short bursts over the past year in San Diego and Philadelphia, the album features Reis and Froberg collaborating with Wood and drummers Kourkounis and Mario Rubalcaba — both of whom have been on prior Hot Snakes albums but never on the same one until now. And as Reis explained in press notes for the album, one of the most rewarding aspects was continuing his  collaboration and creative partnership with Froberg. “Our perspectives are similar. Our tastes are similar. He is my family. And more is there to say? My favorite part of making this record was hearing him find his voice and direction for this record. I came hard,” Reis says.

Reportedly, the material thematically commiserates with the frustration and apathy of our daily lives while pointing out that generally we don’t have a fucking clue. As Froberg says of the album, ““Songs like ‘Death Camp Fantasy’ and ‘Jericho Sirens’ are about that. No matter where you look, there’re always people saying the world’s about to end. Every movie is a disaster movie. I’m super fascinated by it. It is hysterical, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. It snowballs, like feedback, or my balls on the windshield.”

Sonically, the album reportedly finds the band incorporating some of the most extreme fringes of their sound while staying true to their long standing influences — but interestingly, with some songs feature nods to AC/DC and others. As Reis says in press notes, “It sounds like panic and chaos. Restlessness and unease. That’s a sound that I would ask for. I want that record. The inspiration would be simple, maybe even kind of straightforward. Very early rock ‘n’ roll DNA with lots of rules. I would find some note or rhythm in it that captivated me and I dwelled on it and bent it. That’s where I found dissonance. Bending and rubbing against each other uncomfortably. Marinate and refine. A lot of the other Hot Snakes records always had tension and release, but this one is mainly just tension.”

You might remember that last month I wrote about the Curses-era Rye Coalition-like album single “Six Wave Hold-Down,” a single that possessed a furious piss, vinegar, vitriol and whiskey-fueled punk air with rousingly anthemic, raise your beer in the air hooks and a frenzied urgency. Unsurprisingly, the album’s latest single “Death Camp Fantasy” possesses the same frenzied urgency, centered around a swaggering, muscular and insistent riff, howled vocals, propulsive drumming, and shout worthy, mosh pit-friendly hooks; but underneath the swaggering, whiskey and piss fueled storm is a sentiment reminiscent of Soundgarden’s “Blow Up The Outside World” — a sick of this bullshit, let’s blow it all the fuck up and start over vibe. 

Along with the release of their newest album, the band’s entire back catalog will be re-issued and to celebrate that, the band will be touring to support it. You can check out the first batch of tour dates, below. Interestingly, as the band’s Gar Wood notes, the band has finished writing and recording two more albums, and Jericho Sirens will give fans and listeners a chance to catch up to the new recordings.

New Audio: Hot Snakes Release an Anthemic Piss and Vinegar-Fueled Single off First Full-Length Album in 14 Years

Led by its then-San Diego, CA-based founding duo of Swami John Reis and Rick Froberg, Hot Snakes formed in 1999 as a side project, when Reis’ primary band Rocket from the Crypt went on hiatus after being in between labels and the departure of long-time drummer Atom Willard. While searching for a new label and drummer, Reis started his own label Swami Records and began experimenting with other musicians, which resulted in the formation of Hot Snakes and Sultans. Interestingly, Hot Snakes can trace their origins to when Reis recorded a batch of material with Delta 72’s Jason Kourkounis, and then contacted his former bandmate and collaborator Froberg to contribute vocals, and as it turns out most of those recording sessions eventually comprised their full-length debut Automatic Midnight.

Although Reis and Froberg collaborated together in Pitchfork and Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes proved to be a logistical challenge as Reis was in San Diego, Froberg had relocated in New York to start a career as a visual artist and illustrator, and Kourkounis was based in Philadelphia. Naturally, this resulted in sporadic and intense recording and touring schedules that frequently included bassist Gar Wood, best known for his work in Beehive and the Barracudas, Tanner and Fishwife. While Hot Snakes shares some musical similarities to Reis’ and Froberg’s previous projects, they developed a reputation for a much more primal, garage punk sound influenced by Wipers, Suicide, and Michael Yonkers Band — and for a completely DIY approach to recording, touring and merchandise with the band releasing material through Reis’ Swami Records. In fact, Hot Snakes’ debut Automatic Midnight was the first release through Reis’ label. 

After releasing two more full-length albums, 2002’s Suicide Invoice and 2004’s Audit in Progress, the band called it a day in 2005 but they reunited for a world tour in 2011 which reportedly set the stage for the band’s fourth, full-length album Jericho Sirens, the band’s first album in 14 years, which is slated for a March 16, 2018 release through Sub Pop Records. Recored in short bursts over the past year in San Diego and Philadelphia, the album features Reis and Froberg collaborating with Wood and drummers Kourkounis and Mario Rubalcaba — both of whom have been on prior Hot Snakes albums but never on the same one until now. And as Reis explained in press notes for the album, one of the most rewarding aspects was reacting his collaboration and creative partnership with Froberg. “Our perspectives are similar. Our tastes are similar. He is my family. And more is there to say? My favorite part of making this record was hearing him find his voice and direction for this record. I came hard,” Reis says. 

Reportedly, the material thematically commiserates with the frustration and apathy of our daily lives while pointing out that generally we don’t have a fucking clue. As Froberg says of the album, ““Songs like ‘Death Camp Fantasy’ and ‘Jericho Sirens’ are about that. No matter where you look, there’re always people saying the world’s about to end. Every movie is a disaster movie. I’m super fascinated by it. It is hysterical, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. It snowballs, like feedback, or my balls on the windshield.”

Sonically, the album reportedly finds the band incorporating some of the most extreme fingers of their sound while staying true to their long standing influences — but interestingly, some songs feature nods to AC/DC and others. As Reis says in press notes, It sounds like panic and chaos. Restlessness and unease. That’s a sound that I would ask for. I want that record. The inspiration would be simple, maybe even kind of straightforward. Very early rock ‘n’ roll DNA with lots of rules. I would find some note or rhythm in it that captivated me and I dwelled on it and bent it. That’s where I found dissonance. Bending and rubbing against each other uncomfortably. Marinate and refine. A lot of the other Hot Snakes records always had tension and release, but this one is mainly just tension.”

Album single “Six Wave Hold-Down” while reminding me of Curses-era Rye Coalition, thanks to an furious piss, vinegar, vitriol and whiskey-fueled punk air, and anthemic raise your beer in the air hooks. But along with that the song possesses the sort of  urgency that’s absolutely necessary. 

New Video: Ron Gallo Is A Really Nice Guy Performing Underwhelming Skateboard Tricks

Ron Gallo is a Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who is perhaps best known for an eight-year stint as the frontman of Philadelphia-based indie band Toy Soldiers, an act that initially began as a guitar and drum duo that at one point in its history evolved into a 12 member collective, before settling into a quintet when the band split up in 2014. Gallo’s solo debut, HEAVY META was released earlier this year, and as you may recall the album was initially written while Gallo was living in Philadelphia and was involved with a woman, who had a number of personal and emotional issues. And as the story goes, when that relationship ended, Gallo moved to Nashville and finished the album during a period in which he has considered one of the most transformative periods of his life, as he saw as a personal reawakening and a musical rebirth. 

At the time, Gallo wrote and recorded songs in small batches without the support of a label — and initially, without the intention of making a full-length album. However, the material he wrote wound up touching upon a number of themes, including Gallo’s personal ideology on abstaining from drugs and alcohol, self-empowerment, domestication, dead love, not knowing yourself and what can happen when you don’t, mental illness and more, complete with a frustration with humanity and civilization. But it’s balanced by a feeling of optimism.  As Gallo said in press notes at the time, “this record comes from my frustration with humanity and myself, and from my wanting to shake us all. At my core, I’m compassionate for humanity and the sickness that we all live with, and from that comes something more constructive.”

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding him, Gallo is set to release the follow up to HEAVY META, Really Nice Guys on January 19, 2018 through New West Records. Produced by Joe Bisirri and Gallo, the forthcoming release is a concept EP inspired by the past year that Gallo has spent touring and promoting HEAVY META with the material being a commentary on the contemporary music industry. The EP features songs about rough mixes (broken into three parts — iPhone demo, live band demo and overproduced, autotuned studio recording); the inability for those within the music industry to say that a band is bad, so that everyone winds up saying “well, they’re really nice guys;” all of your friends asking to be put on the guest list for your show, etc. Along with that, the EP features Gallo’s mother’s boyfriend Jerry’s real-time thoughts after hearing the material for the first time throughout the EP, captured by a hidden microphone.  

As Gallo says about the forthcoming EP in press notes “Write what you know, Ron Gallo! Being constantly on highways, in vans, on planes, on stages, in green rooms, on guest lists, turning a person into a brand, turning a real life human moment into a song, into content, into an asset to be monetized, talking to people about myself and stuff I wrote 3 years ago, watching it all unfold in the public eye from a phone in a van on a highway heading to a stage. It wasn’t what I thought it would be and it was beautiful and I am grateful, but mostly this whole world of pursuing music and the music business is hilarious. So how do you deal with that? Have fun by entertaining yourself with an EP of you laughing at yourself about all of it and call it Really Nice Guys, which is probably all I’ve been for most of this.” 

The EP’s first single, EP title track “Really Nice Guys,” will further cement Gallo’s growing reputation for jangling and urgent, garage rock, but unlike the material on HEAVY META, the song is full of a bristling and bemused irony; the sort that would come about as you’re placed in an utterly ridiculous situation in which you can’t quite tell that you’ve being complimented or insulted — and you don’t quite know what to do besides look a bit like a dimwit. 

The recently released video is based on an early 00s skateboarding video which features Gallo performing a series of incredibly underwhelming tricks.