Crystal Stilts played mind melting psych post-punk fuzz at JB’s in Philly on April 15th. The quintet out of BK is comprised of the talents of Brad Hargett on vocals, JB Townsend on guitar, Kyle Forester on keyboard, Andy Adler on bass, and Keegan Cooke on drums. After great buzz in 2008, the band took a hiatus and returned full force in 2011 with the LP In Love With Oblivion. Taking many cues from 60’s psych rock, Crystal Stilts maintains a fresh edge and tantalizing sound that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck.
Ripping through mostly new songs of their 2011 effort, in addition to several classics, Crystal Stilts created an atmosphere in JB’s reminiscent of a different time and place. Graphics projected on the giant right-angled screens behind the band showed racing images of fleeting landscapes of indistinguishable matter. The electric organ sound of the keys with acid guitar and haunting vocals cemented that aura as space in between tracks was filled with the pysch drone of hung notes and strum teases. An amazing performance from these guys who are better than ever, check out the Crystal Stilts live below:
Cloud Nothings is Dylan Baldi, Joe Boyer, TJ Duke, and Jayson Gerycz and was the brainchild of the most former. Originating in Ohio, the group has risen meteorically since it’s humble beginnings in 2009. With three high-quality albums produced since 2010, a best new music citation from Pitchfork this year, and a bevy of catchy singles under their belts, Cloud Nothings shows no sign of slowing down.
We caught them at Johnny Brenda’s on March 30th of this year and were extremely excited having missed their go-around late last year. This sell-out show was packed full of energy and the band wasted no time playing to it. Running through most every track on their 2012 release, Attack On Memory, the band laid down mind bending riffs and beats that drew goosebumps. It was truly an awesome spectacle. The highlight for us was certainly the 13+ minute version of Wasted Days. In lieu of using more words to describe this, check out the video below:
Please tell us you have caught the awesome Philly act that is Wigwams. We want to hear that you have experienced live wood blocks, and slick guitar playing trade-offs, and timely bass lines and drum beats. If you have not made it out to a Wigwams show yet, put it on your to-do list. Make a note now and witness these guys live. You will love em. The band is Jason, Phil, Daniel, and Brian and they play a premium brand of rock/post-punk goodness.
Outlining all the reasons we like Wigwams would simply take too long. Sufficed to say, their music is a damn pleasure to listen to and having such talent in the city is a testament to our musical scene. Wigwams played on March 3rd for The Swollen Fox and Y-Not Radio presented show at Kung Fu Necktie on a warm winter eve and we have some video for you below. Go see these guys!
Lost Show Posts: LPC has caught some really kick-ass shows that for some strange reason never got reported on. The Ape! set at Kung Fu Necktie on September 26th 2011 was one of these.
Ape! is a throwback to 1991 noise grudge hardcore rock in our opinion. Originating in Newark, DE, Louis Sarris, Matt Gorzynski, and Sean Connolly sonically treat listeners with moving guitar, bass, drums and vocals. Their sound might be to harsh for some, but those some can’t say it didn’t move them. Ape! was a great listen and their performance was visceral.
Running through tracks, we felt like we were in a black and white smash and grab scene of a movie. The urge to mosh was huge but the audience on this night did not quite support the act. Though enjoying the wicked guitar solos and punishing bass lines, those in attendance were too preoccupied with their beers. The feeling was there none-the-less and Ape! was an awesome act to catch. Check out some video below:
Do you enjoy post-punk electronic psychedelic shoegaze spacerock? If so please do check out this Philly-based band, Music For Headphones. We watched them perform at Kung Fu Necktie on October 24th and they were incredible. Having formed about 5 years ago, MFH has honed its’ sound and put together numerous high quality LP’s and EP’s that must be heard. Check out their bandcamp to do just that. We love their Alternate/Preface EP! Some of the best stuff around.
Made up of a bassist, keyboardist, drum machine/sampler and guitarist/lead vocals, MFH has an engaging sound that should satisfy most any taste. Jonathan Allen (guitarist/vocalist), Greg Kinter (guitarist), Phil Watson (keyboardist) and Justin Gibbon (drummer) draw on influences such as Spiritualized, My Bloody Valentine, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Dandy Warhols, Secret Machines, The Warlocks, Spacemen 3, Julian Cope, Luna, SWANS, Jesus and Marychain, Velvet Underground, Galaxie 500, Joy Division, and Neu!. We would say their sound is an amalgam of these and more. They buck trends and follow their own magical musical path to a land of diverse sound and space.
Here is some video from their most recent KFN performance. Please note the one video contains two songs which ran into each other.
We fell in love on October 15th at Kung Fu Necktie with a band called BLEACHED. It was one of those love at first sight sound kind of things. Their music felt like home and something seemed so familiar. While we didn’t know it at the time, perhaps lack of due diligence, we had heard the lead singer and guitarist before. As it turned out, Jennifer Clavin lead singer and guitarist was in bands with whom we were familiar and enjoyed greatly: Cold Cave and Mika Miko. Back for a new adventure, her and her sister Jessica Clavin (also of Mika Miko) formed BLEACHED, started writing material (in 2009) and much later (due to Jennifer’s involvement with Cold Cave) touring with a supporting cast (drummer and bassist) of two: Scott and Kevin.
BLEACHED live at KFN
But back to the love thing – we aren’t sure that this was caused by their past incarnations but rather the sound they are currently producing. In fact, we are certain it is their current sound.
BLEACHED has that fuzzed out beach garage rock punk sound we adore. It’s part Best Coast/Joan Jett/Ramones/Soft Pack/The Damned/et al. How lucky to have heard them in Philly. The crowd loved them too and the set performed was fantastic – perhaps a warm-up to CMJ and Jessica’s homecoming after leaving NYC post Cold Cave stint. We mean warm-up in the most possitive way possible though as their set was on point and enveloping making it difficult to shoot video and take mental notes about the on-goings.
Watch and listen out for BLEACHED as they turn your dark’s white at every show. They are truly not to be slept on. Currently they have several 7″ single out (we were stoked to get ours signed at the show!) but look for a full length LP at some point. We can’t wait to get our copy. Enjoy some video from their Philly show below:
Philadelphia’s Psychic Teens play a raw brand of post punk/psych metal and on this September 27th, they did it with a light display! A rare treat for a show at KFN. Loud and in charge, Joe, Dave, and Larry threw down on each track with unadulterated sound. Haunting guitar chords and vocals perforated the venue while heavy drums carried on the beat. Listening to PT we drew comparisons to Interpol (vocals), Bauhaus (feel of musical composition) and <insert your choice electric guitar-laden punk bank here>. In the end, nothing compares to hearing these guys live as seeing them is truly a visceral experience. Be sure to check their new album out now, Teen, on Halloween.
Here is some video we took from this September KFN show:
Even though we have a backlog of 13 performances to share with you, we felt that a review of some of the Popped Festival performances and festival concert ongoings would be a more timely choice.
Promising to be a formidable event, we looked forward to it with great anticipation. An outdoor show at FDR park set to the backdrop of the lakes, pretty stone structures and old trees sounded like an amazing oasis from the norm. Add to this food trucks, multiple stages of performers, comedy and the excitement ballooned. Sadly, as all balloons eventually do, this one deflated. Even sadder, it did so before the concert even took place.
We typically avoid shows in stadiums. A non-intimate setting, poor reverberating sound, immature crowds make it an unappealing option. Not to mention LPC prefers to review lesser known acts in small venues as those that have gotten to the stage of stadium performances generally do not need any more assistance in gaining recognition. All that said, the show was moved due to safety concerns to the Liacouras center – a brave move on the part of the concert organizers to save damage to the park and injury to concert goers in the rain logged park. A concert held is worth two concerts potentially held in a bush so we went. LPC was on hand for the second day of performances at the basketball stadium on Temple’s campus. Here is a review of what was seen:
Reluctantly, we missed some of the first bands to avoid being trapped inside the dome all day. It was a shame because had the concert been outside, the approach taken would have been completely different. This is probably the case for many and so lots did not see bands they might otherwise would have. Just another indication the festival experience had been crushed and that this was just a long all-day concert instead.
Inside the venue, it was definitely a raucous atmosphere. Smoke hovered in the hallways which was particularly amusing. A basketball gym rarely sees such things. Vendors and sponsors hawked merchandise and SWAG to people as they moved throughout the crowded corridors. A two-by-two system was initiated for those wanting to smoke or enter the floor through the center staircase. Kids, new to drinking and perhaps concerts themselves, gallivanted around. Aided by the fact that the one beer policy was not being enforced (a fact which we relished) we were able to numb ourselves to the dismantlement a bit. Other people who were more experienced which such events co-mingled and the crowd grew as the night went on. It apexed around the time of Girl Talk’s set culminating in a vibrant sea of humanity dancing to Gregg Gillis’s catchy mash-ups.
All in all, it was an interesting experience. Rakim played a set which was classic but mired by inept sound techs and a semi-unappreciative and ignorant audience. Cults set was fantastic yet few had yet to arrive. Foster the People were everything for which we had hoped. Titus Andronicus was very energetic and dynamic. Girl Talk brought down the house and Pretty Lights lit the rubble ablaze. Never-the-less. for us, the show being materially altered from what was initially billed was a let down and created an experience that, honestly, would have been avoided if this was what was intended. It was still nice to see what we saw and experience the same. Given the alternatives, there was not much that could be done and live music is why we are here. Check out some videos from our experience and perhaps catch some video that you missed!
** A few other videos from Foster the People and Rakim from this show can be found on our YouTube channel.
AFICIONADO play the things you like lead single off their new album live @ JB’s in Philly on 082511.
It’s really easy to play it safe and jump on board the latest trend, imitating the exact style and sound of everyone’s favorite band of the week. It’s really easy to play into the hands of a specific demographic, knowing without a doubt in your mind that kids will eat up every hook and pile on for every sing-a-long. But how many times can we walk down the same old roads? At some point, we need to break from this monotony and make our own roads. We need to create something for ourselves that is more than just a quick, cheap, and easy sell. Something that has many layers to dissect, discover, and enjoy. This is what Aficionado has set out to do.
Drawing influence from an array of bands ranging from At the Drive-In, to Cursive, to the Hold Steady, Aficionado has a developed a unique style they are happy to call their own. With roots in punk music, the band mixes organ, flute, and occasional horn arrangements into it’s unorthodox blend of post-punk.