Author Archives: Matt Kelchner

TVD Recommends: Stephen Malkmus &
The Jicks at TLA, 3/1

With a year well on its way and a new album in hand, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks are out on the road again. Wig Out at Jagbags is the first proper release from the band since 2011′s Beck-produced Mirror Traffic. The record has been well received by fans and media alike and continues to display Malkmus’ strength in crafting infectious hooks and melodies.

The band is currently on tour supporting the new LP and as they make their way down the east coast, the band will stop at the TLA tomorrow, March 1, to give Philadelphia a proper taste of the new songs in a live setting. Opening the show is New York City’s Endless Boogie.

As they were making their way across the country, I was able to chat with Malkmus’ longtime friend and collaborator, Joanna Bolme of the Jicks.

What was the biggest difference between working with Beck as producer on Mirror Traffic and Remko Schouten on Wig Out at Jagbags?

Well, before Mirror Traffic we had pretty much produced all the records ourselves with an engineer. Beck was the first person we ever brought on board to produce, so we let him do his thing. Remko has been doing our live sound for years, we didn’t really have to say much, he just got it all set up real quick like when we’re 2 hours late for load in.

How did recording in Belgium differ from recording in the US? What challenges did you and the rest of the band have to overcome?

It’s not really different than recording in the States, except there were ponies across the street and better cheese. When it comes down to it, it’s just the band and a room, you just play and hope the guys in the other room are doing their job.

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TVD Recommends:
Katie Frank and the Pheromones Record Release Show at Milkboy, 2/21

Local songstress Katie Frank and her band of rowdy Pheromones take over Milkboy this Friday night to celebrate their new album, Counting Your Curses. We were able to catch up with Katie and two members of the Pheromones, Josh Werblun and Jon McNally on the inner-workings behind their latest record. 

In just the short amount of time that has passed so far in 2014, the buzz behind, Counting Your Curses, the upcoming album from Katie Frank and the Pheromones, has quickly built to become one of the most anticipated new albums from within the Philadelphia music scene. The clever songwriting, soaked in a rustic Americana sound, has matured from their debut EP “Covered Bridge Road.”

On Friday, February 21st Katie Frank and the Pheromones will unveil to the world what they have been hard at work for much of the last year. WXPN, one of the leaders in Philadelphia radio, has taken a like to Katie Frank and company ever since getting a taste of “Covered Bridge Road.” Other local press outlets picked up on them as well and after a break out year in 2013, Katie Frank and the Pheromones have their sights set on making 2014 even better. This record release show is only the beginning.

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Work Drugs return
with new single, plot Spring tour

Philadelphia’s smoothest yacht rockers release their second single off of their upcoming album Insurgents along with a round of April tour dates. 

One of the hardest working independent bands in Philadelphia, Work Drugs, is keeping busy as the days lead up to the release of their latest album, Insurgents. It’s the follow-up to last year’s full length release Mavericks and will mark the 7th studio album released by Work Drugs (8th if you count their “Amore EP.”Just last week they shared a new song, “The Good In Goodbye,” the latest off the group’s upcoming record.

“The Good In Goodbye” sees Work Drugs twist a bit of a tropical reggae sound into their blend of dream pop meets yacht rock. Kat Bean, lead singer of fellow local band Amanda X joins in on the fun.

Continuing to stick with all things DIY and choosing to do things their own way, Insurgents will be released on the band’s own Bobby Cahn Records.

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TVD Recommends: Pissed Jeans with Purling Hiss at Union Transfer, 2/8

A trio of local acts share the stage at Union Transfer this Saturday showcasing the noisier side of the Philly music scene. 

After a busy 2013 that culminated with albums landing on many year-end lists, Pissed Jeans and Purling Hiss return this Saturday night for a hometown show at Union Transfer. Local two-piece outfit Trophy Wife round out a lineup that features some of the best that the city has to offer.

Eardrums be warned, this show will be a loud one. Since their beginnings Pissed Jeans have always leaned on the noisier side of the punk spectrum. Take any song off of last year’s release, Honeys as an example. And while there may be some limitations on the studio versions of their songs, each one is unleashed when they hit the stage.

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Fadeaway Records returns with their first release in 10 years

Fadeaway Records returns after a 10 year silence with a massive 3 LP compilation to benefit cancer research.

It has been a long time since Fadeaway Records last released an album. But after a decade long hiatus the label is back, and they’re coming back in a big way. On February 25th, Fadeaway Records will be releasing, Friends, a giant 3 LP release with all of the proceeds going directly toward cancer research charities. It’s the first step that the label is making as they return as a not for profit label.

To help them get back into the swing of things, Fadeaway Records have gathered rare and unreleased songs from a bunch of their musically inclined buddies and will feature these songs on Friends. The first two records of the compilation will have unreleased material from a number of different bands. The third record will showcase a hand-picked collection of the top selections from Michael Dubin’s—one of the Fadeaway Record leaders—library of home recordings.

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TVD Recommends:
The Early November at Union Transfer, 12/21

New Jersey’s own The Early November are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their most influential album this Saturday at Union Transfer

In what will be a homecoming show of sorts, New Jersey residents The Early November will travel across the Delaware River Saturday night to make their way to Union Transfer. There, they will be playing to a sold-out crowd who are not there to hear new songs. Instead, it will be to hear the band’s biggest album, The Room’s Too Cold, in its entirety. It’s been a decade since it first came out, but it’s clear that it has not gotten lost amongst the numerous other albums released in the years following.

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TVD Recommends:
Their / They’re / There at the First Unitarian Church, 12/20

No, it’s not a third grader’s grammatical nightmare. Their / They’re / There are three guys taking a break from their mainstays to come together for something new. Friday marks their Philadelphia debut, and it is going to be a show not to miss.

Separately, Mike, Evan, and Matt have already left, and are continuing to leave, a huge, influential mark on the emo scene. They each have played in a number of different bands, and each have played in numerous cities multiple times across the country and beyond. But recently, Mike Kinsella, Evan Weiss, and Matthew Frank decided to start writing music together to see where it would take them. Two EPs later, they are embarking on their first tour together as Their / They’re / There.

On Friday, December 20, the trio of emo vets will play their first show together in Philadelphia in the infamous basement of The First Unitarian Church. Joining them for the night are Mansions, Birthmark (which features Mike’s cousin Tim Kinsella), and Marge. In a time where every music website has written an article on the “emo revival,” this tour has packaged the best of the past, present, and future in the scene all in one nice, little present. And we here in Philly get to unwrap it on Friday!

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Wax Packs Test Press

One small, mail order record label from Rochester is putting a new spin on record collecting. And he’s reaching out to a different classic collectible—baseball cards—and combining the two in an unconventional way. 

Remember that feeling of getting a Topps baseball card pack as a kid? There was the build of excitement and suspense as you begin to open the plastic wrapping. Were you going to get that Mark McGuire or Ken Griffey, Jr. rookie card? The hologram Cal Ripkin all-star card? Or the Chicago Cubs team photo card… No matter what superstitious rituals there were, you could never tell exactly what you were going to get.

Now, switch gears to collecting records. Going out to the record store, you knew what you were going to get…as long as it was in stock. No guessing or mysteries. What you see is what you got. But what if you didn’t… What if there was some element of surprise, just like opening a pack of baseball cards, in not knowing just exactly what you were going to get. Enter Wax Packs

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Ally Jane Grossan:
The TVD Interview with the 33 1/3 Series Editor

Everyone has a favorite album. Whether it’s that one from high school and you still know every single word to every single song on it, or one of the Top 50 of all time by Rolling Stone, everyone has that one album that they will always love. But do you know the story behind that album? That’s where the 33 1/3 series comes in. 

For the past decade, the series has released 100 volumes, each on a different albums. Readers are taken through deep, thorough journeys of influential albums. Writers compile hours upon hours of work and countless interviews and research down into a single book that can almost fit in your back pocket. 

Written for music junkies who just cannot get enough, each book makes reading through the liner notes on albums look like child’s play. What could be better than taking out your copy of Meat is Murder or Highway 61 Revisited? Getting a full history lesson on them thanks to a fellow fan and devoted music critic. 

This week, the 33 1/3 series will celebrate their winter launch with the release of Serge Gainsbourg’s Historie de Melody Nelson by Darran Anderson. Prior to the release, I was able to catch up with series editor Ally Jane Grossan about the past, present, and future of the series. 

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Keep Shelly in Athens: The TVD Q & A

The dream pop duo of Sarah P. and RΠЯ, aka Keep Shelly in Athens, are about to embark on another US tour. They have just released their debut full-length album, At Home, on Cascine Records. While they share a lot of similarities with other touring bands, there is one major difference:

Keep Shelly in Athens reside in Greece and call Athens home. When they say goodbye to friends and family, they travel hundreds of miles to first get to the United States. Then they travel around in a country foreign to them. But it’s not all bad. The two are touring behind a great album and are getting to play a lot of the songs for the first time to their ever-growing fan base here on this side of the Atlantic.

The tour was slated to kick off October 9 in Washington, DC, but due to immigration and embassy issues both in Greece and here (thanks in part to the government shutdown), Keep Shelly in Athens will be staying in Athens until they pick up on tour with Chad Valley in Chicago on October 18. With no rescheduling announced yet, the East Coast will have to wait a little while longer to catch the duo. 

Before Keep Shelly in Athens was set for their originally planned tour dates around the United States, I was able to chat with singer Sarah P. about the new album, the inspirations behind it, and just what exactly it means to feel at home. 

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