Every time J. Roddy Walston came down on his piano at Union Transfer last week, I thought he was going to split his head open. I’m extremely glad he didn’t because Walston and The Business is a show that I recommend any rock and roll lover go see.
With a thunderous piano, a sharp lead guitar, a bouncing rhythm section, and a whole lot of hair, J. Roddy Walston and The Business is everything that’s missing in rock and roll today. The Tennessee-based quartet delivered an epic set in Philadelphia that kept the crowd jumping up and down with the beat for the entire show. New or old songs, the crowd didn’t seem to care, they just wanted everything out of the performance they could get.
I can honestly say that J. Roddy did not let anyone down except for those who wanted to see and hear less than the loud and ragged rock and roll consistently blowing through the speakers.
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.
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.
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.
Former Further Seems Forever and Dashboard Confessional leader Chris Carrabba and his latest outfit Twin Forks stop by Philadelphia tonight to show off their debut EP.
Many remember Chris Carrabba as the singer and songwriter for the early 2000s emo band Dashboard Confessional. Before that he was the original singer in the Pompano Beach, FL band Further Seems Forever. Now Carrabba has returned again with yet another band, Twin Forks. The four piece band also includes former members from The Narrative and Bad Books.
In what began as a creative outlet from Dashboard Confessional, Twin Forks has taken Carrabba down a more traditional folk route. A rawness is still present in the songs, but instead of coming in the form of emotive lyrics (a la Dashboard and to an extent Further Seems Forever), it comes in a more instrumental form. Pop sensibilities and notions can still be found in the songs, but they come with finger-picking guitar and mandolin melodies.
Off the Board: A Studio 4 Family Compilation will be released next month on October 4th and feature new and unreleased songs recorded and mixed at the famous Studio 4 recording studio.
Conshohocken, PA’s Will Yip is a name that might not be familiar to many listeners. Yet over the years he has worked on a number of great records from the best up-and-coming names in punk, along with some seasoned vets from rock, hip-hop, and more. If you were to go through his discography you would come across names like Title Fight and The Startling Line as well as others like Lauryn Hill, the Disco Biscuits, and The Fray.
Yip began his career at the ripe, young age of 14 working as an apprentice under Chris Grillo and Ground Control Recording. He later landed a job working at Studio 4. Run by Phil Nicolo, Studio 4 has produced numerous gold and platinum selling and Grammy Award winning records over the past 30 years.
Up next for Yip is a full participating partnership in the legendary Studio 4, and to help raise money to put towards the down payment, it was decided to put together a compilation featuring songs that were produced, recorded, mixed and mastered all by himself. “I want to give the punk, hardcore, and alternative community of awesome bands a home.”
It’s certainly been quite the summer for free concerts in Philadelphia. Between the weekly affairs along the water at Morgan’s Pier to the monthly block parties in the Piazza courtesy of Radio 104.5, there has been no shortage of free entertainment.
On Sunday things will be taken to the next level when the annual 2nd Street Festival returns to the Northern Liberties neighborhood. The all day mini festival is filled with a number of different musical acts spread across three stages. Headlining the day will be The Low Anthem who return to the Philadelphia for the first time since going on hiatus. And the best part? The entire thing is free! Yup, you read that right, free.
Stretching down 2nd Street from Germantown Avenue to Green Street, the 7 block long party kicks off at noon and wraps up at 10 PM. Festival stages will be set up Germantown Avenue, Laurel Street, Fairmount Avenue, and at the Piazza.
Besides The Low Anthem, a number of rising local acts will be playing throughout the day. Festival goers will be able to catch New Sweden, Banned Books, The Bailey Hounds, and Blayer Pointdujour & The Rockers Galore. Check out the schedule below for a full listing of who’s playing and where.
New York punks Parquet Courts visit one of Philly’s hottest bars for a free midweek concert.
Since the beginning of summer, local concert promoters R5 Productions have been hosting a series of free summer concerts every Wednesday at the beer garden along the Delaware River, Morgan’s Pier. Already they have brought in some great shows like We Were Promised Jetpacks, Mischief Brew, and Work Drugs.
This Wednesday they continue their hot streak by bringing the much buzzed-about four piece group Parquet Courts to town. Teaming up with them, a band from the other end of the musical spectrum, Woods.