This in-studio actually happens to be one of my favorite memories from my time at Drexel so far. One of my freshman year floormates heartily recommended The Music Tapes (along with several other Elephant 6 groups) earlier that year, so when I caught wind of the performance happening, I knew I had to be down in the station for it. Julian Koster (the man behind The Music Tapes), who has been remarkably nice in every interaction I have ever had with him , allowed me to sit in the performance room and observe from a few feet away. In all earnestness, it was a magical experience. I have since taken every opportunity possible to see The Music Tapes (including their stellar performance as part of the Traveling Imaginary tour earlier this year), but this is what got me hooked. Listen and enjoy.
At this point, I can’t even remember how many times I’ve seen Tigers Jaw (maybe five?). Back in high school, I’d venture into the city to catch them at small venues like The Fire and Ava House. They would frequently play with another group of my favorite local emo-punks, Algernon Cadwallader. It was those shows that foreshadowed, and perhaps even sparked the fuse that led to my current musical tastes.
At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d still be able to appreciate Tigers Jaw as I used to, and was concerned that I’d feel nostalgic at best. However, it turned out that their music resonated with me just as much, if not even more, than it did before.
1 OBLIVIANS Desperation (In The Red)
2 MIKAL CRONIN MCII (Merge)
3 DEERHUNTER Monomania (4AD)
4 CAMERA OBSCURA Desire Lines (4AD)
5 WILD NOTHING Empty Estate (Captured Tracks)
6 FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS More Than Just a Dream (Elektra)
7 KING TUFF Was Dead (Burger)
8 THEE OH SEES Floating Coffin (Castle Face)
9 FRONT BOTTOMS Talon of the Hawk (Bar/None)
10 LAURA STEVENSON Wheel (Don Giovanni)
11 CAPITAL CITIES In a Tidal Wave of Mystery (Lazy Hooks)
12 GRANDCHILDREN Golden Age (Earnest Jenning)
13 ROGUE WAVE Nightingale Floors (Vagrant)
14 PORTUGAL. THE MAN Evil Friends (Atlantic)
15 MOUNT KIMBIE Cold Spring Fault Less Youth (Warp)
16 SAVAGES Silence Yourself (Matador)
17 MAL BLUM Tempest in A Teacup (Betterweather)
18 THERMALS Desperate Ground (Saddle Creek)
19 MELORMAN Waves (Sun Sea Sky)
20 PRIMAL SCREAM More Light (Ignition)
21 MINDLESS ATTACK S/T (Cephia’s Treat)
22 FLAMING LIPS The Terror (Warner Brothers)
23 ALPINE A is For Alpine (Votive)
24 SIGUR ROS Kveikur (XL)
25 SHMNS Somewhere Between Here and There (Self-Released)
26 ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER Personal Record (Merge)
27 BOMBINO Nomad (Nonesuch)
28 SCOUT NIBLETT It’s Up To Emma (Drag City)
29 SONNY AND THE SUNSETS Antenna To The Afterworld (Polyvinyl)
30 BROTHERS IN LAW Hard Time For Dreamers (WWNBB)
With air-tight harmonies that feel like a strange but beautiful cross between Fleet Foxes and The Grateful Dead, this Philly trio truly is deserving of the national recognition they’ve been getting recently. Just before the release of their self-titled sophomore album, Good Old War stopped by WKDU to play a handful of songs off their first album, Only Way To Be Alone.
Animal Collective may be a household name at this point (well, among WKDU DJs anyway), but they’ve been releasing their warped freak-folk in different incarnations since 2000. Their excellent first album, Sprit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished, is unfortunately a lesser-known entry in their catalog. While it is credited to Animal Collective, their debut is largely an Avey Tare affair—Panda Bear provides “perfect percussion” (according to the album credits), but everything else is handled by Tare. Knowing Animal Collective, it’s not surprising that the album sounds nothing like the rest of their catalog.
“April and the Phantom,” the album’s second track (and my personal favorite) is fairly representative of Sprit as a whole. It’s a study in dichotomy—almost every element rubs against another to great effect. The song opens with a high-pitched, sugar coated synth line before running headfirst into loud, jarring white noise. The clatter cuts away to reveal Panda Bear’s distinctive percussion—it’s aggressive in the frequency of his hits, but is tempered by his use of brushes. Meanwhile, chirpy, cheap sounding synthesizers sing over the track’s high end while Avey Tare relentlessly strums his acoustic guitar. Tare’s singing ranges from timid, sweet falsetto to outright screaming, with everything in between present. The lyrics are very much up for interpretation, but seem to be a schizophrenic love story, with lyrics split between a narrator, April, and the Phantom—with each voice being sung in a distinct style from the last (I particularly like the phaser [I think?]-laden harmonies during the Phantom’s part).
“April and the Phantom” is entirely bizarre, extremely captivating, and absolutely worth a listen. Stream it above.
Local punk favorites The Menzingers were kind enough to stop in a few years ago before their show at First Unitarian Church and play a an incredible in-studio set for us. Combining their stellar musicianship and infectious songwriting, the Menzingers in-studio is a fantastic showcase for one of the best bands in the area.