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Photo by Andrew Piccone

Photo by Andrew Piccone

by Shannen Gaffney + Kirsten Becker

Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce, New York’s dynamic garage glam duo of PWR BTTM chatted with us about the things that matter: gender fluidity, their recent discovery of Bethany Cosentino, and their favorite carbs. If you’re lucky enough to have gotten a ticket in time, we’ll see you at their PhilaMOCA show tonight (they open for the very talented <3 MITSKI <3 )

So congrats on your first album, Ugly Cherries, we love it so much!
LIV: Thank you! We had a really good time making it.

Where did you record it?
BEN: We recorded in in New Paltz, New York, which is near Hudson, New York, which is where I was living, with a guy named Chris Daly who made a bunch of great records. He made a record with our friends in Diet Cig and we met him upstate. We didn’t really know if he was a good engineer or not but he was a cool guy that wanted to do our record and he’s like a genius, he’s amazing, he makes like all our merch and stuff, he fixes my guitar, he’s just this incredible, great friend.
LIV: He holds me when I cry. Just kidding, I’ve never cried.
BEN: Liv never cries, he can’t really spare the moisture. But yeah, his wife and I did the album art together.
LIV: PWR BTTM would be dead in the water without him.

So you both went to Bard, did you find a supportive scene there?
LIV: Absolutely, I started playing in the Bard scene in another band. The Bard scene is amazing because there’s two venues that are pretty much entirely run by students and they have the power to book bands outside of the school. So your favorite bands will be coming through the area and they’ll play Bard and you can start a band with your friends and have your first show be opening for a huge band.
BEN: Yeah our second show we opened for Upset and Potty Mouth.
LIV: There was just always people starting bands and doing incredible things. I really miss it actually. Obviously I love the scene here, but sometimes I’ll be on Facebook and see friends who are still there at Bard and seeing what bands they are starting every week and being like, “Ugh I wish I was still able to see those shows!”

What did you study at Bard?
LIV: I, for most of my time at Bard, was a double major in Computer Science and Dance. And then in my last semester after my Computer Science thesis, I had one more class to take and I just didn’t have the room in my schedule, partially because of PWR BTTM, so I ended up dropping the major after finishing my thesis and graduating with a degree just in the Dance Department. Which, it feels weird to say just the dance department because Bard’s dance department is like incredible. I learned so many things just about everything being there.
BEN: (In between bites of blueberry scone) I studied Theater, it was awesome.

We had another question relating to scones: What is your favorite carb?
BEN: Oh my God, the question we love to answer. I’m really, really feeling chocolate croissants right now. I work at a coffee shop and I have to come in to work at 6 AM and the first thing I do is kick that door open and fuck up one of the deliveries.
LIV: I’m really feeling my mom’s spaghetti and meatballs. I saw her yesterday and I was thinking about the stuff that she makes. I like everything she makes, but spaghetti and meatballs specifically.
BEN: Liv’s mom throws down.

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Show Preview: Sinkane @ Johnny Brenda’s 11/10


By: Nick Stropko

I see it as a positive sign when a label I like signs a band outside their wheelhouse. Deerhunter on Kranky. Nick Cave and Liars on Mute. When a label with a well-established niche gives a group that significant of a vote of confidence, the results are often excellent.

This was part of what initially drew me to Sinkane, whose first album with the label, Mars, is a relative outlier in DFA’s relatively consistent dance sound (sure, they signed Black Dice, but many of the label’s acts are instantly identifiable). Mars runs the gamut from jazz, to krautrock, to funk in a strikingly elegant way–much like label mastermind James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem, Sinkane synthesizes his influences in a way that feels less derivative, and more like original expression thorugh existing sonic templates.

His more recent effort, Mean Love, dials back the eclecticism a bit. While I prefer the more free-wheeling Mars, Sinkane’s restraint is not without its merits. The record is packed with slinky, funky jams, packed with the attention to detail one might expect from a studio rat multi-instrumentalist (he has previously worked with Yeasayer, Caribou, and of Montreal, among others).

Sinkane will be playing at Johnny Brenda’s on Tuesday, and I’d highly advise checking it out. The dude can play, and I’m sure his band will have chops to spare as well. Get more info and tickets here.

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Kevin Devine Live @ WKDU 2/07/15

Singer/songwriter Kevin Devine stopped by the studio a few weeks back before his show with Into It. Over It. and Laura Stevenson at the Church Sanctuary. Listen to the three-song set below!

Some photos of Kevin at the Church are below. For more, see Under The Gun Review.

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Funkin’ It Up For A Good Cause

by Wil Schade // @wilschade


World Café Live will be the place to be tomorrow night when some of the east coast’s funkiest acts come together to put on a Thanksgiving Eve performance for charity. The show will be in support of Will Funk For Food, an organization that works in conjunction with Philabundance to benefit those less fortunate facing hunger especially during this holiday season. Food donations will be accepted at the show, so bring a canned item! The lineup features some great music so here’s some info on the incredible talent that will be present:

Brother Joscephus and The Love Revolution

Based in New York City, Brother Joscephus was formed in 2007 on a cruise ship by David Mendelsohn (aka Brother Joscephus) along with keyboardist and music director, the Right Reverend Dean Dawg.   The band started out playing in NYC and eventually bought a van and made the pilgrimage to New Orleans, where they get much of their influence. They describe themselves as a combination of funk, jazz, and secular gospel.

“Brother Joscephus is a little bit of a music collective,” says Brother Joscephus, “We perform with a lot of different vocal artists from all over the country whenever we travel. We are a ten-piece band, almost like an orchestra. We like to get very over the top with our arrangements.” When asked about their creative process, he replied, “The music is very intricate and highly arranged. It becomes quite a process, but I think the end result is worth it.”

Over the years, their music has evolved to include more epic, nuanced, and grand-scale compositions.   They released their third album “Revolution of Love” last year which highlighted their secular gospel side, which contains messages of acceptance and a broader, more inclusive message of gospel music.

“It’s going to be a really special night of music, all three bands are going to work great together, and it’s for a great cause.”

Swift Technique

Swift Technique is a group of Philly funksters that we’ve recently had here in the WKDU studios for a live session which can be heard here. Formed in 2007, they started out as a live hip-hop group. As they progressed (and the emcee left the band), they began to evolve into a funk powerhouse in the tradition of James Brown. Bassist, Jake Leschinsky, plays in Swift Technique and Brother Joscephus.

“Swift Tech is more of a straight-up funk band, and BroJo is a group that draws more from New Orleans jazz and funk influences, but the two groups together really complement each other well. I wouldn’t call them the same genre, but it’s the same spirit and creative energy that should make for a really compelling evening for people who want to dance and let loose,” says Leschinsky. They are a band that focuses on delivering high-energy live performances to get audiences on their feet.

“Songwriting has always been a pretty organic process. We never really try to force anything.” Leschinksy elaborates, “We really make a point of collaborating in the rehearsal setting on the material. Being a predominantly instrumental group it gives us a bit of a creative license to have some unusual arrangements that are really unique to Swift Technique.”

The group is about to release EP of a mix of various recordings over the past year recorded in Philly, New Hampshire, and live recordings from the Ardmore Music Hall.

Tickets for the show can be purchased here.

NOTE: Non-perishable food items will be collected on behalf of Will Funk For Food and Philabundance the night of the show!

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Concert Review: King Tuff @ First Unitarian Church (October 9, 2014)


Words and photos by Nick Stropko

I think the most apt way to describe seeing King Tuff live is to describe the banner in front of which he performed. The words “KING TUFF” are spelled out in flames, surrounded by sunglass-clad skulls with varying numbers of teeth missing. The sunglasses have the words “KING” and “TUFF” emblazoned across the lenses.

King Tuff is not big on subtlety.

On Wednesday, Vermont-based garage rock weirdos King Tuff played to a packed house at the Church–part of the string of final shows this fall before R5 cedes the storied space to an after school group. Mr. Tuff (actually named Kyle Thomas) may be one of the world’s best ambassadors of dad rock, slinging shamelessly massive riffs with a bright blue Gibson SG through a beat up Marshall full stack, backed by what appeared to be two aging roadies for Lynyrd Skynyrd. The band exuded a certain skeezy charisma, affecting the part of rock star idols (replete with sweet moves) despite the dingy basement setting. They wasted little time in working the crowd up, which devolved into a mass of moshing entropy after two or three songs that only grew throughout the night. If you suspended you sense of disbelief and squinted just a little bit, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine King Tuff in the mid-seventies selling out stadiums. For now, though, he seems perfectly content being the freak working up weirdos in basements–and I seriously dig it.

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Concert Review: Perfect Pussy + more at First Unitarian Church


Perfect Pussy @ First Unitarian Church, August 28

by Carolyn Haynes

On Thursday August 28, The Love of Everything, Potty Mouth, Perfect Pussy, and Joanna Gruesome played a show full of raw, dominating sound. The four bands from Western Massachusetts, Brooklyn, Chicago, Cardiff, and England played their third night of tour at the First Unitarian Church. The opener, Joan of Arc’s Bobby Burg began his set as The Love of Everything with a mix of catchy, lo-fi punk, dream pop. A solo act, Burg presented an interesting and inviting segue between the slow crawl of show goers filtering in and the high energy acts that were to follow. With a technical malfunction quickly overcome in the beginning of their set and a few minor timing issues, Potty Mouth played their way through fan classics (from Bad Bad, to Sun Damage, to Hell Bent) and a few new, well received songs.

With a new split coming out this fall on Slumberland/Captured Tracks/Fortuna Pop, Perfect Pussy and Joanna Gruesome made a great closing duo. Both bands had the audience screaming and thrashing along. In good taste, Alanna McArdle made an announcement before their set to have fun but don’t get out of hand. From the cheers that followed, the crowd happily obliged. As a swarm of sweaty, overheated show-goers heaved themselves up the stairs of the basement, the overall atmosphere was one of a Thursday night well spent.

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Concert Review: Disclosure at Union Transfer (6/6/2014)

When A Fire Starts To Burn — Disclosure

When A Fire Starts To Burn — Disclosure

By Jonathan Plotkin

Wow okay so this is mad late but whatever. I saw Disclosure like a month ago and due to a combination of being super busy at work and super lazy when I’m not at work, it’s taken me this long to get this review out. I know you’ve been on the edge of your seats wondering how I enjoyed the Disclosure show at the Union Transfer last month and now you’re finally going to find out.

Full disclosure (pun fully intended because punz rool): I’m not “the biggest fan” of Disclosure. I’ve heard their album Settle, thought it was really cool, and then kind of forgot about it. I haven’t heard their early stuff, but I thought that album was dope and figured their show would be pretty fun. I honestly didn’t even plan on see them- I was supposed to see Kishi Bashi but then a fellow DJ at the station handed me a pair of free tickets to the thrice sold out show, so I couldn’t really say no. Not knowing what to expect, I finally rolled up some time after 9 PM, just in time for that awkward transition after the opener to the main act. I met up with my friend Chris (@CrispyChrisX) who proceeded to tell me all about house music until Disclosure got on. A good primer for the coming act, considering I missed Broadzilla since I got there late.

When Disclosure finally got to the stage, I didn’t really know what they had so many instruments set up. They had a drum kit, keyboards, bass guitar… I thought these guys were just DJs? Turns out one of the reasons their work sounds so rich and full is because they play real instruments! Of course, everyone reading this probably thinks I’m a total noob but WHATEVER man I think learning new things is great and I just wanted to share that excitement with you guys.


The crowd was super pumped, and since the show was super sold out, the Union Transfer was more packed than I’d ever seen it. Disclosure used that to their advantage though and got the jams pumping right away, forcing the close-packed crowd to dance with “F For You”, leading into “When A Fire Starts To Burn.” After that, they played some stuff that I didn’t recognize, but Chris told me was some of their old stuff updated with new twists (I later looked it up- I remember at least one of their old songs they played was “Flow” which sounds good on YouTube, but was incredible live). This whole time, the brothers are singing, playing live drums, and doodling around on the bass. If there’s anything I love in house music, it’s a good bassline and watching it being pulled live from an instrument is just too cool.

The duo moved back to more famous stuff from their album, which due to their excessive touring schedule was incredibly tight and well rehearsed. They kept it fresh though, adding all sorts of new elements to songs that undoubtedly were getting a little old for them. At one point, Chris turned to me and complained that he didn’t think they sounded “big enough” and that one of the drops should have gotten more of a reaction. Luckily, their next song was crowd favorite (or at least MY favorite) “Grab Her” and they had it turned up to 11 the whole time.

I especially liked how professional their light set up was. For two brothers who are barely old enough to drink at some of the shows that play in the USA, they had laser effects and projections rivaling well established bands like Chromeo and and Emancipator. The Disclosure mask made quite a few appearances, floating around the brothers’ heads and (somewhat creepily) singing along the last few tracks. From a projection display that reminded me of the video for Simian Mobile Disco song “Cerulean” to lighting the whole stage red during “When A Fire Starts To Burn”, the show was just as visually stimulating as could be (speaking of which, when they played “Stimulation” the crowd went wild with how pumped up the sound was).

Finishing the track “Help Me Lose My Mind” with plenty of audience help on the vocals, the brothers walked off stage. The crowd started chanting “Latch! Latch” and when Disclosure finally walked back on stage I thought the roof was going to fly off. Closing with a soul splitting rendition of “Latch” in which everyone sang (even me, despite only learning the lyrics after the first verse). It was a beautiful show and the vibes during it the whole time were just fantastic. If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend taking the time to see Disclosure live if you get the chance. No matter if you’re feeling happy or sad, tryna dance or tryna chill, Disclosure put on one hell of a show.

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