Views from Sad Summer Fest-Philadelphia 2019

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            After the anti-climatic “end” of the Warped Tour last year, there was a gap left open for a touring festival that caters to a faction of teenagers that feel disenfranchised and adults that suffer from Peter Pan-syndrome.  Enter the inaugural year of the Alt Press-sponsored Sad Summer fest, a new touring festival marketed toward Millenials that went to Warped and Gen Z-ers who probably never got the chance.  On the Philadelphia date of the tour, Sad Summer brought a huge amount of nostalgia with a looming sense of irony that only a bunch of once-depressed teens could indulge. Continue reading

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Dave Hause-Kick

With the formal formation of his backing band, The Mermaid, Dave Hause has become more adventurous. Where 2016’s Bury Me in Philly felt transitional, Kick sounds like a musician who wants to see where he can reach.  The singer-songwriter still channels the Americana of his peers Brian Fallon and Craig Finn perpetuate, but there’s more of an inclination towards a (slightly more) modern America than the Ferris wheels and classic cars that you’d probably expect from the former or the drug abuse as religious metaphor of the latter.  Hause allows his work to be more bass-driven, as he reflects on finding some contentment in age and sobriety. Continue reading

Top 20 Albums of 2018

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With a huge output of great records and songs this year, there were a ton of contenders for this year’s best albums.  So many of pop’s biggest names either took a gap year to tour last year’s records (Taylor Swift, Lorde), take time to build hype (Carly Rae Jespsen, Adele), or indulge in passion-projects (Beyonce, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar), this year has been an open opportunity for a number of smaller acts and newcomers to make a big splash, and there’s been a ton. Continue reading

Real Friends-Composure

In “Stand Steady,” the second track off of Real Friends’ third full-length Composure, frontman Dan Lambton sings, “It’s good that I’ve grown.”  In pop-punk, Peter Pan-syndrome runs rampant, and records about growing will always be in vogue.  Whether they’re about resisting development or the difficulties of growing, this is a pop-punk standard, but Real Friends hasn’t really grown or changed besides switching up their charade. Continue reading

Spanish Love Songs-Schmaltz

LA’s Spanish Love Songs have all the promise of a band that can have real staying power.  They have the hunger of a band that wants people to hear their songs and feelings, and they have the talent to back it up.  Their latest album Schmaltz brings the breakneck intensity of hardcore, but the emotionality and varied sounds of emo.  They take the heartland-americana punk sounds of bands like The Gaslight Anthem or The Menzingers and tie in the heavy pop-punk sounds reminiscent of Upsides-era Wonder Years.  Schmaltz sees a band in the formative stages of becoming an excellent act that will only get better. Continue reading

The Wonder Years-Sister Cities

Philadelphia punks The Wonder Years have continually shown that they’re more than just punks.  Since the release of Suburbia, they’ve never really had an adequate match within the Warped Tour scene that they’re often lumped into, and they don’t really mesh with the artsy DIY punk scene that creates artists like Long Neck or Pinegrove.  This is all to say that even though Sister Cities isn’t their best, The Wonder Years are still in a class all their own. Continue reading

Hanif Abdurraqib-They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us

Hanif Abdurraqib is one of the most unique voices in modern journalism and poetry.  His 2016 poetry collection The Crown Ain’t Worth Much was a standout last year, and his often calm delivery of poetry is hypnotic.  Like Crown, this essay collection They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us is a beautiful meditation on pop culture, race, personal history, and the places where those conversations meet.   Abdurraqib sculpts his prose in a conversationally engaging but also comforting tone. Continue reading

Jetty Bones-Old Women

I hate to make the easy comparison, but this sounds like early Paramore in the best possible way.  The band’s sole consistent member and frontwoman Kelc Galluzzo commands a stage and has a voice that rivals Hayley Williams’.  While 2017 has been a great year for female-fronted bands, most tend to lean towards a punkier or more emo sound, and Jetty Bones are unafraid to embrace a sense of mid-2000’s pop-punk.  The pop embrace is in full effect on the band’s second EP, Old Women. Continue reading

The Wonder Years-Burst & Decay

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Acoustic albums and EPs are often a cheap attempt to cater to fans when there’s a significant amount of time between album releases.  Assuming its coming out next year, The Wonder Years’ forthcoming LP will mark the longest number of years in between two albums.  Their most recent release Burst & Decay could have been just a quick EP to knock off to make a quick buck and satiate fans with the type of stripped down performance that they’ve previously done in record stores and a few Christmas shows.  Still, The Wonder Years maintain that they’re a band dedicated to giving their all for everything they do, and Burst & Decay is the rare example of an essential acoustic release. Continue reading