March 24, 2016
The Best Philadelphia Artists You Aren’t Listening to Yet
By: Sofia Pignitor
It’s no secret that Philadelphia is a breeding ground for creative inspiration. From the city’s distinguished culinary options to the subtle masterpieces along any given street, this town is a haven for expression. Part of this expression has always been showcased through the vast and eclectic music scene, a specialty as natural to Philly as freedom itself. From Philadelphia’s deep roots in jazz history, with legends like Harold Melvins and the Blue Notes, John Gilmore, and Magic Slim to famous acts like Hall and Oates, Eve and Joan Jett; the city has made its mark on music. Even in a neighborhood you’ve lived in for years, a faceless corner venue might be the stage for an undiscovered star’s humble beginnings. Make a point to tune in to these awesome acts before they blow-up. Seriously.
For fans of: Tame Impala, David Bowie, The Black Keys
This Bucks County based band won in the World Café Live’s Beta Hi-Fi competition, proving they have the chops for a palette beyond the garage. In a recent article from Slant news, the band was asked about their name, “Ceramic Animal helps explain how we come into this world: soft, pliable, moldable, but with an innate hunger, drive, and ability. Over time you harden, become less flexible, less free to do what you want….Your Ceramic Animal is your legacy.” With an impressive resume, including playing New York City’s Mercury Lounge, this band is poised to be more than a local legend.
Where to catch them next: Milkboy, Saturday April 2
THE CHIP BREAKERS
For fans of: Johnny Cash, Fleet Foxes, John Denver
If Johnny Cash and Bon Iver had a baby, the result would be The Chip Breakers. Their sound is stripped and raw like twine, the perfect soundtrack to a warm summer evening or driving calmly alone. Though the band is only comprised of two members, South Philly’s Joe Miles and Tom Contarino, they strum with enough energy and spirit to make the seven-man arrangement of The Lumineers look like embellishment of the art form.
Where to catch them next: Bourbon and Branch, May 12
For fans of: Otis Reading, Norah Jones, Frank Ocean
Poignant, yet relaxing, Philadelphia’s own Son Little is making a name for himself on the jazz scene. His music is a place between heartbreak and true love, but an enjoyable point anywhere along the spectrum. After touring with Mumford and Sons in 2015, he recorded his NPR “Tiny Desk” concert (see link above), proving he can command a room with nothing but his voice and a three piece band.
Where to catch him next: Cape May’s Exit 0 International Jazz Festival, April 23
For fans of: Ellie Goulding, Banks, Alexandra Stan
If you haven’t listened to this song yet (which I highly suggest you do right now), let me paint the mood: You’re in a smoke filled, dimly lit piano bar drinking a martini when a beautiful stranger sits beside you. That feeling is lead singer Samantha Gongol’s expertise. Her light, smooth vocals carry this song through an experimental but rewarding melody. Not to mention, everyone loves a good drop.
Where to catch them next: The Governor’s Ball, June 4
For fans of: Cage the Elephant, Tom Petty, The Kooks
You could hardly classify this band as “rookie” status. In fact, maybe you’ve heard of these guys (or seen them at The Governor’s Ball, Lollapalooza or Bonnaroo). Part Cage the Elephant, part Strokes, they’ve got a rock vibe that feels familiar yet fresh. Fun fact: They debuted the first single off their first LP on Jimmy Fallon’s Tumblr page.
Where to catch them next: World Live Café, April 17
For fans of: Lykke Li, Lana Del Ray, Washed Out
Spacey, trippy and musically swelling, The Morelings are a musical anomaly. A self-identified “dream pop/post punk” band, The Morelings began performing in the summer of 2014. More recently, they’ve collaborated with Philadelphia based producer Kyle “Slick” Johnson of Fancy Time Studios. The band is poised for a come-up faster than you can say summertime sadness. Not to mention, their visuals are a work of art on their own.
Where to catch them next: Ortliebs, March 28
For fans of: The Shins, Artic Monkeys
Self-described as including “a unique blend of past and present sounds to create challenging pop songs with a psychedelic tinge”, their sound goes from a light piano riff to a full on rock reeling in a moment’s notice. This band doesn’t take themselves too seriously, as you can see from their playful music videos (a classic 80’s movie peeking-staggered-through-a-doorway opening). Staying strong with the garage vibes, Mock Suns is keeping it low-key. Bonus: Check out their cover of David Bowie’s Starman.
Where to catch them next: Kung Fu Necktie, April 4
For fans of: The Academy Is, All Time Low, Beach House
I have to admit, Philadelphia based “Cheerleader” caters to my high school fantasy of living in Laguna Beach, having a wardrobe exclusively by Hollister and a boyfriend who wears pookah shells. But this band’s sound is blowing up in a big way, and last summer they toured the country with Civil Twilight. From their synthy, up-beat music to their bubblegum lyrics (Tonight is the night, we don’t have to hide, cover up our eyes, I know that the sun won’t bother us inside) this band is justly named. Leave your house through a window and let Cheerleader take you to a time when the biggest problem in life was who was going to take you to prom.
Where to catch them next: Wait and see!
QUEEN OF JEANS
For fans of: Haim, The Cranberries, Best Coast
These ladies bring female energy in a raw and real way. Their style is a mixture of du-wop, melancholy crooning and grunge. It feels slightly ironic at times, like a candy striper who found an electric guitar. But nothing about this band feels forced. In fact they already have a cult following.
Where to catch them next: Ortliebs, April 26