With any job where one feels comfortable with their coworkers, there are always times where some playful jabs are made about each other’s walks of life. Today was no different. While talking to a coworker who migrated from California to Pennsylvania, he made a jest about the Philly music scene.
“Philly sucks, all you’ve got are bicycle thieves and Kurt Vile B-sides,” he said.
WELL… While initially taken off guard, I was not angered; I was inspired. I mean… I devote a certain amount of time to keeping up with the local scene here. My first live music experience was in Philly. I’ve immersed myself in this place and invested time to cover the musical happenings around the city. So what could I say to change this coworkers mind?
I am aware that a lot of the things I post on this site only really cover a portion of the music here, I would like to point out this: Philly has so much promise. There are so many talented acts produced by this town and coming up through it that everybody should be aware of. I really only know a small percentage, but I try to know as much as I can.
In later discussion with some other coworkers, it was pointed out that many local artists don’t seem to uplift their comrades and instead seem to almost resent any success that others gain. It hurt to hear that, and while I don’t want to believe it – I can see that maybe it could be possible. Some people suck.
Don’t worry. I’m not going to go on and preach about how we should all be supportive and nice and all of that… (but seriously, guys, support your hometown!) Personally, I have a deep love for this city. There are some truly amazing things happening within the scene here. So without further ado, here are just SOME of the many Philadelphia-bred acts that make me proud to live here (in no particular order):
Dr. Dog – Yes I’m starting with Dr. Dog. They’re not underground by any means, but they started out like any other band in Philly – playing around town and working hard. Every time they come around they really bring the thunder and their live show keeps growing and evolving with every tour. They know how to get their fanbase coming back for more and they should be an inspiration for any local acts looking to get out there on the road. Last month, they had another one of my personal favorite acts open for them for their Saint Patrick’s Day show at the Fillmore. They have a special spot in their hearts for Philly and seem to always remember where they came up.
The Legendary Roots Crew!!!! – Enough Said. Am I wrong?
Lotus – Anybody involved in the jam scene in Philly knows Lotus and they ALWAYS provide the party in their hometown. I don’t even know where to begin with these fellas. They’re all super talented, intelligent songwriters and musicians. The Miller brothers (Jesse and Luke) have their own solo DJ sets as Beard o’ Bees and Luke The Knife. Drummer Mike Greenfield also plays in Electron, with fellow Philly jammer Marc Brownstein of the Disco Biscuits. Members of Lotus have been known to come out to support other jam and electronica acts in town and are always super friendly to fans that come to say hello. Philly loves Lotus!
Hop Along – I’ve mentioned them in a different article and I mentioned them above. They were tapped to open for Dr. Dog at the Fillmore last month, they opened for Dr. Dog at the Mann Center last year; they’re on the rise. Hop Along is a great outfit. Somehow they manage to sound simultaneously clean and grungy. Singer and guitarist Frances Quinlan is backed by a seriously talented group of musicians and are a seriously underrated act. Give them a listen and make sure to catch them in town!
Algernon Cadwallader – While they were active, Algernon Cadwallader was among the most influential emo bands to play around the city and tour the world. They were a huge part of my high school days and will always have a special place in my heart. Their last release, Parrot Files, will always remind me of my careless teenage days driving around in the suburbs, angsty, attempting to skateboard. They no longer perform as Algernon Cadwallader, but most of them are still very active in the local music scene. Joe Reinhart is a current member of Hop Along as well as playing and producing music for Dogs On Acid with former Algernon members Nick Tazza and Peter Helmis.
Catullus – Obviously I can’t make a list without mentioning more than one jam act. Catullus is another one of those up and coming young acts with a lot of promise. My first experience with them was at Jam On The River last year, where I was surprised at how on point they sounded. My next experience was only a couple of months later and they really got the whole place grooving. They’re constantly touring the tri-state area and gaining more and more renown on the East Coast. From doing entire Beatles cover sets to putting out their first studio album this year, A Maze In Life, Catullus should be on every head’s radar in the Philadelphia area.
Hound – Perry Shall, Chris Wilson, and Pat Hickey make up this three-piece hard rock outfit. Playing more intimate venues like Boot & Saddle, PhilaMOCA, and Johnny Brendas adds more to their DIY feel. These guys can really rock, my only regret is that I wish I had seen the more than twice before writing this paragraph! Their sound is fuzzy, hazy, and full of energy. Whenever I am asked about my favorite local acts these guys come up. Just go see them!
The War On Drugs – With or without Kurt Vile, these guys rock. They’re just good listening. They’ll appeal to just about anybody with ears. Some of their songs can just about knock me out from pure emotion. Admittedly, I’ve never gotten to see them live, but from what I’ve heard they will exceed my expectation. They’re putting Philly on the map. (And I love their cover of Touch of Grey.)