Report: What The Hell Is Going On In Philly?

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As we near the marking of America’s independence, it seems appropriate to take stock of the influences the City of Brotherly Love has had on our fair nation.

The Constitution. The cheesesteak. The backdrops of Rocky, It’s Always Sunny, and the first half of the Fresh Prince intro.

Add to that list the revival of the clusterfuckedly defined genre of “indie rock”. Specifically, the one that sounds like the early 90’s. The one crafted by Pavement, Built to Spill, the Pixies and Dinosaur Jr. The one with jangly guitars run through the mud, with fast-slow-fast-breakdown songwriting structures and abstractly literal lyrics. It’s found new life and new energy in Philly and I’m stoked.

In no particular order, here are three to look out for:

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Little Big League  – On the cusp of releasing a 7” split with CT band Ovlov, this quartet is deftly led by the peaks and valleys of Michelle Zauner’s powerfully direct voice. She has such a consistent knack for finding melodies that stick to your bones. Her lyrics toe the line between tongue-in-cheek and full-disclosure, making the perfect companion to the driving pop sensibility of her band.

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Snoozer – It’ll be worthwhile to hit up their bandcamp page for lyrics, but only after you bask in the swell of this track’s second half. Snoozer finds energy through ease – the small offsets of each member’s internal metronome makes you feel like you’re listening to a live show than a crafted studio performance. The next few releases from this trio are going to be crucial.

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Alex G – With an impressive catalog of twelve releases over the last four years, this 22-year old Temple University student is primed to make serious waves. His tapes are full of great production moves – double-tracking vocals like a fucking champ, spacing out the mix to create a sound that is simultaneously hollow and rich, using distortion as a tool to underline rather than make bold. But he also brings some of the weirdest choices to the table, like the nod to trap vocals at the end of this track, which really make up the character of his sound.