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DJ Logic and Friends @ Ardmore Music Hall.

February 28, 2018


Text and images by Chip Frenette.

On Saturday night, DJ logic was joined at Ardmore Music Hall by musical guests Marc Brownstein of the Disco Biscuits, Break Science’s Borahm Lee, Michael Travis of String Cheese Incident and Rob Compa from Dopapod.

There wasn’t much elbow room in the venue on Lancaster Avenue. As soon as DJ Logic took to the decks, the crowd moved and swayed together. The lack of elbow room wasn’t of consequence.

DJ Logic played an eclectic mix of trip-hop and R&B littered with jazz samples from one side of his mixer. One the other side was contemporary electronic sounds that set the tone for the jazz inspired set of Jamtronica that was to follow.

From the start, Lee’s keyboard solos in the jam session were prevalent. Twisting knobs and pressing keys with a graceful yet furious pace. Lee and his keyboard produced sounds that mixed with the samples from Logic’s turntables.

The night also included some guitar work from Compa.

“I have never heard him (Compa) shred like that.” said Mark Draer of Washington, D.C. “I am really glad we made the trip up 95 tonight.”

DJ Logic will continue touring, heading to New England and his native Brooklyn, before heading out west to Colorado.

Brownstein and the Disco Biscuits will begin touring in March and return to Philadelphia for three nights at the Filmore, starting on April 19.

Creepoid: “This Project Has Run Its Course.”

February 13, 2018


Text by Mike Bucher. Top image by Brandee Nichols.

The symbolism was there if you looked for it.

During their Audiotree recording in Chicago last year, the Creepoid bandmates talked about drinking lots of water and feeling old at SXSW. They played a sludgier version of “Waste,” where bass player Anna Troxell repeatedly cries “I don’t wanna waste your time.” They lacked that wildfire energy their fans crave.

It was the last day of what would be their last tour together but that doesn’t mean it was a failure. Like the end of every show, amazing or not, the house lights brighten, equipment gets packed away and everyone goes home.

Artists are successful if they make people feel something with their work. Creepoid’s unexplainable spark took them back and forth across the country because its intoxicated fans kept calling them back.

Now, fans are showing the hardscrabble Philadelphia band how meaningful that feeling is, including cross country pilgrimages, to see them off one final time – at Union Transfer on Saturday.

“This show has been a hypothetical for a while,” said Sean Miller, singer and guitarist. “To see the people who have come out so many times to support us, to have some closure, it’s really a great privilege”

The group formed out of friendship from high school together in Willow Grove. They practiced, recorded and played shows on nights and weekends while they worked – drummer Pat Troxell as a mover and music promoter, his wife Anna as an adjunct professor, Miller as a printer, and Pete Urban as a farmer.

In January 2011, they released their first full-length album, Horse Heaven, followed by their self-titled album in March 2014 and a Record Store Day EP the following month.

At that point, demand for Creepoid forced the band to seriously consider going full-time.

“We feel like time is of the essence while people are interested,” Miller said back in 2014. “While people are looking and listening to these new releases, this is the time we really need to make that move.”

So they quit their jobs, packed up everything and settled in Savannah, Georgia without Urban, who had other plans at that point in his life. The band had two weeks to settle in, break in a new guitar player, and relearn how to pack their van without Urban before a three-month tour opening for Against Me!.

They learned a lot touring but going full-time was taxing for the self-motivated group. To keep the money coming in, the band hit the road hard, playing more than 200 shows a year.

“We kept calling ourselves sharks because sharks only eat when they swim,” said Anna Troxell.

They crisscrossed the country, converting new fans along the way, but it was back in Philly when the band met Geoff Rickly, who eventually signed them to his new label, Collect Records. At a later stop in Brooklyn, the bandmates said they were suspiciously wined and dined by the label. So they signed with them, fulfilling a long-time goal and financial security.

“If someone is coming at you with endless amounts of money,” Anna Troxell said, “you should probably figure out where that money is coming from.”

“The thing is, ‘endless amounts of money’ in our world is a very modest amount from a label,” added Miller.

When they signed, the label produced their final LP, Cemetery Highrise Slum, put them on a three-week U.K. tour with a sprinter van and rented equipment. But where the money was coming from turned out to be at serious odds with the band’s morals. The bandmates said they heard rumors that an insidious character contributed money to get a band member out of jail. They asked their manager to get to the bottom of the funding and discovered it was Martin Shkreli, the hated pharma bro who raised prices on an AIDS and cancer treatment drug from $13.50 to $750.

“We found out a super villain played a trick on us and put out our record,” said Miller.

Horrified, they terminated the relationship and, with it, all the financial support they were getting.

“It was a rough pick-yourself-up moment,” said Pat Troxell.

Back in Philly, and reunited with Urban, some members moved into a standalone two-and-a-half bedroom house in Fort Washington, where they practiced and recorded their EP, Burner. They toured on the record but things weren’t the same.

Before their last show in March 2017, in Cleveland, they discussed ending the band.

“This project has run its course,” Pat Troxell said flatly. “There are punk bands that go out and tour for years and then as soon as people stop caring, they just go away.”

Instead of going away, the band made a two part announcement in December shocking fans: they were breaking up and they are throwing one giant farewell show.

“The response has been overwhelming,” said Pat Troxell about the upcoming show. “As soon as we announced it, we were blown away by the response of people buying tickets. Then we were like, ‘Holy shit! A lot of the people are from nowhere near Philadelphia.’”


Photo by Mike Bucher

From Alabama to Los Angeles – only the tip of the iceberg, fans on social media are announcing their travel plans to see Creepoid one last time. A husband is flying with his wife to Philly from Colorado for the show as a Valentine’s Day present. Another couple are driving from South Bend, Indiana.

Opening sets by hometown acts An Albatross, Mannequin Pussy and Night Sins, plus DJ sets from Bushy and Nicky Money, only amplify what’s sure to feel like a jubilant neighborhood block party.

What a way to go out, with your most ardent fans flocking together for one last curtain call.


Creepoid by Brandee Nichols


Hot Leather @ The Pharmacy

January 22, 2018

IMG_7950.jpgText and images by Andy Polhamus.

Hot Leather, the musical project of Boise area-based meme artist Clyde Webb, brought a caffeine-fueled display of millennial angst to Philadelphia for the first time Jan. 13 at The Pharmacy.


Tomorrow is my first Philadelphia show!!

A post shared by Hot Leather (@kornfan420) on


In a 20-minute set, Hot Leather, which consists of Webb armed with nothing but a couple of pedals and a YamahaQY700 sequencer, burned through a string of synth-pop masterpieces sweet enough to make even the most jaded listener pine for the days of MySpace.

“I like lots of dumb things. They’re corny, but good,” said Webb, 25, who first rose to popularity on Instagram with the meme page kornfan420.

His songs, like his memes, convey a bitter suburban ennui familiar to anyone who grew up on Mountain Dew and Doritos. Trashy pop culture references abound on Hot Leather’s debut LP, Do You Remember Your Friends, which rapid-fires an avalanche of weird sex, shamelessly juvenile humor and a disarmingly sincere portrait of depression, all in a series of perfect pop songs. Over the course of 16 tracks clocking in at well under half an hour, the listener is transported to an alternate universe where Hellogoodbye opted out of love songs and switched to pop-punk tunes about being too sad to commit suicide and eating trash.

“I was conceived at a Meat Loaf concert/I was congealed in a sewer full of vomit/I was raised by a television,” Webb sings in the album’s opener, “Congealed.”

The longest song on the album is a paltry two minutes.

“All my songs are a minute long, and if they go over a minute, I’m like, god, is this ever going to end?” Webb said. “I just love writing catchy music. Why write anything if it’s not going to be super catchy?”

Still, even on an album where he expresses an insane wish to house his soul in a city of Juggalos when he dies, Webb shows a striking earnestness. His sister drowned in an accident when he was 13, and he’s been plagued by anxiety and depression since adolescence. His darker lyrics waste no time with metaphors; in several songs he states outright that he’s too unwell to function.

“I’m pretty sure depression is always going to be a part of my life,” he said.
But it’s not all nihilism and despair. Underneath his candy-coated chord changes, Webb revels in the tiny blips of joy that break up a monochrome landscape of depression.

“When we met in Seattle was the best weekend of my life,” Webb sings on his shockingly romantic ode to video chat, “Facetime.”



Webb played a second Philly show at a house venue before moving on to Boston. He was planning a move to Los Angeles, set for February. Hot Leather was born with a small built-in following from the meme page, and although he lost some followers when he pivoted to music, Webb had enough support to play a series of one-off shows scattered across the country.

“Generally, if you do anything online, people are going to hate you no matter what you do,” he said. “But people wouldn’t be into it if it wasn’t at least kinda good.”

goldenSpiral: “Love is The Answer.”

December 18, 2017

goldenSpiralOnline03Text by Cameron Robinson. Images by Charles Shan Cerrone.

Settled in a brick building in the warehouse district of Port Richmond, surrounded by gated parking lots and industrial spaces, sits the studio of up-and-coming producer and visual artist Adrian Palashevsky, better known as goldenSpiral.

His studio is reminiscent of a scientist’s lab but instead of chemicals and vials on his desk, he has a Wacom tablet, an AKAI APC40 and an Ableton Push. On the warm maroon walls is artwork, albums and a mask signed by Ghostface Killah. Most noticeable on his desk is not his work equipment but the book “Quadrivium,” a tiny Buddha and a golden Fibonacci spiral. The Fibonacci spiral is the divine proportion, the perfect mathematical ratio found in nature and even in humans.


“I first learned about it reading the book ‘The Holographic Universe’ during my time at Temple University,” Palashevsky says. “What’s weird is that I never actually made the decision to call myself goldenSpiral. I just woke up one morning during my sophomore year and that was my name. I never questioned it.”

And with that awakening came a vision.

“My dream is to have a large following,” says Palashevsky. “Or at least 100,000 people to anticipate an experience that integrates both audio and visual.”

Palashevsky’s grandmother, Irene Palashevsky, began to teach him to play the violin when he was 8.

“She was a world-class violinist and my first teacher,” he explains.

Palashevsky has since become a skilled violinist. He’s been the concertmaster for orchestras, like the Montgomery County Youth Orchestra, where he was featured in solo performances with a full orchestra accompaniment. He also was given first chair of the second violin section in the Philadelphia Symphonia.

While he has love and appreciation for the violin, he found his passion in music production at the age of 12 when he received Mixman Studio software. Over the next few years, he mastered the program popular with electronic musicians.

“It allowed me to mess with warping capabilities and change tempo without affecting pitch,” Palashevsky explains. “I sat on it for four years before upgrading to FruityLoops.”

This upgrade only solidified his passion, eventually leading him to Temple, where he graduated with a major in music and a minor in entrepreneurship.

In early 2009, Palashevsky went to see the musician Pretty Lights. Something in Palashevsky clicked while watching the artist perform.

“I decided on the direction I needed to be going,” he recalls.

That direction was west.

Within months, Palashevsky made his way to Flagstaff, Arizona, where he began to rethink the path he was going. During that time, he formed the electronic group, The City Music Project, though he eventually parted ways with the trio.

“Being in a band is great but the problem is everyone wants to play,” he explains. “Music needs to breathe.”


On his own again and back in Philadelphia, Palashevsky began to dig deeper into the underground electronic music scene, seeking out collectives such as Hungry Ghosts, who are featured on Palashevsky’s recent album Waveformation.

“He fully immerses himself in his priorities,” says O.H.M., a rapper who is part of Hungry Ghosts. “Working with him has showed me that if you’re one with yourself, things will work out.”

Palashevsky’s work has also brought him to the attention of other Philadelphia producers, such as Agent Zero. The two met when they shared the same bill for a show and quickly bonded over their use of Ableton Live.

“I first saw Adrian perform with his old band, The City Music Project,” Agent Zero says. “It was a really interesting fusion of electronic music and hip-hop with live instruments.”

Also interesting is the deal Palashevsky has with manager Isaac Gordon. Gordon’s label, Monster Entertainment, provides artists with an unusual arrangement.

“There is no contract. We work off of trust,” explains Palashevsky. “It’s the future of the music business. If you have a contract, it’s based on distrust”

Since he started working with Gordon, Palashevsky has opened for Ghostface Killah and his music can be found on major distribution platforms like Spotify, Apple and TIDAL. This past June, Palashevsky released Waveformation and recently released the track “The Reckoning,” which features the vocals of Alicia Talia.

“The song is about redemption, forgiveness and being held accountable to our mistakes and transgressions, even the ones that no one knows about,” he explains. “It’s open to interpretation enough for that to mean whatever it means to each listener personally, as well.”

Now, he’s back in the studio, hard at work on the upcoming Cosmic Servant EP and preparing for the PEX HeartBurn 2018 party at The Fillmore in February. The event will take over both The Fillmore and The Foundry, where Palashevsky will perform with his full band.

“People are going crazy these days,” he says, swerving back and forth in his chair as if moving to the cadence of his own rhythm. “This might sound corny, but love is the answer.”

And with that, he adds one last message.

“Support indie music,” he says. “And fuck Soundcloud.”

Josh Olmstead: “People Can Change, and Great Divides Can be Bridged.”

December 15, 2017


The Josh Olmstead Band will play the Peacock Room at Philadelphia Brewing Company on Sunday, celebrating the decade since they released their debut album, Charms.

We hung out with the guys the other day at their rehearsal space at The Sound Gallery Studios. And we spoke to Josh about the project and what he’s been doing since it dropped in 2007.

Ten years? Man. Where you been the last decade?

Believe it or not, by the time Charms came out, I had already been making music in Philly in fits and starts for ten whole years!

Thanks to the help of the musicians, friends, and family around me at the time, I finally found my sea legs as a songwriter and collaborator with Charms, and it gave me a nice second wind going into my second decade of Philly music making.

Since then, I’ve continued putting out records and performing as a songwriter pretty consistently. And I’ve also had the privilege of playing guitar on the records and tours of so many great, fellow Philly songwriters whose work I adore.


How did the project originally begin?

I originally came to Philly to make music with my band Aleksandra in 1997. When that band went its separate ways around the time of Y2K, I went on a pretty long hiatus from playing out in rock bands, even though I remained active in eclectic ensembles like South Philly’s Munier Mandolin Orchestra, and occasionally jammed with friends in West Philly basements.

I think that led to my songwriting turning more inward and craft oriented. I was no longer writing for a group, but purely to express myself, and maybe for the challenge of it all. If I occasionally played out, it would be solo, so the songs had to work with just guitar and voice.

My listening habits also changed as I delved into all the classic singer-songwriters more than ever before. Then, all the right people at just the right time encouraged me to get back in the game, so I branched out, met an amazing new circle of musician friends, and got to work on making my first “solo” record with a new band.

Life was so different back then, wasn’t it?

So different! Back then I fancied myself more of a dog person, and lived across the street from Clark Park, literally a stone’s throw from the Charles Dickens’ statue, with six awesome roommates from PAFA and Tyler School of Art.

Now, I live in Fishtown across from a skate park and basketball court with my awesome partner Katie and our mystical cat Lulu, who has more nicknames than Babe Ruth.

Don’t get me wrong. I still love dogs. It’s just that now I see both sides. People can change, and great divides can be bridged.

The music seems personal – almost nostalgic, yet hopeful. Are you still there?

They are personal, but hopefully not so personal that they come across as too literal. It’s nice to keep things universal, and open to interpretation. Nostalgia crept into the songs I think because we’re always dealing with our own mortality, and after ten years of Philly living, I must have been in a reflective mood.

Revisiting these songs in rehearsal these past two weeks has been pretty emotional. I’ve been inspired to sing in a way that I haven’t been for a long time because I’m realizing in the moment that the words have taken on a new meaning as I’ve grown. They’ve aged with me, and I hope with everyone else.

I think there’s hope in that. So it’s not that I’m “still there,” but I think I’ve made peace with where I was as a songwriter back then, and I can embrace it in a new way, if that makes sense.

The tracks still hold up. There is definitely that mid-00s influence but that sound is pretty popular today.

Yeah, for me, the sound of a record definitely evolves over time depending on our points of reference.

I’ve dug deep into so many records since we recorded Charms. So, you start to notice the little things, the little tricks of the trade, which shed light on your own records in ways you couldn’t have imagined ten years ago. You realize you definitely weren’t the only chef in the kitchen. The other musicians, engineers, and producers all brought their own history, taste, and style to the proceedings. Even the gear you use and the room you’re in contributes its own personality.

You learn to be humble because it’s always a collaborative process. There’s a gentle spirit running through everything, and you start to recognize those subtle influences, and enjoy finding them if you remain an active and curious listener over time. A good pair of headphones and the right mindset are key.

Do you still pine for 40th and Baltimore?

I don’t know if I pine, but I definitely remember the desperation of wanting to catch the very next trolley downtown or the last trolley back home to West Philly.

If I got tired of waiting on the corner for the next trolley in the freezing cold, I’d often started walking away from my house toward the 40th Street stop just to create some body heat and keep warm. At least I had a home or usually a place to be going. Whereas I knew a lot of my fellow Philadelphians didn’t and still don’t have that same luxury.

We aren’t alone in our struggle to find warmth. It’s just that some of us have an even greater struggle than others, and we should always remember that. I thought it’d be cool to put that in a song. Now, when I drive by that intersection, it is nostalgic because that song ‘40th & Baltimore’ was the first song of mine to ever be played on the radio. Helen Leicht, bless her, was the first DJ to play my song, and that was the one.

So it’s special. Maybe I do pine.

What’s up with the show at PBC? What should we expect?

Half the fun is I’m not all that sure what to expect.

But I do know the original Josh Olmstead Band lineup of Josh Machiz, Joseph Primavera, and Matt Scarano plan to be there. These are the cats that played on the record and shows surrounding the release of Charms, and have made life so beautiful for a songwriter like me.

I’ve played separately with everyone in other projects, but the four of us haven’t played together as a unit in like seven or eight years. We all put so much of our time and effort into the project traveling to Burlington and Boston and New York and Baltimore on a shoestring budget to make sure the music was played and heard way back then that I thought it was important we pause to pay tribute on the 10th anniversary of the record. And that’s what we plan to do at PBC.

When the four of us get in a room together to play music there’s a real time travel to the past, present and future that happens all at once, and the magical unspoken communication that happens between musicians runs even deeper now.

Plus the amazing singer-songwriters Laura Baird and Natalie Butts are going to play sets for everyone – they alone are worth stopping by PBC for a few Sunday afternoon rounds.

There will be plenty beer, crepes and no cover to get in! In the words of the late, great Leon Russell, “It’s a hippie commune bonafide.”

Bleachers @ The Fillmore with Bishop Briggs and Amy Shark.

November 28, 2017


Text and images by Alicia Kay.

The Bleachers‘ concert at The Fillmore began with an appearance from the adorable Australian singer/songwriter Amy Shark.

She joked that she’s far from home but when the Bleachers call you up to open for them, you immediately hop on a plane to the States. Shark performed singles such as “Golden Fleece,” “Boy Who Spits on Girls,” “Drive you Mad” and “Blood Brothers.”

She impressed the crowd with her angelic voice and poetic lyrics that every person in the audience seemingly could relate to on some level. Shark expressed her love for rapper Eminem by covering his song “Superman.”

Shark shared a story of calling up a boy back when people still used landlines, and his mom picked up, yelling in her heavy Aussie accent, “Joey! There’s an Amy on the phone for you!”

She joked with the audience, saying, “Bitch it’s not an Amy, it’s the Amy.”

After the crowd roared their approval, she said, “And that’s the inspiration for this next song.”

She performed one of her newer songs, “Weekends.” Shark ended her performance with her breakout single, “Adore.”

Next up was British musician Bishop Briggs. Clad in an Adidas track suit and her signature space buns, Briggs opened her set with “Dark Side, setting the tone for the show. She continued the show with singles such as “Wild Horses,” “Fire,” “Dead Man’s Arms” and “Hi-Lo.” She ended her set with and wowed the audience with her best known single, “River.” 

Whether it was jumping in place, boxing the air or running back and forth between stage left and stage right, Briggs was a ball of raw energy. It was apparent to the audience that she loves what she does and can’t wait to share it with the world. It was her aura mixed with her strong sound that made her such a great performer.

After such amazing openers, the crowd was pumped and ready for Bleachers.

As the band took their places and the lights went up, the crowd went wild. The spotlight hit lead singer Jack Antonoff on the back of the stage, far from the audience, where he was clad in his iconic bejeweled white suit as seen in the music video for their newest single “Don’t Take the Money.” 

They played their new song, “Goodmorning,” and then continued with classic songs from their 2014 album Strange Desire. At one point, Antonoff instructed everybody to get on their friend’s shoulders and enjoy the concert like they would at a music festival. Bleachers also played songs from their newest album, Gone Now, including “Hate That You Know Me,” “Everybody Lost Somebody,” “Let’s Get Married” and “Foreign Girls.”

About halfway through the performance Antonoff stopped singing and announced to the audience that their drummer had just had a birthday and asked the audience to join him in singing “Happy Birthday,” while the rest of the band members brought out a cake.

Surprisingly enough, that day just happened to be the birthday of a girl in the front row. In a beautiful moment that could only happen at a Bleachers concert, Antonoff heard the girl exclaim it was her birthday and pulled her up onto the stage, gave her a hug and had her blow out the candles. He then handed her the cake and instructed her to bring it back with her and pass it around the audience.

The concert continued while the audience sang along to the next few songs and passed around the cake, taking handfuls, stuffing their faces, and laughing as each person consequently became a mess with frosting on their face and fingers.

Going to a Bleachers concert is an experience all in its own, part of which stems from Antonoff’s love of music. From his instruction to the crowd during “Rollercoaster,” to having riff offs with his fellow band members during the songs, his fun loving attitude made the concert experience so much more beautiful. He was frank with the audience, telling stories about his thought process while writing the songs.

At one point during the concert, Antonoff shushed the audience and had them listen to a low hum, a sound he identified as sad but also comforting. The sound, which comes from a Roland Juno 106 keyboard, was the inspiration for many Bleachers songs. Antonoff explained that he would lock himself in his room, with only that sound playing, and write from the heart.

The songs would sound sad but once the creative genius that is Jack Antonoff added a keyboard, bass, two drums and even a saxophone, the songs became the beautiful and upbeat ones that the audience knew and loved.

Antonoff understands the innate beauty of music and strives with each concert to translate that into a beautiful experience for the audience.

And translate it does.


Funksgiving: Nik Greeley and the Operators @ MilkBoy with West End Blend.

November 28, 2017


Text and images by Chip Frenette.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? For Nik Greeley and the Operators, it’s funk. And they served it up at MilkBoy  non Friday.

After a day of fighting for $99 flat screens, followed by devouring leftover-turkey sandwiches, the funk faithful found their way to the Chestnut Street club. Many in attendance were greeted with hugs from Greeley as he roamed the room covered under a pashmina scarf while West End Blend got the night started.

The New England-based funk act began the final month of their fall tour at MilkBoy, promoting their new album, Attitude.

Then Nik Greeley and the Operators took the stage.

Greeley paused between tracks to give thanks for a lot of things. Many of those things included funk music, family, friends and his band.

“My band, they are my brothers,” said Greeley between his soulful R&B vocals.

Greeley shouted out keyboardist Sammy Gutman, who designed the new shirts for the band. The shirts feature a bear donning a flat brim hat and using an antique telephone.

Greeley welcomed several guests to the stage during their two sets of funk. Among the guests were guitarist Chester Dragon, Chris Bullock of Snarky Puppy, Adam Dotson of Rubblebucket and Danny Meyer Music from the Eric Krasno Band.


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