We all just want to fit in, don’t we? Find our tribe, our people, the community where we feel at home, where we feel like we belong. This is something that I’ve always loved about the Philly music community. It’s so diverse, and there are so many different “scenes” you can get into, but you don’t have to choose just one. You can fit in with so many different crowds, and for the most part, the community welcomes everyone. It’s all a part of finding yourself, and it doesn’t mean you have to remain stagnant or choose between genres. Be whoever the fuck you want to be and we will love you for it.

Brian Walker explores this idea with new latest single Where You Fit In under his project, A Day Without Love. Fittingly, it’s a collaboration between himself and an array of talented musicians including Erin Fox (Resilient) on guitar and vocals, Kelsey Cork (Kelsey Cork and the Swigs) on saxophone, Jace Miller (Alright Junior) on bass, Aaron Weis on keys, and Branden King on drums. The whole group recorded the song with Jesse Gimbel before the pandemic hit, and then continued to work on it via dropbox files after the world shut down.

We were able to talk to Brian about his history with Philly music, how the song came together, and what the lyrics meant to him both literally and metaphorically.

1. What is your musical origin story?

I was first exposed to the idea of playing music when watching my Uncle DJ at North Philadelphia block parties as a kid. I wasn't sure if I wanted to be a DJ, but I knew I wanted to play music. Flash forward to the age of 18, I picked up a guitar on my birthday. I had been writing poetry since the age of 11 on a wide variety of topics from using Pokemon as a metaphor, relationships, race, etc. I performed at various open mic circuits and opened up in house venues from the age of 19-24. At 24 I was homeless for 19 days, broke up with a band I was playing in in New York and decided to start A Day Without Love as a recording project. The rest is a history of multiple EPs, singles and full lengths on various topics such as mental illness, wellness, self love, politics and more.

2. What is your history playing music in Philly?

I am a Philadelphia native, my first time trying to play a gig in Philly dates back to 2012 and I did not have such a good experience , the venue was a place called The Tritone. Moving forward I played a variety of open mics, bars, art spaces, houses and galleries to help promote my music and collaborate with community members to organize a wide variety of social initiatives.

3. How did this collaboration come about?

Erin Fox and I met on public broadcast TV (PhillyCam), Fox and I went on a weekender tour in Vermont and decided to write together. After spending a few days of sharing lyrics and chords we wrote a stripped down version of the song. We decided to share the song with our mutual friends Jace Miller, Kelsey Cork, Branden King and Aaron Weiss to put the remaining pieces of the song together. After working it out we worked with Jesse Gimbel a few weeks before the pandemic to record the song. We still had a few parts to record so we communicated via Facebook Group chat and sent parts over dropbox for Jesse to mix the song.

4. Did you draw on any specific moments in your life when writing these lyrics? The metaphorical side of it reminds me of all of the times I’ve met new friends only to realize that we’d been at the same shows or in the same rooms for years leading up to that.

There are a wide variety of moments that come to mind when I wrote this song with Erin. Namely I think about the various transitions I have had in my life, such as going to college and graduate school, having my first 9 to 5 , going on my first date, the experience of making new friends. Where You Fit in is about letting go of the negative biases that prevent you from enjoying the excitement of feeling that you are a part of something.

You can listen to the new song HERE! And be sure to follow A Day Without Love HERE!

by: Kristen Levine

album artwork by: Dretime

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The four piece, fuzz/grunge/basement/beach-pop band, Buddie, released their debut LP, Diving, through the Pittsburgh label, Crafted Sounds, today and my goodness do I have some words to write about this. Buddie started out as the solo project of Dan Forrest in 2015, and has since evolved into the four-piece band it is today (including Danielle Farley on guitar and vocals, Brian Thomas on bass, and David Dean of drums and synth), with Diving being written as a collaborative effort between the four members. If you like bands like Pine Barons and Ali Awan, you will LOVE this band. Not only is this album just fun and pleasant to listen to musically, it also has some pretty serious topics to discuss, and it does so in a really poignant and straightforward way. The themes that are explored in these songs are pretty perfect for the current social, political and literal climate, and includes social anxiety, trying to be a good person and environmentalism.

What I really love about this album is that there is so much to explore with it. “Diving” is really the perfect album title, because there is truly soooo much to dive into. Let’s take the first song off the album, Boiler, for example. If you want to dive into the sound, the feeling, the vibe you get from it, there’s plenty to feel out. As soon as the song starts, I’m suddenly aware of just how much tension I’ve been holding in my body and it all just releases in this wave of relief, kind of rushing out of me in the first measure. On the flip-side, if you want to really dive into the lyrics, there’s quite a bit to unpack there, too. Boiler looks like a pretty straightforward commentary on the incredible problems we as humans have made for ourselves in terms of just completely fucking up our environment and the way we continue to treat it. These sentiments continue into the second song, Heartbeat, (which was released as a single earlier this year) with such lyrics as:

“We had the luck and the good fortune to detect

We see the warning

But we spit straight in its face

Won’t ever trust the unseen evidence

Especially with the hope of being rich”

These lyrics can really start a conversation we all need to be having. Many of these songs ultimately feel like an environmentalist’s anthem, and we are here to support it. While other themes are also explored, it’s lyrics like those on Heartbeat that really stuck with me, and these lyrics on the last son Garden’s Glow, that stuck with me:

“ ‘If we just commit to what’s already done,

Then maybe all our problems just go away’

That type of thought comes from self-serving fear

Convinced that everyone can just go away

More like if they don’t look like you get away

Such hate

Won’t stay”

But, like I said, it’s how the music and the lyrics tie together that really impress me on this album. It inspires serious conversation, but it’s also the perfect album to throw on if you’re on a road trip to the beach. Actually, you shouldn’t stop there. Bring these tune ONTO the beach (obviously be mindful to remain as socially distant as possible), put them on your bluetooth speaker, and drown out the shitty top 40 music that seems to be required listening by everyone else who is already on the beach.

Check out the tunes here! And be sure to follow Buddie on instagram for more updates here.

by Kristen Levine

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Live TONIGHT (7/16) on WXPN's Instagram, local musician Kennedy of Highnoon is performing a highly-anticipated solo set. Their 2019 LP Semi Sweet is a CVZ favorite, and the new record comes out July 31st via indie record darlings, Oof Records. We caught up with Kennedy online to discuss their writing process during COVID and what they love most about being part of the Philly scene. Read on for insights into their thoughtful process and heartwarming anecdotes from pre-pandemic, live show culture.

When and where was the new album written/recorded?

The album was written in the spring and summer of 2018. I was just finishing up the first semester of my Junior year. I spent the summer at my parents’ in New Jersey and finished up the songs there. At the time I only had a little EP out on Soundcloud that was a few short originals and some covers I recorded on my phone. But I sent the new demos to my friend Justin over time and he encouraged me to put them out for real. I tried recording them on my computer using a little microphone I borrowed from him but I truly had no idea what I was doing so we ended up scrapping a lot of that and recording for real once I was back in Philly. We did that in a practice space he’d been renting out in a warehouse in Gray’s Ferry, mostly on weekends or during holidays from school. All the vocals were done in my bedroom. It was definitely an exercise in patience. But it was finished by late spring of 2019.

What themes, lyrical or otherwise, are on the record?

It’s a pretty introspective record. I spend a lot of time ruminating on things in my personal life which, in turn, helped me see them with more clarity. I’d say it’s about a sense of nostalgia you have for a difficult period in your life which is a pretty messed up thing your brain does sometimes. The album is also about witnessing dualities -- however contradictory they seem -- and just letting them be. Experiencing feelings of sadness but also finding ways to grow from them. That’s why I called it Semi Sweet. It’s the sweet feeling of a bitter memory.

How has quarantine affected your writing process?

I recently moved out of my old place and was commuting to my job from my parents’ place until I could find another spot. When COVID hit I found myself stuck at home again. I had actually just finished writing LP2 in February and we were working on refining the songs together as a band. We had a lot of plans for the summer and really wanted to improve on our process from last year.

There’s definitely been a bit of grief not being able to work on music together because the new stuff relies more on the dynamic of a four piece. I generally try to take a few months off before writing again just to absorb inspiration and live but it's definitely stifling being inside all the time. So I admittedly haven’t been writing as much as I’d like to. I've written a few songs here and there that don’t really fit anywhere, perhaps they’ll go on LP3. It’s hard to conceptualize what the music industry will even look like after this so I’m trying to be patient with it and get into other hobbies like skating and gardening. It’s definitely been a challenge though.

What’s the most exciting thing that happened behind the scenes in the making of this record?

I graduated college! Which is a huge feat for anyone honestly but I struggled a lot in college. I kind of regret going since I’m focusing so much on music now which I certainly did not major in. But I recognize that it’s a huge privilege to go and I’m thankful for the way it’s shaped my life. I wouldn’t be making music with my band if I hadn’t gone so it’s all good.

Who are your greatest influences in music?

Right now it’s Liz Harris (Grouper/Helen), Imogen Heap, The 1975, and Cocteau Twins. I’ve been leaning into more of a dream pop vibe at the moment so the new record will have a much dreamier sound than the debut. My first instrument was piano so I’ve been finding ways to incorporate more of that into my work. But my sources of inspiration are always changing so I’m hoping the fans we’ve made are able to grow and change with me. I feel a little disconnected from Semi Sweet already. I’ve just become a stronger songwriter I think. I’m excited to share the new stuff once it’s safe to meet up with the band again and record.

What do you like the most about being a musician in Philadelphia?

I like the community and ingenuity in Philly. I’ve made some really great friends in the scene and I like the way we all make it work even if we don’t always have the preferred resources. I like the way we support each other across different genres. When the band went on tour in November, it was so refreshing to see the talent in other cities. But coming home made me appreciate my Philly folks a lot more. I love Rentboy, Huey, the Cosmonaut, Bubble Sound, SOUL GLO, and Kississippi. There’s so much talent here and it’s an honor to have played shows with such great people.

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