Tubey Frank released the music video for their song, "My, My Mind" a couple weeks ago and we want to talk about it. DISCLAIMER: This is fully my interpretation of the lyrics and video, so I could be way off base, but I'm excited to tell y'all my thoughts. First off, the video is directed by film and photography god, Bob Sweeney, so we're already sold. Sweeney has a signature style that we can't get enough of; muted tones, focused filming that seems to capture moments in slow motion while the world moves around the focal point of the video. I love this style, because it feels true. It feels like an authentic experience, a clear memory. Second, this song is beautiful. Off the upcoming EP, Euphoraphobia, "My, My Mind" perfectly illustrates how my anxious mind works at parties and in social situations. Every thought that I have could snowball into a mountain at any moment. Joshua Kirwin, frontman of Tubey Frank, validated my interpretation of the video and song, but went a little bit deeper with it, " I really had a hard time adjusting to the communication climate of Philly when I moved here, and also had a lot of self work to do...this whole EP is about my little bout with agoraphobia I had here. And then, when I worked out of it, I was so happy to find so many beautiful people here, and so much good that is here." This song is like a whirlwind, and it's interesting. It holds my attention and I want to follow it through, all the way to the end.

In fact, the entire EP is just as intriguing. Feeling like Blur meets the Beatles but with his own Joshua Kirwin style, each song is a totally unique experience but blends perfectly into one long story. We can't wait for you to hear it!!

Check Tubey Frank out next week (8/21) at our Ortlieb's residency with Matt Kelly and Matt DeCaro!

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Colin and Tyler of Party Muscles met working at Creep Records on 2nd St. After discovering their shared music taste, they quickly developed a friendship. Picture Empire Records, just a couple decades later. Outside of work, the two formed a band influenced by their power pop heroes: The Strokes and Parquet Courts. The resulting sound is comparably catchy, dancy, and just plain fun. There’s a distinctly Philly edge to it, however. Their debut LP, Does It Even Matter, (click here to listen!) elicits the feeling of long summer nights spent drinking beer in lawn chairs, taking a smoke break with friends between sets, and not caring about sweating through your black skinny jeans in the August heat.

The opening track, She Goes to Juilliard, sets the mood of the record. It’s the tale of unrequited love, or rather, a one-sided fling, complete with a catchy chorus and anthem-worthy lyrics. “I don’t wanna be your secret / but you don’t wanna be anything more than that.” The heavier subject matter on the record, such as heartache and growing pains, is shrugged off with powerful guitar riffs and danceable melodies in light-hearted garage rock style. Peruvian Sunshine is another example. “This heart bleeding no emotion” sung deadpan over one of the record’s trickiest guitar lines showcases the band’s technical ability and tells a story we all can relate to.

The whole record, comprised of 3 minute digestible pop-rock jaunts, is an easy listen that’s sure to stick with you long after the first listen. You can listen to Party Muscles now on Spotify or Bandcamp. Better yet, come out to one of the band’s Ortlieb’s residency dates on Thursday nights starting 8/15. Stay for a drink with the band and enjoy a chat with some of Philly’s nicest guys. We’ll see you there!

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Updated: May 16, 2020

Today we’re diving into a whole new world with Driftwood Soldier. You know, I thought I was “hip” to the folk scene, but Driftwood Soldier’s latest album release, Stay Ahead of the Wolf, showed me a completely different (and probably more accurate) side to the genre. This incredible album has a beautiful and authentic sound and feel. We were able to talk more in depth with Owen Lyman-Schmidt, vocalist and mandolin player for the band and an INCREDIBLY patient man who put up with our hectic schedules <3.

Now look, don’t do what I did with this album and listen to it while you’re at work trying to pretend you’re somewhere else. I know we all have busy schedules and Oprah has convinced us all that multi-tasking is a sign of genius...oh that’s just me? Well anyway, this album deserves much more attention than that and I wish my first listening experience could have been a more focused one. Give this album the attention it deserves. As I learned from Owen, folk music is very much about story-telling, so undivided attention is key. “That emphasis on storytelling is something we associate with many folk traditions, even if our actual musical style is harder to put in a single genre box. As the songwriter, I always say my job is to tell the story, and Bobby (Szafranski’s) job (on bass) is to make people care about it.”

“That emphasis on storytelling is something we associate with many folk traditions, even if our actual musical style is harder to put in a single genre box."

Stay Ahead of the Wolf is, as Owen puts it, “a whole mess of influences and overall unusual instrumentation.” While the foundation of the project is vocals, bass and mandolin (along with junk percussion at their feet), collaboration was key to creating this distinct and unique sound. “ On Stay Ahead of the Wolf we got to explore the full unpredictable range of that sound thanks to some incredible Philly musicians who sat in on a few tracks, including Katy Otto on drums, Eric Sherman on trumpet, Jacob Brunner on piano, and Caitlin Quigley on backing vocals. Matt Heckler also contributed some long distance fiddle and banjo. But we were careful not to lose sight of the fact that this music ultimately rests on the relationship between those two central voices, the one singing the words and Bobby's lyrical bass.”

"I see social commentary and introspection as built in by-products of telling true stories. True doesn't mean non-fiction, it just means accurate to our understanding of the world."

So, I’m sure you’re wondering: What stories are they telling? The subject of each song varies from social commentary about corporate greed and systemic racism, to more introspective and personal songs. Owen tells us, “I see social commentary and introspection as built in by-products of telling true stories. True doesn't mean non-fiction, it just means accurate to our understanding of the world. For example, I wrote a song called 'John Henry' that's on the album. There are plenty of other songs about John Henry, but most of them ignore the racist corporate greed underlying the basic premise of the story: that a black person's worth is dependent on their productivity as a worker. If I'm going to tell the story of John Henry, it's gonna reflect my understanding of the truth, which is that this economic system treats poor people of color as disposable. Likewise, there are introspective songs on this record that explore love, anger, grief, ambivalence, and irony, all reflecting my own complicated experience through various narrators and situations.

"A song resonates when you see something of your own truth in someone else's experience."

Listen to the stories yourself, then listen to them again… and then listen to them AGAIN. This album is truly a beautiful experience. It is personal but also makes you feel like you’re part of the bigger picture (for better or for worse). Owen puts it best when he tells us, “One of the reasons music is so important is because it can present something as huge and indescribable as love, or injustice in a way that's specific without being exclusive. A song resonates when you see something of your own truth in someone else's experience.”

Driftwood Soldier spent the better part of the past two years working on this album, and they’re ready for the world to hear it. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE ALBUM. And follow them on Instagram and Facebook to hear about upcoming shows!

by Kristen Levine

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