Monthly Archives: December 2016

Happy New Year, Y’all!

Source: Fuzzy Logic

Happy New Year, Y'all!

There are plenty of superlatives that come to mind when it comes to describing the 12 month-long clusterfuck that was 2016, and not that many of them are all that positive. The year cruelly robbed us of so many music icons, and I think most of us can agree that it’s a great feeling to (finally) be saying “hit the road jack” to 2016 and to be welcoming 2017 with cautiously optimistic arms.

You know that “Auld Lang Syne” is a favorite around these parts, and I’ve hunted around for some renditions both old and vintage of this timeless treasure. ...

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On nursing a Guided By Voices hangover the evening after their three-hour Underground Arts epic

Source: The Key (WXPN)

GbV

A photo posted by Scott Troyan (@sxt) on

Last night, surrounded by a throng of sweaty bearded men and at least one persistent fart, I hung out with our Uncle Bob. We were there to see him, and like any great uncle, he entertained us until we were exhausted and then left us to our own devices.

Seeing Bob Pollard and his newest Guided By Voices lineup at Underground Arts on December 30th makes New Year’s Eve seem a little redundant. I mean, what kind of toast can compete with the one our ...

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New York City and Brooklyn Live Music Calendar for January and February 2017

Source: New York Music Daily

Daily updates – you might want to bookmark this page and check back every so often. If you don’t recognize a venue where a particular act is playing, check the comprehensive, recently updated list of over 200 New York City music venues at New York Music Daily’s sister blog Lucid Culture.

This is not a list of every show in town – it’s a carefully handpicked selection. If this calendar seems short on praise for bands and artists, it’s because every act here is recommended if you like their particular kind of music. Many different styles to choose from here, something for ...

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The XPN top 100 songs of 2016

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The XPN top 100 songs of 2016

Leonard Cohen’s “You Want It Darker” is the song of the yar | photo courtesy of the artist

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things that made 2016 incredible.

Here are the top 100 songs of 2016 as voted on by the XPN community. To quote Chuck Prophet, it was a bad year for rock and roll, losing so many incredible musicians. David Bowie’s passing set the tone for the year as we headed into last January, the passing of Prince shook us to our core, and the passing of Leonard Cohen put an even darker stain ...

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The XPN top 100 songs of 2016

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The XPN top 100 songs of 2016

Leonard Cohen’s “You Want It Darker” is the song of the yar | photo courtesy of the artist

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things that made 2016 incredible.

Here are the top 100 songs of 2016 as voted on by the XPN community. To quote Chuck Prophet, it was a bad year for rock and roll, losing so many incredible musicians. David Bowie’s passing set the tone for the year as we headed into last January, the passing of Prince shook us to our core, and the passing of Leonard Cohen put an even darker stain ...

Read full article >>

Klaus Kinski’s top 10 sonic salves of 2016

Source: Brooklyn Vegan

“At the end of the day, if you are looking for contemporary suggestions, I’m probably the last person you should ask. But I listen to music. I love the music I love. Here are 10 sonic elements that kept me going through 2016 (though, only a few are actually from 2016).” – Klaus.

Continue reading…

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Guest Best Of Top Ten Live Shows of 2016 #3: Emilyn Brodsky + The Unlovables, 11/8

Source: Fuzzy Logic

Guest Best Of Top Ten Live Shows of 2016 #3: Emilyn Brodsky + The Unlovables, 11/8

While I didn’t make it out to many shows this year, mysterious special guest star The Paper sure did. I’m proud to highlight the ten shows of 2016 that made his list of favorite shows.

It wasn’t just a Tuesday night. It was THAT Tuesday night and I was stoked to vote Emilyn Brodsky for President after what felt like an eternity. As is always the case when one is eagerly looking forward to something, the opening band, while pleasant, seemed to play forever.

She was solo last I saw her years ago and this time she was accompanied  ...

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Download the ten most-popular Key Studio Sessions of 2016

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Download the ten most-popular Key Studio Sessions of 2016

Kississippi | Photo by Rich McKie for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2016 incredible. In this installment, we bring you the ten most popular Key Studio Sessions of the year.

10. The Snails – May 18, 2016

At the front of the band is songwriter-guitarist Todd Fausnacht, whose timeless vocals bounce and cavort across tracks that move energetically from one to the next. The swaying breeze of “Liberty Street Lights” glides directly into the swaggering garage rock dance of “Press Play,” into the confrontational anthem of “Basement,” an ode to authenticity and artistic integrity.

9. Ceramic Animal – July 28, 2016

Stylish Bucks County four-piece Ceramic Animal dabbles in psychedelic rock of the classic variety. The keyboard-and-guitar interplay you’ll hear in this week’s Key Studio Session hits an undeniable Doors-esque sweet spot; the guitar solos (particularly on “Codename Righteous”) are totally Pink Floyd. However, as much as the band informs its sound by history, it works with one foot in the now, and is getting ready to release its self-titled debut album this fall.

8. Hardwork Movement – April 20, 2016

In the world of live hip-hop, typically you’ve either got rappers with a band, or rappers with a DJ. Rarely do you see a crew straddle both sides of the spectrum, but Hardwork’s live set is half performed in full force, and half with the core four backed by a mix. That’s how they approached their Key Studio Session as well, with “Walk It Off” and “Dance With Me” exploding off the walls in full nine-piece glory, while “Take Time” sat nicely with just the beat and the boys at the mic.

7. Loose Tooth – July 20, 2016

Of the six songs they played, only one (“Lizzy”) was previously featured on Easy. The rest are getting their first airing here, and I’m purely pumped about how fierce they sound. Like the music of their debut, these five cuts are a conglomeration of awesome: Pixies and Pavement and Dinosaur Jr., even bits of Brand New and Yuck. There are moments that lean more askew (“Free Skate”), moments that work the quiet-loud thing into an abrasive boil (“Roach Motel” – which you can watch the band perform in the video below) and moments that are pure, infectious fuzz-pop joy (“Sleep with the State Concept”).

6. Liz De Lise – June 22, 2016

In the time since, de Lise has developed her sound into something more cerebral – yet no less catchy. As we hear in this Key Studio Session, she has two chief collaborators: Mark Watter on bass and vocals (you might know him from Rosu Lup, Caroline Reese + the Drifting Fifth, and his own band Howlish), and a tight network of effects pedals and loopers, which she works with skill and finesse (I guess that’s more of a tool than a collaborator, but you get the picture). The set swallows you in sound, with layers of vocal rounds floating alongside askew lead guitar reminiscent of St. Vincent’s Annie Clark.

5. Mercury Girls – June 29, 2016

The Philadelphia five-piece takes the high-spirited, playful tones of classic indiepop — which they clearly have a deep reverence for — and delivers them with punk rock ferocity. Leaps, spins and kicks from guitarist Kevin Attics mix with the unflappable delivery of vocalist Sarah Schimineck and the thundering force of drummer Chris Schackerman. Add in sick leads from co-guitarist Kevin O’Halloran, and the energy levels approach metaphorical combustion (thankfully there’s cool, collected bassist Andrew Hagiwara to keep things on relative terra firma). In short: one of the best live bands on the scene right now.

4. The Afterglows – August 3, 2016

Cantor and Cook-Parrot’s newly minted duo project goes back to those roots of power pop, with close harmonies and engaging refrains a la Simon and Garfunkel and The Everly Brothers. As we heard in their performance for The Key Studio Sessions, The Afterglows trace that lineage through the 60s (the very McCartney “Born Again,” which opens the set) and 70s (they covered “You and Your Sister,” a beauty of a song by Chris Bell of Big Star), and brilliantly blends Cook-Parrott’s folksy acoustic strumming with warm electric tones and solos from Cantor.

3. Queen of Jeans – January 20, 2016

There’s been a praise chorus surrounding this Philadelphia four-piece since it emerged last summer, and rightfully so. Their music is catchy, clever and infectious, from the brilliant, Belle & Sebastian-esque “Dance (Get Off Your Ass)” – which has a certain effect on listeners that this music video doesn’t exaggerate – to the punk rock badassery of “Rollerdyke.” The players are no joke, either: though this band is new, singer-guitarist Miriam Devora hails from psych outfit The Interest Group while lead guitarist Matheson Glass was a longtime member of Work Drugs. Joining them are Nina Scotto on bass and Patrick Wall on drums, and their musicianship is tight and locked in, as you hear when they play live for us in this week’s Key Studio Session.

2. Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties – August 24, 2016

Campbell has, for the most part, toured Aaron West as one-man acoustic band. It started out as a place for his acoustic-oriented ideas, after all — songs that don’t necessarily fit with the full-drive punk rock of TWY — and it connects just as powerfully in intimate clubs as it does on the Ocean City boardwalk. But working in the studio with Ace Enders of The Early November, the music nevertheless grew into its impressive arrangements, awash in horns and banjo and lap steel. For their upcoming gig at Philly’s Made in America festival, Campbell has rounded up a seven-piece band to give a full Roaring Twenties treatment to his set, and we were super excited to bring them in the studio this summer for a Key Studio Session.

1. Kississippi – February 17, 2016

The EP is a sonic step forward for Kississippi, bringing Reynolds’ arresting voice to the forefront and surrounding it in lush, beautiful arrangements of slinky clean-tone guitar and measured drumming. It recalls a lot of bands from the sadcore 90s; central PA favorites The Innocence Mission, as well as NYC duo Ida and of course The Sundays.

If you ask Reynolds, though, her personal influences are decidedly more contemporary, and the band absolutely #slay with their cover of “It’s Okay” by Montreal cult faves Land of Talk during this week’s Key Studio Session.

Also performed are selections from Future that are more stripped down in arrangement but no less moving, from the poppy melancholy of opener “Indigo” to the lovelorn ache of “Googly Eyes” – the lyric “I think longing’s another thing I share with you / but not for me like I for you” gets me every time. We also hear an incredible new one called “Nativities,” which seems to deal a lot with death and the fallicies of faith. “Believing in God is such a beautiful thing,” sings Reynolds. “It hurts to know it won’t happen to me.” Wow.

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Download the ten most-popular Key Studio Sessions of 2016

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Download the ten most-popular Key Studio Sessions of 2016

Kississippi | Photo by Rich McKie for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2016 incredible. In this installment, we bring you the ten most popular Key Studio Sessions of the year.

10. The Snails – May 18, 2016

At the front of the band is songwriter-guitarist Todd Fausnacht, whose timeless vocals bounce and cavort across tracks that move energetically from one to the next. The swaying breeze of “Liberty Street Lights” glides directly into the swaggering garage rock dance of “Press Play,” into the confrontational anthem of “Basement,” an ode to authenticity and artistic integrity.

9. Ceramic Animal – July 28, 2016

Stylish Bucks County four-piece Ceramic Animal dabbles in psychedelic rock of the classic variety. The keyboard-and-guitar interplay you’ll hear in this week’s Key Studio Session hits an undeniable Doors-esque sweet spot; the guitar solos (particularly on “Codename Righteous”) are totally Pink Floyd. However, as much as the band informs its sound by history, it works with one foot in the now, and is getting ready to release its self-titled debut album this fall.

8. Hardwork Movement – April 20, 2016

In the world of live hip-hop, typically you’ve either got rappers with a band, or rappers with a DJ. Rarely do you see a crew straddle both sides of the spectrum, but Hardwork’s live set is half performed in full force, and half with the core four backed by a mix. That’s how they approached their Key Studio Session as well, with “Walk It Off” and “Dance With Me” exploding off the walls in full nine-piece glory, while “Take Time” sat nicely with just the beat and the boys at the mic.

7. Loose Tooth – July 20, 2016

Of the six songs they played, only one (“Lizzy”) was previously featured on Easy. The rest are getting their first airing here, and I’m purely pumped about how fierce they sound. Like the music of their debut, these five cuts are a conglomeration of awesome: Pixies and Pavement and Dinosaur Jr., even bits of Brand New and Yuck. There are moments that lean more askew (“Free Skate”), moments that work the quiet-loud thing into an abrasive boil (“Roach Motel” – which you can watch the band perform in the video below) and moments that are pure, infectious fuzz-pop joy (“Sleep with the State Concept”).

6. Liz De Lise – June 22, 2016

In the time since, de Lise has developed her sound into something more cerebral – yet no less catchy. As we hear in this Key Studio Session, she has two chief collaborators: Mark Watter on bass and vocals (you might know him from Rosu Lup, Caroline Reese + the Drifting Fifth, and his own band Howlish), and a tight network of effects pedals and loopers, which she works with skill and finesse (I guess that’s more of a tool than a collaborator, but you get the picture). The set swallows you in sound, with layers of vocal rounds floating alongside askew lead guitar reminiscent of St. Vincent’s Annie Clark.

5. Mercury Girls – June 29, 2016

The Philadelphia five-piece takes the high-spirited, playful tones of classic indiepop — which they clearly have a deep reverence for — and delivers them with punk rock ferocity. Leaps, spins and kicks from guitarist Kevin Attics mix with the unflappable delivery of vocalist Sarah Schimineck and the thundering force of drummer Chris Schackerman. Add in sick leads from co-guitarist Kevin O’Halloran, and the energy levels approach metaphorical combustion (thankfully there’s cool, collected bassist Andrew Hagiwara to keep things on relative terra firma). In short: one of the best live bands on the scene right now.

4. The Afterglows – August 3, 2016

Cantor and Cook-Parrot’s newly minted duo project goes back to those roots of power pop, with close harmonies and engaging refrains a la Simon and Garfunkel and The Everly Brothers. As we heard in their performance for The Key Studio Sessions, The Afterglows trace that lineage through the 60s (the very McCartney “Born Again,” which opens the set) and 70s (they covered “You and Your Sister,” a beauty of a song by Chris Bell of Big Star), and brilliantly blends Cook-Parrott’s folksy acoustic strumming with warm electric tones and solos from Cantor.

3. Queen of Jeans – January 20, 2016

There’s been a praise chorus surrounding this Philadelphia four-piece since it emerged last summer, and rightfully so. Their music is catchy, clever and infectious, from the brilliant, Belle & Sebastian-esque “Dance (Get Off Your Ass)” – which has a certain effect on listeners that this music video doesn’t exaggerate – to the punk rock badassery of “Rollerdyke.” The players are no joke, either: though this band is new, singer-guitarist Miriam Devora hails from psych outfit The Interest Group while lead guitarist Matheson Glass was a longtime member of Work Drugs. Joining them are Nina Scotto on bass and Patrick Wall on drums, and their musicianship is tight and locked in, as you hear when they play live for us in this week’s Key Studio Session.

2. Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties – August 24, 2016

Campbell has, for the most part, toured Aaron West as one-man acoustic band. It started out as a place for his acoustic-oriented ideas, after all — songs that don’t necessarily fit with the full-drive punk rock of TWY — and it connects just as powerfully in intimate clubs as it does on the Ocean City boardwalk. But working in the studio with Ace Enders of The Early November, the music nevertheless grew into its impressive arrangements, awash in horns and banjo and lap steel. For their upcoming gig at Philly’s Made in America festival, Campbell has rounded up a seven-piece band to give a full Roaring Twenties treatment to his set, and we were super excited to bring them in the studio this summer for a Key Studio Session.

1. Kississippi – February 17, 2016

The EP is a sonic step forward for Kississippi, bringing Reynolds’ arresting voice to the forefront and surrounding it in lush, beautiful arrangements of slinky clean-tone guitar and measured drumming. It recalls a lot of bands from the sadcore 90s; central PA favorites The Innocence Mission, as well as NYC duo Ida and of course The Sundays.

If you ask Reynolds, though, her personal influences are decidedly more contemporary, and the band absolutely #slay with their cover of “It’s Okay” by Montreal cult faves Land of Talk during this week’s Key Studio Session.

Also performed are selections from Future that are more stripped down in arrangement but no less moving, from the poppy melancholy of opener “Indigo” to the lovelorn ache of “Googly Eyes” – the lyric “I think longing’s another thing I share with you / but not for me like I for you” gets me every time. We also hear an incredible new one called “Nativities,” which seems to deal a lot with death and the fallicies of faith. “Believing in God is such a beautiful thing,” sings Reynolds. “It hurts to know it won’t happen to me.” Wow.

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Read the ten most-popular Key stories of 2016

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Read the ten most-popular Key stories of 2016

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollackphotography.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2016 incredible. In this installment, we bring you the ten most popular Key stories of the year.
10. Watch Bonnie Raitt and Amos Lee perform “Angel From Montgomery” – July 28, 2016

At the end of her set, Bonnie invited Philly singer-songwriter Amos Lee out to duet on John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery,” a song that Raitt originally recorded with Prine on her 1974 album, Streetlights. Not having any time to ...

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Brendan Menapace’s six songs from the future

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Brendan Menapace’s six songs from the future

The Menzingers | photo courtesy of the artist

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2016 incredible. Today, as we’re about to step into another calendar year, Key Contributor Brendan Menapace picks his favorite songs from the future.

Every year, when I’m compiling a list of my favorite music from the year, I always end up with a few songs that were released as singles before the actual album comes out the following year. I never know whether I should include them or not with the current year or wait. This year, ...

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The Untitled Interview #221: Starring Little Big Bangs

Source: Fuzzy Logic

The Untitled Interview #221: Starring Little Big Bangs

Whilst doing some coverage of this year’s Secret Stages, I came across Missourians Little Big Bangs and was instantly hooked on their raw, rabid shredding and messy grit. 

The foursome of LBB graciously answered some questions, read on to delve into the color-outside-the-lines world of Lucy, Colin, Eric, and Ryan. And make sure you check out their Bandcamp to hear plenty of their noise.   

Fuzzy Logic: How do you do?
Eric: Hi.
Colin: Well-met!
Lucy: No, that’s not me.
Ryan: Backwards on the toilet.

FL: What was the last song you listened to?
Lucy: I just made up a ...

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: MH the Verb’s top ten “woke” songs of 2016

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Key’s Year-End Mania: MH the Verb’s top ten “woke” songs of 2016

MH the Verb | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2016 incredible. Today, Philly rapper MH the Verb shares his favorite social conscious cuts of the year.

Backpacker. Underground. Conscious rapper. Alternative. All code names and terms used over the years to identify a sub culture of artists in hip-hop that can be simply defined by economics – broke. That characterization may be unfair to some standouts like midwest MC / producer, Tech N9ne, Chicago MC Lupe Fiasco, Queens legend Nas and a few select others who ...

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Sleepy Hollow’s favorite songs of 2016

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Sleepy Hollow’s favorite songs of 2016

Angel Olsen | Photo by Amanda Marsallis

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2016 incredible. Today, the hosts of WXPN’s Sleepy Hollow – Julian Booker, Keith Kelleher and Chuck Elliot – share their favorite quiet songs of 2016

We all know that 2016 was a difficult year for music fans. It will forever be remembered as the year we lost David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen, among many others. But we can be thankful that it also yielded a surplus of excellent recordings (two of which were released by Bowie and Cohen ...

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Guest Best Of Top Ten Live Shows of 2016 #4: k pasa USA, 5/13

Source: Fuzzy Logic

Guest Best Of Top Ten Live Shows of 2016 #4: k pasa USA, 5/13

While I didn’t make it out to many shows this year, mysterious special guest star The Paper sure did. I’m proud to highlight the ten shows of 2016 that made his list of favorite shows.

The dichotomy of weird and normal has fascinated me for years. The implication that there is a “normal” out of seven billion is absurd. We may share certain stories but likely manifest them in different ways. This was self evident to me when it pertained to people but I didn’t realize I was guilty of applying it to concerts until my conversation with Diane regarding PWRBTM.

I had remarked that ...

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Square Peg Round Hole’s top ten drum songs of 2016

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Square Peg Round Hole’s top ten drum songs of 2016

Square Peg Round Hole | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2016 incredible. Today, percussion-driven Philly instrumental post-rockers Square Peg Round Hole shares their favorite drum songs of 2016.

“Spiritual Leader” ‐ Ian Chang 

If you want to know what the future of music and drumming is going to sound like, look no further than this video. Using electronic drum triggers on all of his drums, Ian is able to program electronic sounds to different zones of each drum, opening up the sound palette of his drum ...

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Ryan Weidman of Sonnder’s songs to stay awake on the drive home from the gig

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Ryan Weidman of Sonnder’s songs to stay awake on the drive home from the gig

Sonnder | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2016 incredible. Today, Sonnder frontman Ryan Weidman reflects on the importance of staying alert on the road and the music that helped him do so 2016. The band plays the TLA on May 20 with Civil Youth, more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.

2016 has been a year full of mixed feelings, leading to many a mixed drink I would say. Whether it was frustration over politics, celebrity passings, or personal grievances, it is ...

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Lauren Rosier’s top five shows of 2016

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Lauren Rosier’s top five shows of 2016

Anthony Green | Photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN | wendymccardle.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2016 incredible. In this installment, Key Contributor Lauren Rosier shares the shows that she traveled to Philly for this year.

I have a love/hate relationship with year-end lists, only because I’m a huge music junkie and being forced to choose from so many incredible releases just isn’t right. With that said, I love going to see live music. I live in Central PA, so the music scene isn’t as large as in Philly, but still ...

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Free At Noon Flashback: Purling Hiss rages into 2017 with a set of High Bias jams

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Free At Noon Flashback: Purling Hiss rages into 2017 with a set of High Bias jams

Purling Hiss | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | cameronpollack.com

Things got loud at the final Free at Noon concert of 2016. Philadelphia power trio Purling Hiss, fronted by dynamic guitarist Mike Polizze, tore through a 45-minute set centered around its eighth studio LP High Bias but drew from all corners of its career. The set opened with a burst of feedback and then “Learning Slowly,” an infectious song from its 2014 record Weirdon. The song is built around a racing motorcycle riff and is a testament to the band’s sense of heritage — behind the squeals and squalor, ...

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