Well Philadelphia, it’s been a great year. It’s the year we here at Swell Tone really started to get to know you. We just wanted to say thanks to a bunch (the list is much too long for all) of the musical people, places, and things we’ve really come to love.
Thank you for sweaty basement shows, sold out venues, wide open festival stages, and cozy living rooms filled with fantastic tunes made by bands from Philly and beyond. Thank you for a community that cares about making music a part of the city. Thanks to Josh, Joey, Hugo, Starla, and the whole gang at Y-Not Radio for letting us experience music up close and personal and always promoting local artists. Thanks to Mark over at yvynyl for inspiring to us to view music on a genuine and intimate level. Thank you John Vettese and The Key for your continued and undying support of the city’s musicians. We hope to be as omnipresent as you one day. Thanks to The Deli Magazine in Philly for spotlighting local acts, especially the little guys. We love a good, friendly featured artist of the month battle. Thank you Broad Street Music Group (who is soon to #RECPHILLY with their new label) for bringing everyone together at shows and events around the city.
Thank you Bourbon and Branch for being a wonderfully warm and welcoming new addition to the small venues of the city and for letting us throw shows in your beautiful establishment. Thank you to all the mysterious house venues for the most creative names and flyers and that awkward experience of asking for the address the first time around. Thanks to R5 Productions for making sure everyone we love comes to town and, of course, the hipster happy place that is the Punk Rock Flea Market. Thank you to American Diamond Recordings for officially forming and always being everywhere we are. Thanks to Walla Fest for finding all the good acts before everyone else and letting us enjoy them in such an artistic environment (We had the best time!).
Thanks to The War On Drugs for putting Philly atop the year end lists with the fabulous Lost in the Dream. Thank you Vacationer for making music appropriately described as nu-hula and that hook from “The Wild Life” we’ll never get out of heads. Thanks and congratulations to The Districts and CRUISR who signed to labels, traveled the country/world, and grew to become even better than the formative versions of themselves we already loved. Thank you Alex G for a quiet album loved by fans of all kinds, not making set lists, and knowing exactly the right amount of screaming to add to a song. Cayetana, thanks for being a band of all women who are not afraid of either intensity or vulnerability, giving us Nervous Like Me, and more specifically “Hot Dad Calendar.” We really like “Hot Dad Calendar.” Thank you Cheerleader for exploding onto the scene with your sun-kissed indie rock that soundtracked our summer road trips and beyond. We loved you from the start.
Thanks to all the bands to whom we had to say a tearful goodbye. Thanks Night Panther for that one last EP we think not enough people heard. Thanks to Toy Soldiers for forging a path for a host a new musicians to follow and leaving us with COIN PURSE and of course Ron Gallo. We’ll miss you tons SHMNS and your intricate indie rock. We aren’t exactly sure if you’ve ended but we definitely miss you Keepers and can’t believe that one of our most played songs of the year and classic house party jam, “Old Bones,” has yet to be released. Thanks Juston Stens and your Get Real Gang for your lovable quirkiness and resurfacing as part of exciting new-comer LOUDS. (Seriously, have you heard “Ways?”) Cheers Elephant, thanks for always coming home to play for the people who will never forget your smile-inducing pop because we know that you’ll never stay away for too long.
Thanks Philly for all the fantastic new artists now making waves. We immediately fell in love with the roaring vocals of Jen Pague in the soul pop of Vita and the Woolf thanks to Walla Fest. That little fest also brought us the sweet bedroom pop of Cyberbully Mom Club and dark, lo-fi ruminations of Abi Reimold. Thanks to Son Little for sultry music that dug deep into our souls with a gritty blend of genres. We are so glad we found Philly-adjacent retro-pop gang The Yetis. Thanks for soundtracking summer in fall and winter. Thank you Darla for sailing smoothly into our lives with impressive instrumentation, nailing covers of songs that should never be forgotten, being the funky fresh cousin of our electro-punk friends W.C. Lindsay and this. Thanks Dream Safari for glimmering synth pop that makes us feel as if we really are on a dream safari. “Panama” is still pinging around our minds. And we couldn’t leave out Nick Krill’s new project, Teen Men, whose wistful mix of lighthearted melodies and whimsical video makes for an indie pop daydream impossible to forget.
Then there were the old favorites who brought us great music as always. Thanks to Mumblr for playing nearly every show in Philadelphia and still having enough time to release and tour the fuzzy and honest Full of Snakes. Thank you Amanda X for following closely behind Cayetana in bringing Philly girl punk to the rest of the world with Amnesia. Thanks Tutlie for blessing our ears with the ethereal sounds of Young Cries. We love you DRGN KING for standing on chairs when you sing, everything on Baltimore Crush, and popping up at most of the shows we went to this year. Thanks to The Lawsuits for the tender slow jams “Sweet Marcelle” and “(Darla Nye) Never Love Someone.” Thank you Radiator Hospital for teaching us about life, love, and everything in between. Torch Song was the dreamy roller coaster ride of emotions set to punky pop sounds that we did not want to get off.
Thanks to Marian Hill for being electro pop powerhouses with addictive, minimalistic jams, filled to the brim with sass and class. Thanks to Suburban Living for making the best kind of dream pop that we can’t help but mom dance through. Thank you Slow Animal for fulfilling all our post-punk needs with The Other Side EP. Thank you to the world for finally aligning the stars in our favor to see Family Vacation play live. And call us guilty, say we’re blind, but we heard you have some new music coming out this next year and we are more than excited. Thank you No Stranger and Maitland for delicate melodies, sweetly soaring vocals, and mesmerizing guitar that are a welcome addition to any lineup. Thanks to our pals Pine Barons for perfectly ending every show with “Don’t Believe What They Told You.” We can’t wait to see (and hear) what you do next year.
A massive thank you to Younger Me, The Yetis, Pine Barons, Underwater Country Club, The Retinas, The Weaks, and Alps Held for playing our shows. There will definitely be more Ruby Rad shows to come. Shout out to Matt Olenik for being the nicest, tallest, most charitable music man around and for getting us to come to your shows all over the city. We love you Carolyn Lederach for teaching us all about Sofar and Communion and throwing shows and being a generally wonderful lady of music. Thanks to Lindsey, Casey, Ken, and Davis for being our Sofar family. Thank you David and Pat Schaeffer for being the most wonderful music fans in Philadelphia. Your presence at a show lets us know it’s going to be a good one. A special thanks to Brendan from The Lawsuits for promising to let us braid your hair (we haven’t forgotten). We would also like to thank The Districts for their Grade A skanking at Walla Fest. And finally, one last shout out to Boot & Saddle for consistently prompting our overuse of finger guns and bad western accents when mentioning your name.
Bring on 2015 and let the honeymoon phase continue. Our New Year’s resolutions are to listen to more of everything, find more about the Philadelphia music scene to love, buy more band t-shirts, and go to a Root Down in the Shadow house show. Philly, we’re on your side.
See you around.
xoxo Victoria & Shana
(Lyric art by Victoria and words by Shana)