Philadelphia

PA Artist To Follow - Overwinter

We've been busy listening to new music and going to shows, so it's safe to say we've been slacking in featuring amazing music that we've been hearing. But who better to make this comeback with than Philadelphia native, Sarah Ponton, otherwise known as Overwinter.

Overwinter is a singer/songwriter & multi-instrumentalist from right here in Philadelphia, PA who has been hard at work being heard, and thank goodness we're hearing it. Inspired by Motown and soul, as well as modern indie electronic, Overwinter crafts melodies driven by deep emotions and trials. She has performed live at PVD Festival in Providence, RI, and regularly performs in the Philadelphia area.

An impressive repertoire for Overwinter, and her sound fits in a perfect loop of what is exciting about contemporary indie electronic music, with clear influences from aforementioned soul and Motown. Check out the original track off of Overwinter's Demo, "Not Mine," streaming via Soundcloud below!

Overwinter's sweet, provocative voice is captivating and exciting especially in a genre that is really on an interesting come up. The Philadelphia native has been busy playing shows in basements as well as venues, including one of The Hook's most recent showcases! 

When we asked Sarah of Overwinter what inspired her to make music, her response was the reason we all make art, "I started in music when I was four, when I picked up the violin. It's been my instinct ever since, to just play. It's also a great catharsis for all my stress and struggles that I deal with on a daily basis."

We couldn't agree more on that, and with electronic indie & singer/songwriter coming together in Overwinter, you're in for a treat. As of right now, Overwinter has plenty of instrumental demos as well as a few cover songs and original demos available to stream on Soundcloud, so you should check that out.

If you're into Overwinter (like we are) we hope you check out her social media accounts to keep up with upcoming shows and releases. You don't want to miss this one!

Overwinter: Facebook // Soundcloud

Philly Band To Follow - Coping Skills

As time continues to move forward (as time does), The Hook has been reflecting on our upcoming October 13th show - and the exciting acts that it will include. One of these is the fantastic self proclaimed "moderately gay, post ironic, bummer pop" duo, Coping Skills. 

Rachel Dispenza & Lauren DeLucca created Coping Skills, "more than a band name," the pair spent a great deal of time after meeting in college figuring out what it meant to be friends. Coping Skills says, "after a tumultuous (and entertaining) two years of living together, muddling through school together, attending shows together, in addition to recording a benefit compilation and booking a release show, they decided they needed to be writing music together, too."

Thank goodness for that, because Coping Skills has become a rising Philly favorite. 

Since their first EP release in 2015, Everything is Stupid + I Hate It, Coping Skills has since released SAD 4 SAD with Anna Ladd, and lastly their debut LP, Relatable Web Content in the spring of 2016. The 9-track LP is the embodiment of the DIY work ethic, and if you don't know - one of Philly's most current coveted genre technique. Rachel and Lauren recorded the music, created the artwork, as well as released the album digitally and on cassette by themselves. 

Check out the tracklist for Relatable Web Content below!

Relatable Web Content Tracklist:
1. Internet Yardsale
2. We Bury Our Dead Alive
3. Drop Out of College
4. Fuck Me Up, Ben Gibbard
5. Great, Big
6. I Don't Feel Good About This
7. 4 Days with Me Will Change Your Life (Cool Girl)
8. Cheap Shots
9. @ Me Next Time

 

While Coping Skills normally play shows with a drum machine, their friend Sam Becht (Jank) played live drums on the album! However, according to the duo "Coping Skills sets are meant to be a unique experience as much as they are a musical performance. They recently hopped on a tour at the last minute, so Rachel FaceTimed Lauren into every show from hundreds of miles away. This is only one example of their anything goes, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mentality - but it’s just another day for Coping Skills."

And, let's be real, we're beyond stoked over here at The Hook. Coping Skills will be joining us for our October 13th show (presented in tandem with Paper Scissors Media) - so if anything about them seemed interesting, you should totally come check them out on October 13th at The Tralfamadore right here in South Philly!

Otherwise, check out Coping Skills' social media below!

Coping Skills: Facebook // Bandcamp

 

PA Band To Follow- Carried Away

Pennsylvania, and Philly specifically, has been a hotbed for the turn-of-the-century punk music- which is focused on being energetic, honest, and inviting to listeners of all kinds. Though it is more widespread, it seems to have diluted in a sense.

This is not to say it's gotten worse, but it HAS lost a great deal of the bite that punk music of old so furiously held on to, capitalizing further on quirky personal flares and cleverly satirical writing and only occasionally getting rougher than the roughest Title Fight song. Think phenomenal bands like Hop Along, Ex Friends, and Radiator Hospital. Great punk, but not tooth-kicking-in punk. Few bands have found a home in the harder parts of punk, but bands like Philly's own Soul Glo have remained true to the piss-and-vinegar rawness. 

They aren't alone, though, as Bucks County has spawned a no-frills, all-thrills, Hook-Approved hardcore punk act by the name of Carried Away. Having come together early last year, this band has a raw spirit that is set to get heads a-banging, arms and legs a-swinging, and ears a-ringing.

Check out their song "Let It Go" below for a taste.

Seriously, this band is harsh. It builds on the blistering assault of bands like Righteous Jams, Desperate Measures, Cro-Mags, and Mother Of Mercy, staying stompy and steady to create a sense of crushing heaviness that would make any Hatebreed fan shed a tear of pride. All you need to do is listen to the band's demo, Common Case Of STFU, and you'll understand. Released in June, the demo showcases all the unhinged menace that is Carried Away.

Common Case Tracklist:
1. Let It Go
2. Don't Look
3. Unabashed

4. Never Enough
5. Memories


Each one of these five songs will have listeners begging for more.

When a band comes around and captures the essence of hardcore punk in its full breadth, you know shit's serious. Furthermore, vocalist Mitch Koehler dominates the tracks, asserting himself to the forefront to express just how much everything pisses him off (and we've got news for you: it's a lot). One only needs to hear the beginning of "Never Enough" or the end of "Don't Look" to understand where this dude is coming from. Moments like this set the band up to elevate the current scene, because while many a punk act maintains the attitude, these boys are more than happy to bring the aggression to boot. 

You can pick up this demo at their Bandcamp, and be sure to follow them on Facebook to see when they'll have shows in the area. Here's hoping they'll come through Philly soon! Until then, stay tuned for more punch-drunk punk ear-lovin'. 

Carried Away: Facebook // Bandcamp

Philly Band To Follow - Dear Friend

Philadelphia continues to grace The Hook with superb music, with a local scene that's out of this world, it's no wonder that we're adding Dear Friend to one of our newest local features - and sincere new summer faves!

Dear Friend is relatively new, but the four piece isn't shy when it comes to music. The band is centered around singer-songwriter Kenny Luu, and includes Julia Rainer (guitar & backing vocals), Will Wright (bass), and Branden King (drums). With a talented and driven group coming together, all of which have current backgrounds/side projects in the scene, Dear Friend has the opportunity to prove themselves to be a really stellar up & coming band!

And here at The Hook, we're really super stoked about it.

The Philly rock band is a really nice blend of music - maybe Weezer, or The Pixies. Dear Friend just put out their debut full-length, self-titled album - which impressively boasts 10-tracks. A self described "fuzzy, surf-y, pop-y, punk-y" sound of music, and we're going with that because they're totally right.

Their brand of music is refreshingly fun, with what seems to be more punk/shoegaze inspired instrumental work, and an indie/pop vocal to set up for this really interesting exchange! This is us saying you should check it out.

Check out the track-list below, and check back here for a review of the album soon!

Dear Friend Tracklist:
1. Fall Asleep
2. Friends Are Gone
3. Patient With Me
4. Hope You Know
5. On Our Own
6. The Sun
7. In My Mind
8. Wake Up
9. Hardly Ever Right
10. Want You To Stay




While Dear Friend is still really new (we said that) they've already made sure to spend their summer playing a ton of shows in and around Philly. They also have plenty of stuff planned for the fall including a music video, and an album release show (we hope we're invited) and honestly, Dear Friend is a really cool and different sound then what we've previously looked at!

The cool people at Dear Friend have a show planned for September 24th at Ortliebs, but we're sure they'll be playing more before then - especially with recent appearances at Indie Fest in Wildwood, NJ, or at Boot And Saddle opening for Prism Tats!

We're excited for what's to come, so keep posted here for more on Dear Friend!

Otherwise, you know the drill. Send them a meme, bake them a cake, wave from the other side of the street! Social media links below!

Dear Friend: Facebook // Bandcamp

Philly Band To Follow - Wetbrain

It’s an uphill battle climbing to the top. Being afraid of heights saves lives and success can be found on a downhill journey.

The original line-up of Wetbrain, a Philly bred band, experienced this first hand in June of 2014 when the band went through its first wave; guitarist Andrew Haff, vocalist Matthew DelRio, former bass player Tim W, and former drummer Judah K were a solid year into coming down. They all sent a decent amount of time recovering from drugs and prioritizing what was most important to them: music.

Their initial incentive was to create trip-hop music, but later determined that trip-hop wouldn’t have been best for them; they never performed with each other and they all created music simply because they were passionate about it; they did not squeeze themselves into specific categories. They came together like a collage and because of this, they were able not only create their own sound, nut their own space. There is no box that they fit into. Their tracks are evidence that their artistry is too thick to fit into molds or genres. 

In Philly, rap culture is prominent and becomes a signature part of just about each native’s life. Because of this, lead vocalist, Matt Del Rio struggled with establishing his voice in the band. He was initially reluctant to incorporating melodic elements to his music, but knew that rapping on every song would become both flat and monotonous to rap on every track. Once he decided to work outside of his comfort zone and added more synthetic sounds to his vocals, Wetbrain became more than just a rapper with a band. It was an integration of multiple styles. It was multiple styles becoming one style. It was an experience, a new experience. 

The original “Wetbrain” only performed two open-mics and recorded three songs together, “Pipe Dreams,” Gunnysack,” and “Jazzy Brue.” Shortly after, Judah K decided that playing guitar was what he was most passionate about and was not very skilled at drumming. He left “Wetbrain,” but he did not leave them out in the cold. Though he has put out a solo EP and performs, he manages to find time to support them. 

The band experienced a dry spell in regard to performances. Without a drummer, they weren’t able to play at shows until Haff’s childhood friend, Alex Muller sought them out to profess his interest in their music and in an opportunity to become their next drummer. He learned all of their songs right away and together, they performed around 15 shows that year. 

Summer 2015 was both hot and hellish; Wetbrain went through a “revolving door” period.

Fortunately it was more of a hotel door than that of a home; none of the members who left, parted in a fashion that suggested that they were “running away” or sick of being there; for one reason or another their time with Wetbrain had expired and it was time for them to “check out.” Bassist, Coco Simone replaced Tim who could not stay with them for musical reasons, and Alex Muller left due to scheduling and personal conflicts. 

Regardless of how much the remaining members fought to maintain the band, 2016 swung in like a punching bag, and briefly it seemed that they were throwing exhausting energy. They had reached a plateau, a new high, a new low. Luckily, they’ve already learned to appreciate the gravity of coming down; their band mates leaving weighed down heavy on them, but at least it kept them grounded.

In need of a rhythm section, Andrew contacted Brandon King, a longtime friend of his and locally acclaimed drummer. They linked up over the “Blizzard of 2016” and connected through jamming and song writing. In February, Andrew got in touch with French bassist, Matt Antoina who moved ten minutes away from their rehearsal location and was enticed by the group’s music. As of Spring 2016, the group (Haff, del rio, King, Antoina) developed a unique bond and has been performing shows. They are currently preparing to play at Ortlieb’s, Isle of Wild in Wildwood, NJ and Caravan Music Festival in Belgrade, ME. They have also released a new single “She Bad.” 

Wetbrain’s lyrical content continues to change and mature along with the group members. For example, pushed himself out of the confinements of his past experiences. Recovering from an active addiction, drugs and alcohol was an important part of his life and all he wrote about. In attempt to move-on, he dedicated his time to writing about other topics that constituted as part of his living experience. This along with the development of the new line-up only proves that Wetbrain is more than a group and is more than music.

They are triumph. They’re experiences with rehabilitation in regard to both drugs and band members shows that it is possible to come down and find stability on the ground, to use rock bottom as the platform needed to stand for something. 

Wetbrain: Facebook // YouTube // Website // Twitter  // Instagram // Soundcloud // Buy Music

 

Philly Band To Follow - Sonnder

Photography:  Mac Schibel -  TriipUP Media

Photography: Mac Schibel - TriipUP Media

Philadelphia Natives, Sonnder, have been using their time extremely wisely.

Fronted by lead singer and songwriter, Ryan Weidman, the band also consists of keyboardist Kat Stein, bassist Steve Iannettoni, and drummer Mike Liszka! The band released their first EP, Thief, back in 2014 and have been making huge strides since!

I mean, seriously, the next few paragraphs are going to be filled with some really amazing and impressive accomplishments - so hold onto your seats!

Sonnder released Entanglement just this year, but they had spent all of 2015 gearing up for the release by making huge and powerful gains thanks to their hard work and dedication! Leading up to the release, the band finished a year-long "singles project," where they shared a brand new track for every month of 2015! This happened via the band’s website, as well as other online music distributors.

That project culminated into a full-length album, Entanglement, which was then accompanied by a couple of new tracks as well when completed! The singles project gave Sonnder the expansion of reach that they seriously deserved and worked hard for! They moved forward from the northeastern United States - giving them the ability to not only garner attention and radio air play, but also a ton of live interviews and performances from big stations like Philly’s Radio 104.5, WXPN, & WMMR

Sonnder's single project was a superb and smart step for the four piece. Multiple tracks from the project have received noteworthy acclaim, write-ups and overall excitement, including “Drifter,” “Backwards Ambition,” “Siren Calling,” and “Pink". All of which were featured on WXPN’s The Key! While, the band’s current lead single, “Along The Way,” has also received some really fantastic airtime on Radio 104.5’s “New Music Discovery Show” and “Something New” feature.

Sonnder just recently shared the stage with other well known bands, such as The Dear Hunter and Northern Faces at Union Transfer right here in Philly! Now with a heftier catalog and discography (including 2014's debut EP Thief) Sonnder is ready to set forward!

Photography:  Alexandra Healey Photography

Photography: Alexandra Healey Photography


Of course, all of these amazing accomplishments are just the surface of how enthralling and captivating Sonnder is as a group. I've had my eye on them for almost a year now, a band that is cultivating an interesting and encompassing genre of experimental indie - the type of indie I've been looking for since hearing The Hip Abduction's, Gold Under The Glow back in January. It feels refreshing, it feels exciting, it feels good.

Entanglement is an impressive collection which we'll be talking more about in our upcoming review! The exploration of honesty, moving forward, and positivity drives the album with the subtle vocal work, and soft (but powerful) instrumental hook. Each track is a new experience, with Ryan's ethereal voice to tie each to one another.

Sonnder has a few dates coming up where you should definitely be checking them out! Of course if you can't see them live, you can always head to iTunes or Bandcamp!

Upcoming Show Dates:
Spring City, PA || May 15 - Chaplin's -With Awaking Mercury (Luke's Birthday Show) & Maitland.

Newark, Delaware || May 20th - Temple of Sludge

Not to mention, Sonnder is just rad as heck, and we're excited to see where they head to next! The Hook following dutifully (and excitedly) behind! You can check out their links below for more on Sonnder, just tell them they're cool, tell them a joke! Do the thing! 

Sonnder: Website // Instagram // Soundcloud // Twitter

Philly Singer To Follow - Curtis Cooper

Album Art: Abi Reimold

Album Art: Abi Reimold

I first heard Curtis Cooper sing and play while at a Bernie Sanders support show, somewhere in North Philly - close to Temple. 

My friend Lauren and I were there to see Weatherhead (you know them, we talk about them all the time), but we were excited to see where the night would bring us. I'm pretty much brand new to the local scene in Philadelphia. In the garage, dudes in bands walked around moving instruments and lights, tested out their sound.

I remember being very cold, but huddled next to other people who look like me and like music like me, excited to see what this garage show could offer up. Enter in Curtis Cooper - singer/songwriter originally from Philadelphia, PA. He didn't introduce himself, he just began playing and I can remember thinking, "Ok, this is a good start."

Imagine Neutral Milk Hotel vibes had a baby with Elliot Smith, they call it Radiohead, or Bright Eyes. Forget how time works and just imagine that.

Originally from South Philly, Curtis Cooper began playing music when he was extremely young, influenced by his Father - guitar, cello, piano & choir. He attended Paul Green's School Of Rock, a place where he (at 13, mind you) was able to get into a lot of Classic Rock, something that fueled his drive to continue on with music, and especially guitar. Curtis explained to me that he hadn't played in many bands growing up, a few in High School with monickers like "The Stretchmarks," or "Don't Get Caught." Curtis explained it as a sort of thing he fooled around with - up until recently.

It wasn't until about a year ago that Curtis Cooper says he felt he became serious about music. It was at this time that he decided to really throw himself into the Curtis Cooper Project. To do this, Curtis took some old songs he had written (after wondering why he had never wanted to focus on making music he really felt for) and hit up some contacts to help him create his album including Scott Stitzer (drums, production), Jack Zaferes (Bass), Morgane Fouse (Ganou) (vocals on two tracks), and Nick Barnes (engineering). 

With the help from his fellow artists, Curtis Cooper was able to get Laughing In Line completed. The debut album includes 9 tracks, all written and created by Curtis - of course with the help of his collection of artistic minds also. Laughing In Line was the beginning of shows for Cooper - it garnered attraction, and he expressed to me in a recent interview, "I was able to play my songs, and I really just started doing this way more recently than I should have."

I would have to agree with Curtis on that sentiment. Laughing In Line is such a sincere and cathartic album which creates and utilizes sound to experience emotion with the listener. While the actual instrumental basis of Cooper's music is generally more upbeat and quickly paced, it is also deceiving in using it's ability to hide the fragility and sincerity of lyrical and vocal emotional movements - but, we'll talk about that more in our album review!

It would seem that the local Philly singer/songwriter/musician is on a brand new path. One that got me excited to look him up when I saw him play, to play the album at least once a day. It also seems to be one that seems to excite Curtis Cooper with endless possibilities as well - with talks of a second album to come!

The Hook will be following Curtis Cooper for as long as he'll let us! We'll have a review of Laughing In Line coming soon, as well as an exclusive interview with Curtis detailing his beginnings, his goals, his dream meal, and politics.

Laughing In Line is available on Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and iTunes so there isn't any reason you shouldn't be checking this guy out.

Stay tuned for more on the impressive Philadelphia born & raised, Curtis Cooper - and for more on him and what he is up to (or anything I talked about in this article) check out his social media below to compliment him or suggest different ways to cook potatoes!

Curtis Cooper: Facebook // Bandcamp // Soundcloud