The Babies (mems of Vivian Girls/Woods)

Event Off Sale: Tickets no longer available

The Babies (mems of Vivian Girls/Woods)

Swearin'

Sat, December 22, 2012

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Kungfu Necktie

Philadelphia, PA

$10.00

Off Sale

This event is 21 and over

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The Babies (mems of Vivian Girls/Woods)
The Babies (mems of Vivian Girls/Woods)
After their first full length album on Shrimper Records, a demos EP on New Images, and scores of singles on U.S. and international record labels, The Babies second album Our House On The Hillis their Woodsist Records debut and the first with new bassist, Brian Schleyer.
While the band was originally conceived as a side-project outlet for Kevin Morby and Cassie Ramone – along with drummer Justin Sullivan – to trade song ideas and play house parties, 2011 saw the project grow into a full time affair. The band spent much of the year touring the U.S. and abroad, all the while writing new material, both in their home of Brooklyn and during a two-month sojourn in Los Angeles.
In February 2012, the band swapped their usual environs of Brooklyn’s Rear House recording studio and spent two weeks in Los Angeles working with Producer Rob Barbato (Darker My Love, The Fall, Cass McCombs). The increased time and focus allowed them to explore musical directions only hinted at on their first album. Thus, Our House On The Hill features hushed dirges, melancholic traveling odes and squealing rave-ups, all made cohesive by Kevin and Cassie’s captivating songwriting and lyrical themes. Organ, piano, saxophone and even strings play a supporting role in enhancing the aural atmosphere, which finds the band finally realizing a sound that can be called their own. Simple yet thoughtful; familiar yet haunting. Sweet but somber.
“The set opener, “Alligator,” is conversational in tone and acts to disarm the hardened listener with its pop confection and curve ball time change signatures on a check of solid Gang of Four gold. “Yo, I dig your hair, I gotta tell you about these holes in my pants, I would rather not hold yer hand. You get the drift.”
Cassie evokes Anna Karina if she were in The Shangri-La’s instead of Godard films in “See the Country” and then married throughout the entire record are those otherworldly harmonized “oohs” & “aahs” by Kevin & Cassie that’ll make the stubble on your spine take notice if you are still one of them folks in need of oxygen to breathe. The switchblade knives & butterfly stitches that paint the heartache and conflict throughout this long player will sharpen you for your next lovelorn argument, stumbling bar brawl between you & a reflection of your 17 year old self in the face of a tinfoil plated locket or for the working stiffs, that 3am Saturday drive home from the bad side of the tracks back to the sad side.
Put the needle on the flip and throw that break up layer of tears away: we got a ride to catch to that house on the hill.” – Dennis Callaci
Swearin'
Swearin'
Swearin’ co-frontperson Allison Crutchfield is only 23 years old, but she’s been in the game forever already. A truncated history: She started the Ackleys as a ninth grader in Birmingham, AL, with her twin sister, Katie; they were on Warped Tour as high school students. After that band called it quits, the sisters formed P.S. Eliot in 2008, releasing two full-lengths and an EP over the course of their three-and-a-half-year existence. The sisters relocated from Birmingham to Brooklyn in 2011, months before pulling the plug on P.S. Eliot. When the band split, Allison and Katie’s musical paths diverged, too: Katie went solo under the moniker Waxahatchee; Allison put together Swearin’ with Jeff Bolt (drums), Keith Spencer (bass), and P.S. Eliot bandmate Kyle Gilbride (who shares guitar and vocal duties with Crutchfield). Swearin’ unveiled a 6-song demo called What A Dump last December. Earlier this year, they released their self-titled debut LP on Salinas Records. With 2012 coming to a close, it seems safe to say Swearin’ will be included in the conversation of the year’s best indie-rock records.

The words “indie rock” are crucial here. While the term has long since ceased to have value as a descriptor, Swearin’ deliver a sound that could serve as a definition for what the genre used to be. The band’s combination of melody, distortion, and energy brings to mind the emo bands of the mid to late ’90s, especially the Get Up Kids, Rainer Maria, the Promise Ring, and Jawbreaker. Gilbride’s vocals are a dead ringer for those of a young Mac McCaughan; Crutchfield could probably stand in for Anna Waronker on a mid-’90s That Dog LP without anyone noticing. The pair’s guitars have a furious squeal that brings to mind Built To Spill or Sebadoh; their instant-classic melodies are obscured by feedback and fuzz, an ancient indie-rock trick perfected by the likes of Archers Of Loaf and Pavement. Crutchfield was born in 1989 (the year the Pixies released Doolittle), and those tendencies are in her blood: In a short documentary about the Ackleys, filmed when Allison and Katie were still in high school, both sisters namecheck Guided By Voices as their primary songwriting influence.

We’re two decades out from Slanted & Enchanted, and “indie rock” is enjoying something of a retro-chic revival (cf. Yuck, Japandroids) — meanwhile, the Promise Ring just concluded a brief (and no doubt profitable!) reunion at Fun Fun Fun Fest, and next month Jawbreaker will reissue Bivouac to celebrate its 20th birthday — but Swearin’ doesn’t sound like an attempt to cash in on the moment; the album’s style:substance ratio is weighted heavily toward the consequent. The songs are compact, tightly constructed, smart, explosive, and very catchy. The highlights for me change as my relationship with the record grows, but I can’t imagine anyone not being captured immediately by “Here To Hear,” “Kenosha,” or “Movie Star.” The band moved from Brooklyn to Philadelphia earlier this year, and this week, they’re headed out on tour for some shows with Japandroids. Tour dates are below, along with a full-album stream. Play it loud.
Venue Information:
Kungfu Necktie
1248 N Front Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19125
http://r5productions.com