Dan turns again to the always vibrant Philadelphia music community for messages about their year, what wowed them in 2023, and some of their favorite tracks from Philadelphia artists. Featuring dispatches from Helen Leicht, John Vettese, Julia Pratt, Andrea Quinn, Cosmo Baker, Brian Seymour, Jenn Coulter, and Nate Runkel, as wel as their picks of favorite songs that came ouf of Philadelphia this year. And dan even makes his own year end message and one of his picks as well. Use the clickable playlist below to support the artists featured on 2023's year end wrap up. Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, and here's to a great 2024.
Emily Drinker is one of the hardest working singer-songwriters in Philadelphia, and Dan was delighted to finally get a chance to talk to her. Emily talks about growing up surrounded by music, singing and musical theater, feeling out of her league at Barnard as an undergrad, discovering a capella, taking jazz theory as a vocalist, and how a job as a cruise ship performer made her hone her skills very, very quickly. Dan and Emily dive into how she hit the ground runing when she moved back to the Philadelphia area, writing with a deadline, and how you have to let the rest of your life take priority for a bit. You can find Emily's catalog wherever you get your digital music, including her latest single, "5th Ave". Follow her on the socials at @emilydrinker, and on her YouTube.
Dan sits down with Paddy McCann and Eric Cooper (remember Coop from #183?) to talk about their band, Muskrat Flats. Paddy talks about the band forming as a recording project with his brother Matt, and the new lineup of the group, including Eric joining just a year ago. Jams, improv, touring, pedal nerdery, an amount of Phish talk (obviously), and the importance of hitting those smaller markets as a gorwing regional band, it's all in there. Go to Muskrat Flat's Bandcamp for a vareity of live recordings, the band is currently finishing up an LP coming out in January 2024.
Dan and Ang Bocca have been meaning to make this conversation happen since 2021, and now it has arrived. Ang sits down in the studio, just a few blocks from where she grew up, and talks about coming up as a South Philly native, forays into music, ice skating, Broadway, dance, and being drawn to sing and write songs from a young age. Ang has been part of the Philly music community for over 15 years, put together multiple bands and projects, and gets the badge of a true lifer. Her newest material with producer Michael Anticoli is some of the strongest yet. Her newest single, "Klown", is availale wherever you get digital music, as will be her upcoming holiday-themed single, "Drunk In New Jersey", available everywhere December 11th.
Dan talks to Dina Layzis and Artem Tenkeli (Dina and Artem when they're playing together) about their duo, and how they came together. Dina is from the Ukraine, and came here as a young child. Artem studied classical piano in Russia and just got to the US a couple of years ago. The two found each other on Instagram, and struck up a friendship and eventual musical partnership. Dina and Artem talk about how they write together, their performances, meeting people in the Philadelphia music community, and their plans for the future. Their music is streaming wherever you get digital music, follow them on IG to keep up with all things Dina and Artem.
Dan last talked to Rob Tait back in 2018, when he was drumming for the jam-organ-combo Hambone Relay. It's been almost 5 years, and things have changed. Hambone Relay is no more, Rob has drummed for countless Philadelphia artists, and when the pandemic hit, he pivoted to writing and performing his own music. Rob has been releasing singles since the summer, and we talk about the transition, the change in how he works on music, recording the tunes at Retro City, and how you have to just not look at the numbers most of the time. Rob's two latest singles, "Matilda" and "Space Fire", are out now and available wherever you get digital music. Rob also hosts his own podcast, 'Let's Take A Spin', which features music picks and conversations with Philadelphia artists and musicians, and is available wherever you get your podcasts.
Dan sits down with Fishtown-by-way-of-Bethlehem frontman Tye Vallone of The Groove Merchants. Tye talks about growing up amidst his father's bands rehearsing in the garage, watching the same John Mayer concert on cable over and over, moving from drums to guitar, and how The Groove Merchants took a possible problem and turned it into a band when they all first met. "Real Estate" is the newest single from The Groove Merchants (recorded at Miner Street in Philadelphia), and it's available wherever you get your digital music.
Dan is back from a few weeks in Japan, and with him comes stories, memories, a new found love of seaweed related snacks, and this playlist episode. Featuring 15 recently released tracks from Philadelphia musicians, please enjoy just a taste of all the great talent here is in this city. Please see the clickable playlist below, which allows you to link up instantly with any and all of the artists played in this episode. Check out their music, see when they're playing, and buy their records. Support the Philadelphia community if you are able, any support is greatly appreciated by the artists.
Note: While we are aware of and incredibly concerned about the issues surrounding the recent Bandcamp sale and massive layoffs (many friends and listeners of the show were employees who lost their jobs, and we wish them new and better opportunities as quickly as possible), we still feel the platform is currently one of the best ways to put the most money via online sales into the pockets of independent artists. We will continue to steer you towards an artist's Bandcamp page until we deem it no longer fair or equitable for the artist. Currently, artists are still being paid from their Bandcamp sales in the same manner and scale as before the recent sale of the company. We will continue to stay informed on the situation, and will adjust our position when and if events warrant.
Frank Brown fronted one of the best Philadelphia bands of the 90s, Flight Of Mavis. When the touring life (which featured opening for the late Sinead O'Connor amidst her rise to stardom) couldn't pay the bills, Frank put the band to bed, and started Buzz Zeemer, which was never intended to have any ambition at all. Flash forward to 2023, and Pat Feeney at Main Street Music in Manayunk put out a full length record of Buzz Zeemer material that was recorded back in the mid 90s called 'Lost And Found'. Frank talks to Dan about the Philly music scene back in the day, what he's been up to for almost 25 years, and the joy of his music connecting with people so long after the fact. 'Lost and Found' is available wherever you get digital music, and on vinyl at Main Street Music.
Matt Nestor, drummer of Apple Juice Jones, reached out to Dan a bit ago to tell him the story of the band and the tragic loss of their frontman, Teddy Kradzinski. Dan was moved by the story, so he invited Matt and bassist Mike Bennett over to talk about it all. Matt and Mike talk about the early days of the band, living in a house together during the pandemic and practicing and playing for hours every day, Teddy's incredibly prolific catalog, losing him suddenly, and how they decided to not only keep the band going, but to continue to ressurect a mountain of material featuring Teddy's voice and guitar. With the help of Michael Cumming and Logan Roth at Treacle Mine Studios, they were able to put out 'Angel Number 77', and the story of how it came to be is amazing. Apple Juice Jones have new singles out now, as well as live recordings, all at their Bandcamp.
Dan has been a fan of Moustapha Noumbissi ever since he first heard him on WXPN's Philly Local show. Moustapha talks with Dan about growing up in Belgium, the culture shock of switching to an American school in Upper Darby when he was 7, playing college basketball, always being fascinated by guitar and songwriting, and how a One Direction concert that he was forced to take his sister to changed his life forever. He praises his producer Lee Clarke, his band, and the Philly music community for helping him on this amazing path he's on. Moustapha's latest single, "Heaven", is available wherever you get digital music. He'll be part of Philly Music Fest, which is all week this week around town. Go to Philly Music Fest's website for all the info about this week long fest.
Photo credit: John Vettese
With Philly Music Fest nearly upon us, Dan talks with Samantha Gongol and Jeremy Lloyd of Marian Hill in lieu of their PMF performance on 10/11 at World Cafe Live. Sam and Jeremy talk about meeting in middle school, turning a one-time collaboration into a decade-long group, their early opportunities, the role that MP3 blogs played in their early success, and where they're headed these days. Philly Music Fest is October 9-15, at multiple venues throughout Philadelphia, go to their site for ticket info, lineup, scheduling, and all the organizations that benefit from this fully non-profit music fest.
Dan talks with Suzanne Sheer, Philly based/Pittsburgh born singer-songwriter extraordinaire. Suzanne opens up about her latest LP, 'Blue Hour', her new singles, coming from a very music familiy, music school in New Mexico, and how the pandemic shaped what would be her current trajectory. Suzanne talks about the joy of meeting and talking to people after the shows who are moved by her music, the perils of being a social media creator, her relationship with her two producer/collaborators, LOTITS and 3XPO, and the huge role that Philly venue Warehouse On Watts has played in her life. Suzanne has two new singles out now, "Baby 4 Life" and "Off Limits", both available wherever you get your digital music.
Dan converses with singer-songwriter Julia Pratt about her life, both in music and out: moving around a lot as a kid, living in China and Vietnam as an ex-pat, early songwriting, playing guitar for only about a year, and the opportunities that have come her way recently. Julia talks about her recent collaboration with Philly band Mt. Joy, opening for Hozier at World Cafe Live, writing songs for Disney, and how she's always aware that, at any moment, all this could go away. Her newest single, "A Little Love (feat. Mt. Joy)", is available now wherever you get digital music, as well as her previous singles. She's part of this year's Xponential Music Festival, as well as the Philly Music Fest in October.
Dan has been listening to Julian Booker on WXPN for a long time, especially on Sleepy Hollow every Sunday morning. Julian sits down to talk about growing up in a music and radio house (his father was in the broadcast biz), working after school and summers in the production booth, his early days producing concerts for The Blockley in University City, moving to Ardmore Music Hall and being part of Rising Sun Presents, his love for music from around the world, as well as his time on the road with artists like Marc Benevento and Karina Rykman.
And speaking of WXPN, don't miss Xponential Music fest, 9/22-24 at Wiggins Park on the Camden Waterfront. Three days of amazing music, all curated by WXPN. Weekend and day passes available at xpnfest.org.
Dan is always glad to talk to Nik Greeley, which is why this is Nik's third full length episode. And they always seems to talk at a time when Nik is going through a period of growth and change, whether it be in his personal life, or with his band, The Operators. Dan and Nik talk about coming back after the pandemic, working in the concert industry at Rising Sun Presents, and stepping back from talent buying to fully commit to his music. Nik opens up about always working on his mental health, keeping the bad habits at bay, and how focusing on himself and his band has been a huge help in that, as well as being part of the Johnny Brenda's and The International Bar family on the hospitality side. Nik Greeley and the Operators have a brand new EP out right now called 'Scatterbrain', available wherever you get your digital music. The band will also be playing at Xponential Music Festival on Sept 22nd, as part of WXPN's 3 day concert festival, now in it's 30th year.
Photo by Lisa Schaffer
Dan and the ethereal duo Love? Said The Commander have been wanting to make this episode happen for quite some time, and it finally happened. Kate Hall and Chris Bishop talk about meeting on CraigsList (his first original band, her umpteenth), deciding to be a two-piece, sparse songwriting (they call it "maximal minimalism"), live performing, their excellent YouTube series 'Spaces', and why they choose to do nearly everything for the band (recording, videos, etc) in house. Their newest release is a 13 minute song suite called 'Breathing Room', which has also been released as an EP. 'Breathing Room', 'In The Kitchen', and the rest of their discopgraphy is available on their site and wherever you get your digital music.
Dan sits down with Kevin Hanson (The Fractals, Huffamoose) to talk songwriting (he's a songwriting professor at University of the Arts), the up-and-down ride that was Huffamoose in the 90s and early 00s (including a last minute gig on the Woodstock '94 mainstage), working with The Roots, Jay-Z, Jill Scott, Victor Wooten, and so many more as a session guitarist, famed Philly music club The Fire and then-promoter Derek Dorsey, and how The Fractals feel like they have "more juice" these days than ever before. The Fractals' latest single, "Christopher Walken", is out now and available wherever you get digital music, and don't forget to check out the video as well.
Also, Sweet Juice Fest is Saturday, July 22nd, 1:30pm to 9pm, at Rigby Mansion in Philadelphia. Artists include Shamir, American Trappist, Brittany Ann Tranbaugh, and more. Get your tix, it will sell out! Do not miss it, this fest grows better and better with each year.
Dan sits down with Phillip and David of Your Next Favorite Band, a podcast out of the Lehigh Valley in PA that's very much in the spirit of what 25 O'Clock is about: finding and discovering new music. Phil and Dave talk about how they met, starting the podcast only a year or so ago, and the wide variety of great music in the Lehigh Valley (with a lot of talk about Musikfest in Bethlehem, PA). They also brought along some music to play guest DJs, so look below for the clickable playlist. Your Next Favorite Band livestreams every Tuesday night at 6:30pm EST on YouTube, Twitch and Facebook, and the podcast version goes up Thursdays, available wherever you get your podcasts.
1) Tioga- Just My Body
Dan talks to Ron Aikens, and his story is full of twists and turns. Originally part of Philly soul group United Image, they were signed to Stax Records and on their way up when Ron was suddenly sentenced to a term in Graterford Prison, where he joined the prison band Power Of Attorney (signed to Polydor Records). Dan and Ron talk about what it was like to be part of a touring and recording band while incarcerated, his ups and downs in the music biz when he got out, pressing the pause button and taking a city job, and being moved to sing on the street when he retired. Joined by Max Ochester, owner of Brewerytown Beats, Ron has put out his first music in over 40 years. Thanks to Max and his in-house record label, you can get the new Ron and the Hip Tones singles wherever you get digital music, with more on the way.
Dan talks to Brian Seymour about growing up in the shadow of New York City, the Dutch art market of the 17th century (Brian's an art history professor by day at Community College of Philadelphia), playing Tom Waits tunes all over, auction houses, piano playing, his many records and steps as a singer songwriter, how he "fell over" creatively, and the producers in his life who have told him "Nah, that's not what this record's gonna be". Brian's newest LP, 'American Courage', is out everywhere on June 30th.
Dan had Josh Kirwin (mastermind behind Tubey Frank) on the show way back in early April of 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic. Both were excited to talk to each other, but technical failures on Dan's part made it so the interview was unreleasable (it was early on in the Zoom/streaming/remote recording days, Josh has since forgiven Dan). But Josh is back, in person, and we couldn't be happier. Dan and Josh talk about Josh growing up in Lancaster, PA, watching his father gig like crazy in his bands, making his own counter-melodies at age 6, playing onstage as early as 15, taking care of yourself, giving folks your best, being addicted to stacking countless guitar tracks, getting Philly and Lancaster bands to gig swap, and so much more. The new Tubey Frank LP, 'Apple Pie Bible', is out June 23rd on Spring Garden Records, and is available wherever you get your digital music.
Dan's at it again with a whole new playlist of Philadelphia music to kick off the summer season. Enjoy the playlist below, all with links to the artists and where to buy their music. Support the community, support the great music of Philadelphia!
Dan talks with Nero Catalano about all the zillions of things he's got going on: playing with artists like Work Drugs and Andrew Lipke, The Newspaper Taxis (a Beatles tribute band that Dan was also once a part of), teaching at Settlement Music School, hosting open mics at Fergie's Pub, and so much more. Nero has an LP out called 'Doors Open', and it's his first full length record under his own name. You can get it at his website, or wherever you get your digital music.
Dan talk with Aaron Parnell Brown about his band, The Right Fiction, as well as his previous project, Aaron and the Spell, and his solo work. Aaron talks about coming to songwriting in college, finding his voice as a singer, and the joys of collaboration with his current band memebers (they also host a music deep dive podcast called The List). The Right Fiction's new LP, 'Golden Apple' is out everywhere you get digital music on Friday, June 2nd.