That positivity—along with sterling beats, rhymes and grooves—buoys Logic, which nods to late ’80s/early ’90s Golden Era hip-hop (particularly on the irrepressible “Sunny Philadelphia”) yet updates the template with modern electronics, live instrumentation, and fresh production techniques. Kuf’s deft elocution is from the Mos Def/Talib Kweli school of flow, and a who’s who of Philly-bred talent—Mutlu, G. Love, Allison Polans and other longtime friends and collaborators of Kuf’s—drop by to add plenty of variety and texture.
As has been his goal with BurnDown and the Hustle, Kuf hopes to unite different musical factions with the new album. “There’s a lot of raw underground hip-hop heads in this city, but my goal is to bridge a gap there. A lot of those people you don’t see at live shows and vice versa, where the people coming out to live shows, you don’t see them at DJ/MC shows. I’d love to bridge that gap.”
Whatever happens, Kuf continues to take Pendergrass’ words to heart. “I always remind myself that you can’t let anything stop you if you wanna get somewhere. And as long as you have something dope and special to offer, you’ll be all right.” (M.A.G.)
After two years, one lineup shuffle, one Spring Break minivan tour, and countless dorm basement and bar gigs, college wunderkinds Post Post are releasing their second EP, putting a professional sheen on their plucky, pop-dazzled rock. Residents is an earnest, four-track burst of guitar-driven indie, frosted over with ripples of synth and edged with clever, if cryptic, lyrics. If it sounds effortless, it’s a testament to the upstart determination of these twentynothing Bryn Mawr and Haverford students—Michelle Zauner (guitar, lead vocals), Kevin O’Halloran (bass, vocals), Marisa Helgeson (synth, vocals) and Casey Sowa (drums, vocals). They compare the production of the EP to “giving birth,” and lament that some of the EP’s “surrogate mothers” didn’t take the band and their ideas seriously.
“I’ve learned that if you’re young and a girl you have to be a bitch to have anyone respect you,” Zauner says.
Maybe as a consequence they’re a “really anal band,” obsessively involved in all parts of the EP’s production. They’ve held true to the DIY ethos of 2009’s Meta Meta, a scrappy but winning album recorded with “Garage Band and five mics” over two days in Bryn Mawr’s Multicultural Center.
For all the recording booth rigmarole, Residents sounds remarkably unruffled, if a little sad: Zauner’s nose-crinkled, spitfire little-girl voice yearns and breaks as she sings of young heartbreak with wise-beyond-her-years perspective. Inspired by the collapse of a personal relationship, Residents’ four tracks explore “the ways people belong to each other, the way they structure relationships like homes,” she says. The process of writing, recording and polishing the EP was, she says, “cathartic.”
The architecture trope is appropriate for a band whose first home was a Louis Kahn-designed post-apocalyptic hulk on Bryn Mawr’s campus, a dorm that doubled as practice space for the first few months of Post Post’s existence. Their next borrowed residence was the campus religious center, where they jockeyed for practice space with prayer groups and campus ministries. They now live together in Haverford but having a “room of one’s own” hasn’t made practicing any easier to schedule. As full-time students with part-time jobs, they find time to practice “in the cracks of life,” O’Halloran says.
In the meantime, these college transplants have found a home in the Philly music scene, at least temporarily. They express frustration with the city’s lack of smal
l, all-age venues, (20-year-old Sowa was recently kicked out of a performance at Tritone) and its glut of hyper-vigilant towing companies (O’Halloran tells of an odyssey of rescuing the band’s van from an impound lot the night of a performance). Still, they’re considering staying in Philadelphia after graduation. But those decisions are still nine months off.
A full album might be in their future but for now they’re so exhausted from Residents’ parturition they “can’t think of producing anything else right now.”
“Talk to us in a week,” O’Halloran says. Post Post always has something else up their sleeves—be it a performance at the Girls Rock Philly summer camp or a dorm concert with 100 self-made Jell-O shots. (Lauren Smith)
When John Francis played an as-close-to-hometown-as-it-gets show last week at Chaplin’s Music Cafe in Spring City, co-owner Dennis Coleman beamed with pride. “If you didn’t know this, [Francis] is a local boy done good,” he told the crowd. And he’s right. Francis, son of ministers raised singing ’round the church piano in rural Pennsylvania, just signed with Nashville-based label Dualtone Music Group and is readying to release his major label debut The Better Angels on Nov. 9.
Better Angels was produced by John Carter Cash at the famed Cabin Studio built by Johnny Cash in ’78, then converted to a studio in ’93 to begin the American Recordings series.
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PW's 2014 College Issue
PW's Music Issue 2014