The Key Studio Sessions: RFA - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
RFA | Photo by Jeremy Quattlebaum

Last April while combing through the Philly bands on Bandcamp – as we do from time to time at The Key – we came across a new four-piece with the kinda silly name Really Fast Automobiles (RFA for short). The raw and retro Just Don’t Turn The Lights On EP impressed us, and after writing it up, we noticed they had some gigs around town at The Balcony and in the Temple University house show community. This led me to believe that the band was a group of Temple students or recent grads, and their spot-on set at last year’s Beta Hi-Fi competition further confirmed this suspicion. This was not, however, the case.

As the band set up for their Key Studio Session last month, I overheard them talking about the end of the semester and asked how much longer they all had left in school. “Oh, we just started,” bassist Brendan McHale said. “We’re finishing our freshman year.” Wait…what? It’s true: they’re split between TU, Drexel and University of Pennsylvania. “So when we first wrote about you in 2014…” “Yeah, we were still in high school. That pretty much made our senior year. We didn’t make cut for our school’s battle of the bands, and then that same week we saw you guys had written about us, and it was like ‘wait, this is cool too.'”

I want to know who the heck thought RFA wasn’t good enough for a battle of the bands – they’re impressive by any standards: talented and tight, armed with incredibly catchy rock and roll nuggets, awesome live players. Almost all of the songs in this week’s session are one-take recordings, which is somewhat rare. “Teenage Love Song” is the best hit you haven’t heard yet, songs from the band’s Freaking Out EP stood strongly aside the new songs the band hasn’t released yet. “What’s Your Name” is a great Strokes-by-way-of-the-Stones moment.

If you haven’t heard these guys yet, I urge you to get familiar – alongside The Districts and New Sweden, they’re the latest in a string of impressive artists to come out of the Beta Hi-Fi world. And with a summer tour (including a Daytrotter session) in their future, they can only get better. Stream and download RFA’s performance in this week’s Key Studio Session below, and watch a video of “What’s Your Name” care of local videographer Jeremy Quattlebaum of The Angry Mountain.

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