The Afterglows | photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN
The Key Studio Sessions: The Afterglows
Here’s a perfect example of the influence of proximity in a tightly knit music community: Mikey Cantor has set up shop in West Philly for a couple years now with his spectral indie rock project The Goodbye Party, and moved in the same circles as the folks from Swearin’ and Waxahatchee, among others. A while back, he found himself housemates with Sam Cook-Parrot, who helms the prolific punk outfit Radiator Hospital. Both share an affinity for DIY home recording, playing gigs in warehouses and basements, and generally going against the grain in an oft-brutal music industry.
But as they told NPR earlier this summer, living together while working on music for their own projects made them realize their sonic similarities. Sure, Cantor reaches for stratospheric heights with shoegaze and psych-tinged anthems, while Cook-Parrott jams econo with distortion pedal rock at an incredible clip. But the songwriting bones of both date back to classic American pop of the 50s and 60s. Enter The Afterglows.
Cantor and Cook-Parrot’s newly minted duo project goes back to those roots of power pop, with close harmonies and engaging refrains a la Simon and Garfunkel and The Everly Brothers. As we heard in their performance for The Key Studio Sessions, The Afterglows trace that lineage through the 60s (the very McCartney “Born Again,” which opens the set) and 70s (they covered “You and Your Sister,” a beauty of a song by Chris Bell of Big Star), and brilliantly blends Cook-Parrott’s folksy acoustic strumming with warm electric tones and solos from Cantor.
The debut album The Afterglows will release on August 19th splits the lead between the songwriters, and the session follows suit, with Cantor’s introspective singing on “Spitting Blood” and “The Light that Guides” harnessing a yearning melancholy in the session’s latter half, Cook-Parrot’s singular and powerful voice providing a counterpoint resplendent in hope. Listen to the set in its entirety below, grab a download via Soundcloud and pre-order your copy of The Afterglows’ self-titled debut LP from Salinas Records.
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