Flat Mary Road | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
The Key Studio Sessions: Flat Mary Road
Philadelphia five-piece Flat Mary Road has been honing its craft for the better part of the past decade, from the warehouses of Fishtown and Kensington to the Victorian homes of West Philly, where most of its members currently reside. Helmed by singer-guitarist and songwriter Steve Teare, the band draws strongly on 80s college rock and 90s indie rock influences. You’ll hear traces of R.E.M., The Smiths and Camper Van Beethoven in their playing…not to mention Wilco, Built to Spill and Shearwater. Askew yet infectious guitar lines, emphatic vocals and observational lyrics, a bit of twang and touch of rock and roll fiddle from Pete Clark.
Flat Mary Road is fleshed out by bassist Dan Papa, guitarist Alex Lewis and drummer Alex Irwin, and they collectively just recoded their third and best LP, Driving With The Numan, with Kyle Pulley at Headroom Studio. Released earlier this month on Bandcamp and celebrated in a headlining gig at Boot & Saddle, the album is a bit of an aural road movie, taking a snapshot look at our national surroundings circa 2017 — the centerpiece title track and its refrain of “time to get to work” could be read an an abstract call to make America a less divided place.
These concerns also seep into “Reagan,” the first of three new songs Flat Mary Road performed live during FMR’s Key Studio Session, where Teare belts out “What’s become of my country?” passionately. But this set also takes a personal turn as well on “Ugly Garden” and “Grand Strand” — as well as Numan cuts “There It Is” and “Littered” — as Teare’s crunching guitar mixes with Lewis’ clean lick leads and Irwin’s punchy rhythms.
Listen to the entire set below, grab a free download at Soundcloud and catch Flat Mary Road live at Bourbon and Branch on February 23rd, and at Ortlieb’s on March 25th. Tickets and more information on both shows can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.