The Key Studio Sessions: I Think Like Midnight - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

This week’s Key Studio Session is for those who love to hear artists venture outside their comfort zone.

West Philly guitarist Andrew Chalfen spent the late 80s and early 90s playing raucous power pop in The Wishniaks, around the same time that keyboardist Joe Genaro and drummer Dean Sabatino made weird and wonderful rock music in the Dead Milkmen. As the years passed, Chalfen shifted his focus to the soaring indie tones of The Trolleyvox and connected with folk-leaning bassist Josh Newman, who played with Philly scene staples American Altitude and Heyward Howkins.

The collective project of those four musicians, I Think Like Midnight, doesn’t sound like any of those bands, and is all the more special for it.

The instrumental rock outfit is generally indebted to British pop (think the 60s and 70s, The Hollies and George Harrison) and much as Britpop (the Stone Roses vibes are undeniable), with more nuanced influences peeking out here and there — and the band’s Key Studio Session touches on a bit of everything they do.

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The roaring opener “Daychord” moves to a breezy rhythm, big chords and piano accents on the refrain — is it possible for an instrumental song to have a refrain? — but the lead guitar licks throughout have an undercurrent of Indian devotional music, something Chalfen explores at a greater depth in his other band Velvet Kirtan. The swift and funky “Lozenge” dabbles in Clavinet style keyboard tones, while the clockwork pulse of “Tuned Mass Damper” suggests a reverence for the Krautrock pantheon of Neu! and Kraftwerk.

All these songs come from I Think Like Midnight’s new long-player, This Land is Your Mind, which brings all those influences under one umbrella for an explosive psychedelic journey. No doubt, most music obsessives (particularly in 2018) have listening habits that span the entire musical spectrum, but to hear so many sounds executed so truly in one place is exciting. “Acolyte” was the first song the band released from the album, and it is impossible for me to ear the hi-hat and bass introduction and not think of “She Bangs The Drums” — until the full band kicks in, anyway, and I Think Like Midnight steers it off down its own paths.

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This Land Is Your Mind was self-released on Bandcamp on February 2nd, and the band celebrates it tomorrow night with an all ages show at PhilaMOCA. Get tickets and more information on the gig here, and listen to an audio archive of the session below.

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