The Philly 100 - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

Here’s the thing about Philly music: there’s so much of it. And the ratio of music in general to music that’s good is skewed heavily towards the must-listen; you’ll find artists who excel in every genre, from indie pop to hip-hop to screamo to stuff that’s more akin to sound design than anything else.

These are points we make a lot here at The Key, but this past year was a particularly fruitful one for our extended community of music-makers. Mannequin Pussy’s game-changing Patience and Moor Mother’s immersive Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes made our top 15 albums of 2019 list; The Menzingers’ Hello Exile, (Sandy) Alex G’s House of Sugar, and Wild Flowers of America’s self-titled debut landed in our 20 albums you shouldn’t overlook in 2019 list; in addition, my personal list of Philly finds from the year featured Highnoon’s Lens, The Ire’s self-titled tape, Vicious Blossom’s Solace, and Trash Boy’s Who Will Take The Trash Out When We’re Gone?

Seems like a lot? Perhaps, but even so it felt incomplete as I looked back and pondered the past twelve months, and how The Key was reflecting the scope of the city in 2019. I knew we could do better. The solution? Dig even deeper.

Think of this as a listeners’ guide; 100 releases, albums and EPs alike, from a vast spectrum of Philadelphia regional artists that stood out to us this year. I’ve included brief descriptions and reference points for each. Looking for something to explore the scene more on the go? Listen and subscribe to our Philly 100 Spotify playlist, which you can find below; it’s just over six hours and takes you on a glorious journey from &More and Ali Awan to Upholstery and Yikes the Zero.

Worth noting; there were even more releases that we loved this year but were not available on Spotify, so they didn’t make the cut. A few of note include Honey Radar’s retro psych head trip Ruby Puff of Dust; George Korein and the Spleen’s Effortless Quest (the first of three releases this year from this avant pop artist); the expansive free jazz space music heard on Ooloi’s From The Dust, A New World Emerged, Barren And Awaiting Our Sorrows; the beautiful, bewitching Dreamer project by Settled Arrows; and Yoshisun’s latest, #FREEGLUTEN.

Jump in, find new artists to explore and love, and never forget that we live in the absolute best city for local music.

&More – Ethel Bobcat
Genre: rap soul
Sounds Like: Two Philly powerhouses, Chill Moody and Donn T, collab with poetic results; melodic, incisive, dope.
RIYL: Sade, the Soulquarian era, Black Star

Aime – Flowers Started Dying Yesterday
Genre: hip-hop
Sounds Like: Hard-working Philly rapper with an ambitious, immersive visual album focused on mortality.
RIYL: Black Star, The Roots, Christopher Nolan’s Inception

Ali Awan – Butterfly
Genre: psychedelphia
Sounds Like: Retro throwbacks that pay homage to the city’s 60s rock roots while making them relevant today.
RIYL: The Nazz, 13th Floor Elevators, the South Street of the 80s and before

AllegrA – yet, not enough
Genre: introverted folk
Sounds Like: Songwriterly emotion, guitar-playing precision, humor, warmth, wit.
RIYL: Janis Ian, Ani DiFranco, queer folk / rock

Andorra – Family Tree
Genre: modern rawk
Sounds Like: Punchy guitar rock for long drives through the suburbs, pregames, and grown up mosh pits.
RIYL: Foo Fighters, Weezer, Guitar Center

Andrew Lipke – Overture
Genre: folk / rock
Sounds Like: A return from reculsion by a symphonic-minded singer-songwriter, presaging a new LP for 2020.
RIYL: Jeff Buckley, Led Zeppelin, orchestral rock

AnnonXL – Summer Affair
Genre: future pop
Sounds Like: Shimmering, otherworldly electropop bops that explore feelings while getting you primed for the dancefloor.
RIYL: Frank Ocean, James Blake, happiness

Archpalatine – Amalgam
Genre: theatrical rock
Sounds Like: Eclectic, piano driven pop / rock that isn’t afraid to mix harpsichord synth, funky bass, and hard rock drums in the same pot.
RIYL: Queen, David Bowie, velvet

Arnetta Johnson and SUNNY – If You Hear A Trumpet It’s Me
Genre: jazz / trap
Sounds Like: Forward-thinking jazz trumpeter from Camden, New Jersey who blends soaring melodies and big arrangements with hip-hop beats.
RIYL: Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Miles Davis, Beyonce’s Homecoming

Baroness – Gold and Grey
Genre: hard rock
Sounds Like: The latest outing from locally-based metal titans, bringing their hard riffage and pop sensibilities closer together than ever before.
RIYL: Mastodon, Soundgarden, blacklight posters
Beach Bod – Stress You Out
Genre: indie pop
Sounds Like: Introspective sounds from the Poconos that dives into the deeply personal zone but wraps it in warm, inviting melodies.
RIYL: Soccer Mommy, Kississippi, vulnerability

Bethlehem and Sad Patrick – Love and Other Struggles
Genre: jazz / folk / poetry
Sounds Like: Spoken word and smoothly sung songs accompanied by suave jazz guitar, capturing neighborhood life in Philly.
RIYL: Joan Armatrading, Wes Montgomery, Sonia Sanchez

Big Nothing – Chris
Genre: power pop punk
Sounds Like: Fuzz pedal power pop full of impossibly catchy hooks, headbanging riffs, and true-to-life feelings.
RIYL: Superchunk, Velocity Girl, vegan donuts

Body Spray – Music To Fall Down To
Genre: heavy rock
Sounds Like: Sardonic slam-dance ready badassery and a DNGAF attitude; what the old folks used to call “grunge.”
RIYL: Pissed Jeans, Mudhoney, wallet chains

Britt Thomas and the Breaker Boys – Pony Up
Genre: twangcore
Sounds Like: Twangy and terrific country rock and roll from the river wards, with sweet guitar licks, breezy tempos, and a voice that can’t be denied.
RIYL: Jenny Lewis, Emmylou Harris, Kenzinger

Bucolic – Oneirogens
Genre: ambient rock
Sounds Like: Experimental electronic indie songs that are poppy ear candy, but also a cathartic means of working through personal trauma.
RIYL: Andy Shauf, loop stations, Elliott Smith

By Surprise – Cosmic Latte
Genre: power pop punk
Sounds Like: Indie-fueled emo revival revival from South Jersey four-piece that puts friendship ahead of commercial demands.
RIYL: Guided By Voices, Cap’N Jazz, panzarottis

Cabana Wear – Cabana Wear
Genre: shorecore
Sounds Like: A perfect summertime album that merges glorious melodies and inviting hooks with crippling self-doubt.
RIYL: Weezer, The Beach Boys, SPF40

Camp Candle – If We Had A Pool
Genre: future pop
Sounds Like: Sick beats and slick grooves from this Philly electronic rock two piece; turbulent emotion to shake out on the dancefloor.
RIYL: Floor toms, Phantogram, True-era Solange

Caracara – Better
Genre: post rock / punk
Sounds Like: Riveting post-rock epics that build and burn and get us hype for Caracara’s next chapter.
RIYL: Pianos Become the Teeth, Explosions in the Sky, rainy day runs
Chris Forsyth – All Time Present
Genre: psychedelphia
Sounds Like: Expert Philadelphia guitarist with his most ambitious work to date; two LPs, expansive songs, and his first turn at the vocal mic.
RIYL: Television, Grateful Dead, Neil Young

Christinna O – Girl In Passing
Genre: electropop / soul
Sounds Like: Engaging, beat-heavy R&B / pop built around lowkey hooks, warm melodies, and big big emotion.
RIYL: Tinashe, Fall Out Boy, open mic nights

Control Top – Covert Contracts
Genre: punk af
Sounds Like: Raw, visceral punk rock power trio that takes down capitalism, toxic masculinity, and general societal oppression.
RIYL: Priests, Pasmatics, Bikini Kill, burning down the patriarchy

Curtis Cooper – Graceful
Genre: basement show singer-songwriter
Sounds Like: Inventive explorations of gender, happiness, and how to live a good life by one of the most striking voices in the city.
RIYL: Jeff Buckley, Margaret Glaspy, Elliott Smith

Distantstarr – Fine
Genre: trippy hip-hop
Sounds Like: Cerebral rap genius blends mind-bendy textures and tones with matter-of-fact lyricism.
RIYL: Dälek, Flying Lotus, foggy atmospheres

DJ Haram – Grace
Genre: worldly dancefloor bangers
Sounds Like: Booty bounce and darbuka percussion, synthesizing east coast club music with dance sounds from the Middle East.
RIYL: DJ Delish, Moor Mother, M.I.A.

Dominy – Drugstore Cowboy
Genre: twangcore
Sounds Like: Classic-rock steeped Philly brother band built out a bigger lineup than ever for country leaning rippers.
RIYL: The Rolling Stones, The Allman Brothers Band, denim

Driftwood Soldier – Stay Ahead of the Wolf
Genre: gutter folk
Sounds Like: With a Tom Waits-y gravelly growl and poetic slice-of-life observations, this existential folk band expands into rock territory in collaboration with drummer Katy Otto.
RIYL: Leon Redbone, Nick Cave, trash percussion

Empath – Active Listening: Night on Earth
Genre: psych punk
Sounds Like: Basement show indie / punk on copious amounts of LSD; weird, wandering, immersive and expressive.
RIYL: Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, projectable ephemera

Field Mouse – Meaning
Genre: power pop punk
Sounds Like: A third outing of hooky, honest, earnest indie rock from this NYC / Philly band, exploring the adulthood crash.
RIYL: The Breeders, Veruca Salt, Lemuria
Flag of Democracy – No School, No Core
Genre: punk af
Sounds Like: The ninth album (and first in eight years) from Philly hardcore punk trailblazers doing what they do best: fast, loud, out of control.
RIYL: Minor Threat, The Dead Milkmen, short run-times

Flat Mary Road – The Score and the Heartbeat
Genre: roots / rock
Sounds Like: Socially and politically observant songwriting from an Americana-tinged indie outfit from West Philly.
RIYL: Wilco, R.E.M., critiques of the Reagan era

Friendship – Dreamin’
Genre: experimental folk
Sounds Like: West Philly six-piece continues their synthesis of earnest country and spectral electronic soundscapes.
RIYL: Gram Parsons, Brian Eno, lucid dreaming

Grandchildren – Grandchildren
Genre: experimental folk
Sounds Like: A revamped lineup with powerful new vocalist Shari Amanda leading the band through songs about growth, change, and connection; lean, mean art-pop.
RIYL: Animal Collective, Saintseneca, impressionist painting

Hambone Relay – Say Hi To Earl
Genre: jazz / jam
Sounds Like: Constant players on the funk / jam scene will surprise you with their sharp, studious jazz hooks and rollicking energy.
RIYL: Soulive, Marco Benevento, keyboard leads

Harmony Woods – Make Yourself At Home
Genre: emo / rock
Sounds Like: Singer-songwriter Sofia Verbilla takes a step up on Harmony Woods sophomore album, with sharper hooks, shinier production, more riveting storytelling, and arrangelemnts that will crush and uplift you at once.
RIYL: big crescendos, Mitski, The World Is A Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die

Hemming – Waiting / Wasting
Genre: singer-songwriter
Sounds Like: After a couple years out of the spotlight, singer-songwriter Candice Martello revives her Hemming project with sound loops, soaring melodies, and a gutting delivery.
RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, Fiona Apple, crying on mass transit

Honeytiger – Brain on the Wall
Genre: two piece rock
Sounds Like: Punchy, potent power duo of Isaac Clark and Josh Glauser brings it all back home for a heady, haunting culmination of their blues / garage fusion.
RIYL: Arctic Monkeys, Jon Spencer, The Black Keys

Joshua Chase Miller – Mend
Genre: singer-songwriter
Sounds Like: Earnest singer-songwriter harnesses naturalistic textures and angelic arrangements for his soul-searching debut EP.
RIYL: Bon Iver, Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Katie Barbato – Long Night Moon
Genre: singer-songwriter
Sounds Like: Pop and folk combine in this heartwarming, soul-stirring collection of songs built around acoustic guitar, piano, and soaring refrains.
RIYL: Brandi Carlile, Glen Hansard, feeling all of the feelings
King Bitch – More
Genre: DIY pop
Sounds Like: A quirky, unpredictably eclectic set from frontperson / songwriter Maddi St. James that might be sparkling electronic pop one moment, dramatic distorted guitar dirges the next.
RIYL: Sidney Gish, King Princess, plastic crowns

Kingsley Ibeneche – Realms
Genre: future pop / dance
Sounds Like: Enchanting, otherworldly expanses crafted by dancer / singer-songwriter Kingsley Ibeneche and his sharp production collaborator Lee “LeBeet” Clarke.
RIYL: Sampha, serpentwithfeet, interdisciplinary performances

Kur – Shakur
Genre: hip-hop
Sounds Like: The first of two projects released this year from uptown rapper Kur, Shakur is filled with bravado and uncanny emotion as he contemplates the forces that keep loved ones together and pushes them apart.
RIYL: Meek Mill, Tyler The Creator, Germantown

Lester – We Could Have Been Anywhere
Genre: dreampop
Sounds Like: On their second project, this Philly noise-pop outfit tones down the pop and turns up the noise for a visceral listen.
RIYL: PJ Harvey, My Bloody Valentine, feedback

Lili Anel – Better Days
Genre: jazz
Sounds Like: Suave, reflective set from long-running honey-voiced singer-songwriter that includes covers of Dr. John, Sly and the Family Stone, and moving originals as well.
RIYL: Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, whiskey

Lizdelise – Holy Matrimony
Genre: experimental rock
Sounds Like: Avant pop trio led by guitarist and songwriter Elizabeth DeLise looks at human connection, social conditioning, and our need for companionship in a wild ride of a third LP.
RIYL: St. Vincent, Speedy Ortiz, prisms

Love Said The Commander – A Million Miles Away
Genre: atmospheric folk
Sounds Like: Beautiful, transportive songs from a regional folk duo that take you aloft and away with little more than guitar, strings, and two compelling singing voices.
RIYL: Anaïs Mitchell, Gillian Welch, open highways

Low Dose – Low Dose
Genre: heavy rock
Sounds Like: Lead screamer Itarya Rosenberg joins forces with the players from Fight Amp to vent frustration and rage against entitlement, aggression, and abuse.
RIYL: Hole, The Melvins, catharsis

Madalean Gauze – Nothing Feels Beautiful Anymore
Genre: rock
Sounds Like: Wild and weird Philly rocker at her most eccentric; for the past few years, Madalean Gauze has been making music for herself and no one else, and that true-to-yourself quality makes this LP a compelling listen.
RIYL: Savages, Patti Smith, screaming your head off

Madam Data – All The Rooms I Have Been Touched In
Genre: experimental sound design
Sounds Like: Super minimal atmospheres by ada adhiyatma that haunt and grate and also crack the window for unexpected serenity.
RIYL: Aphex Twin, Autechre, field recordings of winter storms
Mal Blum – Pity Boy
Genre: rock
Sounds Like: Funny, hooky indie rock songs about self-identity and self-discovery, and the relation between ourself and others.
RIYL: Jeff Rosenstock, Tegan and Sara, The Best Show

Masila Muli – Vivify, op. 1
Genre: soul singer-songwriter
Sounds Like: A voice from Ambler making waves in the Philly scene with bubbling atmospheres and earnest songs that warm their way into your heart.
RIYL: Daniel Caesar, Bilal, unplugged R&B

Mattress Food – Adventures in Technicolor
Genre: modern rawk
Sounds Like: Punchy, poignant modern rock from this Lancaster four-piece that rocks incredible quiet-to-loud dynamics with songs about personal connection.
RIYL: Pixies, Cold War Kids, counterpoint basslines

Maya De Vitry – Adaptations
Genre: folk / rock
Sounds Like: Singer / songwriter / fiddle player of Lancaster faves The Stray Birds strikes out on her on with a solo debut that takes in a range of styles from country to psychedelia.
RIYL: Alison Krauss, Led Zeppelin, Nashville production

Michael Braunfeld – Driver
Genre: folk / rock
Sounds Like: Longtime regional folk scene mover and shaker returns with his first studio album in decades, and it mixes propulsive rock with powerful personal perspectives.
RIYL: Bruce Springsteen, John Prine, Spring Gulch Folk Fest

Mike Voss – Dusk
Genre: hip-hop
Sounds Like: Aggressive delivery and bars of Voss celebrating himself and his skill, but that doesn’t mean this cheeky Philly rapper won’t put just as much vigor into calling out police brutality and racism.
RIYL: Ghostface Killah, Mac Miller, stylish hair

Nat Turner Rebellion – Laugh to Keep from Crying
Genre: rock and soul
Sounds Like: Long-lost, recently rediscovered funk-soul band from 1970s celebration singing about Black liberation to party rocking rhythms.
RIYL: Sly and the Family Stone, TSOP, Black power

Native Harrow – Happier Now
Genre: dream folk
Sounds Like: 60s style folk melodies and yearning lyrics about finding oneself from this nomadic duo, currently nestled in Chester County.
RIYL: Quilt, Joan Baez, floral print

Nina Keith – MARANASATI 19111
Genre: experimental pop
Sounds Like: Sublime dreamscapes using cascasing piano and alluring samples to process trauma and point a path towards healing.
RIYL: Sigur Ros, Stars of the Lid, sunrises

Northern Liberties – Parallel Hell
Genre: prog punk
Sounds Like: Pummeling, powerful jams from long-running free-form noise-punk Philly outfit that shared its name with a river ward before it was trendy.
RIYL: marching toms, Lightning Bolt, Black Sabbath
Olivia Neutron-John – Olivia Neutron-John
Genre: experimental electronic
Sounds Like: Chilling, minimal soundscapes that swing between menacing and meditative; bleak, yet beautiful.
RIYL: Suicide, The Knife, slow burns

Party Muscles – Does It Even Matter
Genre: garage rock
Sounds Like: Indie garage rock four-piece debuts with an LP full of licks, hooks, swagger, and style.
RIYL: The Strokes, The Strokes, The Strokes

Plot – Caught Dead
Genre: heavy rock
Sounds Like: Pummeling sophomore EP from Philly power trio, captured in all its madness at Kensington space Jerry’s On Front.
RIYL: The Jesus Lizard, Helmet, hearing damage

Psalmships – Keep Your Words
Genre: ghost folk
Sounds Like: Return to activity from singer-songwriter Joshua Britton exploring the dark side of country folk and the human psyche; heartrending, harrowing.
RIYL: Wovenhand, Low, candlelight

Queen of Jeans – If You’re Not Afraid, I’m Not Afraid
Genre: indie pop
Sounds Like: A leveling up from these Philadelphia favorites that lifts above the dreampop world into fervent rock with a pensive, propulsive energy as singer and songwriter Miri Devora makes sense of life in the wake of tragedy.
RIYL: Angel Olsen, Rilo Kiley, grief and recovery

Radiator Hospital – Sings “Music For Daydreaming”
Genre: indie pop
Sounds Like: More songs about love and happiness from Sam Cook-Parrott, who not only wrote and sang but played all the instruments on his latest RadHos outing.
RIYL: Jonathan Richman, Daniel Johnston, positive pop

Reef the Lost Cauze – The Majestic
Genre: hip-hop
Sounds Like: Technically a very very late ’18 release, the Philly rap luminary made a huge 2019 impact with this record that addressed the state of the world, his love for his family, and his role in an ever-changing rap game.
RIYL: Big Daddy Kane, Black Thought, Gritty

Rev. T.J. McGlinchey – Still In Love
Genre: folk / rock
Sounds Like: On the verge of becoming a parent, this staple of the Philadelphia Folk Festival songwriters’ circle recorded and released a record exploring the ties that bind.
RIYL: Josh Ritter, Johnny Cash, campfires

Rockers Galore – Sak Pase
Genre: kompa / rock
Sounds Like: A fervent fusion of rock, punk, dub, kompa, danceable rhythms and politics on this taut and tremendously energized EP.
RIYL: Bad Brains, The Clash, Rage Against The Machine

Rolled Gold – A Different Cloth
Genre: hip-hop
Sounds Like: A three-part series of EPs by brilliant beatmaker and producer from West Philly who enlisted his friends and clients to contribute vocals over heady, hazy, hard-hitting sounds.
RIYL: DJ Shadow, Reef the Lost Cauze, Mo Wax Records
Rubber – Rubber Baby
Genre: DIY pop
Sounds Like: Joyous, personal pop that is much bigger in scope and appeal than the basements and bars this four-piece plays at. Keep your eyes trained on them.
RIYL: Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran, self-care

Sagar Bumsweat – Greater Fool Radio
Genre: basement show hip-hop
Sounds Like: Sagar Vasishtha wrapped up his time in Philly with a collection of dreamy synthesizers, punchy beats, and deadpan wordplay.
RIYL: Peanut Butter Wolf, Why? weird beats

Savan De Paul – Brood VIII
Genre: experimental hip-hop
Sounds Like: Conceptual hip-hop from the Bad Apple Commune scene takes the humble cicada as its muse and builds sounds and words with it in mind over a 22 track ride.
RIYL: J. Dilla, Bjork, superheroes

Sheena, Anika, and Augusta – Simple Pleasures
Genre: punk folk
Sounds Like: Three tight friends from the east coast DIY community (from Lemuria, Cayetana, and Katie Ellen) get together for a moving and mellow singer-songwriter outing that is over too soon
RIYL: The Roches, boygenius, friendship

Sheer Mag – A Distant Call
Genre: rock and fucking roll
Sounds Like: Asskicking Philly retro rock punks doing what they do best; heavy riffs, hooks, and a ferocious attitude.
RIYL: Thin Lizzy, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, guitarmonies

Slaughter Beach, Dog – Safe And Also No Fear
Genre: post-emo rock
Sounds Like: A stirring and subtle collection of story-song vignettes from singer-songwriter Jake Ewald, formerly of Modern Baseball and delivering his best work to date.
RIYL: The Weakerthans, Raymond Carver, Pavement

Slingshot Dakota – Heavy Banding
Genre: pop punk
Sounds Like: A treatise on adulting from this Leigh Valley DIY power duo, using uplifting piano pop punk to confront challenges in music and life.
RIYL: Paramore, Mates of State, marriage

Slomo Sapiens – Cabin Fever Dreams
Genre: garage rock
Sounds Like: South Philly trio kicks out the jams with quickness and irreverence on their second EP.
RIYL: The Cramps, King Tuff, secondhand gear

So Totally – In The Shape Of…
Genre: experimental psych punk
Sounds Like: Expressive, explosive art rock that vascillates between sweeping swatches of noise and ear candy pop melodies. Roaring, really fun.
RIYL: Mothers, Pile, fireworks

Soft Idiot – In the Long Light of the Failing Sun
Genre: emo
Sounds Like: Singer-songwriter and producer Justin Roth pared down his Soft Idiot project on two releases this year, beginning with a mellow full-length album reflecting on growth and change, hopes and reality.
RIYL: Bright Eyes, Phosphorescent, home recording
Solarized – A Ghost Across Hell From Me
Genre: experimental punk
Sounds Like: Turbulent sounds for a turbulent time; impressionistic punk with poetic spoken-sung howls by songwriter Alex Smith tackling structural racism, cultural gatekeeprs, and more.
RIYL: Afrofuturism, At The Drive-In, Drive Like Jehu

Soul Glo – The N_ in Me Is Me
Genre: punk af
Sounds Like: The piercing screams of Pierce Jordan rage over a range of topics from political corruption to every day microagressions felt by black and brown folks, set to urgent music that runs the gamut from pummeling hardcore to dissonant drone.
RIYL: Touche Amore, Envy, Black liberation

Spelling Reform – Stay Inside
Genre: indie rock
Sounds Like: Bookish indie four-piece offers its latest set of character studies paried with shimmering playin and its most refined hooks to date.
RIYL: R.E.M., The Mountain Goats, The Pernice Brothers

Square Peg Round Hole – Branches
Genre: instrumental rock
Sounds Like: Prog / ambient trio returns with its latest collection of soul-stirring, vibes-driven sounds ready for gallery spaces as much as nightcliubs.
RIYL: The Album Leaf, M83, indie film scores

Strand of Oaks – Eraserland
Genre: singer-songwriter
Sounds Like: Expansive latest outing from long-running Philadelphian (and recent Austin transplant) Tim Showalter, unpacking mortality and change to a dynamic rock backing.
RIYL: Pink Floyd, My Morning Jacket, Carl Sagan’s Cosmos

Swim Camp – Barlow Hill
Genre: introverted rock
Sounds Like: Slow, sad, serenity from singer-guitarist and songwriter Tom Morris, coming soon to a basement show near you.
RIYL: (Sandy) Alex G, Low, autumn

Taiwan Housing Project – Sub Language Trustees
Genre: post-punk
Sounds Like: Another haunting, high-energy set from Philly post-punk favorites; screams, saxaphone, slamming rhythms.
RIYL: The Make-Up, Lydia Lunch, no wave

Tate – After You
Genre: indie pop
Sounds Like: Debut project from this delightful Philly band led by singer-guitarist Tate Kamish; you’ll be humming the sad, soaring “Lombard” in your head for days after.
RIYL: Camera Obscura, Belle & Sebastian, getting lost on the way to SEPTA

The Dawn Drapes – Slow Spin
Genre: indie rock
Sounds Like: Smooth sounds and contemplative rock from Virgina-born, Fishtown-based four-piece; friends of Ali Awan, Kirby Sybert, and others.
RIYL: The Lumineers, Lord Huron, the Blue Ridge Mountains

The Goats – Live at the Khyber Pass
Genre: hip-hop / funk
Sounds Like: A reminder of why the hard-hitting hip-hop / rock outfit The Goats mattered so much in the early 90s, and still matter today; the social / political commentary of the songs in this recently unearthed 1995 live recording resonate more than ever in 2019.
RIYL: Beastie Boys, Fishbone, real talk about 90s politics
The Naked Sun – Avec la Verite, Vous Avez le Droit d’Aimer
Genre: atmospheric folk
Sounds Like: Rousing Philly rockers offer their latest collection of strident Americana and sharp lyricism, and vocal interplay between songwriter Drew Harris and singer Nerissa Jaucian.
RIYL: The Lone Bellow, The Jayhawks, summertime campfires

The Retinas – The Retinas
Genre: garage rock
Sounds Like: Witty, weird, and relentlessly catchy, these three Philly friends channel generations of off-center rock in an easy-to-love package for their self-titled debut LP.
RIYL: Pixies, The Strokes, The Rolling Stones

The Tisburys – Wax Nostalgic
Genre: roots rock
Sounds Like: Manayunk rockers deliver rootsy anthems in the spirit of The Boss with real reflections on twentysomething life in east coast America.
RIYL: Bruce Springsteen, The War on Drugs, Dawson Street Pub

The Vernes – Yr of the Rat
Genre: indie pop rock
Sounds Like: Another reliably digable collection of songs from these Fishtown faves; a fun, fervent surface that leaves layers of emotion and intrigue to be explored on repeat listens.
RIYL: Dr. Dog, Brian Wilson, sad summertime songs

The Warhawks – Never Felt So Good
Genre: garage rock
Sounds Like: After years of increasingly potent demos, Gloucester City, NJ rockers The Warhawks unleash their best collection of songs in their ten year run; punchy, propulsive, and so very poppy.
RIYL: Kings of Leon, The Strokes, good work ethics

Tierra Whack – #WhackHistoryMonth
Genre: genius
Sounds Like: Though it was never officially bundled as a release, genius Philly rapper Tierra Whack’s series of #WhackHistoryMonth singles took the template of idiosyncratic rap surrealism she built on last year’s Whack World and expanded it into some of her best full length songs and most indelible visual statements yet.
RIYL: Childish Gambino, Princess Nokia, David Lynch

Tubey Frank – Euphoraphobia
Genre: singer-songwriter
Sounds Like: Cool, classic, confident; this singer-songwriter from the river wards is proving to be one to watch with his understated collections of power pop and quirky rock.
RIYL: Elvis Costello, Spoon, swagger

Upholstery – Inga
Genre: theatrical rock
Sounds Like: Whimsical and wonderfully strange collection of avant pop songs and soundscapes by Jeremy Prouty, Kate Black-Regan, and their team of merrymakers.
RIYL: Man Man, Tom Waits, word puzzles

Yarrow – A Mild Circus
Genre: post hardcore
Sounds Like: Blistering set of sounds and songs from singer-guitarist and songwriter Christo Johnson, whose cathartic music circles around mental health anxieties and the frustration of oppression with equal fervor.
RIYL: Sleater-Kinney, Slint, Unwound

Yikes The Zero – An Echo Storm Howling
Genre: art rap
Sounds Like: Any year that cosmic Philly rapper Yikes The Zero unveils a new project is a good year indeed, and for his fifth release, Yikes makes his fusion of hip-hop and psychedelia more refined than ever. Magical, gripping.
RIYL: RZA, Aesop Rock, Kool Keith
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