Philadelphia rock four-piece UgLi announced their arrival on the scene, loudly, with their 2021 album FUCK. With a title that typically falls under that “explicit content” designation, styled in all caps so you couldn’t miss it if you tried, it was an aggressive way to grab our attentions, but in the process it introduced us to the band’s fuzzy, frenetic rock songs with an alt-era edge, songs that are high on hooks and deeply introspective in content.
On its follow-up releasing later this month, UgLi is more uncompromising and more accessible all at once. It’s called girldick., another eye-popping project title, and one that nods both to singer/guitarist and songwriter Dylyn Durante’s sometimes social media handle, as well the expansive view of gender identity she explores and celebrates in her lyrics. On the smoldering “spiro.,” which opens the band’s Key Studio Sessions performance at WXPN Studios, Durante sings “do I look dainty yet? do I look femme?,” making it clear she rejects the cis-het world’s attempt to force a frustrating decision between false binaries. Just as unwilling to be forced into a box are the song’s galloping riffs, steeped equally in emo, metal, and surf — a convergence of seemingly disparate sounds that nevertheless achieves earworm status.
As the band’s Key Sessions set continues, we hear more of that refined mixture of noisy riffs and pop sensibility; a classic and contemporary sound in the spirit of artists like Momma and Bully. “crybabi.” is an uplifting and endlessly catchy song exploring the blush of new love coupled with a drive to get out and find your way, to make the world your own. “relic.” closes the set on a profoundly pensive piece of music exploring the somber moods of darker seasons, in a literal and metaphorical sense, with cutting shrieks and nervy guitar harmonics.
UgLi is rounded out by Durante’s longtime friends and bandmates Andrew Iannarelli on guitar, Lucas Gisonti on bass, and Teddy Paullin on drums. They’ll celebrate the release of girldick. on Friday, June 2nd with a special, intimate gig at Repo Records on South Street; keep an eye on their IG page, @mybandisugli, for more details on that gig, preorder the EP here, and watch UgLi’s Key Studio Session below.