Funk, folk-rock, and soulful pop grooves collide in the music of Philly’s HUEY, The Cosmonaut.
The vibrant local singer-songwriter is on our radar this week because of a big gig this Saturday, October 14th, playing Underground Arts as part of this year’s Philly Music Fest; he’ll join an eclectic roster that includes anthemic rockers Church Girls, heady shoegazers Knifeplay, and emo titans Algernon Cadwalader. But beyond the immediate present, HUEY has been a fascinating artist to follow as his own eclectic career has developed.
HUEY first came on our radar as a member of the Bad Apple Commune, a collective of endlessly creative West Philadelphians active in the late 20-teens; his aesthetic at the time was hip-hop heard through a heady and somewhat psychedelic filter. During a stint back home in Rockford, IL, he became fascinated with the homogeneous nature of radio in the midwest; everything was a narrowly-playlisted mix of pop, rap, and country hits, with none of the depth and variety he desired. His 2021 project Rustbelt Radio imagined an ideal broadcast for a music lover navigating a landlocked state: a genre-agnostic mix of funk, folk-rock, and soulful melodies, with hooks giving voice to deep emotions. Though hip-hop remained an inspiration and undercurrent, Rustbelt embraced the stylistic breadth of HUEY’s taste and expanded his songwriting process — something he discussed with our Paige Walter last year — and upon his return to Philly, he re-connected with friends in the scene to form a live band and bring that experience to the stage.
This week in WXPN studios, HUEY, The Cosmonaut. is joined by Manny Roach on bass, Coby Haynes on drums, Louis Lobron on guitar, Kenni Field on vocals, and Caleb Conner on keys. We hear one song from Rustbelt — the gloriously smooth and introspective “Healing Potion” — as well as two tracks that have been staples of the band’s live shows, recently captured on the Live From Germantown project: the emotive frenzy of “Gigabyte” as well as the sweet and somber “Figure You Out.” We’re also treated to the debut of “Peanut Butter Honey,” a quirky song about food and love.
Watch HUEY, The Cosmonaut.’s full Key Studio Session below, and to explore his catalog, head over to Bandcamp. HUEY, The Cosmonaut plays Philly Music Fest on Saturday, October 14th; tickets and more information can be found here.