MUSIC ROW: Birthday Ponies, Kensington Indie Rockers
Birthday Ponies: Kensington’s Indie Rockers
According to vocalist/bassist Alex Tilson, Birthday Ponies’ sound rests somewhere “between Fugazi and indie rock.” This Kensington-based post-indie band also calls their neighborhood “musician heaven.”
“There are at least three great DIY venues that are so close to us that we could bring our gear there with a hand truck. That’s amazing,” elaborates Tilson. “There are great venues throughout the city, of course, but right now there is a lot going on here.”
Birthday Ponies debuted last September, but the band has been in the works for quite a bit. Tilson and guitarist Mike Saah met in high school and have previously worked on other ventures. They later recruited drummer Matt Jernigan, a Boyer jazz student.
“As soon as I found out that house shows and DIY venues existed, they became a staple of my life,” said Saah. “Philly DIY is weird and magical… Philadelphia definitely has that crackling creative energy.”
The band’s sound packs a punch, catchy elements built into a big brick wall of sound. “Lyrically,” said Tilson. “I’m interested in the experience of coming into adulthood, or even just being an adult, in the modern era. Having to confront the absurdity of life, the ambiguity, the beauty, the horror… There are some aspects which are new for our generation, and some that aren’t.”
The band is planning to release their new EP, titled “Truth”, on October 14th, and will be releasing live videos from Germantown’s Sleepless Sound Studios. Those subscribed to Birthday Ponies’ email list will get an early glimpse at their long-awaited, long-requested cover song, and fans should check social media for an EP release show date.
Says Saah of the band’s goals, “I wanna be so big that Apple has to force our shit onto Bono’s iPhone.”
Show Preview: Line Leader, Kaz Mirblouk, We Have Ghosts, Magic Deal at KFN Upstairs
Philly’s beloved lo-fi pop champs Line Leader will be joined by California surf-rocker Kaz Mirblouk (Lollipop Records), Philly shoegaze urbana We Have Ghosts, and locals Magic Deal, who call themselves “three bluesy rockers, but who really cares about that stuff.” The show will take place on Thursday, September 1st at Kung Fu Necktie (upstairs.) There’s a $6 cover and a 21+ age requirement.
Line Leader, from North Philadelphia, released a surfy, feel-good single, “Bubblegum,” on Bandcamp back in July. They are a mellow, catchy garage-rock three piece who are, according to Facebook, finishing up their next album. They gig often in Philadelphia and can be found anywhere from basements to bars.
Kaz Mirblouk is currently touring the US on a run that ends in mid-September. Their sound is slightly psychedelic, definitely tinged in blues, but is unmistakably punk. The three-piece put out their second release, a full length titled “Imitate, Intimidate,” in August.
Locals We Have Ghosts not only released their second EP this past spring, but state that the “release also marks the beginning of Main Lake Records, a label we are starting in order to release more of our own music and the music of our friends.” Their sound is dreamy, their lyrics grounded. We Have Ghosts recorded the release, titled “EP2,” in quite the DIY fashion: recorded in a livingroom, mixed and mastered on Garageband.
Magic Deal incorporates elements of classic rock into their music, reminiscent of hearing old live demos from bands of the past generation. They have three demos available on Bandcamp.
For a surfy, soulful, shoegazey good time, catch this show in the coming weeks. •