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POSTED: Thursday, July 19, 2012, 12:05 PM
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Phreq faves Eternal Summers mature/totally kill on sophomore record

It was nearly two years ago that we first introduced you to Roanoke, VA’s Eternal Summers, the punk-y, reverb-loving duo whose debut record, Silver, contained some of the year’s best raw jamz. Since then, the band has evolved, transitioning from a duo to a trio (bassist Jonathan Woods came on board last year) and from a straight-forward punk unit to a more nuanced and hard-to-categorize musical force. Their sophomore record Correct Behavior (out next week on Kanine) is a mix of sparkling guitar pop, rowdy post-punk and swirling dream pop—that’s quickly becoming one of 2012’s unexpected faves.

“Being a trio has freed [vocalist + guitarist] Nicole [Yun] up to move and explore things a lot more sonically on the guitar,” explains 1/2 of original pairing, drummer Daniel Cundiff, in an interview with Tunes Into. “When we were a two piece we really thought a lot about minimalism in pop and punk music. I think we both felt vulnerable and upfront. I considered us to have a kind of tiny a small sharp knife. Now... we are growing as writers and musicians [and] we’re using more color and tonal values.”

POSTED: Wednesday, December 1, 2010, 10:29 AM

I confess I’ve always had a soft spot for indie masters Slumberland Records—the lo-fi taste-makers who brought us The Lilys and Velocity Girl (back in the day), not to mention The Pains of Being Pure at HeartCrystal Stilts, and a slew of other bands I’ve written about here before (see: Dum Dum Girls, Pants Yell, Brown Recluse.) Add to that list: San
Francisco’s Weekend, a post-punky trio whose dark, cavernous sounds provide ample space to get lost in—and stirring emotional resonance to make the journey feel worth it.

Drawing from brooding, hypnotic giants like Joy Division, The Church, and The Jesus and Mary Chain—these tunes sound like they were lifted from some forgotten ‘80s vault—all rumbly, bass-y swirls, somber chords, and cathartic vocal releases. In fact, the band’s debut LP, Sports, dropped just earlier this month, and has already won mad props for its darkly unique sound.

Formed just about a year ago by longtime friends Shaun Durkan and Kevin Johnson, Weekend might be newcomers to the scene, but their brand of volatile shoegaze has been silently brewing for years. "I think that's been an idea in our band for a long time," says Johnson in an interview with the San Francisco Bay Guardian, "having stuff that sounds really abrasive on the surface but that the listener can't help but find the melody."

Sports kicks off with the fuzzy, droning “Coma summer”—then rolls into the feedback frenzy of first single “Youth haunts:” a slow-grower that never loses intensity as it thunders along, Durkan channeling Ian Curtis’s gloomy wail.

“Monday morning” sounds a little like how I feel at the start of the week—which is to say: hazy, muddled and a bit hung over. “Monongah, WV” is a frantic, fractured punk nugget that may or may not be about the 1907 mining disaster; while “End times” utilizes reverb-drenched harmonies and undulating bass lines to create what Pitchfork calls “two
extremes the band works under to angelic heights.” I’m not sure this is the word I’d choose—but there’s definitely something darkly beautiful about this record. Is it Weekend music because it’s too intense for every day?

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POSTED: Friday, November 5, 2010, 12:50 PM
Filed Under: Indie | Post-Punk | Reviews

How strange it must be to be Interpol in 2010. It’s been 8 years since Turn on the Bright Lights—their critically-acclaimed debut album—was released, and they were dubbed pretty much the indie band of the early 2000’s: poster children for the new wave of angst-y, depressed, drug-adled hipsters across the nation. They were—for those first couple of years—so immensely cool and influential, writing the sort of bleak anthems that college students blasted in their dorm rooms and 20-somethings chilled out to drinking red wine, and for a while, it seemed, no other band could usurp their spotlight.

POSTED: Wednesday, November 3, 2010, 10:23 AM

It figures that as the last strains of Indian Summer fade, and the weather grows freakishly cold (yesterday was the first day of Glove Season), I’d fall in love with a band called Eternal Summers, who maybe aren’t even as summery as, say, Local Natives—but still reel you in with spirited post-punk.

Hailing from Roanoke, VA and the infamous Magic Twig Community (a D.I.Y. group of musicians and music lovers)—Eternal Summers is Nicole Yun and Daniel Cundiff: creative spirits who understand that “summer” is more than just the theme to a few Beach Boys tunes. It’s an energy and a mindset that is warm, shimmering, and inviting, and—judging from their debut LP, Silver—drenched in just the right amount of reverb. Nothing conveys the haziness of late summer afternoons quite like scratchy amps.

Of course, that’s not to confuse Eternal Summers with Washed Out, or Neon Indian, or Toro y Moi, or any other synth-y chillwave act. Rather, the focus here is on guitar and vocals, which run the gamut from crisp and punk-y to slow and dreamy. Opener “Discplinarian” is all terse beats and brash, cutting vocals, as Yun calls out for more control. First single “Pogo” is similarly clean and peppy, with under 2 minutes of perfect garage jangle.

POSTED: Thursday, June 3, 2010, 1:37 PM
Filed Under: Indie | Post-Punk | Reviews


There was an unusual energy last night at the First Unitarian Church, as UK’s The Futureheads took the stage. The crowd was small (the massive heat wave, it seems, was a deterrent for many)—but so enthusiastic, and the band—dripping sweat, but still smiling—fed off that energy, regaling everyone with their angular post-punk anthems.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 6 years since The Futureheads—who once charmed my sophomore in college self during many a dorm party—first burst onto the scene; in that time, they released 4 albums, including their most recent, The Chaos—and have graced stages that make the Church basement look like the inside of a mini Cooper (in terms of size only.) And yet…here they are, playing to a crowd of maybe 60 sweaty fans—and they look as if they couldn’t be happier. Now that’s what I call musicianship!

They start their set with “The chaos”, the title track off their most recent, and a punchy, galloping ride into the depths of their sound. From there, it’s a rocket-fueled, 15-song set list…peppered with quick quips, witty remarks, and all-out debates with audience members on the merits of British television, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and of course—Philly’s pride, Yuengling Lager. (“It’s a miracle!” exclaims front man Ross Millard. “An American lager that tastes nice!”)

New single “Heartbeat song” is an early fave, with pristine pop progressions—while “I can do that” has the crowd rocking out. For “Skip to the end” (off 2006’s News and Tributes), Millard asks the crowd to do the “bouncy bounce” (a “non-sexual” bounce) along with him—for choral masterpiece “Jupiter” he requests complete silence to navigate tough harmonies. And of course, the 2-part, a capella opening to Kate Bush’s “Hounds of love” is the perfect vehicle for a contest—the left side of the crowd versus the right. It’s the type of gesture that WOULD feel cheesy—if only Millard weren’t so invested in making it fun.

They close out the night with a short encore, featuring tight, frantic versions of “The connector” (“This is our fastest song,” announces Millard. “180 rpm!”), “Robot” and “Man Ray”, ending in a fury of guitars. It might be hot out—but that doesn’t stop The Futureheads from giving it their all.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 25, 2010, 10:33 AM
Filed Under: Events | Making Time | Post-Punk | nightlife

Special guests Liquid Liquid ended the Making Time 10 Year Anniversary celebration weekend with a set at Voyeur.

POSTED: Friday, May 21, 2010, 12:05 PM
Filed Under: Making Time | Post-Punk | nightlife

As Making Time’s Anniversary celebration comes to an end, you can only expect for these guys to throw a raging party. That’s why post punk/disco punk legends Liquid Liquid will be leading the pack over at Voyeur tomorrow night. Free hotdogs and PBR will be served all night.

$10 in advance/$15 at the door


POSTED: Friday, May 7, 2010, 10:32 AM
Filed Under: Alternative | Post-Punk | Reviews

It was a great night for indie rock from one of America’s most musical cities, as Long Island’s As Tall as Lions and Brooklyn’s Bear Hands journeyed to the World Café Live for a celebratory Cinqo de Mayo show.

Bear Hands open the show, treating the crowd to their quirky brand of schizoid indie rock: thumping percussion, angular bass lines, and choppy melodies clothed in dreamy synths—with front man Dylan Rau’s twangy vocals laid overtop. A recent signee to Cantora Records (MGMT, Savoir Adore), Bear Hands have won the attention of everyone from Daytrotter to Brooklyn Vegan–and it’s easy to see why. Live, their tunes are rousing and volatile—the jumpy guitar lines accented by urgent, flashing lights. “Cable convention” is a set highlight, with capricious vocals that show off Rau’s range (it sounds so impassioned, yet he makes it look effortless!) while college radio hit “What a drag” has the crowd bopping along to its jangly melody. Overall, the whole thing seems a bit Modest Mouse-y—although I certainly can’t find fault with that. My only complaint is that their 30-minute set is not long enough—I can’t wait for their debut album!

As Tall as Lions take the stage next, and the growing crowd presses forward. A quartet formed in 2002, ATAL’s rise to fame has been peppered with setbacks: line-up changes, inconsistencies, and difficulty finding their sound. Pitchfork slammed their most recent full length, You Can’t Take it With You, noting “it's overstuffed with pretty much everything except memorable hooks”—while Tiny Mix Tapes called it “vague, cluttered, and often downright boring.”

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