16 Reasons Philadelphia Is the Best Music City in the Country

philadelphia indie bands

Top row, from left: Strand of Oaks (digboston, Flickr), Kurt Vile (Jauhien Sasnou), Waxahatchee (k.par.photo, Flickr), Hop Along (CRUSTINA!, Flickr), Cayetana (Chloe Muro, Flickr), The Menzingers (Chloe Muro, Flickr).

Before we even had time to take notice, Philadelphia has situated itself as the capital of indie rock. Just ask any in-the-know music aficionado. In April, Noisey wrote that “It feels like ALL the bands are from Philly at the moment.” When Rolling Stone put local band Hop Along’s latest album on their list of the 45 Best Albums of the Year So Far, it wasn’t without a “What’s up with Philly lately?” shoutout to the City of Brotherly Love. But perhaps the most impressive declaration of Philly’s indie rock dominance is Stereogum’s recent, nearly 8,000-word cover story on the our city’s budding indie-rock scene.

This might be a bit overwhelming to the casual music fan, who may still think of The Hooters when asked about “Philadelphia rock and roll.” If this is you, and you’re looking to better familiarize yourself with the key players, look no further. Here, we present 16 local bands you should blast in your earbuds right now.

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Kurt Vile Announces New Album and Tour

b’lieve i’m goin down will be the title of Philly singer-songwriter Kurt Vile‘s followup to 2013’s Wakin’ On a Pretty DazeThe album is expected to be released this fall in conjunction with a world-tour schedule that will bring him to Philly’s Union Transfer with Waxahatchee on October 9th.

In a conversation we had with him last fall, Vile told us a few things that have been inspiring him through the process of making his new album. Perhaps his quote offers a peek at what to expect when b’elieve drops later this year: “A couple of my favorite songwriters right now are classic-period Randy Newman, and an amazing songwriter named John Prine. His lyrics are heartbreaking. There’s certain Southern Gothic fiction that I’m getting heavy into — Flannery O’Connor and Cormac McCarthy books. I’ve always been consuming. That’s just part of my personality, and it feeds into my music.”

Check out behind the scenes footage of him working on the album at Rancho de la Luna Studio in Joshua Tree, California. His full tour schedule is below:

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Kurt Vile Announces New Album Title

Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

The followup to Kurt Vile’s 2013 album, Wakin’ on a Pretty Dazewill be titled All Over the Place, according to an interview with the Philly indie rocker in Rolling Stone.

Living up to the album’s title, Vile has recorded songs everywhere from Brooklyn and Southern California to Georgia and, of course Philadelphia.

“I’ve developed this routine at home. I wait for the kids to go to bed, then my wife falls asleep. Then it’s dark and quiet enough for me to work on songs. I just keep going later and later, until sunrise,” he tells Rolling Stone. “I wanted to get back into the habit of writing a sad song on my couch, with nobody waiting on me. I really wanted it to sound like it’s on my couch — not in a lo-fi way, just more unguarded and vulnerable.”

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Philly’s Kurt Vile Playing Pitchfork Music Festival in July

Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

The lineup for the 10th annual Pitchfork Music Festival was released today, and it includes Philly indie rocker Kurt Vile, who will perform on the second day.

The festival takes place this July at Union Park in Chicago. Besides Vile, the roster also includes Wilco, Sleater Kinney and Chance the Rapper, all of whom are  headlining a different night of the three-day event.

The festival takes place July 17-19. There are a limited number of three-day passes available for $150, and single days passes are $65. Buy them here. Full music lineup below:

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WATCH: Kurt Vile Performs With Warpaint in L.A.

Philly indie rock star Kurt Vile joined Warpaint on stage this weekend during the Red Bull Sound Select’s 30 Days in L.A. music festival. The group brought him out to perform the dreamy “Baby from their 2010 album The Fool. Vile will perform his own show at the 30 Days in L.A. on November 21st.

Check out the performance above, then read our Q&A with Vile from the Conversation Issue in the current Philly Mag.

(h/t Pitchfork)

WATCH THIS: Philly Band The War On Drugs Rocks Conan

Local band The War on Drugs was on last night’s episode of ConanThe indie-rock band, with members Adam Granduciel, David Hartley, Robbie Bennett and Charlie Hall, performed their song “Burning.” Co-founded by Philly’s Kurt Vile before departing for a solo career, The War on Drugs released their third studio album, Lost in the Dream, in March. Flavorwire has since called it one of the best albums of the year.

The band recently appeared in a photo diary for The New York Times T Magazine featuring Granduciel’s own snapshots. It turns out that, in addition to dating actress Krysten Ritter, the frontman is quite the photographer.

INTERVIEW: Kurt Vile On Creating Mojo In the Studio and How Being a Dad Influences His Career Path

Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

The current issue of Philly Mag is filled to the brim with conversations from 50 of the city’s most intriguing movers and shakers—from politicians to gossip mongers to celebrity chefs. It goes without saying, then, that it wouldn’t be complete without a chat with Philly’s most-buzzed about musician, Kurt Vile.

Here are some snippets of our chat, where he shares secrets about his creative process and staying true to his indie roots while “doing whatever I can … to be more of a success career-wise and financially.” You can read the rest here.

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Kurt Vile on the Creative Process

Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

PM: When does the process for creating a new album begin?

KURT: I’m always creating — at least writing. One thing ricochets off the other. There comes a time where you’ve accumulated a bunch of songs and it’s time to make a new record. Then you go out on the road and perform it. That music takes on a life of its own, because you play it differently every night.

PM: Sounds like you find most of your inspiration on the road.

KURT: Not necessarily. The stuff I write on the road is more universal. There are other times, like when I visit my parents — they live in the suburbs, but compared to where I live in Northern Liberties, it’s like the country. There, I can tap into playing acoustic or banjo in their backyard. Then there’s when I’m in the studio, coming close to a deadline. I feel like some of my best work comes out of that, when all of a sudden you can fill in any blanks, music-wise or lyric-wise, on the fly, because you have your mojo going. Read more »

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PHOTO: Kurt Vile Mural Restored

Mural Buffed

Last week — to the horror of city art fans — we reported that DJ Lee Mayjahs (aka “The Buffman”) took a paint roller brush to  Steve Powers‘s iconic Kurt Vile mural in Fishtown. After our reporting, Mayjahs reached out full of sympathies, and has since worked to restore the damage. According to Instagrammer @dasheikee, who posted this photo of the repaired mural, Mayjahs covered the mural with interior house paint, which “came completely off with a power wash.” 

Photo by Adjua Fisher.

The Kurt Vile mural, as seen this morning. Photo by Adjua Fisher.

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