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August 23, 2018

Philly music we’re listening to: Thin Lips, Chynna, Nothing, Swearin', Shannen Moser

A look around the city's music scene for our favorite jams and gems

Staff Picks Music
Nothing band Contributed image/Nothing/Photo by Ryan Lowry

Nothing sought out celebrated producer John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr, Breeders, Sonic Youth, Kurt Vile) to help produce the band's new album.

In the streaming age, it’s easy to be paralyzed by choice and feel like good music is passing you by every day. 

A few years ago, it seemed everyone sort of realized at once that a lot of that good music was coming from Philadelphia. 

They were right!

To try and help keep you up to date with the best stuff coming out of the city and its surrounding areas, we’re going to regularly highlight a few songs we’ve been listening to from local bands.

If you have your own recommendations, feel free to shout them out in the comments or email me at 

(Yes, this means you have permission to @ me.)

Let’s get listening.

1. “The Carpenter’s Son” by Nothing

We’ll begin with a slow-burner. The Philly shoegazers bring plenty of drama on this single from their upcoming record with reverb-washed guitars, plodding drums, and drawn-out vocals from Brandon Setta. Warning: It is long, and it is sad (“I don't wanna know/Why I'm alone” Setta opines at one point), but it is also very good.

“Dance On The Blacktop” was released Aug. 24 on Relapse Records.

2. “Untitled (LA)” by Swearin’

Swearin’ hasn’t released a record in five years, and the band split up in 2015 while lead singer Allison Crutchfield (sister of Katie, aka Waxahatchee) went solo, but the return sounds worth the wait. Three tight, punchy minutes of guitar-driven rock and lyrics about a relationship that seems like it should be good, but also might not be.

“Fall into the Sun” is out Oct. 5 on Merge Records.

3. “Smoking is for Quitters” by Thin Lips

The new Thin Lips album is a delight, front to back, and “Smoking is for Quitters” has to be my personal highlight. The churning bass line propels the track forward, and when things reach the perfectly-crafted chorus for a third time — “I ask you all the time/Was it worth the fight?/We’re all gonna die/Tell myself a lie” — and the power chords release, it’s a perfect moment of catharsis.

“Chosen Family” is out on Lame-O Records.

4. “Leo Season” by Chynna

I don’t know anything about astrology, but if the latest from West Philly's Chynna is any indication, Leo season sounds menacing. The murmuring bass, off-kilter aerial synths, and industrial grinding place the 24-year-old in the middle of an approaching storm. She raps about plenty of chest-thumping activities — including a brilliant line about getting money “just to abuse it” — without ever sounding like she’s breaking a sweat. It’s an impressive statement.

5. “Haircut Song” by Shannen Moser

Shannen Moser, a Berks County product, puts her voice at the forefront of her latest single, which is smart. The consistent, plucking acoustic guitar is an important accent, but Moser’s unvarnished vocals — bright, earnest, and endearing — are the star. One particularly cutting line from this too-brief track: “I’d sell myself out for a lifetime of/I love you, I love you my dear.” Whew.

“I’ll Sing” is out Sept. 7 on Lame-O Records.

You can listen to every song from Philly Music We're Listening To in this Spotify playlist:

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