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September 22, 2018

Philly music we’re listening to: Lil Uzi Vert, Yowler, Treasure Box, and Cheer Up

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

Music Staff Picks
07-LilUziVert_MadeInAmerica_Reinsel.jpg Erika Reinsel/for PhillyVoice

Lil Uzi Vert plays the Made in America Festival on Saturday, Sept. 3.

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.

Warning: some songs contain explicit lyrics.

1. New Patek by Lil Uzi Vert

Philadelphia’s favorite four-wheel-riding, emo-rapping son released a scorcher this week. It’s nearly six minutes (six minutes!) of blistering bars over a consistent beat and some oddly soothing keys. Uzi hasn’t sounded this confident in letting verses go in a while, and he brings some really fun lines — for instance, “I am a octopus, I cannot breathe without water/So I put diamonds on my tentacles”, which is incredible. The chorus isn’t for the faint of heart, but then Uzi’s never been one for compromises.

2. Curse These Metal Hands by Cheer Up

The Northeast Corridor seems to generate good pop-punk at will. The new record from Cheer Up, a band currently traveling with PMWLT favorite Thin Lips, is a concise half-hour of the genre at its best. Acoustic picking cuts through the storm-the-doors drums on the album closer here, and the group vocals conjure up that delightful fist-pumping feeling you get from the best pop-punk tracks — until it fades out without a huge crescendo, and you’re left hitting “play” on the first track again.

"Sleep Debt" is out now on Take This To Heart Records.

3. Where Is My Light by Yowler

That’s right: we’re dipping back into Yowler with another single from the upcoming record. Where “Angel” was a dusty gut-wrencher, “Where Is My Light” turns things all the way up. Guitars roll in from every direction, and Maryn Jones searches for some semblance of peace and silence, and light, but the cacophony she creates in this song doesn’t ever let up. It’s ominous in the most enjoyable way possible.

“Black Dog In My Path” is out October 12 via Double Double Whammy.

4. you’re not above me by Treasure Box

We end today with some Bandcamp spelunking, which can yield real... treasures. It's how I found Treasure Box, a lo-fi band from a Philadelphia resident named Timothy MacIsaac. They released a really fun six-song project last week. This track blends shoegaze murmuring, a relentless wall of power chords drenched in static, and an eminently satisfying sample of someone yelping. It’s unrepentant in its messiness. It’s everything I want in my wall-of-sound ambient music.

"treasure junkie" is out now.

You can listen to every song (available on Spotify) from Philly Music We’re Listening To in this Spotify playlist:

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