The Best Of Philly Music 2011, Part 1

26 Dec

This is part one of my look back on some of my favorite Philly based music that came out in 2011. Right up front I want to say that The Roots and The War On Drugs put out two of my favorite records of the year. I’m not going to dwell on the massive goodness of these records cause, let’s face it, these two bands have a profile that transcends the illadelph; although it wasn’t too long ago that the only Google search for The War On Drugs was this. It’s great that Adam and the boys have improved their ranking, right? That said, let me state broadly and emphatically that the local Philly music scene particularly over the last few years has been on fire. Genre wise, there’s a bit of everything for everybody; indie-rockers, chillwavers, hip-hoppers, punk rockers, dubsteppers, soulsters and singer-songwriters; it’s all here. Let’s rock The Best Of Philly Music 2011, Part 1.
Check out The Best of Philly Music, 2011 Part 2 here

Work Drugs
These chillwave yachtrockers came on the scene a year ago and every month have been releasing excellent new free jams. They released their debut album Aurora Lies in November. These guys musically tap in to the worlds where Steely Dan and Steve Winwood collides with chillvibes of the Oughts. At their music loving hearts they write catchy as anything pop songs and layer it all with some cool stoner dance music vibes. Buy the album here. Download some tunes below.


Purling Hiss
The Hiss are a power trio of remarkable psychedelicness. They released a pretty hot collection of rock and roll tunes this year called Lounge Lizards on Mexican Summer. If you want to hear them work, check out this recording from a show they did in November at the Cameo Galley in New York. It’s blistering. if Philly had a guitar army Mike Polizze would be on front lines right up there with Adam from War On Drugs and Kurt Vile. Back last March Mike and the band recorded a session for WXPN’s local music web site The Key. You can download the full session here or cop the song “Voices” below.

Download Voices – Purling Hiss (from The Key Studio Sessions)
I have yet to see Lushlife live but since he dropped his No More Golden Days cassette/mixtape it’s been in heavy rotation. Lushlife is Raj Haldar and the breadth of musical influences and samples on this new free mixtape is staggering. From Frank Ocean and Fleet Foxes with some help from Heems and homegrown appearances from Dice Raw and Tim Meskers from Brown Recluse, Haldar’s also got some serious flow. He drops lyrical references to Jesus and Mary Chain, Maxi Priest and Ice Cube with as much agility as he spins out some excellent samples from Clams Casino and Gerry & The Pacemakers.

Hezekiah Jones
Hezekiah Jones is the band; the man behind it is Raphael Cutrefello. Philly’s got some very fantastic singers and songwriters and a very active acoustic/folk music scene (see Strand of Oaks, The Philly Folk Parade and Andrew Lipke). Raph is perhaps the most creative and innovative of the lot. This year Hezekiah Jones released the incredible Have You Seen Our New Fort produced by the forementioned Andrew Lipke.

Download: Mind Malaise – Hezekiah Jones

If the release of Fort were not enough, Cutrefello and his crew along with Andrew Lipke collaborated on a song for WXPN and Weathervane Music’s Shaking Through. “Borrowed Heart” was written to sync with a scene from the 1935 classic film, Bride of Frankenstein. Okay, so admittedly I had a hand in the project, but what Cutrefello and the 11 piece band put together was absolutely fantastic. Download the song/watch the video below.

Chill Moody
You say you don’t know Chill Moody? Well folks, that’s likely not gonna be the case for too long. The West Philly rapper has had a busy 2011 that started at the end of the ’10 with a solo album. Chill recently blasted out parts one and two of The Gam3Plan (produced by Joe Logic), dropped “My Eyes” w/ Cody Kahmar (see video below) and recently made his first Gam3Plan related video. It would be wise to keep your eyes on the Chill. He’s also pretty entertaining to follow twitter. As Drake says, “well fuck, let’s get it then.”

Vintage Kicks
Formed in the spring of 2010, Vintage Kicks released their free to download debut album Geeks in September. It rocks relentlessly for 28 minutes. Lead singer Alex Marlys comes out fighting and throughout, the band pack a lot of music and sounds into it’s songs. The band are in the process of making a new EP called Math And Sciene that you can follow here. Joe Strummer would be proud. Download the album below, and check out the video for the anthemic “Jetty Jump”

A recent addition to the Phillwave scene and a welcomed one, Gracie released his (still) free EP called For Summer on the always excellent Absent Fever label last June. His Treehouse EP is on the way, coming out next month on Small Plates Records. Video; music – below.

One Response to “The Best Of Philly Music 2011, Part 1”


  1. » Free Music Friday – January 13, 2012: The Roots and more for Knoxville music fans! » - January 12, 2012

    […] Velvet Blog had two features recently on The Best of Philly Music 2011. You can check the posts out here and here. So after reading these fabulous posts, we decided to do our own salute to the City of […]

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