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American history and music history run deep in Philadelphia: Daryl Hall and John Oates, Boyz II Men, Pink and The Roots are among the many stars with ties to the city. (Philly also spawned American Bandstand and Philadelphia International Records.) But what’s happening today in the City of Brotherly Love? Three indie acts talk about what’s good, what’s changed and what’s special there.
John the Conqueror
“There’s less punk and more folk, and we’ve been on the outskirts of both the whole time,” says John the Conqueror guitarist Pierre Moore, whose gritty blues-rock band formed in Philadelphia about three years ago. JTC recently toured the Midwest supporting The Good Life, which was recorded at Philly’s Retro City Studios; future plans include a hometown gig at MilkBoy in November.
“Honest, eclectic and DIY” is how Lawsuits bassist Brendan Cunningham describes the scene in Philadelphia, his genre-blending band’s home since relocating from New Hope, PA, around 2008-09. “You don’t get a lot of artists in Philly trying to be anything other than themselves, which I think is a good reflection of the city,” he adds. Tumbled, the latest from The Lawsuits, dropped in September.
Singer-pianist Avi Wisnia draws from jazz, folk and Brazilian music. “Because these styles have been well represented in Philadelphia, I’ve been able to find an audience for what I do,” he says. A longtime Philly-area resident, Wisnia appreciates the regular jam sessions and open-mic nights held at various city venues. Look for his next album in 2015.