Union Transfer

1026 SPRING GARDEN STREET, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19123 Ι 215-232-2100

Weakened Friends

Weakened Friends

Grayling, No Thank You

Thu, May 17, 2018

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

The Boot & Saddle

Philadelphia, PA

$10.00

This event is 21 and over

Weakened Friends
Weakened Friends
100 or so miles north of Boston, you’ll find Portland, Maine.

Among its many awesomely quirky attractions (beyond dope AF lobster rolls, of course), the mini-metropolis boasts the International Cryptozoology Museum and even served as the site of the nation’s first chewing gum factory. Suffice it to say, the town possesses all kinds of character and charm. It also makes perfect sense as HQ for Weakened Friends.

Three alternative rock wiseasses and snack food connoisseurs, the trio—Sonia Sturino [vocals, guitar], Annie Hoffman [bass], and Cam Jones [drums]—first congregated in their adopted hometown during 2014. Sonia had recently relocated from Toronto and holed up in a house with Cam and a bunch of other dudes before witnessing Annie play live and asking her to join the band. As they released two independent EPs, Gloomy Tunes and Crushed, they stirred up a palpable buzz (between consuming sour spaghetti and causing trouble). Gigs followed with everyone from CHVRCHES and Silversun Pickups to Beach Slang and Juliana Hatfield as they made their 2017 debut at SXSW and earned praise from Vanyaland, CBS, If It’s Too Loud, and many more. A wiry, whimsical, and wild fusion of disarmingly pop hooks and fuzzed-out riffery that wouldn’t be out of place on the Reality Bites soundtrack or in a modern Brooklyn bar fueled this quiet rise.

“If something is ear catching and interesting, I’m drawn to it,” says Sturino. “I love pop hooks, but I have this truly weird and shaky voice. I started to embrace that, and I think people connect to the sound.”

For the uninitiated, they’ll definitely connect to the group’s 2017 single “Hate Mail” featuring J Mascis. On the track, a buzz of feedback slips into melodic guitar and an unshakable rhythm as the frontwoman captivates with the confessionally catchy refrain, “I hate everything you’re saying, get away from me. I hate everything we’re doing, it’s a waste of me.” It’s the perfect backdrop for an epic Mascis cameo.

“It’s about when I was miserable in this other band,” recalls Sturino. “This is the most important thing to me. I don’t live comfortably. I don’t have a lot of money. I don’t have a lot of free time, because I’m putting all of my effort, passion, and self into music. So, it has to be the right situation. At the time, I just wasn’t working with the right team. The song is about those corrosive relationships with emotionally abusive assholes. J is a guitar god for indie rock. He’s an obvious inspiration, and he killed it.”

“Hate Mail” hints at a lot more to come from Weakened Friends. For Sturino, the band brings everything full circle. In tow with her best friend Cam and wife Annie, she encodes a powerful message in the lyrics.

“A lot of times, you hear expressions like, ‘Find your happy’,” she leaves off. “I think you should find yourself. Our music is about self-awareness and finding that. Sometimes, you’re having a shitty day. It can be hard, and that’s beautiful in its own way. In the North American mentality, if you’re depressed or sad, you have to just get rid of it. This is less about getting rid of that feeling and finding those things causing the feeling and dealing with them. It’s self-awareness, believing in yourself, finding yourself, and defining how you feel. That’s what this band is to me.”
Grayling
Grayling
There’s something very special about music created by a single artist. No bandmates, no safety nets, just the talent and vision of one individual, that rare artist that can create a dynamic release all on their own. Philadelphia, PA’s Grayling, the musical moniker of Lexi Campion, is that rare artist, and her debut EP, Everything That Burns, is that rare release.

Everything That Burns is five finely-tuned tracks: crafted and performed by one immensely talented 20 year old. From gently strummed indie to massive alternative swells, Grayling’s debut displays a wide span of dynamics and textures all held together by Campion’s striking vocals. The soaring crescendos and brooding lows of her voice are a clear highlight on Everything That Burns, but they’re far from her only skillful performance as Campion played every instrument, from drums to guitar, on the album.

Grayling’s debut is not a peek into a young artist finding their footing, it’s a fully formed body of work from a young woman who, at only 20 years old, has already devoted much of her life to songwriting, and the result is a release that’s sure to impress.
No Thank You
No Thank You
If there are seven stages of grief, No Thank You might show you an express route through them. The Philly trio — composed of long-time friends Kaytee Della Monica, Nick Holdorf, and Evan Bernard — walks a tense, bleary-eyed path on All It Takes To Ruin It All, their sophomore release as a full band. As the brisk, yet heavy-handed follow-up to last year’s Jump Ship, the LP is densely populated with mental forestry and instrumental heft. Just listen to the closer, “Space to Grieve,” where doubled string sections percolate under buzzsaw guitar, or “Dash,” a single offering its best Built to Spill-via-Rilo Kiley: punchy indie rock shot through with a need to escape its own devices. It’s also an LP surrounding the death of Della Monica’s father, using catharsis to balance the weight of this loss and its gradual acceptance.

All It Takes To Ruin It All records this healing process with equal parts tenderness and teeth, with tracks oftentimes bumping elbows in the running order. “Hell Bent” and “Limitlessly Cheap” both tackle the discomfort of strained relationships, but the former expresses its bitterness in churning, downcast guitar lines, while the latter is skittish and manic. This duality is maximum No Thank You, where different sonic brushstrokes get applied to the same unsettling subjects. Other tracks, such as the brittle, meandering “New England Patriots,” find the band at their most reflective, allowing Della Monica ample space to reflect on her last moments with her father.

All It Takes To Ruin It All doesn’t shoulder its pain with cynicism, but its conclusion doesn’t offer much calm, either. When summarizing the LP, Della Monica rattles off a list of like and unlike terms. “This record is primarily about learning, growing, accepting, not accepting, etc.” This is a journey shared by friends through intersecting pains and life lessons. It’s not as definite as steps in a process would suggest, but it’s a vibrant, desperate appeal for recovery, relief, and the future.
Venue Information:
The Boot & Saddle
1131 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19147
http://www.bootandsaddlephilly.com