WVKRamble: a WVKR Travel Guide to Philadelphia

Dear music-heads, blog-heads, and…nomads?

We like to think that WVKR is not  just a radio station, but a way of life-

Presentingggg the first installation of WVKRamble: a travel guide. Destination: Philadelphia.

Tune in:

wkdu3If you’re not already streaming WVKR 24-7 on you a-e-i-o-u-phone or bosenberry, try echoesflipping your dial to 91.7 WKDU, Drexel University’s student-run station. You might not find the same level of decorum as you do on WVKR, but it offers a wide array of genres you won’t hear anywhere at else. WKDU also occasionally teams up with R5 Productions (see below), the city’s premier independent promoter, to put on solid shows. If you need a late-night sleepingpilladelphia, try the city’s most effective aural narcotic, locally produced and nationally syndicated Echoes on 88.5 WXPN, airing ambient spaced-out lullabies post-11PM.

Stock up:

For buried twelve-inch treasure and dusty jacketed gems, get your filladelphia AKA Records. Be warned, this store aka-records3will nurture any unhealthy record-buying habits you harbor. If you’re looking for a cheap fix, browse the seemingly dinky 7” boxes for rare releases, first pressings, and otherwise sold-out little 45s hailing from all walks of life- major label to teeny tiny die Stasi to the Smiths. If those seven-inches just whet your appetite, maybe it’s time to upgrade to a full-size plate- how does 12-inches of audio victuals sound? Move to the vinyl room in the back, where the same array of obscure to totally obvious can be found in larger quantities. A recent browse yielded picks like Fabulous Diamonds, early Fleetwood Mac, hard-to-find Glass Candy, and Eat Skull, tucked in among all the big names- Akron/Family, Deerhunter, Of Montreal– the gang’s all there. The majority of the store is occupied by CDs, but they tend to err on the indie-rock mainstream side of the spectrum, though the used section is epic and worth browsing if you’re feeling patient. 

Go out:

It’s totally hit or miss whether they’ll be a good show to check out on a given night in cheapthrilladelphia. While its

Danger Danger Gallery
Danger Danger Gallery

home to few budding bands (more about that later), paysthebilladelphia is always a major stop on tours. In pursuit of live jams, R5 Productions is a

Johnny Brenda's
Johnny Brenda's

good place to start. R5 organizes shows with headliners ranging from Animal Collective to Ponytail to Vivian Girls, at a hand-picked assemblage of venues, R5 has been the foremost Papermilladelphia show promoter in the city for almost ten years, unthwarted by Clear Channel’s attempts to shut them down. If there’s an R5 show in the basement of the First Unitarian Church, consider yourself extra lucky to be in underthehilladelphia. Aside from R5, sniffing out a good show can be rough. We’re still hoping Rod D, Todd P’s cousin, will set up shop (and website) in

Green Line Cafe
Green Line Cafe

papermilladelphia. Until then, you’ll have to sift through a slew of disjointed

First Unitarian Church
First Unitarian Church

websites and myspaces. Here’s a list of a few places to try: Danger Danger Gallery , Green Line Café, Pi Lam, Big Rock Candy Mountain, Johnny Brenda’s, Kung-Fu Necktie, The Barbary, Connie’s Ric Rac, Brickbat Books, Inciting HQ, Mad Decent Masouleumthe M Room, Lava SpaceSpace 1026, Avant Gentleman’s Lodge, Circle of HopeAKA Records, Copy Gallery, Pageant GalleryBrooks Salon/The Compound (2320 Grays Ferry Ave – no website, good luck), the Woodstove (1712 N. 2nd St. – good luck again!), Boat People Listings, DIY Philly listings. 

Listen up:

Aside from big names like Espers, Man Man, and Dr. Dog, there are stilladelphia a few hidden talents tucked away in ifyouwilladelphia. Definitely check out the dreamy/catchy electronica of Weird Tapes, Ravens and Vultures, and Colette Columbirch, if they’re in town. Cold Cave is a fresh addition to the scene, offering easy-access synthy no wave. For some dirty garage-tinged rock, Kurt Vile is your man. Animal Collective sweetheart Tickley Feather calls west armadilladelphia home, so did Ghengis Tron until recently, when they up and left for Brooklyn, leaving fellow Vassar grads Pony Pants to hold down puppymilladelphia. Craving the inaccesible? Micemeat or Tenspeed grinds and drones his way through sets around the city with his guitar-intended-to-sound-nothing–like-guitar arrangements. Carz Will Burn provides fritzy, droney electronic sounds with complimentary light show. Chicago’s phantasmal Megan Remy aka U.S. Girls recently started haunting a house in vagisiladelphia. On the lighter side, there’s super-boppy and bubblegum-friendly Sunsplit. And of course, there’s always resident celeb Diplo. Santogold is a native as well, but don’t expect to see her strolling down South St.

Have fun but don’t overkilladelphia!

Untiladelphia next time,

AG/DJ Mitten