Written By: J. Elizabeth
Edited By: O. Kool Kitchen
Being from Baltimore, Philadelphia was never a place I had to “discover”. I’d been to Williamsburg on school trips, was force-fed all the colonial history of the city. The first time I truly got to know the real Philly was when I was 15 years old. I ran away from home to become a neo-soul artist. It was a dark and gritty, part of my past, when I was lost in the sonic underbelly of this oddly eccentric city. The musicians I had met, seem to experience their music and cultivate their persona’s from other realities, beyond the tangible realm. Time Hilter and the Assholes From Space, Avataria , Psychic Teens and 185866232 are strange young people who defy explanation of their individualistic tendencies; they just immerse themselves in their music and this manifests in their live performance and online presence.
This piece came to light, because I pondered the people who surround me in my life. They are all, artistic, unconventional with a strong sense of self definition and such folks should be celebrated.
This band has been rejected by some of the most “underground” hipster noise venues in America because of their name alone. After a few years, it has become clear that this band works hard. Behind them are solid foundations of shoe-gaze and rock and roll. With tighter sounds their new albums are revealing a cohesive method of theme and concept. It is down-right oddball, weird, but completely consistent. I enjoy this band. I’ve played on a bill with this 6 member act. They are loud, but the volume doesn’t hide the sensible and somewhat romantic style of neo shoe-gaze rock that is refreshing. They keep their music loose and lo-fi, which is brave and keeps it a bit innocent. If they continue to give away their hearts, and stay “Wild & Willing” as their new LP suggests, they’ll have a long and lasting existence in the Philly underground scene.
William S. Mick is fascinating because he seems to be completely at war with anything that is traditional, or conservative; especially in regards towards culture in the USA. 18568232’s music is appealing because it is queer, confrontational, disturbing, and sexy. It comes from left field on many levels and compels you to flow with whatever the output. 18568232 appear to have a mission statement, invoking listeners to accept the outlandish. Nonetheless, Mick’s music is slightly reserved, so as to not go completely outside of the realm of that which cannot be identified with. Don’t be fooled! He is an accomplished musician who can combine static with his quiet whispered ramblings, alongside simplistic classical piano patterns, all rolled in one composition. His music can transition from blissful ambiance and sensual murmurs to chaotic shells of combative noise without overshadowing his musical talent.
Avataria’s form of dark-core, shoe-gaze grunge is incredibly admirable. She is a solo artist who creates large sound-scapes and in her own manner creates a dystopian rock and roll cell. With her “Unrealitie” EP Avataria has a confident style, with directed ambition that differs from her underground contemporaries. The music is moody, sensual and allows your ears to get lost in searing minor noted tones, which are ethereal and flowing. Avataria’s music is not polished and for that she stands out on the bill from her counterparts. Her music is a good alternative to sporadic escapades of other underground rock composers, as her songs are written tightly and don’t hold any pretense.
Photo By: Oren Camera Hechtman
Psychic Teens is another more prominent underground, psych experimental band. This band is the only one within this article who is supported by a record label, SRA. They create reeling guitar heavy psych sludge, while exuding a residue of post punk, garage and even touches of prog-rock tones. Psychic Teens is able to tour somewhat extensively to showcase their quirky and exasperatingly heavy art rock.