Squawk Brothers, Spelling Reform

Sat, November 24, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm


This event is 21 and over

"Dirt roads and low-flying crows come to mind when the first gritty chords of a Cardillo song come on. There is something sentimental shaking in a cage at the forefront of the music, but it's certainly screaming to get out. This might have something to do with the Philadelphia roots of front-man and songwriter Chris Cardillo who spent years in the backstreets of New Jersey, and just as many years in that city which looms across the river like the gnarled teeth of some silver and tarmacked beast. Although the sounds of Cardillo certainly beat with the heart of the east coast, something else carries it away. With the pace of a desert highway coyote, Cardillo's compositions swerve through the backroads of America looking forward and peeking behind only to catch glimpses of the grim truths that haunt us all."

- Ray Pinetroll, The Ghost Gazette
Squawk Brothers
The Preeminent Classic Country Band in All of the Northeast of Philadelphia
Spelling Reform
Philadelphia indie rock group Spelling Reform continues to evolve on their new LP "No One’s Ever Changed." Building off their 2015 debut EP "Diving Bell," the band delivers more of their eclectic, distinctive sound – a mix of snarling pop rock and power pop, somber sing-alongs and melodic guitar solos. The tunes are anchored by singer/songwriter Dan Wisniewski’s feverous lyrics and urgent vocals, which have drawn comparisons to The Mountain Goats, Dan Bejar, the Silver Jews and Woody Allen (for real).

After years of songwriting and arranging, Wisniewski, bassist Tom Howley, guitarist Andrew Ciampa and drummer Mark Rybaltowski recorded the 11 songs on "No One’s Ever Changed" in a single, donut-fueled weekend in March 2016 in Philadelphia with Hop Along guitarist Joe Reinhart.

Sonically, the tunes pay homage to some of the band's major influences: the fun and loose pop of Wilco ("For Clair Patterson"), the hard-hitting yet melodic rock of Guided by Voices ("Microscope") and the acoustic folk rock of Neil Young ("Drag Your Horse").

Lyrically, Wisniewski stretches out on "No One’s Ever Changed." Character studies include the examination of the thoughts of a stalker on “Tuscaloosa” and personal tales, like “Everyone Else’s Experiences” and the brief title track, explore the awkwardness of bumping into old prom dates on the train to work and overhearing friends having sex.

Wisniewski’s wide-ranging interests in science and history also shine through: particle accelerators and Charles Willson Peale both make quick appearances. One song – “For Clair Patterson” – tackles the concept of time while also paying homage to the titular geologist who discovered the age of the earth in 1953.

Between its well-formed songs, energetic delivery and varied instrumentation, "No One’s Ever Changed" makes for a fascinating listen, and a worthy addition to a Philadelphia music scene that’s overflowing with amazing music. Spelling Reform, which has been compared to The Weakerthans, Apples in Stereo and Pixies, are on to something.
Venue Information:
Kung Fu Necktie
1250 N Front Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19122

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