From tough-guy gangstas like Freeway and Beanie Sigel to sunnier pop acts like the Swimmers and the A-Sides, the Philly scene is active and varied. And it's been designated by Rolling Stone as "hot" (here's hoping that won't be a kiss of death). Here are five keepers, which can be heard on MySpace and purchased on iTunes:
We All Belong
(Park the Van) The West Philly fivesome did Letterman and played at Bonnaroo this year, and got props from Wilco front man Jeff Tweedy in the New York Times. They survived the hype surrounding their 2005 CD
, and made comparisons to the Band seem ever more apt. Download: "Alaska."
Amy Pickard & The Cradlers
Cut From the Hopeless
(self-released) Along with Beth Case, Pickard formed the much-loved Philadelphia alt-country duo She-Haw. On
, the Tennessee native again excels at singing brand-new, sad-eyed heartache songs that sound as old as the hills. Download: "Ashes."
The Real Thing, Words and Sounds Vol. 3
(Hidden Beach) North Philadelphia's finest showed off her ever-more impressive vocal chops, rocked out on "Hate on Me," and channeled her inner Minnie Riperton. Download: "Whenever You're Around."
A Sunny Day in Glasgow
Scribble Mural Comic Journal
(Notenuf) Ben Daniels knows it's sunnier in Scotland than in Philadelphia, and enlisted his sisters Lauren and Robin for his enticing dream-pop band to help celebrate breaks in the cloud cover. Download: "The Best Summer Ever."
You're My Lover Now
(Park the Van) Brothers Aaron and Peter MoDavis came into their own on this simultaneously loose and tight, chaotic and tuneful, winningly ramshackle release. Download: "Ball of the Dead Rat."