1131 S. Broad Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Allison Weiss

Allison Weiss

Josiah And The Bonnevilles, Thin Lips

Tue, September 20, 2016

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Boot & Saddle

Philadelphia, PA


This event is 21 and over

Allison Weiss
Allison Weiss
"I finally made a record that sounds like the music I listen to," says singer/songwriter Allison Weiss, bursting at the seams to talk about her newest album, New Love—out Oct. 2 on SideOneDummy Records—even if that means gabbing on the phone while she's getting her oil changed somewhere in Middle America. "In the past, my records were all very much about things that were happening to me right then in the moment. As I've grown up, I feel like I can deal with my own feelings in a way that I couldn't when I was a teenager."
Originally from a small town in Georgia, Weiss knew early on that her relationship with pop music wasn't a casual one. Instead, it gave her endless butterflies and, no matter how many songs she listened to, she could never fill her Top 40 love tank. Whether she pressed her ear to the wall of her older brother's bedroom to hear the latest Green Day song or played the radio while she was asleep so she could soak in the melodies through osmosis, the attraction was immediate and undeniable.
After high school, Weiss studied art at University of Georgia in Athens, but she soon started learning more about music by performing at local coffee shops than sitting in stuffy lecture halls. The plucky teen started developing a pretty impressive local following, playing larger and larger venues, until she ultimately decided to evolve her passion into a full-time profession. However, with heaps of ambition but little connection to the industry, what's a girl to do? Um, do it herself, of course.
"When I was starting out, I didn't know about finding managers or booking agents or any of that stuff," Weiss says, looking back. "I wasn't trying to find a record label. I knew what I wanted to do and I saw I could do it by myself without immediately having to rely on somebody else, so I'm gonna do it that way." Whether driven by unbridled enthusiasm or indisputable impatience, Weiss immediately put pen to paper and managed to release three EPs and her debut full-length album (2009's …Was Right All Along) before leaving Athens for Brooklyn. However, it was her second LP, 2013's Say What You Mean, which really broke through the underground and positioned Weiss as an important new voice in the indie-pop scene, thanks to songs like "Making It Up" and "Wait For Me."
After Say What You Mean, which was inspired by a breakup that nearly tore her apart, Weiss was left wondering, "What's the point of anything because everything's gonna end?" Sounds defeatist, but it's also a real emotion that everyone goes through when a romantic chapter ends. However, Weiss took that skepticism and harnessed it into her music, saying, "I wanna be the person who writes love songs about real, legitimate relationships and not just fairy-tale endings."
That air of relatability wafts throughout all the songs on New Love, which was inspired by Weiss's recent move to Los Angeles and, wait for it, a new love. The change in geographic scenery can be heard in "Golden Coast," which was co-written with fellow folk-rocker Jenny Owen Youngs, and tackles the trepidation that often comes with making a major life change that's necessary but nerve wrecking nevertheless. Then there's "Back To Me," which is the kind of hopeful pop song with upbeat melodies but heartbreaking lyrics about the one who got away and, sadly, isn't ever coming back.
Weiss can't wait to play new songs like "Who We Are" and "Good Way" live, which is totally convenient because she's likely to be on tour for the rest of the year. She's also excited to reconnect with her fans, continue to write irreverent pop songs, and possibly be a light for anyone who's still figuring out their place is this big, bad world. "I started writing my music as a young person who was uncomfortable in her own skin," Weiss says. "Life gets hard, love gets complicated, and, thankfully, we've all got our favorite songs to say the things we might not be able to say on our own. If you hear something in my songs that reminds you of yourself, then I'm doing my job right."
Josiah And The Bonnevilles
“I’m nostalgic to the core,” says Josiah Leming. “I think back on things a lot. I get hung up on certain moments, and that’s when I feel like I’ve got to get a guitar into my hands.”

Nostalgia might be a surprising motivation to hear from Leming, the young, erudite, emotional powerhouse behind Josiah & The Bonnevilles, especially considering his band’s entire bright future is unfolding right before his eyes. But one listen to Leming’s songs and you’ll understand: his nostalgia isn’t a longing for the past, but rather a quest for understanding of the present. Boyish though he may look, Leming writes with the weathered wisdom and unflinching self-realization of an old soul. Inquisitive, witty, and fearless, his lyrics are high beam headlights piercing through dark nights of the soul, illuminating the pain and joy of growing up, falling in love, falling apart, and moving on.

“These songs came from a really difficult place, and I don’t think there’s any way around that,” Leming says of the ‘Cold Blood’ EP, a preview of his arresting debut album for Vagrant Records. “I felt like I was in a hole that I was never going to dig out of, so I started writing. Some of the songs were to remember better times, and some were to get me out of the shitty times I was living in.”

In the summer of 2013, Leming had just completed a grueling tour of the United States plagued by setbacks and disappointments. Burned out seemingly beyond repair, he relocated to Las Vegas and questioned his next steps until fate intervened. First, a friend introduced him to the music of Townes Van Zandt. Then his brother sent him a copy of Leonard Cohen’s ‘New Skin For The Old Ceremony.’ Josiah felt something important brewing, so he began teaching himself to fingerpick on a small Martin guitar he’d received as a gift from a fan. Clumsily at first, but with increasing finesse every day, he obsessively explored the instrument and his tumultuous emotional surroundings. Slowly but surely, the tumblers began to align and the locks started to turn. What at first appeared to be impenetrable walls ultimately revealed themselves as hidden doors, and suddenly previously unknown musical worlds opened up before him.

“When I was young, the folk and country stuff never connected with me,” confesses Leming. “I was more dramatic than that. The flair of the British stuff like Morrissey and Echo and the Bunnymen was what really hit me.”

The new material Leming found himself writing in Las Vegas combined the two, fusing the plainspoken poetry of American roots music with the emotional drama of Brit-pop into something of a new-Americana. He set up a microphone in his living room and recorded the meat of what would become the new album by himself, layering guitar and piano and vocals a track-at-a-time. The songs mined his childhood in Tennessee and the longing he felt to escape. They traced his journeys around the country, never settling down in any one place for too long. They mapped his fears and anxieties, spoke candidly to ex-girlfriends, and pulled no punches.

“For me, the music follows the words,” says Leming. “I think the lyric creates the hook, and the words are what build connections in people’s minds. If you get the words right, and if you sing them with conviction, no matter the melody, people will relate and they’ll want to sing along.”

And that’s exactly what happened when Josiah began performing the new songs live with guitarist Stephen Johnson and bassist/percussionist Josh Nyback. Under the name Josiah & The Bonnevilles, they landed a residency in LA that quickly garnered a devoted fanbase and showed Leming just how far those simple, stripped-down tunes he’d recorded in Las Vegas could go. The power of the live shows and the audience reactions inspired Leming to bring his new bandmates into the studio in LA with co-producer/mixer Dave Way (Fiona Apple, Paul McCartney) to flesh out several tracks and finally complete work on the album.

The resulting record showcases the full spectrum of Leming’s talents, from the bittersweet farewell of “Back To Tennessee” and gut-wrenching confessional “Lie With Me” to the Dylan-esque “Please” and infectious “Swing.” The arrangements are understated, drawing emotional power not from bombast or grandeur but rather through intimacy and intensity. Leming and the band create wide-open vistas with their music, leaving room for the lyrics to live and breathe and cut you to the quick. “Cold Blood” displays Josiah’s mastery of intricate fingerpicking techniques, while “Long Gone” makes beautiful use of his delicate falsetto, and “London” transports you into an entire world built of nothing more than an acoustic guitar and his quavering, passionate voice.

In the end, that’s what Josiah & The Bonnevilles do best: transport you. Each song is a journey in its own right: of memory, of regret, of hope, of self-discovery. Josiah may be nostalgic to the core, but out of the darkness of his past, he’s crafted a brilliant beacon of an album that’s shining a bright, blazing light onto all the promise of his future.
Thin Lips
Thin Lips
Only two members of Philadelphia trio Thin Lips are related by blood. Nevertheless, when three people stick together for over a decade through endless tours, countless band incarnations, and hundreds of recording sessions, they may as well be considered family. At the very least, they will be seen together on major holidays; but instead of hiding presents under a tree, they’ll probably be playing a basement show in Duluth. This is the case for Chrissy Tashjian, Kyle Pulley, and Mikey Tashjian, known collectively as Thin Lips.
Spend some time with the Tashjian siblings individually and you will quickly notice their admiration for one another. They’re a long way from covering Korn songs in their parents’ basement after school, and now the pair in their early thirties can’t stop talking about how proud they are of the adults they’ve become--Chrissy ever the admirer of Mikey’s sympathetic heart and boundless goodwill, Mikey continually praising his sister for her relentless support of the queer community, as heard on the opening track of ‘Chosen Family.’

Enter Kyle Pulley, Thin Lips’ in-house recording engineer and lifelong Tashjian tourmate. Pulley grew close to the Tashjians during an extended stint at Big Mama’s Warehouse in North Philadelphia, a music collective that functioned as the original location of his burgeoning recording studio, The Headroom, and as a home base for Kyle, Chrissy, and Mikey’s first band. It was here that the trio learned to live together, cook together, and write together.

Naturally, the next step was touring. Eventually, as Chrissy, Kyle, and Mikey’s laps across America became more frequent, they realized that their once modestly-sized chosen family was growing across state lines. The love and tolerance they had learned in the warehouse was not insular; in fact, the trio began discovering like-minded communities of queer artists and musicians tucked into every corner of the country.

Fast forward to 2017, and Chrissy and Kyle are demoing songs for Thin Lips’ second LP ‘Chosen Family’ on a laptop, chopping up pre-recorded drum samples and arranging guitar parts. Whereas the songs on Thin Lips’ first album ‘Riff Hard’ were raucous, punk-driven affairs, this new batch of songs sees Chrissy focusing on purposeful, sharp guitar hooks; stripping away the gutsy solos and leaving more room for Kyle and Mikey to add thoughtful details to their expertly calculated rhythms. Chrissy and Kyle’s extended pre-production also led to the addition of some tasteful keyboard and synth lines throughout the record, most notably on the enormous chorus of “Smoking Is For Quitters.”

The recording process for ‘Chosen Family’ included assistance from longtime Tashjian co-conspirators Frances Quinlan and Joe Reinhart. The addition of Quinlan in the studio saw Chrissy, Mikey, and Kyle adding some unique flourishes to their rock-solid arrangements, like layered slide guitars on “Gaslight Anthem” and casually operatic background vocals on “So Stoned.” Reinhart, who mixed the album, helped the band create their most dynamic record yet by shaving off the rougher edges of their past releases and facilitating a clear, detailed sound.

Thin Lips show their age on ‘Chosen Family,’ perhaps most on “A Song For Those Who Miss You All The Time.” You can hear their decade of experience in the playful precision of Mikey and Kyle’s rhythms, in the clever push and pull of Chrissy’s singular guitar lead against the vocal melody, but also in Chrissy’s weariness as she reflects on the death of her younger brother Billy: “You were free of everything that holds us in our place.” There is a special power in the ability to name and identify life’s daily barriers, and to believe in the possibility of freedom from those barriers. Chrissy and Thin Lips have that power, and they use it to keep moving. They write songs, they make records, they go on tour, and they keep moving. And on ‘Chosen Family,’ they sound free.
Venue Information:
The Boot & Saddle
1131 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19147