This Philly foursome deliver a stellar indie pop debut, awash with dreamy guitars, a well-honed rhythm section, and dual male/female call-and-response vocal interplay. The songwriting dynamics are super catchy and the focused noisy eruptions are sure to please fans of Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo. Great stuff!
Callowhill is many things: a street that jogs an east-west path from the Delaware River to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a post-industrial neighborhood just north of Center City that (legend has it) inspired David Lynch’s Eraserhead. It’s the surname of William Penn’s second wife, Hannah, who ran the state of Pennsylvania after her husband had several strokes. And it’s a four-piece rock outfit that captures introspections and emotions in a wash of interlocking guitars, overdriven tones, and drifting vocal leads.
The band is comprised of Julia Gaylord on guitar and vocals, Katy Otto on drums, John Pettit on bass and vocals and Nikki Karam on lead guitar, and they’ve been active on the Philadelphia scene since 2014. Following up on their self titled 7″, which came out in 2015, the band releases its Jeff Zeigler-recorded debut LP The Way Out on Otto’s Exotic Fever Records next week, and celebrates with a headlining gig at Boot and Saddle on Wednesday, August 30th. We’re thrilled to give you a first listen to the album today.
The bandmates bring a range of background to the project. Pettit and Karam met working in Temple’s library system — hence their tagline that proclaims Callowhill is, among other things, “for sexy librarians and their cats.” Petit was a player in experimental psychedelic outfit Make A Rising and indie popsters April Disaster before that, and is a go-to trumpeter for artists like Joey Sweeney and the Long Hair Arkestra; Otto, meanwhile, drums in the visceral two-piece Trophy Wife and is a vet of D.C. DIY scene via the emo-tinged power trio Del Cielo; Gaylord hails from True If Destroyed, an experimental Philly punk outfit from the aughties whose recordings are criminally nowhere to be found online.
All that experience fuses into a thrilling new identity that’s sure to delight fans of Yo La Tengo, Sonic Youth, Can, and Helium; of noisepop, abstract lyrical observations, and painting with sound.
– The Key WXPN