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Shards Sessions - O

Robert Sarazin Blake

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Robert Sarazin Blake

"Enjoyment's mostly on the inside," Blake mused during our interview. "You have to make a choice in life whether you're going to enjoy things or not." Robert Sarazin Blake's choice has him living the life of a modern troubadour and enjoying his journey along the way. Blake comes from Bellingham, Washington or as he puts it, "The most northwest corner of the most northwestern city in the the most northwest state in the lower 48."

He's been bringing his modern twist on the tried-and-true folk songwriting tradition to venues around the country since 1997 when he dropped out of college to first hit the road. In the 21st century, that means playing everything from legitimate concert venues to coffee houses to DIY basement spaces. His billing alongside punk musicians has brought him an unlikely but loyal following from young audiences who may be more used to seeing a hardcore band than a folk singer. His louder, frenetic playing style coupled with his heartfelt storytelling define Robert Sarazin Blake as a unique and talented singer and songwriter. He joined us at Shards in April 2014 to record this session.

1. October 2, 3 PM (0:04)
2. Mopping (2:18)
3. Oil Money (6:10)
4. Sister (9:09)
5. Interview (12:04)

Louis Ledford (Band Pick):
http://www.louisledford.com/

Robert Sarazin Blake:
http://robertsarazinblake.com/

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Moonstruck

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Moonstruck

Moonstruck's gritty sound has been filling Lehigh Valley venues for a little over two years. Kelsi Page and Felicia Vee have honed a guitar and drum combo that delivers what can only be described as "controlled nastiness." The two were introduced to one another through their boyfriends during a show at Bethlehem DIY venue Secret Art Space. Inspired in part by Katy Otto and Diane Foglizzo who made up Philadelphia two-piece punk band Trophy Wife, Kelsi and Felicia bonded immediately and decided to start a band of their own. The result is a heavy crunch in their sound which delivers plenty of headbanging moments ("Airplane") while also providing memorable and catchy songwriting ("Scopo"). They recorded their Shards Session in January 2014 on a back-to-back recording day with Philly band Marge.

1. Shiny (0:08)
2. Trouble (3:40)
3. Airplane (5:27)
4. Scopo (9:26)
5. Interview (11:36)

Moonstruck:
https://yaymoonstruck.bandcamp.com/

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Marge

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Marge

Formed in August 2013, Gabby, Melissa, Emily, and Aidan played their first show not too long after that at Philadelphia's "First Time's a Charm" event. The goal of the event was to raise money for a PA share, and the catch? The whole event was going to feature bands playing their first show. For Melissa Brain, this was an opportunity she wasn't going to pass up. "I had played drums in the marching band and with my dad when I was younger," Melissa recalled, "And then grew up going to shows and watching my friends be in bands forever." First Time's a Charm gave Melissa the opportunity she had been looking for. "That kind of kicked me in the butt to be like, 'all right, I have to do this now.'"

Now, Marge has a few successful shows under their belts. This session was recorded in January 2014 and their first 7-song EP was released 3 months later. The EP bears the title Not Bad, exactly the kind of modest, nonchalance we've come to expect from a band who continues to describe themselves as "four girls figuring it out". With songs like these, its safe to say they're figuring things out pretty well.

1. Will I Am
2. Trading Places Starring Eddie Murphy
3. Interview
4. Raincheck
5. To-Do
6. Interview
7. BAND PICKS: Moonstruck - Trouble [Blossom]
8. BAND PICKS: Gunk - Photograph [Gradual Shove]

Marge:
https://marge.bandcamp.com/

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Broski

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Broski

Bursting at the seams with unbridled energy, the young four-piece from the Lehigh Valley manages to create songs that feel like complete works without lyrics and without going off into progressive rock wankery to compensate. Broski's attack is quick and concise with no part of the song lasting longer than it needs to. What exactly guides a band like Broski if there's no lyrics or instrumental grandeur? "The tone. The integrity of the tone," the band explains in our interview. What sweet spot a song needs to hit to satisfy this integrity isn't clear. It's something only the band members really know, and that's why we keep coming back to these songs time after time. If anything, it looks like we'll only be doing that more in the future as Broski has a debut full-length album in the works. This sessions was recorded in January 2014.

1. American Plaidiator
2. Hello Edna
3. Interview
4. Kroner
5. Savory
6. Interview
7. BAND PICK: Young Crybaby - Amanda Bynes [Pennsylvanian Hunger Mixtape]

Young Crybaby (Band Pick):
http://heavenpegasus.com/

Broski:
https://broski.bandcamp.com/

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Fake Cult

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Fake Cult

FAKE CULT, the Lehigh Valley 4-piece band, by all estimates, should not have worked. At all. In fact, it probably shouldn't have existed in the first place. "They basically got into hardcore after me nagging at them," guitarist Jared Smith says about his bandmates. "I was in this band before I liked hardcore. It took me six months before I liked hardcore," recalls guitarist Lee Romich. "I didn't really like any of the stuff Jared was showing me, and then, one day, I was like, 'this stuff is fucking awesome! I want to do that,'" says bassist and vocalist Cooper Leardi. Half of this band didn't even like the style of music that Smith was steering the group of friends towards, but through one way or another, the rest of the band stuck it out and eventually learned to love what they did.

To make things more interesting, it probably won't ever happen again, either. "I don't think I'd be able to be in a FAKE CULT-style band with anyone else," declares Leardi. "That would be weird." The rest of the band concurs. The band has gone their separate ways now with Romich moving to Pittsburgh and taking up drumming duties in the State College-based band Ugly Zoo, but FAKE CULT recorded this session in January 2014 for us before the split. 

1. Horrible Life
2. Sine Deus
3. Interview
4. Natural Causes
5. Closure
6. Interview
7. BAND PICK: Ovlov - Nü Pünk [am]
8. BAND PICK: Hoax - Driver [Hoax]
9. BAND PICK: Off Camber - Our Hearts Will Explode [Split 7" w/ Between Your Mind & Tongue]
10. BAND PICK: tile - Half Tooth [You Had a Friend in Pennsylvania]

FAKE CULT:
https://fakecult.bandcamp.com/

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