88.5 XPN Welcomes
Juston Stens & The Get Real Gang (featuring Juston Stens formerly of Dr. Dog), Megan Reilly
2639 Poplar St
Philadelphia, PA, 19130
This event is 21 and over
Unlike the several heavy metal bands that share the same name, the Canadian indie group Zeus forgoes doom and gloom to make music with three-part harmonies, Americana sensibilities, and sunny power pop hooks. After parting ways with the 6ixty8ights, childhood friends (and ten-year veterans of the Toronto music scene) Mike O’Brien and Carlin Nicholson reunited to play shows as Paso Mino, the backing band of Broken Social Scene member Jason Collett. The two started recording music together for fun in their downtime, and realizing that their songs had potential, they recruited drummer Rob Drake and multi-instrumentalist Neil Quin to round out the group. In the summer of 2009, Zeus released the Sounds Like Zeus EP, which gained attention with its cover of the Genesis hit “That’s All.” Arts & Crafts released a full-length debut, Say Us, the following winter, in February of 2010. ~ Jason Lymangrover, Rovi
Juston Stens & The Get Real Gang (featuring Juston Stens formerly of Dr. Dog)
JUSTON STENS & THE GET REAL GANG (featuring Juston Stens formerly of Dr. Dog)
Since 2004, Juston Stens had been playing drums for a Philadelphia based rock ‘n’ roll act known as “Dr. Dog”. In the Autumn of 2009, Stens parted ways to pursue his own musical journey. Juston Stens brings with him - from his days as the drummer for Dr. Dog -- many of the traits that are so endearing about that great Philadelphia band, to his new group of choice, Juston Stens & The Get Real Gang. The band's debut EP is laced with situations gone wrong, with one person feeling the brunt of the loss or the neglect, but dealing with it through the thoughts of those needful things in better times. "Lonely Lonely Night," is a song that strips back any unneeded tinsel or garnish, just being as blunt as possible about what's stewing and brewing inside. Stens sings, "Every day without you is gonna be a lonely day," over a lazy cocktail of heavy bass and the backing shakes and jitters that we used to hear in AM radio staples. It's lonesomeness at its most human - when it sounds as if it's just gutting and similarly uplifting or pleasant in some sick way.
Megan Reilly hails from Memphis, Tennessee, where at age sixteen, she had already started writing, singing,
and playing songs on her guitar. With its rich and tragic history, there's a dark, mysterious quality to life in
Memphis, and that history clearly found its way into Megan's songs from the very start.
At twenty-three, Reilly moved to New York City, and the teenage dreams and demons that fueled her earliest
work had grown into more complicated ghosts. Reilly's songs had grown, and when she sang them alone on
a stage, accompanying herself on guitar, people listened closely and were intrigued. Steve Shelley of Sonic
Youth was among Reilly's early fans and supporters there, and he helped guide Megan through the New York
music scene, including an important introduction to guitarist Tim Foljahn (Two Dollar Guitar, Cat Power). Soon
her duo was rounded out to a full band of tremendous players—Steve Goulding (The Mekons) on drums, Tony
Maimone (Pere Ubu) on bass, and Eric Morrison (Home) on piano. These were busy, talented people—all seasoned players with many other projects—and yet, attracted to the idea of gathering their unique talents
around this equally unique voice, they all committed to Megan's musical vision.
The group recorded Megan's ﬁrst full-length release for Carrot Top Records, Arc of Tessa, which the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette declared "to one day be remembered as the unheralded gem of alternative-country 2003,
a haunting collection of aching ballads." Arc of Tessa was widely praised from Time Out New York and Maxim,
to No Depression who cheered it as "drop-dead gorgeous...melancholy folk-pop of the highest order."
In 2006, Megan teamed with producer Sue Garner for her second album, Let Your Ghost Go. Ghost garnered
even more praise than Arc, and signiﬁcantly raised her proﬁle. The Dallas Observer said, "her songs [are] perhaps the most delightful combination of vulnerability and Southern grace you'll hear this decade--and her
voice--oh God, that voice…" Harp's Brian Baker opined, "Reilly and her crack band give beauty and pain a
palpable sonic presence...Another triumph." Megan played a few shows nationally in Memphis, Chicago, and
Dallas, but even as her proﬁle grew, she mostly kept close to her current New York base.
Then life intervened.
Now married, Megan Reilly had a child, moved to Philadelphia, back to New Jersey, learned to sew and bake,
and became fully domesticated. "I was used to writing from a mournful place. Having a child and being in love
ﬁlled me with such unfamiliar happiness that I didn't know how to write about it. So I learned how to quilt. I
made eight quilts in ﬁve years."
In the musical interim, Foljahn departed and was replaced by a new elemental piece, virtuoso guitarist James
Mastro (Health and Happiness Show, Patti Smith, Ian Hunter). Their bond was immediate, as if their musical
talents were destined to augment each other. Megan ﬁnally began writing her third record. "I didn't want any
more time to pass without making music so I booked the studio time in advance when I had only four songs
written. Then I would tell people, 'I'm making a record soon,' thinking that if I said it enough it would happen.
And it did. I wrote whenever I could, so now I know that method works." The resulting album, The Well, marks
an enormous musical leap that mirrors the vast changes in Megan's personal life since Ghost was written.
The album title refers to the muse that lies deep within that propels the music. "Despite my fear that I had
used up all my talent on my ﬁrst two records and had nothing to offer, the best work I've ever done was lying
dormant all along, waiting for me to pay attention."
The Well is vast and deep, running from Memphis to New York. It's haunting and lovely. It's a breakout work.
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