Juan Wauters “Sanity or Not” - Philadelphia, Pa

Before Juan Wauters took the stage a few weeks at Underground Art, he had a quick rehearsal backstage with two of his good friends joining him on stage. Here’s “Sanity Or Not” from those makeshift backstage rehearsals. We’d also like to give a special shot out to Mac Demarco for his hype man appearance at the end. 

White+ “Feitan” / Out Of Town Films

Earlier this year we took a trip to Beijing, China where we met several bands on a small label called Maybe Mars. The label’s office was above a divey bar called XP Bar, and the location of where we filmed their bands. This band, White +, is a side project of Shou Wang, guitarist and lead vocalist for perhaps China’s biggest indie act Carsick Cars. 

As we mentioned previously, we were surprised to see the transformation from pure indie rock to an electronic amalgamation, with intricate rhythms and textures comprising the nearly 8 minute tune of “Feitan.” 

Cheers Elephant “Doin It Right” / Out Of Town Films

Our buds in Cheers Elephant recorded this session with us literally a few days before they left their home of Philadelphia greener grass on the West Coast. The place we filmed in was a former DIY venue called Bookspace, which has books stacked from floor to ceiling, giving off incredible aesthetic and feel to the room. We’ve released a few videos from this session already, and here’s the last in the series with a song called “Doin’ It Right.”



There was solid conversation happening in Philadelphia’s creative crowd the last day or two. Hell, it got “notable enough” it was talked about on Pitchfork, Noisy, et al. But the most lucid thoughts pushed into the mediascape was this gem by Philly artist Stephen Powers:


Graffiti? Who cares? Everybody, apparently. Some people love it enough to donate time and resources to painting it. Some people hate it enough to donate time and resources to painting over it. Really the graffiti writer and the buffman (and it’s always a man) are more or less the same. They both make a mark on a wall that doesn’t belong to them, they don’t make it better or worse, just different. Writers are winning in that theirs is the mark of humanity that says “I’m here.” The buffers are losing because theirs is the folly of humanity—to try and sweep waves off the beach.

Graffiti in Philadelphia hasn’t changed much in 40 years, but the attitude of the public toward graffiti has changed in several ways since the halcyon days of Cornbread. First everybody loved it, then everybody got tired of it, then Mr. Blint and Razz and the class of 1980 made it cool again. By 1984, it was hated enough to get a guy who promised to get rid of it elected mayor. And that hate persisted all the way until after the National Guard came to Kensington and buffed walls in the run up to the Democratic National Convention—I think the entire city got buffed once and for all. And once graffiti was gone, people got nostalgic for it, and now in 2014 people like it again. The Mural Arts program has gotten fewer and fewer complaints about it over the years, and now my application of a medium to a surface, once hated, is now appreciated. Progress!

Jane Golden has been watching this change in attitudes as long as I have, and we’ve talked it through. In the 30 years since the Anti-Graffiti Network started, people have come to understand that graffiti is no big deal. All the walls got clean and it’s still easy to cop heroin and die in the street, proving the “broken windows” theory is broken.

On saturday a guy named Lee, misguided about graffiti and out of his mind, buffed the wall ICY SIGNS painted for Kurt Vile’s Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze record. Misguided because he thought our commissioned album design was responsible for the graffiti in the neighborhood. Out of his mind because he was using a crappy 1/4 inch nap roller and interior paint. ICY SIGNS recommends 3/4 inch nap and KILZ exterior primer/sealer.

Lee got caught mid-buff, and was washed out by a wave of internet indignation that was hilarious to me and every other writer I know, past and present. None of us can believe anybody gives a care about spraypaint on a wall. As I’ve been telling the buffman since the 80s, graffiti isn’t permanent—the sun is going to take care of it, eventually, and sooner than you think. So, buffman, go solve a real problem, how about shutting down the open air drug market a mile away? Too hard? Tell me about it, you know how long it took me to get a good hand style?

When we first painted the wall, we left the tags that were already on the wall when we started. I thought they were kids from the neighborhood and I wanted to leave them up and make them part of the design. I painted the lower half of the wall as fast and as fun as I could, with the same joy as I painted graffiti when I was 17 and free as I will ever be. Turns out the kids were from Baltimore, but a few Philadelphians snuck prints onto the wall and consequently onto Kurt’s album and in doing so returned graffiti to its rightful place on the Philadelphia cultural landscape, dead center where it doesn’t belong.

We’ll fix the wall, it will be better than it was in the first place (it’s ALWAYS better the second time). Lee the buffman is retired, now he’s Lee Major Crimes Unit. We forgive Lee, we don’t want anybody in trouble for painting a wall. And graffiti will come and go as it has since the caves in Lascaux. Let’s all go back to not caring too much either way.

I spent the weekend finishing the painting for our next print, which of course speaks implicitly and explicitly to the situation at hand, you know how I do. We are taking orders for this 24” x 24” hand pulled screen print on 334 gram Coventry Rag paper. It will be a signed and numbered edition of 50 in black and coral (or Chanel peach, whatever looks better). It’s $200 plus shipping, email espoprints@gmail.com with your location and we’ll send a Paypal invoice. Proceeds go to spray paint and loosies from the corner store on Front Street, buy now, we’ll ship on July 14. Oh the painting is on hold, but thanks for asking.

No Sinner “If Anything” / Out Of Town Films

When Vancouver’s No Sinner were in town for WXPN’s NonCOMMvention, they rented a house for a few days in South Philadelphia. Right down the street from the famous cheesesteak places, Geno’s and Pat’s. They spent a few days in the city playing two shows and exploring. 

We met up with the band on the stoop of their temporary South Philly home to document a few stripped down acoustic songs. The first being “If Anything”.