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Monday, December 22, 2014

X marks the tour spot for Philadelphia band

Three Philadelphia-based musicians are marking the spot with their North American tour.

Amanda X consists of Cat Park (guitar), Tiff Yoon (drums), and Kat Bean (bass). The three twenty-somethings came together in 2012 to play music.

“Our name comes from a prank call on ‘The Simpsons,’ when Bart calls Moe and asks for ‘Amanda Hugginkiss.’ Originally we were going to keep that name, but we thought it was too long,” said Park. “Then we tried Amanda XOXO, but we thought it was too cute, so finally we settled on ‘Amanda X.’”

“Amnesia” is their first LP, produced through Siltbreeze Records — a well-known American independent record label based in Philadelphia, she said.

The group played their first gig in Albuquerque last Thursday at Burt’s Tiki Lounge.

“We’re on tour to promote our new LP,” Park said. “This is our first time in Albuquerque, and my first time in the southwest. I’m really into it.”

Being on the road isn’t the most glamorous lifestyle, she said. However, touring the country to promote music that she is part of creating, for her, represents a dream come true.

“We play all sorts of venues from scummy basements to giant venues,” Park said. “But how many people get to drive across the country to play their music?”

Tom Lax, owner of Siltbreeze Records, said he was first attracted to the band because they reminded him of his rock ‘n’ roll past in the 1980s and ‘90s, he said.

“What attracted me to them was a distinct distillation with the past mixed in with their own harmony,” Lax said.

He described their sound as possessing “the post-punk stylings of The Raincoat beamed through a refractor to an unidentifiable Emo-gaze planet.”

Yet despite how others describe them, Park said their sound is something they are still trying figure out.

“We’re not really aiming for a specific sound,” Park said. “We just started playing together and this is what it sounds like. We just let other people describe it for us.”

Considering Bean and Yoon had never played their respective instruments prior to the formation of the band, they have found a sound that defines them, Bean said.

Bean’s only prior experience in music before joining “Amanda X” was being part of her high school marching band, she said.

“[Back home] everyone that you know is probably in a band,” Bean said, “and they’re probably in other bands with other people you know. There are basement shows all over, which makes it easy to book a tour.”

Park feels the local scene back home is very conducive to pursuing a career in music, and situations like those Bean described occur often, she said.

“Me and Tiff live in a big warehouse with like ten other musicians,” Park said. “There’s a drum set in every room and we all just play music all the time.”

Park said that for now Amanda X will continue their national tour to promote “Amnesia.”

They hope to play at similar venues on the road to California, ultimately terminating in Canada before they return home to Philadelphia, she said.

Tomas Lujan is assistant culture editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at cultureassistant@dailylobo.com or on Twitter 
@TomasVLujan.