October 8th, 2012
Remember when Sufjan Stevens was the literary troubadour that charmed us with those gems Illinois (2005) and Michigan (2003)? MAN, THOSE WERE THE DAYS. Then we got the weirdness of The BQE and The Age of Adz, though Age was solid new material, BQE was a conceptual album that didn’t really stick. One listen was enough. Soon, he’ll be giving us another batch of Christmas songs.
On November 13, Stevens delivers Silver & Gold: Songs For Christmas, Vols. 6-10, a five-EP box set of originals and covers that adds to his 2006-released Songs For Christmas, Vols. 1-5. The box set will also include stickers, temporary tattoos, an “apocalyptic” poster, an ornament, lyric and chord sheets and “hallucinogenic photographs and psychedelic graphic design.” Oh, and the title of this month-long seasonal North American tour: “Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long: Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant on Ice.” Oh, he’s just so kooky, isn’t he!? Christmas music is already a gray area where questionably-successful and talented musicians tip-toe and rarely succeed. When was the last time a pop artist gave us a smash hit holiday record? It wasn’t Bieber, alright? It was Mimi.
Ten days after the release of this decidedly non-Pagan holiday send-up, he’ll kick his tour off right here in Philadelphia at Union Transfer on November 23rd. Cool? I just don’t know anymore. Watch this mind-numbingly strange stop-motion clip that seems to be a song from this new collection:Monday, October 8th, 2012 Posted in News | No Comments »
September 4th, 2012
Complex magazine got their hashtag search on at Instagram, and came away with what they feel are the 50 best from Jay-Z’s Budweiser Made In America festival. Check it out, and see if you agree with them.Tuesday, September 4th, 2012 Posted in News | 1 Comment »
August 28th, 2012
Beanie Sigel is about to check into his second home, Jail. This time it’s for tax evasion. He thinks taxes should be illegal. As he explained it to MTV’s Sway in this video, “If I fix your roof and you wanna pay me in 20 pounds of bananas, do you think Uncle Sam wants 45 percent of my bananas? But because you paying me $400,000 in currency he wants a part of that, but my mom don’t got no brother named Sam, so I don’t have no Uncle Sam.” Makes sense!
Anyway, his big pre-Serving Time record is called, appropriately, This Time. Yesterday it got a measly 6.0 from Pitchfork, not exactly a nice parting gift. From the review:
For his longtime fans, then, This Time is poignant, not least of all because Beanie still sounds like himself: one of the hardest-hitting, soulful, and eloquent rappers of the last 15 years. The production surrounding him on This Time isn’t just cheap-sounding, it’s unimaginative, rote and generic, like Beanie prepared his verses ahead of time and then spent an afternoon matching them to random instrumentals sitting on his hard drive. He has always quoted Biggie liberally, but some of these raps are more Biggie quote than Beanie verse. It’s a rushed affair from start to finish, and it mostly serves to demonstrate the degree to which this great rapper has isolated himself.
Of course, the Pitchfork review of the record is only one of many. Most of the other outlets regarded it much more highly.
With plenty of slick metaphors, complex wordplay and hard-hitting rhymes, Sigel comes out on top This Time. It’s just unfortunate that he has to do time. Hopefully—for the sake of rap fans—it’s his last time.
…this sharp and inspired album is further proof that Beanie feeds on that hard-time-coming pressure, but he’s more in the Wesley Snipes zone than Pablo Escobar territory here, and that glorious, urban dream depicted on the cover comes right through the speakers.
This Time isn’t Sigel’s strongest endorsement as an emcee—that would be The B. Coming—but it is a testament to his impeccable ability to select production … The Broad Street Bully may be headed to the clink, but he leaves behind an excellent album, which will hopefully sate fans until his parole date.
Tuesday, August 28th, 2012 Posted in News | No Comments »
August 27th, 2012
We spent a few days with Freeway at SXSW a couple years back, and we’ve truly never met a more grounded, down to earth artist who has accomplished as much as he has. Dude is so nice and quiet and his ego doesn’t firebombing every other personality trait, which is downright bizarre in hip-hop today which is all one dick swinging swag show. That year, 2010, was the last Freeway has put out a major release, but now comes word of another on the horizon. He’s just inked a deal with NYC’s Babygrande Records. The album will be called Diamond in the Ruff, and will feature guest appearances from Wale, Styles P, Musiq Soulchild and more. Diamond’s release date is set for November 13th. Go Free!Monday, August 27th, 2012 Posted in News | No Comments »
August 22nd, 2012
Back in April, we were pretty friggen’ excited to get to see Daughn Gibson’s first performance ever as a solo artist at Ortlieb’s in Northern Liberties. Sure, he’d been in some bands before (Pearls and Brass), but since his debut record came out, All Hell, the local hero chose to dip his toes in the performance pond here in Philadelphia. Well his record was a hit, and nearly every music critic in America pretty much agreed. Our friend Elliot Sharp took significantly more time in our paper to explain the delicacies and intricacies of the man’s deep and beautiful voice (and sound).
A press release came over this morning:
“We at Sub Pop are absolutely thrilled to announce that Daughn Gibson has joined our label roster. The charismatic crooner and sound sculptor, will release his label debut worldwide on Sub Pop in 2013.”
“Daughn Gibson hails from the Cumberland Valley town of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The charismatic crooner and sound sculptor’s music sets his subversively witty and colorful tales against an engaging blend of electronic, country and blues. Gibson’s spirited, DIY approach is informed by his time spent playing in punk and metal bands and stints as a cross-country truck driver. His deep baritone adds to the allure, which posits the handsome balladeer in territory explored by the greats. He’s earned comparisons to the likes of Lee Hazelwood, Scott Walker and Arthur Russell, and contemporary artists like Nicolas Jaar, Magnetic Fields and James Blake.”
You can listen to a new track “commemorating” his signage on his SoundCloud called “Reach Into The Fire.” It samples Shabazz Palaces and Tiny Vipers. And while he has a massive slew of tour dates booked into November, and we’re quite proud that he’ll support Yeasayer from August 22 to September 1, none of them are even close to Pennsylvania. HOWEVER, there’s an Allentown, PA one-off at The Sportsman Cafe with Merchandise on September 11th. Shouldn’t be more than an hour-and-a-half drive.
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 Posted in News | No Comments »
August 16th, 2012
So a perusal of Pitchfork’s record reviews today landed us on the review of Swearin’ and their new one on Salinas records. The Fork gave it a whopping 7.8 and let us listen to one track, “Here to Hear,” which has a ton of energy. They’re one of those bands that has a name that makes it hard to Google (like The Internet), and their Tumblr doesn’t give you much info about them. Their Facebook page is a bit more helpful and you should probably go ahead and ‘Like’ them. However, try the If You Make It site and you can listen to a few songs for free. And some crafty YouTubing might land some gems, like the below-embedded “Kenosha.” This is their self-titled debut after an EP called What a Dump. And from the digging we’ve done, the place you should probably go to buy it is at the Salinas Records site.
One of the key players here is Allison Crutchfield, who so kindly responded to a few emails. She confirmed there is a Philly connection: “There is a Philly connection! Our drummer lives in Philly currently, but the rest of us are moving there September 1st! So we will soon be a full-time Philly band.” THAT IS SOME GREAT NEWS.
To describe their style? Punk that’s listenable and friendly to crowds. We’re not talking about punk rock that’s going to guarantee a bloody nose if you attend a show. Well, it COULD do that. But more like punk rock that aligns with the Japandroids or Sleater-Kinney. And because Crutchfield is a woman, feminists are down with her brand of thrash and shout. They come to Philadelphia as a foursome with another key player, as Pitchfork seems to know, being Crutchfield’s bf, Kyle Gilbride. They met after Allison had already wowed people with her band P.S. Eliot. They also rip but broke up almost a year ago. In fact, in that band, she was the drummer. So she can wail on a kit and then pick up a guitar and melt faces? IMPRESSIVE.
They just did a show at the opening of Little Baby’s Ice Cream. You know we wrote a cover story about those boys who were once in bands and now peddle brilliant dairy desserts, right? They’re friends with Jeff. Which can’t hurt our welcoming them into our fair city’s bosom. As for the near future, they’re on a bit of a tour hiatus but they’ve got some September dates booked. After some digging, we found out that they’re going to support Tenement on September 11th at the Golden Tea House. And then with The Two Funerals on September 17th (venue TBA).Thursday, August 16th, 2012 Posted in News, Reviews | No Comments »
August 3rd, 2012
Just announced! Arthur Kade is the newest addition to Jay-Z’s Budweiser Made In America Festival. As we told you some time ago, Kade’s doing lots of celebrity interviews, and so Jay has tapped him to interview bands between sets.
No, not really. But– woah– that photo!Friday, August 3rd, 2012 Posted in News | No Comments »