October 15th, 2012 5:35 pm
A week from tomorrow marks the release of Glen Rock, NJ’s Titus Andronicus’ third LP, Local Business. If you weren’t already sold on the stellarness of their first two (2008’s The Airing Of Grievances and 2010’s The Monitor), you still might be floored by the talent evident in this record. Fine, so Glen Rock is a solid two-hour drive northeast from Philly and practically sits on top of Yonkers, but they’re still our neighbors and fondly patronize our clubs and concert halls. IN FACT: the day that T.A. release this fantastic new LP, they’ll kick of their North American tour right here in Philadelphia.
PUNK IS BACK, they’re proclaiming. And how. The new one rips. It has that faint hint of a Dropkick Murphy kind of punk. The kind of punk that has soaring, bagpipe-friendly screamo choruses but wouldn’t dream of touching that deadly moniker emo. This record may be full of emotions, but would most definitely sweep that kind of shit under the rug and then plant their distortion pedals on top of it to be finessed by Vans. They cite Pulp and Neutral Milk Hotel as influencers of sound but could easily be found alongside: Constantines, Suuns, Foals, Hot Hot Heat, The Gaslight Anthem and The Replacements.
October 12th, 2012 11:02 am
Fri., Oct. 12
Wow. It’s been almost 40 years since Rush, the fabled Canadian rock trio, released their first album called, well, Rush. And the band is still at it 18 studio albums later. Clockwork Angels is their latest masterpiece, born with a story so enormous that drummer Neil Peart published a book alongside its release, telling the tale of a boy following his dreams. Although Peart isn’t Rush’s original drummer, he is the band’s primary songwriter, and in 1997, the band took a temporary break when a double tragedy struck him: He lost his beloved daughter to a car accident, and soon after, his wife to cancer. But it seems nothing can break the bond of this perilous rock band. Soaring album reviews suggest that the Clockwork Angels tour will excite both newbies and the Rushiest of Rush fans. As it should. -Caroline Newton
7:30pm. $43-$123. Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St. 215.336.3600. wellsfargocenterphilly.com
Sat., Oct. 13
Critic’s Pick: The Robert Glasper Experiment
The Houston-born, Brooklyn-based pianist Robert Glasper and his Experiment comes to the World Cafe Live hot on the heels of his new CD, Black Radio Recovered: The Remix EP, a six-track project featuring reworked and unreleased tracks from his masterpiece, Black Radio.
“I wanted this album to be an album that people don’t know what the fuck to call it,” Glasper told PW by phone from Chicago. “I wanted to tap into every part of black music.”
Glasper’s economic and elegant pianism is supported by a dynamic mix of skilled MCs, notable singers and acclaimed producers. 9th Wonder and Phonte add a dancing shade of gray on the jazz standard “Afro Blue,” featuring Erykah Badu. Pete Rock adds Now Rule nuances to the title track, laced with Yasiin Bey’s insurgent invocations, contrasted by Georgia Anne Muldrow’s eerie take on “The Consequences of Jealousy” with Meshell Ndegeocello. Questlove, the Roots and Solange Knowles brew up a not-so-quiet storm on “Twice,” and Glasper and Jewels deliver a pulsating, piano-centric take on David Bowie’s “Letter to Hermione” with Bilal.
“Each producer I choose is melodically inclined,” says Glasper. “They know the right chords to get from a song.”
The last track, “Dillalude #2,” is a moving piece dedicated to the late uber-producer Dilla, with whom Glasper first worked in 1999. “(Dilla) was the only producer that I know who changed the way musicians play their instruments,” he says. “The way I lay my chords, the way I play a chord over a beat, the feel of it, I get from Dilla. That’s why I do tributes to him.”
Glasper’s blend of jazz and hip-hop is parallel to the way bebop musicians in the ‘40s added their own melodies and rhythms to the pop standards of the day. So don’t except some Du Bois-style, double-consciousness angst from him regarding his musical identity. “I’m a hip-hop musician, and I’m a jazz musician,” Glasper declares. “Jazz musicians remix every time they play, and hip-hop is the daughter of jazz. Without jazz, there probably wouldn’t be no hip-hop, which is why it’s so easy to blend them. But at the same time, they are two different disciplines. You have to study both of them.” -Eugene Holley
Sat., Oct. 13, 8pm. $20-$28. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. worldcafelive.com
Sun., Oct. 14
When MTV crowned A Hard Day’s Night director Richard Lester the “father of music videos,” he quipped that he’d like a blood test. He wasn’t joking: The music film has existed in some form since the dawn of cinema. The Phonoscène, which synched a sound recording to a silent film, was created in 1902, and Warner Bros.’ Vitaphone music shorts began in 1926. In the late 1950s, the French company Cameca invented the Scopitone, a twist on the jukebox that played 16mm music films in bars and cafes. It was an idea pilfered from the Soundies of the 1940s, and the craze, which spread through Europe and America, lasted till the late 1960s. Secret Cinema, which has toured the world with their considerable Scopitone collection, will again unleash their wares, ranging from the American (Nancy Sinatra, Paul Anka), the French (Françoise Hardy, Johnny Hallday) to the obscure (Los Brutos, a quartet of Jerry Lewis impersonators). -Matt Prigge
2pm. $5-$8. Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge St., Phoenixville. 610.917.0223. thecolonialtheatre.com
PLUS: UT’s got Calexico and the Dodos tonight, Swans tomorrow, and The Temper Trap on Sunday night, AND The Electric Factory’s got GWAR tonight, AND, OMG, Underground Arts will host Sloan on Saturday night, AND The Keswick hosts Los Lonely Boys tonight, AND the TLA will have ALESANA tonight and Borgore and White Panda tomorrow night, AND The Tower’s got Heart tonight and Celtic Thunder tomorrow night.
October 11th, 2012 5:16 pm
This is a real thing that’s actually happening.
Once upon a time, I wrote a post about moving from Center City to South Philly and bumpin’ that U-Haul’s radio when we heard “Instagram That Hoe.” But I couldn’t find ANYTHING about it on the internet. Well, Gawker figured it out. And here you have it:
October 11th, 2012 4:00 pm
But what does Nas have to do with Maybach Music? Nothing, right?
October 10th, 2012 3:05 pm
Last night we took in the World Cafe set of Canadian indie rock stalwart Jason Collett. It was not crowded.
1. A quick head count upon docking at the bar revelaed a 21-person attendance. Man that’s brutal. Tift Merritt was downstairs. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah was at the Church. But, uh, where was everyone? Was it a new Glee episode or something?
2. Despite playing to such a slim turnout, his spirits were high and mighty. His tone was jovial, warm and pleasant. He told stories, explained songs, announced titles and gave earnest “Thank you”s when sparse applause greeted the end of each song. Class act, this one.
3. 2005’s Idols of Exile is a friggen’ great record. If you haven’t heard it, please give it a listen. It’s a gold standard of excellent singer-songwriter indie rock. He got the lovely and talented Emily Haines and Amy Milan to guest on a couple tracks – also stellar talents. It’s full of warm, sunny and thoughtful tracks. A favorite, “We All Lose One Another” was an early standout of his set.
4. Ever the Dapper Dan, he looked classy in desert boots, slim denim, a vest and button down shirt. Still lookin’ like a touring troubadour, though, he’s got messy long hair. He played a bunch of his new tracks from the distinctly more political LP Reckon. A departure from his normal content which tends to focus more on humanity, love, hurt and heart.
5. Before he performed “High Summer,” a charming track from 2010’s Rat a Tat Tat, he explained an anecdote from it about safe sex. See there’s a Canadian author, Pierre Burton, who once talked about sex in a canoe. Safe sex in a canoe is sex that simply does not tip over the canoe. Must be challenging; think about it.
6. “Reckon is full of little ditties,” he said. “This one’s about infidelity – I guess that makes it an infideliditty. Sometimes I’m so damn clever.” Yup.
7. The full band helped everything. He had a killer organist, an electric bassist and guitarist, and a thumpin’ simple-kitted drummer. He switched between acoustic and electric, himself, and towards the end the keysman took to the kit and the drummer picked up an electric guitar. Don’t you love that?
8. There’s a track on 2008’s Here’s to Being Here that’s called “Charlyn, Angel of Kensington.” See, Kensington’s also a neighborhood in Toronto that a lady named Charlyn nearly single-handedly saved from an overhaul that’d wipe out the character and nature of the mixed and culturally-diverse section of the city. It is now a vibrant, eclectic and healthy ‘hood and wouldn’t that be nice if we could say the same for our Kenzo?
9. His clever take on current times translates into a focus on songs of hard times in this bullshit economy. On the new disc, there’s a track called “I Wanna Rob A Bank.” It’s about being poor and how much a big bag o’ money would be nice (in theory). “I want a TKO on the CEO,” he sang. On “Black Diamond Girl,” he comments on the way that tough times dictate what’s in vogue (fashion-wise). So black diamonds can be worn again because no one can afford clear ones – which is ironic to him because he’s worked in construction and they’re used heartily in said trade for function, not because they’re pretty.
10. He also did some classics like “Hangover Days,” “I’ll Bring The Sun,” “Blue Sky,” and “You’re Not The One And Only Lonely One.” Incidentally, I got to introduce myself to the man and he was as classy in person as his catalogue and stage presence suggest. He’s political, knowledgeable and had interesting things to say about the music industry. His “bread and butter,” as he put it, is licensing. And he may have kicked himself in the ass by putting out a record that’s political and, well, liberal. But, hey, at least it comes to him naturally. Unlike lots of musicians who’ve made careers out of bending their art to commercial gain.
October 9th, 2012 11:27 am
In one of the most refreshing first-listens in recent memory, we recently stumbled upon Katie Frank’s first EP, Covered Bridge Road, on BITBY, a record she worked on with local producer-engineer Josh Werblun. It came out a few weeks ago and you can give it a listen on SoundCloud. The Temple grad and West Philadelphian’s got a voice. The record’s definitely got a country flavor, but more in the strain of one of our recent favorites, Lissie, and classic lady singers like Neko Case, Maria Taylor, Lucinda Williams or Brandi Carlile. She’s no Tanya Tucker. She’s got the good sense to blend elements of pop, gospel, blues and soul into the mix and it should help her catch on with a bigger, wider audience.
She recently got her spot blown by Phrequency and XPN’s Helen Liecht. And hopefully the accolades will keep on comin’ as her EP spreads through the land. The Elizabethtown native plays with a band she calls The Pheremones, filled out by Jon McNally on drums, Greg Orlando on bass, and Matt Jurasek and Werblun lending electric guitar and vocal support. You can catch her on October 19th at The Grape Room in Manayunk. Go ‘head and LIKE her on Facebook.
October 8th, 2012 2:44 pm
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: