Photo by Deneka Peniston, provided by the band.
In the Great Things Happening in Philadelphia Music Department, you can watch Hoots & Hellmouth work out new material over the course of four dates on Broad Street with what they’re calling a residency. Boot & Saddle and R5 are giving the local heroes carte blanche to take the stage every Wednesday of May. It’s a couple firsts for all parties involved, too: the first residency for the venue and for the band.
From the press release: “We are excited to hour our very first residency at the Boot & Saddle with a band that’s become an institution around Philly,” R5’s Sean Agnew says. “It’ll be fun to watch these shows develop and to watch who comes out each week.”
H&H are founding members Sean Hoots and Robert Berliner, but over the past few years, they’ve brought in Michael Reilly on drums and Todd Erk on bass.
Says Hoots: “We’re really looking forward to our first time in this room, and to be doing it under the auspices of a new material workshop/residency makes it all the more special. A fresh room for fresh experiments.”
It is pretty cool because we know that Hoots & Co. are open to experimentation and evolution. While they used to be way more of an acoustic band, in recent years, they’ve been down to introduce keys and electric guitars. They’ll be recording this summer, and it sounds like they’ve got a mix of new stuff and maybe just some hunches they want to explore before laying down any tracks in-studio.
Their full-length self-titled came out in 2007; 2009 saw their sophomore, Holy Open Secret; they’ve put out a couple EPs and singles since then, but this one sounds like their proper third. The presser says “a release format and date for this material is yet to be determined—for now, the band is simply content to bring exciting new sounds to their dedicated fanbase.”
Speaking of new material, we also got an email from B&S today that detailed some menu changes—and now, finally, there is a burger! The B+S Burger comes with smoked gouda, Banquet-braised pork belly and chili relish ($13). They’re also introducing a smoked rainbow trout salad ($10), a chilled spicy roasted beet sandwich ($9) and crispy chicken wings ($9) that are whiskey glazed and served with a raspberry honey mustard. DAMN. That all sounds good.
The Hoots shows are 21+ and $8 admission, and they’ve invited a guest to open each night, all of whom are solid picks: David Jacobs-Strain with Bob Beach (May 7), Ron Gallo from Toy Soldiers (May 14), Zach Eggleston from Outside Eyes (May 21) and Mike Cummings from Backwoods Payback (May 28).
In addition to these shows (and the burger), we’re pleased to see that B&S’s lineup is strong for the next couple months. Highlights include Woods and Quilt on Friday (4/25), Doug Paisley (5/5), Young Widows (5/20), Acid Mothers Temple (5/27), Divers with Kate Faust (6/6), Nothing (6/8), Joey Sweeney & the Long Hair Arkestra (6/11) and Swearin’ (6/13).
In what’s turned out to be one of the most exciting revelations of 2014, female alt-country’s love affair with dark and heavy rock has morphed into a seemingly triumphant genre, pulling together some of the freshest talent in the game. Jessica Lea Mayfield rounds out a very fine trilogy of young women who have all put out their third albums in the first third of 2014—joining Lydia Loveless and Angel Olsen in turning in banner years in their respective careers. Mayfield’s brand new one, Make My Head Sing…, has surprising flecks of heft along the lines of Nirvana and Dinosaur, Jr. The Akron native’s ties to Dan Auerbach (Black Keys) are well-documented; his presence as a player and producer on her first two yielded gentler, more pensive, wounded and emotional records. But this one, without her fellow Ohioan in the studio, has materialized a bit more sludge and grit—and it’s awesome. The opener, “Oblivious,” feels like the kind of rage and energy Marnie Stern’s trail-blazed for female shredders. “Do I Have The Time” tweezes out the sweet sadness of Hope Sandoval, while “Unknown Big Secret” idolizes My Bloody Valentine’s drawn-out drone.
Mayfield’s cited Nick Cave and Dave Grohl as spirit musicians, and like them, she’s just going for it, a true original on the rise giving zero fucks about conforming to a specific genre or aesthetic. That’s the kind of rock musician we cherish and revere.
9:15pm. $13-$15. With Gambles. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com
Over the past couple years, Philadelphia Black Gay Pride has experienced a renaissance of sorts. Celebrating 15 years strong with new, young leadership and ambitious partnering with a ton of different community friends, their 2014 Pride celebration is straight-up nuts. It’s so robust, we can’t even scratch the surface. (For real: Check out the thorough deets at phillyblackpride.org.) In fact, festivities are already in full swing, as it kicked off Sunday with a Mr./Miss Philadelphia Black Gay Pride at the Adrienne, and there’s a night for the youth at the Attic tonight.
The real meat-and-potatoes of PBGP’s line-up gets kicked off Wednesday: Tabu’s playing host to a College Night party called Frat House, a student cutie edition of Josh Schonewolf’s Ratchet Wednesday with appropriately-themed drinking games and giveaways. Then on Thursday, there’s a One Night Stand Poetry Slam at 4 Fathers, where some well-deserved finger snaps will be doled out, and a $75 prize goes to the best slam poet.
But Friday night’s when the weekend really gets turned up.
Celebrating 15 years, PBGP has really pulled out all the stops on this one: an early ball (6 to 8pm) at The Stadium Holiday Inn in South Philly that will be bonkers. They’re calling it a “Party Monster Mini Ball DELUXE.” Yes, there will be categories, from Butch Queen Face to “Old Way/New Way Pop Lock and Drop It.”” There are many more, including a Grand Prize Performance as a House—the winners take home $1,000—that’s certain to be worth the trip.
Still, there’s so much more: PBGP’s “Mind, Body & Soul Fair” on Saturday (noon to 3pm), which won’t be like most health fairs because there’ll be Zumba, yoga, health screens, manis, pedis and much more (Brice Johnston from “Survivor” will be there, and he’s real cute.); a “Single in the City” mixer, a clever riff on speed dating at Ladder 15 that won’t be tiresome or painful (4 to 6pm), and a Broadway brunch with the cast of Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical, including the super-fab, Tony-nominated Sheryl Lee Ralph. GAG! It’s at noon at Smokin’ Betty’s on Sunday, and it’s totally free. Stick around for the finale, too, a day party (1 to 6pm) at the RAW Courtyard on Sansom for some extended daytime drinking in the sun.
There are some sweet Uber deals to be had ($20 credits with a discount code) and tons of late-night party offerings, thanks to Christopher Hunter Entertainment’s Simply Christopher. He’s got nights at Encore (112 Chestnut) on Thursday, Vanity (2102 Market) on Friday, Voyeur (1221 St. James) on Saturday, and a super-fly “Sex on the Ceiling” White Party on Sunday night at Whisper (1712 Walnut) with R&B sweetie Sevyn Streeter as a special guest to bring the house down.
Happy Pride, brothers and sisters in LGBTQAness. Philly, let’s do this!
When I was a teenager, I absolutely LOVED “Possum Kingdom.” Does it not rule? It feels kind of like a golden age of rock ‘n roll in hindsight: I was really into Live and Weezer and Green Day, too. It’s on the album Rubberneck from 1994 – yup, 20 years ago. To celebrate and honor this classic time capsule of the kind of rock music that we played in tapes and through discman-to-tape-player-adapters, they’re touring it. And it stops in Philadelphia next week at the TLA, and we thought it’d be fun to just go back in time for a minute.
Strangely, they’re not alone in this time traveling exercise: Better Than Ezra and Joan Osborne and Fuel are coming, too (let’s stretch it and include Boyz II Men in June, as well). WHAT’S HAPPENING?!
Saturday, April 26, 8 p.m., with Supersuckers and Battleme, $29. Theatre of the Living Arts.
Saturday, April 26, 8 p.m., with Lizanne Knott, $42. World Cafe Live.
BETTER THAN EZRA
Monday, April 28, 8 p.m., with Jon McLaughlin and Tim Williams, $32. Theatre of the Living Arts.
Saturday, May 10, 1 p.m., with Jim Breuer, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, Volbeat, Redlight King, Dropkick Murphys, Rob Zombie, and John The Conqueror. $35-$75. Susquehanna Bank Center.
BOYZ II MEN
Saturday, June 7, 8 p.m., $27.50-$59.50. Tower Theater.
As you’re probably aware, Record Store Day brings out all kinds of special releases, deals and bands to our great city’s multitude of brick-and-mortar storefronts. There’s a totally dope Record Store Day directory on their bangin’ site, but we thought we’d tweeze out some highlights for you so you don’t have to.
For instance, Old City’s A.K.A. Music (27 N. 2nd St.), a perennial favorite, is doing it big. The store’s open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Little Baby’s Ice Cream will be conveniently parked outside with cases of beer on-hand, donated by our “neighbors” Narragansett. There is said to be many giveaways, as well: CDs, posters, etc. And that doesn’t even touch the line-up. Check out what our friend Meeme Choi has to report: “Lushes: Brooklyn-based rock duo who just released their first album, produced by Bachelorette. A.M. Mills: solo acoustic set from Blood Feathers [member] who opened up for War On Drugs at Union Transfer. Gardens & Villa: from California, opening up for Tycho later that night at UT; they’re on Secretly Canadian [and it will be a] stripped-down set. Ortolan: Just finished their tour supporting Of Montreal, an all female quartet from New Jersey who’ll be performing with a full band.” The sets start at noon with Ortolan, G&V’s at 1 p.m., A.M. Mills at 3 p.m., and Lushes bring the house down at 4 p.m.
Creep Records, in addition to doing it big with bands and sales, we’re happy to report, are also throwing a Grand Reopening on RSD (1050 N. Hancock St/The Piazza at Schmidt’s). They’ll have 10% off everything in the store and 25% off all Illadelph Glass merch. From their Facebook event, they say “We ordered EVERY RECORD STORE DAY EXCLUSIVE RELEASE so get in early on Saturday if you want those.” Their caps, not mine. Starting at 7 p.m. they’ve got a slew of bands: Backwoods Payback, Ex Friends, Goddamnit, Good Graces, and Families. Illadelph’s bringing in “never-before-seen” and “not-yet-released glass.” They’re only there from 4 to 10 p.m. on the 19th, though, and then they’re gone. The 25% doesn’t apply to the hyphenated-items-duh.
And then there’s Liquid Vinyl Underground (934 E. Moyamensing Ave.), a brand new baby vinyl destination in Queen Village. We begged Dave Tomar for details on his pet project and he kindly gave us the lowdown:
“We’re in from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. We started this business as a labor of love. Rich Miller, who owns the Queen Village pet store and dog-walking company Walk It Like a Dog, decided to transform his store’s storage basement into a place for sharing that love. We opened last spring and have gradually built a pretty decent collection of classics, rarities and unexpected finds. We only sell used vinyl at this point, with a few other odds and ends, like greeting cards, t-shirts and comic books. Largely though, it’s all about the LPs. Our prices vary widely from dollar bin stuff to some pretty hard-to-find older stuff in the $50 to $100 range. I think we probably have some of the more competitive prices in town. Our vibe is very college dorm, with a futon, movies and ceiling posters in town.”
Love it! East Moyamensing Avenue just got their own Beautiful World Syndicate. Happy shopping, friends!
Oh yeah, and props to our friend Joey Sweeney at Philebrity, who’s pushing “Records and Coffee” and sent this BITBY and La Société Expéditionnaire co-produced video in honor of RSD our way.
Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks
Enter The Slasher House
Sounds Like: Pretty much what you’d expect from the Animal Collective alum (maybe a little less pretentious); yes, there’s ominous darkness but the pretty pop synths and beats keep it cute.
Free Association: For the Williamsburg Halloween party that isn’t really about Halloween.
For Fans Of: Panda Bear/Stereolab + Ariel Pink, David Lynch x Mogwai, Sigur Ros, Blair Witch.
Sounds Like: The debut of Vienna-raised Christopher Taylor is right on trend – capturing the UK soul of James Blake; the sensual R&B softness of Rhye; and the androgyny of Autre ne Veut.
Free Association: Feeding fuel to the fire: must go to London and find where these guys spin.
For Fans Of: Jamie Woon + Burial x Lana Del Rey, M83 x James Vincent McMorrow, sweet Euroscruff.
With Light and with Love
Sounds Like: Brooklyn’s best freak folk and neo-psychedelic quartet put down the pipe to churn out their seventh stoner rock LP that draws heavily on classic rock touches like Crazy Horse.
Free Association: It’s pretty annoying when bands directly reference the Beatles – not here.
For Fans Of: Devendra Banhart x Mountain Goats + Cate Le Bon and the Dodos, couches in coach vans.
(Cabin 24/Mom + Pop)
Sounds Like: Aww! The 34-year-old who’s been destroying the TV series soundtrack game for about ten years gives us her sixth and it’s as light and lovely and inoffensive as you’d imagine.
Free Association: Sara Bareilles’ toughest opponent for Cute Cotton Commercial Jingle supremacy.
For Fans Of: A Fine Frenzy/Feist/Carole King/Michelle Branch, beige, eggshell, taupe, big sun hats.
The Afghan Whigs
Do to the Beast
Sounds Like: They return after 16 years of silence with a great effort – a fantastically nasty mix of soul, grit, edge and heart; expertly-made hard rock that’s tempered by age but spiked with screams.
Free Association: Cincinnati is proud today! Legends of ‘90s Grunge mature with artistic grace.
For Fans Of: Morphine x Nirvana + Dinosaur Jr., Screaming Trees + Bob Mould, Soul Asylum.
Jessica Lea Mayfield
Make My Head Sing…
Sounds Like: The young songwriter/shredder ditches Dan Auerbach (Black Keys) to work with her bassist husband for a wonderfully complex and rewarding LP drenched in country-fried feedback.
Free Association: The young pseudo-country lady rockers brigade just keeps growing in 2014.
For Fans Of: Laura Marling/Lisse x Lydia Loveless/Angel Olsen, languid and drowsy Marnie Stern.
It’s Hannah Montana against the “Half-Breed” goddess. Have a nice, clean fight, ladies:
It’s been a solid five months since PW last pitted some divas at each other’s throats. It doesn’t take much: dropping a record or sharing separate city stages on the same night or in the same week, maybe dropping a single that jockeys for another pop master’s top chart position. This week, Miley Cyrus and the incomparable Cher visit the Wells Fargo Center seven days apart. Typically, in the Diva Death Match world, I’ll take that as a white glove to the face—a frigid and intimidating stare. En garde!
We’ve applied the same five point-earning categories in every installment of this diva-celebrating contest, and Cyrus and Cher are no exception. They’re suited up—Cher in a Bob Mackie robe and Miley in plastic-wrap coochie cutters—and they look ready to do battle. Let’s see what happens!
Neither of these gals have a shred of real-deal street cred. But Cyrus tries (way too hard) to claim urban “realness” and—in grand fashion, thanks to “We Can’t Stop”—fails pretty miserably. Her large women-of-color props are red flags. You ain’t ‘hood, girl: You can throw on a grill and light up a blunt, but we all know you’re Billy Ray’s former-child-star daughter from Richkidville, Tennessee. Cher, on the other hand, has been around so long and done so many legit collaborations with artists who have genuine “urban radio” appeal, she’s like the O.G. of divas. You do not fuck with her.
Cyrus: 1, Cher: 3
SINGLES AND SALES
Clearly, if we were looking at sheer numbers, Cher has a whopping 25 albums to her name, including ‘98’s wildly successful Believe. But Cyrus’ Bangerz is less than a year old, and it’s platinum. Her singles have moved many units, and she shows no sign of slowing down. At this point, she’s poised to keep selling millions of records by shitting on the mic in the studio and having Nelly rap a verse while Mike WiLL Made It cleans it up. The children will cough it up on iTunes. That doesn’t stop Cher superfans from going out and buying every new record she puts out on vinyl, disc, tape and any other hard-copy format you can find.
Cyrus: 5, Cher: 4
The all-encompassing X-factor can really give a gal the edge. And fierceness can register on the radars of style, grace, dance abilities, showmanship, star power or simply glamour. There are certainly droves of queer people and folks born before 1970 who will swear that Cher is the epitome of a fierce diva. She has that regal, self-aware, surreal superstar status but doesn’t even seem to try—she’s like the Queen of Barely Moving. And while I’ve applauded Cyrus’ go-fuck-yourself attitude and blatant pot-smoking badassery, she ain’t that fierce. Who will ever forget her gross MTV Video Music Awards performance, backing up that flat azz onto Robin Thicke’s prison-striped crotch? S’gonna be tough to live that lowpoint down.
Cyrus: 2, Cher: 4
Strangely, this is a pretty weird category for these two. Do you love Cher because she can wail like a goat with elegance? Do Cyrus superfans not love her lawnmower hum? In the last half of her career, Cher’s taken to over-the-top ridiculous and super-produced dancefloor anthems that seem like pretty trite gay fodder. (Have you given 2013’s Closer to the Truth a spin? Listen to “Take It Like A Man,” and try not to smirk and raise eyebrows.) But it’s still great. And even though Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” doesn’t have much room for vocal performance, “Wrecking Ball” and “Adore You” do. Cher’s looking strong, but Cyrus turned up the heat in this round.
Cyrus: 3, Cher: 3
Cher was in “Moonstruck,” and her video for “If I Could Turn Back Time” in ‘89—Miley wasn’t born yet—was banned by MTV for her risque clothing. She’s got an Oscar, a Grammy, an Emmy, Golden Globes and a Cannes award. And though Cyrus has probably got some Kid’s Choice Awards on a mantle somewhere and will pick up a few boring Billboard Music Awards, she ain’t got shit on Cher. The ref—oh, look, it’s Cyndi Lauper!—raises Cher’s bejeweled arm. Maybe next time, youngster.
Cyrus: 4, Cher: 5
TOTALS: Cher: 19, Cyrus: 15.
Miley Cyrus: Mon., April 21, 7pm. $49.50-$89.50. Cher: Mon., April 28, 7:30pm. $25-$156. Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St. wellsfargocenterphilly.com