From our Philly Now calendar this week:
PrideDay Parade and Festival
Pride means a lot of things to a lot of different people. For some, their first, it’s a day they’ve been looking forward to eagerly just to be surrounded by queerness and celebration. For a host of others, out for decades, rejoicing in the brother- and sisterhood of gay simply never gets old. For 362 days of the year, we have pride in our own individualistic ways. But in June, for one weekend of every year, we come together in the spirit of Harvey Milk and Giovanni’s Room to shout “We’re here! We’re queer!” And with Philly Pride celebrating a quarter century of PrideDay this year, folks are having no problem getting used to it.
Friday night is a kick-off block party on 12th Street between Walnut and Spruce from 6 to 11 p.m.; word is that there’ll be a mechanical shark to ride, something called a “wrecking ball” and outdoor dancing, followed by Gayborhood revelry. On Saturday, you get the William Way Center’s homecoming and the annual Philadelphia Dyke March. Then on Sunday, the city explodes with rainbows. Starting at noon at the intersection of 13th and Locust, the PrideDay Parade finishes with a Penn’s Landing destination, where things’ll get a little weird and very gay. More than 150 groups and organizations are participating, and so is the evilly bewitching reality TV star Omarosa Manigault, with Henri David as the fest’s master of ceremonies. Miss and Mr. Philly Gay Pride will be heralded, youth grand marshals will beam, and gays will dance until their legs hurt. Pride month is here! And it is most certainly queer. Check out phillypride.org for tons of details.
And a few unofficial words to the wise: Drink lots of water, and stay hydrated, especially if you’re gonna consume alcohol. It’s a long weekend in the sun, and a sunburn is uncomfortable, not cute, dangerous to your skin and probably will make you get sick and dehydrated before you know it. So, a little sunscreen goes a long way. Don’t leave that drink unattended; you know the drill. Have a friend you trust hold it while you go pee or flirt. And, of course, be smart about drugs; don’t buy em’ from creeps, and don’t take em’ if you don’t know what they’re capable of. This is not the weekend to go that buckwild — just enjoy yourself responsibly, and you’ll have no regrets come Monday.
A little bee dropped this gem onto mah Facebooks earlier this week, and I wasn’t ready for this jelly. Oddly, “Bubble Butt” was far and away my favorite track on the mediocre sophomore follow-up, Free The Universe, a limp effort compared to the instant classic Guns Don’t Kill People … Lazers Do. Well, the fourth single just dropped from it, and it’s the album’s saving grace (Spin agrees): the Bruno Mars, Tyga and Mystic joint “Bubble Butt”—and it’s got a video. Holy hell, does it have a video.
And not surprisingly, they went with Eric Wareheim to helm this one. You got it: That’s Eric of the Tim & Eric duo. He’s responsible for the eye-bugging daggering-full video for “Pon de Floor,” too—now, two of the best videos in their video-heavy YouTube’s presence. Wareheim’s an Owl, guys! Diplo and Wareheim have one twisted, bugged out visionary partnership, and we are not mad.
I’d like to lift this from Stereogum’s Clare Lobenfeld: “The clip features three girls still riding the #seapunk wave, lackadaisically twerking for Tumblr until they’re confronted with a booty-popping she-giant of sorts. The result is bouquet of bountiful butts bouncing along to guest vocals from 2 Chainz, Bruno Mars, Tyga and Mystic. It is absolutely not safe for work, unless bethonged bottoms are OK in your office.” Which is funny, because I went around the office yesterday and tried to get as many people to watch it as possible.
Song of the summer contender!
On The Record: James Blake, British Sea Power, The Knife, Tyga, Iron & Wine, And The Shouting Matches
Sounds like: The follow-up to the U.K. producer/singer’s debut is a sad and thoughtful new batch that brilliantly fuses soul, R&B, hip-hop and dance beats.
Free association: Amazing that he got RZA; these two together’s a revelation.
For fans of: Jamie Woon x Radiohead + Burial, Joni/Feist, neo-soul x London.
British Sea Power
Machineries of Joy
Sounds like: The self-mytholgizineg indie Brit rock titans whip up their sixth LP, a batch inspired by Ray Bradbury, and it’s eerie, haunting and pretty.
Free association: Why, yes, we do like rock music—yours specifically/especially.
For fans of: Arcade Fire/Interpol/The Libertines, Joy Division, smart rockers.
Shaking the Habitual
Sounds like: Didn’t see this coming: 100 minutes of weirdo noise, as the Swedish siblings Dreijer’s fourth messes with us hard. No pop hits or dance dirges here.
Free association: This is kind of a challenging listen, with a few moments of euphoria.
For fans of: Fever Ray/Aphex Twin, Bjork x Austra + Death Grips, Scandinavian darkness.
(Young Money/Cash Money/Republic)
Sounds like: Another hilariously over-the-top, sex-obsessed and feature-littered affair, his third, and it doesn’t have a “Rack City” on it; basic blunted misogyny.
Free association: One reviewer: more “Ramada Inn than Four Seasons.” Ouch!
For fans of: Rick Ross/Lil Wayne/2 Chainz/Wiz/Chris Brown/Nicki, lady privates.
Iron & Wine
Ghost on Ghost
Sounds like: South Carolinian and art/music academic Sam Beam dazzles on his sixth, his fullest (mad instruments) and yet somehow most nuanced to date.
Free association: More than 10 years after his Sub Pop debut, the journey he’s on is awesome.
For fans of: Paul Simon/Will Oldham x Elliot Smith, saxes, choirs, sunsets/bare feet.
The Shouting Matches
Sounds like: Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon reunites with Eau Claire buds he’s been playing and recording with for ages for an LP of soulfully bluesy roots rock.
Free association: Way more fun than B.I.—thank goodness, he’s having fun.
For fans of: Tom Petty x old (good) Band of Horses/Black Keys, howlin’ over organs.
Sounds like: The fifth by the ultimate American modern rock band is their final contractual obligation to RCA and a stirring, excellent finale of sexy glamrock.
Free association: The perfect mix of L.A. and NYC, punk and pop, scuz and swag.
For fans of: Franz Ferdinand/Arctic Monkeys + Spoon x Suicide, tight jeans & leathers.
Sounds like: The Seattle-based band moniker of Michael Benjamin Lerner’s fourth LP is a shining beacon of quality buoyant power indie pop and rock. It’s a keeper.
Free association: A sunny oscillation between calm/quiet and loud/fast/in your face.
For fans of: Chris Walla/Death Cab x Spoon/Swimmers x Mini Tigers, summer rock.
I Am Not a Human Being II
Sounds like: The mind-blowingly crunk follow-up mixtape is full of his laughably bragadocious dick-and-pussy hip-hop, and it’s worth many spins.
Free association: He’s such an over-the-top “alien” that his misogyny is a joke.
For fans of: 2 Chainz/Big Sean/Drake/Nicki Minaj x Trina, sativa seizures.
Sounds like: Glasgow rookies who have a promising future using beautiful synths, pretty female vocals, electronic and dance-friendly beats ripe for the club.
Free association: Good thing they’re usin’ that V—makes em’ way more Googleable.
For fans of: Small Black x the Knife, Niki & the Dove + Robyn, the hot new thing.
Girl Who Got Away
Sounds like: The fourth from the quiet UK pop juggernaut, and it’s a delightful detour into electronica, with more beats and danciness than ever before.
Free association: You know a collaboration with Kendrick Lamar’s only good news.
For fans of: Aimee Mann, Kate Bush, Bic Runga x Suzanne Vega, white flags.
Sounds like: Their third, these idiots from Colorado Springs are just so desperate to move past “Apologize,” but they’ll only ever be that band.
Free association: A fancy, big production budget, and they still sound like Owl City.
For fans of: Keane/U2, Maroon 5 + Coldplay + The Fray, American Idol-level talent.
10 Things We Saw, Heard, And Learned At #Faymeproblems Starring Alaska Thunderfuck At Tabu Last Night
Tammy Faymous can host a party. She’s a qualified and talented emcee and last night she invited RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5 contestant Alaska Thunderfuck to grace Philadelphia with her presence. It was fun.
1. Tammy had a bit of a stage built up on the second floor of Tabu, a welcome addition to make better sight lines and create more of a performance space. It’s nice to have a living room feel to a drag show but last night was much more of a stage performance and it worked.
2. It started shortly after 11:30pm with Tammy wearing an unconventionally large, tall platinum wig with hints of pale pink in it. She started by toying us with the first few measures of Beyonce’s “End of Time” before she told us it wasn’t going to be that kind of show and if we didn’t like it, the door’s downstairs and Voyeur’s across the street before ripping into “Bitch” by Meredith Brooks.
3. Luna Lavey, Philly’s long-legged faerie princess nailed out a punk-flavored number and then the dark and beautiful Aeryanah Von Moi brought sultry R&B flavor. But then Maddy Milan delivered on bizarro beauty with her giant, swinging bush-anchored limp dick. Seriously, Maddy always brings it with her elaborately-handmade bodysuits and this one was perfectly over-the-top.
4. The Goddess Isis, who never disappoints, swooped in and did a Taylor Dayne song called “Original Sin,” the theme from The Shadow. She wore horns that made her look like the evil queen from Snow White. Isis always nails whatever vibe she’s trying to pull off and her witchy, Wiccan, Stevie Nicks enchantress ways were not lost on this audience.
5. Then something pretty sweet happened – Tammy did Weezer. She sang “Say It Ain’t So” and it was fantastic. Ms. Faymous always manages to inject a little bit of the unconventional, a little unexpectedness. Weezer at a drag show? Why not?
6. Alaska herself is a tall, weird queen. She had on a big, slightly natty wig and in the interview she did with Josh Middleton for G Philly, she confessed that her name came from doing drugs; weed, that is. She and some friends were getting stoned when they started talking about names of weed strands when she decided to adopt one as her stage name. Her presence is a goofy one; her face is pretty staid until she works those wild lips – it’s where she’s perhaps most expressive. She tends to pose for photos with a contorted mouth. For her first performance of the night, the crowd went ape and she did a pretty amusing mashup of RuPaul songs.
7. There were lots of straight people in attendance. Even Tammy joked throughout the show that she saw so many New Jersey names on the list of pre-ordered tickets. Even straight people love RuPaul’s Drag Race, this is a reality we live with. They even wore Alaska t-shirts. A few youngbloods went a little crazy, and even in the 10-minute set break they were dancing all over each other like they’d never had alcohol before. One lady kept pulling her shirt up and above her bra. Not cute.
8. After a typically spot-on Carrie Underwood moment from Isis with “Two Black Cadillacs,” a cute and quirky Roxxy Glamour came out and did Yelle’s “Safari Disco Club.” Lip-syncing French pop is not easy. Maddy nailed “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift, a questionable song choice because we all hate T Swift, we being the human race, but “Trouble” has that little bit of rage that Maddy channels so well. She took it to a dark and angry place that worked as well as her Limp Bizkit “Faith” moment at last winter’s Josh’s Drag Ball at iCandy. Her bandeau bikini top fell off her tits many times.
9. Tammy made a big announcement: JuJuBe’s coming to the gayborhood for Pride and Sinful Sundays. Yup, in June, the RuPaul’s Drag Race alum and America’s Asian Sweetheart is going to grace us with her electric charm. THAT’s a season I watched and THAT is a drag queen I will pay to see perform.
10. Alaska finished up with a sickening rendition of Lil’ Kim’s “How Many Licks?” in which she finished the lines with “How many licks does it take ’til you get to the center of Alaska Thunderfuck?” in a gold, lame tunic. Then Tammy sang “Glamazon” and all the girls came down with what looked like rolls of wrapping paper before they pulled the ends and they exploded with glitter and confetti. It was quite a night.
This Saturday night, you’ll get a chance to shake it like you mean it. There’s much to be said about the music born in the year 1993, but let’s just say it’s a rich-ass year: SWV, Dre and Snoop, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Prince, Jodeci, Janet Jackson, 2 Pac, Gin Blossoms, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, R.E.M., The Pharcyde, Tribe Called Quest, Xscape, Ice Cube, Take That, Toni Tony Tone, and many more, they all had huge hits. In fact, take a look-see here at a list of songs that defined 1993 and you will be saying ‘Alright, who’s coming with me to Johnny Brenda’s?’ We asked the party’s host, Reef the Lost Cauze, for some thoughts on the big year and the party inspired by it.
PW: How did these year parties start?
Reef: The Its The Year Parties started in July 2008 by longtime Philly party promoter Justin Weileski, with Bo and Emynd, as sort of a tribute to nostalgia and the music of our youth. I guess they figured they needed a host to shout drunkenly at folks, because they asked me to join on about a year later. I think my first party was in July of 2009. I say, to this day, that this is those guys’ party; I’m just along for the ride.
Q: 1993 was a most fascinating year in music, especially hip-hop. Which was more influential – Wu-Tang’s Chambers or The Chronic?
A: For me personally, it’s Wu all day. I’m an east coast kid and there was nothing more east coast then the WU, like EVER [LOL]. But if we are talking total impact, there’s no denying The Chronic changed everything: the sound, the landscape, the slang and even the style of clothing. Everyone wanted to be in Cali with Dre and Snoop, and 20 years later they are headlining Coachella like fuckin’ Prince or something [LOL]. So it’s obvious everyone still does. They won that battle.
Q: Is this basically just a straight-up dance party? Or will you be spitting anything or using a mic at all?
A: It is a stone cold-dance party, my man. There are no breaks, it’s music from start to finish. I usually just try and keep the crowd active and excited; I might sing or rap along to a few lines here or there, or even encourage the audience to sing along with us. We are having so much fun up there and the crowd can tell it’s sincere, and that energy reaches out to everyone there. Security, bartenders, sound guys, everyone jams out in there.
Q: The Bodyguard soundtrack was the #1 selling album of the year? THEN KENNY G.?! What in the hell?
A: [LOL] Well, hey man, knowing Bo and Emynd, you will definitely hear some Whitney. We did ‘93 already and that night ended with a packed, sloshed-up dance floor singing loudly to “I Will Always Love You” [HAHA]. It was the last song they played and it was epic.
Q: Do you have a favorite artist/track/album/video/moment from 1993 that comes to mind? How would you characterize the year or, more generally, the early ’90s and what was going on in music?
A: I mean, for anyone in their early 30s (I just turned 31), the early ’90s were our teenage years. So that point in our life has a very important soundtrack playing behind each moment: first kisses, first fights, first dances, first bong hits. These songs were all a part of that. For me, to try and give credit to just one song or artist would be a disservice to all the music that shaped me, but I will say it was a beautiful time. Pop was as big as pop could get, hip-hop was a teenager as well and spoke directly to me. Hair metal was dead and rock felt fresh. It was just a time when everything was fresh and new and we can’t get that back, except for a moment this Saturday.
Tickets at the door will be $7 and it goes from 9p-2a.
This dude’s homeboys with Real Estate and Ducktails and the Jersey boy’s got chops. Give a spin of his forthcoming third LP, Lines, and try to pretend like you’re not impressed. The man’s persuing a doctorate in music.
Here’s a goodie that’s not new called “Just Enough”: