Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail
It’s 2013. And in 2013, artists are trying their hardest to come up with new and innovative ways to release records. Kind of like a few years back, when Radiohead tried releasing their record on their own with a pay-what-you-will model, now pop musicians are trying all kinds of kooky app-related and smartphone-based marketing ploys. Try to hate the game if you want, but it’s probably going to be an uphill battle, and, really, can you hate the player? During Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Mr. Carter unleashed a whopper of a commercial (it’s practically a mini-documentary at three minutes in length) for his next banger, which’ll be available on June 24 to Samsung Galaxy phones via an app obtainable through Google Play, with a proper street date of July 4.
Aside from all of that capitalistic commercial business, the music sounds pretty hype. And no wonder: He recruited some of the biggest producers and some of his best friends, it seems, to get in on it. Rick Rubin’s here; so’s Timbaland, Pharrell, obviously—and Swizz Beatz. “Pretty much the album is about this duality of how do you navigate your way through this whole thing? Through success and failures and all this and remain yourself?” Jay asks. “We don’t have any rules. The internet’s like the Wild West, and we need to write the new rules.” Some of these beats and vibes sound super-fresh, and it’s actually pretty sweet watching Jay dialogue with the producers, tweaking and playing with sounds.
Drizzy’s Touring with Miguel and Future
In anticipation of his forthcoming Nothing Was the Same, Drake has announced a 41-stop national tour to support the new LP, and he’s dragging Miguel and Future along with him the whole way. BONUS! At this point, Miguel might be the more compelling performer on the tour, at least from our perspective. From commercial radio’s viewpoint? This is a big get. Drake’s never gonna shake my image of him in a wheelchair on Degrassi, while Miguel’s soulfulness knows no bounds. They’ll touch down at Wells Fargo on Saturday, Oct. 19, but tickets go on sale this Saturday, June 22, at 10am.
He’s shared the singles “Started From The Bottom” (62.5 million views in five months), and there’s a low-key, low-budget video for “5AM in Toronto,” but other than that, there aren’t a ton of details about the mysteriously-to-be-released new LP. It’ll certainly be out before the tour. See, we’re not so sure Drake’s got what it takes to last nearly as long as Jay has, but as confirmed by Drizzy’s appearance at Made in America last summer, it is confirmed that Philadelphia goes bizzonkers for the 26-year-old Canuck. So tickets’ll no doubt move quickly, and it might actually behoove you to snatch some up this weekend.
From our calendar this week:
Monday, June 17
“When bassist Dave Klein left Screeching Weasel in late March, the reaction of controversial frontman Ben Weasel—who recently got his punk outfit back together after an incident at SXSW 2011, in which he punched two women while on stage—could best be described as punk empathy. “Normally, when one departs the rolling hills and verdant meadows of Weasel Acres, whether voluntarily or with my assistance, the pastures on the other side are distinctly brown, but in this case, our man hit the jackpot,” Weasel wrote on the band’s Facebook page. “To wit: Black Flag came calling, and he answered the bell. And who can blame him? When Black Flag says they want to hire you, you suit up, give notice to the circus, and report for duty. You think I wouldn’t ditch this sideshow and start stocking up on black satin shorts and hitting the Nautilus if I got the call? Think again, chum.”
It’s true: Black Flag is back on the block with a Henry Rollins-less lineup put together by founding member Greg Ginn, who’s taking the singing role quite seriously as the foursome gear up for a summer tour, with tonight’s Union Transfer gig as one of its highlights. Disclaimer: Another band, calling themselves Flag, has also re-formed, featuring former Black Flag and Circle Jerks member Keith Morris (who led the group from 1976 to ‘79, before any studio albums) on vocals. They will also be touring, performing Black Flag songs. This ain’t them, weasel.” Randy LaBasso
8pm. $25. With Good For You + True Love. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. utphilly.com
Tuesday, June 18
“Rashaan Patterson’s a longtime underdog. The Kids Incorporated alum stands alongside Fergie, Shanice and Mario Lopez as a child actor of the ‘80s still tryna get a nut. Nearing 40, Patterson’s put out five LPs, all to lackluster sales. But that doesn’t really matter: He’s got to perform, and his voice is outstanding. A beautiful midpoint between Stevie Wonder and Raphael Saadiq, Patterson’s pipes are dipped in soul. Watching him perform “6AM” with Lalah Hathaway is like watching an acrobat contort. He and Hathaway spend the last couple minutes of the song batting one line back and forth, with dips and jumps in tone and pitch. Dude’s got real chops.
Typically accompanied by a badass band to flesh out his soulful funk, Patterson practices in the genre of Erykah Badu and D’Angelo, the openly gay songwriter steeped in improvisation, free form and off-the-cuff performances. He’s written songs for Brandy (co-writing her second big hit, 1994’s “Baby”) and Tevin Campbell and calls Ledisi a friend. Tonight’s show is sure to be a dynamic one; Patterson’s voice is kind of like Toni Braxton’s: capable of being soft and gentle, but also resonant enough to convey pain and sadness. One second, he bellows from his depths of his gut, and in the next, he emotes from the top of his beautiful bald head. No doubt, his vocal flips and tricks will be a spectacle tonight.” Bill Chenevert
8pm. $32-$36. World Cafe Live at the Queen, 500 N. Market St., Wilmington, DE. 302.994.1400. queen.worldcafelive.com
Wednesday, June 19
“THAT’S MY JAM” KARAOKE
“C’mon, everybody knows liquor and karaoke go together like peanut butter and jelly. Add happy hour and some game friends, and you’ve got a guaranteed good time. Sometimes a little liquid encouragement is all one needs to pick out a song, fill out that little paper slip, and step up to the mic, and luckily, the Painted Bride is the perfect place to flex those pipes at “That’s My Jam,” hosted by Sing Your Life Karaoke’s Sara Sherr. The stage in the Bride’s 250-seat theater will be yours for the owning tonight, and the audience is expected to be as friendly as it gets—you now, those game friends of yours, aside other fun-loving Philadelphians. Here’s hoping some legit talent turns out to earn bragging rights ’cause when you’ve got a stage like this, and you’re not mumbling along to the color-changing lines on a little dive-bar monitor, you better turn it out.
Ten bucks gets you in, plus a drink ticket, and there’ll be hot dogs from the Dapper Dog food truck on tap, too. Sherr’s 120,000-deep song catalogue should have a few of your favorites to slay live, and if your preferred track isn’t among them, have another drink, and I bet you’ll find something. Word to the wise: Start rehearsing now. No one—and I mean no one—wants to hear you butcher “Midnight Train to Georgia.”” B.C.
6pm. $10. Painted Bride Arts Center, 230 Vine St. 215.925.9914. email@example.com
We caught up with March Silver on the eve of his record release show tonight at Johnny Brenda’s and put it in the paper:
Every year, Marc Silver retreats to the woods with two artist friends for phone-free communion with Mother Nature. They go out to a cabin in Dushore, Pa., about three and a half hours from Philly (an hour from Wilkes-Barre) and not far from Ricketts Glen State Park. He’s the only musician of the three, but he writes, and they cook and drink wine. Upon their arrival, they hit up the local farmers markets to stock the kitchen, and it was there that Silver found the inspiration for his new album, A Miners’ Town. His fifth LP is a little less bluegrass and a little more darkness, due in part to the ominous nature of the situation out in rural Pennsylvania—and in loads of other parts of our state—where fracking is wreaking havoc.
Evoking a little Leonard Cohen and Johnny Cash, two touchstones for personal and bluntly bleak lyricism, A Miners’ Town’s songs are a mix of biographical, fictional and non-fictional tales, primarily ruminations on the effect of the shale mining industry. This batch of songs is gritty, gloomy and, quite frankly, angry. Silver’s frustrated and plagued with the burden of recognizing deception, theft and greed. Check his title track: “Every barrel is a tomb and another town left to die/Abandoned homes line the town’s main street/Bullets hit the windows and they shatter with a scream ‘tween the alleys/Old homes crackle in the smoldering fires/Burning all the things that were made from love inside.”
“It became apparent what was happening in the region, and you could see that there was a lot of drilling, pipe-lining and a lot of drump trucks,” he told PW. “So, for this record, I ended up doing a lot of research into testimonials of farmers and their stories of people getting sick and their wells getting poisoned.”
The Missouri native and University of the Arts graduate is 37 now, a veteran of the Philly gigging scene. He’s been performing with his band, The Stonethrowers, around town for years, but this latest record is a testament to his growing and evolving songwriting skills. But life isn’t always so rosy. Silver’s got a day job teaching music to kids at the Shipley School, and he often dishes out his own money to put on a show. “I’m in the habit of paying my band,” he says. If only those frackers would cough it up for the damage they’ve done.
Doors are at 8pm and the show kicks off at 9:15pm with Ross Bellenoit and then Pete Donnelly & the Wise Easy opening. Tickets are $10.
Yesterday afternoon, the Philly Folk Fest powers that be announced their three headliners: Todd Rundgren, David Bromberg and Asleep at the Wheel. Details are pretty finite now, and eager folk fans can snatch up tickets at a pretty sweet 20-percent-off rate right now. On the third weekend in August (the 16th, 17th and 18th), Old Pool Farm in Upper Salford Township (near Schwenksville, PA) turns into the chillest 40-acre living room in Pennsylvania. Approximately 35 miles northeast of Philadelphia proper, the venue’s about a 45-60 minute drive from Center City. And in its 52nd year of consecutive festivaling, this one’s, maybe, their biggest and best yet.
With a Saturday that’s exceptionally Philly oriented, Philadelphians should maybe consider Saturday as their one day for that one-day ticket if going that route’s under consideration. Indeed, you can buy day-specific tickets, all-weekend passes and, of course, go for the whole weekend and camp under the stars with a camping pass (which includes a Thursday night concert).
From the press release:
“We are really excited about this year’s line up. One of the highlights for us is being able to put together a really ‘Philly-centric’ Saturday show,” said Richard Kardon of Point Entertainment. “David Uosikkinen’s In the Pocket: Essential Songs of Philadelphia presents the soundtrack of the past several decades in Philadelphia. It’s a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ from the Philly music scene.”
Slated to perform are the following acts:
Richard Thompson Electric Trio – The Mavericks – Asleep at the Wheel – Carolina Chocolate Drops – Jake Shimabukuro – David Uosikkinen’s In the Pocket – Black Prairie – Luella & The Sun – Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars – Spirit Family Reunion – Sleepy Man – Banjo Boys – The Stray Birds – Star & Micey – Otis Taylor – Caravan of Thieves – Amy Helm – Jeffrey Gaines – Gabe Butterfield – Ellis Paul – Del Barber – The Como Mamas – Burning Bridget Cleary – Andy Statman Project – Ben Vaughn – David Francey – Frank Fairfield – Joe Crookston & the BlueBird Jubilee – The Toy Hearts – Howmaw – Runa – Burning Bridget Cleary – The Amigos Band – Mike ‘Slo-Mo’ Brenner – XPN Philly Local with Helen Leicht featuring Ali Wadsworth, Juston Stens and the Get Real Gang, Modern Inventors, Ginger Coyle – Aereo-Plain – The Lawsuits – Toy Soldiers – Gene Shay – Great Groove Band – Dennis Hangey – Give and Take Jugglers.”
Gene Shay will emcee, again, in his 52nd consecutive year doing so. The man’s been playing folk music on WXPN on Sunday nights for decades and is largely considered the godfather of Philadelphia folk.
Lastly, a few specifics on tickets: This is a totally kid-friendly affair with child-specific programming for kids under 12 each afternoon (and kids up to 11 get in free; there are youth ticket rates for 12-17 year-olds). But here are few more ticket deets: “Individual daily tickets start at $43.60, including the 20% Early Bird Discount, or attend for all three days for $118.40; add tent camping and you get an additional concert on Thursday night for $158.40 total! The campground at the PHILADELPHIA FOLK FESTIVAL is considered the ultimate Folk Festival experience.”
Tickets are on sale at http://www.folkfest.org/ or call 800-556-FOLK.
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.
This is kind of a new thing. While I’ve never really been super-keen on the thudding, chugging dance beats of, say, the Ruby Lounge downstairs at Voyeur (unless it’s been a long night of drinks) or even the sounds of Dave P’s Making Times, I think I’m starting to come around. It feels like a natural progression, very organic. Listening to six brand new records a week’s been both a chore and a delight over the past four years. And I honestly try to listen with open ears, even if I think a record’s going to be shitty or totally not up my alley. And in this regard, a few records over the past several weeks from the dance genre have lit me up, and I have a feeling this summer’s going to be awful dancey.
First, a coupla older discs:
1. Daphni – Jiaolong
Yes, this one’s over seven months old, but I’m still hollering from the top of my lungs about it and discovering new joys the more I give it a listen. Caribou’s Daniel Snaith likes to play with beats and production, as evidenced by standout remixes of Cortney Tidwell and Hot Chip. And what’s wild is that the previous two EPs under the Daphni moniker are leaps and bounds less dance-oriented than his Merge debut. One listen to the intoxicating “Cos-Ber-Zam Ne Noya (Daphni mix),” and you’ll be hooked. It incorporates samples, tribalism, drum ‘n bass and deep grooves. Try to listen and not move at least one part of your body.
2. DJ Koze – Amygdala
Released this past April, the German producer, mixer and beat-weaver is also known as Stefan Kozalla. Having competed in scratch and mix competitions since the tender age of 16 in 1988, you could say the Hamburg vet’s teeth are cut. And in 2010, he created his own label and released his newest on it, and it’s a honey. He deftly intertwines bizarro found sounds, weird splices of conversation and, on this new one, employs guests like a modern hip-hop emcee: Caribou, Apparat, Matthew Dear, Ada, Dirk von Lowtzow and Milosh. It’s another slow burn that’s easy to settle into and get comfortable with. Less of a movement piece than a meditative, trip-hop and DJ-perfected blend of electronic tones, it’s still dance music that’s brilliant conceived and executed.
3. Disclosure – Settle
Hooh buddy. This one’s been bangin’ non-stop since I bought it for a measly $7 on iTunes because, for whatever reason, it’s a featured new release. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Pitchfork just branded it a Best New Music with a whopping 9.1. With 14 tracks and a few key guests, including two of my favorite up-and-coming Brit soul stars, Jamie Woon and Jessie Ware, this one’s got amazing transitions and plays so smoothly from beginning to end that when it’s over, you’ll find yourself just pushing play again. Two brothers from Surrey, England, it’s gonna be a long, worthwhile wait ’til they finish snaking their way around the world and land at Union Transfer on October 28th.
4. Classixx – Hanging Gardens
The DJ duo from L.A. are childhood friends whose debut knocked a bunch of critics right on their asses. They’ve done a ton of remixes, including a lauded Phoenix version of “Lisztomania,” and have been associated with acts like LCD Soundsystem (and a host of other DFA acts) and Active Child (who appears on the track “Long Lost”). But going alone, their official debut’s a beautiful, long and stretched out mediation on beats and grooves. It’s only a few weeks old, and clocking in at 55 minutes, it’s a solid $7 Amazon purchase. Can’t wait to catch them at Morgan’s Pier on Friday, June 14th.
This one’s not out yet, but from a few thorough listens on NPR’s First Listen feature, we can tell this one’s gonna leave a mark. This Aussie-Brit collaboration (the duo of friends are from AU, but it was remixed and tracked by UK’s noted producer, Ewan Pearson) is a full-on halfway hybrid between dance music and rock music. Slightly similar to a Matthew Dear show, where things are looped but guitars and drums and synths are used, they strike this delicate balance between rock that’s dancefloor friendly and straight-up dance music that uses instruments as well as electronics and production tricks. This ain’t no Rapture, though; it’s not nearly so raucous and chaotic. This is blissful, beautiful psychedelia via the aforementioned marriage, and it’s a lovely addition to the summer’s dance catalogue.
Of all the many fine comedy festivals Philly has to offer each year, I must admit that I have a certain soft spot for Duofest.
There’s just something about watching two lone souls standing on a stage with absolutely no clue what’s about to happen relying only on one another to figure it out and, eventually, give birth to a tiny, kinda weird looking comedy baby for all to see and enjoy. It’s really about as pure and intimate as comedy can get.
And if there were ever a time for you to experience it for yourself, it’s right now, right here in Philly.
Four years and running, Duofest happens to be the only improv festival dedicated to showcasing comedic duos, not just in Philly or the U.S, but the entire world. Starting tonight and running through Sunday, the festival will present more than 30 groups of twos, including this year’s headlining duo, Adsit & Eveleth, comprised of long-time Chicago improvisers, Jet Eveleth and Scott Adsit (aka Pete “Dallas” Hornberger from 30 Rock).
Currently touring the country, the two will be stopping here to perform on Saturday at 9 p.m. followed by Philly’s own dynamic duo, Kristen Schier and Amie Roe of The Kristen & Amie Show at 10pm, who, let’s just say, were chosen to follow the headlining act for a reason.
On the festival’s website, you’ll find bios for all of the performing pairs should you need help deciding when to go and who to see. Or, you can just buy an all-access pass for the entire weekend for the low, low price of $50—that way you don’t have to decide; you can just see them all. There will be several back-to-back shows every night, each block featuring two different duos. Single tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
All shows will be held at the Philly Improv Theater headquarters, the Shubin Theater (407 Bainbridge St.) and are BYOB. (Note: Do drink responsibly. You do not want to be a drunken heckler attempting to compete with the sharp tongue and quick wits of an experienced improviser, let alone two.)