Beyonce – “Grown Woman“
YES! A thousand times yes! It wasn’t too long ago that we were fed this wild card from Bey in the form of “Bow Down/I Been On.” But now we get a proper single from what must be her forthcoming next LP. Word is that she’s been performing this one on her Mrs. Carter World Tour (with a baby in her uterus). But the jangly, house-y production with hiccupy bongos, funny little samples and bouncy beat blips is so damn listenable—as in, over and over and over, beginning to end. Song of the summer contender!
Tricky – False Idols
This man is a genius mixed with a god blended with a madman, and the product is entirely his own—meaning nobody does what Tricky does as well as he does. And this one, out next week but streaming on NPR, is probably his best since Maxinquaye. You read that right. He even riffs on “Makes Me Wanna Die” on the track “Nothing’s Changed.” He employs two lady voices, and the result is tripped-out, sensuous R&B and electronic darkness.
Kelly Rowland – “Dirty Laundry“
Oh, man. This is deep. With little fanfare, Ms. Rowland dropped a Soundcloud link of one sad but honest reflection on some dark times she’s been goin’ through—from the “bittersweet” jealousy she felt over the success of her sister Bey to the domestic abuse she’d been silently enduring. It’s not so often that you get a talented pop star spilling her guts in a less-than-glamorous fashion. When it’s actually a gut-wrenching R&B slow jam, it’s really stunning.
It’s here! The record so many rabid fans have been waiting for, their first since the (some would say) relatively ill-received Human After All (2005). And while we’re willing to throw a little shade on the sorta-boring Panda Bear feature, there’s nothing not fun about the Pharrell spot on “Get Lucky.” It’s on sale today and on Spotify, and we’re really looking forward to settling in with this one.
Busta Rhymes – “#Twerkit“
Yup, I guess this is now officially the thing to do. While it seemed terribly annoying when will.i.am tried to pull this kind of shit, we were converted with the outstanding Miguel guest spot on Mariah’s “#Beautiful.” And hopefully Busta’s back with this one, a pretty hot and weird twisted gem from the Busta camp that harkens back to ol’ school Bus-a-Bus times that’re hard, funky, ‘hood and dance-y. This one’s produced by Pharrell and has a very Major Lazer feel to it. NOT MAD. Let’s do this, summer.
On The Record: Talib Kweli, Fitz & The Tantrums, Little Boots, Lady Antebellum, Classixx, And Mikal Cronin
Prisoner of Conscious
Sounds like: A really mixed bag from Kweli’s fifth, and not in a pleasant, mixed-nuts kind of way—all over the place, too many guests, not angry enough.
Free association: Let’s be real: Dude’s almost 40. Maybe his venom’s drying out.
For fans of: Tribe/De La/Nas/Mos Def + Busta/Nelly/Miguel, conscious rap.
Fitz & the Tantrums
More Than Just a Dream
Sounds like: The L.A.-born retro and soul-inspired vehicle for Michael Fitzpatrick’s Stax and Motown worship’s sophomore doesn’t pop like their debut.
Free association: Did that whole retro soul thing already have its moment?
For fans of: Mark Ronson + Mayer Hawthorne, Hall & Oates on speed, trends.
Sounds like: The British electro diva’s second is a surprisingly sultry and complex dance music affair, despite its big producers, yielding nuance and depth.
Free association: Which song’ll burn up dancefloors all summer? It’s hard to pick.
For fans of: Annie + La Roux x LCD Soundsystem, Madonna/Robyn, ecstatic dancing.
Sounds like: Harmless, listenable country pop from the Nashville trio; their fifth may not win them awards like Need You Now did, but it’s still an easy listen.
Free association: This is radio country that makes us hate Taylor Swift more.
For fans of: Sugarland/Rascal Flatts x Miranda Lambert, FM twang, Tennessee.
Sounds like: A delicious debut of electronic dance music from L.A. best buds who clearly love some Italo disco, but also R&B, crafty production and beats.
Free association: Blast this on your way to the beach with windows open ASAP.
For fans of: Nico Jaar + Phoenix x Hot Chip, Erasure/Depeche Mode, sick grooves.
Sounds like: Frickin’ excellent solo Merge debut from the Ty Segall team player full of old-school angst, thoughtful lyrics, a little chaos and plenty of noise.
Free association: Believe the hype! One of the best statements of the year.
For fans of: Weezer x Pearl Jam, Toro y Moi + Nirvana, powerhouse garage noise.
When I lived in Brooklyn, I made it to the Flea once. There were bikes of all shades and colors, cool jewelry (I bought some Erica Weiner stuff), furniture that made me daydream of the budget and apartment I’d one day have, oh and food. And drink. Pretty sure I had a bangin’ pink lemonade. I never thought the spot was so organized that it could up and declare a new location. Like Philly. But on June 2nd, a Sunday, the Brooklyn Flea arrives at the Piazza. The five-year-old successful flea market will have its first weekend in the Jared Kushner-bought Bart Blatstein monstrosity in just a few short weeks.
Kushner’s the husband of Ivanka Trump, and he owns the New York Observer. He’s teamed up with Flea co-founder Jonathan Butler and Eric Demby to bring their model to a Philly space, their first moment of expansion. We’re hoping it’s a continuation of a trend; seems like New York’s finally seeing the beauty of our fair city. In the not-too-distant past we’ve seen stuff like 3rd Ward, SuitSupply, Joe Coffee and, wait, is that Uniglo coming to Philadelphia? Man, it’s awesome.
Here’s the rundown on the Philly Flea: It’s a curated shopping and food experience for your Sunday morning and afternoon in Northern Liberties, and it launches on June 2. There are limited spots, a fee, an application process, and the powers that be pick and choose to achieve a blissful mix of art, furniture, vintage, modern, crafty, handmade, prefab and mad food. (Among the vendors slated are Philadelphia Salvage, Three Potato Four, At Home Modern, Peg & Awl and Forage Haberdashery.) Brooklyn Flea’s been a fertile starting place for dozens of businesses looking to start small, build clientele and create a name for itself before moving into a brick-and-mortar location. No doubt that’ll happen in our Philly locale, and it’s exciting to see which startups will get the green light from the Philly Flea team.
The Piazza’s one weird space. But did you know that it can contain nearly 8,000 people? There’s no other space within a short radius of Center City that can so easily and professionally host such an excellent collection of vending tables and tents. There’ve been maybe a dozen businesses that have come and gone since Blatstein cut some deals for cheap rent in the piazza’s youth, a result of a number of factors, no doubt. Personally, I have no desire to dine at a place like Gunner’s Run (again). But when the Flea’s chosen food vendors populate the Brooklyn Philly Flea, they’ll pretty easily become the most solid eats outside of the dependable Bar Ferdinand and El Camino Real that will neighbor the flea (and benefit handily).
It’s just good all around: New York expanding to Philadelphia, sophistication in the form of curated shopping, a thing to do every weekend and a revitalization of one weird, underused space. Starting in June, you’ve got a good reason to head up, if nothing else for a good place to stroll with a coffee in hand and peruse high-to-low-end goods and art. Plus there’s like a 1000-percent guarantee that some cuties’ll be shoppin’ too.
Also, one quick note about the Flea’s June 2 opener: Since it’s the day after the sure-to-be-bangin’ Roots Picnic, call it the official “Roots Family Post Picnic Brunch,” ’cause according to insiders, Questlove and a slew of other dope local DJ are set to rock the Piazza stage.
For anyone attending Art Star’s tenth annual craft extravaganza this weekend, it’s a good idea to have some sort of plan of attack mapped out before entering the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing. With 100+ vendors competing for your time and attention, knowing which ones you definitely want to target might make the afternoon a little less overwhelming. So here’s five to consider adding to your must-see list.
Note: I’ve purposely chosen to exclude the local artisans who I’ve now written about numerous times on this here blog. For instance, Joey Five Cents, Penelope Rakov, exit343 designs, Yardsale Press, Phea Jean, BirdQueen Designs, Concrete Polish Jewels, Made with Awesome, Jay McCarroll, etc.
USB Typewriter (#51)
OK, so this is one of the most awesome inventions I’ve seen in a long time. Rather than simply collecting dust as useless piece of décor, now you can finally transform a broken, vintage typewriter into a functional keyboard for your Mac or PC using their easy conversion kit (which only cost about $79!). The USB Typewriter also makes for a perfect keyboard dock for your iPad or tablet.
Whether it’s an accent table, cabinet or candleholder, any one of this Kensington-based company’s handmade rustic, modern furnishings would make for a beautiful addition to your home. They are also all made using reclaimed wood and metals.
Meera Lee Patel (#65)
One of only a few newcomers chosen to take part in this year’s bazaar, the New Jersey artist will be showcasing and selling a wide array of items, from original paintings and illustrated paper goods to hand-sewn tea towels and pillows.
Overall Baby (#37)
What could be more adorable than infants and toddlers in overalls? Infants and toddlers in custom-made overalls with fun textiles and prints. The picture pretty much speaks for itself.
Comfort is paramount when it comes to this New York-based designer’s eccentric line of hand-sewn apparel and accessories. Hopefully, she’ll be bringing along a few of her super cute winter accessories, despite them now being out of season.
This just popped into our Inbox from the Morgan’s Pier team:
“We can’t believe it’s almost here! Our doors re-open TODAY at 4pm, and the kitchen fires up at 5, with some exciting new additions and some old summer favorites.
Dave P of Making Time will be kicking-off our entertainment season in a BIG way with a FREE DJ set of futuristic sounds for your ears from 10pm-2am! We’ve also got a weekend of incredible DJ’s lined up like Harvard Bass, Liv Spencer + Prince Language. See the full list here and click here to RSVP for FREE admission to this Friday & Saturday’s shows!
Keep the dance vibes going all summer with local DJs every weeknight, and DJs from across the globe every weekend—like Simian Mobile Disco, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, and Dimitri From Paris.
Throughout the season, our buds over at R5 Productions are pulling out all the stops with FREE shows every Wednesday Night—including some heavy-hitters like Cold Cave, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, and We Were Promised Jetpacks—from June 5th-August 28th.
This year, we’ll have a picnic menu, with all items around $10, that’s foodie, vegan, veggie, kid, omnivore—you name it—friendly. This menu is served in our Picnic Area. Although we won’t be taking reservations for this section, with 300 seats, there should be plenty of room for all.
In addition to the picnic options, there’s also a $30 fixed price menu, served exclusively in the elevated Dining Area. Space is limited so we encourage you to make your reservations here.
You can always find our upcoming events, specials and information at MorgansPier.com and for our nightly dinner specials & updates as they happen keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter. Can’t wait to see you at the Pier!
Man, oh man. We’d been checking in on the site to see what kind of shows and schedule they were booking, but we weren’t expecting this kind of fullness. Not gonna lie: In reading the hours of operation—and by that, we guess, they mainly mean when the kitchen’s open, not how late they’ll be serving drinks—it’s gonna be a service industry summer at the Pier. The picnic menu’s available from 5 to 11pm Sunday through Thursday and only 5 to 10pm on Friday and Saturday.
Things I can’t wait to put in my mouth from that menu: Smoky Party Wings; honey + chili glaze ($7.50), Blistered Shishito Peppers; ranch dressing + lemon wedge ($7.00), BBQ Pulled Mushroom Buns; house tofu + cucumber salad ($6.50), Really Good Fries; spicy salt + daily aioli (Side $3.00/Basket $7.00), Poached Lobster & Bibb; green goddess + brioche crumbs ($10.00), White Fish Salad Sammie; baby arugula + pickled red onion ($8.00), Slow Roasted Bacon Sammie; pickled cabbage + spicy mustard ($7.50).
Oh, and the talent. A handful of shows that made our eyes bug: a Classixx DJ set on Friday, June 14th ($5.00), a Cold Cave show a few days later on Wednesday, June 19th (free), then a Simian Mobile Disco DJ set on Saturday, the 22nd ($5.00), and OMG a Small Black free show on Wednesday, June 26th, and DAMN a James Murphy DJ set on the weekend of July 4th ($10.00) on Saturday night, the 6th). There’s obviously a ton more booked, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg and the tip that’s closest to May.
Check out this cool lil’ mini-short doc about DFA records to get excited for James Murphy to visit our little pier on Columbus Ave.
!!! (Chk Chk Chk)
Sounds like: They’re back!!! If you thought they’d lost steam, maybe they did, but it’s returned—and their characteristic funk is danker and tighter than ever.
Free association: Slick production = a headphone masterpiece and party starter.
For fans of: LCD Soundsystem x old-school Stones, the Rapture/Hot Chip, parties.
New History Warfare, Vol. 3: To See More Light
Sounds like: The seasoned woodwinds master delivers outstandingly out-there avant jazz and freak funk with Justin Vernon vocals and tripped-out noise.
Free association: The bits of bizarre clear out when the sax funk rumbles through.
For fans of: Miles/Coltrane x Brian Eno, Josh Redman + Transmission, jazz noise.
If You Leave
Sounds like: The gloomy debut of 4AD Brits who began with Elena Tonra, a woman with a stunning voice and devastating lyrics full of dark drama and ethereality.
Free association: Definitely couldn’t handle this all day unless it was January.
For fans of: These New Puritans/Cat Power x the XX, Bat for Lashes, doom and gloom.
Sounds like: Another excellent batch from Argentinean/Swede Jose Gonzalez’s project, and this collection’s got a louder, slightly chaotic rock feel to it.
Free association: Dude can do no wrong. It would’ve been impossible for this to suck.
For fans of: Kings of Convenience/Beirut x Galaxie 500, Lil Pocket Knife, Scandanavian funk.
Praxis Makes Perfect
Sounds like: Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys and Boom Bip’s sophomore is another smash concept LP, this one about a communist Italian publisher.
Free association: Some super-solid, playfully weird electronic sonic storytelling.
For fans of: Handsome Boy Modeling School + Gorillaz x the Drive soundtrack.
Sounds like: The dixie chick’s collection of covers, from Jeff Buckley to Eddie Vedder to the title track’s Roger Waters; it’s a stunning set of vocal achievements.
Free association: Always loved her; hopefully, this is the start of a solid solo career.
For fans of: Brandi Carlile with Ben Harper, Lucinda Williams, liberal country girls.
Image c/o CBS News.
So everyone’s busting out a full-on “Summer Movie Preview” these days. It’s the first week of May and, well, there’s that Iron Man movie. It nearly set first weekend release records again (holding that top spot is, naturally, that Avengers film). Which is a perfectly appropriate analogy for what summer movies tend to be about: being huge. Effects! Razzle dazzle! Big budgets! Comic-book movies! Remakes! Sequels! Adaptations of Already-Great Pieces of Art That Don’t Need to Be Made into Movies! Of course, there’s a bunch of indie movies that’ll win your hearts this summer. But we’ll get to those in time. For now, let’s just prioritize the ones everyone’s going to go see to beat the heat once it plateaus above 85 degrees.
We’ll do it like this: there are a TON of movies coming out before now and September. We’re not even going to touch August because, well, that feels really far away (and there’s actually a bunch of bullshit hitting screens that month). So for the months of May, June and July, we’ll give you a fairly succinct list in order of how excited we are for it and a tidbit about the film via other sources, like the glorious IMDB (the idea of synopsizing all these mediocre movies makes me nauseous). Plus, some trailers.
The Great Gatsby (May 10)
Before Midnight (May 24): “We meet Jesse and Celine nine years later in Greece. Almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna.”
Now You See Me (May 31): “An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money.”
Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17): “After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction.”
After Earth (May 31): “A crash landing leaves Kitai Raige and his father Cypher stranded on Earth, 1,000 years after events forced humanity’s escape. With Cypher injured, Kitai must embark on a perilous journey to signal for help.”
Fast & Furious 6 (May 24): “Agent Hobbs enlists the aid of Dom and team to help bring a rival gang, led by Owen Shaw, to justice. In exchange for clear records, they must put an end to their schemes, no matter how personal the cost.”
The Hangover Part III (May 24): “This time, there’s no wedding. No bachelor party. What could go wrong, right? But when the Wolfpack hits the road, all bets are off.”
Much Ado About Nothing (June 7): “A modern retelling of Shakespeare’s classic comedy about two pairs of lovers with different takes on romance and a way with words.”
World War Z (June 21): “United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself.”
Man of Steel (June 14): “A young journalist is forced to confront his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race.”
I’m So Excited (June 28): “When it appears as though the end is in sight, the pilots, flight crew and passengers of a plane heading to Mexico City look to forget the anguish of the moment and face the greatest danger, which we carry within ourselves.”
This Is The End (June 14): “While attending a party at James Franco’s house, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and many other celebrities are faced with the apocalypse.”
White House Down (June 28): “While on a tour of the White House with his young daughter, a Capitol policeman springs into action to save his child and protect the president from a heavily armed group of paramilitary invaders.”
Only God Forgives (July 26): “Julian, a drug-smuggler thriving in Bangkok’s criminal underworld, sees his life get even more complicated when his mother compels him to find and kill whoever is responsible for his brother’s recent death.”
The Lone Ranger (July 5): “Native American warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice.”
Pacific Rim (July 12): “When an alien attack threatens the Earth’s existence, giant robots piloted by humans are deployed to fight off the menace.”
The Wolverine (July 26): “Wolverine makes a voyage to modern-day Japan, where he encounters an enemy from his past that will impact on his future.”
R.I.P.D. (July 12): “A recently slain cop joins a team of undead police officers working for the Rest in Peace Department and tries to find the man who murdered him.”