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.
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.
Suit Supply just landed in Philadelphia on the corner of Locust and 16th, and dandies with a healthy income should be totally pumped. The Amsterdam-born brand is now 13 years old with 44 locations internationally, but only five in the U. S. of A: Atlanta, Chicago, D.C., SoHo and now Philly. At the grand opening, dandies were everywhere. SuitSupply (they like to play with capitalization and title spacing) definitely skews preppy and/or Ivy League. They encourage suiting mixed with casual wear and sell everything from wingtips and desert boots to tuxedoes and weekend bags. They definitely want dudes to walk in and be able to walk out with an entire outfit (not sure about underwear, though) and at a modest to high-end pricing scale. The store manager I spoke to explained that his whole outfit costs about $700. And the handsome staff should hopefully style and size you right.
Adding significantly to the menswear shopping situation in Center City, SuitSupply will provide a lot of style to our city’s fairly grim (for dudes, at least) fashion sense. With the departure of Club Monaco’s men’s section, we don’t have a lot of places to pick up some high-end product that can be worn for years and in a ton of different situations. We’ve got Barney’s, naturally, and that’s great and all, but you’re probably looking at a much steeper price tag on a designer suit. And while we’d love to be able to afford a Philip Lim or Theory suit, it’ll probably be a little bit of a moment in time; a suit you’ll take out in 10 years and think I can’t wear this anymore. While we’ve got a nice handful of boutiques and shops that nail casual and stylish staples (like Ps & Qs and Sugarcube), SuitSupply’s a great international brand for a little more luxe. And until we get a rumored Uniglo, the more international fashion we can get in Center City, the better.
The two-floor story also prominently features an on-site tailor. There’s a fee associated with each specific service, but, depending on volume and timing, they want you to get your suit tailored while you shop. That being said, the silhouette of the SuitSupply man is slim. The fit of these clothes is a modern, fairly skinny cut — not so sure how the big boys’ll do in this store. The suit room, downstairs, is wild, and blazers line the wall, with sizing from 30s to 50s. But beyond Macy’s and heading out to King of Prussia, men have a great new option for event suiting. Meaning, you need an interview suit? A wedding or graduation suit? You can start your search with $500 in Center City and probably find a great, quality, well-constructed suit that’ll cover you—maybe for the rest of your life.
Once upon a time, I fell in love with Major Lazer and, by default, Diplo. But that feels like AGES ago. I had only been in Philadelphia for about six months when I moved to Northern Liberties, to Wildey Street just west of Front Street. The night before I moved in, I walked around with my new roommate and we strolled through a newly-finished Ghost Town that was the nascent Piazza at the time. There was not yet a Swift Half, a Fabric Horse, a PYT or any of the other businesses that rushed in. But what DID hit me like a ton of bricks that summer, was “Pon de Floor.” I vividly remember bringing Guns Don’t Kill People, Lazers Do down to our DVD player, our default CD player in the house, and spinning it for my roommate’s girlfriend and proclaiming (admittedly, with a beer buzz on) “This is going to be the song of the summer!” I twerked and twerked and twerked.
Turns out, I was pretty much right. That record, perhaps not coincidentally carrying the momentum built by the stunning success of a local-gone-to-Brooklyn’s debut, Santogold, became a massive success. “Hold the Line,” a collab with her and Mr. Lexx, was technically the first single. But Guns was full of sleeper classics: “Bruk Out” is a humble but bangin’ dark gem of a story about a stripper love affair, “When You Hear the Bassline” boldly introduces the album’s tones of the Caribbean and herb, “Mary Jane” employs killer snares and goofball good times for an irresistably high-enducing hit, and “Keep It Goin’ Louder” satisfies that nightclubbing, fist-pumping dancefloor banger you didn’t even realize the record needed.
Today, you can give a listen to the highly-anticipated and highly-awaited sophomore. However, things are different. First of all, the two primary co-conspirators that Diplo had in his charge for Guns are gone: Swith and Skerrit Bwoy have left (for creative and religious reasons). The 5.7 Pitchfork review that landed today isn’t terribly kind and yet sees hope in the highs and credits the lows with missteps in judgement. In are “Trinidad-born Jillionaire and Black Chiney’s Miami-via-Jamaica sound system member Walshy Fire,” plus a bazillion guests. See, the guests on the debut were just much more of a thing you had to hunt for in the liner notes. And they were way more obscure. These guests on Free the Universe, save for a few tracks, seem to be why we’re supposed to buy the record. But some of em’ just don’t work.
It’s pretty easy to get into the tracks we’ve already heard that feature big indie names: Amber from Dirty Projectors on the super-chill and vacation-y “Get Free,” and Ezra Koenig on the romantic “Jessica.” Meanwhile, there are a few downright near-catastrophes: the Peaches and Timberlee joint, “Scare Me,” could be so much better (love for Peaches but she doesn’t belong here), Shaggy and Wynter Gordon sounds like it could be a cool combo, but “Keep Cool” is not a success story, and neither is the garbage that was conjured up when they invited Wyclef Jean into the brotherhood of dancehall cool with the atrocious “Reach for the Stars.” And then there’s that obvious trend-grabbing on the dubsteppy and house-friendly “Jet Blue Jet,” which seems practically built to be remixed but not to stand on its own as an original track. Flux Pavillion’s moment, “Jah No Partial,” cashes in on the Skrillex craze, too; brutal ear pollution skronkshit. However, my clear favorite is the bizarre team-up of Bruno Mars, Tyga and Mystic on the immediately smile-creating “Bubble Butt.”
There isn’t a single song like “Pon de Floor,” the way it jumps out of speakers and heaphones and screams ‘You’ll never get tired of me!’ Diplo’s elevated status, due to the unbelievable success of Guns, may have allowed him to reach into his wallet and shell out for some big names, but he wasn’t able to capitalize on the underground infectiousness and energy that bursts forth from the collective’s debut effort. It actually seems to stand as a landmark for the Philadelphia producer’s climb to international acclaim. But this new one doesn’t do him any favors (or half of the guests at his employ). But I will twerk to “Bubble Butt” at the club if it comes on. Yes I will.
The 2013 Made In America Lineup Is Being Announced This Afternoon Via Spotify And, Well, It’s Not Bad
Sweet baby Jesus, Nine Inch Nails. Beyonce. Kendrick. Phoenix. BEYONCE. Wait, Public Enemy!?!
We knew the lineup was being unveiled today, but didn’t realize that it was painfully slowly via a Spotify playlist. Interesting technique, Jay. Not mad. By tomorrow, I’m sure all the deets will be solidified.
Wanna get mad? Read Dan McQuade’s PhillyMag blog post entitled “The Made in America Festival Is Going to Be Lame Again: It’s a Big Corporate Music Fest, but it doesn’t have to feel that way. Here’s how to make it fun for Philadelphians.” It’s one really maddening piece of. Something.
Nine Inch Nails
The Gaslight Anthem
Schoolboy Q (and maybe A$AP Rocky)*
Walk the Moon
Kendrick Lamar (and maybe Drake)
Fitz and the Tantrums
Queens of the Stone Age
We got a chance to phone-chat with the darling and talented Lianne La Havas, a Greek-Jamaican Londoner whose debut, Is Your Love Big Enough? is a stunner (and on Spotify). She’s headlining her first tour after supporting Bon Iver on a previous run through the U.S., and next week she pays a visit to our World Cafe Live. Her hauntingly beautiful brand of soul folk is simultaneously delicate and funky.
PW: Your record has a healthy amount of dichotomies: quiet and loud, soft and hard, sad and ebullient. Do you like playing with that contrast?
La Havas: “Yeah, absolutely. I think it depends on the song and the context; as a musician you want to explore all different types of ways of interpreting a feeling or a lyric or whatever.”
Q: You’ve had a few videos and they seem to be important to you as a form of expression. Is this something you enjoy?
A: “Yes. But I’ve decided now that I only want to work with my friends and my favorite videos are the ones that I’ve done with my closest friends. You have to trust them and you can’t do that if you’re not working with someone you’re close to, but I love it. Representing what you do visually, I love that part of it.”
Q: The anguish and frustration between the two characters in the video for “Gone” is palpable. It almost has undertones of domestic violence. Is that part of it?
A: “Yeah, not physical abuse. I’m very lucky that that never happened but more of a psychological and mental torment. It was all a very co-dependent relationship, in which I was completely infatuated and he didn’t feel the same, and he led me to believe that he felt the same. I’m sure it wasn’t on purpose, it was just kind of the way it happened. I just needed to express that that wasn’t okay once I finally realized what was going on – that I was going to be on my own and didn’t need that anymore.”
A: “I love to play with my style. I think it’s just really fun and it’s an extension of my personality, I suppose. You can dress according to how you feel that day, and on stage, it’s a great way of showing off. I do like to mix a tomboy style with a very feminine style, and I also just like to dress to my shape. I think that’s important to a woman; fabrics and color and shape help you do that and I love that that’s all part of the visual. I have a good reslationship with certain designers, and I love to try new things and make up new things using vintage clothes.”
Q: Are you pleased with the reception and reaction to your new record? Brits may’ve been listening for a while but we only got you last fall and are people starting to catch on and listen?
A: “I’m very very pleased, extremely pleased. I couldn’t have imagined the response. And now I get to travel and meet amazing audiences and all kinds of things. [People are listening] in countries you’ve never been to. It’s kind of amazing.”
Q: In your fantasy world, who would you share a show roster with?
A: “Little Dragon, Everything Everything (my favorite band, both of them are my favorite bands, actually), probably Lauryn Hill, and I think Laura Marling. [Marling] is incredibly talented and I just love her
Q: We love our St. Vincent and I’d put you in her company. In fact, I’d love to hear you two sing together or collaborate.
A: “Oh, I love her. That’s incredibly nice of you to say. She’s such an amazing singer, amazing songwriter, amazing performer and she’s so fit. She’s totally stylish; she’s got the glamorous thing going on – when you can just put on an amazing dress and just rock out. I absolutely love her.”
Q: In coming back to the East Coast for a slew of shows, what are you expecting?
A: “Well, I’m just looking forward to hopefully connecting with audiences over on that side as well. I dunno, I’m very fond of the east coast and there’s a lot of great music that comes out of there and I’m just excited to see it, see a bit more of it.”
She sold out the downstairs room at World Cafe for Sunday, April 7th. Hope you got your tickets already.
On the third season of Master of the Mix, Smirmoff sponsors an elimination-based competition with round of challenges for up-and-coming yound DJs from around the country. And Philly’s got a youngblood repping us strongly with DJ Royale, a Temple Owl who’s been working the scene hard over the past few years.
On his really quite pimp/smooth homepage, he posts a preview for the season, which kicks off Monday night, and the following:
“I’m VERY EXCITED to Announce that I’ll be competing on VH1′s Master of The Mix Season 3. This DJ Reality Show hosted by Smirnoff has selected 19 DJs from around the country to compete for $250,000 & the Title of Master of The Mix. Tune in to VH1 Monday April 1st at 10PM EST. I hope to have everyone’s support throughout the season.”
He currently holds four residencies: two in Philadelphia at Whisper and G Lounge, one in AC with a party at Dusk at Caesar’s Palace, and one in NYC at The Volstead. He’s also had runs in the past six years at a bunch of Philly locales: Tavern on Broad, Bamboo Lounge, Ortlieb’s, Bleu Martini, Recess Lounge and Lotus Lounge. He identifies with an old-school and traditional love for the craft with years of mastering transitions, technique, scratch presence and crowd manipulation. With a love for breakdancing, DJ Jazzy Jeff and B Boy culture, he started his obsession at 14 and nearly as many years later is on a national DJ show. Props on him for that.
He got to open for Jeff in Rome at the Piper Club, no doubt a career highlight for a Philly DJ. Lord knows Jeff’s a proper hero of many aspriing hip-hop heads and turntable enthusiasts. The man is talented way beyond scratchin’ and spinnin’. Royale emulates Jazz’s all-aroundedness, no doubt; respecting and striving for his knack with production, beat-making and professional flexibility. He releases a monthly mix of curated new tunes called MONTHLY MEDS and has appeared on a handful of mixtapes including collaborations.
He’s hosting a big debut viewing party at Ten Six Club at 1709 Walnut. Guest DJs include: Elivis Suarez, Arun, Mr. Sonny James and Sat One. Party kicks off at 9pm and runs right up to 2am.