Tour seasons are picking up and dates keep getting announced (AESOP ROCK AT UNION TRANSFER, WHADUP). Over the next few weeks, if we make it to a handful of these dates, it’d be a good way to get out of this ruthless winter funk:
Saturday, 1/26 – Christopher Owens (formerly of Girls fame); his new album, Lysandre, is solid as a rock. $15.
Tuesday, 1/29 – Purity Ring with Young Magic; honestly, we’re more pumped about Young Magic, but it’s a solid lineup. $15-$17.
Saturday, 2/02 – The Vaccines; if you like Interpol or the Drums or even the Strokes, you’ll be down with these guys. $20.
Friday, 2/08 – Aesop Rock with Busdriver; Aesop’s Skelethon was one of the most refreshing listens of 2012. $17-$19.
Monday, 2/11 – Toro y Moi; with his brand new Anything in Return, he’s getting more hype and less wispy. $15.
Friday, 2/01 – Buke & Gase; you should listen to their new one, General Dome, on NPR’s First Listen. Man, it’s good! $10-$12.
Tuesday, 2/05 – Memory Tapes; excellent, thoughtfully potent and dreamy pop/electronica from a Philly vet and Jersey boy. $12.
Wednesday, 2/06 – Cheers Elephant; Philadelphia’s own rootsy, psychedelic foot-stompin’ harmonizin’ quartet. $10.
Saturday, 2/09 – Ape School with Ramona Falls; Ape School’s been kickin’ around Philly for years with his droney weird pop and Ramona’s the excellent off-shoot of Menomena in the form of Brent Knopf. $12.
Thursday, 2/14 – Bleeding Rainbow; Hooray for the formerly-known-as-Reading-Rainbow-twosome! They used to be a duo of noise pop pioneers, but now they’re four and loud and melting faces. $10.
Wednesday, 1/30 – Kindred the Family Soul; LOVE these guys. Their stellar Love Has No Recession (2011) was some of the best Philly soul we’ve seen in years. $20-$30.
Wednesday, 2/13 – Bilal; A Love Surreal CD release party for the sickeningly sexy Philly talent. $20-$38.
Wednesday, 1/30 – Musiq Soulchild; The Philly-born R&B, soul and funk maven makes panties drop in West Philly. $35-$40.
Saturday, 1/26 – Hot Water Music; Damn! Punk/post-hardcore legends and pioneers of their genre, the Florida boys ride again after a couple breakups but almost 20 years in the biz. $20.
Wednesday, 1/30 – Cat Power; her rescheduled date should be even better now that she’s healthy and we’ve had some time to simmer on the excellent Sun. $30.
Friday, 2/08 – Beak>; The Portishead alum, Geoff Barrow, has his fingers all up in this one. This should be a dark and trip-hoppy night for fans of disturbing and haunting electronica. $15.
Friday, 2/15 – Pissed Jeans; Our local warriors of balls-to-the-wall metal meets punk meets sludge meets noise are prepping a brand new LP and this show should be momentously loud. $12.
Joan Shepp: For once, you might actually be able to afford something inside this chic Rittenhouse shop. Now through Saturday, shoppers will receive up to 70 percent off ALL fall merchandise, including designer labels like Balenciaga, Yohji Yamamato, Rick Owens and Givenchy. (1616 Walnut St.)
Hope Chest: Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the store is offering 20 percent off any one piece of their sexy lingerie at full price. The sale also applies to their not-so sexy, everyday garments. You have until Feb. 28 to advantage of the deal. (1937 Chestnut St.)
Nicole Miller: All sale styles are now 70 percent off so perhaps it’s time to stock up on cute spring dresses. Their Semi-Annual Sale ends Jan. 31. (Bellevue: 200 S. Broad St. Manayunk: 4249 Main St.)
Arcadia Boutique: For the remainder of this month you can receive an extra 30 percent off all sale merchandise as well as 40-60 percent off all fall and winter favorites. (No Libs: 819 N. Second St. Rittenhouse: 265 S. 20th St.)
H&M: Though the retailer seems to be having an awful lot of sales lately, this “Holiday Weekend Sale” is especially enticing. All this weekend, select garments will be up to a whopping 80 percent off while already reduced accessories will be an additional 50 percent off. Boy, I guess H&M really likes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Check out all the items you can save on.
Club Monaco: Starting today, the shop is offering 30 percent off all reduced merchandise. If you’re a student, just bring your ID and you will also save 20 percent off on full priced items including items apart of Club Monaco’s new January Collection. (1503 Walnut St.)
Chill Moody as featured in XPN’s The Key.
Our ace culture team put together a solid set of suggestions in our Calendar this week (online and in print). Here are a few of the highlights:
CHILL MOODY AT THE TLA
West Philly’s Chill Moody is a potent purveyor of R&B, rap and hip-hop. He is just as comfortable mixing rhymes with slick beats (“A Good Thing”) as he is praising the woman of his dreams (“What Took You So Long”). Variety is the name of the game with regard to his musical repertoire. Tracks like “Angel,” in addition to being an uplifting song about how a woman should never settle for being with an abusive man, have a soothing ‘70s-style groove to it, while “The Price is Nice” cleverly uses the theme song to The Price is Right as the basis for its entire beat and structure. And for you Journey fans out there, Moody’s “Inspired” does indeed feature a sped-up version of their classic “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart),” further demonstrating Moody’s penchant for making unique records. Moody’s latest single, the tongue-twisting “Bombs,” dropped earlier this month. -Brian Palmer
10pm. $12. With Jade Alston, Mic Stew, Mont Brown + Pate. Theatre of the Living Arts, 334 South St. tlaphilly.com
GOV’T MULE AT THE TOWER
Warren Haynes plays the guitar like a Zen master zonked on moonshine, not flaunting technique as much as clawing the essential soul from every note. The Allman Brothers earned a No. 23 slot on Rolling Stone’s “100 Best Guitarists” list in 2003 and has a specially-designed Gibson guitar named after him. But it’s not skill—it’s Haynes’ heart and penetrating knowledge of blues, rock and gospel that make Gov’t Mule shows special. He and his band rip the viscera from classic Hendrix, the Grateful Dead and Steppenwolf songs and hand them to fans still steaming, still dripping, still pulsing with life. Gov’t Mule’s own songs—like “Beautifully Broken,” “Soulshine and “Blind Man in the Dark”—hold up remarkably against canonical covers: just as meaty, just as full of blood and soul. -Jennifer Kelly
Fri., Dec. 28 and Sat., Dec. 29, 8pm. $29.50-$35. With Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. Tower Theater, 69th and Ludlow sts., Upper Darby. 610.352.2887. thetowerphilly.com
CHAKA KHAN AT HARRAH’S IN CHESTER
Without the fiery former Rufus lead singer Chaka Khan, there’s no Mary J. Blige, Angie Stone, Jennifer Hudson or any female vocalist of this era singing R&B. For the past four decades, the Chicago-born singer’s powerful pipes sparked every song she sang, whether her quiet storm standards “Sweet Thing,” “Through the Fire,” and “Everlasting Love,” her Whitney Houstonized anthem “I’m Every Woman” or her stunning Guru Jazzmatazz, Vol. 2: The New Reality collab, “Watch What You Say.” And, if that weren’t enough, her jazz cred is so deep that Al Jarreau, Earl Klugh, George Benson and Miles Davis appeared on her criminally underrated 1988 LP, CK. Philly has shown her love from Day 1, so look for the newly slimmed-down Khan to bring her ageless A-game to the Harrah’s stage. -Eugene Holley, Jr.
9pm. $45-$75. Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack, 777 Harrah’s Blvd., Chester. 484.490.1800. harrahsphilly.com
BLACK THOUGHT AT THE BLOCKLEY
Tariq Trotter, better known as Black Thought, has made a name for himself as the MC of the Roots, but his work has proven to be formidable whether performing with them or flying solo. He calmly lays down hypnotic rhymes to match the thrumming bass line, periodic shouts and ‘70s-style funk of “Black Over Easy,” and the groovy love ode “Please Don’t Go” features more of his epic raps about people trying to convince their significant others not to leave them. “Web” proves that he could probably rap in his sleep, as he lets his spellbinding, perfect freestyle form take control while he shows you what he’s made of, and on the melodic hip-hop number “Thought is Like,” when he raps about not wanting to settle for a consolation prize, it’s more than just a clever metaphor; it’s emblematic of his ambitions. Nobody does it better than Black Thought. -Brian Palmer
9pm. $20-23. With J. Period, Reef the Lost Cauze, Mic Stew + Rowboat Casino. The Blockley, 3801 Chestnut St. 215.222.1234. theblockley.com
Last night we got an invite to attend the PUMA-sponsored Meek Mill event at Sigma Sound in northern Chinatown. Shit was real.
1. Can we just get all these details out: Puma and Meek Mill are a team, they put this thing together with Villa and DJ Booth where they auditioned emcees with a 5-minute tape in the cities of Cleveland, Chicago and Philadelphia. Meek and his committee, consisting of reps from PUMA, Villa and DJ Booth chose two to open last night – Lyn Charles and Thurz opened up for a pretty short set by Meek himself.
2. Lyn Charles is from Philly. His Soundcloud is solid, Philly-reppin’ flows over curated and sophisticated samples. It doesn’t sound like everything else that’s Maybach Music-touched.
3. Gotta say, his appearance didn’t really match the modest class his songs sound like. He wore an unbuttoned button-down shirt with jeans belted around the top of his thighs. He looked not wholly unlike Dice at the “US Music Awards” from Glitter (it was on HBO yesterday).
4. They had a cash bar to start, but that didn’t last long before they opened up the bar. It was a private event, people were able to buy tickets by copping PUMAs. At the beginning, Coors Lights were $4, well drinks were $7 and the premium stuff, like Ciroc and Patron, was $9. But the bar opened around 9:15pm and when I asked for a whiskey ginger and then a vodka soda, I was told they have pineapple juice, cranberry juice, Coke and Sprite for mixers. That made things less awkward for me.
5. Thurz was real good – good energy and tons of it, engaged the audience (or tried) and hyped up the audience significantly. Check in on his SoundCloud and find a Black Thought collab. He’s from L.A. and did a fair amount of Cali shouting out which was pretty lost on everybody. But on “Riot,” he raps: “Too many rappers in the closet, like Narnia.”
6. It was pretty instantaneous that when Meek took the stage, the room started getting a little blunted.
7. The space is beautiful. Beautifully-finished wood floors, some tasteful modern furniture peppered in the back 2/3 of the space, a well-protected sound booth in the back next to a little VIP area and a stage big enough for a few rappers and a DJ. Tracy, their charming manager, was a show-stopper in a stunning, silky, super-short shirt dress and flesh-like tights that made it seem like she was just wearing a short dress. Sigma’s got a cool history – check it.
8. Confession: I had to Shazam most of the DJs’ sets between rappers. There were two 2 Chainz songs, “I’m Different” and “No Lie” (featuring Drake), and a Lil’ Wayne song, “No Worries.” Just to give a you a snapshot.
9. Meek put on a pretty short and tight set. Doing all the songs I’ve heard and expected: “Amen,” “Young n’ Gettin It,” “Burn,” and “Dreams and Nightmares.” He did lots of shortened versions of songs, naturally, which is pretty standard from most big name emcees at this point. Do a shorter set but get in as many songs that people would know. Which isn’t hard to do for Meek fans, most likely, ‘cus he’s been all over that Maybach money. You know this.
10. Not to end on a Debbie Downer note. But Meek was slated to head out on a few gigs in Chicago and London to keep on keepin’ on after the success of Dreamchasers 2. Looks like that might not happen after an arrest that violated his probation. But if you’re down for a Boardwalk Hall Atlantic City Sandy Benefit featuring Meek, Maly Money, French Montana, Tyga, Lil Chuckee, Honey Cocaine and DJ Drama, tickets are anywhere from $38 to $112 for the Friday night super concert.
There’s a new video for the new Diplo-y Major Lazer single, “Jah No Partial.” It features reggae legend Johnny Osbourne and Flux Pavillion, and uses footage from three raging parties: the Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium, the Notting Hill Carnival in London, and, OH HEY, the Mad Decent Block Party here in Philadelphia. “Jah” will be on the February 19th-released Free the Universe.
In this intensely high-energy video, Diplo pumps up the crowd, crowd surfs and is in various states of dress, from slimly suited to topless. The vaguely dubstep-flavored song and video, reminiscent of a Skrillex set, is fueled by testosterone and bro-y party energy. Sweaty, shirtless, jumping and fist-pumping; this is to have fun at a Diplo set these days. He’s gone from a local maverick with a talent for beats to an international party boy DJ and hardcore party-director.
Remember when his MD Block Parties were ACTUAL block parties? As in one block, in the Eraserhood, with maybe a couple hundred hipsters. Now they’re this. But it’s hard to chastise, we suppose, gotta make that paper somehow. Can you blame him for letting his empire expand into an over-the-top party empire?
From here until Monday, there’s a handful of seriously excellent live music opportunities to take advantage of. Starting with tonight.
BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW
A few months back, we wrote about BMSR and their astoundingly successful Kickstarter. They did their newest record, Cobra Juicy, all on their own and used some creative incentives (sickening masks) to get people to donate. It worked. And Pennsylvania’s own mysterious weird rockers are going to make us proud tonight at Union Transfer and you’ll almost definitely see a few weird-face masks – it’ll be like an Eyes Wide Shut scene. Without all the nudity sex, probably. Get your tickets now.
JAPANDROIDS AND DIIV
Man, this one’s gonna be good. If you can do two Union Transfer nights in a row, you probaby should. Or if you can only do one, it’s this one. Once upon a time, we saw Japandroids tear up the Barbary with a crowd of probably 50. But now they’re big and on their regular visits to Philadelphia they become more and more obviously one of the most face-melting guitar-shredding heart-swelling proprietors of Celebration Rock. They’re loud, they’re anthemic, they’re infectiously earnest. And DIIV rules, too, so don’t miss the opener. They’re considerably chiller and more relaxed, so it should be an excellent combo. Get your tickets, ASAP.
Tauheed Epps, Tity Boi, whatever you wanna call him, he’s a sensation. He’s a big deal these days, guesting on everyone’s new records and pulling in some big names himself (you may have heard “Beez in the Trap“). Thing is, he’s kind of an enigma – a big deal but, uh, his flow’s vaguely weak. It’s slow is all, and he tends to rap about the same handful of things (like lots of emcees, we guess). But his are the trap, Similac and Bennihana. We gave him a Critic’s Pick this week and, whether or not he’s THAT good, it’s a show we think you should consider. It’s on Monday at the TLA.
MATES OF STATE
So way back in the late ’90s, a husband-and-wife team started making simple, joyous indie rock with their own voices and multi-instrumental talents. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that they started hitting their stride and earning some recognition, but Team Boo, Bring It Back and Re-Arrange Us are three of the most delightful indie duo LPs one could ask for (especially Bring It). They’re classics. And while they may not be super pop-culturally relevant, to those who know and love these excellent records, we’re devotees of their pretty, smile-inducing love rock. This show’s going to be excellent and it’s at Johnny Brenda’s on Monday night.