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Queens of the Stone Age and Royal Blood at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing: Somebody Get a Throne

Queens of the Stone Age | photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN

The glam-sludge-boogie rock of Queens of the Stone Age and its singer-guitarist Josh Homme didn’t need Iggy Pop (their rough collaborator on his Post Pop Depression and its accompanying 2016 tour) to validate their sound or standing. Since leaving the stoner metal Kyuss and releasing its eponymous debut in 1998 (with the epic Rated R and Songs for the Deaf to follow, respectively in 2000 and 2002), Homme’s big swagger has been his signature – a downright brand. Yet, at Thursday night’s celebration of his newest QOTSA album, Villains, at Festival Pier, Homme found nuances on the art of swagger he may not even realized existed before working with Pop.

With a cool evening’s breeze behind them, the black-and-red-clad Queens and its front-man Homme kicked out the glam jams of “My God is the Sun” and the sudsy sludgy “Turnin’ on the Screw” with the menacing finesse of Noel Coward in a leather bar. Continue reading →

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The Laser’s in the Background: Andy Molholt gets down in the Dark Nuclear Bogs

Laser Background | photo courtesy of the artist
Laser Background | courtesy of the artist | Photo by Natalie Piserchio

You could lead with the cliché that Philadelphia multi-instrumentalist, composer and singer Andy Molholt has worn many hats since his time in this city as he’s started The Armchairs and Laser Background, as well as maintaining a position in Northampton, Massachusetts’ Speedy Ortiz as of late. But hat-wearing makes Molholt seem like a dabbler, which he is certainly not; not from the passionately somber and angry lyrics of Laser Background’s newest work, Dark Nuclear Bogs.

Bathed in the grey glow of personal plight its lyrical mindset, but ripe with the gauzy effervescence of neo-psychedelic sound, this– and Moholt – prove just how deeply committed once can be to cause, even if they’re wearing a mini-dress. Before his August 31 release party at Johnny Brenda’s Moholt spoke about kaftans, his father and the mess that is the present day. Continue reading →

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Son Little Plays Ball

Son Little | photo by Marc Lemoine | courtesy of the artist
Son Little | photo by Marc Lemoine | courtesy of the artist

When Son Little sings “I got the blue magic / And I rock you so savage” on his upcoming New Magic album, there’s a grit and a swaggering gamesmanship to his voice that wasn’t apparent in past such as 2014s Things I Forgot EP and his eponymously-titled 2015 album. That strut may not even have been there when Aaron Livingston (Little’s birth name) recorded with The Roots or with RJD2 as Icebird.

Did the multi-hyphenate neo-bluesman and seemingly professional lodger (LA to NYC to Philly to somewhere in New Jersey) get that ‘”oomph” producing an EP for legendary gospel goddess Mavis Staples (Your Good Fortune)? Or writing for electro-R&B saxophonist / DJ GRiZ? Does his newfound love (or display of affection) for baseball have anything to do with this soulful gloat as he’s taken to singing the “Star Spangled Banner” before National League games?

Before Livingston heads into a busy autumn — beginning at this week’s Afropunk festival in Brooklyn, extending to the September 15th New Magic release and a two-night stand at Boot and Saddle at the month’s end — we caught up with him via phone so he could address some of these burning questions. Continue reading →