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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The World Is… at World Cafe Live, Jill Scott at Liacouras Center, Dark Blue at Kung Fu Necktie and more

TWIBPAIANLATD | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo
TWIBPAIANLATD | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Soundscaping punk army The World Is A Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die (mercifully abbreviated to The World Is) headline World Cafe Live tonight. The band, currently a ten-piece, is firmly rooted in late 90s emo but blends it with a post-rock sensibility, amplifying the catharsis to impressive levels. Their latest, Between Bodies, was released in October to much frenzy, and scene faves The Hotelier open the show. Also worth noting is the setting: World Cafe Live is one of our favorite Philly venues, but it doesn’t hold punk shows too often, so when it happens, you know it’s something special. Tickets and information can be found on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Ill Fated Natives

We don’t know a tremendous amount about Philly’s Ill Fated Natives – they’re very new to the Philly music scene – but we can tell you with no uncertainty that they rock, and they rock hard. The local power trio is made up of drummer “Joey Stix” Pointer, singer-guitarist O. Thompson and bassist Bets Charmelus. They first caught our ear in April with their debut single, a bluesy slow-burn called “That Don’t Mean I Don’t Love You.” Our Katrina Murray described the single as “tough love at its finest.” Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Teen Men at Boot and Saddle, The Fleeting Ends at Milkboy, Thrashgiving at Millcreek Tavern and more

Teen Men | Photo by Kate Bracaglia
Teen Men | Photo by Kate Bracaglia

Multimedia psych-pop outfit Teen Men are spending Thanksgiving Eve at Boot And Saddle. Though their full length debut is still a work in progress, their EP is a fun and frantic four-song set that you should put your ears to already if you haven’t yet. Learn more about the band – which features Spinto Band alums Nick Krill and Joe Hobson – in their feature interview with The Key’s Kate Bracaglia from last December. Tickets and information on the show can be found here. Continue reading →

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Download Chill Moody’s tribute to Michael Brown, “We’re Worth More”

Chill Moody | Photo courtesy of the artist
Chill Moody | Photo courtesy of the artist

We know that Philly rapper Chill Moody is skilled at bringing the party, and is a serious self-promoter to boot. But the some of the best moments in hip-hop history are songs that address serious social and political issues in the hopes of changing the world for the better – from “The Message” to “Fight The Power” to Yeezus - and it’s great to hear that Moody has a knack for that as well.

Less than 48 hours after a U.S. grand jury declined to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri – and amid protests across the country – Moody posted a hard-hitting single called “We’re Worth More” to his Soundcloud. Continue reading →

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Ambition Versus Expectation: What do performers owe their crowds?

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Bob Dylan onstage in Maui | photo by George F. Lee via honolulupulse.com || Lauryn Hill onstage at the Bowery Ballroom | photo by Wei Shi via consequenceofsound.net

Confession time. The one time I saw Bob Dylan, I walked out.

His performance was disappointing, more than a little bit sad, and first got me thinking about unspoken agreement between artist and audience. When a concert is so drastically different from the expectations behind it, did the crowd get shortchanged?

It was the XPoNential Music Festival two summers ago, the year of the colossal rain storm. I was soaked to the bone, sticking it out for my chance to see the American songwriting legend who was responsible for Blonde on Blonde and Blood on the Tracks and so so many more classics. I knew he wasn’t going to play the songs the way they sounded on the album; I knew his voice wasn’t what it once was. And I was okay with that, because I’m generally comfortable with artists taking artistic liberties – and let’s face it, Dylan was never a great singer.

But I wasn’t prepared for how bad it was going to be. A half hour or so into the set, the band – who seemed to all be skilled players, for sure – was in the middle of a wandering, free-form expanse while Dylan’s barely audible voice croaked indiscernibly along. At one point, he uttered something that sounded vaguely like “Pourin’ off of every page / Like it was written in my soul from me to you” and I realized, OH GOD, this is supposed to be “Tangled Up in Blue.” I gave up. I went home.

I’ve been thinking about that Dylan concert this week for a couple reasons; one, because he just played three nights at the Academy of Music and was reportedly quite good. And two, because I recently reviewed Lauryn Hill’s show at the Electric Factory and roughly criticized the crowd for doing exactly what I did during Dylan’s set. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Hound at Long in the Tooth, Method Man / Redman at The TLA, Philly Sings Philly with DRGN King at The Fire

Hound | via wearehound.bandcamp.com
Hound | via wearehound.bandcamp.com
West Philly thrash trio Hound celebrate the vinyl release of their LP Out of Time with a free show tonight at Long in the Tooth. The power trio features singer-guitarist Perry Shall (also a visual artist and show promoter, formerly of surf-punks Dry Feet), drummer Chris Wilson (of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists) and Colin McGinniss on bass; the record is out now and you can rock out to “Mortality Jam” below. Information on the free show can be found here. Continue reading →

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20 Philadelphia artists we’re thankful for in 2014

Cayetana | photo by Rachel Del Sordo
Cayetana | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Last Wednesday, I sat onstage at Underground Arts as my boss Bruce Warren asked a deceptively simple question: “Why do you love Philly?”

We were there as a part of a State of Young Philly panel on the city’s music industry and cultural economy; Bruce was moderating and I was speaking alongside Chill Moody, Chris Ward of Johnny Brenda’s and Katonah Rafter of Fame House.

For me, the answer was obvious: the music! It’s the city I listened to and aspired to become part of while growing up in the northwestern ‘burbs of Montgomery County. Even as a kid I would always relish seeing a local artist get national attention – when I first heard The Roots in high school (opening for The Beastie Boys at the Civic Center in 1995), I was filled with an immense sense of pride that these incredibly talented people who had just played Letterman were from my city. That national attention comes a lot more often these days, no matter the scene or genre – DIY punk to hip hop to singer-songwriter to psych rock. Whatever music you fancy listening to, you can find an artist who excels at it in the Philadelphia region.

At the State of Young Philly event, I spun together an hour-long, Philly-centric DJ set showcasing some of my faves from recent years, and with the reflective Thanksgiving holiday upon us, I’m sharing the playlist with you: 20 local artists we’re thankful for this year. Continue reading →

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Three Man Cannon had thousands of dollars of gear stolen and they weren’t even on tour, WTF

Three Man Cannon |photo by Rachel Del Sordo
Three Man Cannon | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Soon a day will come when I no longer have to write “band got all their gear stolen” but, alas, today is not that day. Word has been making the rounds this evening (first via a heartfelt Tumblr post by Cayetana’s Augusta Koch, and next by a report on Property of Zack) that Philly-via-Scranton punk four-piece Three Man Cannon had a massive amount of instruments, pedals and hardware stolen tonight.

The worst part about it is that they weren’t on tour. Not that being on tour would have made it okay, but still, you expect to some degree that your stuff is safe and secure when you’re at home. While the particulars of how it happened are not yet clear, what exactly is missing can be found in the list below. Continue reading →

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If you let yourself go along for the ride, Lauryn Hill’s Electric Factory concert was pretty incredible

Lauryn Hill | Photo by John Vettese
Lauryn Hill | Photo by John Vettese

About 30 minutes into Lauryn Hill‘s Electric Factory performance on Saturday night, she launched into “Ex-Factor” – except it didn’t sound like any version of that song you’ve ever heard. The tempo was twice as fast, the instrumental arrangements were completely different and jammed out, Hill’s phrasing took an interpretive turn. The energy was amazing, the band was tight, the performance overall sounded tremendous, but those attributes didn’t sit well with the group of people situated just behind me. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Dark Blue

While setting up for his Key Studio Session, John Sharkey III of Dark Blue remarked that he’d just revisited some of his old Psychedelic Furs records. “People keep comparing my voice to Richard Butler, so I figured I should listen,” he said. “Man. They wrote some fantastic songs.” While it might be a stretch to call Dark Blue a direct descendent of the Furs – or any post punk band specific, despite what your Joy Division meter might be telling you – one commonality they share is placing mood and ambiance at an equal level of importance as tight songwriting. Continue reading →