Quirky upstate New York four-piece Foxygen got crazy in a late-night Non-COMM set yesterday that blended Doors-esque poppy psychedelia with punk-y dissonance. Check out the setlist below, and listen back to the set in its entirety here (via the WXPN media player). Continue reading
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Local thrash / metal band Surgeon has been readying its long-in-the-making new full-length Chemical Reign for the past couple years – since we had them in for a Key Studio Session, as a matter of fact – and the day has finally come. This weekend the band plays its album release show at Johnny Brenda’s, and you can get a taste of the shreddery in store with this video performance of “Greed” at Garage Mahal earlier this year, filmed by The Angry Mountain.
Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze, the latest from Philadelphia psych-songwriter Kurt Vile, has generated international acclaim since its March release on Matador Records. And rightfully so; it’s an ambitious double album exploring a plethora of ideas, and doing them all masterfully. It’s expressive and expansive, but also tight and poppy. It’s deeply personal – “Too Hard,” Vile’s reaction to experiencing fatherhood, has him promising to “do my duty for god and my country,” a vow Boy Scouts know well – but elsewhere, you’ll find clever wordplay equating codeine with Springsteen in a manner both playful and universal. His backing band the Violators – guitarist Jesse Trbovich, bassist Rob Laakso and drummer Vince Nudo – craft layers of gripping instrumental interplay, stretching near ten minutes on the title track (and over on closer “Goldtone”); but the record also makes use of haunting minimal space and experimental textures. In short, it’s Vile’s strongest work to date, and tomorrow night he headlines a sold-out hometown show at Union Transfer with Angel Olsen and Steve Gunn opening after a lengthy spring tour. I got a chance to sit down with Vile before tour kicked off, and we discussed the record, its monumental artwork, and making music of epic proportions.
The Key: Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze sounds great, there’s so much going on. But song that really jumped out at me from the get-go was “Two Hard,” the one where you incorporate the Scouts Promise into the lyrics. Were you a Boy Scout when you were growing up?
Kurt Vile: Yeah. I mean, barely. My dad bribed me. I said I wasn’t gonna go into Boy Scouts and he said -like later that night, real smooth – he said if I joined Boy Scouts, he’ll get me a Swiss army knife. [laughs] So I don’t know, I was at the impressionable age. But yeah,that’s sort of just like a childhood reference. It’s such a dorky reference in a way too.
TK: Well the way it plays out in the lyrics, it kinda feels like you’re an adult looking back on this thing that you had to recite as a child in Boy Scouts, and seeing how it plays out in adult life.
KV: Yeah totally, that’s basically what it is. And then you basically just brush it off. I’m the king of brushing off exactly what I just said. [ laughs] You say you’re just human, so basically you’re just making an excuse for why you’re gonna screw up.
TK: It’s a great song. I love how expansive it is, and how expansive a lot of the record is.
KV: Yeah it’s definitely expansive.
TK: How did you come to like delve into that side of your songwriting again this time?
KV: I guess just cause that’s a natural thing to do, to just get lost in what you’re playing. Obviously there’s set verses and set, you know, sections, there’s all kinds of meticulous…it’s not jammy but if you can just let something go, the chords are simple enough to have that controlled improv in there. Not improv like jam band music, you know. More like jamming in the Velvet Underground sense. Continue reading
XPN welcomes Charles Bradley to Union Transfer tonight. The “Screaming Eagle of Soul” entertained the crowd during a recent Free at Noon performance with his exuberant showmanship and knock-out funk / R&B songs. Following up his 2011 full-length debut, the 64-year-old crooner released Victim of Love earlier this year. Tickets and information for tonight’s show with Paul & the Tall Trees can be found here. Watch the former James Brown impersonator perform “Why Is It So Hard?” live on the Public Radio Rocks stage at SXSW below.
JEFF the Brotherhood kick off a two-night stand at Kung Fu Necktie tonight. The Nashville band of brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall got the music bug from their father, who has written / produced for Taylor Swift and Reba McEntire. The younger Orralls’ brand of music couldn’t be much further from that of Swift’s though – with a raucous live show and a sound that inevitably finds itself described as grungy, scuzzy and sludgy, JEFF the Brotherhood attract attention through a barrage of loud and distorted but equally quirky and endearing rock songs on their latest Hypnotic Nights LP. Tickets and information for tonight and tomorrow’s shows can be found here. Watch them perform “Sixpack” on Late Night with David Letterman below.
On their way to SXSW in March, Philly’s Thee, Idea Men stopped by WRVU in Nashville, TN with tourmates Katie Frank & The Pheromones, Dan Orlando and WC Lindsay. The group of local musicians performed a cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie” live on the Vanderbilt University radio station, with Orlando on keys and Lindsay behind the camera. Check out the footage below and see Thee, Idea Men live at MilkBoy on June 13th. Dan Orlando will be at Kennett Flash on June 1st. Tickets and information for both shows can be found here.
Anjuli Josephine and her band, Andrew Lipke and Juston Stens and the Get Real Gang are among the initial artists announced for the 2013 edition of the Sundrop Music Festival at The Fire. Returning for its third year, the festival features two days of music on two stages – a free and all-ages outdoor stage on Liethgow Street in Northern Liberties and a ticketed run of 21+ shows at The Fire’s indoor stage. For more information, check out the festival’s Facebook Page. Below, download Key Studio Sessions performance tracks from Josephine, Stens and Lipke.