The poet laureate of rock and roll debauchery, Lou Reed, had a spectacular run of solo records across the 70s and into the 80s. Some critics argue that that streak ended 30 years ago this May, when Reed released Mistrial – an album recorded with a new group of players and laced with 80s production gloss and drum machine rhythms.
Whatever your take on the record is, the crowd at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts sounded positively pumped to hear Reed play in this recording of a Philly concert from 30 years ago today. Joining him are Fernando Saunders onbass, J.T. Lewis on Drums, Eddi Martinez on guitar, Rick Bell on sax and Woody Smallwood on keys, and the band works its way through seven out of Mistrial‘s 10 songs – the funky “Video Violence” sounds particularly indebted to the Talking Heads. Continue reading →
If you don’t know Caitlin McCann yet, you should. The Philadelphia photographer has been making a name for herself with music videos and portraits of artists near and dear to the Philly scene, from Pine Barons to TJ Kong. Her latest project is CAKE, a large format, 60-page zine consisting of photos from The Districts / Sun Club US tour.
“It’s all sorts of sticky and sweaty and boozy,” McCann tells us. “But you won’t find any live music photos in the pages.” Continue reading →
Sonia Petruse remembers exactly where she was the first time she listened to Ryan Adams. Like really, really listened to him.
She was familiar with the album 2001 Gold, of course, and its ubiquitous hit “New York, New York.” She remembered the song being paraded around patriotically in the months after 9-11, and hearing stories about how the songwriter wasn’t keen about its point being misconstrued.
But it was 2004 when the music really kicked in. She was 18, driving around her hometown of Leighton, Pennsylvania with a motley group of teenagers. They were in a small car, an old two-door BMW, and it was crammed to the gills. She sat on a friend’s lap. People were stoned. And “Dear Chicago” from the Demolition album came on the car stereo. Continue reading →
Two years ago Dante Scaglione was digging through Bandcamp when he came across a music community he was unaware of prior — one of cassette-exclusive labels.
He was immediately intrigued by this idea of keeping tapes alive in this age in which streaming services, vinyl rebirth and digital downloads are king. Labels such as Gnar Tapes and Burger Records appealed to him in that when they started; they too were releasing their music on cassette only. Scaglione started buying music on the niche format and began his own collection when his friends in Joy Again (formerly Forever Lesbians) were talking with him about wanting to releasing their first album on cassette. They hashed out the details and Third Floor Tapes was born with the band’s first album, Sherry, a set of warbling lo-fi garage pop.
That particular sonic characteristic, one that’s most definitely unique to tapes, was another aspect that influenced Scaglione’s decision to keep the label tape-based. Continue reading →
Before it was a destination festival, Lollapalooza was a grandiose touring music carnival – and 1993 was a pivotal year in its trajectory. The original run in 1991 was really just a glorified farewell tour for Jane’s Addiction. The following year, Jane’s frontman Perry Farrell brought the Lolla banner back for a sequel (and a chance to debut his new project Porno for Pyros); the tour did surprisingly well, having effectively tapped in to the alternative nation zeitgeist, showcasing a variety of artists under its umbrella, hard rock (Pearl Jam) to shoegaze (Lush) to rap (Ice Cube) to industrial (Ministry).
It avoided the sophomore slump and proved that the touring music festival could in fact be a thing, at least in the booming pre-millennium economy. So when the tour once again rolled into Philadelphia this day in 1993, it was at a crucial juncture. Continue reading →
Heartbreaking news today for the Philadelphia punk rock community – and the music scene at large. Erik Petersen, veteran guitar-slinger and grizzled balladeer, founder of Mischief Brew, captain of the ship at Fistola Records and an eternally enthusiastic dude, has passed away.
The news has been swirling around social media for the past few hours, and was formally reported by Punknews earlier this afternoon. Details are scarce, but it seems Petersen passed away last night. The band’s final performance took place on Friday, July 8th, at The Trocadero opening for his close compatriots and longtime favorites World / Inferno Friendship Society. Mischief Brew was scheduled to perform in the Lehigh Valley tonight at the Square of Opposition / Double Decker Records anniversary; we wouldn’t be surprised if some sort of impromptu tribute bubbles up.
Beyond the whats and the whys and all that, Petersen’s passing is a major loss of a passionate and driven voice in our community. Continue reading →
No song is too big for NPR’s Tiny Desk, not even the spacey psych rock marathons of Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band. The Philly locals’ session at NPR Music headquarters was released on Friday, and in it they perform “Harmonious Dance,” “The First Ten Minutes of Cocksucker Blues,” and “Boston Street Lullaby.” Continue reading →
“High Key” is a series of profiles conceived with the intent to tell the story of Philly’s diverse musical legacy by spotlighting individual artists in portrait photography, as well as with an interview focusing on the artist’s experience living, creating, and performing in this city. “High Key” will be featured in biweekly installments, as the series seeks to spotlight artists both individually and within the context of his or her respective group or artistic collective.
Adrian Palashevsky’s been hard at work. Over the past few years, the hip hop producer, multimedia artist and DJ — better known as goldenSpiral — has been fashioning beats, collaborating with his Philly music compatriots, and staying up late.
A taste of the results of all that sweat equity is available this week, with the release of the Dark Matter EP at goldenSpiral’s Bandcamp site, where it will be featured exclusively for two weeks prior to international distribution via Empire and Redeye. Published by Kyle Taylor’s Philly-based blog-turned-label Funkadelphia, the EP is a diverse sampling of the producer’s talents and influences, and features vocals from the ethereal Alicia Talia, and rappers Calvin MC, and Voss, whose standout single “NightVision” will have a music video directed by Pipus The Wise out later this Summer.
In the Fall, goldenSpiral will drop a full-length LP that he considers to be definitive work that he’s excited to share, a magnum opus called Waveformation which will also be published on the Funkadelphia label. The album will boast two music videos including single “Eternal Life (dub),” spotlighting vocals from Philly reggae darling Sonni Shine, in case you’ve missed her (and you should have) since The Underwater Sounds called it quits earlier this year.
In the meantime, Dark Matter is live as of noon on Tuesday, July 12th, and Palashevsky is offering the EP on a name-your-price basis, or for fair trade for just an email address. So all you hip hop/glitch/dub-heads, just click on that link and hit refresh, refresh… Continue reading →
In times like these, music is more important than ever.
For many, it’s been a difficult month. The past week alone saw the tragic shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Falcon Heights, Minnesota, respectively. It also saw the tragic shooting deaths of five police officers in Dallas — Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Smith — who were protecting a peaceful protest when a sniper opened fire. Sterling and Castile are the latest high-profile cases of black citizens losing their lives during encounters with the authorities in recent years, from Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown to Sandra Bland and Freddie Gray. In other areas of the news and the world, hate and senseless violence have reared their heads — from the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando that killed 49 people, many of them members of the city’s LGBT+ Latinx community; to the attack on an airport in Istanbul last month that killed 44; to an undercurrent of intolerance that permeated the Brexit vote in the UK.
In short: this is a turbulent month amid turbulent times. And even if we’re not directly affected by the events, they touch us all. Which is where music comes in. Continue reading →
Best known as the half-oval that filled to the brim for Live Aid in 1985, South Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium was something of a nerve center for rock in Philly during the 60s, 70s and 80s – hosting performances that range from Judy Garland’s final show in 1968 to The Rolling Stones in 1978 (headcount: 100,000 people in attendance), Blondie in 1982, and U2 in 1987 for The Joshua Tree tour (headcount: 86,000 in attendance).
Suffice it to say, this place was massive, though by the end of the 80s had outlived its useful existence and was shuttered. Short of the Rolling Stones using it as a practice space for their Steel Wheels tour dress rehearsals – the most epic practice space of all time, wow – the field went dormant and was leveled in 1992 to pave the way for what is now the Wells Fargo Center.
The final show at JFK was a great one – The Grateful Dead performed a two-hour and 53-minute gig at JFK on July 7, 1989, 27 years ago today – but it was at the same time unceremonious. Continue reading →