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Now Hear This: New songs from Cat Power, Elvis Costello, Matthew Dear, Half Waif, Richard Swift, Spiritualized and more

Half Waif | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist
Half Waif | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist

Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.

This past Saturday was my 36th birthday, and, as it happens, this is my 36th Now Hear This column.  (I’ve been secretly keeping track: the first fifteen installments ran weekly over at Philly Voice during the fall of 2016; the monthly columns for The Key started in February 2017).  Thirty-six feels like a significant year – more so than 35 in many ways (especially considering what’s been happening to the institution of the presidency).  It’s divisible by more numbers, even if five isn’t one of them.  As one friend pointed out, it means I’m now old enough to vote twice! And, more notably, it means that I’ve been a quote-unquote “adult” for fully half of my life; that the time since I left my parents’ house now equals the time that I lived there.

So it’s afforded a nice opportunity to reflect back on the time around my 18th year – an age perhaps less overtly mythologized in song than sixteen or seventeen, but probably even more transformative in real (contemporary) life – which in my case was also the era of Y2K.  I’d reckon that nobody felt the cultural and historical shift from the 20th to the 21st century, from the 1990s to the still-nameless-after-all-these-years 2000s, more acutely than those of us for whom it paralleled the end of high school and the start of what-comes-next; i.e. me and my fellow circa-1982 babies: the oldest, truest millennials.  Conveniently, just two days before my birthday, September Now Hear This boy-toy Troye Sivan joined up with plasticwave popgenius (and certified ‘90s bitchCharli XCX to drop a video memorializing and celebrating the pop culture of that period – specifically 1999, although the references span roughly 1997-2000 – when, as many have mentioned, its creators were still in single digits, if not diapers.  It represents exactly, and in exquisitely realized detail, the “borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered (late) ‘90s” that I have been ambivalently anticipating for quite some time now.

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Watch Cat Power perform “In Your Face” on KCRW

Cat Power | photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Cat Power, the longtime recording project of songwriter Chan Marshall, recently released Wanderer, her first album in six years. Before heading out on tour in support of the new LP, Marshall stopped by Los Angeles NPR member station KCRW for her first live radio session behind Wanderer. She chose one of the album’s slower tracks, “In Your Face,” and stripped it down even further for a raw and emotive performance. Watch it now via NPR Music. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Cat Power will play Union Transfer in December

Cat Power | photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

After a breathtaking performance opening for The National at The Mann last week, indie icon Cat Power has announced her return to Philadelphia. The vehicle of singer-songwriter Chan Marshall will headline Union Transfer on Saturday, December 15th, and tickets are on sale this Thursday at 10 a.m. Continue reading →

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Listen to Cat Power’s heartbreaking cover of Rihanna’s “Stay”

Cat Power
Cat Power | photo by Eliot Lee Hazel | courtesy of the artist

You could say Cat Power is a little obsessed with cover songs. Her latest effort is a version of Rihanna’s 2012 single, “Stay,” and Cat Power’s rendition strips the ballad down to it’s barest melody, her troubled, wavering vocals bringing an alternative twist to the heartbreaking pop tune. Continue reading →

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Cat Power shares new song “Woman,” featuring Lana Del Rey

Cat Power
Cat Power | photo by Eliot Lee Hazel | courtesy of the artist

After a six-year absence from releasing music, Cat Power is back in full force with a new single and a Lana Del Rey guest appearance. “Woman” is the first full song we’ve heard from her forthcoming album Wanderer, which will be released in the fall; Cat Power previously shared a short preview of the title track. Continue reading →

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Cat Power announces new album Wanderer, playing the Mann in September

Cat Power | photo by Eliot Lee Hazel | via Domino Records

If you’ve been wondering what Cat Power‘s been up to since the release of her last album Sun in 2012, today’s announcement brings some answers. Over the last few years, Chan Marshall, the artist behind Cat Power, has been taking the story of her life’s journey as a touring musician and turning it into song; the result is a new album, aptly called Wanderer. The album will be released on October 5 via Domino Records, and you can preorder it here. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: The National is coming back to Philly and bringing Cat Power and Phoebe Bridgers along

The National | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Prepare yourselves, because there’s an incredibly good show coming our way this fall. So good that it may take a moment or two to process that it is actually happening. It hasn’t been too, too long since we’ve seen The National in town (those who were lucky enough to score tickets, that is) — the band played to a very sold-out Kimmel Center in December, and performed their new album Sleep Well Beast to an even more sold-out Union Transfer last September for NPR Music’s First Listen Live.

This September, The National is coming back to Philly — not to either of the previously mentioned venues, but to the Mann Center. And if that’s not reason enough to get excited, the opening acts will be Cat Power and Phoebe Bridgers. What?! How does a lineup like this even come together? Maybe it’s best not to ask questions, but just mark our calendars and thank whatever cosmic forces made this happen. Continue reading →

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Photos: Cat Power’s Chan Marshall played a solo set at Underground Arts

Cat Power | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmelly.tumblr.com
Cat Power | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmelly.tumblr.com

Last Saturday night, Cat Power‘s Chan Marshall played a solo set at Underground Arts. The long-running indie songwriter released her outstanding album Sun in 2012 and performed a full-band show at The Electric Factory in February of this year. Though Marshall wasn’t tremendously chatty during the solo set, it drew songs from across her catalog as well as a range of covers – “House of the Rising Sun,” “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” – which Marshall is known for making her own anyway. Check out a gallery of photos from the performance below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cat Power at Underground Arts, Mo Lowda and the Humble at Ortlieb’s, Crash Course in Science at Boot & Saddle and more

cat-power1

Cat Power brings her solo tour to Underground Arts tonight.  Chan Marshall is currently supporting last year’s Sun LP, a record that once again reinvented the singer-songwriter’s sound in surprising ways.  The last time she was in Philly, Marshall brought her eclectic new style to the Electric Factory with a mixed media backdrop.  This time, it’ll be stripped down and simple.  Tickets and information for the 21+ show with Nico Turner can be found here.  Watch her video for “Manhattan” below.

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