Koof & Vessna are two talented local artists who have teamed up for a new collaboration, sharing their debut single and music video “Echoes” this week. Koof Ibi can usually be found behind the camera at the Random Tea Room Sessions or behind the horn in West Philadelphia Orchestra; Vessna Scheff is a singer-songwriter with crystal clear vocals and a trusty ukulele. Together, the pair create an atmosphere of soulful, reflective solitude.
Philly electropop singer and producer Kate Faust has been hanging out a lot at Germantown’s heralded Rigby Mansion lately. Over the past several years, it’s become one of the best music and arts hang spots uptown, hosting gigs ranging from intimate and folky to odd and experimental.
It’s clearly made an impression on Faust, who today released a new music video set entirely on the grounds of Rigby. With psychedelic and surreal direction by Koofreh Umoren (of Random Tea Sessions and West Philly Orchestra fame), the video features dancer Kingsley Ibeneche, who’s appeared onstage and in previous videos with Faust. Here, the two interact indoors and out, sharing moments of stunning sensuality amid plumes of brightly colored smoke. Continue reading →
Nashville garage rockers Turbo Fruits took the stage today following an electric set from The London Souls. The four-piece showed Philly what they were made of with their catchy rock ballads. Guitarist Kingsley Brock whipped out some fun, distorted riffs while frontman Jonas Stein’s grumbling vocals filled the room. The group played tracks exclusively off of their upcoming LP, No Control, set to be released April 20th. Songs like “The Way I Want You” and “Don’t Let Me Break Your Heart Again” put the group’s solid sound on full display and had the crowd movin’ and groovin’, closing out today’s Free At Noon with finesse. Continue reading →
They hail from Brooklyn and they pack a punch. They paid a visit to World Cafe Live in support of their debut album, Wildewoman. They are characterized by synergy in every way: compositionally, instrumentally, sonically, vocally and even visually. They stand out in the mundane world of alternative music. They are Lucius, and they’re destined for greatness.
Lucius is the fusion of singers Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig backed by multi-instrumentalists Andrew Burri, Peter Lalish and Dan Molad. They each sport their own breed of charisma on top of their matching (and needless to say, fashionable) raiments. The stage is set up in near perfect symmetry: Wolfe and Laessig face each other over keyboards and percussion at center stage with Burri and Molad, each with half of a drum set, to the singers’ left and right respectively, while guitarist Lalish hovers behind the female doppelgängers. The result is striking; percussive and vocal elements arrive in equilibrium from both sides, while guitar textures and electronic sounds remain centered, making for auditory balance unlike anything I’ve ever heard. The visual, of course, is equally as impressive, Wolfe and Laessig donning matching violin-patterened dresses with ‘60s style white collars in addition to their well coordinated hair cuts and black knee socks, while the men of the group wore identical black suits and even seemed to be alike in the facial hair department.
The quintet opened their set with a stripped down cover of The Beatles’ “Free as a Brid”, showcasing in particular the Wolfe and Laessig’s perfect harmonies, which contrasted harshly with Lalish’s near abrasive yet surprisingly appropriate guitar playing. For a second song, fans were treated to “Don’t Just Sit There”, during which Wolfe and Laessig sing in unison rather than in harmony, something they’ve highlighted to be a crucial aspect of their idiosyncratic sound. Alone, they’re excellent singers; together, they’re a voice unlike anything you’ve ever heard, and it’s part of what makes Lucius so special. They then moved into a variation of “Genevieve” from their recent EP which was much more rhythmically intriguing and percussive than what is played on the recording. Wolfe and Laessig trade rhythms on the wood block and floor tom respectively, pounding out patterns in a near violent manner, while drummer Molad and fellow multi-instrumentalist Burri fill in the empty space with off-beat eccentricity.
Lucius then worked their way into “Tempest”, a popper, more synth-heavy tune that came alive mostly thanks to Lalish and Burri’s shimmering guitar playing during its introduction, plus a great deal of beautifully dynamic singing from Wolfe and Laessig. Several songs later, they performed “How Loud Your Heart Gets”, the chorus of which seemed to sound even more distilled and soulful than on the recording, if that is at all possible. “Nothing Ordinary”, another favorite of mine, was the edgy union of distorted guitar, the steady pulse of Molad’s bass drum and passionately shrill vocals that could only work if perfectly executed, and execute perfectly they did. They concluded their set with an energetic rendition of the title track of their debut album, “Wildewoman”.
For encores, Lucius opened up with “Turn it Around”, the two-one handclap tune that harkens back to the ‘60s girl-groups that inspire them. Lucius then did something nobody expected: play unplugged in the middle of the crowd as a part of a little tradition they like to call the “love circle”. They played, rather appropriately, “Two of Us on the Run”, and fans giddy with excitement took to their smartphones to document the experience, turning the crowd into an oscillating night sky full of phone screen stars. They finished the show practically how they’d started it: with a cover of Paul McCartney’s “Goodbye”.
Lucius was joined by the folk-punk group Kingsley Flood, who surprised a then small crowd with their energy and intensity, and for a majority of their tunes, I felt the level of musicianship and composition was top-notch, though certain songs felt to be slightly overkill.
Lucius represents so many things that so many other bands do not. They incorporate layers of percussion, textured sounds and most importantly, two voices acting as one that amount to something special. They’re fun-loving, charismatic people and great musicians, and one thing is for sure: Lucius is going places.
Brooklyn five piece indie pop group Lucius just released a music video for “Tempest” from their debut album WILDEWOMAN. The track floats with the dual voices of Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig as they sing “Yell all that you want to / I’ll yell it right back to you,” telling a story of getting over troubles with a loved one. The music itself is dream-like, creating a sense of euphoria that supports the tone of the vocals. The music video is great accompaniment to the tune; it’s somewhat creepy and depicts several very unusual scenarios. Currently on tour in Europe, Lucius will be returning for a short set of US shows, including a stop at World Cafe Live on December 6th with Kingsley Flood get information and tickets for the show here. Pick up a copy of WILDEWOMAN here.
Our pals Man Man are playing two hometown shows at Union Transfer this week – including one on Halloween. While spooky music is always an interweb favorite around this time of year, we couldn’t think of any better band to pull together a list of Halloween favorites than Honus Honus and Pow Pow. They’ve made some terrific choices here including music from Sun Ra, The Misfits, the Italian prog-rock band Goblin, the soundtrack to Friday the 13th (Part 3!), the Sixties television show Dark Shadows, and they even manage to fit in a classic from Little Shop of Horrors with Steve Martin. Check out their playlist below, and find tickets and info on their October 30 and 31 shows at Union Transfer at the XPN Concert Calendar.
Over at MilkBoy last night, an all-local bill brought out an eclectic but seamless assortment of vibes, capped off with a headlining set by Kate Faust. The versatile vocalist’s latest offering – the recent Crucial Companion EP – finds her exploring mood-setting electronic tapestries (check out her recent Key Studio Session), held together by a solid groove. Live, it comes across partly R&B, party ethereal art-pop with the help of her two backing musicians, Jonathan Colman on bass and Justin Lee on drums. Last night was Faust’s first Philadelphia appearance in a few months, and the co-star of her recently-released video – dancer Kingsley Ibeneche – joined her onstage for the song “Crucial Companion.”
Preceding Faust was another groove-based electronic outfit, Elegant Animals, whose snappy set was at some points smooth and subtle like Bon Iver, at other points all-out emotive a la Drake. They’re currently wrapping up their debut full-length at Philly’s HeadRoom Studio, but their debut EP Spectrum Nocturnal is available for free download at Bandcamp. Opening the show was singer-songwriter Vinchelle Woods, who was once upon a time Faust’s vocal partner in Toy Soldiers. “Usually I’m just singing,” she deadpanned after her opening “Side A / Side B.” “Recently I decided to add a guitar. It’s going okay.” Despite her grumblings about callouses, Woods’ set was great, a breezy mix of acoustic folk and jazzy chord changes in the vein of Joni Mitchell. Mixing alongside her originals were covers of Fleet Foxes and Feist, and while her recorded output is sparse right now, this set was a promising sign of things to come. Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.
Kate Faust has shared a haunting and pastoral video for the title track of her debut EP Crucial Companion, filmed in her hometown of Denver, PA and directed by Neglakay Productions. The video features dancer Kingsley Ibeneche as the “companion” opposite Faust’s mystical spirit animal and shows the pair performing a choreographed dance in the foggy, ethereal woods of Central PA. Though it is beautiful to just watch, the video has a much deeper meaning and connection to the lyrics of “Crucial Companion” than what is communicated visually. From Faust:
The contrast of me being covered up vs. him being bare, his wearing color
vs. my white lace… it all lent itself to the what “Crucial Companion”
represents… the extremes that require each other so that wholeness can
begin. “Thorn in my side/joy of my life…” the words to this song are
a gift that just fell into my lap. I’m still trying to understand them
myself, but I think the visual we have created is a very good start.
Watch the video below and listen back to Faust’s performance of the song for her recent Key Studio Session here. She’ll be at Milkboy Philly on Saturday, September 14th with Elegant Animals and Vinchelle Woods; tickets and information can be found here.
The New York indie-pop band Lucius return to Philly to World Cafe Live on Friday, December 6th. Tickets go on sale this Friday, August 23rd at 10 A.M. The band are releasing their debut album, Wildewoman, on October 15th. The five piece is fronted by the talented and charismatic Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, and the band has received glowing reviews from their performances at Bonnaroo and Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival. Below, download “Hey Doreen,” from Lucius’ forthcoming album and stream a song from Kingsley Flood, the Boston/DC based acousticana 6 piece opening the show.
Cheers Elephant have been some productive cats of late. The band headed out on a spring tour to SXSW, returned home to open for Darwin Deez at the Church, and somewhere in the mix, recorded sessions for HotBox Studios and Daytrotter. Both of those sessions premiered this week; stream Cheers’ Daytrotter set here (Daytrotter members can download) and watch an outstanding performance of “Leaves” for the HotBox cameras below; love that drummer Robert Kingsley gets so worked up (above and beyond his normal worked-up-edness) that he collapses on his drumkit at the end. Watch for some Cheers Elephant concert news later this spring.