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Just Announced: Public Image Ltd’s 40th anniversary tour comes to Union Transfer this fall

Public Image Ltd | photo via facebook.com/pilofficial

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Public Image Ltd, the band John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten) formed in 1978 shortly after the Sex Pistols broke up. Their first single, “Public Image,” was released in October of that year, and to commemorate the anniversary PiL will be heading out on a tour this fall, which includes a stop at Union Transfer on October 16. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Public Image Ltd. playing Electric Factory on October 11th

English post-punk band Public Image Ltd. just confirmed via their official Twitter page that they will be playing their first North American tour in two years. The tour features a stop at the Electric Factory on Thursday, October 11th. The all ages show starts at 8:30PM. Tickets are $45.55 and go on sale August 4th at 12PM here. The tour is in support of THIS IS PiL, their first new album in over two decades that was released this past May. Vocalist and founding member of PiL, John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols), recently sat down with David Dye for an interview on the World Cafe. Listen to the interview here (via the WXPN media player).

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: John Zorn’s Simulacrum at Johnny Brenda’s, Ani DiFranco at Scottish Rite Auditorium, Promised Land Sound at Kung Fu Necktie

John Zorn | photo by Chad Batka
John Zorn | photo by Chad Batka

How often do you hear this description of a musical act: “the prog-metal organ trio of Downtown alchemists”? Not very often, presumably. Tonight, noteworthy composer John Zorn brings his extreme organ trio, Simulacrum, to Johnny Brenda’s. The trio of John Medeski (Medeski, Martin & Wood), Matt Hollenberg (Cleric) and Kenny Grohowski (Abraxas) will bring riffs, solos, and improvisations to the stage tonight. Get show info and concert tickets at the XPN Concert Calendar and listen to the trio’s “Marmarath” below. Continue reading →

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The expressive, urgent rock of Detroit’s Protomartyr

Photo by Angel Ceballos | http://www.robotangel.com/
Photo by Angel Ceballos | http://www.robotangel.com/
Detroit rock and rollers Protomartyr were one of the hotly buzzed bands going into last week’s SXSW music conference and after eight shows in Austin, including sets during the Pitchfork and Brooklyn Vegan parties, they seemed to have delivered on the promise, Music critics from the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Austin Chronicle and others raved about their shows. With over 2,000 bands all vying for attention and hoping for the break at SXSW, Protomartyr, fronted by Joe Casey, seemed to capture some of SXSW’s best moments for musical discovery. Writing about them in his SXSW wrap up column for the Chicago Tribune, Greg Kot said:

Protomartyr stripped back the postpunk innovations of such minimalists as early Public Image Ltd. and the Fall even further, with seething single-note guitar lines that crescendo with bass and drums. Vocalist Joe Casey is the guy at the end of the bar, talking as much as singing while glaring over the shoulder of guitarist Greg Ahee at some unseen nemesis. Is he talking about the noise in his city, Detroit, or inside his head, or a little of both? When he pops, it’s like that friendly bar fly suddenly turning on you, lunging at your collar because you’re not paying close enough attention.

Protomartyr have an expressive, taut, and urgent rock and roll sound, well represented by “Come & See,” that you can download below. Some call it “post-punk,” but it’s really just punk rock, filtered through several decades of unexpected influences like R. Kelly, and listening to records by Black Flag and Mark E. Smith. The band is releasing its new album, Under Color of Official Right on April 8th on Hardly Art Records. They play Kung Fu Necktie on Tuesday, April 15th.

Below, download “Come & See.”

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While we’re waiting for Kanye West to finish The Life of Pablo, here’s what I heard at the Philly preview Thursday night

Kanye West | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Kanye West | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Rapper / producer / nascent fashion designer Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 3 event was part conceptual art piece, part fashion premiere, part album listening party for his much anticipated 7th solo album The Life of Pablo – which, as of this writing, is still being finalized. The event Thursday gave us a taste, though, and it was simultaneously screened live in several cities around the world via Jay-Z’s TIDAL media streaming service.

And after a day of running errands, I braved the frigid February air Thursday night and made my way to the University 6 Theater (fka The Rave) in West Philly for the Philly edition of Yeezy.

After showing a pair of ushers at the front door a print out of my ticket, I stood in a long line of Penn students and casual hipster kids before having my ticket checked and verified again before taking a seat in the theater.

Pulling out a notepad and pen a dude sitting next to me asked “You taking notes?” with a smirk.

For the first 10 or 15 minutes sitting in this dark theater, I could see the image of two giant platforms elevated above the floor of Madison Square Garden, blanketed by large sheets. The whole scene looked still, dark, grey and lunar. For a fleeting moment I wondered if Kanye had trolled us all. Maybe we had all been tricked? Maybe this was it? A bunch of people, sitting in dark theaters staring at these dumb looking monolithic structures with no album to be heard until the official release date. Continue reading →