It’s a double header of still-vital rock and roll pioneers at The Mann Center tonight with Blondie and Garbage. In the 70s and early 80s, Debbie Harry and her bandmates bridged downtown New York punk rock with the dance-driven international New Wave scene, and wrote a massive amount of hits in the process; in the 90s, Shirley Manson brought a bold dose of glam and pop sensibilities to the dreary grunge landscape. Thing is, neither band is resting on its laurels or going through the nostalgia motions. Blondie and Garbage have both released albums of new material in the past year that stand strongly alongside their work from 20 (and 40) years ago — Pollinator, from the former, totally rips, as Harry and the band proved at NonCOMM this year, and Strange Little Birds is Garbage at its most vulnerable and honest but still kicks out driving anthems. Watch videos for “Long Time” and “Empty” below and get tickets and more information on tonight’s show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →
Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.
The calendar still says it’s spring, but that’s purely a technicality. It is summertime, buddypals, and with the year we’ve been having, it’s about dang time. So where are the jams? Doesn’t quite seem like Katy Perry’s coming through for us this time around – the Teenage Dream summer of 2010, it turns out, was a long seven years ago. I’m personally getting major mileage out of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Cut To The Feeling,” a soundtrack loosie packing as potent a dose of fizz-pop headrush euphoria as anything on E*MO*TION, let alone last year’s B-Sides (Man, was 2015 only two years ago?) Keep a lookout for Lorde’s new LP this Friday (and Haim a bit down the line), but in the meantime I’ll share some other prospects with you below.
On the live show front, it’s been a busy month what with another fabulous NonCOMMvention here at WXPN, last weekend’s dueling cross-town polarities of the Roots Picnic and West Philly Porchfest, and an action-packed concert calendar across the board – my personal highlight being the first of Sylvan Esso’s two-nighter at Union Transfer, featuring the most fervently enthusiastic audience I’ve been a part of in ages (no wonder, considering the show sold out in a matter of hours.) Things are looking strangely sparse for the remainder of June, at least from my vantage point (U2 who?), which I blame on the increasing dominance of the summer music festival circuit, infiltrating nearly every level of the industry as opportunities for the sweaty intimacy of those AC-free mid-summer Unitarian basement gigs steadily dwindles. Perhaps. Still, there are a handful of bright spots, particularly on the rootsy/folky end of things, which I’ll get to a bit further on. Continue reading →
You would think the highlight of a Blondie set would be the flawless performances of classic hits like “One Way or Another,” “Call Me,” “Heart of Glass,” “Dreaming,” and the rap-filled “Rapture,” all of which we heard during tonight’s NonCOMM set and all of which were real treats. But to be honest, the band’s new album Pollinator, released May 5th, is so good that it’s those songs, bridging disco, pop and darker rock, that had the crowd in the palm of Blondie’s hand.
New wave icons Blondie have been releasing a slew of new tracks in preparation of their upcoming album, Pollinator. Set for a May 5th release date, the upbeat tracks “Long Time” and “Fun” had us dreaming of summer and dancing without a care. Continue reading →
Here’s a doubleheader blast from the past! Legendary outfits Blondie and Garbage are joining forces for a summer fling dubbed The Rage and Rapture Tour, and today they’ve announced an August 2nd date at The Mann. Debbie and Shirley will be touring behind new records with their respective bands, the former with the also-just-announced Pollinator (out May 5th) and the latter with last year’s triumphant Strange Little Birds return.
1955 – Chrysler introduces the world’s first in-car sound systems – record players, complete with an assortment of classical vinyl, mounted under the dashboard. The unit measures about four inches high and less than a foot wide. The seven inch discs spin at 16 2/3 rpm and require almost three times the number of grooves per inch as an LP. The players are discontinued in 1961.