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PREMIERE: Curtis Cooper’s Messy is a visceral work of compelling catharsis

Curtis Cooper | photo by Abigail Townsend Photography | courtesy of the artist

“I feel like all my closest friends are damaged,” says Philly’s Curtis Cooper. “And I don’t mean damaged in a bad way. I mean they have been beat down in one way or another and they’ve come back, and now they know the difference between having a good life and having a bad life, and they really appreciate what’s going on in their lives now. Those are the kind of people I want to spend time with.”

We’re talking one evening last week over falafel at Mama’s Vegetarian in Center City; “I love coming here,” Cooper comments, “there’s always somebody behind the counter wearing a Clique shirt.” And indeed, we’re handed our pita sandwiches from somebody wearing a jet black LIZARED tee. We grab a table and proceed to talking about Cooper’s personal and creative journey – through drugs, depression, and breakdowns – to their new album Messy, released this week. Continue reading →

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Curtis Cooper colorfully copes with somber themes in the “Percs of Life” video

Curtis Cooper | photo by Bob Sweeney | via Cereal and Sounds

Curtis Cooper has made their way around the Philly DIY scene over the past couple years, and  recently shared news of a forthcoming second album, the follow-up to last year’s debut Laughing In Lane. We don’t have a release date for the LP, but we do have a new video for the lead single “Percs of Life,” a song we first heard when Cooper played it during their Key Studio Session last year. Continue reading →

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Skate Jawn benefit comp feat. live recordings from Curtis Cooper, AllegrA, and Doggo

Curtis Cooper | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN
Curtis Cooper | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Over the summer, West Philly’s Grays Ferry Skatepark was once again transformed into the DIY tune-fest: the Skate JawnWhile raising money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the jawn boasted a rad local lineup including Abi Reimold, Stippling, Doggo, AllegrACurtis Cooper, and Coping Skills.

Now, with the help of the new local non-profit media collective, Dissenter Works, the gig’s philanthropic good-naturedness is being resurrected by ways of a benefit compilation of a few live recordings from the night. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: SZA at The Fillmore, The Dove and The Wolf at Parks on Tap, Curtis Cooper at Little Italy PHL and more

SZA | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN
SZA | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

After a few years of mixtapes, guest spots and EPs, singer and songwriter SZA made her full-length label debut this year with CTRL, and it is glorious. Beginning with an R&B base, she layers on elements of downbeat electronic music, atmospheric rap and rock for a wholly unique and captivating listening experience. Check out the video for “Love Galore” below and get tickets and information on SZA’s show tonight at The Fillmore Philadelphia at the XPN Concert Calendar.
Continue reading →

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Curtis Cooper covers Willie Nelson, Witch H(c)unt covers The Moldy Peaches for new West Philly-centric comp

Curtis Cooper | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN
Curtis Cooper | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

In my regular digging around on Bandcamp last week, I came across a terrific collection of cover songs that seems like it was released apropos of nothing. Which, sometimes, is the best way to release music.

Recorded by local musician Georgey V over the winter on a Fostex 160 multitracker, COOL PHILLY BANDS RECORD COOL SONGS pretty much delivers what its title promises, hovering in the vicinity of the West Philadelphia basement show scene. Of note is Doriana Thornton’s Witch H(c)unt project covering one of my favorites from The Moldy Peaches, “Lucky Number Nine.” Curtis Cooper brings jazzy strums and a lo-fi crackle to their version of Willie Nelson’s “Crazy” (popularized by the great Patsy Cline, of course). And Georgey V pops up in the mix as well to close the set with the Dr. Dog deep cut “Adeline.” Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Curtis Cooper

Philadelphia’s Curtis Cooper laughs when asked about his the next shows he’s playing in town. He quickly rattles off some playful names of places that sound semi-familiar — All Night Diner, Overlook Hotel — then clarifies: “they’re all basements. All house shows.”

It’s true: Cooper has hit the DIY scene hard lately, particularly since the March release of his debut LP Laughing In Line. And it suits him well, between his explosive energy as a performer, his fuzzed-out guitar tones and his skateboarder’s demeanor, mellowed out and amped up all at the same time.

He’s a punk rock dude at heart, make no mistake. But there’s more to him than punk. His songwriting betrays a fondness for The Beatles and their descendants (Elliott Smith in particular) and if you see him with an acoustic guitar and no other accompaniment (check his Random Tea Session), he’s directly in singer-songwriter / busker / Avett Brothers territory. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Curtis Cooper delivers an emotionally-charged music video for “2016”

Curtis Cooper | photo by Michelle Goodwin | courtesy of the artist
Curtis Cooper | photo by Michelle Goodwin | courtesy of the artist

Stripped down and strikingly human, Philadelphia singer-songwriter Curtis Cooper recounts the tragedies of the past year in his latest music video for “2016.” The simple, darkened bedroom setup features Cooper at its center, electric guitar in hand and pedals at his feet. His face and shirtless body cast in shadows bear witness to his absolute vulnerability in this moment. The lyric “everyday I feel alive / until I breathe,” echoes throughout most of the five minute piece, becoming layered atop other lines and eventually distorted to an incoherent, reduced speed moan that fades out the track. Continue reading →

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Curtis Cooper sinks into the basement in new video for “Arrest”

curtis cooper
Curtis Cooper | photo by Abi Reimold | abigailtownsend.com | courtesy of the artist

Folk-punk singer-songwriter Curtis Cooper has shared the music video for “Arrest” from his first solo album Laughing In Line.

Cooper, who also fronts the Philly punk band Community Service, released Laughing In Line back in March. The video for “Arrest” matches the song’s psychedelic bounce as Cooper loses control and looks to escape a dark basement as his eyes flash shades of purple. Continue reading →

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Watch singer-songwriter Curtis Cooper rock out performing “Side” in a South Philly basement

Curtis Cooper performing "Side"
Curtis Cooper performing “Side”

Singer-songwriter Curtis Cooper is developing quite the partnership with the folks over at Random Tea Sessions. Cooper already recorded a full-blown session outdoors in University City back in January, and now he’s released a new video of him performing his track “Side,” shot by RTS videographer Michelle Goodwin in a South Philly basement.

Like many of Cooper’s songs, “Side” is tough to totally categorize. At times, it sounds like fairly standard folk, beginning with a soulful vocal line as Cooper quietly strums his guitar. But as the song builds to its climax, Cooper ups his energy with a series of grainy, almost growling vocal deliveries as his song tiptoes into punk territory. Continue reading →