During a recent show at Christchurch, New Zealand, Lorde surprised fans with a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.” Stripping away dramatic theatrics, the rendition played out as a haunting folk tune that, carried by the same guitar melody, later morphs seamlessly into her Pure Heroine track, “400 Lux.” Continue reading →
Teenage strange-pop superstar Lorde is coming to Wells Fargo this April 2nd, which is some pretty flippin’ cool stuff on its own. But nope, someone must’ve said, we must make it even more wildly awesome. And then they casually added Run the JewelsandMitski to the bill to completely rock the socks off of all the people. Continue reading →
Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.
We are having a shoegaze moment.I’m not entirely sure that the fuzzy, buzzy swirls of early-‘90s Britain speak to our times in any particular way, beyond their basic, perennial resonance with the heavy haze of a hot summer.But there seems to be as much life in the now-venerable style – along with its cuddlier, more scrutable cousin, dream-pop – as at any point in the last quarter-century. Continue reading →
I hope you’ve already bought your 2018 planner, because here’s a date you’ll want to pencil in: LORDE will headline the Wells Fargo Center on Monday, April 2nd. The announcement comes alongside the release of the New Zealand pop star’s sophomore LP Melodrama, which follows up her 2013 debut Pure Heroine. Tickets go on sale Friday, June 23rd and will be available on the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, watch “Green Light” from Melodrama , Lorde’s new album, out now. Continue reading →
It’s been a year since Lorde’s “Royals” topped the musical richter scale, and her streak of teenage stardom has shown no signs of slowing anytime soon. Her show at The Mann Center last night kicked off a second US tour in support of her subsequent Pure Heroine LP, which still has some fans reeling. Continue reading →
The City of Brotherly Love’s satirical punk-rock band Dead Milkmen headline a fundraiser at Laurel Hill Cemetery tonight; the band joked on its Facebook that the last time it played in a cemetery, the result was the “Big Time Operator” video. Formed in 1983 at Temple University, the Milkmen found success on college radio with their debut album, Big Lizard in My Backyard. Their songs ranged from tunes with nonsensical spoken intros like “Bitchin’ Camaro,” to “Takin Retards to the Zoo”, a less-than-50-second punk-joke song. Goofy lyrics dripping with a Philly accent spread their success internationally with “Punk Rock Girl,” the hit off of their sophomore album Beelzebubba, which landed with a sturdy spot on MTV’s video rotation. After reuniting in 2008 under the pseudonym Les Enfants Du Prague, the band decided to become an active group once again and set to record album The King in Yellow, which dropped March 2011. They have since released four singles including “Welcome to Undertown”, and “Big Words Make the Baby Jesus Cry”. Tickets and information on the show can be found at here. Below, watch the music video to “Punk Rock Girl.” Continue reading →
This week Lorde announced that she will begin a North American tour beginning in September. Her first stop will be in Philadelphia at the Mann Center on September 5th. Tickets go on sale Friday June 6th via MannCenter.org. The New Zealand singer-songwriter / pop star made her Philly debut back in March when she headlined a sold-out show at The Tower Theater; see Noah Silvestry’s photo and review of the performance here, and check out Lorde’s BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend performance below.
Now that someone has created a tumblr around it, you can’t help but notice the resemblance between teenage pop star Lorde and Philly indie rock star Kurt Vile. At least that’s the point trying to be made in a new tumblr: Lorde or Kurt Vile?. For these seemingly disparate musicians, what connects them (on the surface, anyway) is their their long, flowing black hair, their stylish dark sunglasses and their similar expressive ways. #loxofluv, indeed. Do they look alike? You decide. Check out the tumblr here.
We’ve seen artists and songs take the world by storm before, but never a song like “Royals” by an artist as young as Lorde. The story you haven’t been hearing, however, is how her entire album, Pure Heroine, has stolen the hearts of so many, and how her live performance will steal the hearts of many more yet. I’ll say it now: Lorde isn’t just a precocious pop singer with one Song of the Year already under her belt, but a remarkably talented singer and songwriter whose success has only just begun.
Last night at the Tower Theatre, Lorde greeted a crowd screaming with excitement alone, singing the first few verses of “Glory And Gore” in a way that only teased at the richness of her mellifluous alto before the curtain behind her rose to reveal her simplistic two-man synth/drums band. “Biting Down”, the digitized interpretation of one of those call-and-response gospel songs, felt just like, well, a gospel song, as the crowd sang in near worship of their queen. “I really like you guys a lot,” she said after her voice finished cutting through the warm mix of “White Teeth Teens”, “it feels like a festival in here.”
Before breaking into “400 Lux”, a song about simply killing time in the suburbs of Aukland, New Zealand, Lorde shared that she had been out driving in Philly’s suburbs earlier, and was struck by how similar our area is to her own.
“Bravado” was sonically huge, and “Easy” (a collaboration with Son Lux) quite possibly even more so, relying on crunchy percussive elements and the implementation of her own voice in orchestral chordal arrangements. In one song was the electronic musical gusto of groups like the XX or Atoms For Peace and the remarkably mature, full-bodied voice of a 17-year-old.
If Lorde’s previous remarks weren’t enough to add a personal touch to an impressive night of music, the story behind “Ribs” certainly was. It goes something like this: her sister decides to throw a house party that ends up being a whole lot bigger than they expected, and Lorde ends up trying to fall asleep with her friend, frightened by how difficult it is to keep two feet in completely different worlds. The orchestration, she added, was written to be “soft and comfortable sonically”, because interestingly enough, she was the one that needed comforting, but was happy to share that comfort with the world.
“Royals” was all you expected to be and then some. The minimalist backing from her band speaks to the extent that Lorde’s voice is an instrument of its own, and a unique one that. “Team” was filled with energy and topped off with a barrage of multicolored beams of light, a prolonged instrumental interlude during which Lorde left the stage, and bursts of confetti cannons as she returned donning a shimmering gold robe. “A World Alone” was, lyrically, quite an apt finish to the night, Lorde singing the opening lines: “I feel grown up with you in your car, I know it’s dumb.”
It’s easy to doubt that Lorde’s success will continue, especially given the almost absurdly widespread popularity of “Royals”, but her show at The Tower convinced me otherwise. To begin with, she’s an excellent songwriter, and her lyrics address some difficult issues. Her voice, even regardless of her age, is one of the richest, most unique instruments out there. Lastly, Lorde puts on a remarkable show, even if her dancing is a little, well, different. Lorde is one of those rare instances of a truly complete artist, and I doubt this is the last we’ll be hearing of her.
Lorde is among us. Amidst topping year-end lists and receiving four Grammy nominations, the pop sensation has announced that she will embark on a North American tour in March. She released her widely successful debut album Pure Heroine in September as her smash hit single “Royals” dominated the charts and radio stations worldwide. Lorde will grace the Tower Theatre stage on March 8th. Watch her new video for “Team” below and get tickets when they go on sale this Friday.