Lovelorn played their first headlining Philly show at Johnny Brenda’s last month, and the setlist included a performance of the as-yet unreleased song “Sickness.” Captured in video form by Philly concert videographer Markit Aneight, the song begins with a skittering, metronome-like beat as frontwoman Anna Troxell plucks out a creeping bassline. Her cheekbones glitter under moody lighting and fog rises behind her, creating a haunted, darkwave vibe. Rising from the disintegrated dust of psych-punks Creepoid, Lovelorn is digging out its own niche in the Philly scene. Watch the video below, and catch Lovelorn when they play August 1 at the Electric Factory, opening for Glassjaw and Quicksand. Tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →
There’s always been an element of chaos to the three lifelong friends in Philly’s Lovelorn. It followed them all across their long running heavy psych punk outfit Creepoid, from brawls to arrests; for a survey of the more legendary incidents involving that band, check out this retrospective by Megan Matuzak, written prior to their farewell show in February.
With that kind of lineage, it couldn’t be more appropriate that a fire alarm went off during Lovelorn’s first-ever radio performance at WXPN. Continue reading →
Experimental sounds in Fishtown tonight, free hip-hop on the river Thursday, uplifting modern rock at South Street on Saturday and more; here are 15 concerts you can see in and around Philly this week. Continue reading →
Philly indie pop artist Dani in Public, formerly danimakesmusic, recently released Leverage, a new featuring songs about romantic relationships with a combination of metaphors and slice-of-life lyrics. There are mellow, mid tempo, electronic hip hop beats on each track, which speak to the cross over of hip hop in recent years. Dani half raps, half sings through each track, with treble filled, sleepy vocals. Continue reading →
There’s an exciting new band in town, folks. Lovelorn was born from the dissolution of long-running Philly psych-punks Creepoid, and they just played their first hometown show, opening for Dead Meadow at Underground Arts on Sunday night.
Lovelorn’s full, half-hour long set was captured on video, so those who missed the performance (or those who were there and want to experience it all over again) can watch it below. Continue reading →
Philly’s Creepoid is playing their farewell show this Saturday the 17th at Union Transfer, but three-fourths of of the band are continuing on under the name Lovelorn, and they’ve just released their first single “Chains”.
With bassist Anna Troxell at the front, the song is sleepy and atmospheric with hazy, distorted guitar, steady drums and bass, and far away, airy vocals. One thing that especially caught my interest was the way the guitar interacts with the vocals, at times functioning the same as backup vocals would. The lyrics are interesting and imaginative with lines like “So take me away to my next big mistake / down through the gutter and out the gate.” Continue reading →
Former Belle, the acoustic folk project of singer-songwriter Bruno Catrambone, have shared the first song from their upcoming EP, Foreign Bed, via Elmore Magazine.
Catrambone records and performs with Former Belle when he’s not playing guitar for CRUISR. On “I Woke Up In Chicago” (which the band performed for their session with the Key back in February), the band sounds reminiscent of Wilco’s softest moments (and not just because they are singing about Chicago). Continue reading →
Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.
Happy summer, is it?I guess I got all the pop out of my system last month, cuz it’s about to get pretty indie in here.You like indy music, right?Good, cause I’ve got nothing major planned for this month.After all, independence day is coming up soon.In this June installment of NowHearThis, at the halfway point of an already-pretty-excellent year for all kindsa music, we’ll take some stock of the wide, white, anglophone (though in this case, hardly at all male) world of probably the least useful genre descriptor there is.Then, eventually, we’ll get to some other places – Holland, Africa, outer space, Takoma Park.We’ll meet some bands named after names, check in with some artists who’ve been around for fifty years, or seventy years, and some who went away for a while and have come back to us.First, though, let’s hear a heavy hit from one of the least-categorizable heavy-hitters out there… Continue reading →
“When you hear about slavery, that was 400 years. 400 years? That sounds like a choice!”
During a heated exchange that followed Kanye West’s surprising (and downright idiotic) proclamation that African Americans’ role in (or inability to break out of) chattel slavery was in fact “a choice,” TMZ reporter and Hip Hop podcaster Van Lathan scolded Kanye for this toxic and irresponsible statement. “Kanye, you’re entitled to your opinion, you’re entitled to believe whatever you want, but there are facts and real-life consequences to everything you just said. And while you are making music and being an artist and living the life that you’ve earned by being a genius, the rest of us in society have to deal with the marginalization that comes from the 400 years of slavery that you said, for our people, was a choice! Frankly, I’m disappointed, I’m appalled and brother…I am unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something that, to me, is not real.”
When weighed against other hot topics that captured our instantaneous 24-hour news and entertainment cycle, this moment between Lathan and West is significant on a few levels. On one level, this confrontation represented an ideological collision between the working class and the rich/famous celebrity cult that Kanye has centered in both his artistic and social life. It can be argued that Kanye’s calculation that slavery was ultimately “a choice” for African Americans is a logical conclusion of the type of quasi-spiritual “law of attraction” self-help doctrine that many Hollywood celebrities traffic in (popularized by Rhonda Byrne’s “The Secret”). If you only believe in yourself more and think positively, you too can be rich, famous, successful, not a slave. This confrontation between Lathan and West was also significant because it created a brief space for open discussions on the systemic nature of racism. Lathan’s response to West concisely identified racism as an all-encompassing system of social, economic, political and legal oppression that exists as a historical continuum stretching from the past to the present day and NOT a mere set of prejudices and attitudes that play out on the individual/interpersonal level.
For the most part, the general public processed this discussion much in the way that we process any significant event that happens in the public sphere: through an endless stream of tweets and memes, on our favorite daytime talk shows and podcasts. Hate him or love him, the public ate it all up and it became clear (to me at least) that Kanye was and has been sacrificing himself on the altar of fame and his own personal mythology. To the man who once packaged himself as a starry-eyed college kid who just wanted to get on, all press is now good press, and it doesn’t matter if the world around him is moved by affection or outrage.
Many dismissed Kanye’s statements (coupled with his fervent support of Donald Trump) as a publicity stunt or a cry for attention. This may be true, but a close listen to his latest album, YE, and considering his past as an artistic and public figure, it becomes increasingly difficult to write Kanye’s public and artistic choices off as mere stunts designed to sell records. His eighth album to date, YE is graphic, joyous, and a horrifying glimpse into the mind of Kanye West. If the inspiration for his haunting and lovelorn classic 808’s & Heartbreaks were the women in his life and the love he couldn’t give/keep, YE’s muse, the album’s raison d’etre, is Kanye West himself, his own heart, mind and the celebrity that threatens to tear him apart. Continue reading →
I spent a probably unreasonable amount of time in the last couple weeks compiling a list of my personal top 25 albums of the past 25 years – a time period which happens to correspond, more or less, with my lifespan as an active, conscious listener to contemporary music – and then discussing/dissecting said list in detail via Facebook comments, which turned out to be a surprisingly emotional process. (The whole undertaking was inspired by a prompt commemorating the 25th anniversary of Philly-based staple Magnet Magazine, wherein the list will eventually be published.)
One thing that struck me along the way was how astonishingly many acts from this time-frame – even the earliest years of it – remain (or have again become) relatively musically active. Now, maybe it’s just a factor of my age, but I don’t really remember the musical landscape of the ‘90s, for instance, being quite so well populated by artists who’d been around since the ’70s. Of the twenty-five artists who made my list, all but four are either still at it or at it again: two have died (Elliott Smith and Aaliyah; three if you count Stereolab’s Mary Hansen), but only two – Rachel Stevens and Aberfeldy – have, to my knowledge, simply stopped making music. Continue reading →