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Now Hear This: New songs from Ry Cooder, Neko Case, Wajatta, Bernice, Dear Nora, Stephen Malkmus and more

Neko Case
Neko Case | photo courtesy of the artist

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 Now Hear This, 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 →

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Watch Stephen Malkmus’ solo acoustic “Middle America” video; see him and The Jicks at the TLA this June

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks | photo via the artist’s Facebook page

Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus — who performs solo these days with his band The Jicks — will be making a stop in Philly this summer, but in the meantime he’s shared a video for the band’s new song “Middle America.” This solo version sees Malkmus alone with an acoustic guitar, his familiar raw-edged vocals filling the room. Malkmus sits in front of a few windows, and outside you can tell it’s winter — but between the indoor tropical plants and the song’s warm and sunny tune, it’s like summer’s come a bit early. Continue reading →

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Purling Hiss, going out on tour with Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, releasing “new” LP in April

large_PurlingHiss
Photo by Tiffany Yoon
Our favorite Philly psychedelic/heavy rock power trio Purling Hiss are going out on the road in March, opening for Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks for a handful of dates. On April 22nd, the Hiss will release Dizzy Polizzy on Drag City Records. The 11 song LP, originally conceived as a tour only cassette, will have to hold Hiss fans in check until guitar whiz Mike Polizze and his band record their next album.

Dizzy Polizzy track list
She Don’t Mind 3:18
Icelator 4:10
Digh High 3:36
Sifting Through My Hands 4:15
Millions of Colors 3:48
Don’t Wanna Squeaky Fromme 4:29
Preface 1:42
The Earth Creature 3:21
On the Last Day 1:38
Drag-On 5:38
Headlights 6:38

Below, download/listen to “Lolita,” a track Purling Hiss recorded for Philly’s Shaking Through that was curated by Adam Granduciel of The War On Drugs.

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Watch the quintessentially quirky Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks in the “Cinnamon and Lesbians” video (playing The TLA on 3/1)

stephenmalkmus
Image via the artist’s Facebook page

Indie rock icon and Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus and his backing band The Jicks released the video for “Cinnamon and Lesbians” off of their upcoming album Wig Out Jagbags set to release on January 14th on Matador records. The quintessentially quirky video operates at about the same level of seriousness as the song itself (“I’ve been tripping since breakfast time”), while keeping drawn out guitar solos that are nothing to laugh about. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks perform in Philly on March 1at the TLA. Get tickets for the show here, and check out the video for “Cinnamon and Lesbians” below.

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Video: Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks (at TLA on Sept. 28th) perform a new song on Jimmy Fallon

Last night, Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks were guests on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. The band played the previously released single “Senator” and a new song, “Surreal Teenagers.” (“Surreal Teenagers” is only available on Jimmy Fallon’s website; the performance was not aired.) “Senator” is off Malkmus’ new album Mirror Traffic. Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks perform with Holy Sons at 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 28th, at the TLA; tickets to the all ages show are $20.

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The Skeleton Key: March into spring with gigs galore, from Tuvan throat singers to heavy metal headbangers

Jim Shomo exhibit flyer | courtesy of the artist

Major announcement time, Philadelphia: it’s finally springtime! Go out into that sunshine and enjoy yourself! Don’t give me that look; I know it doesn’t look like it. I know that technically speaking we have two more weeks until the official start of the season. But it doesn’t matter. I am ready for winter to be over and if you are too – not judging! I was grinning ear-to-ear while riding my bike through the snow just a couple days ago – I have a full calendar of things going on.

Get that started tonight with the sweet stylings of Merge Records rock n roll powerhouse Mike Krol (no relation) with TVO and Wildflowers of America at Boot & Saddle. If you haven’t listened to these bands, you owe it to yourself, even if you’re not able to get to the show. I’m bumping the new Mike Krol album while writing this and it’s putting me in the best mood. TVO is great and if you haven’t seen Perry Shall’s Wildflowers of America yet I really don’t know what your problem is.

That band just announced a show in West Philly in April with Big Eyes and Dark Thoughts and at some point in the near future they’ll finally put out their debut album. If it’s even half as fun and catchy as their live set it’s going to blow everyone’s mind. Continue reading →

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs return in triumphant form to bring the rock to the 215 Block Party

Yeah Yeah Yeahs | photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN

This past weekend, Chicago brewery Goose Island hosted their traveling Block Party at the Electric Factory. The event included reasonably priced food trucks, $3 Goose Island beers (from the 4.5% ABV variety all the way to their fancier fare upwards to 13% ABV) and oh yeah, music! The lineup was a mix of Philly, Chicago, and the return of New York’s Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

The weather in Philly up until this weekend had been like walking around in a warm bath. While it is nice that the humid icky weather finally broke on Friday, having the 215 Block Party outside on an overcast drizzly evening put a slight damper on what was intended to be an end of summer party.   Continue reading →