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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cuddle Magic at Johnny Brenda’s, Trails and Ways at Kung fu Necktie, Tricky at Underground Arts, and more…

Cuddle Magic | photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist
Cuddle Magic | photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist

Experimental folk sextet Cuddle Magic will bring their lush, winding arrangements to Johnny Brenda’s this evening with support from Geology and Matt Magarahan. The band combines clarinet, double bass, vibraphone and more to create their distinct sound; their live show is not to be missed. If you don’t believe me, check out a video of them performing for Audiotree below, then head over to XPN’s Concert Calendar for tickets and more info on the 21+ event. Continue reading →

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Cali band Trails and Ways lead a stacked bill at Kung Fu Necktie on 10/27

Trails and Ways | photo by Ginger Fierstein | via facebook.com/trailsandways

 

The Cali-based dream poppers of Trails and Ways come to Kung Fu Necktie on October 27th as a part of their twenty-six date tour. The quartet released their sophomore LP, Own It, on October 7th. Their music bears striking resemblances to that of Passion Pit, but with more groove and guitars.

The group spent time together in Brazil and Spain during college, and their music is sprinkled with influences from both countries. Trails and Ways has a significant following in Brazil, and are signed to Brazilian record label Balaclava Records. Their first album Pathology favored dreamy synth guitars and bright lyrics whereas Own It appeals to a more introspective audience: a nod to the evolution of the band’s style, and their enthusiasm to follow this natural progression. Check out some of the tracks from their new album below. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Trails and Ways at Kung Fu Necktie, John Mellencamp at Merriam Theater, Hemming at Milkboy

Trails and Ways | Photo by David Wallace
Trails and Ways | Photo by David Wallace

Pop group Trails and Ways have emerged with their first full-length, Pathology, this month, and tonight they headline Kung Fu Necktie. Their music resembles Beach Fossils by way of Passion Pit — certainly the type of sound to spend your summer evening enjoying. Watch video for “Mtn Tune” below, and get tickets to their 21+ show here. Continue reading →

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Listen to Trails And Ways’ new “Skeleton,” catch them at Kung Fu Necktie in June

Photo via facebook.com/TRAILSANDWAYS
Photo via facebook.com/TRAILSANDWAYS

California dream poppers Trails And Ways recently released their latest single, “Skeletons,” an upbeat track with a quintessential club dance groove that support a good cause. The band is encouraging fans who like this track to donate to the Our Power Campaign, a project to bolster sustainable energy and create eco-friendly jobs. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Trails and Ways at Boot and Saddle, Neutral Milk Hotel at Mann Center, OOIOO at Johnny Brenda’s

Photo via facebook.com/TRAILSANDWAYS
Photo via facebook.com/TRAILSANDWAYS

Oakland quartet Trails and Ways are causing quite a stir. Two years ago, the band released their debut EP Trilingual, which had multilingual lyrics, political themes and an eclectic blend of 90s shoegaze and modern beats. For example, “Border Crosser” is in support of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. When they’re not making great, politically active music, the band also does dope covers, like their trilingual take on Frank Ocean’s “Lost”. Watch their video for “Tereza” below. The band will make its Philly debut tonight with another talented band, PHOX. Get more details at the XPN Concert Calendar.

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My Morning Download: “Tereza” by Trails and Ways

Photo by Amy Harrity
Photo by Amy Harrity
Trails and Ways are a four piece based in Oakland, California. They’re made up of two gals – Hannah Van Loon on lead guitar and keyboards and Emma Oppen on bass – and two guys – Keith Brower Brown on rhythm guitar and synthesizer and Ian Quirk on drums and produces for the band. After graduating from UC Berkley, where they went to school together, Keith went to Brazil and Emma to Spain. After they returned the band came together. They all sing (in various languages including English, Spanish and Portugese) and weave their eclectic musical influences into a refreshing sound. They recently released covers of songs by Frank Ocean and Jorge Ben, and last June released their Trilingual EP, an excellent collection of songs that capture their many musical influences. Below, download “Tereza,” sung by Emma and written by Keith.

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Firefly Under the Radar: Trails and Ways

TWTrails and Ways still don’t have a debut album yet, but they’re already causing a stir on the music scene with their eclectic blend of bossa nova beats and 90s shoegaze.  The songs are often written in several different languages and topics are often political.  What this all adds up to is a grooving group of musicians who make incredibly catchy and meaningful music.  Trails and Ways play the festival Sunday afternoon on The Porch.  Check out their single, “Border Crosser” below.

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Clocked In: A conversation about bagging groceries and driving school buses with Strand Of Oaks’ Tim Showalter

Dusdin Condren
Photo by Dusdin Condren

A couple weeks ago, Strand Of Oaks’ Tim Showalter had just returned from a European press tour. “I’m just hanging out, cleaning the house,” he said, speaking on the phone from his home, in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia. “It’s rock ‘n’ roll Tuesday! Or, wait, it’s Wednesday. Shit. Sorry.”

“I didn’t sleep for like four days,” he confessed, attempting to justify not knowing what day it was. “I didn’t have to play shows while I was over there, I just had to talk to people, so I figured I’d just stay up and party, and rage it out. I think I had a mixture of lack of sleep and alcohol psychosis. I was having a hard time deciphering between dreams and reality. Was I dreaming or in the park? I didn’t know. But you gotta do that sometime… it keeps the beast alive.”

Showalter’s beast, Strand Of Oaks, is alive and well. He was overseas promoting his new album, Heal, out today via Dead Oceans. Unlike previous albums Dark Shores and Pope Killdragon, Showalter abandons metaphors and sci-fi concepts on Heal, where he sings about pain and love and the joys of being lonely in a no-frills kinda way. The new album’s noticeably heavier — more rocking — too, and Dinosaur Jr’s J. Mascis even drops in to rip a solo on early single “Goshen ’97.”

This Friday, Strand Of Oaks will play a WXPN Free At Noon show. In the meantime, here’s an interview with Showalter as part of a new column, “Clocked In,” which focuses on the past and present work experiences of Philadelphia-area musicians. Before he became Strand Of Oaks, Showalter held various jobs, from Kroger bag boy to second grade teacher. He told us all about them.

What was your first paid job?

Well, I always worked for my grandpa, doing construction jobs. But my first paid job was at a Kroger grocery store, in Indiana. I was part of a union. It was real. I was paying union dues at 15 for a bagging job. I was fantastic at it. I’m not very good at a lot of things, but if it’s ordered, and I have an exact purpose, I love it. And I loved making efficient bags for the ladies.

I actually quit this job; this doesn’t sound true, but it’s true. It was summer, in Indiana, and there was a tornado warning. The sky was turning yellow and pink and that’s a sign you need to get underground immediately. The tornado was there! So I had this mean old woman that was my boss, and she told me to go get the shopping carts in the parking lot so they wouldn’t blow away. I was thinking, “Fuck you, Cheryl! I quit! I’m not going out there to get the carts!” I definitely quit that job on account of a tornado almost killing me. We all went to hide in the freezer, and after that, I just rode my bike home and that was it.

Have you ever been fired from a job?

Nope. I’ve never been fired. I like working, so I always try to do a really good job no matter where I work. I quit a job after one day once. I was on a roofing crew, when I was 17, working with all these 30-year-old coke-heads. I was there for like six hours and they were just the craziest, meanest guys I’ve ever met. I was out in the sun, not getting paid much, and lifting plywood on a roof. They were doing bumps by their trucks, and I was like, “Nope, I’m not doing this, this is not what I want to do.”

That sounds like a bad scene. What sort of construction work were you doing with your grandpa?

One of my best summers ever was when my grandpa and me built a seven-stall storage garage, which took most of that summer. He was a farmer, and a typical midwest kind of guy. One day we had to put the trusses up on this garage, which were like 14 feet, to support the roof. We had to put up 7 or 8 of these, and my grandpa was like, “Make sure these are all put up when I get back in a few hours.” I didn’t know what to do at first, but I eventually rigged up a wench system with a Ferguson tractor, and I found a way to stabilize them and nail them in. That’s how I got my grandpa’s respect. I had to put up 14-foot trusses.

Was he impressed?

He was super-impressed. He let me take one extra water break that day. You’d think working with your grandpa would be this easy experience, but it wasn’t. It was 14 hour days, and we’d start working at about 5:30 a.m., to beat the sun. I would work all the time, so I’d work with my grandpa in the morning, and a lot of summers I had two jobs. I’d do construction all day, and then when I was 16 or 17, I worked at this place called Hollywood Connections. I was in charge of the snack area, and I had no idea how to make the snacks. I got no training, and I had no idea how to use the cash register. I worked there for two months and I had no idea how to do the job.

What sort of snacks?

There was a little pizza grill, and nachos, and things like that. I kinda learned how to make the pizza, but I’d tell people I’d make them this super-pizza and just put everything I could find on it. I didn’t know what I was doing! I had just finished working out in the sun with my grandpa for 8 hours and I was exhausted. It was a good way to meet girls, though. That part was fun.

Preparing people’s food incorrectly is bad. I used to make salads and desserts at this fancy restaurant in Virginia, and I once burnt salt on top of a crème brule instead of sugar. I didn’t notice, sent the dish out, and the customers were upset about it.

Oh, man. Luckily, I never worked in food. That job was the closest, but it doesn’t really count. I never worked in restaurants or learned how to use a cash register. I did all manual labor through high school, then in college… well, first, my dad had a car dealership. That was my favorite job ever. I would wash cars for my dad and do minor detail work, like fix bumpers. People there called me an “aqua technician.” It was so fun. I never got to hang with my dad because he worked 70 hours a week, and this job was great because we got to hang in the office, like two men rather than as father and son.

I’d sit in the back of the dealership and play my stereo really loud and wash and detail cars. One day, this dude showed up; I think he was friends with my dad or uncle. His name was Pete, and he had this huge collection of antique cars. He asked me to wash them and do full details. He said the only rule was the I had to drive them around. So, one summer, when I had just got my license, I was driving around in a ’69 Corvette to the movies, with girls. I drove a ’53 Cadillac, a ’71 Camaro. I’ve toured the world as a musician, but if I could just go back to Indiana and cruise around in the summer, in a white ’71 Camaro… I’ve never had more fun.

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Echoes’ John Diliberto picks his top ten greatest songs of the New Millenium (and explains why!)

Ulrich Schnauss at Glastonbury 2013 - Photo by Nat Urazmetova
Ulrich Schnauss at Glastonbury 2013 – Photo by Nat Urazmetova
John Diliberto is the host of the long standing public radio show Echoes, broadcast on XPN, Monday-Thursday at 11 P.M. John also hosts Sleepy Hollow on XPN every Sunday morning from 6 A.M. to 8 P.M. The following article appears in the Echoes blog. We asked John to submit his top ten songs of the new millenium (songs from 2001-present) for this year’s 885 countdown. Voting ends next Monday, September 16 at midnight. Submit your votes here. If you vote, you’ll be entered into a contest win a trip to see John Mayer in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Bowl.

Here’s John’s “Greatest Songs of the 21st Century… So Far: An Idiosyncratic List.”

The thirteenth year of the 21st century doesn’t seem to be the right time to look back on the best of the millennium. Those lists usually come on the decade and quarter century marks. But I was asked to compile another Top Ten list for Echoes affiliate, WXPN in Philadelphia. This time, the impossible assignment was picking the Top Ten Greatest Songs of the New Millennium for their 885 Greatest Songs of the New Millennium Countdown. This is never an easy task but it made me think of the songs I keep coming back to, the songs that haven’t left my iPhone where music is constantly being cycled off to make room for new material.

One thing I like about this list is it takes classic rock, new wave, progressive rock and just about everything else I grew up with out of the equation. In my 885 Best Rock Songs list I picked The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” as number one and wrote that “I think any of 10 tunes by The Rolling Stones could be on this list.” On this list, there aren’t any great new Rolling Stones tunes in this century. Nor are there any great new Pink Floyd, The Who or Hendrix tunes to be found. Six of my ten songs are from artists who began recording in the 2000′s

Because it is greatest “songs,” I left out instrumentals, except for one, which, in an admittedly idiosyncratic move, I made number 1. For some reason, several of the tracks are from 2008. It’s not much like the lists of other XPN hosts, and will certainly be nothing like the list that comes from their 885 Greatest Songs of the New Millennium Poll with listeners, but it’s my list. Follow the link to vote for your own. Voting ends September 16. At the bottom, I’ve got a Spotify Playlist of John Diliberto’s Top Ten Songs of the New Millennium, So Far.

1 – Ulrich Schnauss – “Clear Day”
StrangleyWhat a great way to start this list, a wash of white noise obliterating all that came before, then slowly a syncopated 4/4 snare groove rolls in, droning synth chords, a chilling melody and one of those classic Ulrich Schnauss choruses that hooks you on a train ride to ecstasy. This is one of several tracks from Schnauss’ 2003 CD A Strangely Isolated Place that I could’ve picked. (See Five Best Ulrich Schnauss CDs). Somebody should write lyrics for this. It’s waiting to be a hit.

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