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Frank Cervantes bridges indie rock and rock and roll with new album Terror of the Heart, due out May 20

frank cervantes
Frank Cervantes | Photo via facebook.com/FrankCervantesMusic

Although the (temporary) disintegration of The City Music Project was a tough pill to swallow for many fans, there has been one major positive to the band’s hiatus: Frank Cervantes has gone solo and is making truly great indie rock music.

After releasing his first solo album Forgotten Summer back in 2012, as well as the EP The Only Light, a charity record made in the interest of raising money for struggling music programs in Philadelphia, Frank Cervantes is back, and has announced the release of his new record- Terror of the Heart- due out May 20.

In celebration of his third solo record Cervantes has released four tracks from the album, available for streaming via Soundcloud. The tracks are a perfect conjuncture of melodic indie rock meets pounding, plugged in rock and roll, with heavy electric guitar riffs (thanks to Ryan Porcini) especially potent in “Gabriella” and “Pay it Forward”. The track “Tell Me (if it isn’t real)” is especially grabbing, with bluesy guitar melodies and Cervantes’ catchy, falsetto vocals carrying the track along in a cyclical motion. The title track, “Terror of the Heart”, is almost reminiscent of Fleet Foxes, with less of a “choral” arrangement, but the same style of far ranging vocals and addictive melodies.

In addition to the recently released tracks for our listening pleasure, Cervantes has also released a short documentary on Youtube, which you can watch below. Cervantes will host a record release party on Saturday, May 24 downstairs at World Cafe Live. Get tickets for the record release show here. Stream “Tell Me (if it isn’t real)” and “Terror of the Heart” below.

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Indie rockers to pay tribute to The Byrds’ Gene Clark at Union Transfer on January 22nd

a_no-otherFront On Wednesday, January 22nd the lead singers of three established indie-rock bands and one indie-rock band on almost hiatus are coming together at Union Transfer to pay tribute to one of the founding members of The Byrds, Gene Clark.

Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes), Daniel Rossen (Grizzly Bear, Department of Eagles), Victoria Legrand (Beach House) and Hamilton Leithauser (The Walkmen) will be performing Clark’s classic album, No Other, originally released in 1974. Clark wrote or co-wrote many of The Byrds’ best songs including “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better,” “Here Without You,” “The World Turns All Around Her,” “She Don’t Care About Time” and “Eight Miles High.”

Clark started The Byrds in 1964 after he met Roger McGuinn and along with David Crosby, Michael Clark and Chris Hillman, set off on a path to change rock influenced folk music in the Sixties. Clark released his first solo album in 1967, while he was still in The Byrds. When he released No Other, it was considered to be a commercial and critical failure. Musicians however, have clung to it’s folk-rock songwriting and arrangements for years. Songs like “Silver Raven,” the eight minute epic “Some Misunderstanding,” and the soulful “Lady of The North,” give the album its lasting resonance. “What it adds up to,” writes Thom Jurek in AllMusic “is a sprawling, ambitious work that brought elements of country, folk, jazzed-out gospel, blues, and trippy rock to bear on a song cycle that reflects the mid-’70s better than anything from that time, yet sounds hauntingly timely even now.

Joining the band in the tribute will be Iain Matthews of Fairport Convention, Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak, with members of Lower Dens, Celebration, Cass McCombs’ band and Mt. Royal rounding the lineup out. Beach House had this to say about the album on Pitchfork:

Though we generally love all of his music, we are most infatuated with his 1974 record, No Other. It feels like a special moment in Gene Clark’s songwriting. At first, the overdone, studio nature of the album feels overbearing: the electric violin, the female chorus, the bass riffs, the layered guitar sequences. However, with more listens, Gene Clark’s very unique lyrics, voice and spirit become the central focus. It’s one of those records where each time you listen, you love a different song the most. Every song is nuanced and amazing in its own way.

Go here for more information and tickets to the show. Below, listen to several songs from the album.

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Watch: Bands in the Backyard sits in on a Light Heat rehearsal with with guest players Peter Bauer of The Walkmen and Skye Skjelset of Fleet Foxes

This is sweet – the Bands in the Backyard crew got to sit in on a Light Heat rehearsal in preparation for some dates the band has coming up in New York (January 12 at The Cake Shop) Philly (February 23rd at Johnny Brenda’s). Joining them are guest players Peter Bauer of The Walkmen on keys and Skye Skjelset of Fleet Foxes on guitar, and they’re rocking out to an as-yet unreleased jam from the pen of Light Heat mastermind Quentin Stoltzfus. Check it out below, find out more about the Johnny Brenda’s date at WXPN’s Concert Calendar.

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Listen to Coldplay, Mumford & Sons, R.E.M., Fleet Foxes, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more on a new charity album for climate change awareness


Artists Project Earth (APE) is an international organization that, according to their website, “has funded over 300 projects and awareness-raising initiatives around the world that combat climate change and develop local resilience and solutions to climate injustice – and gives emergency funding for natural disaster relief.” Some of APE’s projects have been collaborations with musicians resulting in three fundraising albums to date including Rhythms Del Mundo Cuba, Rhythms Del Mundo Classics and Rhythms Del Mundo Revival. Next Tuesday Rhythms Del Mundo Africa is being released. It includes contributions from Coldplay, R.E.M., Fleet Foxes, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mumford & Sons, Aloe Blacc, Beyonce, Eminem, and others, along with African musicians including Toumani Diabaté, Ali Farka Touré Band and Rokia Traoré. Listen to the album below. Go here for more information.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Sweetback Sisters at PSALM Salon, Ani Di Franco at the Keswick Theatre, Aspiga at The Balcony at the Troc, Frank Fairfield at Johnny Brenda’s, Lisa Marie Presley at Chameleon Club

Brooklyn rockabilly group The Sweetback Sisters are performing tonight at the PSALM Salon. The group’s 2011 album Looking For A Fight has a classic throwback sound to country legends like Carl Perkins with retro harmonies and lively melodies. Tickets for their all-ages show tonight can be found here. Below, watch the video for their single “Be Back Home Tonight.”

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Divine Fits at Union Transfer, Franz Nicolay and Erik Petersen of Mischief Brew at First Unitarian, King Tuff and Poor Moon at Johnny Brenda’s

Divine Fits are playing tonight at Union Transfer in support of their debut album, A Thing Called Divine Fits, which was released in August. An indie supergroup of sorts, Divine FIts is spearheaded by Spoon‘s Britt Daniel, New Bomb Turks’ Sam Brow, and Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs. Tickets for the all-ages show are available here. Below, check out the video for “Would That Not Be Nice.”

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Father John Misty announces fall tour dates; playing Union Transfer in October

Photo by Joe Del Tufo
The fantastical Father John Misty will once again grace us with his presence. Having played at SXSW this year, as well as our annual Non-Comm, we have grown fond of not just his debut album Fear Fun (which is spotlessly melodious, especially the master-crafted tune “Hollywood Cemetery Sings”) but also his live performances. The Father really knows how to get wrapped all up into his songs that discuss his pains and his pleasures, his sorrows and his irateness, and his feverish, wondrous dreams. He returns to Philadelphia on October 21st at Union Transfer with supporting acts including La Sera and Jefertitti’s Nile. Ticket sales TBA. Below, you can check out his live performance of “I’m Writing a Novel” from WXPN’s Non-Comm in May. You can listen to the entire performance here.

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This Weekend’s Concert Picks: tUnE-yArDs, Odd Future, Fleet Foxes, Damon And Naomi, Punk Rock Flea Market

FRIDAY, MAY 20
Merrill Garbus, who performs as tUnE-yArDs, sees things in a million shades of gray. Her lyrics and interviews are filled with more questions than answers. Is she borrowing—or stealing—her beats and yelps from African music? Should she sing about the political views that are inherently a part of her personality, or will she come across as preachy? Should she make her music more confrontational to avoid having it played in Urban Outfitters? And if her music is even more confrontational, will it alienate the listener? That kind of ambivalence could bog a musician down. But Garbus has an ability to ask questions powerfully. Layers of explosive percussion drive the music; her voice ranges unpredictably. The result is music that lies off the beaten path of current indie trends. tUnE-yArDs performs with Buke And Gass at 9 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are SOLD OUT. —Dave Simpson

Also playing: Odd Future at First Unitarian Church (9 p.m., all ages, SOLD OUT); Weird Al Yankovic at Keswick Theatre (8 p.m., all ages, $29.50-$59.50); Dredg + The Dear Hunter, Balance And Composure, The Trophy Fire at The Trocadero (7 p.m., all ages, $16); Small Houses + Chris Kasper, Tinmouth, Brittany Ann at Danger Danger Gallery (9 p.m., all ages, $5-$10)

SATURDAY, MAY 21
As one of the leaders of the folk-baroque resurgence, Seattle’s Fleet Foxes bring a harmony-laden, rustic approach to pop. The songs sound like hymns to rural Americana—they’re both a tribute and a wishful hope for a return to simpler time. Unfortunately, singer Robin Pecknold’s lyrics sometimes veer off into hokey territory, especially when he rambles at length about the poetry of snowflakes and sun-drenched orchards. But Fleet Foxes are highly listenable: both their first album and their latest, Helplessness Blues (which came out earlier this month), offer a dreamy, inoffensive soundtrack for an afternoon spent picking apples and wearing plaid. Fleet Foxes perform with The Cave Singers at 9 p.m. at The Tower Theatre; tickets to the show are SOLD OUT. —Kiley Bense

Also playing: Converge + Drop Dead, Trap Them, Burning Love, Cop Problem at Broad Street Ministry (7 p.m., all ages, $15); Damon And Naomi + Amor de Dias at First Unitarian Church (7:30 p.m., all ages, $12); Delco Nightingale + Sean Kershaw And The New Jack Ramblers at The Fire (9 p.m., $9)

SUNDAY, MAY 22
The Punk Rock Flea Market (10 a.m.-5 p.m., $3, 461 N. 9th St.); Neon Trees + The Limousines, Eastern Conference Champions at Theatre Of Living Arts (8 p.m., $18); The Cars at Electric Factory (8 p.m., $60.45)

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Listen to a free stream of the new Fleet Foxes album; band to perform at Tower Theatre on May 21st


Fleet Foxes have a new album, Helplessness Blues, coming out on May 5th—and they’ll be stopping by the Tower Theatre on Saturday, May 21st, while on tour in support of the album. Complete ticket information for the show can be found here. You can also stream the entire album over at NPR Music here. In their review of the album, NPR Music says:

Still making intricate folk songs with otherworldly harmonies, Fleet Foxes’ members clearly wrestled with the fear of repeating themselves in making Helplessness Blues. Ultimately, they wind up letting go and doing what they do best, and the results are outstanding.