Caveman headline Johnny Brenda’s tonight in support of their self-titled sophomore effort. The Brooklyn band turned heads with their 2011’s CoCo Beware debut, an album that displayed an affinity for theatrical synths and instrumental phrases threaded and revisited throughout the tracks. The four-piece employs that cohesiveness again on the new LP, with guitar riffs in lead single “In the City” being reprised in “Over My Head” and even echoing hooks from CoCo Beware standout “Old Friend.” Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with Son Step and Pure Bathing Culture can be found here. Stream “In the City” below.
Innovative Philadelphia electro-pop group Gemini Wolf is opening for The Octopus Project tonight at North Star Bar. Gemini Wolf, which is made of Megan Cauley and Michael McDermott (who perform under the names Pandar and Mikronesia, respectively) released a 2011 LP Infinite Sand Dunes following their 2010 remix album, Rare But Serious Side Effects. The 21+ show tonight begins at 9 PM and more details can be found here. Below you can listen to Infinite Sand Dunes in its entirety.
The 16th annual Live Arts / Fringe Festival is largely known as an interdisciplinary performing arts showcase – and lest we forget, music falls under the umbrella of “performing arts.” To just note a few happenings: Philadelphia electronic duo Gemini Wolf will perform a live accompaniment to the dance-based production WAMB, while versatile local harpist Mary Lattimore scored the documentary Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present, which screens on September 19 at The International House. This weekend, The Key will run a review of 27, a surreal performance piece about the infamous “dead rock stars’ club”, and next week we’ll talk to Australian avant-jazz group The Necks about their involvement in the festival showcase performance Food Court.
And throughout the festival, the folks at Underground Arts will be hosting the annual after-hours festival hang, Late Nite Cabaret, for the first time. They’ve got a stacked schedule for the next two weeks, including raucous folksters T.J. Kong and the Atomic Bomb on Saturday the 8th, noisemakers The Absinthe Drinkers on Sunday the 16th, and a Brat Productions interpretation of The White Stripes’ album Get Behind Me, Satan to close out the festival on Saturday the 22nd. Full schedule is available here – get ready to get weird.
Local orchestral rock favorites Oh! Pears will play their last hometown show before frontman Corey Duncan ships on out to the west coast. His band — along with soul rockers Toy Soldiers — will open for Princeton-based singer, songwriter and visual artist Chris Harford and his Band of Changes (which features members of Ween and Dr. Dog). Doors at Johnny Brenda’s open at 8 and the show starts at 9; tickets to the 21+ event are available for $10 here. Below, stream “The Sounding of the Earth” from Oh! Pears European Tour release.
Philly americana artist Kevin Killen will serenade the night away with a free show at the North Star Bar Victorian Dining Room. He’ll be opening for Elkins Park artist Christopher Michael, who has played for a number of Philly area hard-indie bands but has recently taken the folky road himself. The 21+ show is free and starts at 8pm (more information is available on the Facebook event page). Below, stream Christopher Michael’s “Home.”
Finally, glitchy Philly psych-pop duo Gemini Wolf will rock Silk City tonight with local psych-rock team A Study In Terror. Get your fill of psyched-out vibes presented by BITBY, who are also hosting DJs to round out the set. Admission to the 21+ event is $7; show starts at 9. Below, stream Gemini Wolf’s “Thirst” from their album Infinite Sand Dunes.
The next Still Life—a bimonthly showcase of experimental Philadelphia music—is Friday, December 9, at the First Unitarian Chapel. Still Life is curated by John Vettese who hosts the Philly Local Second Shift on XPN2 (Thursdays, 5 p.m.-midnight) and also records and produces all of our Key Studio Sessions. From John’s tumblr:
On the bill is Tadoma, the musical alter ego of Data Garden Records’ Joe Patitucci, doing minimal, hazy, Music for Airports-esque ambient pieces; Gemini Wolf, the abstract electronic dance project of Michael McDermott and Megan Cauley; and Gina Ferrera, who inventively fuses xylophone, mbira and West African percussion with keyboards, samplers and drum machines.
Admission is $8 at the door; the First Unitarian Chapel is located at 2125 Chestnut Street.
Tomorrow night marks the premier of Pangaea: When the Continents Were One, the ambitious new electronic opera by Mikronesia, aka Michael McDermott of Gemini Wolf. You can read The Key’s indepth interview with McDermott about the project here, and check out one of the songs in today’s XPN2 Philly Local Phile. “Ancient Warning” is one of the album’s poppiest moments – it’s soaring, David Bowie-esque melody sounds like nothing McDermott has done in any of his other musical outlets. Give it a listen below; tickets for the opera are available here.
Never one to shy away from ambitous musical projects, Michael McDermott – stage name: Mikronesia, one half of Gemini Wolf, founder of earSnake records – can now add “opera composer” to his curriculum vitae. This Friday, Nov. 11, his imaginative work Pangaea: When The Continents Were One premiers at The Rotunda for one night only. The multimedia fable blends an eclectic score, anthropological visuals and a 15-piece ensemble to look not just at the idyllic beginnings of mankind, but the point at which conflict between cultures began. The Key recently caught up with McDermott to talk about the work and its genesis.
The Key: I thought it’d be fun to being our interview with some free association if you’re game.
Michael McDermott: Sure!
TK: OK, then. Complete these sentences. “The most difficult thing about putting an opera together front-to-back is…”
MMcD: I guess coordinating lots of people’s different schedules. I mean, you could write an opera and record it all by yourself in the studio. But I just collaborated with so many different people. Just getting everyone to come to the studio at a certain time and record, that was the most difficult thing for me. I could have used an assistant manager or something. [laughs]
TK: “The easiest part about putting together an opera is…”
MMcD: Getting people to work on it with me. Everyone I asked said yes, which I was surprised about. I thought some people would be like “What, an opera? No that’s stupid, that’s prog-rock.”
TK: “The thing about Pangaea that will totally come as a surprise to the people hearing it is…”
MMcD: That they will still sit through and listen to an 80 minute piece of music front to back in the era of shuffle on your iPod or watching to a quick YouTube video.
TK: “My one regret about the project is…”
MMcD: Underestimating. I’ve already have people say “I want to come to it but I can’t make it that night, when’s the next one?” And I have to be like “I don’t know.” I wish I would have booked the premier to have several shows, or a long run. It seems like the work I’m putting into the premier is more work than I’ve ever done for one show. It would have been cool to perform it for an entire week. But I think down the road we’re going to do something like that.
TK: Awesome. Now to jump into broader questions, how did you come to decide “For my next project, I would like to write an 80-minute opera about Pangaea?”
MMcD: [laughs] Well, the idea of Pangaea is really kind of old. Even in High School I had this idea of writing an opera. Back then I probably thought of it more like a musical, and it became kind of opera of Pangaea…and slowly it morphed into this idea of making it about the ecology, war. And as the sound of the music I was interested in changed, it became more neo-tribal, integrating different kind of world musics together into this mulch of sound that really had no boundaries as far as what cultures they referenced. Which is also I think a comment on modern culture a little bit.
One of the most thought-provoking records to come out of Philadelphia’s electronic music scene in recent years, Gemini Wolf‘s Infinite Sand Dunes ponders a scorched-earth future through eerie sonic textures, urgent vocal elements and a wholly instrumental side B where all traces of humanity have vanished. It’s like the soundtrack to a vast ocean, or a sprawling desert. Today’s Philly Local Phile hones in on “Doppelganger Walk,” the last of the album’s vocal cuts and the point where the march of mankind has plowed forth and the dunes are all that’s left. Sound too chilling to listen to alone? Take it in with friends and fellow concerned citizens when Gemini Wolf plays Kungfu Necktie this Friday night, Aug. 19. Gemini Wolf performs with Canon Blue and Oh! Pears at Kung Fu Necktie. Tickets to the 21+ show are $8.