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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Pere Ubu w/ the Strapping Fieldhands at North Star Bar, Jamaican Queens at Johnny Brenda’s, Tommy Keene at Sellersville Theater

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Celebrating 35 years as a band, Pere Ubu play North Star Bar tonight.  The experimental / new wavers out of Cleveland, Ohio have stayed active during their long career, most recently releasing their 17th studio album Lady From Shanghai on Fire Records.  Borrowing from avant garde, punk, rock and various other genres, Pere Ubu is a sonic enigma that revels the in atmosphere and drama of live shows.  Tickets and information for the 21+ show with Gagarin and The Strapping Fieldhands can be found here.  Listen to “Free White” from Lady From Shanghai below.

Jamaican Queens return to Philly for a show at Johnny Brenda’s.  The Detroit-based “trap pop” band must really love this city – tonight’s appearance will be their fifth this year.  They released their debut LP Wormfood in January, creating the tag “trap pop” to describe their reality-fueled urban pop songs that discuss violence, partying and relationships.  Tickets and information for Jamaican Queens’ show with Houses and Potpourri of Pearls can be found here.  Watch a live-recorded video for “Asleep at the Wheel” below.

Another musician celebrating nearly three decades of work is Tommy Keene, performing tonight at the Sellersville Theater.  The 1980s power pop star made waves with his first EP Places That Are Gone and subsequently recorded ten LPs, most of which were released through Matador.  This year saw the release Excitement at Your Feet, an album of covers including tracks by Television, Donovan and Guided By Voices.  Tickets and information for tonight’s show with Steve Butler can be found here.  Watch Keene perform “Places That Are Gone” live on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 1994.

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Jamaican Queens premiere new video for “Can’t Say No to Annie” (playing PhilaMOCA on 7/19)

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We should know to expect the unexpected from Detroit-based Jamaican Queens by now.  After all, a cursory listen to the trio’s debut LP Wormfood, which they classify as trap-pop, reveals an inventive sound that draws oblique inspiration from rap, 70s psych-pop and even dubstep at times.  It’s catchy and upbeat but there’s a swift and often unsettling undercurrent of urban grit laced through the shiny production.  Latest single “Can’t Say No to Annie” and its accompanying video are a good example of this.  Quirky wind-chime trills and a sweetly-sung chorus belies the turbulent relationship chronicled in the lyrics, but the video picks up on the truer story as it looks in on the troubles of a young woman in a red convertable and a man who has a penchant for meat.

Wormfood is still available as a name-your-own-price download on Jamaican Queen’s Bandcamp page here.  They’ll be at PhilaMOCA on Friday, July 19th with Norwegian Arms, Sean Nicholas Savage and Dream Safari (formerly Flamingos); tickets and information can be found on the Facebook event page here.  Watch the new video for “Can’t Say No to Annie” below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Akron/Family at Johnny Brenda’s, Rhett Miller at World Cafe Live, Sons of Fathers at MilkBoy, Jamaican Queens at Little Berlin

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Rhett Miller, playing tonight at World Cafe Live

Singer/songwriter Rhett Miller stops by World Cafe Live tonight. His fifth album, The Dreamer, was released last year in June. Miller is also the lead singer for the Dallas alternative country band, Old 97′s, and plays in Serial Lady Killers, which you can watch a video of the band performing “Singular Girl” at last year’s XPo Fest here. Tickets and information for the all ages show with Cliff Hillis can be found here. Below, watch Miller perform “Lost Without You” from his album The Dreamer for an American Songwriter session.

Portland’s Akron/Family plays Johnny Brenda’s tonight. The band plays a combined style of rock/folk, with added psychedelic elements. Their new album, Sub Verses, will be released April 30th through Dead Oceans. Tickets and information for the 21+ show with Chris Forsyth & the Solar Motel Band, and M Geddas Gengras can be found here. Below, watch the official video for “Until the Morning” off the new record Sub Verses.

Roots rockers Sons of Fathers plays MilkBoy tonight. They were featured as a My Morning Download on April 15th with their song “Roots & Vine” off their sophomore album Burning Days. Tickets and information for 21+ show with Maitland can be found here. Below, download “Roots and Vines”

Jamaican Queens return to Philadelphia tonight for a show at Little Berlin.  The Detroit based trio has acquired a swell of grassroots support for their debut LP Wormfood, which was released in early March is available as a name-your-own-price download on their Bandcamp.  With lyrics that recount experiences with relationships, parties and urban violence, the band’s intrigue runs much deeper than the initial hook of the album’s beat-driven, synth-laden sound.  Jamaican Queens will be joined by locals Banned Books and Avery Rosewater.  More information can be found on the Facebook event page here.  Below, watch the video for “Water.”

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Download Jamaican Queens’ Wormfood and watch a video for “Water” (playing House of Hayes on 3/29)

JQMagic Death Sounds present Detroit band Jamaican Queens at House of Hayes on Friday, March 29th.  Their debut LP Wormfood, released last week, could have been labeled hardcore indie pop but the trio decided to go their own way, inventing a new category dubbed “trap pop.”  The made-up tag is fitting, if ambiguous, as Jamaican Queens applied that same abandon of previously outlined conventions for genre and narrative on the album’s nine tracks, tackling topics of urban violence, love and other, more illicit, experiences.  Despite the serious nature of some of the songs (“Kids Get Away,” for example) Jamaican Queens managed to turn Wormfood into an incredibly infectious and addicting record with sticky, eighties informed synths programmed behind the dramatic vocals.  More information for their show at House of Hayes with Charmaine’s Name, Meghan’s TV and Rexedog can be found on the Facebook event page here.  Below, watch the video for “Water” and stream “Asleep at the Wheel.”  Wormfood is available as a name-your-own-price download on Jamaican Queens’ Bandcamp here.

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The Week’s Best MP3 Downloads, incl. Chill Moody, BOY, Matt Pond

Local rapper Chill Moody teamed up with Freeway for the grooving new track “Change Coming.”  The song is included on Moody’s latest RFM album, which he previewed at his sold-out headlining gig at The TLA this past week.  Stream and download the Joe Logic-produced song below, and check out Moody’s plans for 2013 in our interview with him here.

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Download Jamaican Queens’ “Kids Get Away” (playing Kung Fu Necktie on 1/15)

Detroit’s Jamaican Queens are still about three months away from releasing their debut album Wormfood (expected on March 5th) but they’ve already been picked up by a number of music tastemakers including Yvynyl and Noisey thanks to the trio’s beat-packed first offerings.  The latter premiered Jamaican Queens’ new video for “Kids Get Away” last week, a dramatic stalker story with a heartwarming twist ending based on a true Detroit event.  Of the song’s message, singer Ryan Spencer said:

“I wrote this song to myself as a reminder that I live in a very dangerous place and that I shouldn’t be so naive. Violence is everywhere, and though I’m more likely to be victimized in Detroit than almost anywhere else, this city also has so much going for it that no other place I’ve ever been does. The possibility of violence is no reason to flee what I feel to be the best place I’ve ever lived. This song is a reminder to myself of that. Be careful, but don’t give in to fear.”

Jamaican Queens come to Philly on Tuesday, January 15th for a show at Kung Fu Necktie with Quilt and Magic Trick.  Tickets and information for the 21+ show can be found here.  Below, watch the new video for “Kids Get Away” and download the track here.

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