Tonight, it’s time for another Indie Rock Hit Parade on XPN! Tune in starting at 10pm for a jam-packed mix of brand new music a some old favorites. Since we’ll be taking next week off to bring you the broadcast from our festival, there’s an extra amount of new music to try and fit in to tonight two-hour show. We’ll spotlight the debut album from the mysterious UK funk band Jungle, and hear a few of these fresh tracks:
The band’s lively afternoon set showcased eight songs from its self titled debut LP, which came out last week on XL Recordings, and the performance was a blissful mix of slick keyboard lines, harmonized vocals and (believe it or not) Coke bottle percussion. Check out photos and listen to an archive of the performance below, and read the setlist after the jump.
Riding on an early career marked by unsurprising hype and a guise of anonymity, UK electro-funk sensation Jungle could certainly be said to be making waves. The release of their debut album is less than a month away, yet somehow, what NME is calling “the UK’s most mysterious act” has been raising eyebrows and questions left and right. What we do know is that the two front men are lifelong friends named T and J (the J stands for Josh; the T can be left to your imagination), and are not in fact Black, as one would presume with Jungle’s music videos and promotional pictures in mind. They aspire to mystery and have crafted a musical experience that in many ways succeeds fellow British white-funk and R&B superstars, Average White Band, without forgoing a discernible sonic identity of their own and most importantly, being fluent in the universal language that is the power to make a crowd dance.
Probably the most common critique of Jungle is the homogeneity of their musical vocabulary, and I’ll admit that they might just chalk up to be a one or two trick pony. At last night’s show at Union Transfer, the second part to “The Heat” borrowed rhythms and chord structures from their previously-released single, “Platoon”, though the latter was infused with expectable encore gusto, and percolated into a contrafact medley of songs played earlier in the evening. In a sense, what is described as homogeneity by many is in fact a deliberate unity that speaks not to a lack of creativity on the part of T and J, but to the presence of a well-groomed harmonic recipe that takes into account with striking clarity the R&B and funk artists of the 1970s that inspired them.
Opening for Jungle was Beat Connection, the Seattle-based combo that fuses the rhythms of Afro-Cuban jazz with the sounds of the dance floor. Though slightly less in-the-pocket than the headliners, the group was a win in my book, and their live sound was an unexpected departure from that of their records. As for Jungle, I was thoroughly impressed. The criticism of their music being rather samey is real. The underlying question of race with regards to their videos and photos is an interesting one, albeit irrelevant for our purposes. But here’s the thing: who cares about all of that when the music is smart, groovy, and makes everybody in the room abandon any inkling of self-consciousness and dance? And dance they did.
The British electro influenced R&B band Jungle, make their Philadelphia debut tonight at the Union Transfer. Listen below to “The Heat” a track layered with swooning and swelling tech sounds, R&B grooves, all mirrored by soothing vocals. Get tickets and more information about the show at the XPN Concert Calendar here.
Playing tonight at the Junction Center in Manheim, is Jake Shimabukuro, the Hawaiian ukulele genius. His shows are nothing short of breathtaking and he is indeed a master at his instrument. In “143 Kellys Song” from Peace Love Ukelele, as in all of his music, Shimabukuro pours his heart into acoustic melodies that roll and tumble through him. Tickets and more information about the show here.
Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, an infectiously fun Zydeco band, are playing tonight at Building 24. Chubby Carrier fuses 70’s funk, blues, rock and roll and Zydeco sounds into high energy dance songs. Carrier can liven up even a standstill crowd and often pulls audience members onstage as he jams out on his accordion. Below is audio for “Shake it” one of Chubby’s funkiest dance tunes. Tickets and more information about the show here.
Moosh & Twist, a hip hop Philly duo, is playing tonight at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster. Hands down, they’re one of Philly best live hip-hop groups and the duo have an exorbitant amount of energy on stage and are out on tour in support of their new Living Out Loud album. Tickets and more information about the show here.
One of the best bands I saw at SXSW last week was the UK band Jungle. Based around a duo known as “J,” and “T”, Jungle make slickly produced (in a good way) R&B and soul music. Jungle first appeared as an intentionally anonymous mystery which worked to their PR credit, creating significant interest in the band from the music blog universe and UK press. SXSW was their American coming out and they played several shows that showcased their tight mid-tempo Seventies era grooves. A good reference point for comparison would songs like “Mind Blowing Decisions” by Heatwave, “Don’t Stop The Music” by Yarbrough & Peoples, “Back In Love Again,” by L.T.D. and this classic by the Bee Gees. Jungle color their R&B with washes of electronic keyboards, soaring falsetto vocals and just enough of an edge to avoid it falling into the MOR abyss. They make their Philly debut at Union Transfer on Thursday, June 19th. Go here for tickets and more information. Below, watch and listen to a few of their songs.