Light Heat, the latest project of Quentin Stoltzfus, sounds the way its name suggests. The track “And the Birds,” which streams on the Light Heat website, is warm and delicately ornamented with piano notes. “The Mirror” has been described by Spin as a “simmering slow-burner.” A few months ago, we posted Light Heat’s “Elevation” recording for Bands in the Backyard and it was clear, even then, that Stolzfus’ new project was something to keep an eye on. A Light Heat album isn’t due out until June, but tonight Light Heat will perform at Johnny Brenda’s, offering a few more gorgeous songs than what’s currently available for streaming. Tickets and information for the 21+ show are available here. Below, listen to Light Heat’s “The Mirror.”
Since he sprung back into action last summer, it’s been inspiring to watch Quentin Stoltzfus make moves with his new band Light Heat. Since last summer, the former leader of Philly psych heroes Mazarin has teased us with one-off singles and live appearances at varied venues like Center City’s Fleisher-Ollman Art Gallery to Underground Arts. This Saturday, the band headlines Johnny Brenda’s with Steve Gunn and Spacin’, and today the band announced details on its self-titled debut album, due out on June 25th on Ribbon Music. The ten-track album was recorded with Stoltzfus’ band – which features Drew Mills of Blood Feathers, Mickey Walker of Mazarin, Sam Cohen of Apollo Sunshine – and also featrues contributions for pretty much all the guys in The Walkmen minus Hamilton Leithauser. The band premiered a new track called “The Mirror” at Spin.com today – listen to it below.
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.
The bill for Johnny Brenda’s February 23rd show is a deep one, with three local mind-melting acts taking the stage to quite literally blow us away. First up we’ve got Spacin’, a new jammy fuzz-rock band in the vein of a marginally restrained Birds of Maya (which makes sense since it’s the project of Birds’ Jason Killinger). Spacin’ might be considered a good entry into the world of Philly lo-fi power rock (Purling Hiss included), with their superfuzz served-up next to a side of accessible melodies and in significantly shorter bursts than Birds of Maya’s cornerstone Ready to Howl LP.
Next on the docket is Steve Gunn, a Philly native who is often mentioned in the same breath as John Fahey, Jack Rose and Michael Chapman. Where Spacin’ melts with amps and noise, Gunn takes a stripped back (though still totally blissed-out) approach with intricate acoustic guitar compositions that weave together the schools of Indian Raga and American Primitivism (checkout the epic “The Lurker (Extended)” to get a sense of what this guy can do with six strings). Gunn’s most recent solo release is 2009′s Boerum Palace, but he also works prolifically with drummer John Truscinski as a duo and released the well-received Ocean Parkway earlier this year.
Finally, we’ve got psych-rock extraordinaire Quentin Stoltzfus with a new post-Mazarin project called Light Heat. Featuring Mickey Walker (Mazarin), Sam Cohen (Yellowbirds / Apollo Sunshine) and Drew Mills (Aspera / Blood Feathers), Light Heat are the psychedelic kaleidoscope projected on the ceiling of a Julian Casablancas basement party. We’ve heard a few samples from the band, including the strummy “And the Birds” and “Elevation,” as filmed by Bands in the Backyard.
A big bomb dropped this morning for fans of loud amplifiers, effects pedals and that hypnotic musical genre known as shoegaze. Kevin Shields, singer and guitarist for My Bloody Valentine, told long-standing UK music news source NME that his band will release a new album by year’s end. The as-yet-untitled work would be available through Shields’ website, and would be followed up by an EP of even newer material.
This news is nothing short of staggering, considering that MBV’s last recorded work was the landmark record Loveless, released some 21 years ago back in November of 1991. Its blend of dissonance and agression with beauty and tranquility had no major parallels at the time, but went on to influence countless artists in the subsequent decades. You could hear the echo of Loveless in 90s acts like The Verve and Mazzy Star as well as 21st century rock demagogues Radiohead, all the way down to smaller-profile artists like Japancakes (who covered the album in its entirety in 2007), Black Angels and currently buzzing Baltimore outfit Secret Mountains.
So the question is – what is the band’s first album in 21 years going to sound like, anyway? Shields told NME that the engineers and musicians who have heard the record, which has been in the works since sometime the 90s, find it to be more far-out than Loveless. He doesn’t agree, however.
So does that mean it will merely be Loveless II? One would think that a band wouldn’t release its first album in 21 years unless it had something new to say / do, right? Even a bad My Bloody Valentine record would rule pretty hard…but what if the unthinkable happens and it is bad? Could it tarnish the legacy of Loveless? Are you excited or afraid to listen?
Ponder these questions, and let us know what you think in the comments below. And while you do that, check out an assortment of artists from our own local music community here in Philly that, one way or another, have drawn influence from My Bloody Valentine. Continue reading
Creating the iconic image for Orange County punk bands, Social Distortion exploded onto the music scene in the ’80s with hits like “Mommy’s Little Monster” and “Mass Hysteria,” forever changing the path for West Coast garage bands. The group, currently on tour supporting their 2011 Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, is playing tonight at the Electric Factory. Tickets for the 8:30 show are available here. Below, check out the video for their 1990 classic, “Story of My Life.”
One of the highlights of this weekend’s arts-and-letters showcase The 215 Festival is sure to be the Bibliodiscotheque Dance Party at Underground Arts on Saturday, and one of the bands on the bill is Light Heat, the new project from longtime Philly indie-psych wizard Quentin Stoltzfus. The band debuted with a set in the echoey art gallery ambience of Center City’s Fleisher-Ollman Gallery, and they sounded fantastic – with a proper stage and sound system at the North Chinatown venue this weekend, we imagine they’ll be even more spectacular. Today the band premiered a brand new track called “Dance The Cosmos Light,” a brilliant patchwork of horns, fuzzy guitars and melodious vocals. Listen below, and get more information on the festival here.