Weekend Picks: The War On Drugs at Union Transfer, BITBY Episode Five Premiere with Break It Up at Little Bar

The War On Drugs performs Dec. 17th at Union Transfer

FRIDAY DECEMBER 16th XPN Welcomes The Key Studio Session Live featuring Summer Fiction, Pink Skull, and Attia Taylor at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, FREE with RSVP); Atlas Sound + Balkans, Carnivores at First Unitarian Church (8:30 p.m., all ages, $15); Atomic Square + Ages, Panic Years, Strangled By The Stereo Wire at Highland Gallery (9 p.m., 21+, $5–$10); Cuddle Magic + The Milkman’s Union, Lady Lamb The Beekeeper at First Unitarian Church (all ages, $8); The Wonder Years + Man Overboard, Fireworks, Wheatus, Into It Over It, Moving Mountains at Union Transfer (6 p.m., all ages, SOLD OUT); Wu-Tang Clan + Ground Up, DJ CruCut at The Trocadero (10 p.m., 18+, $45)

Though The War on Drugs released its debut album three years ago, 2011 has been a breakthrough year for the locally-based band. With the release of its second LP, Slave Ambient, the three-piece gained praise from everyone from Pitchfork to Spin and solidified themselves as Philly’s latest pride and joy. This is partly due to the neo-classic rock group’s nonstop touring this year; after wrapping up a tour with Destroyer last spring, and later a fall tour that lasted through October, the group announced yet another tour to close out the year, which appropriately wraps up in its hometown. Between the band’s choice of finale location and its stop at XPN earlier this year for a Studio Session (which we’ll be re-posting later this morning), it’s safe to stay the group is staying loyal to the place where it all began. The War On Drugs performs with Sun Airway and Ape School at 8:30 p.m. at Union Transfer; tickets to the all-ages show are $14. —Marielle Mondo

Also Playing: Andrew Lipke And The Prospects With The Azreal Quartet + The Codes, The Heat Run, Claire Wadsworth at North Star Bar (9 p.m., 21+, $10); Bands In The Backyard Episode Five Premiere featuring Break It Up + Psychic Teens, PC Worship, Spirit Animals, Streetwalkers at Little Bar (8 p.m., 21+, $7); American Babies at World Cafe Live (9 p.m., $13)

Free Range Folk + The Jersey Corn Pickers at Tritone (7:30 p.m., 21+); Shannon Pelcher And The Iron Threads (record-release show) at Tin Angel (7 p.m., 21+, $10)


Streetwalkers host tonight’s XPN2 Philly Local Second Shift, play BITBY party on Saturday

Over here at The Key, we’ve been vocal supporters of the Bands In The Backyard gang. Needless to say, I was pretty psyched when they invited me to DJ at their December party (this Saturday at Little Bar), and thought I’d extend the same courtesy by inviting one of the bands on the bill to guest DJ on XPN2’s Philly Local Second Shift. The group that took me up on it was Streetwalkers, featuring BITBY co-founder Kyle Costill on keyboards, and tonight the fivesome takes to the internet / HD airwaves with a fine selection of Philly freak folk (On The Water), hardcore (No Lessons Learned), indie psych (Arc In Round) and more. Tune in at 8 p.m. on 88.5 HD-2 in Philadelphia, or online at

Streetwalkers perform with Break It Up, Psychic Teens, PC Worship, and Spirit Animals, Sat. Dec. 17 at Little Bar, 736 S. 8th St. Tickets to the 21+ show are $7.


Philly Local Philes: Shorty Boy-Boy’s “New Yng Cute”

Notable Philly engineer, sonic mad scientist and good-times advocate Josh Pannepacker is resurrecting the moniker he home-recorded under in his early 20s: Shorty Boy-Boy. Earlier this year, he released a snappy new single called “New Yng Cute,” which we’re spotlighting in today’s XPN2 Philly Local Phile. Its raw recording, driving tempo, wry vocals and non-sequiter wordplay remind me of Pavement and Grandaddy in equal parts. Best line, as Shorty serenades the new object of his affection: “If you dismantle the alarm clock, I will buy you coffee and a big bagel.” We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Listen below, and check out Shorty Boy-Boy on Dec. 10 at Little Bar.


Weekend Picks: BITBY showcase at Little Bar, Andrew Bird at The Grand Opera House, Dum Dum Girls at Union Transfer

Tonight at Little Bar, the folks from Bands In The Backyard will premiere the series’ third episode, featuring Arc In Round. (Previous episodes have featured Faux Slang and Streetwalkers.) The screening will include live performances by Ages, Renderers, Sore Eros, and Not Fur Longs. Ages and Not Fur Longs—along with Psychic Teens (who opened for Zola Jesus last night at First Unitarian Church—have each been highlighted in BITBY’s bkstg sessions, which features one-camera shoots of bands performing stripped-down versions of their songs at local venues prior to playing on stage. Ages performs with Renderers, Sore Eros, and Not Fur Longs (with DJ sets by members of Faux Slang and Arc In Round) at 8 p.m. at Little Bar; tickets to the show are $6.

Also playing: CSS + MEN, EMA at Union Transfer (8 p.m., all ages, $15);

Writing the score for a darkly humorous indie film is no easy task; the composer must detail every strained emotion and hint of action through a series of scales and cadences. For Andrew Bird, however, this style of writing seems as simple as blinking. Norman (out in select theaters Oct. 21st) is a coming-of-age film about a boy, a love interest, and routine family issues—and Bird’s soundtrack depicts just that. The classically trained violinist abandoned his experimental and sometimes ostentatious arranging for a more minimalistic instrumental approach. Bird’s orchestral roots are exposed in pieces like “3:36” and “Medicine Chest,” which incorporate somber violin solos over longing instrumental backdrops. He paints a musical tale that is as comprehensive and aesthetic as its visual representation. Andrew Bird performs with Martin Dosh at 8 p.m. at The Grand Opera House; tickets for the all ages event are $29.50. —Caitlyn Grabenstein

Also Playing: Odd Future at Union Transfer (8 p.m., SOLD OUT); The Wombats + The Postelles, The Static Jacks at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $15); Buried Beds + Dignan, Geology at Kung Fu Necktie (7:30 p.m., 21+, $8); XPN Welcomes The Jayhawks at Keswick Theatre (8 p.m., $34.50–$45); Small Houses + Hezekiah Jones, Chris Bathgate at Studio 34 (7:30 p.m., all ages, $10); Suzie Brown + Carsie Blanton at Tin Angel (7:30 p.m., 21+, $12); The Smashing Pumpkins + Fancy Space People, Light FM at Tower Theatre (7 p.m., $52–$79.75)

The members of Dum Dum Girls have always dressed to impress. Since hitting the scene with its debut album, I Will Be, last year, the ’60s-inspired quartet is almost always found clad in matching black nylons, red lipstick, and heavy eye makeup, hiding behind a veil of thick, glossy bangs. Though the ladies have always looked quite mature, their second album, Only In Dreams, carries a sound that has finally caught up with the group’s aesthetic. Though still creating a nice balance between beachy grooves and low-fi subtleties, the group’s latest batch of songs sounds less like adolescent heart doodles and more like someone who’s mastered the complexities of The Bell Jar. Born in the wake of lead singer Dee Dee’s mother’s lost battle to cancer, Only In Dreams strays from the typical boy-crazy narratives and instead acts as a cathartic confession of insomnia, restlessness, and change. Dum Dum Girls performs with Crocodiles and Royal Baths at 8:00 p.m. at Union Transfer; tickets to the all-ages show are $15. —Marielle Mondon

Also Playing: Rumer + Bill Ricchini (of Summer Fiction) at World Cafe Live (8 p.m., $18); Fierce Bad Rabbit + Oh! Pears, Dad Rocks, Attia Taylor at The M Room (8 p.m., 21+, $7); Portugal. The Man + Alberta Cross at Theatre Of Living Arts (7 p.m., $25)


Video: Watch Psychic Teens (opening for Zola Jesus tonight at FUC) perform in Kung Fu Necktie’s basement

The folks over at Bands In The Backyard have just posted a video of Psychic Teens performing in the basement of Kung Fu Necktie back in late September. You can watch the video below.

Each month, BITBY posts a new video featuring interviews and performances by up-and-coming bands. Previous episodes have featured Faux Slang and Streetwalkers. (Tomorrow night at 8 p.m. at Little Bar, the series will premiere its third episode, featuring Arc In Round; the screening will include live performances by Ages, Renderers, Sore Eros, and Not Fur Longs.) The Psychic Teens video is part of BITBY’s “bkstg” series, which features one-camera shoots of bands performing stripped-down versions of their songs at local venues prior to playing on stage. Both Ages and Not Fur Longs have also recorded BITBY bkstg sessions, which you can watch here and here, respectively.

Psychic Teens opens for Zola Jesus and Xanopticon tonight at 8 p.m. at The First Unitarian Church; tickets to the all-ages event are $13.