Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cults at The TLA, Communion Club Night featuring Rosco Bandana at Underground Arts, Myrrias at Ortliebs and more

Olivia Malone/Courtesy of the artist
Olivia Malone/Courtesy of the artist

Indie-pop duo Cults will take to the TLA stage tonight. The New York natives released their sophomore album Static in October on Columbia Records and it has impressed fans and critics. Bullet Magazine recently included “So Far” from the new record on their “Indisputable, Definitive Best 53 Songs of 2013″ list. Get tickets to the show here and watch them perform “Always Forever” from their WFUV Session below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: XPN Welcomes Toy Soldiers at Johnny Brenda’s, Steve Gunn at Little Berlin, XPN Welcomes Shovels & Rope at Union Transfer and more


Toy Soldiers celebrate the release of The Maybe Boys at Johnny Brenda’s.  The local roots / rock outfit recorded the LP with Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man) this year,  capturing most of the songs in a live set-up.  Live is the best way to experience the band – they’ve clocked in hundreds of shows on the road and know how to get the crowd invested.  Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show can be found here.  Check out Toy Soldiers’ Key Studio Session from earlier this week here and watch them perform “Tell the Teller” and “Forget How it Used to Be” below.

Steve Gunn returns to his home city for a show with Cian Nugent and Chris Forsyth at Little Berlin tonight.  The guitarist / singer has reached a new audience with his latest Time Off release, which he put out earlier this year through Paradise of Bachelors.  As he proved at the record’s release show in June, Gunn has a knack for blending playing styles from all over the world in an enthralling and transcendent way.  Tickets and information for tonight’s show can be found here.  Below, watch Gunn’s Tiny Desk Concert, presented by NPR Music.

Cold Roses headline MilkBoy Philly tonight.  The gravely-voiced local band released its debut EP The Georgia Fugue earlier this year and recently followed it up with August’s “The One You Love” single, taken from an upcoming LP.  Cold Roses echo the hard-lived grit of deep country rock but temper the edge with upbeat, danceable melodies.  Tickets and information for tonight’s show can be found here.  Listen to “Lose That Man” below.

XPN welcomes Shovels and Rope to Union Transfer.  The husband and wife duo have toured with Dawes, Jack White and Justin Townes Earle since releasing their debut LP O’ Be Joyful but are striking out on a headlining tour across the States this fall.  Based in South Carolina, Shovels & Rope perform foot-stomping , twangy and heartfelt country that is easy to sing along to.  Tickets and information for the show can be found here.  Watch the band perform “Gasoline” below.

Also happening: Hard Skin at Boot & Saddle; Randall Bramblett at the Sellersville Theater; Cheers Elephant at Ortlieb’s.  Tickets and information for all shows can be found on the XPN Concert Calendar.

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Listen to “Cat Mask at Huggie Temple” by Steve Gunn and Cian Nugent (playing Little Berlin on 9/13)

Cian Nugent

Road trips have long been the source of creative inspiration: for Jack Keruoac and On the Road, Peter Fonda / Dennis Hopper and Easy Rider, and now guitarists Cian Nugent and Steve Gunn with their upcoming LP Cat Mask at Huggie Temple.  Joined by drummer John Truscinski, the trio recorded two expansive and exploratory tracks as Desert Heat inspired by a joint tour that crossed continents and oceans.  The title track, now streaming on Soundcloud via distributing label MIE Music, stirs together the drone-y, meditative and wordless storytelling structures of Dublin’s Nugent and Brooklyn’s Gunn, reaching from the blues of the Delta to the ragas of India.  Nugent, Gunn and Philly’s Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band will perform at Little Berlin on Friday, September 13th; more information can be found here.  Listen to “Cat Mask at Huggie Temple” below.

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Watch Needle Points perform at Ortlieb’s Lounge, filmed by BITBY (playing Little Berlin on 6/1)

needle points

One of the newest bands on the scene, Philly’s Needle Points will open for Amanda X, Weed and Cascadia at Little Berlin this Saturday.  Needle Points is a collaboration between Dave Ulrich and Danielle Kinoshita that began earlier this year, making “street level boogie” steeped in afro-beat drums, fuzzy guitar riffs and free-spirited melodies.  Tickets and information for the all-ages show presented by The Dream Oven can be found here.  Below, watch a live performance by Needle Points at Ortlieb’s Lounge filmed by Bands in the Backyard.

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Listen to “Clover,” a new song from Philly’s Bad Braids (playing Ladyfest benefit 4/20, tour kickoff 4/27, album out 5/1)

BadBraidsHaunting indie-folk project Bad Braids is releasing its latest long player, Supreme Parallel, this spring via Haute Magie Records, and this a handful of new songs appeared on the label’s website to tease the full set.

“Clover” begins spare and spacious, very akin to the vibe the band had when it appeared on Folkadelphia last autumn, or when it performed for Out of Town Films in a bathtub at Germantown’s Rigby Mansion. Singer-guitarist Megan Biscieglia plays a minor key guitar line, multi-instrumentalist Mike Bruno creates a humming ambient underbelly. But as the song progresses, new textures are introduced – uplifting vocal harmonies, a chord change into a loosely poppy refrain. The song is at once distant and deeply introverted, yet a warm and expressive spiritual journey – “Hopes make you later, dreams take you farther from the sun, I’ll guide you somewhere.” The intensity builds as the fervent drumming and tambourine comes in, concluding in some nether-realm between Kate Bush and Bonnie “Prince” Billy.

Look for the entire LP to be released on Haute Magie on May 1st. Bad Braids has two local shows of note this month; on April 20th, it plays the Ladyfest Philly benefit at Little Berlin, and on April 27th it returns to Rigby Mansion for a joint record release / tour kickoff show with Mary Lattimore. Listen to “Clover” below.

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The Key Studio Sessions: Cayetana

Relatively new faces in the Philly DIY scene, Cayetana crafts focused, passionate indie-punk nuggets exploring a broad spectrum of subject matter – from city living to old age. “South Philly” is an incisive, observational look at rowhome life that’s a world away from the trendy Passyunk Ave strip; “Miss Thing,” a nod to singer-guitarist Augusta Koch’s grandmother, is a moving reflection aging (the lyric “at the end of your life all you’ll eat is ice cream” is at once humorous and heartbreaking). The band just signed to Tiny Engines Records and is looking to release its debut full-length later on this year. This weekend, it plays a benefit show for Ladyfest Philly at Little Berlin featuring Bad Braids and the Girls Rock Philly allstars. Information on the all-ages show can be found here; stream and download this week’s Key Session below.

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Just Announced: Girls Rock Philly present Ladyfest Philly Benefit with Cayetana, Bad Braids and more (at Little Berlin on 4/20)

LFBGirls Rock Philly student group Shark Tank will host a show at Little Berlin on Saturday, April 20th with Cayetana, Bad Braids, and more.  The event has been organized by Girls Rock Philly after-school program participants, with the group of teenagers handling everything from booking the bands to promoting the show and playing live in two opening acts, Wrong Castle and Barracuda Club House Band.  The concert will benefit Ladyfest Philadelphia, a summer event that celebrates women in arts, culture and activism.  More information about the show can be found on the Facebook event page here.  Below, stream “Mountain Kids” from Cayetana.

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Watch a new DRGN KING video for ? and the Mysterians’ “96 Tears” (playing Little Berlin on Sunday)

Quickly becoming one of Philly’s bands to watch, DRGN KING recently released a cover of “96 Tears,” the Question Mark and the Mysterians hit. The video, which premiered on Spinner, follows singer Dominic Angelella and his DRGN guys embracing city urchin lifestyle,  slumming around rooftops and junkyards. DRGN KING, who was recently signed to Bar None Records, is preparing to release their debut full-length Paragraph Nights in January. Check out “96 Tears” on Spinner here, and you can stream their Holy Ghost EP below. DRGN King plays Little Berlin on Sunday, December 16 with Secret Mountains; more information can be found at the Facebook event page.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ingrid Michaelson at World Cafe Live at the Queen, Daniel Bachman at Little Berlin, Arrah and the Ferns as Black Sabbath at The Fire, Jess Klein at Burlap and Bean

XPN welcomes Ingrid Michaelson’s continuing tour in support of Human Again, released back in January, to World Cafe Live at The Queen. The New York singer-songwriter will be performing acoustic on this leg of the tour, tickets to the all-ages show range from $31 to $41 and are available here. Below, watch a live video of the song “Ghosts” from Human Again, recorded in Laurel Canyon earlier this year.

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Folk guitarist Daniel Bachman on returning to Fredericksburg and finding his voice

Just a few days after 22-year-old guitarist Daniel Bachman returned to the U.S. from a month-long European tour, he’s sitting across from me on a sunny Saturday afternoon at West Philadelphia’s Local 44. Still suffering from jet lag, and nursing a hangover from a wedding in New Jersey he attended the previous night, he’s wearing the same pair of jeans, the only pair of pants, he took with him on tour. He proudly points out that he has since washed them, but there was no time for laundry during his first trip to Europe. Nasty slacks and road dirt, though, aren’t the worst thing that happened to Bachman overseas.

Nothing too terrible went down, but something strange happened in Barcelona. He played a venue below an apartment complex where the residents are notorious for throwing various things down at showgoers, hoping to shut them up. “Someone told me they sometimes throw pieces of metal down,” says Bachman, laughing at the absurd prospect. “The night I played, they were throwing water balloons, and one of them hit me. This dude said sometimes they pee in them, and sometimes they put bleach in the balloons. Whatever was in it, when I woke up the next morning the whole right side of my face was red, swollen and on fire. My eye was throbbing for 10 hours. That really sucked.”

Bachman’s fine now. He’s home. But home’s no longer Philadelphia, where he lived and worked for the past year. Continue reading →

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