Local indie rockers Southwork will play Johnny Brenda’s tonight, celebrating the release of its latest record Wear Your Heart Out. The record was recorded in a South Philly row home on a reel-to-reel tape machine owned by frontman Mike Vivas’ cousins. The recordings are raw and heartfelt, just fuzzy enough to sound like a warp-y dream. Take a listen to “Tell You a Story” below and pick up tickets for the show with Tutlie and Purples here. Continue reading →
The Apache Relay arrive in Philadelphia tonight for a 9 p.m. show at The North Star Bar with The Weeks. The band, currently on tour for their self-titled new album,took its name from Heavyweights, a 1995 movie starring Ben Stiller, and haven’t looked back since. Their first album, American Nomad, debuted in 2011 and introduced the world to Apache’s acoustic folk sound. Their new album takes their great folksy music to an entirely new level. Listen to a new song entitled “Katie Queen of Tennessee” below, and get tickets for the 21+ show here.
Tonight, M.I.A. graces the Tower Theater stage and fans (old and new) should, as always, expect a little bit of everything from the singer-songwriter’s genre-bending music. On her latest album Matangi, it’s clear that her sound is still a hybrid of electronic, pop, hip-hop and world music. Best known for her 2007 platinum hit “Paper Planes”, M.I.A. isn’t a traditional singer or rapper; she’s crafted a style that’s somewhere in between and it’s infectious. Watch “Y.A.L.A.” below and get tickets here
If you’re into heavenly bedroom-pop, Jessy Lanza’s debut Pull My Hair Back is a must-hear record. Lanza’s take on minimalist R&B is hypnotic and colorful in a mellow, quietly captivating way. Taking cues from dance-inspired R&B of the early ’90s, the Canadian songstress delivers delightful midtempo jams just as well as her slower, moodier tunes. Watch “Kathy Lee” below and get tickets to her Philly debut, May 3rd at North Star Bar, here.
Crunchy synth work and loud guitar riffs are central to Revolution, I Love You‘s modern twist on classic rock ‘n roll, which reoccurs on their new EP The Atlantic Ocean. The band says the new EP, released this Tuesday, “is influenced as much by The Replacements, Bruce Springsteen, and Big Star as they are by the electronica and hip hop artists whose influence was so prevalent on Revolution, I Love You’s earlier recordings.” Even their quieter tracks, like the lazy drum loop-led “Shotgun”, are marked by their signature flavor. Listen below and get tickets to their EP release show at North Star Bar this Friday with theone2s here.
A delightful mix of punk and shoegaze would be the best way to describe TheOne2s. The Philly band, which is made up of members from Leiana and Big Crowd Popular, just released EP One last month. Check out the video for “Wide Awake” from their new release below and get tickets to their show at North Star Bar on February 28th here.
“The water sustains me without even trying,” a loving yet subdued crowd sings back to the British new-folk icon Johnny Flynn on Saturday night. “The water can’t drown me, I’m done with my dying.”
For the first time in three years, Flynn passed through Philly playing a sold out crowd packed into North Star Bar. Following a bouncy set by The Melodic, and stripped of his band The Sussex Wit, Flynn got though his first two songs “Lost and Found” and “The Ghost of O’Donahue” before pulling out a small wrinkled piece of paper from his pocket. “I try playing this game with myself,” Flynn explains how he tries to remember the songs on his setlist without looking. “This time I didn’t do so well,” he said as the audience chuckled.
The rest of the night was the perfect balance between celebrating his 2013 release Country Mile with newer tunes like “Murmuration” and “The Lady Is Risen,” and boot stomping crowd favorites from A Larum and Been Listening.
Playing “The Water,” Flynn got the crowd’s help on the originally dueted song. Getting to the end of his wrinkled list, the crowd groaned at the announcement of his last song. Glad the packed room didn’t want his set to end, Flynn jumped right into “Tickle Me Pink,” which he allowed the audience to finish by repeating the refrain in an almost chant. “Pray for the people inside your head / for they wont be there when you’re dead.”
Check out the setlist from Saturday’s concert at the North Star after the jump. Continue reading →
Tulsa, Oklahoma garage rockers Broncho head to Johnny Brenda’s tonight, with support from Brass Bed and Haggard. Broncho recently released a jamming new EP It’s On, with two new songs that have an aggressive sound mixed with the feeling of apathy that results in a carefree energetic style. Check out “Can’t Bet Past The Lips” below, and get tickets to the 21+ show here.
Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA will bring his raw lyricism to the Electric Factory stage tonight. After a six-year break, the emcee will release his new space-themed album Dark Matter this year. Watch the rapper preview his new album at the University of Toronto below and get tickets here.
Think of last year’s first Kat Kat Phest as an accident that went almost as smoothly as the organizers could have asked for.
“There were seven or eight different bands that hit one of us up saying, ‘Hey, I need a show,’ in a four-day period, “ says the Philly-based indie label founder Daniel Anderson about what happened around this time last year. “By the end of it, all four days had a show, and we were just like, ‘Whatever, let’s just make it a four-day thing with some after shows.’”
Anderson started Kat Kat Records in order to help out friends’ bands and put out their records, so requests for help booking shows in the area were not uncommon. That’s why his friend Ruben Polo (also his band-mate in the local four-piece Secret Plot to Destroy the Entire Universe) started helping out with promoting events, which he also does for a living.
For a last-minute festival with mostly touring bands on the bill, the two organizers couldn’t have imagined it would go so well, even selling out the show on the final day.
“[Our band] left for an eight-week tour after that, and off and on, we were just talking about, ‘Who should we get next year? We should do this for real,’” Anderson says. “Last year’s was kind of an accident. This year is a test to see if we can make it go as well when we’ve actually meant to do it.”
So this weekend, DIY musicians and local music supporters will once again gather for Phest 2, which will span five days, feature eight all-ages shows and boast about 50 bands. The all-festival passes, a bargain at $22, were sold out by December 20. Saturday night’s show with local heroes Smoother and Marietta, as well as New York-based Lemuria headlining, was moved to the North Star Bar after selling out at The Fire. But tickets are still available for all eight shows, a la carte style, at the show’s Facebook event page, and they range from $3 to $10…so it’s still a lot of bang for your buck.
Several bands associated with Kat Kat Records will also play this year’s Phest, including By Surprise,Hightide Hotel and Tyler Daniel Bean. But Anderson and Polo don’t make it a priority to put their own bands on the bill.
“If bands deserve to play cool shows and work really hard and are good people, then they play what they should play,” Anderson says. Continue reading →