Philadelphia visual artist Anthony Campuzano (a 2009 Pew Fellow) will celebrate the release of his book Stars: Even The Sun With All Its Warmth Is Detatched at Temple Contemporary (Tyler School of Art) on Saturday, February 2nd with performances by Steve Gunn and the Paul Sukeena Band.
Gunn is a Philadelphia native currently based in Brooklyn who blends beautifully intricate, raga style guitar compositions with Americana / singer-songwriter sensibilities. Following up 2009′s Boerum Palace LP, he will be releasing Time Off this spring with trio bandmates John Truscinski and Justin Tripp (formerly of Aspera) through his new label Paradise of Bachelors.
Mining an all together different, and much louder, quarry of virtuosic guitar playing, Paul Sukeena jumps effortlessly between the fuzzy, scuzzy noise rock of Philly buzz band Spacin’ and his own distorted, looping organ arrangements. Spacin’ released their debut record Deep Thuds last April. To RSVP for this free event go here; more information can be found here. You can also catch them at Johnny Brenda’s on February 23rd when Steve Gunn performs with Light Heat and Spacin’ (tickets and information here). Below, watch Gunn perform “Old Strange” for Fader TV.
Philadelphia’s Spacin’ received a glowing review for their 2012 debut Deep Thuds LP from the folks over at The Guardian last month. With name-checks left and right of some of the most exciting local rock bands right now (Kurt Vile, The War on Drugs, Birds of Maya, Purling Hiss), The Guardian calls the new Spacin’ record “a fantastic example of US underground rock in 2012.” Read the full review here, watch the video for the fuzzy jam “Sunshine, No Shoes” featuring “Harmonica” Dan Balcer below and check out Spacin’ in person when they play Johnny Brenda’s on Saturday, February 23rd with Light Heat and Steve Gunn (tickets and information can be found here).
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.
Shouts to The Deli for alerting us to this fun new video from Spacin‘. If you’re not familiar, the fuzzy garage-rock thrashers
(which include Mike Polizze of Purling Hiss) dropped an excellent LP, Deep Thuds, on Richie Records earlier this year. [correction: Mike Polizze played in an early incarnation of Spacin', but as Richie Charles of Richie Records put it, "he's got his plate full with the Hiss!"] This knockabout anthem “Sunshine, No Shoes” comes from it, and in this video, we pretty much see “Harmonica” Dan Balcer of the Philadelphia Record Exchange hanging out in his store wearing a Mountain t-shirt, sipping a lager, banging his head and playing air guitar. Check it out below, and join him if you feel so inclined.
As far as band names go, Spacin’ is a perfect fit. The Philly psychedelic rock foursome features members of Birds of Maya and Acid Kicks and, like both of those bands, it bends heavy guitar riffs into expansive explorations all across its tremendous debut, Deep Thuds. The most exciting thing about the record, though, isn’t just its trippy sonic shamanism, but the breadth of stylistic territory it covers. You’re just as apt to hear a washed-out, lo-fi number as you are a straightforward Stones-y garage jam – like today’s Philly Local Phile, “Sunshine, No Shoes.” Once you download the song, and its sufficiently rocked your afternoon, make plans to catch the band live next month. It plays Kungfu Necktie on Sunday May 13; opening is Hippy Johnny, the new project of the equally spacy Brendan Codey and Dan Svizeny of Cough Cool.