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TJ Kong go balkan in their Random Tea Sessions performance of “Dynamite”

tj kong
Photo courtesy of the artist

 

Bluesy roadhouse rock band TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb was featured in the Random Tea Sessions series today with a performance of ”Dynamite,” backed by Balkan ensemble The Only Band in Illyria.

The video was recorded outdoors, with the band surrounded by brick walls and Christmas lights. Singer Dan Bruskewicz’s voice maintains the whiskey-soaked rasp that’s become characteristic of Kong, and the arrangements Only Band in Illyria add a tender edge to the song.

The video comes in anticipation of TJ Kong’s EP, Kong, due out this Friday April 18. Their EP release party is happening the same night at Johnny Brenda’s, and T.J. Kong will be joined by Ali Wadsworth and Pine Barons. Find tickets and info for the EP release show here. Watch the video from the Random Tea Sessions recording below.

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Go H.A.M. or Go Light? Philly favorites take different approaches at SXSW (incl. Grandchildren, Lantern, Free Energy and more)

Free Energy | Photo by John Vettese
Free Energy | Photo by John Vettese

The SXSW PHL showcase wasn’t the only place to see musicians from the Delaware Valley last week. A wide variety of musicians from the region made the trek, with a wide variety of approaches. For instance, Wilmington’s New Sweden took the barn-burning powerhouse approach, not only playing a packed tour on the way down, but jamming in an impressive (and as yet unquantified) number of SXSW showcases into its itinerary between Monday and Saturday. Other artists took it light, by comparison.

Vacationer | Photo by John Vettese
Vacationer | Photo by John Vettese

We caught Kenny Vasoli’s Vacationer in their last show of South By Southwest on Saturday night at the infamous Hype Hotel venue, sponsored by The Hype Machine. It was the breezy electronic pop band’s second of two shows, and the relaxed pace left Vasoli in the most exuberant of exuberant moods during their set.

“This has been the best experience I’ve ever had at South by Southwest,” he reminded the crowd at uber-frequent intervals. Like, seriously, in between every song of their 30-minute set. “It’s been such a great few days, and I’ve got all of you to thank for that.” Back in his old pop-punk band The Starting Line, Vasoli probably got swept awat in the hammering gauntlet that the industry festival can be – hence the easygoing approach this time. He’s not alone. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Hoots & Hellmouth at The Sellersville Theater, TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb with Supersuckers at the North Star Bar, Ben Arnold at World Cafe Live

XPN Welcomes Philly-area roots band Hoots & Hellmouth to the Sellersville Theater tonight.  The Philadelphia-based folk quartet released their latest album Salt in April and with it displayed a knack for blending sweeping sonic landscapes with their signature stomping and swinging.  Folk singer-songwriter Mason Porter opens the all-ages concert.  Tickets are $19.50 for the 8:00 p.m. show; for more information, go here.  Below, check out Hoots & Hellmouth’s video for “Why Would You Not Want to Go There.”

Continue reading →

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Find out about the music events on the fringe of Fringe (feat. Johnny Showcase, T.J. Kong and more)

The 16th annual Live Arts / Fringe Festival is largely known as an interdisciplinary performing arts showcase – and lest we forget, music falls under the umbrella of “performing arts.” To just note a few happenings: Philadelphia electronic duo Gemini Wolf will perform a live accompaniment to the dance-based production WAMB, while versatile local harpist Mary Lattimore scored the documentary Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present, which screens on September 19 at The International House. This weekend, The Key will run a review of 27, a surreal performance piece about the infamous “dead rock stars’ club”, and next week we’ll talk to Australian avant-jazz group The Necks about their involvement in the festival showcase performance Food Court.

Speaking of showcases, one Johnny Showcase, and his Lefty Lucy Cabaret (pictured), performs a Fringe Festival Opening Dance Party at South Philadelphia club Connie’s Ric Rac. Get your sensual swerve on beginning at 10 p.m. with DJ Carl Sexton; the cabaret brings the funk at 11:30; it’s free to hang for the 21-and-over.

And throughout the festival, the folks at Underground Arts will be hosting the annual after-hours festival hang, Late Nite Cabaret, for the first time.  They’ve got a stacked schedule for the next two weeks, including raucous folksters T.J. Kong and the Atomic Bomb on Saturday the 8th, noisemakers The Absinthe Drinkers on Sunday the 16th, and a Brat Productions interpretation of The White Stripes’ album Get Behind Me, Satan to close out the festival on Saturday the 22nd. Full schedule is available here – get ready to get weird.

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Listen to a new song from T.J. Kong and the Atomic Bomb (playing Rittenhouse Square tonight)

Tonight, Philly punkabillies T.J. Kong and the Atomic Bomb kick off Philadelphia Weekly’s 22nd annual summer concert series (making a welcome return to Rittenhouse Square this summer) and today, the band premiered a brand new song on their Bandcamp page. We heard an early version of “Eye Witness on the Run” in their Key Studio Session from 2010, but here it feels much more injected with the band’s gruff, gravely vibe and bourbon-soaked desperation – it vaguely reminds me of Nick Cave’s “Papa Won’t Leave You Henry” too, which is always a plus. Listen below, and get to Rittenhouse Square promptly at 7 p.m. for the free shindig.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Creepoid’s record-release show at Kung Fu Necktie, “Philly Sings Sun Records” at World Cafe Live

Creepoid

Creepoid

In case you haven’t noticed all of our Creepoid-related coverage this week, we’re pretty stoked about the band’s record-release show at Kung Fu Necktie. (You can read our interview with drummer Pat Troxell here; look for a review of Horse Heaven next week.) The band will be bringing a limited 30 copies of its new LP, Horse Heaven—all of which are hand-numbered and silk-screened—to tonight’s show. (For those with even more disposable income, the band will also have a new batch of t-shirts.) Creepoid performs with Nothing, Party Photographers, and Pet Milk at 8 p.m. at Kung Fu Necktie; tickets to the 21+ show are $8.

Meanwhile, over at World Cafe Live, a handful of notable local bands will be performing at “Philly Sings Sun Records,” a tribute the the Memphis, TN-based label that helped launch the careers of legendary acts such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Roy Orbison. The lineup includes Toy Soldiers, The Levee Drivers, T.J. Kong And The Atomic Bomb, Papertrees, Thom McCarthy, The Lawsuits, and others. The performances begin at 8 p.m. at World Cafe Live; tickets to the show are $15.

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Philly Local Philes: Wake up with The Spooks’ “Sleepy Sleepy”

The Spooks

Fishtown garage-surf loonies The Spooks have had a busy month. Hot on the heels of a great slot on last Friday’s Making Time bill, the band has two more big-ish appearances this week. Wednesday, October 27th, The Spooks perform at Kung Fu Necktie, opening for Nashville power duo Jeff The Brotherhood, and then they’re part of the massive T.J. Kong “murder show” festival at the Ukie Club on Halloween. (‘Tis the season for all things spooky, we suppose.) Check out “Sleepy Sleepy,” the A-side to The Spooks’
Sleepy Monsters 7” from earlier this year.

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