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“We don’t want to be an L.A. band, or a California band. We want to be a national band.” Cheers Elephant talks beer, Philly and their move west.

Touring the hops cellar at Victory Brewing (photo by Kate Bracaglia)
Cheers Elephant (from L to R: Derek Krzywicki, Robert Kingsly, Travelin’ Mat, and Jordan del Rosario) touring the hops cellar at Victory Brewing (photo by Kate Bracaglia)

There comes a time in many bands’ lives when a change in scenery—whether temporary or permanent—becomes necessary in order to further one’s creative vision. The Beatles famously journeyed to India before composing The White Album, and Sun Ra moved his entire Arkestra from NYC to Philly before creating Space Is the Place.

And so it goes for Cheers Elephant, locally born-and-raised, who this winter will move to California—as a band—for new opportunities, new inspiration, and a new perspective on life.  We caught up with the dudes of CE at one of their favorite places: Victory Brewing in Downingtown. The band’s roots lie in the Chester County borough as well, and the brewing facility is situated in the same complex as their longtime practice space at Downingtown School of Rock. Many a night involved a hike across the parking lot to jam after sharing a round, or vice versa.

It’s been eight years since Cheers Elephant came together, and since then they’ve grown tremendously—from a bunch of kids drinking variety packs in bassist Matt Rothstein’s parents’ basement (the name Cheers Elephant originated in one such session, when singer/guitarist Derek Krzywicki said it jokingly with a French accent)—to a polished, high-energy rock quartet, with a solid following, impressive tour schedule, and regular air play on local radio. They’ve become a close-knit unit who can goof off while touring the Victory hops cellar (see above!) but still churn out tight pop songs like “Doin’ It, Right.”

“We’re all basically like a family,” says guitarist Jordan del Rosario

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photo by Kate Bracaglia
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Just Announced: Haim performing at The TLA on 5/14

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Former XPN artists to watch Haim have announced a U.S. tour that brings them to The TLA on May 14th.  The sister trio broke through the buzz at the 2012 SXSW festival, taking the next year to tour across the States and Europe while recording a debut record that was released in September.  Tickets go on sale Friday, November 22nd at Noon and will be available here.  Watch their video for “The Wire” below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: XPN Welcomes Polica at Union Transfer, XPN Welcomes Drive-By Truckers and Old 97′s at The TLA, Philly Sings Philly at The Fire

Polica
Polica

XPN welcomes Polica to Union Transfer tonight.  The Minneapolis achieved critical success following the release of their 2012 debut Give You the Ghost, spurred by singles “Dark Star” (which landed at #388 on last month’s 885 Greatest Songs of the New Millennium countdown) and “Wandering Star.”  On their new record called Shulamith, Polica took their synth / bass / double drumset / vocal arrangements even deeper, creating an incredibly dark and heavy environment that verges on frightening at some points (while staying instantly catchy and intriguing).  Tickets and information for tonight’s all-ages show with Marijuana Deathsquads can be found here.  Watch the video for “Warrior Lord” below.

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Kompa Party: Blayer Pointdujour will open for T-Vice at The TLA on 12/21

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Local world / rock / hip hop collective Blayer Pointdujour & The Rockers Galore are set to open for Haitian kompa group T-Vice at The TLA on December 21st.  The slot is somewhat of a milestone for Pointdujour, who says opening for T-Vice, one of the biggest kompa acts in the world, has brought his vision for the band full circle.  Tickets and information are available here.  Watch T-Vice perform live in Montreal below, followed by Blayer Pointdujour & The Rockers Galore performing “Dirty Kompa Party” at Kung Fu Necktie.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Janelle Monae at the Electric Factory, Colin Hay at Keswick Theatre, Deltron 3030 at the TLA and more

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Retro starlet Janelle Monae will grace the Electric Factory stage tonight. Monae released her critically acclaimed third album, The Electric Lady, last month. Despite her old-school flare, there’s nothing dated about Monae’s music. She’ll make you want to dance (“Q.U.E.E.N.”, “Dance Apocalyptica”) and be seduced (“Primetime” featuring R&B crooner Miguel). Check out her new “emotion picture” for the latter below. Get tickets here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ali Wadsworth at Ruba Club, The Deli’s 5th Anniversary Bash at PhilaMOCA, River City Festival at Penn Treaty Park and more

Screen shot 2013-08-20 at 9.30.04 PMAli Wadsworth is not a new voice in Philly by any means, but she’ll be releasing her debut solo LP at Ruba Club tonight.  The celebration will be an incredible one: a cocktail hour, sets by Auctioneer, Thom McCarthy and Divers and a “super top secret party band” will surround the centerpiece performance by Wadsworth and her band. Before striking out on her own, Wadsworth was a member of Unlikely Cowboy with Good Old War’s Dan Schwartz, Goldiebox with her sister Claire and Philly super-group Fantasy Square Garden.  The new album, recorded by Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man), features songs written for Wadsworth by her friends and fellow musicians.  Tickets and information for the all-night party can be found on the Facebook event page.  Watch Wadsworth perform “Still Not Over You” at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology below.

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Just Announced: Lord Huron will play The TLA on 2/8

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Los Angeles dream-folk outfit Lord Huron has announced a headlining date at The TLA on February 8th.  The mystical and majestic band made its Philadelphia debut almost one year ago during the release of its debut LP Lonesome Dreams and has been back several times since, recording a World Cafe session, playing this summer’s XPoNential Music Festival and most recently supporting Alt-J a few weeks ago.  Tickets for the all-ages show go on sale October 4th at noon via Live Nation.  More information will be available here.  Watch Lord Huron’s video for “Lonesome Dreams” below and read an interview with frontman Ben Schneider here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Screaming Females at First Unitarian Church. Immortal Technique at the TLA, Jimmy Cliff at the Keswick Theater

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New Brunswick’s Screaming Females come to the First Unitarian Church tonight for a label showcase with Waxahatchee and Tenement.  The indie punk trio, fronted by powerhouse vocalist / guitarist Marissa Paternoster and formed in the sweaty basements of North Jersey’s buried punk scene, released its fifth studio record last year on Don Giovanni, receiving critical acclaim from Pitchfork, Stereogum and A.V. Club.  In the spirit of label collaboration, Screaming Females and Tenement just released a split 7″ that will be available during the fall tour.  Tickets and information can be found here.  Watch Screaming Females’ Tiny Desk Concert on NPR below.

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XPoNential Fest: Gogol Bordello tears up the TLA for the amped-up night owls

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Shortly after the first night of XPoNential Music Festival wrapped up at Wiggins Park, a horde of people lined up South Street for the sold-out after party with rabble-rousing eclectic world rock of Gogol Bordello. Though the band has embraced its self-styled “gypsy punk” aesthetic since the 90s, their sound has considerably broadened over the years, as Anna Novikova pointed out in her review of the band’s new LP Pure Vida Conspiracy.

The set last night mixed in elements of dub / reggae, South American music, and even pop moments with the band’s punked-up Eastern European. Singer Eugene Hütz was a commanding presence at the head of the slam-dancing, stampeding, pogo-ing crowd, leading them in chants of “break the curse of aging” and emptying most of a bottle of wine on the front row in spirling, splashes of bright red. Check out photos of the show in the gallery below.

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Caveman, Cayucas added as support for Ra Ra Riot at The TLA on 10/10

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Ra Ra Riot‘s upcoming gig at The TLA has become a indie pop triple threat with Caveman and Cayucas now set to open the night.  Both supporting bands are touring behind recent releases – Caveman with its inquisitive, dream-pop / afro-beat self-titled LP and Cayucas with its upbeat indie pop debut Bigfoot.  Tickets and information for the all-ages show on October 10th can be found here.  Below, watch Caveman’s Hitchcockian clip for “In the City” and Cayucas’ video for “Cayucos.”

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