As soon as an artist on a Philadelphia stage mentions cheesesteaks, that’s my cue to tune out. While I appreciate the stab at a regional reference, if that’s honestly the best you can do – like, come on dudes and dudettes, didn’t your tour van take you anywhere else today? – I’d rather just hear you play songs. Usually. So points are due to Paul Van Haver, aka Belgian dance pop sensation Stromae, for bantering about our local cuisine in a way that didn’t come across as patronizing, but totally within the context of the performer’s larger global vision. Continue reading →
Real hip-hop is alive and well. Sunday’s performances at The Troc, with KRS-One headlining, proved that not only is there so much to love about real, original hip-hop music but that like the people of Philadelphia that love comes in all forms. Mingling among 50-year-old men in bucket hats and crimson Adidas jumpsuits were skinny-legged hipsters, collar-popping bros and scores of others who defy categorization; an audience as boundless as the reach and appeal of the art. Continue reading →
Lifetime fans of Hoboken indie rock group Yo La Tengo can celebrate 30 years of music with the band at their upcoming anniversary show at The Troc. Three decades have passed since Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew teamed together in 1984 consistently delivering unconventional and boundary-pushing rock tunes. Continue reading →
Scottish singer/songwriter Paolo Nutini, has announced his North American tour dates, just in time for the U.S. release of his album, Caustic Love, on September 16th. The album, steeped in the soulful vibes of classic sounds of Stax/Volt records, is already a hit in the UK, debuting at #1 on the charts back in April when it was released. More recently, Nutini performed at the Glastonbury Festival where he captured the audience with his soulful performance of “Iron Sky,” off his Iron Sky EP.
Nutini will make his way to the Trocadero on September 20th. Tickets for the show will go on sale this Friday, at 10am. You can find more info about the show and tickets here.
Watch the video for “Let Me Down Easy” recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, below.
Philly’s favorite jam band, The Disco Biscuits, recently announced their 3-day City Bisco from September 25-27. Their first stop will be the Trocadero on the 25th, the Electric Factory on the 26th, and the Mann on the 27th. A limited amount 3-day passes will go on sale today at NOON. Go here for tickets and more information. Below, get into the groove with the Biscuits.
It was once known as The Arch Street Opera House. Over the past century and a half, it’s been called a lot of things (according to its Wikipedia page, anyhow) including: Park Theatre, Gaiety Theatre, Slocum’s and Sweatman’s Theatre (a personal favorite), and Sweatman’s Arch Street Opera House. Most recently it goes by the name The Trocadero Theater, or it’s more colloquial name, The Troc.
Fast forward 144 years past the recorded birth date, and I find myself trying to prove to a group of diligent, extremely friendly employees that I belong in this prestigious venue a few hours before doors open. A well-established home for movies, comedy, pop and – moreso, I think, than any other venue in Philadelphia – hard fucking rock.
The latter of which is why I was there. My credentials checked out, and I find myself walking through the empty lobby, out in to the spacious arena, around the elevated staging area, up an ancient set of stairs, down a dark, very ominous hallway, and in to “the back room” which also happens to be the literal back room.
I guess this is where the fantasy ends, though. [continue]
To celebrate its 21st birthday, Magnet Magazine is throwing a party at The Trocadero tonight with Guided By Voices, Surfer Blood and Titus Andronicus. The Philly-based indie music publication has been a mainstay in the music news and interview world since 1993. Also a mainstay in their world of post punk / indie rock, Guided By Voices have been active again in recent years thanks to a few reunion albums, including Cool Planet, which was just released last week. Take a listen to “Ticket To Hide” below, read Kate Bracaglia’s overview of 21 GBV essentials here and pick up tickets to the 21+ show here.
For the past 21 years, Magnet has been a source of incisive and interesting reporting on the national indie rock scene. This Thursday, the locally-produced magazine celebrates its 21st birthday with an epic show at The Trocadero, featuring a similarly long-running band, Guided by Voices. Since forming in 1986, the legendary Ohio band—helmed by the wily and creative Robert Pollard—has released no less than 500 songs, spanning 22 records, and three decades. In honor of Magnet’s 21 years, we present our top 21 GBV tunes—one for each decade of great music writing. Stream the entire playlist here—and read on for a description of what we chose.
1. “Sometimes I Cry” (from Forever Since Breakfast, 1986). “Sometimes I Cry” is one of the very first GBV songs ever released, and surprisingly one of their most honest. “Sometimes I cry because you don’t love me no more,” croons a young Pollard, sounding a little like Elvis Costello. It’s our first taste of the quirky auteur that would later emerge, and it sounds great.
(Note: “Sometimes I Cry” is not available on Spotify. It’s just that obscure. So here it is on YouTube instead. Enjoy!)
2. “Over the Neptune / Mesh Gear Fox” (from Propeller, 1992). GBV are not known for writing long songs, but “Over the Neptune / Mesh Gear Fox” clocks in at almost 6 minutes, making it one of their longest to date. It’s also totally epic, transitioning from easy-going lo-fi jangle to thick, indulgent jamming. If you ever wondered what Pollard would sound like fronting REM, this gives you a good idea. To quote the song: “It’s rock’n roll time!”
3. “Hot Freaks” (from Bee Thousand, 1994). I recently read a blog post (appropriately, in Magnet Magazine) about how “Hot Freaks” is the most overrated song in the GBV discography. I disagree. This short, 112-second nug is not only snarky and hilarious, it’s the only GBV song to contain a Pilam shout-out (ok, so maybe not really…but it totally sounds like Pollard is saying “Pilam,” instead of “Pie Land.”)
4. “The Queen of Cans and Jars” (from Bee Thousand, 1994). One thing I love about GBV is that their songs always evoke such brilliant imagery. “The Queen of Cans and Jars” is one of my faves, because the imagery is so strong—I imagine a small child, sitting atop a mountain of canned goods, a paper crown placed precariously on her head and a huge smile across her face. Also: that see-saw guitar line? So good. Continue reading →
The latest single from Irish troubadour Hozier is both a somber introspection and a strident anthem. The singer, who just performed at XPN’s NonCOMM and announced a debut headlining show at The Trocadero this fall, evokes the brooding piano pulse of James Blake’s cover of “Limit to Your Love” on the quiet verse, but swells to something rousing, anthemic and positively pop-oriented on the very U2-esque refrain. The song premiered on the BBC last night; take a listen below, and catch Hozier at The Troc on November 1st. Tickets and info can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.
Punk rockers Against Me! will take to the Trocadero stage tonight in support of their latest album Transgender Dysphoria Blues. Frontwoman Laura Jane Grace will soon star in her own reality series for AOL which follows the singer’s journey through personal and professional struggles that have influenced the new record. Watch them perform “Fuckmylife666″ on Letterman below and get tickets here.