Pulp fans unite! The eagerly anticipated 2014 documentary on Jarvis Cocker and Co. – Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets – screens tonight at PhilaMOCA at 7:30 p.m. Known best stateside for their mega-hit “Common People,” the band is revered among British rock aficionados for its brilliant fusion of glam, disco and super-literate lyrics. As a storyteller, Cocker details the lives of the working classes, the artists and the generally sexually starved in vivid detail. Set around Pulp’s 2011 reunion while looking back across its career (which spans the early 80s to the late 90s), this retrospective will be a treat for die-hards and will win over new converts. Information at the PhilaMOCA web page. Continue reading →
Locals Mary Lattimore and Jeff Zeigler open for Nico Muhly and Richard Reed Parry at the First Unitarian Church tonight. The harp / guitar / synth duo released its debut full-length Slant of Light last Tuesday, an LP that was recorded during the city-stopping snowstorm of last winter. Lattimore and Zeigler have been performing live together for a few years now, but this release expands on the droning, exploratory, freeform pieces they have played in the past to include subtler, more introspective works as well. Listen to “The White Balloon” below and get information for the show here. Continue reading →
New Jersey rockers The Gaslight Anthem bring their new record Get Hurt to The Mann Center‘s Skyline Stage tonight. Released earlier this year, Get Hurt follows the band’s 2012 LP Handwritten with a retuned style and updated aesthetic. What was previously all retro and throwback rock to the early days of Springsteen is now modernized, though the group’s blue collar, everyman stories are still present. Watch the video for the title track below and get tickets for the show with Jimmy Eat World and Against Me! here.
Portland bluegrass six-piece Black Prairie is set to take the stage tonight at Tin Angel. Though initially formed with the intention of being a casual side project for Decemberists members Jenny Conlee, Chris Funk, Jon Neufeld, Nate Query, Annalisa Tornfelt, and John Moen, the band shifted gears and made their music a primary focus. After finding success with Feast of the Hunter’s Moon and A Tear in the Eye Is a Wound in the Heart (both peaking at number four on the US Bluegrass charts) they released fourth album Fortune this April. Below, watch the music video for “Let It Out.” Tickets and more information can be found on the XPN Concert Calender. Continue reading →
The Hundred Acre Woods top an all local bill at the Tin Angel with Former Belle and Steady Hands. The West Philly folk-punk band’s frontman, Winthrop Stevens, recently trekked out to the banks of the Schuylkill River to perform a live version of “All I Love” for a new video series. Check it out below and pick up tickets to the 21+ show here.
Philly singer-songwriter A.M. Mills celebrated Record Store Day at AKA Music and tonight he plays at Ortlieb’s. Last month, he released a stellar track titled “Wreckin’ My World” which has a ’70s California-rock ballad feel to it (think Tom Petty). It’s simple, melodic and feels good all around. Check it out below and get tickets here.
Wednesday night marked the fourth time I’ve seen Joseph Arthur live. Each experience has been a different Arthur iteration – from upwards of four on stage to this solo appearance. He knows how to make playing guitar look like the most gorgeous act on the planet while also understanding the value of a syllable. At Tin Angel this week it was less about the showmanship and more about the lyrics of not only him but also Lou Reed. And for about 90 minutes, Arthur showed why he is a nugget of rock gold.
Straddling a stool and having lyric sheets abound (this was the first show he was doing all but one of the Reed songs live), Arthur played the folk poet part well. He frontloaded the show with Reed covers, opening with five of them. It may seem odd but it worked; Arthur frames the intimacy with the familiar unfamiliar of covers and then takes the audience on a walk with his wild side. How apt it was that he opened with “Walk On the Wild Side.” With Arthur condensing a song so well known for the backing vocals into one of just him alone showed off his vocal and music abilities. The changing emphasis of lyrics and tone made the songs his own. And to jump from “Wild Side” to “Heroin” exemplified Reed’s brilliant breadth and Arthur’s understanding of a great setlist.
If the applause was oddly lukewarm for the Reed covers, the crowd, which seemed to be mostly made up of fervent Arthur aficionados, let loose when he broke into his catalog. Drawing mostly from his brilliant 2013 record The Ballad of Boogie Christ, he showed how he excels at understanding the quirks and eccentricities of the world, especially on the stream-of-consciousness “I Miss the Zoo.” And when Arthur did pause, like when lyrics escaped him on the title track of Boogie Christ, he was charmingly self-deprecating.
Rain did not keep away a three-quarters full room from Arthur, who even popped out chestnuts like “Tattoo” from his second album Come to Where I’m From and “You’re So True,” which is strangely from the Shrek 2 soundtrack. The acoustics of Tin Angel carried Arthur’s voice, guitar, and occasional harmonica from front to the very back. And this is just like Arthur, a musician who can appeal to the fan and the newbie with his rarified sense of humanity in the bustling 21st century. He sees the value in playfully interacting with giants of culture – Christ and Lou Reed – and bringing them back to down to Earth for us all to admire.
If you’re into heartfelt sultry blues, Tin Angel is the place to be this Saturday for some soulful servings courtesy of Laura Cheadle and Bosom Band. Both local acts have achieved quite a bit of success in the local blues scene and beyond (Cheadle even took home Best Blues Band of the Year at this year’s Tri State Indie Music Awards). Check out “Be Myself” from Cheadle’s latest LP Bruised & Soothed and Bosom Band performing “Come On Home” acoustic from their Autumn Comes EP below. Tickets here.
Melbourne, Australia alt-pop duo Big Scary bring their electronic infused, moody yet catchy sounds to Boot and Saddle tonight. With vocals reminiscent of Bon Iver, and an blend of keys, electric guitar and synthesized beats, Big Scary create melodic sounds in a swaying atmosphere that touches on both happy and sad emotions in an intricate way. Get tickets for the Boot and Saddle show here. Watch “Luck Now” below.
Tonight at the TLA, singer-songwriter/guitarist Chuck Ragan will celebrate his new record Til Midnight. Despite the hard edge and grit of his earlier work – both solo and with Hot Water Music - there’s no shortage of love songs or intimacy on his latest effort. Watch “Something May Catch Fire” (which definitely has a Springsteen vibe) below and get tickets here.