Kicking off the 4th of July weekend with some sunny indie-pop, Philadelphia foursome Catnaps plays its tour kickoff show tomorrow night at Bookspace. As the recently re-monickered band (they used to go by When I Was 12) revealed to us in its Key Studio Sessions interview, the show will “possibly, maybe, probably” also be the release for their latest record, Why Don’t You Whisper, provided the physical copies arrive back from the pressing plant in time. While we wait with baited breath to see if that’s the case, help yourself to today’s Philly Local Phile, “Pragmatic Is Not A Practical Word.” Catnaps plays Friday, July 1, at 7:30 p.m. at Bookspace with Conversations With Enemies, Us & Us Only and the Front Bottoms. Tickets to the all-ages show are $7.
Generally speaking, people resist change. So when the Philly indie-pop quartet formerly known as When I Was 12 announced earlier this month that it would now go by the name Catnaps, the reaction was predictable. Fans, followers, and friends were incredulous. Some cracked jokes, some griped. But as singer/guitarist Adrianne Gold explained when Catnaps recorded its Key Session last week, exactly one person too many had confused their old name with that of a tween band (as opposed to a twee band). “What, are you going on tour with Justin Bieber?” Something had to give. Despite the new nomenclature, I’m happy to report that everything else that had the four-piece buzzing this past year—the twinkling glockenspiel and biting wit (“Vanilla Vodka”), the K Records gang vocals and breezy acoustic strumming (“Pragmatic Is Not A Practical Word”)—remains intact, bright and fun as ever. Next month Catnaps embarks on its first national tour; listen to them talk about their plans (and their name-change rationale) when their session airs tomorrow, June 23, on the XPN2 Local Show (10 p.m. to midnight). Or ask them in person, when Catnaps performs at their tour-kickoff show on July 1 at Bookspace in Fishtown.
“June 5 marks the long-awaited release show for When I Was 12’s self-titled 7” vinyl (Bantic Media). Their warm, sweet, fuzzy melodies sound comforting on vinyl and their performance will leave you smiling and bobbing your head. Additionally, the first 24 fans to purchase When I Was 12’s record at the show will receive a special, free goodie (we ain’t sayin’ what it is)!”
When I Was 12 performs with Swift Technique, The Spinning Leaves, Hezekiah Jones, Money Fame And Love, Kuf Knotz, D&M, Gypsy Death And You, Wild Rompit, and Night Fevers at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, June 5th; tickets to the all-ages show are $5.
FRIDAY, APRIL 15
Many of The Mountain Goats‘ 13 studio albums have specific themes—like The Life Of The World To Come, in which every song is named for a bible verse, and We Shall All Be Healed, which details the lives of meth addicts. Singer-songwriter John Darnielle’s most recent record, All Eternals Deck (released last month), has no obvious theme (though there are songs about Judy Garland, Neanderthals, and Goya paintings), but Darnielle has said that the album is tied together by the theme of survival. That would certainly be fitting: He’s been recording ultra-literal, nasally pop songs for over 20 years; to survive that long in the music industry is a feat, but to survive that long as an indie artist in nearly unprecedented. As is the case with his other albums, reviews of All Eternals Deck regularly laud Darnielle as one of the best lyricists of the last 20 years. The Mountain Goats perform with Megafaun at 9 p.m. at Theatre Of The Living Arts; tickets to the show are $27. —Dave Simpson
Also playing: Wye Oak + Callers, Secret Mountains at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10); Joan as Police Woman + Jen Hess at Tin Angel (7:30 p.m., 21+, $12); Spectrum + Asteroid #4, Music For Headphones at North Star Bar (9 p.m., 21+, $15)
SATURDAY, APRIL 16
Yoni Wolf of WHY? frequently mentions his ambivalence toward touring, so it will be interesting to see how he handles three shows at First Unitarian Church this weekend. He’s sold out all three performances, despite the lack of a new album since his 2009 LP, Eskimo Snow. Wolf has always pursued a versatile musical integrity over music industry success: He is an original member of the Anticon Collective and gained notice after releasing songs with experimental rappers Doseone and Odd Nosdam; despite their critical acclaim, Wolf left the group to pursue solo work. He’s always mixed hip-hop and folk (as well as other genres), but Eskimo Snow was the least hip-hop. The album descended further into the darkness with which his previous releases danced. It’s obvious from the sold out shows that Wolf still has the audience’s attention; the remaining question is what he will do with it. Yoni Wolf performs with Hop Along at 6 & 9 p.m. Saturday, April 16, and 6 p.m. Sunday, April 17, at First Unitarian Church; tickets to the all-ages show are SOLD OUT. —Dave Simpson
Also playing: Pissed Jeans at Beautiful World Syndicate (2 p.m., all ages, free); When I Was 12 + Slow Animal, Gypsy Death And You, Caboder at Danger Danger Gallery (9 p.m., all ages, $5-$10); DJ Logic + Bodega, Kuf Knotz at The Blockley (9 p.m., $12-$15)
SUNDAY, APRIL 17
Danielson + Strapping Fieldhands, Hermit Thrushes at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10-$12); Daytrader + Hostage Calm, Daylight, Giving Chase, Quiet Arcs, American Royalty at The Barbary (3 p.m., all ages, $10); Macklemore & Ryan Lewis + Shad, Voss (8 p.m., 21+, $8)
We’ve got a rare double-header in today’s Philly Local Philes. First, there’s the delightful indie-pop four-piece When I Was 12. Their self-released EP, Recollections Of Affection, is bouncy and chipper, but it’s also got teeth. Check out the sharp strums and pointed lyrics of “Vanilla Vodka” in the first half of the Philly Phile, and catch the band live this Saturday, April 16, when it plays Danger Danger Gallery with Slow Animal, Gypsy Death And You, and Caboder.
Next up, we’ve got a guest appearance from Evan Smoker of The Extraordinaires who’s going to tell us about his band’s entry in the Road to Roo competition—which could win them a spot on this year’s Bonnaroo lineup. And you can help, by downloading their song “Patent Pending” from the contest webpage (we hear a short clip of the number in the Philly Phile). Voting ends Friday at 11:59 p.m., and the guys are currently performing well: out of 400 bands nationwide, they’ve cracked the top 20.
This news just in from the folks at Drexel University’s Bantic Media, the student-run music marketing company that is part of the school’s Music Industry Program (and overseen by Jade Tree Records co-founder Darren Walters):
On March 29 SLUTEVER returns with a new 7-inch Pretend to Be Nice – a breakthrough record with progressing instrumentation and their usual blisteringly catchy melodies. Featuring two B-Sides recorded from the Sorry I’m Not Sorry bathroom sessions, Pretend to Be Nice is a documentation of growth and maturity for Gagliardi and Snyder sonically, with the same quirky teenage anxiety. Pretend to Be Nice is available both digitally and on vinyl now, with a limited edition of 100 copies of the 7-inch available as red colored vinyl with a screen printed cover and bonus screen printed poster at www.banticmedia.com.
WHEN I WAS 12’s eponymous debut EP is a fully realized Drexel University project, student Eric Sanderson recorded the songs on campus in one of Drexel’s five professional recording studios. It was then mixed by Clark Connor, and mastered by Maniac Mansion’s Ryan Schwabe. The resulting 7-inch will be released on April 16, at Record Store Day (www.recordstoreday.com). Bantic Media will release 300 limited edition pieces of random colored 7-inch vinyl with full color custom sleeves designed by the band and friends. Fifty copies of the colored 7-inch will be available with a t-shirt.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 4
Girl Talk + Penguin Prison at Electric Factory (8:30 p.m., SOLD OUT); Sun Airway + Celebration, Golden Ages, CSLSX, Savages at The Ox (7:30 p.m., $10); Langhorne Slim + Bobby Bare Jr., Frontier Ruckus at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, SOLD OUT)
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 5
Gang Of Four + Hollerado, Moon Women, DJ Robert Drake at Theatre Of The Living Arts (8:30 p.m.); Tapes ‘N Tapes + Oberhofer, Xylos at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, SOLD OUT); When I Was 12 + The Great Unknown, Conversations With Enemies, Safe Travels at The Ox (7:30 p.m., $10)
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 6
How could you possibly consider leaving the house for a night of live music when you can watch The Black-Eyed Peas perform on TV from the comfort of your own living room? The performance will occur during the Halftime Spectacular Bonanza of this year’s Football MegaMatch, which features two teams who aren’t the Philadelphia Eagles. (Really, that is all you need to know about the game.) However, if you’re not too busy Sunday afternoon waiting in line at the ACME to purchase the very last package of nacho chips (likely Baked Tostitos With A Hint Of Lime) in the greater Philadelphia area, we strongly urge you to consider going to the first Folkadelphia concert at Johnny Brenda’s, which features The Spinning Leaves and Hezekiah Jones. (You can read our interview with Folkadelphia organizer Fred Knittel here.) The Spinning Leaves perform with Hezekiah Jones at 1 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the show are $7.