For The Key’s year-in-review, we asked our trusted sources – our writers and photographers, XPN’s on-air staff, fellow bloggers in the Philly scene and even a few musicians – to send us their Top Five Whatevers. Could be the traditional music route – albums, songs, concerts of the year – or it could be only loosely connected. We’ll be sharing these recaps every day through to the end of the year. Today, contributing photographer Chris Sikich recounts his five favorite concert images from the year.
The following represent my five favorite concert photos I took this year.
1.Wild Flag, Tuesday, April 3, 2012, Trocadero Theatre, Philadelphia, PA
Very little in contemporary rock is closer to perfection than bringing together Carrie Brownstein, Mary Timony, Janet Weiss, and Rebecca Cole in one space. The aural ecstasy that is a Wild Flag concert oozes forth from this shot: Brownstein’s leg-kick, Timony’s guitar crouch, Cole as keyboard-extraordinaire, and Weiss at one with drumming.
This week, we’ve got a pair of tickets for Wild Flag’s performance at The Trocadero on Tuesday, April 3rd (as well as a limited-edition screen print poster). For a chance to win, all you have to do is leave a comment below by 5 p.m. today (April 2nd). We’ll select the winners at random that evening and notify them via email; once you’ve confirmed that you and your guest will be attending the show, your names will be added to the venue’s guest list. (Just make sure to use a valid email address when posting your comment; we promise not to sell your contact info or sign you up for anything—we just want to be able to get in touch with you if you win.)
Wild Flag’s self-titled debut brings back teenage memories of angst-ridden nights spent at rock shows in dingy basements. That’s no coincidence, as all the instruments for the album were recorded live—none of that over-processed nonsense for Wild Flag’s well-established rock goddesses. After years of playing in several well-known indie bands (including Sleater-Kinney, Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks, and Helium) guitarists Carrie Brownstein and Mary Timony, keyboardist Rebecca Cole, and drummer Janet Weiss joined forces and started their own all-female indie supergroup. The 10 tracks on the debut album follow the tried-and-true formulas perfected by the members’ previous bands, but that doesn’t mean that Wild Flag is simply a sum of its parts. If anything, the throwback-rock quartet is a refreshing change of pace from the glut of micro-genre-of-the-week acts currently dotting the nation’s concert calendars. Wild Flag performs with Eleanor Friedberger at 8 p.m. at Union Transfer; tickets to the all-ages show are $15. —Caitlyn Grabenstein
A lot of the album, in one way or another, is about music: the way it pulls you into the moment, the way it moves and seduces, the way it communicates across barriers of space, time, and language. “We love the sound, the sound is what found us / Sound is the blood between me and you,” they sing in the indelible chorus of “Romance.”
When they’re not singing out loud, Brownstein and Timony’s guitars speak volumes: They’re two of the most wonderfully lyrical players out there. Add Weiss’ exuberant beats, Cole’s keyboard flourishes, and some killer multi-part vocal harmonizing by all four, and you’ve got a supergroup superball sound that bounces between Television, Wire, and The Go-Gos but always lands in a place very much their own.
You can read the full text and listen to the entire album via streaming audio here. Wild Flag performs with Eleanor Friedberger at 8 p.m. Wednesday, October 19th, at Union Transfer; tickets to the all-ages show are $15.
Thanks to YouTube user vinylbob for uploading his videos from last night’s Wild Flag performance at Johnny Brenda’s. We’ve posted the video for the opening song below; visit vinylbob’s YouTube channel to see the rest of the sold-out show. (And, if you haven’t already listened to “Glass Tambourine” off the band’s first official studio recording, you can do so at NPR Music.)
Also, here’s a different video from the same show, featuring the band’s cover of Patti Smith’s “Ask The Angels” (courtesy of YouTube user pillgrimsprogress).
FRIDAY, MARCH 4
Looking for inspiration for your next music project? Why not save up your pennies, buy a boat, and sail along the East Coast for eight months? It certainly worked for Denver’s husband-and-wife duo of Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore, who—after toiling away in a handful of lesser-known area bands—left their local scene behind them for the the tranquil waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Upon their return, Riley and Moore realized that—when it came to writing new music—their seafaring adventures made for a pretty good starting point. Thus, the lo-fi, ’60s-pop-inspired outfit Tennis was born, with the band releasing a three-song 7-inch on Underwater Peoples and reaching an unexpected critic’s darling status last year—all of which culminated in the debut full-length Cape Tory, released in January by Fat Possum Records. Tennis performs with Le Sera and Holiday Shores at 9 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are SOLD OUT.
Also playing: Kurt Vile at AKA Music (7 p.m., all ages, free); Bobby Long + The Kalob Griffin Band at World Cafe Live (8 p.m., $22-$39); The Get Up Kids + Miniature Tigers, Brian Bonz at TLA (8 p.m., $25)
SATURDAY, MARCH 5
If you haven’t had your fill of low-fi, reverb-drenched, girl-fronted, garage-revival fuzz-pop, well, you probably already love L.A.’s Dum Dum Girls. The band is currently touring behind its brand-new four-song EP, He Gets Me High, the follow-up to last year’s full-length debut, I Will Be, on Sub Pop. The Dum Dum Girls performs with Minks, Party Photographers, and Dirty Beaches at 9 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are $12.
Also playing: The Get Up Kids + Miniature Tigers, Brian Bonz at TLA (8 p.m., $25)
Wild Flag performs 3/6 at Johnny Brenda’s
SUNDAY, MARCH 6
One of the legitimate knocks against indie-rock “super groups” is that the music usually takes a back seat to the names of the people who create it. So, when a new band like Wild Flag—which includes Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss, The Minders’ Rebecca Cole, and Mary Timony—comes to town, you probably wouldn’t think twice before giving the music a listen. But would you be so quick to reach for your headphones if you had never heard of anyone in the band? Eh….if you’re being honest, the answer is probably “no.” However, the good news is that “Glass Tambourine,” Wild Flag’s first official studio recording (which premiered today at NPR Music), stands on its own merit. Wild Flag performs with Yellow Fever at 9 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are SOLD OUT.
Also playing: 7th Annual WXPN Musicians On Call Benefit Concert featuring Josh Ritter + Lizanne Knott, Suzie Brown, Scot Sax, Kuf Knotz at World Cafe Live (7 p.m., $25); Paint It Black + Screaming Females, Punch, Iron Chic, and Give at First Unitarian Church; (5 p.m., all ages, SOLD OUT).