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The Early November embarked on a three-week intimate acoustic tour this summer and are closing out the tour in Philly with two nights at World Cafe Live. It’s a sort of a homecoming for the Hammonton, NJ pop punk icons, and frontman Ace Enders and his bandmates got an incredibly warm reception from the sold-out crowd at last night’s kick off show. In return they played a set that was career-spanning and memorable.
Last night’s show began at 8:00 sharp with a solo performance by Young Statues frontman Carmen Cirignano. He played a few old songs as well as new songs off of a record that will be released this fall. Continue reading →
At a recent Free at Noon performance, Jimmer Podrasky put on an excellent showcase of unplugged music upstairs. Formerly of the critically acclaimed rock group The Rave-Ups, Podrasky came to World Cafe Live in support of a new solo album called The Would-Be Plans, his first in nearly 25 years. Continue reading →
Trampled By Turtles treated attendees to an impeccable display of folk at a recent Free at Noon appearance, featuring frequent violin solos, four part harmonies, and stomp box and tambourine percussion.
The band stopped in Philly for the first of two times as part of the US leg of their tour, and they will return to Philly’s Union Transfer on the 10th of September. Hot off the release of their latest album, Wild Animals, they arrived at World Cafe to showcase the same infectious folk that kept them in the top 10 of Billboard’s Bluegrass chart for an entire year. Continue reading →
Chicago alt-rocke four-piece Veruca Salt will be at TLA tonight. The band reunited after a fifteen year (too) long hiatus, and have been touring all around the U.S. About a month ago, they released a new single titled “It’s Holy,” which you can hear below. Find tickets for the all ages show here. Doors open at 7pm.
It was a beautiful night Saturday night: moderate, breezy, low-humidity—and Camera Obscura—the long-running, Scottish twee act—proved the perfect digestif, their similarly breezy melodies closing out a perfect evening. The band regaled fans with an hour-and-a-half-long set at World Café Live, imbued with sweetness, sentimentality, wistful vocals, and warm, candy-coated harmonies.
The past year has been a busy one for the band, due to two, new, Camera Obscura babies [both front woman Tracyanne Campbell and bassist Gavin Dunbar welcomed sons]; as a result, the band is hitting the States just now in support of their 2013 LP, Desire Lines. But if the new material feels stale to them by now, they certainly didn’t show it, running through half the record with energy and workman-like charm: bouncing in place to “Do It Again,” then dialing it down slightly for calypso-tinged slow groove “Cri du Couer.” Normally a five-piece, the band numbered seven Saturday night, with the addition of a trumpeter and a second percussionist.
And while the whole band was on-point, it was front woman Tracyanne Campbell who really shone, and whose gorgeous, gauzy vocals—which can convey both sadness and euphoria in a single note—are a large part of what makes Camera Obscura so magical. Live, Campbell was just as mesmerizing as on record, her nuanced intonation lending the songs depth and breadth.
When I spoke to keyboardist Carey Lander the other week before the show, she revealed that it’s impossible to fully give in to the pain behind the songs night after night without burning out; instead, she explained, “You have to make it a song you perform for other people to enjoy.” Still, Campbell did such a good job replicating songs’ emotional highs and lows, I felt like I was experiencing everything for the first time, and left feeling strangely cleansed.
With so many earnest, summery tunes, it’s hard to pick faves—but I felt particularly exhilarated during joyous, summer anthem “Honey in the Sun”—and thrilled during swirling, twee standby “Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken.”
The band closed its set with a trio of old songs—“Come Back Margaret,” “Books Written for Girls,” and “Razzle Dazzle Rose”—but I swear I could’ve listened to them for another hour easily. Camera Obscura’s reality is warm, inviting, and invigorating; bathed in their tunes, I felt simply invincible.
For nearly 20 years now, Scottish rockers Camera Obscura have delighted and enchanted fans with breezy, candy-coated gems that come alive thanks to front woman Tracyanne Campbell’s gorgeous, gauzy vocals, and an undercurrent of unease. The band first made a splash in 2001, with the Stuart Murdoch-produced, John Peel-acclaimed Biggest Bluest Hi Fi—then continued to churn out albums, while at the same time refining their orchestral, summer pop.
2013 saw the release of their fifth LP, Desire Lines, as well as the birth of Campbell’s first child, Gene. Now one year later, they’re headed to the States in support of Desire Lines, and will stop by World Café Live on July 19. In advance of their show, we rung up long-time keyboard player and vocalist Carey Lander—to talk family, emotional memory, and how the Glasgow scene has supported and shaped them.
The Key: I hear that Tracyanne is bringing along baby Gene on tour. What has that been like?
Carey Lander: Well, we’re partially finding out still. We did a weekend in the UK with him, and that went fine, which is reassuring. The baby will be on the bus for the tour though, so that will be interesting. But hopefully it will be ok.
TK: Are you worried you won’t be able to have as much fun with a baby on board? Do you like to go out and party a lot when you’re on tour?
CL: Not really. We are actually very boring. Our ideal night is to stay in, get room service, and watch TV—basically to be as boring as possible. We’re not too wild.
TK: That actually sounds pretty nice! So to me, one of most striking things about Camera Obscura is that you guys write these beautiful pop songs, but with an undercurrent of sadness. The juxtaposition is part of what makes them so great. Is this deliberate?
CL: The misery is in our songs is always hidden because I think we’re a little bit embarrassed to reveal our pain too much. So we try and make something that sounds lovely no matter what is behind the songs. Today we were talking about what a miserable album [2009’s] My Maudlin Career is. You might not realize it if you’re just casually listening, but there’s a lot of pain in those lyrics. It’s not all downhill though. Continue reading →
Local countrified outfit Katie Frank & the Pheromones will be rocking out Bourbon and Branch tonight. The band, whose LP Counting Your Curses was released in March, have steadily been standing out as an artist to watch on the Philly scene, and will appear on the lineup of the Philadelphia Folk Festival later this summer. Information for tonight’s show is available on our concert calendar here, and below you can watch Frank’s smooth cover of Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock’n'Roll.”
Jacob Snider is a singer songwriter from suburban Philadelphia. I saw Jacob when he performed his first show at World Cafe Live in Philly when he was 17 years old – I was really impressed by his performance and stage presence. He recently graduated from college and has been working on his new music. He has a show this Thursday, July 10th, at World Cafe Live along with Elizabeth & The Catapult. I thought it was a good time to meet Jacob and find out what he’s been up to.
Helen Leicht: I know last May you graduated from college …where did you go to school and what was your major?
Jacob Snider: I went to Columbia University for college. I studied Music and American Studies there. I also played a lot of music in the city with a bunch of different people. Columbia is where I met Armand Hirsch, one of my best friends and collaborators.
HL: How long have you been writing and performing?
JS: I’ve been writing and recording…my whole life! My brother Cary and I have a band not many people know of called The Piggies. We’re a studio band.
HL: You have been in California working and recording your debut album. Why did you head to California and who have you been working with on your new music?
JS: I left for California on somewhat of a whim. I had one or two meetings scheduled, and at one of them, I learned about a producer named Tony Berg. I met with Tony and he had many instruments in his home studio, was welcoming, and we hit it off. His brother is a biographer, and had just finished a biography of Woodrow Wilson – we talked about that. We talked about what I was listening to. I played him some songs. He told me the trick is finding a “unique sonic palette” to make the music with, and we started putting things together.
HL: Tell me about your songwriting process?
JS: Songwriting process is always hard to talk about. I’m wary about “telling a story” too much, as the stories we tell tend to simplify and make coherent the things of life that are anything but simple or coherent. But I can say that the lyrics of these songs are more clear – at least in my mind – than anything I’ve written up to now. That’s something Tony pushed me on. I would bring a sketch to Tony and he would give helpful feedback.
HL: When will you be releasing your new music?
JS: Almost all of these songs were written over the period of a few months. And they came out of a turbulent stretch of time in my life. I don’t think turbulence ever stops. And I don’t think to “get over it,” whatever it is, is the goal. I think you carry it- many things – with you, and it changes with you as you trudge along.
I’m not sure when the whole record will be released but I hope soon! I have one song from it up on my Soundcloud and I will be posting more soon.
HL: Any cool fact about the new album that you can share with me?
JS: Cool facts… The record features prominently Armand Hirsch, who is playing 70% of the instruments. It wouldn’t have been what it is without him. Drums, bass, guitar, banjo, marxophone, among others. It also features Rob Moose on violin and viola, who was the musical director for Bon Iver, and has recorded strings for Dirty Projectors and Sufjan Stevens. Rob also has his own group called yMusic. Jesca Hoop is an amazing Manchester, England based songwriter who is singing on the final song, “Get It Off My Chest.”
HL: You have a show coming up this Thursday July 10th. Are you solo or with a band?
JS: On Thursday I will most likely be playing solo, but it’s a co-bill. Elizabeth and the Catapult is a very interesting artist based in New York. She also made a record with Tony Berg and he put us in touch. I’m excited to share the stage with her.
Tickets and information for Jacob Snider’s show at World Cafe Live can be found here.
Montreal’s Ought will perform at Boot & Saddle tonight in support of their debut More Than Any Other Day LP. A few weeks ago we featured “Habit” as XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week, a song that takes after Talking Heads and Jonathan Richman. Stream and download the song below. Tickets and information for the 21+ show with Dub Thompson and The Stammer can be found here.