Matt Berninger, of The National, has been doing a lot of collaborations lately. In April, he sang with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s Alec Ounsworth on “Coming Down” off of CYPH’s Only Run. He also appeared on Walter Martin’s “We Like the Zoo (‘Cause We’re Animals Too)” from We’re All Young Together and “I’ll See You In My Dreams” with Vince Giordano and the Night Hawks on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire Volume 2. Last but not least, The National did a cover of “The Rains of Castamere” from HBO’s Game of Thrones late last year.
More recently, Berninger paired up with Andrew Bird to sing “A Lyke Wake Dirge” for AMC’s Revolutionary War drama Turn. In a manner befitting a Puritan dirge about the travel of a soul to purgatory, Bird layers on his signature heavy strings. The vocals starts off with Berninger’s low voice, joined later by Bird’s, and then accompanied by a choir. The song is driven by a percussive acoustic guitar. The overall combination is unsettling, which suits the subject matter perfectly. The song is the second song that Berninger did for Turn. Earlier this year, he released “Hush“, the theme song featuring Joy Williams.
Catch the National August 30th as a part of Made in America. Get more information at the XPN Concert Calender. Listen to “A Lyke Wake Dirge” below.
Andrew Bird has a new album called Break It Yourself coming out on March 6th. A North American tour begins mid-March with a stop at Union Transfer on Thursday, May 3rd. Go here for tickets and more information. Bird’s last studio album, Noble Beast, was released in 2009. Listen to a World Cafe session he did with David Dye here from March, 2009. Bird recently contributed the song “Bein’ Green” to the Muppets: The Green Album.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21
Tonight at Little Bar, the folks from Bands In The Backyard will premiere the series’ third episode, featuring Arc In Round. (Previous episodes have featured Faux Slang and Streetwalkers.) The screening will include live performances by Ages, Renderers, Sore Eros, and Not Fur Longs. Ages and Not Fur Longs—along with Psychic Teens (who opened for Zola Jesus last night at First Unitarian Church—have each been highlighted in BITBY’s bkstg sessions, which features one-camera shoots of bands performing stripped-down versions of their songs at local venues prior to playing on stage. Ages performs with Renderers, Sore Eros, and Not Fur Longs (with DJ sets by members of Faux Slang and Arc In Round) at 8 p.m. at Little Bar; tickets to the show are $6.
Also playing: CSS + MEN, EMA at Union Transfer (8 p.m., all ages, $15);
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22
Writing the score for a darkly humorous indie film is no easy task; the composer must detail every strained emotion and hint of action through a series of scales and cadences. For Andrew Bird, however, this style of writing seems as simple as blinking. Norman (out in select theaters Oct. 21st) is a coming-of-age film about a boy, a love interest, and routine family issues—and Bird’s soundtrack depicts just that. The classically trained violinist abandoned his experimental and sometimes ostentatious arranging for a more minimalistic instrumental approach. Bird’s orchestral roots are exposed in pieces like “3:36” and “Medicine Chest,” which incorporate somber violin solos over longing instrumental backdrops. He paints a musical tale that is as comprehensive and aesthetic as its visual representation. Andrew Bird performs with Martin Dosh at 8 p.m. at The Grand Opera House; tickets for the all ages event are $29.50. —Caitlyn Grabenstein
Also Playing: Odd Future at Union Transfer (8 p.m., SOLD OUT); The Wombats + The Postelles, The Static Jacks at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $15); Buried Beds + Dignan, Geology at Kung Fu Necktie (7:30 p.m., 21+, $8); XPN Welcomes The Jayhawks at Keswick Theatre (8 p.m., $34.50–$45); Small Houses + Hezekiah Jones, Chris Bathgate at Studio 34 (7:30 p.m., all ages, $10); Suzie Brown + Carsie Blanton at Tin Angel (7:30 p.m., 21+, $12); The Smashing Pumpkins + Fancy Space People, Light FM at Tower Theatre (7 p.m., $52–$79.75)
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23
The members of Dum Dum Girls have always dressed to impress. Since hitting the scene with its debut album, I Will Be, last year, the ’60s-inspired quartet is almost always found clad in matching black nylons, red lipstick, and heavy eye makeup, hiding behind a veil of thick, glossy bangs. Though the ladies have always looked quite mature, their second album, Only In Dreams, carries a sound that has finally caught up with the group’s aesthetic. Though still creating a nice balance between beachy grooves and low-fi subtleties, the group’s latest batch of songs sounds less like adolescent heart doodles and more like someone who’s mastered the complexities of The Bell Jar. Born in the wake of lead singer Dee Dee’s mother’s lost battle to cancer, Only In Dreams strays from the typical boy-crazy narratives and instead acts as a cathartic confession of insomnia, restlessness, and change. Dum Dum Girls performs with Crocodiles and Royal Baths at 8:00 p.m. at Union Transfer; tickets to the all-ages show are $15. —Marielle Mondon
Also Playing: Rumer + Bill Ricchini (of Summer Fiction) at World Cafe Live (8 p.m., $18); Fierce Bad Rabbit + Oh! Pears, Dad Rocks, Attia Taylor at The M Room (8 p.m., 21+, $7); Portugal. The Man + Alberta Cross at Theatre Of Living Arts (7 p.m., $25)
Courtney Marie Andrews has spent a lot of time on the road — so much that she wrote an entire record about what she’s learned, about herself and about the world, along the way. The Americana singer-songwriter is taking no break from the tour life anytime soon, but before she heads our way to play the 2018 XPoNential Music Festival this July, she’s releasing that record. Continue reading →
Barn rock band Tin Bird Choir headline Burlap and Bean Coffee this evening. Though their latest album was released in the summer of 2013, they recently covered the Rolling Stone’s “Sway” and have promised an enticing setlist. Tin Bird Choir will be joined by Elspeth Tremblay & the Satellites and Ginger Coyle for a night of Philly area folk. For tickets to the Philadelphia Folk Society and Dull Dime-presented show, head over to the XPN Concert Calendar, and be sure to listen to their cover of “Sway” below. Continue reading →
Art rock collective Glitter released a fresh new video yesterday for their single “JULIE ANDREWS” featuring paint, paper clips, old school rollerskating arenas and, yes, glitter itself. Utilizing distorted guitars, vintage synthesizers, and upbeat, snare-heavy percussion, Glitter’s early 90’s post-punk era influences are made very clear. The new music video directed by Jayme Guokas and Isaac Turner sews together footage of pulsing jellyfish, a vibrating glitter-infused woofer, and Icelandic landscapes to create a thematic, retro video collage. Continue reading →