Listen Here: 4 Bands Dropping New Records This Week

HOUND celebrates the release of Born Under 76 on Friday at Space 1026.

HOUND @ Space 1026 | Friday, October 20
Philly artist Perry Shall’s pretty well-known in the music world, but not always for his music. He’s designed posters, albums and shirts for the likes of Kurt Vile, Modern Baseball, Dan Auerbach, Best Coast and tons more. Everybody loves him, from Tom Scharpling who had Shall on The Best Show, to Ted Leo who gave him a shout-out from the Union Transfer stage a couple weeks ago. Shall also makes music, of course, with his band HOUND — featuring drummer Chris Wilson (of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists) and bassist Pat Hickey (Purling Hiss) — and their new record, Born Under 76 is a blast. Comparisons to Sword, Sabbath and Hold Steady don’t really do it justice, but I’ll start there and you can tell me how wrong I am. Friday’s release party has lots of comedy on the bill, including Mary Houlihan and “Financial Guru” Greg Gethard.

 

Radiator Hospital @ First Unitarian Church | Friday, October 20
Radiator Hospital’s kinda the best — a jangly, unsinkable dreamboat of a band. Sam Cook-Parrott’s songs of wonder and longing really hit the spot on a rainy grey day. Where their early stuff was rustic and bedroomy, their new record, Play The Songs You Like, is lush and spacious. Like a living room. Here’s a video where nothing really happens but the song is quite nice: Read more »

I Was There: War On Drugs at The Dell Last Night

The War on Drugs plays the Make the World Better Foundation benefit at the Dell last night. (Stacey Salter Moore of SSM Photography)

Like a good Philadelphian, I was there for War On Drugs’ homecoming show at The Dell last night.

I was also there in 2013 when the group — a vessel for Adam Granduciel’s hazy, blues-rock songwriting — played a sold-out New Year’s Eve show that closed out their final year as a Johnny Brenda’s band.

Everything changed a few years ago. The War on Drugs went from a somewhat scrappy Philly rock band full of guys who fixed hot water heaters and worked at travel agencies, to one that’s signed to Atlantic Records and doesn’t have to do that stuff anymore. They went from a rough rock band to a crystal clear machine. Put their 2008 debut, Wagonwheel Blues, against 2014’s Lost in the Dream; they sound huge now in comparison.

Last night’s benefit for Make the World Better Foundation (hosted in absentia by ex-Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin) was proof that things had changed. Granduciel has added a second guitarist and keyboardist/saxophonist to build his band out to six members. His pedals bloom around him in an arc of at least 15. To play the Grateful Dead tribute, “Touch of Grey,” he kept his guitar close, but held his sampler even closer and plugged the mic right into it. He mostly used this mad scientist setup for songs off of the new album, A Deeper Understanding, which came out this August. Read more »

Music: 6 Shows to See in the Next 7 Days

Alice Glass plays Underground Arts on Tuesday. (Jupiter Keyes)

Matthew Sweet @ The Queen in Wilmington | Thursday, September 21
I caught Matthew Sweet’s performance at the Haverford Music Festival a couple weeks ago. Observations: 1) He sounds good, like really good. Voice like a hot fudge sundae. Pretty loud, too. 2) I knew way more songs than I thought I did. It wasn’t just “Girlfriend” and “I’ve Been Waiting.” It was “Time Capsule,” “The Ugly Truth,” “Devil With the Green Eyes,” etc. 3) “Sick of Myself” is still a great song. 4) I always assumed it was Sweet himself playing those catchy lead-guitar riffs, but he has a guy for that. I don’t know this guy’s name. 5) Havertown can drink.

 

Jay Som @ First Unitarian Church | Friday, September 22
The Bandcamp superstar returns for an all-ages show. I saw Jay Som play Boot & Saddle in the Spring, and was charmed by her intimate songwriting and jangly, guitar-pop sound. Read more »

9 Shows to See in the Next 7 Days

Shabazz Palaces play Union Transfer on Thursday. (Victoria Kovios)

The Brian Jonestown Massacre @ Union Transfer | Wednesday, September 6
Funny to think that the defining moment in the career of this remarkable San Francisco band was neither an album nor a show but a documentary. But it’s been 13 years since Dig! gave us a peek into the life and mind of gifted, troubled, troublesome singer Anton Newcombe. But Brian Jonestown Massacre remains a band — a seriously good one — and has kept busy all these years. Released in February, Don’t Get Lost, is a high-energy, psychedelic and sometimes freakily experimental rock record. Dig it.

 

Shabazz Palaces @ Union Transfer | Thursday, September 7
These are busy days for Shabazz Palaces. The esteemed but not-exactly-prolific Seattle hip-hop duo dropped two records Sub Pop this July: Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines and Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star. Who or what is Quazarz? Well, I’m not sure. This leaves me with more questions than I started with. Suffice it to say, the Palaces have their heads in the celestial clouds right now (channeling Octavia Butler, Sun Ra, etc.) but keep their feet on the ground here in Amurderca. Read more »

27 Things to Do This Weekend

Meek Mill plays NOTO on Sunday. (atlanticrecords.com)

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

Comedy for Gentlemen @ The Republican
Erin Dohony and Rachel Fogletto host night of comedy at South Philly’s esteemed go-go establishment. Samantha Kelly, Geoff Jackson, Gina Gibbons, Michael Kelly and Jessa Reed will perform.

Which Reminds Me @ Act II Playhouse
Tony Braithwaite wrote and stars in this one-man show. Features stand-up comedy, music, storytelling and more. Runs through October 11. Read more »

Music: 7 Shows to See this Week

Green Day plays BB&T Pavilion on Thursday. (Frank Maddocks)

Ivy Sole @ Milkboy | Wednesday, August 30
Born in Charlotte, NC, and based in Philly, young rapper Ivy Sole demands your attention. Her beats are chill and breezy. Her rhymes are smart and honest, the sound of a thoughtful soul finding her way over hurdles and past doubts. Released in July, her new EP West is lovely and illuminating, a breath mint for your brain. Lotsa cool beats for your hips, too.

Callowhill @ Boot & Saddle | Wednesday, August 30
A full-length record has been a long time coming for this band of Philly rock veterans — Callowhill includes members of Make a Rising, Trophy Wife and True if Destroyed (!) — but damn if it wasn’t worth it. Released by DC label Exotic Fever, The Way Out is a bewitching chunk of post-punk and indie rock — serious and dramatic, but fun and exhilarating, too. I’ve had it on repeat all day. Read more »

Music: 9 Shows to See in the Next 7 Days

In the Valley Below plays Boot & Saddle on Wednesday.

In the Valley Below @ Boot & Saddle | Wednesday, August 16
This California duo first made an impression a couple years ago with “Peaches,” a synthy pop song and a video that would’ve fit nicely between Debbie Gibson and Roxette on VH1 Classics. But In The Valley Below got serious on their Elephant EP, released in July, which was inspired by the shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. This song, featuring Michigan gospel choir Majestic Praise, is lovely and passionate and nothing like “Peaches.”

 

Rita Fishbone @ Everybody Hits | Wednesday, August 16
I like everything I’ve heard from this young indie rock trio from Jersey. Their four-song Spilt Milk EP, released last year, is gritty, jangly, punky and lo-fi, with spontaneous moments of dissonance. Frontwoman Anastasia Lasky sings about tough subjects (rape, gender, eating disorders) in a somber, cutting deadpan. Rita Fishbone do down and droney just fine, but I especially like them when they get loud: Read more »

Video Breakdown: Lionel Richie’s “Hello”

Maybe stop asking the blind lady if she’s looking for you.

Pop megastar Lionel Richie is currently on the road with his All The Hits Tour — and looking back, it’s an impressive number of hits. Solo and with The Commodores, Richie’s list of memorable songs includes: “Easy,” “Three Times a Lady,” “All Night Long (All Night,)” “Say You, Say Me,” “Dancing on the Ceiling,” and on and on. The tour touches down in Philly on Wednesday.

Which brings us to one of the most important music videos of the MTV era. Released in 1984, “Hello” is a gorgeous, wondering love song but it’s the video, placed in heavy rotation, that made “Hello” an inescapable part of the pop landscape.

The premise is a strange one: Lionel Richie plays Mr. Reynolds, a high school acting coach who has the hots for one of his students. First, let’s watch: Read more »

Music: 8 Shows to See in the Next 7 Days

Frankie Rose plays Johnny Brenda’s on Friday.

a place both wonderful and strange @ PhilaMOCA | Wednesday, August 9
This scary electro-pop band claims both Janet Jackson and David Lynch as key influences. Imagine a dance party in the Black Lodge.

 

Gene Ween Does Billy Joel @ The Queen | Wednesday, August 9
Given Ween’s self-aware, post-everything approach to music and fame, you might think Aaron Freeman is being ironic with these Billy Joel tributes. Au contraire. Gener does it right, with a full band, belted-out vocals and a genuine love for the music. Worth the drive to Wilmington. Read more »

The Hit List: The 10 Best Shows in Philly in August

Martha Graham Cracker. Photograph by Kevin Monko

1. Roger Waters
It seems a full-blown Pink Floyd reunion is as likely as Jerry Garcia coming back from the dead, and Waters, the brain behind much of the band’s catalog, has hinted that this 60-plus-show tour may be his last. Expect tunes from Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, Animals and Wish You Were Here, plus a mind-boggling stage production. August 8th, 9th and 11th at the Wells Fargo Center

2. “Mohamed Bourouissa: Urban Riders”
Look for depictions of the well-known urban cowboys of North Philadelphia in this exhibition of more than 85 works by the Algerian-born artist, whose media include photography, sculpture, drawings and video. $25 Barnes admission too steep? The museum is free the first Sunday of each month. Through October 2nd at the Barnes Museum, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway Read more »

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