Local band The War on Drugs was on last night’s episode of Conan. The indie-rock band, with members Adam Granduciel, David Hartley, Robbie Bennett and Charlie Hall, performed their song “Burning.” Co-founded by Philly’s Kurt Vile before departing for a solo career, The War on Drugs released their third studio album, Lost in the Dream, in March. Flavorwire has since called it one of the best albums of the year.
The band recently appeared in a photo diary for The New York Times T Magazine featuring Granduciel’s own snapshots. It turns out that, in addition to dating actress Krysten Ritter, the frontman is quite the photographer.
“A little up and down and all around, it’s all about survival,” coos Madonna on slinky boudoir groove “Survival,” the opening number of her just-turned-20 work Bedtime Stories. And, as all of us true Madonna queens know, prior to the release of this celebrated record, the Material Girl’s career at this point was indeed a little up and down and all around, and in definite need of survival.
Her previous studio set, the S&M-beat-blessed Erotica, ruffled the feathers of a lot of critics—and even some fans with its overt sexuality. Around the same time, her provocatively titled coffee-table book Sex prompted those same critics to throw up their hands. Had the queen of WTF moments reached her shock-value limits? Was America tired of her attention-getting ways? Many said yes. But those who doubted were eating their words after her infamous 1994 interview on Late Show With David Letterman, where she dropped F-bombs like they were going out of style. It was too much for a nation that was increasingly more conservative following Desert Storm and in the midst of a wallet-clenching recession. Girlfriend needed to reel it in.
It’s an unseasonably warm Wednesday in October and I’m on my way to see a golden-throated, moppy-haired, tattoo-covered 23-year-old perform an acoustic set at World Café Live. It’s a long way from the typical heavy metal show that I usually attend. How did this happen?
I got sucked in to NBC’s The Voice, thats how. I am a huge fan of the musical talent show that overflows with so much positive energy, it makes Pat Croce look like the old man from Up. Like last year, this season’s show features some gifted contestants from our corner of the bar—Danica Shirey and Matt McAndrew—the latter of which I am here to see.
If you scroll through the music on my iPod, you will find a series of playlists titled Whatever, Who Cares?, Ughhhh, and so on, each one filled with enough sad John Mayer songs to make even the most emotionally stable human being shed a tear. The only reason I’m not horribly embarrassed to divulge this information to you is because these playlists were created over five years ago, after my first-ever breakup and, apparently, there’s a scientific excuse for their existence. A new study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that when you’re down, listening to sad songs truly does make you feel better, the Today Show reports.
The current issue of Philly Mag is filled to the brim with conversations from 50 of the city’s most intriguing movers and shakers—from politicians to gossip mongers to celebrity chefs. It goes without saying, then, that it wouldn’t be complete without a chat with Philly’s most-buzzed about musician, Kurt Vile.
Here are some snippets of our chat, where he shares secrets about his creative process and staying true to his indie roots while “doing whatever I can … to be more of a success career-wise and financially.” You can read the rest here.
PM: When does the process for creating a new album begin?
KURT: I’m always creating — at least writing. One thing ricochets off the other. There comes a time where you’ve accumulated a bunch of songs and it’s time to make a new record. Then you go out on the road and perform it. That music takes on a life of its own, because you play it differently every night.
PM: Sounds like you find most of your inspiration on the road.
KURT: Not necessarily. The stuff I write on the road is more universal. There are other times, like when I visit my parents — they live in the suburbs, but compared to where I live in Northern Liberties, it’s like the country. There, I can tap into playing acoustic or banjo in their backyard. Then there’s when I’m in the studio, coming close to a deadline. I feel like some of my best work comes out of that, when all of a sudden you can fill in any blanks, music-wise or lyric-wise, on the fly, because you have your mojo going. Read more »
When you hear out singer-songwriter Jo Stones make some sweet love to a keyboard, you know the guy has got talent: The Philly Gayborhood favorite recently released his first single, “The Letter,” on iTunes, and will be spooking out listeners this Halloween at a free noontime concert at LOVE Park. We threw Jo some rapid-fire questions about his music, his performances, and his guilty pleasures. Read more »
First things first: I hate that I like Taylor Swift.
You see, we share something in common: We’re both Pennsyltucky-bred projects hopelessly in love with (or fascinated by) the grandeur of life outside the haystack. I understand that T-Swift’s not being snarky when she croons about awe-inspiring, big-city lights on tracks like “Welcome to New York”—girl, I get it. But explaining that to someone who’s otherwise annoyed by her diaristic songwriting or small-town naivete inevitably seems to unearth the inner music snob in everyone—something Tay Tay herself poked fun at in Red’s “We Are Never.” Just try telling someone you listen to Taylor Swift, and suddenly they’re big fans of The Beatles or some indie group no one’s ever heard of (or cares about), and you’re the guy perceived as having Kidz Bop on repeat at work.
Point being, liking Taylor Swift can feel like a burden—especially when you feel the urge to shelter your iPhone on the subway when someone sees the fairy-princess-esque Speak Now cover art spring to life on your screen. It’s a curse that the, say, Beyoncé fans of the world never have to deal with.