On Our Radar: Emerging Philly Musician Alex G.

Photo by Greg Goldstein

Photo by Greg Goldstein

It’s a very good time to be an Alex G. fan (or an Alex G.) right now. The Temple English major may be young, but he’s got a firm, if lofty, five-or-so year plan laid out ahead of him. His new release — his first with a real label — and his slew of upcoming shows (in and out of basements), are on the horizon. Alex G. the recording name of 21-year old Havertown native Alexander Gianascoli, has been serving up the emotionally rich, lyrically mature, and sonically lush since 2010. He’s got fans in high places (hear Coma Cinema’s Matt Cothran gush over  the Philly singer-songwriter), and lots of them (it’s still a shock for him to hear concert-goers sing along).  And while none of this is really an accident, it sure is an outlier. With almost no self-promotion — just the tin-can determinism of word-of-mouth — Alex G. has become the musician everyone loves to love.

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LISTEN: Bluegrass Revivalist Suzie Brown is Almost Home

Photo by Shervin Lainez

Photo by Shervin Lainez

Boston cardiologist-turned Americana crooner Suzie Brown has a deep Philly connection — she was named on Philly Mag’s 2010 “Best of Philly’ list, and she recorded her debut album, Heartstrings, at MilkBoy Studios in 2011 — but her music is straight from the South, a catchy collection of Bluegrass strummers. She will release her sophomore album, Almost Thereindependently on May 6th. Listen to one of the album’s tracks, “Sugar Blues,” below.

Dear L.A.: Here’s What You Can Expect from Jay Z and Made In America. XOXO, Philly

Photo | Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Photo | Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Early this week, word leaked that Live Nation and Jay Z were exploring the possibility of bringing the Made in America festival to Los Angeles, sparking a hearty dose of conversation rabble-rabble-rabbling over the prospect of 50,000 people in Deadmau5 heads scurrying all over the city’s revitalized downtown.

L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti’s office seems stoked on the possibility of the two-day concert, which, if it happens, will reportedly run in tandem with Philly’s event over Labor Day weekend this year. The director of Grand Park, which would serve as MiALA’s home base, described Hova’s involvement as “pretty rad.” (Aw, California.) But the proposal has earned the ire of city councilman Jose Huizar, who’s raised formal concerns about all the issues that arise when you deliberately invite a bunch of people who like molly to the same place at the same time.

All kidding aside, the fact that MiA targeted Philly in the first place is a big civic compliment, and there are numerous positives to consider. In its two years, the public opinion surrounding MiA has shifted significantly — many who cried surefire shitshow from the beginning came out impressed by the fest’s execution, not to mention the economic booster shot and six-figure sum ticket sales raised for charity (the United Way, last year). But an event of this magnitude also has its problems, and now that we’ve got two in the books and Bud has said it wants to host the fest here for the foreseeable future, we’re well-qualified to discuss them.

Here’s a small sampling of what Angelenos should expect if we become music festival eskimo brothers.

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7 Essential Tracks by DJ Frankie Knuckles

frankie knuckles banner

The nightlife world lost a legend this week when DJ Frankie Knuckles died at the age of 59. Dubbed the “Godfather of House,” Knuckles played a major role role in spreading the percussive genre of dance music into the mainstream, changing the house music foundation forever.

A remixer, producer and Grammy winner, Knuckles first got his start in the ’70s, spinning at various New York nightclubs before moving to Chicago in 1977. There he turned out music at Warehouse , where he would begin his experimentations with dance music, mixing standard R&B and disco beats with a range of post-punk, reggae and ’80s Euro-synth. And just like that, a new kind of dance genre was born. Knuckles even gave it a name: house music.

7 essential DJ Frankie Knuckles tracks after the jump

Gil Scott-Heron, Godfather of Hip-Hop, Would Have Been 65

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A version of this article ran on phillymag.com in March 2012.

When he first told America in 1970 that “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” after writing it in 1968 at age 19, Gil Scott-Heron set the stage for what would become part of the musical and poetic soundtrack for black, white and brown progressives and revolutionaries. And he didn’t stop until 40 years later. Gil was the “musical grandson” of insurrectionist Nat Turner and liberator Harriet Tubman, and the “poetic son” of fiery author David Walker and anti-lynching editor Ida B. Wells.

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Yo La Tengo to Play Night Ranger Cover Band on Parks and Recreation Finale

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Hey, Parks and Recreation fans: Remember a few episodes back, when Andy discovered Ron Swanson is Duke Silver (swoon!)? He tried to persuade the saxophonist to play the Unity Concert, saying “I have you on right after Bobby Knight Ranger. It’s a Night Ranger cover band that wears red sweaters.”

Well, It turns out the Unity Concert is actually going to serve as the season finale to Parks and Recreation, and Hoboken three piece Yo La Tengo is playing the role of Bobby Knight Ranger. More from Executive Director Michael Schur on A.V. Club:

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10 Iconic Albums Turning 20 This Year

Cher Kicks Off “Dressed to Kill” Tour With a Few Oops Moments

cher concert

On Saturday, Cher kicked off the U.S. leg of her “Dressed To Kill” tour at the U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Ariz., (she’ll hair-flip through Philly on April 28th) and, according to Billboard.com, there was a whole lot of wig drama going on. Apparently after three songs Cher burst into confessional mode, revealing to the sold-out crowd that some of her costumes underwent last-minute changes, she broke a nail on her right hand, and had flubbed the words to some of her songs. The 67-year-old pop goddess was also reduced to tears before the show, revealing on Twitter:

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