Cartoons for Victory @ Van Pelt Library | Thursday, April 21
Warren Bernard comes to the Penn library to talk about his book on World War II comics, Cartoons for Victory. He’s spent years researching and writing about comics and runs the Small Press Expo, an annual festival. This guy knows more about Donald Duck and Little Orphan Annie than most of us will ever know about anything.
Greg Proops @ Helium Comedy Club | April 21-23
Anyone connected with Who’s Line Is It Anyway is A-OK in my book. If you need more convincing, gaze into his eyebrows:
Thao Nguyen at Underground Arts. Photograph by Chris Sikich
Awash in memories personal to her, the crowd and this reviewer, Thao Nguyen, the powerhouse leader behind Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, delivered a stinging set at Underground Arts on Sunday. Playing behind their stellar 2016 release A Man Alive, Thao and company took Philly into Sunday morning with a vengeance. Read more »
New Paradise Laboratories is performing O Monsters at FringeArts. Photo by Plate 3
Machinal @ Latvian Society of Philadelphia | April 20 to May 8
Feminism! Murder! American Expressionism! EgoPo Classic Theater is putting on the 1928 drama Machinal, inspired by the life of Ruth Snyder, who was executed at Sing Sing Prison for teaming up with her sidepiece to kill her husband. Here’s an unexpected photo of her being electrocuted. Philly theater staple Mary Tuomanen, who looks like an entirely different person in every play, takes on the female anti-hero role.
Chris Pureka plays Boot and Saddle on Wednesday. Photo by Mike Grippi
Tokyo Police Club @ Union Transfer | Tuesday, April 19
A decade in, indie/garage pop rockers Tokyo Police Club just kicked off a tour for their newest album, Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness. The new tracks have the group’s usual upbeat sound, even in a breakup anthem like “Not My Girl.” Indian Lakes and Charly Bliss open.
Chris Pureka @ Boot and Saddle | Wednesday, April 20
Singer-songwriter Chris Pureka sounds like she should always be sitting on a low wooden stool in a coffeehouse, acoustic guitar in hand, but Boot and Saddle works as a venue too. She’ll be playing her intimate songs in support of her sixth album, Back in the Ring. Expect to feel feelings during the title track.
Oliver “Twist” Feighan and DeQuincy “Moosh” Coleman. Photo provided
These Philly kids are growing up before our eyes. High-energy rappers Moosh, aka DeQuincy Coleman, and Oliver “Twist” Feighan headline a Red Bull Sound Select show at Underground Arts. (Full disclosure: I almost called them “spunky.”). Check out their new video here. Philly-based Tunji Ige, New Yorkers Loaf Muzik, and Boston’s Michael Christmas are also on the bill. RSVP to get a $3 ticket, or wait and pay $10. The catch: A ticket doesn’t guarantee entry, so get there early.
A limestone plaque of Tutu, a sphinx-like protective god with a human head, lion body, and a snake for a tail. It has been dated between 30 BCE to 624 CE, and was found in Egypt. (Photo: Penn Museum)
The Penn Museum is going to be a little more magical for the next year.
On Friday, the Museum opened a new exhibit, Magic in the Ancient World, that displays magical objects from ancient civilizations of Rome, Greece, the Near East, Mesopotamia and Egypt.
The co-curators are Bob Ousterhout (an Art History professor) and Grant Frame (an associate professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations). They told Philadelphia magazine they wanted to get some of the museum’s items out of storage and on display; many of the items in storage are related to magic. An idea for an exhibition was born. “Magic is sort of an omnipresent idea in the ancient world,” Ousterhout says.
It was developed out of a curatorial seminar, Magic in the Museum, in the 2015 spring semester taught by professors Ousterhout and Frame. Ten students, both grad students and undergraduates, contributed to the selection of objects and the composition of explanatory texts in the booklet. Read more »
If you’ve walked by Franklin Square in the past few days, you likely noticed the carousel horses have been getting some flashy company. This Friday is the start of the park’s Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival, which will feature 25 lanterns lit up nightly through June 12. These aren’t twinkling tea lights: We’re talking an 18,000-pound, 200-foot-long dragon, a four-story pagoda, and a sleuth of cute/vaguely creepy pandas (am I the only one getting the feeling they want us to come play with them forever and ever?)
The Panda Paradise lantern display. Photo by Sichuan Tianyu
Most of the lanterns were made in Zigong in the Sichuan province of China, and 20 Chinese artists are here installing them and putting on the finishing touches. During the daytime, entry to Franklin Square will be free as usual, but come 6 p.m. you’ll need a ticket to get in to the festival. It’s a little steep, at $17 for adults, $12 for kids (17 and under) and $15 for seniors, but along with the opportunity to see the lit lanterns up close and personal, there will be performances, including a traditional Chinese “face-changing” show, plus vendors selling themed crafts and food.
Tha Carter II gets a double-LP release this Saturday.
Record Store Day 2016 is this Saturday at participating music stores (all of them, I believe; check out Shoppist’s guide to some of the best local shops here). As usual, the occasion brings with it the hope that you can score new rarities and other assorted curiosities. There’s way more stuff due out than I can possibly list here, but I put together a slideshow of some highlights.
David Bowie | I Dig Everything — The Pye Singles 1966
Bowie’s first three singles collected on one 12” record. P.S. There are two other Bowie Record Store Day releases.
Hello Kitty | Hello World
A 12-inch picture disc featuring “exclusive songs written for and inspired by the iconic and beloved international superstar character.” What?
Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet | I Guess We Were A Fucking Surf Band
This vinyl box set from Canadian instrumental band best known for doing the Kids in the Hall theme collects their three albums plus b-sides and rarities.
Ida | Will You Find Me
Polyvinyl offers a double-LP re-mastered version of Ida’s excellent album from 2000. Damn I miss this band.
Low/S.Carey | "Not a Word" b/w "I Won't Let You"
The two acts collaborate on two seven-minute tracks on this split Sub Pop Records/Jagjaguwar 10”.
Florence + The Machine | Delilah / Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Twelve-inch blue vinyl, featuring two versions of “Delilah” and a cover of Neil Young’s "Only Love Can Break Your Heart."
J Dilla | The Diary
Ten years after his death, the legendary hip-hop producer/rapper’s “long lost vocal album” finally sees the light of day. Comes with a 7” record, “The Ex.”
Death Cab For Cutie | "Tractor Rape Chain"/"Black Sun"
Live tracks on 7”, the first being a Guided By Voices cover.
Chvrches | Every Open Eye Remix EP
Six remixes — by Four Tet, Goldroom, Big Wild, and more — from the Scottish synthpop band’s 2015 release Every Open Eye, on 12”.
Various Artists | Monster a Go-Go Volume 1
Japanese Beatles-influenced rock from the ’60s on clear, heavy vinyl.
Xiu Xiu | Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks
The California noise band takes on Angelo Badalamenti’s music for the cult TV classic.
Various Artists | Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock and Roll
This double LP soundtrack to the 2014 documentary collects Cambodian rock from the ’60s and ’70s.
Various Artists | C86
Double vinyl edition of a now legendary NME comp from 1986. Primal Scream, The Mighty Lemon Drops, The Soup Dragons, The Wedding Present and a bunch more kindred spirit bands.
Metallica | Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, Metallica! — Live at Le Bataclan. Paris, France
A live CD recorded in 2013 at the site of last year’s absolutely horrific terror attacks, with proceeds going to charity. Metallica is apparently this year’s Record Store Day “ambassadors.”
Lil Wayne | Tha Carter/The Carter II
Limited edition of the esteemed hip-hop albums on double LP.
Brujeria | Viva Presidente Trump!
Four colored vinyl discs from Nuclear Blast saying eff you to The Donald. Brujeria is “rumored to feature current and former members of Napalm Death, Hank Williams III, Carcass, Dimmu Borgir.”
Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions | “Isn't It True”/“She’s In The Wall”
Two more songs from this infrequent collaboration between Mazzy Star singer Hope Sandoval and My Bloody Valentine multi-instrumentalist Colm Ó Cíosóig.
Metz/Mission of Burma | "Good Not Great"/"Get Off"
Two like-minded bands from different generations cover each other on split colored vinyl.
The Ramones | “Judy is a Punk”
A 7” offering two alternate versions of the punk classic recorded in 1975.
Mike McCready/ Duff McKagan/ Mark Arm/ Barrett Martin | Raw Power — A Tribute To Iggy & The Stooges Live From the Rooftop of Pike Place Market
Three Seattle rockers (from Pearl Jam, Mudhoney and Screaming Trees) team up with Duff McKagan (of Guns ’n’ Roses) team up to pay tribute to the Stooges. And I cant help but wonder what they all talked about at rehearsal.
Run The Jewels | VRTJ Viewer
Not even a record. This is a “A Run The Jewels branded cardboard viewer.”
Madonna | Like A Virgin & Other Hits
Twelve-inch pink vinyl. Includes “extended dance remixes” of “Like A Virgin,” “Holiday,” and “Lucky Star.”
GWAR | Scumdogs of The Universe
Double-LP “logo pop up album art piece” released by Metal Blade.
Fleetwood Mac | The Alternate Tusk
Double LP alternate version of the band’s already weird 1979 classic album.
A-Ha | Hits Sound America
The ’80s Norwegian band live in Brazil.
And here are links to the albums in the slideshow (in no order because the universe is chaos):
Bleached @ Johnny Brenda’s [Photo by Chris Sikich]
Southern California took over Johnny Brenda’s Thursday under the guidance of raucous punkers Bleached. Led by sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin, along with Micayla Grace and Nick Pillot, the L.A. band wrapped Philly in charmed rock ’n’ roll.
Heavily focused on their 2016 Welcome the Worms, Bleached showed why it is one of the year’s finest. And the choicest cut from the record — “Sour Candy” — popped and sizzled in their vocals and tantalizing guitar riffs. A tightknit band from top to bottom, Jen ditched exchanged her guitar for Pillot’s drumsticks while Grace took her bass into the crowd. They certainly seemed to love Philly and the enthusiastic crowd adored them back.
The evening began with another California act, No Parents. They make punk of a harder and more primal kind than the headliners. Heads banged with glee.
The Wong Street Journal @ Kimmel CenterPIFA presents a solo performance by comedian/performance artist Kristina Wong. “Part plushy TED lecture, part amateur hip-hop extravaganza, and part travelogue.” Runs through April 16.
Abbath @ Union Transfer Norwegian black metal. With High on Fire, Skeletonwitch, Tribulation and Crypt Sermon — brought to you by Decibel magazine.
Prince Rama @ Ortlieb’s Pysch-dance rock ’n’ roll from Brooklyn. They used to be “now age” — now they’re going with some kind of extreme ’80s sports type motif. Grandchild is also on the bill.
Har Mar Superstar @ Milkboy PhillyOnce a relatively straight-laced and “ignified” indie rocker (with Sean Na Na), Sean Tillman has — for a 15 years and counting — been performing as the soulful, smarmy, over-sexed r&B icon Har Mar Superstar. It’s a joke, but it’s not a joke: This music is groovy and energizing. Check out the video way at the bottom of this post.
Led by the brilliant pairing of Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince, The Kills delivered a solid set of punk blues to a sold out Union Transfer on Monday.
With their fifth record, Ash & Ice, not due till June, they blasted through a 16-song set of old and brand new — starting with the title track to 2005’s No Wow. Brand new songs like “Heart of a Dog” fit in nicely alongside other works like main set closer “Monkey 23.” Performers that sure know how to dazzle with the minimal of voice, guitar and percussion, The Kills are exhilarating.
Openers Kim and The Created are punk with a heavy quotient of excess. Led by the fierce energy of Kim House, the band unspooled a set of angst and showmanship. Complete with a guitar adorned with lights and the desire to stand over the photo pit, House brought the music as close to the audience as possible and even crowd-surfed and sung in the crowd later in the set. Read more »
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