One of the reasons I chose to move to Philadelphia was the local music scene. Leaving Minneapolis' well of phenomenal acts (LifterPuller, Atmosphere, Tapes n' Tapes, Prince, etc. etc.) was rough but Philly's equally rich and underrated musical culture made it an leap I was eager to make. Never would I imagine its offerings would continually awe me. What makes is even more fantastic is the affordability of shows and quality small venues. I have had the pleasure of catching some of the better known native acts ( The Roots, Dr. Dog, These United States [I consider Md part of the package]) as well as some of their lesser knowns. Since I makes my livins promoting, building and supporting small local businesses I feel compelled to spread the love to the music world.
This weekend I capped off the weekend with a show at the M Room. My friend Max's group Deadly Technologies was performing with a strong set of openers. DT's show was a display of robot amazingness. They are playing Lit Lounge this Thursday and if you're in NYC you should go for a taste of their synthpop magic. One of the acts that opened for em was Chang Chang . A philly native who, with a bit of careful spelunking of the indie hip-hop scene, could turn his talent into a viable gig. His tracks are witty, boppable and intelligently honest, you can't help but smirk when listening. He's not the typical wrap package which is what initially grabbed me when kept me listening was his self-depreciating well thought out rhymes. The demo he gave me is further evidence there's more than meets the eye. If he can lock in some attention with what he's got now and continue to push himself and improve I could see him going places. Speaking of which, he and his mannequin are headed to SXSW so if you see Chang Chang on the line up stop in.
My friend Keith has been responsible for introducing me to some solid new acts lately. The first of which was Jotto, a gang of his friends who have actually turned their cliche' college band into a viable (and touring) act. I have listened to the breadth of their work and you can hear the refinement of their talent and sound. They're moving towards a well balanced rock sound. Their combined musical talent (and well crafted lyrics) is sturdy enough to propell their sound through a taste of synthy experimentation on their new EP Good Friend Electric. The new edge sounds good on them and pushes them into a sound that is more distinctly their own. I haven't seen them live yet but I'm looking forward to the opportunity since I've heard good things about their live show as well.
Perhaps the most well know of these three is Drink Up Buttercup. These guys rock a sound that reminds me a little of later Beach Boys, mixed with some of the Manchester UK acts out there right now and a pinch of Animal Collective. What continually strikes me about their music are the strong vocals. Not to say their instrumentals aren't tight but they obviously know the intricacies required to harmonize while building catchy riffs whithout letting either side step on the other. Even when they get a little fuzzy (in a good way) they maintain this balance which is what makes songs like Mr. Pie Eyes and Gods & Gentlemen irresistably singable. A characteristic that has made their live shows a lot of fun. They too are Austin bound for SXSW.
Here are some tasters for your listening pleasure but please PLEASE pay for the rest of their stuff. These guys are the ones who need what little cut they get from your .99!
Couples Shouldn't Break Up They Should Break Apart
Whatever Gets You F*%#
Bang Shoot Shoot Bang
Drink Up Buttercup-
Gods & Gentlemen
Mr Pie Eyes