Thursday, April 30, 2009

Couldn't resist - The Love Language video for Sparxx & Fantastic International cover of Stand By Me

The Love Language "Sparxxx"

Such a great video.
The Love Language

Playing For Change | Song Around The World "Stand By Me" from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.

According to my insider sources there will be a CD released soon to support this project. I am really looking forward to hearing it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Remix Rehash

There were some delicious remixes that came out of the in-box shake this week. Here they be for your head bopping enjoyment.

DTF(edit)- Terror Dactel
Subdrive made a huge announcement this week. They are starting their own open-source digital record label. This track from Terror Dactel is their first release and if this is the standard I look forward to hearing what else Subdrive pushes out. Read all about it here> Subdrive Media

Two Weeks of Hip Hop - Hood Internet
This tasty little gem comes from Chicago's Hood Internet. I keep finding myself hitting repeat like a coked up lab mouse hitting the feeder bar. Yeah, its that good.

Play That Shit Olli Ple Ft. McNasty -Right Handed Barber Mix
Given the endorsement of IAMXL I was biased from the get go. Its got a bit of jock jams reving that has earn it a spot on the iPod "kick your ass in gear" playlist.

Your English is Good (Tokyo Police Club remix) - K-Os
There are a lot of things that I like about this one. It is dynamic enough to intrigue, smart enough not to over do it and lyrically tight.

Little Miss Star - Forcefield Kids
Forcefield Kids are a Newcastle UK "leftfield/lo-fi UK hip-hop act" whose EP comes out on July 6th. There is a bit of The Streets in their delivery and I'm still undecided whether they'll crawl out from under that comparison but I an certain they deserve your listen.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Making Time w/ Simian Mobile Disco

There is a dance party institution in Philadelphia known as Making Time. Depending on who you ask, the history varies but, the gist of the thing is that whenever the powers-that-be have a act they feel like organizing a huge dance-beat-tastic night around they claim a venue and put out the word. In my short Philly tenure I have seen CSS [crazy rowdy intense fun] as well as N.A.S.A. [better off listening to the album] and like many hyped regular-ish dance parties it can be a tough call whether or not it will be the best way to pass a night. However, when they announced that Simian Mobile Disco would be "headlining" their next effort I figured that unless they canceled (a problem that has been plaguing Philly as of late) it would be well worth my $$ to see SMD at least once.

A slew of local DJ's warmed up the crowed until 12 when SMD took the stage. It wasn't a subtle entry by any means. Lights went out. Then a mass of flood lights on stage lit the whole of Pure up like the surface of the sun. Aaaaaaaaaand we were off. The James's worked their tables in a dance choreographed more out of familiarity than great intentional planning (one of the nice parts of being a 5'11 chick is that in heels I can usually get a nice view of the stage from anywhere in the crowd). While they spun their DJ magik one of the tightest light shows of extended memory pushed their beats and carnal bass rhythms to unexpected levels. The crowd was feeling it all the way. Undulating in the trance that good electronic music induces for the entire 95 minutes they were on stage. I'm not often compelled to review electronic shows as they tend not to put much effort into creating a unique experience (ie you would probably have more fun playing their remixes at home with your friends while paying a lot less for booze and cabs). But after witnessing SMD clear gift for entertainment I couldn't help but give them a little love. And you should too. Check out the rest of their tour dates here...

Simian Mobile Disco

Side note- Another Philly dance party habit you should get into is Live Forever at the Barbary. It took over my Saturday night in high Mummer style (seriously check the photos to get the vibe of these events). After a weekend like this my feet are killing me but the pain is oh so worth it!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Love Language:music for a hot summer night

Wednesday night I hauled all the way up to one of Philly's newer consistently quality music venues Kung Fu Necktie to see The Love Language and Headlights (I will confess to a bit of poor reviewer performace...I missed their set due to a previous obligation but I hear it was v. good). Local act The Robes opened which I was looking forward to because they are involved in a little project I have in the works with some other Philly music kids (more on that to come....). Their sound has a crust of potential that with a little more time and work could melt into a tasty glaze. They do have a really comfortable stage presence though, which made watching them kind of like have a private jam session with friends.

The Love Language set up next and considering their's is a cast of seven it was a pleasantly quick switch. This motley crew efuses gritty lo fi rock with a touch of a southern lilt on their record so I was interested to see how it played live. Well, I can tell you it plays true and then some when you get them on stage. The Love Language is the baby of Stuart McLamb who created the group in an unusual manner, he had the name first and built out from there. Assembling an assortment of friends and family each contributing some serious chops to their unique version of an old school pop sound (and if for you that means N'sync stop reading and go buy Pet Sounds NOW thank me later). They admit to a large swath of musical influnce and touches of Buddy Holly, Jefferson Airplane, The Walkmen and even Roy Orbison are evident and despite this seemingly random amalgum they produce a very deliberate and clean sound.

In addition to being the progenator, writer and arranger for The Love Language McLamb is also the "front man" meaning the live show is where the depth of his talent is on full display. Upon first listening to their album I was immediately drawn to McLamb's straight forward lyric's and hearing them live truly developed the degree of sincerity. He is not one for hiding much of the emotion (both good and bad) behind his songs while on stage. While delivering the heartpanger Sparxxxx he threw himself out there singing straight from whence its inspiration is sourced teathered to the present by a simple bass line and feirce jangley percussion. This unfiltered stage presense lends authenticity and cohesion to the groups overall presentation.

While McLamb's contribution to the success of TLL's sucess is undeniable, so to is the deep well of musical brilliance that brings McLamb's vision to life. Watching the group traverse the course of their album's repetoire while fit cozily on to KFN's smallish stage was a visual demonstration of seven people who are clearly very in tune with each other's role and musical ability. McLamb's brother pushes the edge of brash percussion and tight snares just the right amount so as to make his riffs on songs like Providence little modest gems. On Night Dog the keyboards and rhythm guitar did a nice little dance to a steady tambourine beat. They brought up a member of Headlights to add a squeez box touch to a song and it was pretty aparent the entire troupe was having as much fun putting on the show as we were having watching them. This shared joy peaked nicely with the rollicking and delicious Lalita to top off the set. As I savoured the last bits of their set hanging in the air it occurred to me that theirs is the kind of show you want to see outside on a humid summer evening with a cold beer and folks willing to cut loose a little. I do so hope they pass through town again soon otherwise I may have to make do with hosting a little listening party of my own.

Manteo -The Love Language Daytrotter session
*Image courtesy of Michael Triplett

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Multitasking Discovery

I had a moment of total brilliance today. For those of you who don't know me personally I should disclose I am pretty much running on all cylinders at all times. On top of doing TWIAPC I am also a partner in a consulting firm so I usually have an email I should be reading, a call to return, an article to write, a blog entry to get the idea. If I didn't love it all believe me I wouldn't do it. But I'm lucky enough to be one of the few people who gets to pursue the majority of my interests on some personal or professional level. Anyways, I am always looking for tricks and strategies to multitask without effecting the quality of the work. My iPhone and compulsive list making are the two main life and time savers I use. And as of this morning my shuffle will be added to that list. As I looked at the 30+tracks I have received in the last few days I was also loading up my shuffle for my daily run and it struck me; why not listen to the tracks I want to review while my attention is, for the most part, undisturbed. So I gave it a go and while I think it may take a little tweeking it just may be the secret to getting a little more done with my day. So here are a few quick tracks I pulled from the shuffle list.

This is a sweet respin of a Lykke Li tune that I already thoroughly enjoy. One of the few times great is made greater.
Dance Dance Dance Lykke Li remixed by Buraka Som Sistema

This remix really grabbed my ear when I first heard it a while back but when a friend sent it to me in response my love for the Dance Dance Dance remix I twittered yesterday I recalled my fondness for Britt's take on the song.
I Feel It All Feist remixed by Britt Daniels

The Avett Brothers relaunched their web site this week and started stirring the pot a bit hinting at what to expect on the album they are releasing in August. Then I got this snip of their show at SXSW this year. I really hope they put a version of this song on said album.
I & Love & You The Avett Brothers(live at SXSW09)

And finally, this is a beautiful cover of Kings Of Leon. BFL give it their haunting touch and in doing so give it a slightly shiftier feel. It never fails to amaze me how many ways one song can be interpreted. A successful attempt this is!
Use Somebody (Kings of Leon Cover) Bat For Lashes

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Those Silver Pipes - William Fitzsimmons at Tin Angel

I took a break from the spring induced desire for all things dancey and light to appreciate the more introspective side of the musical spectrum by catching William Fitzsimmon's show at the Tin Angel this week.

The lovely Rosi Golan started the evening off very right. If you're not familiar with her (and haven't already clicked the link above) by name you'd probably recognize her from the soundtrack of those TV shows you're less than willing to openly admit to Tivo-ing every week cause it seems she's got those folks in her pocket. For very good reason too. Her performance was a far cry from the usual cloying singer songwriter schtick. Backed by a gentleman named Jake Phillips she covered a range from pop [Been A Long Day] to cool and reflective [Think of Me] and was thoroughly enjoyable the entire set. It was one of those instances when you realize the perfect soundtrack for what's going on in your mind has snuck up on you and for that I can't help but appreciate what Ms Golan had to offer. I will certainly keep an eye out for her future shows and releases.

It seemed like barely enough time for a cricket to hiccup before William Fitzsimmons was taking Rosi's place on the stage (the sweet simplicity of a singer/songwriter stage set up). Looking like a man who, as he admitted himself, is one outfit away from homeless chic with a "raccoon on (his) face," Fitzsimmon's demeanor immediately put me at ease. He wasted no time acknowledging his depressing subject matter (his most recent album The Sparrow and The Crow was clearly a therapeutic outlet for him to process his divorce) but he did so with a flavor of sarcasm that set a bitter sweet flow for the rest of the evening. If the music thing fell through for him I'd say he could easily test the stand-up circuit he's that funny.

He played for an hour and a half and covered a descent amount of Sparrow but also some of his older stuff as well as a Tom Petty cover! I was really impressed with the quality of his live delivery. His recordings, especially the more recent stuff, are really well balanced so all the additional loops, instruments, vocals blend beautifully in each piece. All those extra bits were left behind, for the most part, during this show and the result was a fresh rendering of his material. Without the piano and drums to propel If You Would Come Back Home his tender voice carried it over sparse territory without loosing the weight of the lyrics. Which was true of the set on the whole giving further proof of the strength on Fitzsimmon's effortlessly smooth voice and song writing brilliance. The does manage to touch on some of the more painful intricacies of a complicated break up but in songs like You Still Hurt Me he is wise to pep it up with a lilting banjo line an the fine accompaniment of Ms. Golan. This became the audience participation moment of the evening and a good one at that. He brought Rosi back to do their duet Hazy, which can be found on her new album. Their voices meld flawlessly and Golan's lyric's complemented the rest of the set nicely. He capped the night with a hauntingly simple version of Goodmorning to slowly ease us back into the night. What could have easily been a night of "woe is me" folk was a carefully assembled night of music and laughter in the hands of the very talented William Fitzsimmons.

*Image courtesy of Erin Brown
** If You Would Come Back Home kindly provided by WF's People You should definitely buy both his and Rosi Golan's albums!

Friday, April 17, 2009

On its ear

Its been a mixed up kinda week here in Philly and in one of those weird twists of coincidence a number of fantastic, or at least interesting remixes have crossed my path. There's no rhyme or reason to this assortment other than quality. These are all tracks assembled, crafted, shaped (whatever word you prefer) by people who have an ear for detail and a gift for weaving them together. I have nothing but awe and appreciation for their ability to make you respect the potential of reconsidering beats, werds + technology.

Help I'm Alive (the Twelves remix) via RCRDLBL
Smooth and easy on the ears this has been my head bob anthem of the week. The steady plod serving as a metronome for working through my lengthy "to do" list.

Bright Nites mixed by Roan courtesy of Crossfader King
Roan, one half of Crossfader's Dance Party Magic act, is celebrating the release of this slew of fantastic tracks this weekend in Chicago. If I could I'd be there cause I can't imagine a better way to spend a night than with the Crossfader fellas providing the soundtrack. Undeniably danceable and distinctly intreguing its a great way to get the summer dance vibes goin.

I Think Were Alone Now (Dust Off and Dance remix)
The first of two retakes on classic pop songs. I was completely aged this week when I realized that kids these day's aren't familiar with the musical stylings of this 80's Pop princess. A clubtastic way to bring Tiffany to the next generation. Plus it looops the iPhone guitar ringtone
which made me smile.

For The Longest Time IAMXL bmore remix
And here's the second. I got this one from Ms. Sheenabeaston who put it best ...
"Holy sweatstains, Batman, I could jukewalk all the way to work to this."
Rewind Mixtape 2 BuffetLibre DJ's
Buffetlibre delivers again! Their second Rewind Mixtape was the chair dancing soundtrack of the week. And considering I work primarily from a coffee house it takes a fierce groove to push me past head nodding to full on chair dance. But this did and right quick too. There is some intense talent concentrated amongst this bunch and you're now lucky enough to appreciate it...

That all for now kiddos. Make sure to partonize your local record store tomorrow. If you want more frequent doses of the thoughts bustin around my head be sure to follow me on Twitter.

Look for my review of the William Fitzsimmon's show I caught last night to be posted this weekend...

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Little Local Lovin

Saturday night I had the pleasure of seeing DC's Middle Distance Runner and Philly's Drink Up Buttercup. The evening was slow to get going. We had to wait for three rather tedious singer songwriter acts to do their thing before these two acts stormed the stage.

Middle Distance Runner
First up was Middle Distance Runner. Riding a cheese steak / cheap booze high the five fellas plowed straight into their set. I feel compelled to point out that on this particular evening it appeared as though Keanu Reeves, Jason Mraz, Pete Wentz, your high school band teacher and that kid in your dorm who was a geo major and played ultimate Frisbee a lot had come together for a jam session. However, while each member had their own distinct style their sound was a fine example of well orchestrated chaos. They busted out their tracks hitting the older stuff I was familiar with like the great Man of the People and the bits off of their new EP The Unbeliever [which I promptly purchased]. Their sound was a little more punk than I had expected and I think their new release is really pushing that edge. They loose a little bit of their polish with this effort but not only do I think the change does them good I like what is suggests of future drops. They set the vibe perfectly for...

Drink Up Buttercup
These Philly favorites have been on my radar for a while and after hearing their next release will be mixed by the same guy who works with Animal Collective I'm guessing they'll be on a lot of others radars as well. The evening was intended for them to flex some new songs in front of a crowd and just like MDR they dove right in. Let me tell you, any band that starts their set playing a trashcan will forever have a spot in my heart. Listening to their recorded work does not even come close to capturing the energy and character of Drink Up Buttercup. They are brash, loud, fun oh, and wickedly talented. They gave us a wee bit of the old (Mr Pie Eyes) stuff but, as promised, it was mostly the new stuff. It didn't matter whether or not you'd heard it before you couldn't help but groove to it. About 2/3rd's through there was some snafu that was hardly noticeable to the crowd but threw a wrench in DUB's set list but without missing a beat they grabbed their various noisemakers and came straight out into the audience. Instead of tripping up their momentum the impromptu audience participation session only pushed it to 11. There was singing, there was clapping, there was stomping, there was a grand moment of concert making. Even though the show was cut short I can't imagine a better way to go out. I have a feeling its going to be a big year for Drink Up Buttercup.

*Image courtesy of Brian Reguera

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Soundtrack To An ADD Side Trip

Its been a distracting week here at TWIAPC. iTunes got all mussed :-/ As a result I was lured into reorganizing my absurdly large vault of music which led to uninhibited ADD web wandering in pursuit of all things music and away from the work that actually pays me. This snowballed into a getting behind on two big projects and a noticable up tick in stress. On the plus side, I rediscovered some quality forgotten tunes. Thankfully its a relatively low key weekend with everyone clearing out of the city for the holidays so I'm tackling a mess of emails, writing and designing to get back on the ball. But, I thought I would share some of the random gems that came out of the iTunes shake up/ curiosity adventure.

I like to call it the "What? bright lights? Where? Anyone want a Peep?" mix

Certified Bananas Cream On Top
The Wombats Everything I Do, I Do It For You (Bryan Adams cover)
Atmosphere Smart Went Crazy
Ryan Montbleau Band Starting Again
Jared Mees & The Grown Children In The Fall

**Illustration courtesy of Codex Seraphinianus

Monday, April 6, 2009

Game On!

Baseball, after music, is a full on obsession with my family. One of my earliest memories was chasing Gary Gaetty down at the local mall (my mother pushing my little sister in her stroller) to get his autograph. He was the nicest guy, not only did he give us the autograph but also helped us choose a cologne for my dad for Father's Day.

As I grew up I fostered true adoration for some of the greats that passed through the Twin's dugout. Dave Winfield personified power and class and Paul Molitor was a regular topic at the dinner table. And Kirby oh man did I love that guy. I was broken hearted when he was forced into retirement after catching a ball to the side of the face. At the initial and, in my mind, ONLY goodbye event I cried harder than I ever have in public --to the open mockery of some punk kids behind us. When I found out he had died I literally fell off the tredmill. It was a sad day for the whole family.

Anyways, it was only natural for music to be tied into the baseball facsination. Starting with my youthful desire to be the organ player at a major league stadium it led to noting the songs the players choose to have play when they go up to bat. I have come to the conclusion that it is a huge reflection of the players personality. Johann Santana choose Santana's Smooth a nice rock song with a little Latin tinge and the shared name a wink at his sense of humor. Joe Mauer, hometown boy, hired a local musician to write his. I could go on.

I find it very telling what song a person would choose if they were a pro player. So, in honor of this years opening day I posed the question to a variety of people and got a variety of tunes in response. Here are some of the intriguing the results:

John Mellencamp - The Authority Song (my mother)
Survivor - Eye Of The Tiger
Georgian Chant - Cherubic Hymn
Death From Above 1979- You're A Woman, I'm A Machine
Queen - Don't Stop Me Now
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Y Control
Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock - It Takes Two

What would your song be? Leave it in comments...

Saturday, April 4, 2009


There has been an unexpected mad influx of demos and promos in my in-box over the last week. Even more unexpectedly there are some very solid offerings in the bunch. I am still working through all the emails and songs but these are three that have floated to the top early...


The guys of Lemonwilde are some of the nicest guys I've encountered in the self promo game that is a big part of music blogging so when I first listened to Red Room I was a little surprised at how heavy it was but I didn't let that stop me from hearing them out. The tracks are cohesive and the sound consistent this is the work of deep feeling song writers and smart instrumentalists. There are some interesting percussive tricks on Finding Jesus In The Math which counter's lead singer Joe's mellow pop vocals rather nicely. Of the songs offered on this EP I found myself drawn most to two in particular. Just This Ashtray (admittedly the title, from one of the greatest movie scenes from The Jerk, got me first) which hearkens back to some of the darker goth pop of the late nineties but smartened up. Inspired Painter is a montage worthy love gone wrong track that would be perfect for a CW melodrama. These guys have a firm grip on their sound and the EP shows that in spades. I'd like to see how the sound matures, perhaps consider polishing off a little of the moodiness in favor of flexing their talents on a wider ranger of sound. I'm guessing though they really sell when seen live, an opportunity I look forward to in the future.
Just This Ashtray
Inspired Painter

Logan Lynn

This guy is a tough one to peg. He says he's electro-pop but I feel as though that's too easy. The electronic leanings are more experimental than what I associate with that simplified classification. Yes, there is a heavy synth component but the way he loops it with his lyrics is more complicated than any handy label can adequately cover. There is almost a ballad element on many of the songs off of his album From Pillar To Post. He really plays with a hollow chambery sound on songs like Burning Your Glory which struck me as an alien love song that whizz, pops and buzzes to compliment the sweet lyrics. The strongest element of this album is he keeps you wanting to hear more without being repetitive or weighty. Feed Me To The Wolves has stuck in my head more than once since I first listened. Its tightly woven and builds then backs off then builds again and keeps driving towards the end. I really hope you give him a listen and put it on your calendar to buy From Pillar To Post when it drops this fall. [Don't worry I'll remind you] To tide you over Logan was kind enough to pass along these two tracks.
Feed Me To The Wolves
Burning Your Glory

*Image courtesy of Ray Gordon

Jasymn Burke

Jasmyn is still rocking a bit of a coffeehouse sound on these practice reels but I couldn't help but enjoy the earnest playfulness of her songs. A whole lot less twee then Moldy Peaches her lyrics are similarly simple and straight forward. Get her in a full production studio and I can see great things coming out of this lady's mouth.
Hungry Flowers

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hit The Ground Running...

Vacation is technically over but with the music happenings on the horizon in Philly and the surrounds it will still trickle through the next weeks. A little less beachy but still v. much enjoyable. I thought I'd call attention to the new adds to the concert list :

Plushgun @ North Star Bar April 19th
Headlights & Love Language @ Kung Fu Necktie April 22nd
The Takeover UK @ The Khyber May 5th
Pomegranates @ Kung Fu Necktie May 12th
The Thermals @ Johnny Brenda's May 12th
St. Vincent & Pattern Is Movement @ First Unitarian May 21st

And which shows will you find me at?
MSTRKRFT & Bloody Beetroots @ Webster Hall on Friday
Cloud Cult @First Unitarian on April 10th
Shackletons & Drink Up Buttercup @ The Fire April 11th
Harlem Shakes @ Kung Fu Necktie April 16th
Plushgun @North Star Bar
Headlights & Love Language @ Kung Fu Necktie
Animal Collective @ Electric Factory May 2nd

The updates are constant so keep checking in. Also, here is a fabulous source for all area events...
Instrument Analysis