Saturday, October 31, 2009

How Can You Actively Support The Music You Love? Read this article...

This morning Brian McTear, the founder of Weather Vane Music Organization, posted an article he originally wrote for the Future Of Music Coalition. It is a very worthy read about how you, as a fan, can best support your favorite bands and music makers.
"With the traditional music industry in a state of what could safely be called disarray, there isn’t a ready-made recipe for sustainable careers. The good news is that people still put their hearts and souls into making music, and there are still plenty of fans out there that want to support creators."
Seeing bands live is usually my first suggestion - It pays in both money and spirit - but McTear goes above and beyond with detailed list of ways you can contribute. Please take a moment to read the article and if you have a little bit of extra money I can't imagine a better investment than to donate to Weather Vane's kickstart campaign.

On a similar note, I discovered this really interesting site called Better Than The Van

These folks are trying to build a community of music lovers who may be willing to donate a couch or perhaps a aero bed action for bands that ae touring the country. If that sounds like your kind of jam check them out. It is a v. direct way to support musicians trying to "make it" out there.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

At The Hop With White Rabbits

TWIAPC: I wasn't surprised to read that your work is influenced by classic ska bands like The Specials, there is strong evidence on that in your sound (in particular in your syncopation). Where else do you draw your inspiration from?

Mostly life. But, musically we are all over the place. We definitely don't want to be a rock band that just regurgitates rock music. There's no challenge in that...but a lot more money. We try to mix things up enough so you don't really know where it came from and you can just listen to the music, or at least listen. That is always the goal. But, you know how people are.

TWIAPC: The Physicality of your live show is astounding. Did that come about organically or did you develop the groups stage presence intentionally?

Thank you. There is nothing premeditated about our show. That is how we paly music and if you go to enough shows you can see that. But, on a personal level, I can't stand bands that just stand there and expect that to be enough. Or have [when they] have costumes and no songs.  

TWIAPC: Considering White Rabbits first formed in Missouri how do you feel about being classified as a "Brooklyn Band?"

If it makes people sleep better than I'm fine with it. I really don't care where a band is from as long as they're good. Especially since we spend so much time on the road [we] rarely have time to see local bands or identify with being just a "Brooklyn Band."

TWIAPC: I've heard you guys do some pretty impressive covers. Are there any groups or albums you'd like to tackle that you haven't already?

We have just started covering "Sheila" by Atlas Sound. We learned it right before the tour and have been playing is almost every night. We all think Bradford Cox is a really great songwriter and Logos is a really great album.

TWIAPC: It seems you've been all ove promoting It's Frightening, have there been any surprising audience or favorite new venues?

The Bottletree in Birmingham, AL is top notch. As far as audiences Denver is never short of Energy and we love them for it. 

TWIAPC: Have you already started formulating a plan for the next album or, is it time for the ubiquitous side project/break? 

Not quite; but, we're always working all the time so you never know. 

The White Rabbits are on the road and as a three show veteran I simply insist you hunt for the opportunity to see them.

Percussion Gun

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

CMJ in Pictures

CMJ was last week and since I was up in New York anyway I took in a little of what the famously chaotic week had to offer. There were so many incredible showcases it was difficult to choose and despite my best intentions there was no way I could catch everything on my list. I did get to hear a lot of fantastic music though and I'm excited to see these bands bring their show through Philly so I can give them due props.

I'm taking the visual approach to this review so enjoy the scroll...


At Johnny Brenda's Nov 11

At Johnny Brenda's Nov. 3 w/ The Very Best




Check out the rest of the photos fom the week at TWIAPC's Flickr Page

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New To Know: So Many Dynamos + Backwords + Sunny Day In Glasgow

So Many Dynamos
This Missouri foursome is addictive. Their music goes deep; catchy at first listen, witty and alluring on the second go 'round and finally, as you listen to it even a little more closely you note the complex proficiency. Its is a pop-punk influenced by the mechanized beat of video game soundtracks. Their bio aptly calls them spaztic but with the amount of attention they give to creating chord changes that catch you off guard and phrasing that separates them chaos to what I would call intentional spaziness. Give them a listen. I'm sure you'll find something that will hook ya. They are also on the road (mostly east- including a CMJ stop on the 22nd) and you know you wanna see this live.
New Bones
The best way I can describe Backwords music is to say they mosey. They mosey through western, lo-fi, folk, pop sound to create a easy on the ears & light on the soul. They skitter on the edge of any single definition while avoiding getting too caught up in the traditions of any one genre. For many groups this would mean a jumble of musical ideas landing all of the place. Backwords, however, manage to pull in these assorted inspirations to create a consistent sound fancied up with truly enjoyable lyrics worked in there. Now that this Philly/Brooklyn based group has a firm grip on their sound I look forward to seeing how/if they push it in new directions.
The Beggars And The Bread
Sunny Day In Glasgow
This Philly band's shoegaze music washes over, under and around you. Ethereal and sweet they evade any abrupt or disjointed musical transitions. Instead layering airy loose guitars & synths with fantastic dreamy lyrics. SDIG makes the kind of tunes I'd listen to while studying, were I still in school. Alas I am not in school but still really love these guys. They have a rotating list of band members some appearing on both record and live while others simply show when they can. Still, they manage to convey their intricate arrangements whether there are 4 or 8 people involved. I consider them a stellar example of the variety of incredible music coming out of Philly these days. They are about to adventure around the East and midwest ending up home at Johnny Brenda's on December 15th.
Ashes Grammer/Ashes Math

Friday, October 16, 2009

Housekeeping: Weathervane Music Fund Raiser + Learning Music + NPR and so much more

Its been a productive, albeit ADD, day for me today. In all the hubub a few notions, news bits & links have risen to the top of my consciousness and I wanted to share'em with you.

Weathervane Music Project, a fantastic Philly venture aimed at building and supporting the local music community is having a fund raiser on Nov. 12 at Johnny Brenda's. BC Camplight, Danielson, East Hundred and Sunset will all be performing. Get your ticket here or simply donate to Weathervane's Kickstarter campaign.

Learning Music Series October edition is quite possibly my favorite to date. The Johnny Pride Story has a great backstory and includes rerecordings of his work as well as new conceptualizations. Its most definitely worth your ears and effort. Famous is the single but the full download is amazing!

Also, I would like to use TWIAPC platform to encourage you all to support your local or preferred public radio station. I have been lucky enough to live in cities with incredible public radion, both news and music and membership was one of my first post college "grown up" investments. Thanks to web streaming even if you're local station isn't your fav you can listen to broadcasts from other markets. They really need whatever you can offer to continue to bring you quality content without the influence of commercial investors. The public radio media model has long inspired me to seek (and create) out real news and music coverage. These are the stations I currently support
Twin Cities: KNOW The Current
But there are many many other fantastic stations out there. Find your local broadcast here.

Hey look I have a new logo (which will be fully incorporated in the new layout debuting soon) thanks to the marvelous Daniel Gauthier  and...

I finally got around to creating a facebook page for TWIAPC where I'll be sneaking in lazy lady posts every once in a while as well as some other random surprises. Check it out and become a fan... Facebook page

Last morsel to make you smile... Pattern Is Movement's cover of Crazy In Love.

Now I'm donzies. Ciao

Remix Rehash: Pretty Girls & Lasers + Darklord + DJ Chachi

Summer got a little bow of the head earlier this week with less than October temps in the 70s. It coincided with the delivery of this full on party mix provided by the boys of Pretty Girls & Lasers.

Next up...
This one is definitely thinking mans electro. Mixed by Darklord and produced by Shawn Ryan its the kind of jam I'd use if I were doing a haunted house. Perfect for a mellow, and a little spooky, fall night.

Finally, to keep you moving (ie warm) for the first few really chilly fall days I give you two by NY's DJ Chachi. Whether you need some jams while you prep for a night out or you're hosting the party at your place drop these in the mix and enjoy! If you're really feeling ambitious take a gander at his schedule and get the mix live.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ruby Suns + The Dodos @ First Unitarian Church

The Ruby Suns and The Dodos brought a refreshing dose of intelligent indie pop to The Church this week. I have been a fan of New Zealand's Ruby Suns for a while but hadn't had the chance to see them live until now. They have a really unique sound; piecing together sonic collages taken from numerous and varied sources. Recorded it translates beautifully. Live, however, it took a few songs for the group to really hit their stride. I'd like to think the slow to build set was due in part to two large factors: the sound system at The Church isn't super fantastic and they played mostly new material, which means the experimental trio could still be working out the kinks. At the outset the loops and warbles of their drum machine stood out in front of the live instrumentation which threw off the balance of their overall sound. In addition, it seemed at time as though the prerecorded elements were so automated it was rushing them through their setlist.

After a few song though the incredible talent of Ryan McPhun, Amy Robinson and Bevan Smith began to overwhelm the presence of the drum machine and balance was not only achieved it was mastered. Fully embracing the African influence present on their album Sea Lion, as well as, the more tribal vibe of the newer material the live drumming pushed beats into the air you couldn't help but rock out to. They mentioned they drew a lot from the native culture to create their new stuff and once in full jam mode it got rather bombastic. By the end of their 45 minute roll I was more than excited to see where The Dodos would pick things up. I look forward to seeing Ruby Suns again, perhaps when they've had a chance to really refine the new work.

What the Dodos followed up with was nothing short of astounding. I had caught the beginning of their set at Northside this summer, where I got my first taste of the Time To Die tracks and after listening to, and fully enjoying, the full album I was anticipating a typical indie pop show. They started with Time To Die and immediately I knew they had something wholly more intense in store. Everything was pushed a little further, a little louder.

When the moment relied more on the vocals lead Meric delivered on pitch musical flow, and when joined by the others the harmonies were completely delicious.

On the many occasions when guitars and percussion got complex the group blew me away with their intensity. There is really no other way to say it than, THEY ROCKED OUT. The addition of the third member really filled out their sound. Even when they played tracks from Visiter it was much more lush. They also seem to have perfected their stage presence during their extensive touring. They impressed with the nonstop run though songs almost up until the end. The high energy set was thoroughly impressive and really sealed the deal as far as drawing the whole audience into the moment. The Dodo's have really grown into a band that I can now say securely has the potential to achieve greatness.

Tane Muhata - Ruby Suns
Paint The Rust - The Dodos

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Music Makers Thread: The Dodos ... Withered Hand + Thee Oh Sees + Night Control

For the second installment of Music Makers Thread I asked the Dodos which lesser known groups they have been digging on lately. In return they gave me a lengthy list of bands to check out which led me on a fantastic musical scavenger hunt. So many, in fact, that I couldn't pick just one...
Withered Hand immediately hooked my favor. Hailing from Scotland (yeah yeah I know another Scot) Withered Hand is the name Dan Willson tosses on the assorted and ever changing gang of musicians who join him on stage. His lyrical ability falls in that delicious intersection of witty turn of phrase & incredibly relate-able. Give any track on his debut album Good News (which you should buy immediately) a spin and I think you'll fully agree. And as fate would have it Dan was able to point me towards Charles Latham, a Philly singer who I will definitely be returning to in a future post.
No Cigarettes

Thee Oh Sees were another act on The Dodo's list. This psych pop groups possesses a crisply hollow sound that, when paired with the a hint of southern twang on songs like I Was Denied show the potential for slightly modified rockabilly to find its place amongst current indie rock. They are on the road now so check out their tour stops and try to partake upon their live show.
Meat Step Lively

Next up on the Dodo's suggestion thread is Night Control. Self described as "serene noise pop" I'd say Christopher Curtis Smith's music is a hai more intentional than that implies. It is carefully crafted ambient electro music that hasn't abandoned the romance of a classic pop tune. Another fine find courtesy of The Dodos who, I must remind you are playing tomorrow Monday the 12th at First Unitarian Church.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Remix Rehash: Flufftronix + 4Watt + Boonie

Philly fav Flufftronix dropped this nibblet last week. Its a trippy fuzzed out take on Major Lazer's Pon De Floor. Do yourself a favor and listen to this on a proper system so you can enjoy all it has to offer.

Pon De Floor (Major Lazer) - Fluff
tronix Remix

Sheenabeaston shared this mash up featuring the seminal musical track Video Killed The Radio Star. Only, given 4Watt's treatment, its a lot less sweet and much much grittier. The sticky hook is still there and but with an added smacking bass line to make it even more addictive.

Video Killed The Radio Star (The Buggl
es vs Yeah Yeah Yeah) - 4Watts Head Will Roll Baby Remix

Every once in a while I will receive a witty, well witten, quirky, intriguing piece of PR. Most of the time though, once I listen to the music I realize the writing is compensating for the atrociousness of the music. This kid Boonie though scored a one-two punch. Claiming an affinity for funk and keeping an insatiable audience moving it he has created a track with a funky bass touch that proved excellent for getting me in a dancing mood. Considering this Aussie is still very young I'm sure he will only get better.

Little Green Men (Adam Zee)- Boonie Remix

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

We Were Promised Jetpacks + BrakesBrakesBrakes @ North Star Bar

There was a UK invasion of the most enjoyable sorts last weekend up at the North Star. Scottish bands We Were Promised Jetpacks & The Twilight Sad were joined by England's BrakesBrakesBrakes for musical antics. Full disclosure, since I saw The Twilight Sat at Monolith and had social obligations that evening I did not stay for their set.

Having missed WWPJ's set at Monolith I was eager to see what these boys had to offer on stage. If you haven't made it a priority to check out their records get on it. Pronto. What you will not experience while listening to those records though is a well phrased live show supplied by a young band well aware of what it takes to sound good live.

They began with a tease of a start on It's Thunder It's Lighting and built it up to a, well, thunderous break of energy at the end of the song. The quartet's stage presence is for the most part stoic when noodling their way through their tight and alluring riffs. Focusing themselves on factors such as the nontraditional bass/drum interplay in songs like Conductor. However, on songs like Short Bursts and Quite Little Voices, when the band hits its lyrical apexes they explode with true rock out physicality. Railing on their guitars and almost howling as times into the mic. Lead singer Adam Thompson is incredibly comfortable on stage and knows very well how to manipulate the mic to project his voice perfectly for each song. There were a few off moments with his amp that he was able to quickly adapt. So much so, that had he not mentioned it, most of the mesmerized audience wouldn't have noticed the difference. They closed it out with Ships With Holes Will Sink and a drum solo that destroyed me. As this group's repertoire grows and they have more material to craft intelligent sets like they did on Saturday I have no doubt the audiences (not to mention venues) will expand as well.

The Breaks (or as they are known in the states BreaksBreaksBreaks) took the stage next with a much more seasoned and assorted set. Drawing from the talents and experiences of a group consisting of members (or past members) of British Sea Power, Tenderfoot and Electric Soft Parade the band has a lot of internal influences and it was evident in their live set. They got off to a bit of rough start, later credited to a nasty blister on the drummers hand. It seemed as though the members were just a little bit out of sync with each other. However, lead singer Eamon Hamilton managed to pull them all together within two songs of their start. Employing a little humor and some excellent vocals.

The Brakes, compared to WWPJ, have a much more weathered and varied sound. They wavered between a raucous and snarky punk side and a more traditional alternative delivery. Songs like HeyHey are infused with energy and performed accordingly while simpler romantic pop songs like Leaving England/First Dance were given a low key and tender treatment. Eamon broke any predictable pattern by dropping off beat tunes like Porcupine Or Pineapple and a cover of Johnny Cash's Jackson into line up. As they got further into their show their quality and ease became much more apparent. Had they not been dealing with extraneous annoyances like blisters and started off without a hitch I'm sure the entire set would have been just as entertaining.

The gang of three have a few more dates together stateside and if those are in your general area I'd get yourselves out there. But at the very least get down to your local independent record store and buy their records.

It's Thunder & It's Lightening - We Were Promised Jetpacks

Why Tell The Truth When Its Easier To Lie - The Brakes

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Little bits of beautiful...

Beth Orton is one of many artists contributing to the Judee Sill tribute album Crayon Angel. And, if her rendition of Reach For The Sky is any indication it will be a perfect cozy into fall album. It is out now on American Dust.

Lake is another band with a rotating cast of characters but the ever present Eli Moore & Ashley Eriksson have a true talent for crafting a retro tune. With a hint of 70's folk pop they are about to hit the road to support their recent release Let's Build A Roof. Check out their single Don't Give Up and see if its the kind of thing you might dig. I have a feeling they do quite the live show.

There are a few things that tend to get me really quick and Mumford & Sons possess quite a few in the highest of quality: breath taking harmonies, British accents, a stand up bass player and banjos. I came upon the new video for White Blank Page over at the superb Song By Toad and was excited to see they are finally releasing a full album. Sigh No More comes out on Tuesday and they will be doing a few shows in the States in the next few months. Here is another excellent video for the song Little Lion Man

The Eels released an album, El Hombre, earlier this year that was front man Mark Oliver Everett's take on love in all its forms. True to their straightforward style the album is a very honest depiction of what, good and bad, love can bring. When this video was released I felt it was most appropriate. And, despite the fact that I am not the biggest Lakshmi fan I still feel compelled to share.

That Look You Gave That Guy

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Au + WHY? @ The Church

Last night's show with Au & WHY? was one of those cases when the venue was an integral part of the overall experience. Both bands elicit such raw experiences it is entirely fitting to see them in the informal setting The Church provides. Au took the stage in the basement of The First Unitarian Church [and yes it is the prototypical "church basement," wood paneling and all] and immediately tore into their undefinable psych-folk-rock set. They led with a bass heavy version of Ida Walked Away that pulsated and built to epic proportions then tipped right into Boute a ditty which leans towards the lighter side of their repertoire . The thought that went into the set list was evident as their show unfurled.

Playing songs old and new Dana (drums) and Luke (every other instrument you can imagine) took turns displaying their astounding musical ability. Dana is an athletic percussionist often standing to work over his expanded kit. When listening to their record you don't fully realized the numerous roles he is taking on with his drums, often picking up the bass line or supporting Luke's rhythms. When you see them live however, you recognize the true brilliance of Au's approach to music.

Luke's arrangements, despite their intricate layers, are incredibly fluid. Lending them a true sense of experimentalism. Regardless of which instrument he is wielding you have a sense he is perpetually exploring its full potential. Always pushing for a distinct sound to add to the mix. The two new songs they played suggest their next album will be a tad more dramatic and I cannot wait to see the scenery it paints.

Why?'s set melded seamlessly with the vibe Au established. They are smooth, real smooth and immediately chilled out the audience with their genre defying set. Beginning with their mellow rap on The Hallows and rolling into a set that selected heavily from Eskimo Snow (their most recent album) as well a Fugazi cover. The crowd, and this girl, loved it all.

The stage presence of the entire crew was incredible easy. They have the energy of an electronic act with the rootsy grooves of some of the finest jam bands. The bass lines were deliciously juicy. One of the characteristics of Why? I enjoy the most is their ability to use bass and hooky electro riffs to soothe people into really listening to their fantastic lyrics. There was something for everyone to enjoy in last night's performance. They absorbed the appreciation of the crowd and, in return, provided an musical experience I would solidly categorize as addictive. The two song encore was a most perfect conclusion to the evening. I consider it a privilege to have been part of such a divine show.

Ida Walked Away - Au
This Blackest Purse - Why?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mark Mallman @ The M Room

Mark Mallman is an amazing entertainer. This is a truth I've known for years but was driven home last week during his show at the M Room. Despite some factors that would have frustrated any other performer [horrid openers who did very little to build the audience, a work night show and incredibly weak attendance] Mark put on a show as if he were performing in front of a mass of adoring fans who were rocking out to his addictive beats.

This time around Mallman brought a drummer, his sturdy keys, his own light show and some snappy white jackets. Taking the stage late he launched immediately into a mix old and new material. His stage presence is as dynamic as his music, throughout his set he mounted his keyboard now fewer than 10 times. While doing his most recent single You're Never Alone In New York he took this position to sing down high his ode to the city that never sleep.

When listening to his music it is undeniably high energy but when you experience the live delivery the energy is visceral. This is entirely intentional. Mallman has mastered the elements that pull all of his strengths together; the feisty conquering of the stage, lights that accentuate his mania and the incredibly taut drum accompaniment. To top it off he played Knockout On 22nd at my request. The his set could have only been better if he hadn't kept it short to please the tired sound guy. He mentioned he will be back this way before the end of the year and, seriously people, do NOT miss it.