Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Treats: Comfort Food For Your Ears

I think its fair to say covers are the aural equivalent of comfort food; and, because it is tradition to kick off the holiday season with some indulgent noshing I wanted to share some musical nibblings with you. No worries about rocking the elastic waistband while enjoying these snacks. Simply pair with a nice white wine or IPA and no reheating instructions necessary as there will be no leftovers.

You've Got The Love (Florence and The Machine)- The XX

The Wolves Act I and II (Bon Iver)- Ellie Goulding

My Girls (Animal Collective)- Dappled Cities

I Do Not Hook Up (Kelly Clarkson)- The Gaslight Anthem

Psycho Killer (Talking Heads)- Cage The Elephant

Oh and thanks for tuning into The World In A Paper Cup. I'm endlessly thankful for your readership and support.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

J Tillman Speaks For Himself

TWIAPC:In your solo work it is just you and the myriad instrumental lines you've created. How does performing to support this album differ from your other group effort?

J Tillman: We get much louder.

TWIAPC: You clearly have a knack and a comfort level with a wide variety of instruments. Are there any in particular that feel more natural or, conversely, more unusual?

J Tillman: The hammered dulcimer was definitely mysterious territory. Most of the time I really like what happens on an instrument you're not particularly proficient on. It's a very honest sound.

TWIAPC: There is a rather ruminative tone threaded throughout Year In The Kingdom.  Was there any one thing or event tumbling around your mind while writing or, do the songs reflect singular moments or ideas?

J Tillman: I spent a lot of time trying to create my own mythology; trying to reclaim certain words and imagery as my own.

TWIAPC: Where did you draw your earliest musical inspiration?

J Tillman: I wrote a lot of poetry as a kid.  I had a teacher nominate me for this national children's poetry thing, but I was always in trouble so the school administrators accused me of plagiarism.  I think that's when I knew I was on the right track.

TWIAPC: Both your solo work and that you do with Fleet Foxes falls safely in the chamberish folk portion of the genre spectrum. Are there any other "sounds" you've been curious to dabble in?

J Tillman: I can't say I really know what the term "chamber folk" means.  I do what I can to confound people who categorize music in that way.

TWIAPC: Coming from Seattle do you identify much with the larger Pacific Northwest community of music makers? How much does that influence your choice of projects?

J Tillman: I can't say I identify with the PNW music community, if that even exists.  I have friends that make music, some of it I like and some I don't.  I wouldn't say it influences my decision making process.

Earthly Bodies

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Give Away! Metric at The Electric Factory 11/25

I have two tickets for Metric's Philly show tomorrow night (11/25) at The Electric Factory. The first person to @reply me on Twitter gets em.

If you want to get tickets for sure head HERE
and to here is their new Acoustic EP


Remix Rehash:Max Justus + Kissy Sell Out + Downtown Harvest

I'm long over due for a Remix Rehash but its been slow on the receiving end for quality material. However, there has been a but of really enjoyable electro music to be had so this remix rehash is more electro than remix but, regardless, I hope you enjoy! 

Apple Jelly - Kissy Sell Out
This track is pure fun. Kissy brings out play in its full glory. Building from a base that is strictly 80's sitcom montage score he pops it up with catchy lyrics and some tech-tastic loops. What really got me though, was the fact that his still manages to tell a story (with sound effects and all). Kind of makes me wish Perfect Strangers were still on TV cause this would be an excellent candidate for soundtrack.

Ctrl Alt Dance (Coulson's Cheap Arcade Remix)- Max Justus
Seriously addicted to this song. It's clean. It's rooted in video game music tradition. It has inspired a few dance parties of one while on the streets of Philly. There is even a bit of funky rush tucked in there. Don't over think it. Just sit back and let the music do its thing. 

Killer Queen Bee - Downtown Harvest
These guys are outta Philly and, quite simply, you should be listening to them. They combines all of my factors from the previous two bits. Video game sample? Check. Montage quality? Check. Gets hips a shakin? Check. Tidy loops? Check.Funk factor? Yup. Unusual? You know it. I'm gonna make an effort to see what they have to offer live but this should satiate me until then.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Laura Veirs at World Cafe Live

Laura Veirs has an incredibly honest voice, one that avoids the baby coo- slurred words trap that so many female singers fall into. Throughout her show last week at World Cafe Live I couldn't help but be notice how striking, not to mention rare, it is to hear that level of vocal purity.Having originally come to music via Minneapolis' mid 90's punk scene it makes perfect sense that she has maintained a distinct level of straightforwardness even though her solo work is anything but punk. Paired with her nerd-tastic lyrics (she sings of constellations, politics and spelunking) there was really no other option but fall further in love with Ms. Veirs.

Laura and her musical menagerie played primarily from their new album due out in January. The songs from July Flame are a from a wiser place than her previous work and it's sincerity is palpable in her live delivery. When washing through a beautiful track like When You Give Your Heart the group played it delicately yet when the flair of a song like Galaxies dictated it they stepped up the pace and got a little more rock 'n roll. Regardless of the pace though Veirs voice was unchanging in its quality. Maintaining that degree of dynamic range is something those just beginning to explore their vocal potential should study and strive for. Meanwhile, Veirs continues to create one smart and delectable album after another each proving she is also considering her potential with each release.

Put July Flame on your list of albums to buy and try to catch Veirs on this lengthy stint on the road. She's expecting a baby next spring so I'm guessing it will be a while before she is back out on the road. 

I Can See Your Tracks

Friday, November 20, 2009

J. Tillman in the Side Chapel at First Unitarian Church

It was a family affair Wednesday when J Tillman, his brother Zach and a trio of equally ripe musicians held court in the teeny tiny chapel at First Unitarian Church. Zach warmed the small but packed room with his brand of crisp conversational songwriting. A folkie who isn't afraid of dabbling in the some Morricone like soundscapes. Playing his guitar solo Zach's short set help both tender and slightly more raucous moments. It set a very relaxed vibe perfect for the lush set J had on deck.

 J is touring to support Year In The Kingdom a beautiful but solemn album of honest observations. A live rendition of the album would have suited me just fine. The cozy venue, early dusk and intense preceding days left me wanting to just sit and enjoy fantastic music. The moment J's breathtaking pure raw voice began though I knew it was going to be far more nourishing show.

To start the set he kept to the path laid out by YITK except when played live by five folks (as opposed to the solo process Tillman used while recording of doing everything himself) the music is much richer and more dynamic. The high carved wooden walls shaped deep tones that Tillman's voice smoothly threaded through. Broken only by a few moments of witty not-suitable-for-church banter the full hour and 25 minute set was intentionally crafted to build as Tillman and his crew pushed the borders of the songs becoming more and more lively.

Deep into the set the reserved nature Tillman et al. had begun with has been abandoned for a more classic rock energy. Never once challenging the skill of the other players this septet played so well together it left me free to watch the how they all fit in instead of being distracted by a solo riff. Tillman led his crew into quite the frenzy at one point kneeling on the ground and letting himself really feel the more vigorous jam and building up a pace that gave new breath to the recorded versions. Tossed in for good measure and  was a nice bit of hand clapping and key chain percussion. The music brought me to the edge of my seat more than once during the concert and truly took my breath away with a sparse rendition of Though I Have Wronged you to finish things.

I can safely say this is a show you should really really get yourself to if at all feasible although the perfect alignment of time, company and location will make this a difficult experience to replicate.

Though I Have Wronged You

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Contest! Grace Potter & The Nocturnals Saturday at The Trocadero

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals are joining forces with Sean Bones and Brett Dennen this Saturday at the Trocadero for a night of lovely music making. I have a pair of tickets to give away so either send me an email or nudge my Twitter by 6 o'clock Thursday and enter your name. Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Luke Doucet @ World Cafe Live

Luke Doucet swung through World Cafe Live last week, opening for Willy Porter. If you're not already familiar with Mr Doucet, he is a Canadian troubadour straddling the line between classic rock and cat scratch country. His new album Blood's Too Rich is loaded with stories set to twangy guitars and delivered with Doucet's deceptively sweet voice. The tales he spins are drawn largely from his own observations from the road as seen though authentic balladeer's lens; leaving you with a slightly dusty but mostly romantic view of the world.

As a Montana native it is always nice to get a dose of alt country every once in a while so I was looking forward to seeing Doucet do his thing live. The guitar lines were juicy, perhaps a little too much so as they tended to notably counter his smooth and calm vocals. Hearing him deliver his material live carries an air of sincerity that is muted in recording and would have been better accompanied by a gentler guitar line. That being said, he has a true entertainers stage presence; both his skill and easy banter made for a fine evening of music. Next time around I'd love to see him with a backing band to fully complement his vocal potential. If you get the chance to see him, it's definitely worth it. But be sure you grab a copy of Blood's To Rich to really hear Luke Doucet at his finest.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Music Makers Thread: White Rabbits... Glass Ghost

The White Rabbits have been laying tracks all over the US this fall and Glass Ghost has been priming the audiences along the way. So, after spending all that time together, it isn't surprising that when asked what band deserved more praise, love and attention they pointed in Glass Ghost's direction. They just released the fantastically surreal Idol Omen which plays like a trippy spin through vividly crisp fall day in a big city. The influences are many, coming from Eliot and Mike's previous dalliances in the funk, hip-hop, jazz and rock worlds. While the tracks stand alone in their refreshingly curious arrangements their true magnificence surfaces when the entire album is taken in one sitting.

Glass Ghost's music represents layer upon layer of unexpected musical combination's that ripple across your consciousness so every time you listen to them you notice new parallels. After having passed it tween my ears more than a few times now I get a very playful sense of anticipation when I try to remember what exactly comes next. My only request is that they get themselves back to Philly so I can catch the live version.

Here is a track but as I said you really need to hear the whole thing so go get your self a copy of Idol Omen.

Mechanical Life

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Quick Vaycay Q&A With Holiday Shores

Holiday Shores are one of the most enjoyable new acts I've come across this fall. Not only is their album Columbus'd The Whim one you can't help but grin and groove to while its playing but they're also a lot of fun live. They come from the beaches of Florida and their laid back attitude is undeniable in their music and in their general outlook...


TWIAPC: You're sound is very much tied to your Florida/beach roots but did you always aspire to capture a new take on the Beach Boys-ish sonic aesthetic? 

Holiday Shores: We love Beach Boys. I think we've all been listening to them since we were very young. So, in a way, we grew up with them and our appreciation for that massive turn in pop music has only grown as well. Influence is a hard thing to trace, but when you've listened to an album like Pet Sounds, or even just a song like Surf's Up, a million times, it will probably make it's way into your own output, even in very small ways.  I think for us, much of the Sixties music we heard as children became our roots music; we didn't know anything else for awhile. So, to hear any comparisons with our music to that music is such an honor. The sound that Brian Wilson created is unparalleled and always will be, but it is also uniquely inspirational and I think we'll always draw from that.

TWIAPC:How has the group evolved during the recording and touring process?

HS: The group has gone through a good amount of changes in the last year. Just before the recording began last winter the line-up began to change and dwindle when responsibilities with school increased. Many times, whole parts of songs would be completed solely by Nathan in his bedroom, or just a couple of us in the living room.  However, a song like Edge of our Lives might be the best example of a group effort, as it was worked out during practices for some shows we played around that time. This summer the line-up changed again with the addition of PJ on bass and Clayton on drums, neither of whom played on the record. At home, we tried to play as many as we could with two drummers, but for touring we actually had to split up the duties because neither drummer could be out for the entire 5 weeks. Our CMJ run was carried out with Clayton, and our Evangelicals tour has been held down so solidly by Ryan, who flew to Phoenix to meet up.
Due to the nature of the recording process, the songs take on varying new colors when performed live, and I think this is something people would probably have to just see us, to see.

TWIAPC:I understand vintage equipment was a rather integral part of the recording process. What did that list include and what are some of their finer contributions on Columbus'd The Whim?

HS: Well, we've all been fortunate enough to come across some awesome, affordable, older gear. Nathan swears by his early 80's Juno-60 and hopes for the best with old Farfisa organs found for cheap. A song like Days Drag really benefits from the amazing patches on the Juno, and the shimmering wash a Farfisa can provide. Coupled with a few pieces of old drum sets, we were able to use a great amount of vintage equipment on the record, from a nice old Sunn bass head to a beat up 60's Fender Jaguar. If you can't have much good recording gear, you might as well get the sweetest sounding musical equipment you can find.

TWIAPC:What prompted the change from Continental Divide to Holiday Shores?

HS: We had been thinking for awhile that Continental Divide didn't mean much to us personally (we had never seen the Continental Divide until yesterday) and on top of that, there is a Bluegrass Group called Continental Divide who had the name long before we did, and probably use it to greater effect.  Right before the record was going off to get mastered, we were all racking our brains for a better, more meaningful name. So, one night, as we were signing rent checks one of us looked at Nathan's street address on the check and said, "Holiday Shores...we should just call it Holiday Shores." Naturally, the name rang deep within Nathan's psyche as it was the street he lived on for much of his adolescent life. But for the rest of us it had no street-name connotations, but rather more restful, new beginning, feelings. "Holiday" is a great word that simply means, a day to remember, a day of celebration, a day of rest. There are a bunch of little communities around the country called Holiday Shores, and most of them are on lakes. I think for us, the name signals a cause for celebration, like an explorer finally reaching a place they can settle down in.

TWIAPC: I've seen you twice now and there is such a chill vibe, which is reflected on the album as well, and you seem to let your instruments and vocals wander within the parameter of your lyrics and arrangements. Is it a matter of well rehearsed or planned chill-ness or genuine looseness?

HS: Hey, thanks a lot. I think this may come from a comfortable feeling we all have playing with each other, and playing live in general. Honestly, its a vibe that comes to us when the music feels good, and that's really great to hear that it's evident. The songs have always felt malleable to us, and in that sense we are able to work within parts and make changes while we move through a song, if the spirit leads...haha.

Holiday Shores are playing Kung Fu Necktie next week (Nov 17th). Don't miss it.

--Phones Don't Feud--

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New To Know: Brazos + Anders Ponders + Sergeant

There is something so casual and smooth about this Texas trio that makes their music ripe for the movie soundtrack picking. On tracks like For So Long Now, the vocals are parsed from the instrumentation in a way that lends it feeling of a lilting conversation. Then in a quick turn to Kid they push out an appropriately playful arrangement while maintaining the story telling lyrical approach. This music is constructed with a engaging intent and intelligence that, as a whole, reads like a landscape witnessed from the passenger seat during a road trip; every element unique but threaded together by proximity and the familiarity of the frame. They are out on tour with White Denim (including a stop in Philly on November 13th at Kung Fu Necktie)
Day Glo

Anders Ponders 

There isn't a single second in Anders Ponders' new album Nodes Of Overtones that isn't completely nourishing for your soul, ears and heart. This Minneapolis artist possesses a pure wit which leads to some incredible turns of phrase (see the Discus Incident) and when combined with his lush instrumental arrangements causes your cheeks to blush with excitement. Ponders explores mythology, astrology and opera with a whimsy and curiosity that are undeniably evident in this collection of seven ditties. Building from a viola base Ponders creates intricate arrangements of instruments and vocals to wrap around his words and ultimately his audience. This will undoubtedly be on my winter soundtrack and I unreservedly demand you give it repeated listens to, please. Nodes of Overtones is out on the 10th.


To round out this edition of NTK I give you this grand Scottish quartet. Influenced greatly by classic UK pop they boys of Sergeant have clean instrumental lines and simple narrative lyrics suggesting maybe the slightest country leanings. Choosing to avoid building the next epic pop ballad instead they include just enough guitar, percussion and vocals to achieve their goal placing them out in front of a mess of bands muddling trying to include all the catchy/trendy/jangley components they can get their hands on. The music Sergeant is making is good clean fun that will take you back to simpler times. Toss in their self titled album and clear your head. They are yet to make it over to the US but if your luck enough to be in the UK they're all over the place for the next few months.
It All Comes Back To Me

Friday, November 6, 2009

Remix Rehash: Duossuedo + Burns + Alan Wilkis


Bertie Blackman's song Thump is originally intended to accompany a late night walk; and, indeed, it does tunes you into that sense of organic rhythm. The Duosseudo kids push it to a more fevered pace while maintaining its smooth soulfulness. Its a perfect iPod night cap jam.
Thump (Bertie Blackman) - Duosseudo Remix


Canadian DJ Burns is at his foot movin hip groovin best with this track. Its the kind of tune you can have on in the background and dip in and out of your chair dance as your attention span sees fit. I recently did a all night drive and this was a staple on that soundtrack. Burns is out on tour with DeadMau5 including a stop in Philadelphia on November 22.
Burns- FrankMusik - 3 Little Words (Burns Back to 96 remix)

Alan Wilkis

This one straight up rocks. Wilkis knows how to give a track a real spit & shine freshness. His treatment of this Shwayze bit even inspires a little thrash rock out. This is must for your gym mix. It gets your pulse up and your energy pumping. His Pink and Purple is also worth your exploration.
Get You Home (Shwayze)- Alan Wilkis Remix

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Kung Fu Necktie 1-2-3 : Pink Skull + Ramona Falls + The Subjects

There have been some fine one off shows at Kung Fu Necktie lately. Acts that, in the chaos of the last few weeks, were threatening to get lost in the maze the can be my mind. In order to prevent these beauts from getting lost in the shuffle I thought I'd throw them together in a potent post of quality gig reviews.  

Philly psych-rock-electro act Pink Skull brought their A game to KFN a few weeks ago. They also brought some of the new funky business off of their soon to be released album Endless Bummer. For those of you unfamiliar with the group, they are quartet of ridiculously taut musicians lead by the feisty Julian Grefe. Whereas in a lot of bands who employ a strong electro component there is often a lack genuine musicality when performing live the exact opposite is the case when you witness Pink Skull in action. You notice the incredibly tight drumming busting out of the back and fresh bass lines countering the rowdy rhythms produced by the mechanical instruments. You also notice you're moving your hips and, if you're willing to just give into the visceral effect of Pink Skull's music, you will soon be dancing your ass off. Its the ideal blend of a rock show and mindless dance party. The material on this new album is, by far, their most consistently enjoyable. Be sure to catch them live while they get out and about to support Endless Bummer.
Endless Bummer comes out Nov. 10 on RVNG

Ramona Falls came to my full attention at the suggestion of Greg Sullo (lead singer from the band Dinosaur Feathers). Prior to that I had heard a few songs of theirs but never given them a true dedicated listen. So, I didn't really know what to expect of the live show. What you get when Brett Knopf and his troupe take the stage is something so distinct and sincere you almost feel as though it is a bit of musical theater. Brett's delivery is emotional and tender, appearing to come from a very unique place, and gently draws you into that world. His band puts an equal amount of themselves out there as well. The drummer was truly a wildly talented and physical sight to behold. The visual intrigue is matched by the intelligence of music something that is far more apparent when heard live vs the recorded material. I couldn't recommend a show more highly. Catch them if you can.


It isn't an easy task playing a week night set in a city enthralled with their team's World Series performance. It is an even rougher spot when one of your co-performers has had to cancel due to van troubles and the other act (ahem Cheers Elephant ** I would like to apologize I was miss informed. They showed but in house canceled the rest of the show**) is a no show. Yet The Subjects fellas went on like it was any other show. Theirs is such a purely enjoyable variety of indie pop that when you get their songs stuck in your head (and trust me you will) it doesn't annoy you it just makes you want to listen to some more. While they do have a slightly more reserved stage presence they present their stunningly witty lyrics and well woven instrumentals so cleanly you don't really recognize how quality their offerings are until their done and you've begun reflecting. You catch a little bit of this vibe on their record but it is so much more delightful to get the live effect.

Winter Vacation