I have spent the last day and a half transferring the last year + of posts, pictures and links to a new home on my own server. I'm just now putting the finishing touches on adding some new elements and spiffing up the design and, while I had hoped to get at least one new post up on top of all of these shenanigans, it looks like I'm going to need the rest of today to complete the switch. So, I ask for a little patience in exchange for what I hope to be a much spiffier and more consistently updated World In A Paper Cup.
Things to come:
• Review of the Cory Chisel + Dawes show from last week
• A New To Know post busting at the seams with excellent new bands
• A really exciting new video project announcement
You've read my praises and know very well the soft spot I have for Dinosaur Feathers. If you're smart you've preordered their album Fantasy Memorial. Now, I'm happy to report, you will get your chance to catch them live. They are performing next Saturday [March 6th] at Philly's newest DIY venue The OX Warehouse with Lonnie Walker, Grandchildren,Ape School& The Armchairs. They'll be back around on the tail end of their tour but, as I like to say, see them early and see them often.
Last weekend brought two hot acts to the stage for Philly dance party institution Making Time. After missing Neon Indian's set at the Barbary a few months ago there was no way I was going to miss them again. Alan Palomo brought his full crew with him and let loose their space pop synth navigated jams. Neon Indian's album Psychic Chasm is the ideal fodder for your home dance party needs but when they bring it to the stage they push and pull at their tracks in just the right ways to create a unique experience that truly rowdies up the crowd. They kept it short, hitting all the popular points like Deadbeat Summer, but promised to come back again soon since they're making the obligatory indie band move to Brooklyn. Judging from their presence on the Late Night TV circuit I'd venture a guess that the next time they come through town it'll be at a larger venue. Glad I saw them when I did.
Memory Tapes quickly made their way to the stage after Neon Indian and soon held the attention of all in the room. I was expecting a simple replay of what you get from their recorded stuff - this wouldn't have been bad at all since Making Time is, at its core, a dance party and Memory Tapes have mastered a real nice funky smooth dance vibe - but I was elated to find a far more dynamic set. New Jersey native Davey Hawk, while backed by a good bit of electronic instrumental support, also had a tight live drum accompanying his guitar lead. The nuance of Memory Tapes' arrangements really popped in the live delivery. They satisfied the movers in the crowd by remaining incredibly danceable while those there to watch got plenty to enjoy. It was a very satiating performance and perfect for the Making Time standard.
A Sunny Day In Glasgow
One of my fav Philly acts has created a really awesome video for their single So Bloody So Tight. They're currently on the road for a bit of epic touring so do your best to check them out, that is if they don't disappear into the surroundings.
I received a delightful email from Rosie & Me last week with their new EP Bird & The Whale enclosed. As I expected the 5 tracks contained therein were fantastic. Their playfulness is intact as are the simple twee leaning lyrics. Heres a taste but I strongly recommend you go get the rest and stock up on their older stuff too.
Following on the tails of Sharon Van Etten's session Weathervane, in partnership with WXPN, announced the second artist to be included in the Shaking Through series. Sonoi,a rock trio from Chicago, was selected by Daniel Smith (Danielson) who is curating the first season. You can check out their studio session as well as their single (below).
Finally, the second issue of Vinyl & Vodka has been released. Continuing with the quality content and also with the accompanying Vodcast. This time dedicating their work to Alexander McQueen, the fashion designer who took his life earlier this month. It is a great read so give it a perusal.
There is a level of cheekiness and experimentation found on each track of The Zookeepers new album Good Looking Out. There is a lot of sound piled into this record but the New England quartet holds off on mashing everything together and making it real loud like a lot of bands do these days. Instead, they nibble at synth pop, silly punkishness and really simple piano driven indie sounds. Gula Gula comes off all chill but they play around with it just enough to tease your ear. Lady Gaga is an ADD romp through sampling and hooks that plays a bit like a nervous breakdown, but in a good way. How do they pull all of this off without coming off as aimless goofs? They know music. They are comfortable enough to play around and adventure without getting lost. There is room to tighten up their sonic mission but as a way to get themselves out there Good Looking Out gives you a good sense of their skills. Lady Gaga
It is with great embarrassment and even greater pleasure that I am just now posting anything on Pearl & The Beard. They've been making their way into my playlists for a while now and are just about to release God Bless Your Weary Soul, Amanda Richardson so I simply must bring you into the loop. The group has truly grown into a lush and nuanced indie folk group and this album shows the refinement and craftsmanship that has become the hallmark of a Family Records production. P&TB incorporates some traditional folk components like accordion, accapella chorus and simple string accompaniments with excellent results. When wrapped in their strong lyrical delivery each song achieves soul warming status even in the sadder songs. Pearl & The Beard has already come quite a way as artists and if God Bless Your Weary Soul, Amanda Richardson is any indicator the group's evolution holds a lot of promise. Oh, Death!
I'm away in Vermont for the weekend enjoying a little down time cooking, listening to music (of course), reading and snowshoeing. But I'll be back next week with the regularly scheduled programming. I hope you are having a spectacular long weekend.
Like a whole lotta other folks I've been snowed in today as waves of ice rain, sleet and snow wallop Philly. Snow Days were a rare treat when I was a kid; in Minnesota they pretty much only cancel school when the temps are so cold it is dangerous to be outside. On those chilly days when they did let us stay home my sisters and I would round up our friends and we'd do movie marathons at our house. This usually also included a smorgasbord of comfort food and break to go outside for a little energy release. I have many fond memories of those cozy days with my friends and fam.
The magic is decidedly less palpable as an adult, in particularly an adult who works from home. This morning I was made a little cranky by the prospect of being trapped inside with my work. I'm headed up to Vermont for the weekend so I have scads of work to do before I leave. But, after powering through a good bit of my "to do" list with the help of my stand bys (Ida Maria, Queen, Lookbook and Abba) I was able to settle in and enjoy watching the snow pile up outside. While my chillaxed approach to work after that point, paired with a little whiskey means I still have stuff to knock out yet tonight I thought I would take a moment to provide you all a little Covered In Snow mixtape. Whether you too are tucked in your house for the night or looking out at a sunny sky here is a mix for you.
Lazy (Low) - Mark Kozelek
Winter White Hymnal (Fleet Foxes) - Dirty Mittens
It's Oh So Quiet (Bjork) - Bell
Winter (Tori Amos) - The Accidentals (2004)
Blowin In The Wind (Bob Dylan) - Sam Cooke
Streets of Philadelphia (Bruce Springsteen) - Casiotone For The Painfully Alone
Northern Sky (Nick Drake) - Denison Witmer
Nothing Better (Postal Service) - Ben Gibbard & Jenny Lewis
Some Things Last A Long Time (Daniel Johnston) - Doug Martsch
The Fools are a Brooklyn duo that, upon first listen, took me back to the early days of Righteous Babe Records, Lilith Fair and Tracy Chapman. When good strong female singers tapped a soulful vein but weren't afraid to really rock out. Jen and Uchenna first met at Rutgers U but they didn't start playing music together until they both moved to NY after college. With Jen on guitar and Uchenna on bass they've matured into quite the bluesy duo. It's not terribly complicated just earthy and enjoyable. The duo currently gigs all over NY so if you're in the area be sure to check out one of their shows. Good Day
This group is my new obsession. Everything about their high energy synth pop sits well with me. Its got the essential spaztic bump to get a dance party reved up and the kind of clean power vocals that you can't help but jump in on the action. The Minneapolis act consists of Maggie Morrison, rocking the lead vocals and Grant Cutler, on the "beats." Morrison has a direct line to the pop greats of the 80's. Her vocals croon and sail over the dream electroscape created by Cutler's instrumentals. If I were to actually reveal the number of times I've blasted Wild At Heart and danced around my apartment I'd be exposing a little to much of my crazy chic underbelly than is appropriate on this here blog. But, trust me, it's a lot. Yesterday's Company
Toms River, NJ is responsible for yet another fantastically addictive talent on the scene right now. April Smith, like her fellow Riverians River City Junction, has a penchant for up beat good time music. The girl's got pipes; the kinda of vocal strength that allows her to carry off a flawless retro swing sound while still instilling it with a distinctive indie pop freshness. She comes from the kind of hippie/ folk rock up bringing as I but she's managed to use that rootsy influence to ground her music in a classic appeal. It's the confidence in her voice that keeps her music from simple mimicry. She just did a grand Daytrotter session but here is a track of her new album Songs For sinking Ship.
So many bits of news have crossed my path in the last few days regarding items, people and projects I feel need a little of your attention.
To bring season 2 to a close the folks behind LMM relaunched their website. Now, to keep yourself busy while they take a hiatus from bringing you some very fresh material, you can easily sort through the archives and sample tracks from the various monthly themes. This is a project dedicated to reconsidering the many facets of music from album art to instruments. Well worth the price of subscription for season 3 which will kick off May 1.
Loosing no steam from last week's announcement of their partnership with WXPN on the Shaking Through music series Weathervane Music released the first track from ST's debut series. Each series will feature the work of an assortment of artists. Documenting the process involved in creating, recording, refining and releasing their work. First up for 2010 is Sharon Van Etten and today they dropped her first track "Love More." Swing on over to Weathervane's site to find out more about the project.
Finally, FINALLY after months of waiting news has arrived about the first album to come from of Philly's own Free Energy. After months of slowly leaking out nibbles of their work they let it be known today that Stuck On Nothing will be released to the masses on March 9th. They also offered up a new track. "Hope Child" can be found over at Pitchfork.
Almost Everything I Wish I'd Said The Last Time I Saw You... is the long awaited first full studio album from Brooklyn's Mike Grubbs a.k.a. Wakey!Wakey! After cutting his teeth with a free covers album (something that I have parsed and spread through numerous mixes and playlists), a live album and an EP --not to mention a slew of gigs and a spot on One Tree Hill--Grubbs has really refined his sound achieving stellar status on my indie pop scale. Numerous times, while listening to the album, I found myself paused by his lyrical prowess. Often anchored by his piano playing on previous recordings the introduction of more complicated arrangements on AEIWISTLTISY only serve to build the emotion in each song. The Oh Song mans up with the addition of a burly male chorus while Take It Like A Man weaves in the shrill of the violin to push it off the starting block. It is a great "beginning" for Wakey!Wakey! one that is sure to be followed by even more touring so be sure to catch him when he pass through your surrounds.
Some folks with musical chops interpret the burden of such talent as a calling to fuss and refine until every element of their product is perfect. Tom McRae is no such artist. He is the kind of musical talent that takes great delight in the process; prefers to bask in the experimentation and possibility. On his fifth studio album Alphabet Of Hurricanes his product is the direct outcome of quite a bit of play and shaped by a lot a bit of craft. It's a mixed bag -- as one might expect -- Me & Stetson representing his pop sensibilities whereas American Spirit is a little more alt country. Despite the scatter the assortment is enjoyable as a whole mostly due to the thread of joy in the creation that is found in every track. Out Of The Wall
There is a steady cool to Fink's music that plays off so cleanly you feel as though you're listening to lead man Fin Greenall's private musings. Without hiding behind all the wit and wile of many of today's artists he plays it as it lays. Having spent a number of years as a DJ dabbling in trip hop and acid jazz it isn't surprising his recent work tends towards the understated. With Fink he has been focusing on a slightly more traditional approach to songwriting. The spectacular Distance And Time has a folkier waft while last year's Sort Of Revolution marks a happy medium between folk and acid jazz. The tracks maintain the cool Fink has come to be known for but there is an touch of soul that cannot be ignored. The title track from Sort Of Revolution spreads smooth crooning vocals over a minimal, but propelling, arrangement. The rest of the album plays out in a similarly chill manner making this the perfect soundtrack for your wind down time.
Sort Of Revolution
A chat with Chris Wood is a whirl wind tour of his musical career; first, his gig as drummer for Downtown Harvest; then, the spacey trip-hop side project Grimace Federation; finally, to his main focus right now Orbit To Leslie. Taking on a new role as frontman Wood has high expectations for Orbit, as well he should. The five piece first began a few years ago when Wood returned to Philly after a stint in LA and wanted a few fresh faces for some jam sessions. He called on a childhood friend, some other well respected local players slapped on a phrase he once saw on an organ effect button and Orbit To Leslie was born. What has come of those jam sessions and a grip of well received gigs is a well rounded and worldly dream rock group. Defined by intriguing percussions and steady vocals the band just released The World Was Saved With Chocolate Cake. The album, initially intended to be an EP, is a direct reflection of the fella's assorted styles. Dipping into a few different pools of influence from afro-pop to echoey garage rock it plays well as a whole with some weaker spots but tracks like Chocolate Cake shine bright enough to pull the weight. The further refinement of their sound that is sure to come from supporting this record will only push Orbit To Leslie closer to their full potential.
I am spending my evening catching up on some of the movies expected to get Oscar nods which put my in a visual frame of mind. Coincidentally, there have been a few cool videos to cross my path recently so I thought I'd share them with you real quick. Enjoy! The XX -VCR
Last week brought Animal Tropical & Freelance Whales, two very fresh groups, to Kungfu Necktie for a rollicking good time. Going in I knew very little about Animal Tropical - for example, that it's Ah-nee-Mal Tro-pee-Kal - so I was unprepared for the frenzied punkish energy this Miami quartet unleashes during their set. The abstract psych vibe of the music was punctuated by the most fabulous hand gestures by any performer I've seen, quite possibly ever. Despite a broken keyboard the lead singer kept the show going; delivering a unique vocal style I can only describe as a mix of scat and slam poetry. While that description denotes a degree of chaos Animal Tropical's brilliance lies is in their ability to put it out there and still maintain a sense of control. The full package melds a lot of influences and techniques together to create a very distinct sound and an incredibly pleasing live show. I'm eager for them to return so I can get another Tropical fix.
Freelance Whales, one of the rapidly trending bands on the east coast indie scene, brought their plucky troupe to the stage next. Playing pretty much anything they can get their hands on to create a hodgepodge symphony that, when layered under their dexterous lyrical stylings puts forth on hell of a mesmerizing show. As the groups members float around the numerous instruments on stage - changing location with every song - they maintained a consistant thread of tautly harmonized vocals. Hearing Freelance Whales perform live really brought a new weight to their stellar lyrics. While the music doddles between sweet and romantic to playful they manage to steer clear of the precious "twee" territory by keeping things simple and grounded. All five group members were having a good time with each other, which quickly spread into the crowd loosening a few hip shakes from the packed house. Working through most of the tracks on the new album Weathervane during their set Freelance Whales proved they are worth every bit of their buzz. They will be back on March 5th with Cymbals Eat Guitars and Bear In Heaven, get your tickets now. Hannah
Philly is jumping on the good will bandwagon with the announcement today by WXPN, Philadelphia Folksong Society and the Trocadero that they will be presenting Philly Rocks For Haiti on February 4th. The funds raised will go to Haitian Professionals of Philly who will buy and ship supplies to Haiti. The line-up has some major players from Philly's musical community:
First, tricky riffs grab you. Then, horns swell around you and before you know it you're full sucked into the funky sway of King Expressers. This Brooklyn group originally came together in Accra, Ghana and have drawn influence from soukouss - a melding of afro-pop and caribbean rhythms - to bring us this feel good brand of music. The smooth vocals roll over the up beat horns and dare you not to hit repeat. This is the kind of music you play to turn a sour day around. Real True Story
In need of a little raspy southern dive bar rock? Then get a dose of State Champion. Wearing the whiskey dampened traits of classic alt country they fill Stale Champagne with tracks reflecting their gritty roots and proudly imperfect sound. The group's southern fried enthusiasm marks every note on this record. Lyrically they do a fine job cutting a swath through expected territory; family, love & drinking. Building phrases like "tattoo the words forget her where my feather used to be," that intrigue and drwan you in. I have a sense their live show wears much of the rowdiness captured on this homemade record and I hope to catch it soon. Until then I'll be keeping Stale Champagne on my playlist. Come See What I Have Done
Savoir Adore & Circadian Rhythms took the stage at Kung Fu Necktie this week to mark and early start to my weekend. Circadian Rhythms has been on my list for some time now so I was pleased to finally be able to catch them. Unfortunately, their set left me a little underwhelmed. While I definitely heard the potential for greater things down the road they are still in need of a little refinement. Each song dabbled in a new genre from blues tinged alt country to psych pop and each had its strengths - a brave approach to percussive rhythms that would really shine if played with a little more confidence, for example; however, there lack a cohesiveness that suggests a sense of direction. Their instrumentals were complex and well thought out which made heavy leaning on Beach Boys phrasing and Ary Barroso's Brazil a little disappointing. CR certainly has the musical ability to create something distinct but they need to sit down and decide what that "sound" should be then build their music around that. With a little more focus and work I can see Circadian Rhythms really carving out their spot but right now they are in need of some tightening
Savoir Adore, a band that has received much love from TWIAPC, took the stage next and put on what was probably the best show I've seen them do. Playing songs primarily from their fall release In The Wooded Forest, they won over the crowd and pulled folks in from the bar. Sav Adore's fronters Paul & Deirdre have undeniable sonic chemistry. Her smokey vocals play well with his plaintive indie tuned croon, providing an allure to their pairing that is particularly noticeable in the live show. Their orchestral pop sound is built of deliberately placed synth effects and tight instrumentals. Hearing it live really makes the arrangements pop and the playfulness of the group's stage presence adds a true sheen to the full package. In the previous shows I've seen their only stumble was the flow of their set choices. On Thursday night each song melded well with the next and by the time they reached their final song, an extended version of Bodies, it seemed as if they had just begun. They're going to be out on the road quite a bit in the next few months please do make an effort to see them. Both live and recorded they are a superb use of your hard earned dollar.
In addition, Weathervane announced a partnership with WXPN on Shaking Through an extension of the Project Series bringing independent artists from around the world in to the Weathervane studios and recording the magic that happens. This is a great new phase for the ambitious Weathervane crew, and I couldn't be more excited to see what is yet to come.
Paste has gathered MP3's from a whole slew of fantastic artists to entice you to donate to those in need in Haiti. You shouldn't be waiting for more reason than simply to help others after this tragedy but this is an excellent opportunity to give and hear some new tunes. Money raised will go directly to Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross, and Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund.
Lonnie Walker has got something to offer. In fact, they've got the kind of music offerings that takes you back to the days when riffy guitars and keen but off center vocals were first wafting from small clubs. This North Carolina outfit has clearly spent some time with a well rounded garage rock/alternative archive; but, instead of churning out replications they have taken the lessons learned and added a alt country vibe. They dabble in the story telling tradition on tracks like Summertime which builds to what could be called a indie hootenanny jam. They are also capable of slowing down for a little sweetness like the quirky Back Home Inside With You. Lonnie Walker operates on variety levels and each is as enjoyable as the next. They've recently begun a bit of East Coast touring and will be stopping in Philly on Wednesday at DangerDanger gallery. Check out their site for the rest of their stops.
While catching up on my blog reading over at Slowcoustic I stumbled on the local music supporter Quarter Inch Arts. They are dedicated to promoting local music and hosting local artists at the Green Line Cafes in West Philly. They have just assembled a stellar compilation of local artists that you simply must check out. Take a gander at the list below....
Go on to here, download your copy and learn a little more about Quarter Inch Arts efforts.
The ukulele has been popping up in indie music with increasing frequency in the last year or so. Usually the tool of twee-ish cutie crooners wanting to up the plucky appeal of their songs. Galapaghost, the brainchild of Casey Chandler, is ukulele centric but more assertive than we're accustomed to hearing. Don't get me wrong, this is far from thrasher ukulele. The lyrics are sigh inducing and the arrangements plod along with just the right amount of quirk. Throughout Our Lost Generation Chandler's voice is the factor that keeps Galapaghost away from sticky sweet territory. While in the higher ranges for a few measures he flexes some range which keeps the music grounded. You're All I Need is prime fodder for a mixtape for your crush while Lost Generation may very well find itself in a sitcom montage. Great weekend listening for you. You're All I Need
Let's Say We Did are definitely coming from rock and roll roots, mostly of the mid-seventies variety. On their new EP the Swedish group brings the clean lines characteristic of their retro inspiration into the now by fuzzing out the high end and pushing their bass to the front. This isn't complicated music making and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, I find it most enjoyable. Follow Me Down has enough going on instrumentally to make multiple listens reveal a little something new each time while the lyrics are simple enough to get caught in your head. Its a good start for this Swedish group and I look forward to hearing more from them in the future. Follow Me Down
These boys gots lots of energy. The music that makes up their new release No Hope, No Future has the aggressive percussion and jangly guitars essential for good dancing music. Exploring the boundaries of a distinctly indie punk tradition Good Shoes dabbles in the disco realm on Under Control and slows things down to indie pop ballad range for City By The Sea. The arrangement on City By The Sea is deceptively delicate, the product of a group applying an impressive degree of intention to their work. Each track has something to offer and when listened to (and considered) as a whole further depths are revealed. I will admit I am fully addicted to this album and really hope a trip to the US is in store because the live show has got to be incredible. Under Control
River City Extension were kind enough to share a track off their pending album and AND let me give away two tickets to their show next Thursday (the 14th) at North Star Bar. They're phenomenal live. Raucous and noisy and clearly having a ton of fun on stage. Just the kind of show you want to kick off the year with. So, give
Haven't posted a remix rehash in a while but I figured it was the best way to ease us all back into the work week after the long holiday weekend. This one has a lot of layers suit your needs, from chair dance party to "one hour to go" amp up, doownload and get back to work!
Dirty Disco has the music for you to crank when making a getaway. This spin has thread hollowness that definitely reminds me of the potential to feel alone on the dance floor. Yet the rest of his machinations swell up to suck you into the comfort of the trance-ish beat. Loud & Clear (The Dirty Disco Remix)
Database, a Brazilian tag team, take this Savoir Adore track and add just enough digital pep to make it even more addictive.Their additions create a new propulsion the pops and whirs in time to the vocals.
is a Swedish dj who, in a rather bold move, has chosen to tackle Marvin Gaye' s Ain't No Mountain High Enough. While the original is far too deep in my heart to lose preferred status this is an interesting new approach to the R&B classic. Lets call it a thinking piece. Ain't No Mountain High Enough (Mikey Mic Remix)
Well, its a whole new year. In fact, its an entirely new decade. Lots to look forward to as TWIAPC rounds the one year mark; more music to share, interviews to do, horizons to expand and shows to see. Taking a gander at the concerts on the docket at Philly's venues for January leaves me optimistic at the many more that are to follow. You can find a whole bunch of Jan gigs on the TWIAPC calendar but there are a few I wanted to bring to your attention...
If you aren't already onto the path of Rural Alberta Advantage make them one of your New Years resolution. Effortlessly enjoyable indie-punkish-pop that will make a venture out of the house on a wednesday in winter well worth it.
Locksley (Month long residency at the M Room. Every Wednesday night) Just your standard "doo-wop punk" band these fellas are holding down a month long residency at M Room with a rotating cast of openers. They will be gathering a lot of attention this year so I'd say get (a lot of) them while you can.
River City Extension is one of my favorite local live acts. They give you plenty to watch and way more to listen to and all of it is incredibly enjoyable. On the North Star stage this will be a great show. Plus they're opening for the strangely fascinating Swedish band Movits.
The boys of WAS are touting this as a show dedicated to rolling out new material from their forthcoming album. We're lucky to a stop on this mini album taster tour and it will definitely satisfy fans and newbies alike. Uninhabitable Mansions are the most perfectest group to get this show started.
This local-ish line up ( Sav Adore is from Brooklyn) is chalk full of promise and a whole lotta talent. Ape School brings good spirited indie psych rock, Sav Adore throws in a touch of synth-loving pop and New Motels contribute a surf rock flavor. This show will leave your ears totally satiated.
Better known as a member of Guillemots, one of my favs, Fyfe is releasing a solo effort this year and doing this little tour thang to support Fly Yellow Moon. It is an excellent endeavor and will surely be a fantastic show.
Much hyped and for good cause. Freelance Whales are good. Real good. They're quickly ascending the indie rock totem pole and catching them at KFN will allow you to witness them in all their glory in the smallish surrounds. Don't miss this show!
The links posted on TWIAPC are intended for your aural sampling pleasure. If you like what you hear please go to your record store or preferred industry friendly webstore and throw down your hard earned bills for their hard work. Or, better yet, go see them live. Many MANY of these acts are scattering themselves all over the country to bring their music to you and rarely cost more that $15.
If you're an artist (or represent an artist) whose work I have featured and you would like it removed please contact me TWIAPC gmail and it will be done so immediately.