Saturday, January 30, 2010

Joining The Orbit To Leslie

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.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Late Dose Of Music Videos

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!

Shy Child - Disconnected 

Shy Child // Disconnected from Stay Loose on Vimeo.

Criss Cross

Mumford & Sons - The Cave

Little Lion Man

Freelance Whales + Animal Tropical @ Kungfu Necktie

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.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Philly Rocks For Haiti

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:
and acoustic sets by

This is an excellent chance to get out for a night of fabulous local music while supporting those in much greater need in Haiti.

Get Tickets here or at the Troc box office.

If you can't make it but still like the idea of getting some music for your donation go check out Paste's Songs For Haiti offer

Monday, January 25, 2010

New To Know: King Expressers + State Champion

King Expressers

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

State Champion

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

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Savoir Adore + Circadian Rhythms At Kung Fu Necktie

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.

We Talk Like Machines

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Trailer for Weathervane sessions w/ Sharon Van Etten

Weathervane released this trailer for Sharon Van Etten's session recorded in December. Pairing such a fantastic artist with this incredible project can lead to nothing but brilliance.

Shaking Through: Sharon Van Etten - Coming Jan.26, 2010 from Weathervane Music on Vimeo.

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.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Songs For Haiti: Donate And Get New Music In Return

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 BordersRed Cross, and Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund.

Go here to donate and find out more.

Lonnie Walker

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.

*Photo by Todd Cook

Monday, January 18, 2010

Quarter Inch Arts

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.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New To Know: Galapaghost + Let's Say We Did + Good Shoes


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

Lets Say We Did

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

Good Shoes

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

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Brand Spanking New Track From Rive City Extension + Win Tickets To See Them Next Week!

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
a spin and enter your name for 2 tickets to the show by sending an email to twiapc gmail com.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Remix Rehash: E-Six + Mikey Mic + Skinny Freidman + Tom Ato + Dirty Disco + Database

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!

Skinny Friedman, one half of local dj duo Philadelphyinze, gives a subtle tweak to this XX track. Its smooth with just a skotch more bump to amp the sex appeal. Wonderfully complementary to the original track.   
Stars (Skinny Friedman Edit)

E-Six (The Crossfader King) has some skills that unfailingly leave me with remixes that are smile inducing and perfect for ripping me from the clutches of a bad mood. This is my new favorite iPod head bopper. I threw in the equally fantastic (but def. more serious) Won't Go Quietly mix for good measure.
My Boy Lollypop (E-Six Remix)
Won't Go Quietly (E-Six Dub remix)

Tom Ato's work came to me via Music Ninja's year end smorgasbord. He slaps a synth rich disco feel onto the Band Of Horses tune. Pushing the measured plodding of the base track to much more danceable levels Ato gives new life to the indie dirge.
The Funeral (Band Of Tomatoes Remix)

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. 
MERP (Database Remix)

 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)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Start 2010 Off Right, Check Out Some Fantastic Live Music

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...

Rural Alberta Advantage (January 6th Kung Fu Necktie)
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 (January 14th North Star Bar)
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.

We Are Scientists + Uninhabitable Mansions (January 20th Johnny Brenda's)
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.

Ape School + Savoir Adore + New Motels (January 21 Kung Fu Necktie)
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.  

Fyfe Dangerfield (of the Guillemots) (January 25th World Cafe Live)
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.

Freelance Whales (January 22nd Kung Fu Necktie)
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!