Monthly Archives: May 2010

Phosphorescent: or How I Learned to Stop Worryin' and Love Countrified Classic Rock

I don’t have much to say other than this: If you don’t want to listen to the sun-filled, slide guitar-wielding country meets classic rock of Phosphorescent’s Here’s to Taking It Easy on a roofdeck at sunset with a beer in hand… Well, brother, don’t plan on spending much time with me this summer. This album will be on my top 10 list.

Phosphorescent, “The Mermaid Parade”

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1-Down: The National




My relationship with Ohio’s double brother band The National has been up and down. I fell in love with “Mr. November” when I heard it on the radio, but only liked half of Alligator. At first I disliked Boxer but then really, really warmed to it.

Then, about a year ago, I saw them live at the Electric Factory. Awful. To be fair, the Electric Factory is a poor choice of venue for their postured maudlin sound, but it was by far the worst concert I saw in 2009. “Limp” is the only way I can think to describe their show. My brother and I, in an attempt to salvage their catalog for ourselves, agreed to pretend that we had never gone to see that show. “The National? Like their albums, but never had the chance to see them live. What was I doing on May 29, 2009, you say? Before I answer that question, let me show you something in this dark alley.” That’s the lengths we’d go to to not think about that show: coldblooded murder.

But the lead single from their new album, “Bloodbuzz, Ohio,” brought it back in a Vietnam flashback. “I still owe money to the money to the money I owe” is the best lyric. So topical! So good! Let me show myself something in this dark alley [gunshot].

The rest of High Violet is better. But not by much. And the sound is so well-worn that I’m not sure I’d notice if you subbed one of their songs from a previous album. Maybe it’ll grow on me like Boxer did, but, really, at this point, why would I let it?

But hey. “Afraid of Everyone” is a good song. Neat guitar sound. I dig. Maybe I should see them live someday…

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TalkNarc: Grubby Little Hands

If I were forced to describe our first interview victim, Philly’s Grubby Little Hands, using only bands with five letter names, I’d say they fit somewhere between the Kinks and the Books. If I weren’t using such an arbitrary measuring stick, I’d mention the ethereal quality of A Sunny Day in Glasgow and a touch of the fragility of Elliott Smith. But then their 2009 debut, Imaginary Friends [free stream at VIRB, purchase at CDBaby], has plenty of multi-instrumentalism, several songs that march to a military beat, and a clarinet-laced Dixieland finale. So I’m pretty up the creek for parallels. Let’s just say this: it’s good.

Grubby Little Hands, “Apt 4”
Grubby Little Hands, “Shoestrings”


The only thing the internet seems to know about you guys is that you met in musical theory class. Who are you, what do you all play, and who did better on the final?

We are Donnie Felton from Winston-Salem, NC, and Brian Hall from Wyomissing, PA. We both sing, play keyboard and stringed instruments, and Donnie plays clarinet. We had help on the album from our friend Pete who recorded trumpet on “Feel In My Back” and drums on a few songs. We also recently added Joseph Primavera to the line-up. He plays drums, anything with strings, and vocals. I’m not sure who did better on the final, but late night study sessions are where our first collaborative song-writing efforts came from.

We at Noise Narcs (okay, just me) pay all too much attention to where you’re from: How long have you been in Philly? What neighborhood? Why is/isn’t it the best neighborhood in Philly? What should we eat and drink there? And while we’re at it, what’s you favorite Philly venue?

B: I grew up about an hour west of here, so I’ve always loved the city and its sports teams. I moved to Philly after college, lived in West Philly for the last few years, and just moved to Manayunk. There’s nothing exceptional about the neighborhood, but Dalessandro’s is definitely the best cheese steak joint in the city. Favorite venue would probably be Johnny Brenda’s. It’s big enough to accommodate a large crowd, but small enough to still feel intimate – and they book a lot of great bands.
D: I moved to Philly in June of 2006, so about 4 years ago. I currently reside in Fishtown. It is definitely my favorite Philly neighborhood. There are great restaurants, pubs, art galleries, etc., and it also has a certain blue collar grit that I like. As for venues, I’d also have to say Johnny B’s is my favorite. They just tend to bring in more bands that I like than any other. As for local shows though, I love a good house party or DIY show.
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