There are a lot of reasons to ignore Tyga’s “Really Raw,” from his forthcoming album Careless World. Some real clunkers of lines (which is more cringe-worthy? Tyga’s “Ever seen Piranha? It’s like the movie Jaws again” or Pharrell’s “Watching pornos on the iPad, thats really raw”). Snoop Dogg’s unnecessary presence. Even though he’s at his best, the reminder that The Game is still around. Tyga’s confusing “Chilly raw cheesesteak made up in Philly.” Inquiring minds want to know: which cheesesteak shop is selling raw cheesesteaks? My money’s on Geno’s.
But… Jesus. The way Tyga raps himself around the production. That detuned guitar. The horn hits. Pitchfork calls it “a cocktail bar cover of classic RZA, an almost cartoonish Cuban Linx tribute.” That sounds about right. Against all odds, the Neptunes are back, and they are, iPads or no, really raw.
Last time we checked in with Work Drugs for an interview, they had only released one track. Sure, anybody can roll with a one hitter, but were Work Drugs in it for the full bong? Two tracks later and the answer is a definitive yes. Gauzy beauty follows:
It’s tempting (to me, at least) think of Wavves in light of the financial crisis. At first glance, the sneering irony, the punk-like-fury without the punk, the air of apathy calls to mind the Gen X indulgences of the last economic cycle. And, given that Nathan Williams formed the band in 2008, wouldn’t it be easy to dismiss his (and Best Coast’s) music, as The Inquirer‘s Sam Adams does, as having “no women or… men … just girls and boys fumbling their way through an adult world”?
But when Adams dismisses Wavves as stumbling “on and off stage quickly enough, that no one was the wiser” to the monotony of their sound, I have to wonder: what show was he at? Ripping through a set that continually dragged people away from the cramped bar of Starlight, Wavves proved themselves something more. While “Idiot” and “I’m So Bored” have always sounded a bit flat to me on record, live and with the ecstatic playing of ex-Jay Reatard backers Stephen Pope and Jacob Cooper they were pulsing and angry but oddly delicate. On Tuesday, it was palpable that Williams’s subject is his own self-aware callowness: “I won’t ever die/ I’ll go surfing in my mind / I’m not supposed to be a kid / But i’m an idiot.” This is the sound of a generation waking up to find that the bright future they took as their birthright will never be inherited. This is the sound of a generation, despite their irony, despite their sneer, despite and because of their aggressive stance, that is deeply scared.
What Best Coast is I’m less sure. The crowd thinned after Wavves set, never a great sign for a headlining act, even if the opener is your boyfriend. And the fuzzy but slick playing of Best Coast’s album never materialized. The somnolence of Ali Koehler at the drums made me dream of Meg White: although Meg may not have the chops, she plays. Leadsinger Bethany Cosentino was still captivating (and fetching), despite a pre-gig trip to the ER for a respiratory infection. And the presence of a cover of Loretta Lynn’s “Fist City” was instructive if not particularly outstanding: with their pop sensibilities with country undertones, Best Coast should take a page from Lynn’s lovelorn, fierce, and perfectly-constructed songbook. As the band exists now, they have moments of pop brilliance (“When I’m With You,” “Girlfriend”) that unfortunately do not hold up well to sustained attention. A few too many songs that sound the same and end up making me wonder that for all their pleasurable packages, what’s inside?
A couple of months ago, several of the Narcs realized that we’d postedquiteafew David Lynch-related posts. When we learned that David Lynch would be releasing two singles on Feb 1, it only made sense to do one thing: turn Noise Narcs into David Lynch central. Between Jan 31st and February 4th, we’ll be posting (almost) exclusively on David Lynch.
A Philadelphia-based blog devoting a week to David Lynch isn’t as random as it may first appear. In the mid-1960s, Lynch attended Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. It was in our fair city, with the creation of two experimental animated shorts (“Six Men Getting Sick” and “The Alphabet”), that Lynch began his film career.
Lynch’s experience with the city wasn’t, shall we say, entirely positive:
The house I moved into was across the street from the morgue, next door to Pop’s Diner. The area had a great mood – factories, smoke, railroads, diners, the strangest characters, the darkest nights. The people had stories etched in their faces, and I saw vivid images-plastic curtains held together with Band-Aids, rags stuffed in broken windows, walking through the morgue en-route to a hamburger joint.
We lived cheap, but the city was full of fear. A kid was shot to death down the street, and the chalk marks around where he’d lain stayed on the sidewalk for five days. We were robbed twice, had windows shot out and a car stolen. [The City of Absurdity]
Thank God Lynch didn’t live in Philly during its current cultural revival because his crime-plagued stay in the city of brotherly love was a formative experience in the creation of his masterful debut, Eraserhood. In a move symbolic of Philadelphia’s troubled struggle with history and rebirth, the neighborhood that Lynch lived in (his apartment was at 13th and Wood) was blandly rechristened “the loft district.” But Philadelphians are both too clever and resistant to PR speak for that. A movement has started to rename the area, paying tribute to Lynch and his first film: Eraserhood. Check out the neighborhood’s Facebook page and check back next week for a truckload of David Lynch goodness.
Real talk: I was too lame to listen to Dismemberment Plan in 1999. Despite the accolades, despite the badass cover, despite the sweet ripped-from-Groundhog’s Day band name, I dropped the ball on listening to Emergency and I (and then, later, Changes). And by the time I really got into them, and boy did I, they were wrapping up their last tour. And I’ve bitterly regretted that I never got to see them ever since.
But even the uncool get a reprieve. And we’re all invited to Philly’s Starlight Ballrooom to see them tonight, with the excellent Cymbals Eat Guitars opening. And for those whose stomach lurched when tickets sold out months ago, a doulbe reprieve: R5 has re-opened the box office and a limited number of tickets are available.
The Dismemberment Plan w/ Cymbals Eat Guitars, Trophy Wife
8:30PM Thu, Jan 27, 2011
Starlight Ballroom, 460 N 9th St, Philadelphia
[Buy Tickets, $20]
Even more evidence of my continued uncoolness. When Wavves first hit the scene, I wrote them off as just another likable noise outfit. But a video of “So Bored” set to Home Improvement wipes and a fucking killer third album wrote me off as just another clueless Noise Narc. Wavves’ stoner noise rock is for real.
And to prove that the concert gods love us, The Wavves are touring with girlfriend/killer musician Best Coast. And if you don’t love the Ronettes with a Wall of Noise (yuck yuck) sound they’re laying down, exemplified by the absolutely perfect “Boyfriend,” then you should check your pulse.
Wavves & Best Coast w/ No Joy
8:30PM Tue, Feb 1, 2011
Starlight Ballroom, 460 N 9th St, Philadelphia
[Buy Tickets, $15]
In November of 2009, a New York friend was in town with his girl. As one of my major goal’s in life is to have denizens of other cities repent of their evil ways and admit Philly’s superiority, I leafed through the listings, desperate to find that ONE PERFECT SHOW that would blow his Five Boroughed mind. And I came up empty.
But I had heard some vague buzz about Cheers Elephant, and set out to hear them at Johnny Brenda’s, sound unheard. Long story short: his (cutely dressed) girlfriend worried that she wasn’t flanneled up enough “for Williamsburg” (ouch) but then Cheers Elephant took the stage. Their heavily early-mid Kinks sound ripped through us. And I couldn’t scramble home fast enough to grab a copy of their self-titled debut.
I loved it. And then forgot about it. Somehow it never got added to my iTunes. So it was a real pleasure to find it lurking in a random folder a few months ago. Even more of a pleasure? Finding how much they’ve improved with their sophomore album, Man Is Nature, which was released on January 8th. The Kinks influence is still there, but much less pronounced. If The Kinks were known for zigging and zagging with their sound, Cheers Elephant are staying true to their spirit by moving away from their sound. More lush. More guitar jams. Further refinement of their superb songwriting. And like any good Philadelphian, they love them some bikes.
In the next two days, some of Noise Narcs’ favorite Philly acts are playing in Philly. And both have some Noise Narcs connection. And man are we excited.
Tomorrow, 1/20, a Drew Mills and Ben Dickey of Blood Feathers perform a rare, stripped-down set at Philly’s intimate Tin Angel, featuring “material from the Blood Feathers songbook as well as a few surprises.” I wonder who suggested that a stripped-down set at the Tin Angel? And more importantly: Ohboyohboyohboy. Sounds like new material to us. As if that weren’t enough of a draw, charming-as-all-get-out Birdie Busch co-headlines. [Tickets]
And tonight, Philly’s Cozy Galaxies (who recently got both WXPN and Philebrity love, not to mention releasing a new video, right ) play at Kung Fu Necktie with Secret Mountains, Clean Equations and Giant Mind. Cozy Galaxies should be no stranger to the Noise Narcs audience, but Baltimore’s Secret Mountains probably need some introduction. Coming from the same rich vein as fellow Poe-citiers Beach House and Lower Dens, they’re a band I’d keep a very close eye on. Starting tonight. Oh, and speaking of Cozy Galaxies, someone floated a rumor that they might be playing a gig on March 19th as well…
That’s pretty much the gist of “Don’t Know About You,” the single off their recent self-titled release. For an s/t, it’s been a long time coming. Philadelphia’s Bardo Pond has been playing and recording muddy, scary acid rock for over 2 decades now. I saw them play a free show at Kung Fu Necktie a few years ago, and even without drugs they were a trip. This latest album is a heavy dose: a distillation of the genre that peaks somewhere during the outer-space blues of “Undone,” a 21 minute track that recalls the pioneering heavy psych of Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain,” which also makes for pretty great (sorta) church music.
Ugh. What’s worse? A blogger’s spelling pun, or an American band’s name utilizing British spelling? What’s definitely not the worst is the subject: Favourite Sons, whose album we recently identified as our 29th most-anticipated release of 2011, rose from the ashes of Philly’s Aspera (those ashes have good company, Noise Narcs favorite and Blood Feather Drew Mills was also a member). The titular track of their upcoming The Great Deal of Love, to be released “soon,” has everything we need in a winter warmer: a gravelly and emanating voice, plenty of opportunities for drunken singalongs, exquisite schadenfreude, and enough bouncy melody to pretend that it’s already spring.
Earlier this week, we posted on our most anticipated releases of 2011, saying of Kurt Vile’s upcoming Smoke Rings for my Halo “Which Philly album is more hotly desired, Kurt Vile’s or Man Man’s? With Kurt’s new single ‘In My Time’ demonstrating a more approachable sound, it has to be his. Until we hear music from Man Man’s at least.”
And now, Kurt’s released the second single from it. “Jesus Fever” demonstrates Vile’s amazing knack for letting his repetitive guitar line fall all over the place until it reaches a fragile perfection. Clock’s ticking, Man Man.