Tag Archives: Upcoming Shows

Things That are Unfair

I didn’t get to be a twin growing up, and I also didn’t get to be an indie musical superstar, as I used to fantasize I might when I was little and wrote music on my Casio. Apparently, the School of Seven Bells identical twins, Alejandra and Cladia Deheza, got to fulfill all of my secret dreams.

From the songs I’ve heard so far, the band’s sophomore release (the band is comprised of the Deheza twins + Benjamin Curtis, formerly of Secret Machines), Disconnect from Desire, builds on the last one, offering a layered, complex, gorgeous, melodic sound in the vein of Lush,  the Cocteau Twins, and others. My favorite track so far is the extremely Stereolabesque “Babelonia.”

Apparently, the band writes the lyrics first and then builds music around it, which is pretty much the exact opposite way I’ve always composed. I always like to learn about people’s methods, for making music, writing, and everything else. Are there videos out there of famous bands in the process of writing music together?

The band is playing at the Majestic Theater in Madison, Wisconsin on September 15, and I plan on being there in order to be lured in person by these ladies’ siren songs.

School of Seven Bells: “Babelonia”

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I said of laughter, It is mad; and of mirth, What doeth it?

The album cover is a reference to Tarkovsky's 1966 masterpiece, Andrei Rublev.

Though the days are growing longer, we are not done with winter yet.  Around this time of year, some among us get restless, they pace and cry out for violent spring like wild things when they’re bound.  Not me.  At least not recently.  Instead, my seasonally-affected mind starts thinking gentle, apocalyptic thoughts.  Not like a zombie apocalypse or a global flood (well…occasionally like a zombie apocalypse), but like the slow, inevitable quietus of universal entropy.

The album that lately has been suiting my late-winter mood is Midlake’s recently released The Courage of Others.  If the book of Ecclesiastes had a soundtrack, this would be it.

I’d never heard of these guys until about a month ago (unlike Jason Lee, who apparently took such a shine to them that he directed this weird video starring his baby’s mama, Beth Reisgraf, for a song from their second album) but the five former jazz students from the University of North Texas that form Midlake have already gone through several musical phases: from Herbie Hancock-inspired fusion to something like a less rocking, less experimental version of the Flaming Lips, to finally what they are on this album.  It’s undoubtedly my favorite incarnation, a sort of 1970s-sounding folk-psych that reminds me of The Byrds but way better.

They’ll be making a stop in Philadelphia to play a show at the TLA on April 10 before heading to Europe. But by then it will be Spring.

Midlake, “Acts of Man”

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Wild Beasts, Thurs, 2/25, Philly

Wild Beasts, 2/25, Johnny Brenda's, Philadelphia, PA

What to drink:
Victory Hop Devil (on cask)

Since I got a little purchase happy the last time I purchased R5 tickets, I’ve got a lot of shows I’m slated to go to in the next few months*. And since I love talking about the cool nerdy things I do, everyone would enjoy people wouldn’t hate if I wrote about them, if for no other reason than to revisit non-new music and brag about how great, cheap, and full of tasty beers Philly’s show scene is.

I know I’ve blabbered to people about Wild Beasts before, I’ve ranked it my favorite album of 2009, and that some of you can’t stand them, but I’m going to keep flogging this dead beast until it pulls a load.

Wild Beasts are from Kendall, England, and produce a sound that’s hard to explain: Disco-ish loops? Indie guitar rock? Theatrical vocals? For the top ten list, I described it as “Queer-forward rawk with mesmerizing live loop-like guitar and singing that flips from sweet to hard, constantly whispering bitterness and beauty.” These descriptions aren’t adequate, and I love how tongue tied I am. This is music bursting at its seams. I know many of you are put off by the countertenor, but fight through it, this is music worth letting grow on you. Like dancing barnacles.

“All The King’s Men” is from their sophomoric Two Dancers.

Wild Beasts, “All The Kings Men”

And for the already convinced, a bonus video of “Sylvia, A Melodrama,” a B-side from 2007: (after the jump)

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Vile Dog: Philly Rock from East and West

A great dual headline show just popped up on the Philly radar: Kurt Vile and Dr. Dog, 3/2, Rotunda. Penn students only, but I’m hoping to duck in on the heels of the one I’m shacked up with.

Kurt Vile has been a mainstay of Philly’s freakfolk/noise scene for a Philly minute. Although I’m most in love with his work as guitarist in The War on Drugs (who, despite having one of the worst names outside of Dramatic Oil Company, had one of my favorite albums of 2008 in Wagonwheel Blues), his solo tracks are pretty fantastic. His sound is very much attached to the whole northeastern Port Fishington neighborhoods: lots of distortion and PBR, a new Philadelphia fitfully emerging from one of its historically troubled but proud spots. “Space Forklift” is from his 2008 (pre-Matador signing) Constant Hitmaker. He worked a forklift for Philly Brewing Company, so next time you’re drinking a Kenzinger, think how much better it’d be if it had been brewed in space.

Kurt Vile, “Space Forklift”

Dr. Dog are about to release their sixth album of Beatles-esque pop. And they couldn’t be more West Philly: rough city meets Penn, anarchy meets boho, and everybody hanging out on Victorian porches. “Shadow People” dropped via Stereogum last week, and even though I’m a little iffy on the track, Shame, Shame is still one of my most anticipated albums of 2010. Plus, their guitarist taught me how to open beer bottles with blunt instruments, so Matt and Cyd, we’d’ve been screwed at Miller Park without them. And to please those of you who don’t hate Australians, I’m also including their fantastic cover of Architecture in Helsinki’s “Heart It Races.”

Dr. Dog, “Shadow People”
Dr. Dog, “Heart It Races” (Architecture in Helsinki cover)

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