Monthly Archives: April 2011

Tripping Through Vanguard’s Vaults

Tomorrow, April 16, is the fifth annual Record Store Day, so be sure to run out and support your local record store whether it’s a.k.a. Music in old city, Repo on South St, tequila sunset or milkcrate records up on Girard, or whatever.

To celebrate the occasion, Vanguard Records has dug deep in its vaults and come out with Follow Me Down: Vanguard’s Lost Psychedelic Era (1966-1970), a two-disc compilation of mostly single album artists from that golden, paisley age.

Tracks range from the Hammond-soaked agnosticism of Listening’s “Stoned Is” (It’s a mean life / I mean, you don’t even know why you scream / but someday I’ll find out what I’ve got to say) to the more experimental, thirteen minute raga-rock vision-quest (complete with electric banjo) of Serpent Power’s “Endless Tunnel,” a personal favorite that exchanges the blue bus of The Doors’ “The End” for a mysterious passenger train headed for death or conformity or something.

Here is “Stoned Is” for your enjoyment.  If the bass sounds a bit familiar (solo starts at 3:20), it’s because Walter Powers would later be known to hold the groove for the (moderately more successful) Velvet Underground.

Listening, “Stoned Is”

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Ticket Giveaway: Wye Oak at Johnny Brenda’s Friday, April 15th

Jerry Seinfeld once asked, “What’s the deal with bands from Baltimore?” By all rights, bands this great (Lower Dens, Beach House, Wye Oak, etc.) should be from Philly. But, alas, they’re not. Next best thing? Getting to see Wye Oak’s darkly beautiful act live. For free. In Philadelphia.

To win two tickets to see Wye Oak at Johny Brenda’s on April 15th (with Noise Narcs’ fave and fellow Baltimorians Secret Mountains opening), like us on Facebook and then email us at with “Move the Good Parts of Baltimore to Philly” as the subject. All emails must be received by Tuesday, 4/12, and we’ll announce the winner Wednesday morning.

Wye Oak – Civilian

Wye Oak w/ Callers and Secret Mountains
Friday, April 15. 9PM. $10
Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N Frankford Ave

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Go see Ben & Drew from Blood Feathers tonight (w/ Juston Stens and Hacienda)

If you told me Blood Feathers played a bad show, I’d be glad to call you a filthy liar. Ben & Drew are opening up for Philly’s own Juston Stens (previously posted on here) and San Antonia’s Hacienda tonight at the North Star. Hacienda turn the early ’60s dial a tad up from the Black Keys’ level, mostly to great effect, as in the Beach Boys-esque, “I Keep Waiting.” And really: do we need any more reason to go to a show after the words “Blood Feathers”?

PS I’ve heard a four track demo of new Blood Feathers tracks, and boy are they scrumptious.

Hacienda, “I Keep Waiting” [Buy]

Hacienda, Juston Stens and The Get Real Gang, and Blood Feathers
Tuesday, April 7th, 9:00PM, $10
North Star, 2639 Poplar Street

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I could not be more excited about the Fleet Foxes

That’s it. The leaked tracks (despite the blah lyrics of “Helplessness Blues”) are amazing. So, yup: I’m excited. About the album, dropping 5/3 on SubPop. About their show at Philly’s gorgeous Tower Theater on 5/21 [Tickets]. About the many hours I’ll spend this year listening to them, basking in melancholy.

Fleet Foxes, “Montezuma”

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The Antlers new track, “Parentheses”: The opposite of slight

I initially fell in love with The Antlers’ Hospice, but its emotional tug fell off for me after repeated lesson. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how my taste in music has been affected by my life situations: music that’s too slight (overwhelmed by the subway) or too harsh (too distracting for work, etc.) tends to get unfairly minimized. And Hospice‘s fall from my good graces was likely the result of that sort of unfair squeeze; no matter how beautiful it was, it was just too slight for what’s going on with my life.

This new track, “Paanetheses” [via Pitchfork], however, won’t fall prey to that. Pulling a major, major page from the last couple of Radiohead albums, it ups the ante with a Greenwood-esque guitar and Selway-esque drums. To be honest, this is as good as, if not better than, most of King of the Limbs.

Keep an eye out for The Antlers’ May 10 release of Burst Apart.

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A New Direction for Noise Narcs: Comparing and Contrasting John Cale and Britney Spears

Hey all,

Compare and merge: Britney Spears and John Cale, together at last

After 15 grueling months of posting on Noise Narcs, things have gotten pretty staid. We post about music, frequently new, occasionally Philadelphian, occasionally on the varying covers of classic songs. Wash, rinse, repeat.

So, as of today, we’re taking a bit of a gamble. Those of you who know me, know that I’m a big fan of Britney Spears. Sure, as Jody Rosen points out, she’s kind of an empty vessel for her producers, but I’m not falling for the authorial pop fallacy (see: Lady Gaga, whom we should all congratulate for writing her boring pop songs all by herself just like a big girl!). “Toxic,” I totally ♥ you.

What you may not know is that I’ve been burning through John Cale’s catalog in between spinning Britney’s new four on the floor masterpiece, Femme Fatale. Cale is different than Britney, but he’s still pretty great. He also had a part in a song called, “Femme Fatale,” although it does not keep all four on the floor, which Britney is really great at.

So for the next two months, we’ll be posting exclusively on Cale and Spears, using the compare and contrast essay system I was taught in middle school. And to start it out, we have Britney’s new song “How I Roll” and John Cale’s old song “Helen of Troy.”

Britney Spears, “How I Roll” [Buy]
John Cale, “Helen of Troy” [Buy]

Britney Spears, “How I Roll”

Bloop-bloopy-bloop. What a way to start a song! H-o-t! But then this song makes me angry. I can’t believe that Robyn has been stealing from Britney all these years. Copy-cat! Speaking about cats, how great is this lyric, “back downtown where my posse’s at / because I got nine lives like a kitty kat”? She can hang downtown with her posse because even after they stab her and watch her bleed to death, she’s still got eight more lives!

Britney’s songs have multiple meanings. The first three times I was really excited about this song because I thought it was “Philly earthquake,” which scared me because I live in Philadelphia. But turns out that the lyric is “feel the earthquake.” I couldn’t feel it, could you?

John Cale, “Helen of Troy”

Eww! Stop talking about big thighs, John Cale. And those horns are weird. Doo-to-de-doooh! Someone should tell Mr. Cale that we’re not in medieval England with Charles Dickens and whatever, riding horses with armor and being colonialists.

But I do like the part where the man with the lisp talks, totally make think of Sex and the City!!! I also like the part where John Cale talks about Britney: “She’s got fat men, vermin in disguise / In the cold rooms of her eyes.”


Although both John Cale’s “Helen of Troy” and Britney Spears’ “How I Roll” are really neat songs about Britney Spears, I like Britney Spears autobiographical version better because: 1) it’s not set to 19th century England knight horns 2) bloopy-bloop-bloop 3) it does a better job describing how Britney Spears rolls, 4) “Helen of Troy” doesn’t talk about cute kitty cats once and 5) “Helen of Troy” does not once ask “can we get blind, like a captain in the sky?” which is a really important question to ask in today’s modern society.

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