Good Old War
Sun., 9pm, Ukie Club Field Stage.
Keith (Good)win, Tim Arn(old) and Dan Sch(war)tz are some of Philadelphia’s most revered folkies. They’re vets of bands that once were, namely Days Away and Unlikely Cowboy, but their defining sound now is harmonious, laid-back and homey with countrified strums and handclaps galore. Though they’re tight-knit and back acts like Anthony Green (Circa Survive) and sometimes Person L (The Starting Line), their own creativity bursts from EPs and LPs as a trio signed to the solid Sargent House (These Arms Are Snakes, Maps & Atlases). Drawing comparisons to Crosby, Stills & Nash and the Band, their sunshine-kissed sound is brilliant on feel-good tracks like “Coney Island” and “That’s Some Dream.” With a third record on its way, their set’s sure to be as solid as the catalog of indie folk they’re building.
Sat., 11:30pm, Invincible Pictures Sound Stages.
Tonight marks an exceedingly rare live performance by the amazing Alice Donut—the brilliantly bizarre N.Y.C. art-punk ensemble with the killer rhythmic noise grooves, helium vocals and hilarious lyrical perversions. They’re responsible for the best song title of all time (“The Son of a Disgruntled X-Postal Worker Reflects on His Life While Getting Stoned in the Parking Lot of a Winn-Dixie Listening to Metallica”); one of the best album covers of all time (1991’s Revenge Fantasies of the Impotent —Google image it); and the awesome trombone- centric cover of “War Pigs,” among many other career highlights. If you make one gig all year, make it this one.
Fri., 7:30pm, Kung Fu Necktie.
Loud, fast and sloppy is no way to go through life, son. Well, unless you’re a gutter-dwelling garage-punk band from South Jersey. Just a year old, Explosive Head has got riffs and attitude galore. We’re especially partial to their song “Fuckalicious.”
Sat., 9:15pm, Kung Fu Necktie.
It’s been a minute since Philly foursome the Swimmers dropped People Are Soft , an electro/indie-pop gem replete with sparkly New Wave synth melodies, frontman Steve Yutzy-Burkey’s melodramatic, magnetic vocals (which mingled nicely with wife and singer-keyboardist Krista Yutzy-Burkey’s bright harmonies), and songwriting both sophisticated and fun. Lauded around these parts, the MAD Dragon-released album still didn’t quite get the national attention it deserved. The foursome has been fairly quiet on the live front of late, but we imagine they’ve been hiding out in their lair crafting fresh tunes that’ll blow the last album away. This evening the Swimmers return, hopefully with some of that new material in tow.
Fri., 10:30pm, M Room.
There’s worse things to be obsessed with than Big Trouble in Little China , the best Kurt Russell movie ever. Named for that flick’s creepy sorcerer with the glowing eyes, Lo Pan will probably mesmerize you with their thick, thunderous stoner-psychedelia. Especially if you have green eyes.
Akua Naru & the Digflo Band
Sat., 12:30pm, Girard Fest, Howard St. Stage.
Hip-hop MC Akua Naru briefly lived in Philly, but currently has a fortress in Cologne, Germany. She grips the microphone firmly, spitting prudent verses about enlightenment, revolt and how crucially she rocks crowds. Her six-piece Digflo Band kicks silky head-nod sonics, summoning the early-Roots and Robert Glasper’s new-jazz grooves.
Fri., 9pm, Trocadero.
Long-running Swedish death-metal stalwarts Opeth have always managed to keep things interesting by frequently steering clear of the genre’s usual growls and blast beats by incorporating prog, jazz and acoustic folk textures into their epic songs. Expect plenty of long, shape-shifting tunes from their new album Heritage.
The Tea Club
Sat, 10:30pm, The Fire.
Local sextet the Tea Club are way into the tenets of prog: Expert musicianship, strange time signatures, long and dramatic song structures, and so on. But they also temper the meandering tendencies with solid melodies and cool psych/space-rock sounds. Bottom line: Like Radiohead? You’ll probably like these guys.
Sat., 8pm, TLA.
The elegant chamber-pop and Americana of Philly’s Burning Beds is nothing short of a wonder, what with their symphonic-minded compositions, gorgeous male-female vocal harmonies, and wistful atmospherics. Frankly, we can listen to the XTC-flavored folk of “Ivory Towers” about 100 times in a row, but they’ll play some other great songs tonight, too.
Sun., 2pm, Ukie Club.
PW's Music Issue 2014