Today marks the day of the official drop for the Compton native’s immaculate good kid, m.A.A.d. city. It’s a stunning piece of hip-hop. Yes, Pitchfork gave it a whopping 9.5 and a Best New Music designation. But only a legit spin and listen to every song on this record can make a listener understand the depth of this record. One of the most likeable things about it? It’s not about guest spots (even though there are some impressive and well-executed collabs). It’s not about radio hits and not really about selling out stadiums. It’s a poignant family portrait and autobiography full of sophistication and smarts. …
This Hail Mary I tossed up a month ago worked. Jessie Ware announced a short American tour and it’s got a Union Transfer spot on it. Hallelujah. It’s in January (Friday, the 18th), but tickets are only $15. SERIOUS. Her tour’s only got six dates on it. SIX! Boston-D.C.-NYC-Philly-L.A.-San Fran. How cool is that? UT’s getting realer by the month.
Sometimes you gotta take the perks when you can get em’. Not sure if you figured this out by now, but, I’m not getting rich by blogging. Every once in a while, you get a little bone thrown at you (like skybox suite tickets to Rihanna two summers ago). Last week, my editor gave me a voicemail heads-up that there was some sweet goods waiting for me in the office and that the interns who opened the mail were foaming at the mouth. But these two boxes had my name on it. And while I was impressed by the Heineken gear (XL t-shirts and fly baseball lids), it wasn’t really my style or size. But the headphones… my god the headphones.
In a massive box full of shredded paper, was in-laid another huge fabric box with a hinged toplid. When I lifted it up I found the dopest headphones I’ve ever put on my ears. When you spend hours and hours in cafes listening to records like I do, and cannot bear any kind of bus, car or plane trip without an iPod, you settle in with a set of headphones that just get the job done without making you uncomfortable. If money were no object, sure, I’d be rocking BOSE or big, huge multi-hundred dollar headphones. I’ve got phones that stay put for runs or workouts and $10 Sony wrap-around-your-ear phones for everyday listening. But noise-cancelling LED headphones with seemingly-bolstered levels of bass and snare opened my ears to what I’d been missing.
They resale for $170 and make Azaelia’s beats sound totally sickening. I have no idea who sent them to me or why. But I am eternally grateful. The least I could do is advocate for attending RZA’s comrade in Wu-Tang hi-hop, GZA’s date at The Troacdero this weekend. He’ll be doing “Liquid Swords” in full. Get yourself some headphones, listen to some Wu-Tang, and get a ticket to Saturday’s show.
Super exciting news, everyone. It’s becoming clear that a North American tour that skips over Philadelphia is few-and-far-between. Those tours are tours that can frustrate and infuriate. But we try to rejoice in the good and travel to New York or D.C. or Pittsburgh or New Jersey if necessary. That being said, check out these new dates:
MARTHA WAINWRIGHT – Monday, November 19th at World Cafe Live
MASERATI – Monday, November 5th at Kung Fu Necktie
MIGUEL WITH TREY SONGZ – Friday, October 26th at the University of Pennsylvania
BAND OF HORSES – Friday, December 14th at the Electric Factory
THE VACCINES – Saturday, February 2nd at Union Transfer
YEASAYER – Friday, November 16th at Union Transfer
PURITY RING WITH YOUNG MAGIC – Tuesday, January 29th at Union Transfer
MATTHEW DEAR WITH LIGHT ASYLUM – Friday, November 16th at Voyeur
Michael David Quattlebaum Jr. is a rapper from New York who’s style is like none other. In his videos, he easily and casually oscillates between male and female. You can call him a bunch of things: a gay rapper, a trans rapper, a queer emcee, a gender-bending performance artist. None of it really captures the complexity of his talent. Not only can he flow and turn out a video, he can spit freestyle on a dime that’d put a bunch of heteroflexin’ mysoginist rappers to shame.
Now, to be real, before you start pushing play on these videos, they’re not very SFW. He peddles curse words and nastiness in his rhymes, but, that’s what he sees and what he knows. In the fantastic final video of this post, the confessional style of the video follows Blanco around uptown New York where he’s called Harlem his home for some time now.
The news is that the new video for this week is “Haze.Boogie.Flow” and it’s dope as hell. “Wavvy” has been poppin’ off in the club for a while now but we’re desperate for a Philly visit. Let this be an official written request. Mykki – come to us. We’ll keep our eyes open for potential future visists.
We love her. She’s a female rocker Philly can be proud of. No, she’s not really ours. She’s New Jersey’s and now New York’s. But she recorded the friggen’ amazing Epic here in Fishtown, and we’ve taken to writing about her extensively. She’s badass and in this clip from “Later… with Jools Holland” she kind of looks like an Annie Clark and PJ Harvey hybrid. She’s got makeup on and a dress and she looks elegant and raw. Bravo, Sharon.
Here’s a LINK to her doing “Give Out,” too.
A week from tomorrow marks the release of Glen Rock, NJ’s Titus Andronicus’ third LP, Local Business. If you weren’t already sold on the stellarness of their first two (2008’s The Airing Of Grievances and 2010’s The Monitor), you still might be floored by the talent evident in this record. Fine, so Glen Rock is a solid two-hour drive northeast from Philly and practically sits on top of Yonkers, but they’re still our neighbors and fondly patronize our clubs and concert halls. IN FACT: the day that T.A. release this fantastic new LP, they’ll kick of their North American tour right here in Philadelphia.
PUNK IS BACK, they’re proclaiming. And how. The new one rips. It has that faint hint of a Dropkick Murphy kind of punk. The kind of punk that has soaring, bagpipe-friendly screamo choruses but wouldn’t dream of touching that deadly moniker emo. This record may be full of emotions, but would most definitely sweep that kind of shit under the rug and then plant their distortion pedals on top of it to be finessed by Vans. They cite Pulp and Neutral Milk Hotel as influencers of sound but could easily be found alongside: Constantines, Suuns, Foals, Hot Hot Heat, The Gaslight Anthem and The Replacements.
Fri., Oct. 12
Wow. It’s been almost 40 years since Rush, the fabled Canadian rock trio, released their first album called, well, Rush. And the band is still at it 18 studio albums later. Clockwork Angels is their latest masterpiece, born with a story so enormous that drummer Neil Peart published a book alongside its release, telling the tale of a boy following his dreams. Although Peart isn’t Rush’s original drummer, he is the band’s primary songwriter, and in 1997, the band took a temporary break when a double tragedy struck him: He lost his beloved daughter to a car accident, and soon after, his wife to cancer. But it seems nothing can break the bond of this perilous rock band. Soaring album reviews suggest that the Clockwork Angels tour will excite both newbies and the Rushiest of Rush fans. As it should. -Caroline Newton
7:30pm. $43-$123. Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St. 215.336.3600. wellsfargocenterphilly.com
Sat., Oct. 13
Critic’s Pick: The Robert Glasper Experiment
The Houston-born, Brooklyn-based pianist Robert Glasper and his Experiment comes to the World Cafe Live hot on the heels of his new CD, Black Radio Recovered: The Remix EP, a six-track project featuring reworked and unreleased tracks from his masterpiece, Black Radio.
“I wanted this album to be an album that people don’t know what the fuck to call it,” Glasper told PW by phone from Chicago. “I wanted to tap into every part of black music.”
Glasper’s economic and elegant pianism is supported by a dynamic mix of skilled MCs, notable singers and acclaimed producers. 9th Wonder and Phonte add a dancing shade of gray on the jazz standard “Afro Blue,” featuring Erykah Badu. Pete Rock adds Now Rule nuances to the title track, laced with Yasiin Bey’s insurgent invocations, contrasted by Georgia Anne Muldrow’s eerie take on “The Consequences of Jealousy” with Meshell Ndegeocello. Questlove, the Roots and Solange Knowles brew up a not-so-quiet storm on “Twice,” and Glasper and Jewels deliver a pulsating, piano-centric take on David Bowie’s “Letter to Hermione” with Bilal.
“Each producer I choose is melodically inclined,” says Glasper. “They know the right chords to get from a song.”
The last track, “Dillalude #2,” is a moving piece dedicated to the late uber-producer Dilla, with whom Glasper first worked in 1999. “(Dilla) was the only producer that I know who changed the way musicians play their instruments,” he says. “The way I lay my chords, the way I play a chord over a beat, the feel of it, I get from Dilla. That’s why I do tributes to him.”
Glasper’s blend of jazz and hip-hop is parallel to the way bebop musicians in the ‘40s added their own melodies and rhythms to the pop standards of the day. So don’t except some Du Bois-style, double-consciousness angst from him regarding his musical identity. “I’m a hip-hop musician, and I’m a jazz musician,” Glasper declares. “Jazz musicians remix every time they play, and hip-hop is the daughter of jazz. Without jazz, there probably wouldn’t be no hip-hop, which is why it’s so easy to blend them. But at the same time, they are two different disciplines. You have to study both of them.” -Eugene Holley
Sat., Oct. 13, 8pm. $20-$28. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. worldcafelive.com
Sun., Oct. 14
When MTV crowned A Hard Day’s Night director Richard Lester the “father of music videos,” he quipped that he’d like a blood test. He wasn’t joking: The music film has existed in some form since the dawn of cinema. The Phonoscène, which synched a sound recording to a silent film, was created in 1902, and Warner Bros.’ Vitaphone music shorts began in 1926. In the late 1950s, the French company Cameca invented the Scopitone, a twist on the jukebox that played 16mm music films in bars and cafes. It was an idea pilfered from the Soundies of the 1940s, and the craze, which spread through Europe and America, lasted till the late 1960s. Secret Cinema, which has toured the world with their considerable Scopitone collection, will again unleash their wares, ranging from the American (Nancy Sinatra, Paul Anka), the French (Françoise Hardy, Johnny Hallday) to the obscure (Los Brutos, a quartet of Jerry Lewis impersonators). -Matt Prigge
2pm. $5-$8. Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge St., Phoenixville. 610.917.0223. thecolonialtheatre.com
PLUS: UT’s got Calexico and the Dodos tonight, Swans tomorrow, and The Temper Trap on Sunday night, AND The Electric Factory’s got GWAR tonight, AND, OMG, Underground Arts will host Sloan on Saturday night, AND The Keswick hosts Los Lonely Boys tonight, AND the TLA will have ALESANA tonight and Borgore and White Panda tomorrow night, AND The Tower’s got Heart tonight and Celtic Thunder tomorrow night.
This is a real thing that’s actually happening.
Once upon a time, I wrote a post about moving from Center City to South Philly and bumpin’ that U-Haul’s radio when we heard “Instagram That Hoe.” But I couldn’t find ANYTHING about it on the internet. Well, Gawker figured it out. And here you have it: