The weekend calls a little early, since I'm off until Saturday, when I'll spend the day sauntering around the WXPN All About The Music Festival on the Camden Waterfront. Have wifi, will blog, stream, shoot, search for old friends and Flying Fish, report on haberdashery.
I haven't been to one of these fests since they decided to use Philly as a backdrop, and it's an opportunity to catch the New York Dolls and Marah (among others) on Friday for cheap. Saturday kicks off with sing-a-longworthy locals Slo-Mo, named for Mike Brenner, who's found his muse in Mic Wrecka. Then get up for Konono No.1 from Congo. The best backgrounder I could find on the group was from The Suburbs Are Killing Us, where blogger Christopher Porter describes going ga-ga over their strange distortions and otherworldly Congotronics. He reprints a letter from their producer, who describes the cool effect he got after slipping a distortion pedal under the guitarist's foot. Or hear here and listen for yourself.
Next comes Josh Ritter, he of the brooding looks and deeply personal songs. The Idaho native ditched neuroscience for music at Oberlin. He's put out four full-length Cds since. You can hear him with band here, from a visit last month to the World Cafe. Or this version of "Kathleen" via the Bows Plus Arrows blog.
We knew he'd snagged a gig traveling across the U.S. for Traffic.com this summer and blogging from the road.
But who knew he had such a hawk nose for a story?
You'd have to have Dan DeLuca's pro-edition festival moves to take in all the worthy music coming to the area this weekend, from Bob Mould and the Flaming Lips at Penn's Landing to Paul Simon at the Borgata, Sheryl Crow then Ringo Starr at Trump Taj Mahal, Jolie Holland at the Tin Angel, The Radiators at Havanas then Bonnie Raitt and Keb' Mo' at the Mann Center. A post-punk return of Mission of Burma and a visit from Memphis soulman Dan Penn complete the string.
This is the first of back-to-back music weekends on the Delaware, starting Saturday with SOCO Music Experience, when Penn's Landing plays host to Cowboy Mouth, Ozomatli, Bonerama, Shannon McNally and Beatin Math. Sunday's show features De La Soul, Bob Mould,The Legendary Shack Shakers, American Princes and the Flaming Lips. And it is free. (Next week is the 'XPN annual fest, on the Delaware's east bank, aka Camden.)
He died of cancer at home in Cambridgeshire.
He'd lived in reclusion for 30 years, since a drug-induced breakdown.
Something you may have missed on your calendar is an appearance by legendary albino bluesman Johnny Winter. The guitar great headlines a Saturday mid-day festival at Buck County Custom Cycles, which features not just classic blues and rad wheels, but a tattoo contest, bikini contest, and DJ Michael Tierson, who will fit right in. Any of you kids too young to remember collecting records might have missed the adventure of turning over side three of the double-lp Second Winter and finding ... absolutely nothing. A complete blank. What a groove. Found something on Mars to listen to from a later album, but same period. Hint: It's a gas, gas, gas.
I'll recommend a local band playing the Khyber on Friday, based on a song I downloaded from some Mp3 site months ago, the sort of tune that makes you stop walking, and ask the dog to stay as you check our your iPod so you remember who's playing. For the record, it was "October Song" by Audible. When the perfectly sweet harmonies led to a rollicking synth solo, I took notice, and synth rarely swings me. They got some songs from their EP Weekend up for downloading on their web site.
Everyone else I know seems to be recommending The Boredoms at the Starlight Lounge Friday, because how often do you get to hear a straight-outta-Osaka envoy from the Japanoise scene? A Wiki entry calls them part Sun Ra, part Butthole Surfers. Any band that inspired this temple of worship is worth catching.
With "America's greatest rock band" calling it quits (that's the laurel of critic Amy Phillips in Pitchfork), went picking through the MP3 blogs for the sorriest love sonnet to the Olympia, Wa., alt-rock grrrls known as Sleater-Kinney.
Is it RBally?: Amy is dead on about Sleater-Kinney being America's greatest rock band . . . on so many levels they were arguably the most interesting and consistent band of the past decade. And on a personal level, I never tire of the band . . . I literally listen to S-K almost every day of the year as at least one of the band's tracks works its way onto each day's gym/cycling mix.
Dreams of Horses?: Sleater-Kinney have announced that they are going on "indefinite hiatus." This saddens me to no end...or hopefully, it will end when they come together again. What a sad day for the music world.
Guess who's 64 today?
Before I was a card-carrying rockist, my closet impeccably stocked with Let It Bleed, The Band, Forever Changes, A Long Time Coming, etc ... I was a power-chord fiend with braces and a robin's egg blue Gibson Kalamazoo.
Which meant my record collection included such hormonal surges as Atomic Rooster, Frijid Pink (they did a turned-up-to-11 cover of "House of the Rising Sun"), the first Black Sabbath album, and a delicate guitar workout called Vincebus Eruptum. It featured a fuzz-drenched version of "Summertime Blues" that would have killed Eddie Cochran if he weren't already dead in 1968.
ESPN baseball guru Pete Gammons is releasing a CD of rock and roll covers and an original song next month on Rounder Records.
Before we make room for it in the closet with the William Shattner and Shaq records, know that it starts off with a version of Warren Zevon's "Model Citizen" and that the original number is a ode to Lowell George, the late, great Little Feat leader.
Now it's Barbra. Her first national tour in over a decade. Begins here. We are not worthy.
Tickets for Ms. Streisand's Oct. 4 return to her public go on sale Monday, June 19th. The music biz's No. 1-selling female artist appears at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.