Tuesday, March 31, 2015

POSTED: Tuesday, February 17, 2015, 4:23 PM
The official Firefly lineup, question marks included.

So is Paul McCartney playing the Firefly Festival, or isn't he? Last month, organizers promised a lineup announcement was just around the corner for the Delaware mega-music festival which takes place in Dover from June 18 to 21 this year.

When it didn't come as quckly as planned, a Twitter account called @EDMsecrets leaked a mighty official looking poster that had McCartney, Kings of Leon and The Killers listed as headliners, with Morrissey, Snoop Dogg and Foster the People listed on the line below. 

Now, this afternoon, the lineup has officially been announced, and all those names are on it except McCartney's, with a string of question marks occupying the place his name was. The rest of the official poster also bears a strong likeness to the leaked bootleg one: Sturgill Simpson, Modest Mouse, DJ Mustard, Spoon, Charli XCX, and Matt & Kim are all on there.

POSTED: Monday, February 16, 2015, 10:18 PM

Lesley Gore, who died of lung cancer on Monday at the age of 68, is often cited as a proto-feminist pop music heroine, mostly on the strength of her hit "You Don't Own Me," which reached #2 on the charts in 1964 when she was just 17.

Rightly so. "You Don't Own Me," which was written by Philadelphia songwriters John Madera and David White (who also wrote "At The Hop" for Danny & the Juniors) is a song of explicit defiance that says what it means in blunt, direct langauge. "Don't tell me what to do, don't tell me what to say!," sang the born in Brooklyn, raised in Tenafly, N.J. teen, who later graduated from Sarah Lawrence College. "And please, when I go out with you, don't put me on display!"

4th September 1964: American pop singer Lesley Gore is giving up full time singing so that she can continue her education. 18 year-old Lesley, who sang 'It's My Party, I'll Cry If I Want To' is in London at the start of a British tour, after which she will go straight to university near New York. (Photo by Keystone (Getty Images)
POSTED: Friday, February 13, 2015, 9:25 AM

Drake is the latest to spring a surprise album on his fans in the middle of the night.

It was rumored that the Canadian rapper last heard from with Nothing Was The Same in 2013, had new music on the way, but not a full fledged 17 song album, which is what the excellently titled If You're Reading This It's Too Late, which he dropped Beyonce style jsut before midnight on a Thursday, is.

Buy the album on iTunes here. Watch the 14 minute film Jungle, which he released earlier in the day on Thursday. below.

The Drake album cover.

POSTED: Tuesday, February 10, 2015, 2:32 PM

The Districts grab your attention. The four members of the Philadelphia-based rock band formed in Lititz, Pa. - none of whom are old enough to legally drink alcohol - are a formidable live unit who make an immediate impression with dynamic scream-to-a-whisper song structures that take a page out of the playbook out of 1990s bands like Nirvana and The Pixies. That furious energy - and the commanding, frayed at the edges vocals of singer Rob Grote - have led to the band’s second full length album, A Flourish And A Spoil (Fat Possum ***)  to be hotly tipped as one of the breakout releases of the young year. Good luck trying to take your date to their show at Union Transfer on Saturday night - it's super-sold out.

A Flourish And A Spoil - a title that does not trip off the tongue, and hints at the poetic affect that can get in the way of the emotional immediacy of the songs - was recorded in Minnesota and produced by John Congleton, who did laudable work last year with both St. Vincent and Angel Olsen. He helps focus the energy of a band that tends to fall back on clotted intensity in spots where a less cluttered approach might better carry the day.

But the album also shows the foursome confidently expanding its palette in subtle yet substantial ways, while being unafraid to display their influences, as on the humble bow down to Kurt Cobain in the “all we are is all we are” lyric on “6 am.” A Flourish & A Spoil is a coming of age album from a band that’s full of promise. “I’m sick of this longing, but I feel too dull when it’s gone,” Grote sings on “4th & Roebling,” at once capturing the anticipatory exhaustion of youth and looking forward to the uncertain journey ahead.

The Districts. (Ryan Farber.)

POSTED: Monday, February 9, 2015, 4:57 PM
The Replacements in a 1980s publicity photo: With Chris Mars, Bob Stinson, Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson.

The Replacements are coming to Philadelphia.

The ragged but right great 1980s rock band hgave played various one-off and festival dates since singer guitarist Paul Westerberg and sidekick Tomy Stinson reunited in 2012 and played Riot Fest in Chicago the next year, but have yet to go on a proper tour.

That''ll change when the band heads out on a U.S. jaunt that begins April 9 in Seattle and comes to the Festival Pier on Penn's Landing on May 9. That band's last album, All Shook Down, came out in 1990. They're rumored to be working on a new one.

POSTED: Monday, February 9, 2015, 10:04 AM

Philadelphia rockers The War On Drugs have been on the road pretty much non-stop since the release of the acclaimed Lost In The Dream last March. But the Adam Granduciel-led Fishtown band, who were unjustly ignored on last night’s Grammys, haven’t played an officially announced hometown show since their sound problem-plagued set at the Roots Picnic last June.

They’ll rectify that situation with their biggest ever local headlining date with a show at the Tower Theater on March 27 that will kick off yet another American tour on the heels of a clutch of February dates in the United Kingdom. Tickets go on sale at noon today at LiveNation.com.

Below, watch a clip of the band’s performance from the Best Kept Secret Festival in the Netherlands.

Adam Granduciel of The War On Drugs.

POSTED: Sunday, February 8, 2015, 6:48 PM
The 'Offering' album cover.

The Grammy Awards are taking place in Los Angeles this evening, and will be broadcast at 8 on CBS from the Staples Center.

Most of the awards were given out this afternoon in a pre-show ceremony at the Nokia Theater, however. And there was one Philadelphia-connected early win, New York University music historian Ashley Kahn won in the Liner Notes category for the never before issued John Coltrane album, Offering: Live At Temple University, which was recorded at Mitten Hall on the North Philly campus in 1966.

After winning on Sunday, Kahn said via email: “I'm extremely honored to have been nominated among such a strong set of contenders -- really great researchers and writers who know how to tell a story that adds so much depth to the appreciation of some truly historic music. But to have been nominated -- and to win -- for liner notes on the music of John Coltrane leaves me overjoyed and humbled in equal measure. A truly great lady in a bright orange punjabi dress once told me that in writing about her late husband that all she asked was to be honest in what I tried to convey; I'd like to dedicate this award to her — Turiyasangitananda Alice Coltrane."

POSTED: Friday, February 6, 2015, 11:38 AM
Sam Smith.

The Grammy Awards are happening on Sunday night. Will it be yet another Beyonce coronation? Or a Sam Smith sweep? Will Queen Bey use the opportunity to announce that Blue Ivy has a sibling on the way? Will Iggy Azalea win best rap album and be booed off the stage? Will all social media networks simultaneously crash when confronted with the reality of Kanye West, Paul McCartney and Rihanna on stage together?

You'll have to tune in on CBS to find out. And you'll have to wait till Sunday to find my Will Win / Should Win picks in the Inquirer Live Life Love A & E section or online at phily.com. In the meantime, here's a sampling of the five Album of the Year nominees.

"Flawless," Beyonce feat. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, from Beyonce.

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Dan DeLuca Inquirer Music Critic
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