Archive: April, 2013
One of the greatest country singers ever - maybe the greatest - died on Friday at the age of 81.
My obituary of George Jones is in the Saturday Inquirer and here. (Use promo code M56R to click through.)
I've been listening to Jones wring every ounce of emotion out of ballad after ballad since hearing the news, and let me tell you, I'm feeling pretty wrung out myself.
Hometown heroes Kurt Vile & the Violators play a free at noon show at the World Cafe Live on Friday.
I've got a feature story with the hirsute Philadelphia rocker running in the Sunday Inquirer A & E section this weekend, from an interview I did with him a few weeks back. That's when I took the picture of him hanging out by the mural that doubles as the Wakin On A Pretty Daze album cover, which is at Front & Master Street, and is the work of Steve Powers, otherwise known as ESPO.
Check out a video about the making of the mural below and also the TV commercial for the very good Wakin, which features the single "Never Run Away" and Vile's dancing daughter Awilda.
How can you tell that sleek French synth-happy power-popsters Phoenix are diffident about the commercial breakthrough they achieved with their 2009 album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, fueled as it was by “1901”’s inclusion in a Cadillac commercial? Because now that they’ve won wealth and fame, they’ve chosen to call their fifth album Bankrupt! (V2 ***), in part to point out the hollowness of it all. And they’ve also stuck the 7 minute momentum-killing title track right smack in the middle of the 10 song collection, just so you know that life is full of miseries, when you're not hanging out with R. Kelly at Coachella.
So why is the general sense of ennui that suffuses songs like “Trying To Be Cool” and “Chloroform” not really an impediment in the end to enjoying the pleasures contained within Bankrupt!? A lot of it has to do with excitable exclamation point in the album title. The Thomas Mars led quartet can act blasé all they want, going on about “fake rituals" and acting like they feel all alone while swilling champagne at the after party. But this is a band that is very, very good at making effusively catchy bright-and-shiny pop music you can dance to, so that even when Mars is being snide and mocking a cologne-drenched jerk in “Drakkar Noir” (“How come everyone knows you before they meet you?”) the music is cheerfully ingratiating, and tough to resist.
Phoenix play the Susquehanna Bank Center on Camden on May 12. Below, "Trying To Be Cool," from Saturday Night Live.
Bob Dylan announced on his website on Sunday that he's hitting the road this summer with his own traveling Rolling Thunder-like revue called the Americanarama Festival of Music, and featuring a pair of marquee special guests.
Wilco and My Morning Jacket will join Dylan on the tour, which kicks off June 26 in West Palm Beach, Florida and comes to the Susquehanna Bank Center on July 28. In Camden, the show will presented as part of the WXPN-FM Xponential Music Festival, which will be going on all weekend at Wiggins Park and the Susq, where The Lumineers and Dr. Dog will play Saturday night.
On some Americanarama dates, Richard Thompson will accompany the powerhouse troika, but in Camden we'll get Texas hard country tunesmith Ryan Bingham instead.
Even on a slow news day, Billy Bragg is never at a loss for words.
So with the pace that world events have been unfolding in the past two weeks - from the death of Margaret Thatcher, in many ways Bragg's muse as his career got off the gorund in the 1980s, to the Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath this week - there's a good chance that the Bard of Barking, Essex will have a few pointed things to say between songs during his two Philadelphia area appearances on Saturday.
Bragg, who has a tender new album out called Tooth & Nail, will start out his day at Main Street Music in Manayunk where he will play for free at noon as the first act on a Record Store Day bill that also includes Travel Lanes, Shark Tape, Generationals and The Joy Formidable. Then at 8 on Saturday night, Bragg headlines the Keswick Theater in Glenside. Information on that show is here.
French pop band Phoenix are rolling out their long-time-coming follow-up to the breakout Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix in style.
They've already guested on Saturday Night Live and grabbed the winning headlines at Coachella this weekend by inviting R. Kelly on stage. Quelle surprise! The band's new album, Bankrupt! goes on sale next Tuesday. As of now, it's streaming in its entirety on iTunes. Merveilleux!
Click here to check it out. See the video for the first single, "Entertainment," below.
Xponential Music Festival lineup announced: Dr. John, Dawes, Justin Townes Earle to play Camden in July
The lineup for WXPN-FM's Xponential Music festival, to be held in Camden's Wiggins Park and the Susquehanna Bank Center, is filling out.
We already knew that The Lumineers and Dr. Dog were playing the SBC on Saturday July 27; now we know most of the bands who will be at Wiggins for the three day fest, which kicks off on 7/26. Those acts include New Orleans piano man Dr. John, SoCal 70s revivalists Dawes, songwriting scion Justin Townes Earle, London jazz-pop stylists Lianne La Havas and Michael Kiwanuka, Philly rockers DRGN King, 2012 breakout indie buzz band Polica, Panamanian-American jazz-hip-hop singer Jose James, and many others.
A complete list of the acts is here. More names will be added in the coming weeks.
I interviewed Mick Jagger the other day in advance of the Rolling Stones' 50 & Counting tour which comes to the Wells Fargo Center on June 18 and 21. Click here to read all about it in the Sunday Inquirer A & E section.
At the start, I asked him about a subject I figured an Englishman of wealth and taste such as he would be bound to have on his mind: former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died just a day before we spoke.
"It's big in the English press." said Sir Mick, speaking from somewhere in the West Indies, where he was doing prep work for the tour. "It's everywhere. If you're not there, which I'm not, you don’t really know what the mood is really. So the press refects the mood, and as you're press of course you would say it accurately reflects the mood. Really accurately, right?"
Rolling Stones Sympathy for The Devil
Dan | Myspace Video