Thursday, April 1: Slint
Truth be told, I never got into Slint when they were active—they were maybe a little before my time (when they released their last record, I was in first grade) and much denser than Sesame Street Sings the Hits (or whatever I was into back then). Luckily for me/anyone born after 1975, we get another chance to experience them live this Thursday, when they stop by Philly to play Union Transfer. Formed in the mid ‘80s by pals Brian McMahan, David Pajo, and Britt Walford, Slint released only two records during their career, but went on to influences dozens of similarly-minded post-punk bands in the ‘90s and beyond, in addition to contributing to projects as diverse as Tortoise, Will Oldham, and King Kong. Progenitors of a new brand of indie rock, that finds meaning in squeaky guitars, empty spaces, and wordy, talky lyrics (consider “Breadcrumb Trail,” the opening to 1991’s seminal Spiderland), Slint realized that emotional rock doesn’t always necessitate lots of screaming and rage—and still sound relevant all these years later. This is their first Philly date in 6 years, so don’t sleep!
8:30 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., $25. Tickets available here.
Saturday, May 3: Phantogram + Chvrches
It’s fairly disgusting out right now, but luckily but should clear up by this weekend…just in time for Radio 104.5’s kick-off summer block party and a FREE outdoor concert featuring Phantogram and Chvrches. Over the past couple of years, these block parties have become one of our very fave free weekend events, and the perfect excuse to indulge in some brews, while rocking out and soaking up rays. And while all the line-ups have something to offer, I’m most psyched for this pairing of dreamy melodies and pulsing beats. New York duo Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter formed Phantogram in 2007, and quickly won props for their genre-bending anthems, which combine hip-hop and R&B beats with Barthel’s airy vocals. They’re now touring behind sophomore record Voices, which sees them finally transitioning to the powerhouse we knew they’d become. They’ll be joined on Saturday by Scottish pop mavens Chvrches—whose inability to spell can be overlooked thanks to grand, synth-pop anthems that evoke dancing and catharsis. Did we mention it’s free? Now if only the beer was free as well.
3:45 at The Piazza at Schmidt’s, 1050 N. Hancock St., free.
Saturday, May 3: The Both
I admit I was skeptical when I heard about The Both, the new collaborative rock project between NJ punk warrior Ted Leo and folksy singer-songwriter Aimee Mann. What, I thought to myself, could this pairing possibly have in common? It turns out quite a bit—including a love of hash tags, Thin Lizzy, and music with a sense of humor. Unlikely friends for more than a decade now, the pair released their debut record this April, combining their strengths to craft quirky, wordy anthems like the rollicking “Milwaukee.” But The Both really shine in a live setting—when they played Boot & Saddle back in September, they easily won over the crowd with engaging banter and a sense of genuine enjoyment. They play Union Transfer this Saturday—arrive early for opener Nick Diamonds, a.k.a. Islands front man and one of the weirdest (yet most compelling) songwriters I’ve seen.
9:00 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., $22–24. Tickets available here.
Tuesday, May 6: Oneohtrix Point Never
Brooklyn composer Daniel Lopatin—a.k.a., Oneohtrix Point Never—definitely wins the award for most annoying band name this week (yes, I hate it even more than Chvrches), but makes up for it with playful, capricious tunes that sound like nothing else you’re listening to right now. A first-generation Russian immigrant weaned on jazz-fusion and Stevie Wonder, Lopatin released his first record in 2007, combining disparate elements into a complex and occasionally confusing collage of soundscapes. Along the way, he earned three “Best New Music” designations from Pitchfork, and has been credited with reimagining the synth and inspiring the “vaporwave” movement. These days, he’s touring behind 2013’s R Plus Seven, an alternatively lush, wiggly, and manic affair, that transitions between teeming, Animal Collective-esque synths, bloopy vintage computer samples, and thick, church-y dirges. Live, the mad musical scientist frequently employs visual projections to match his oddball concoctions—which means his show this Tuesday should be the weirdest, coolest thing you do all week.
8:00 at Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., $3 (with RSVP).Tickets available here.