What we’re catching live this week
Thursday, February 27: Creepoid
Philly’s moodiest band returns with a new record, whose chilling tunes will make you feel like a head-banger lost in the fog. Philly goth-punk band Creepoid first caught my eye in 2011 with debut record Horse Heaven, which drew me in with haunting rockers reminiscent of Lou Reed (singing into a fog machine) or Nirvana (high on painkillers). Now, 3 years later, they’re back with Creepoid, an even spacier outfit that teems with viscous guitar lines, languid melodies, and a sense of unease in the empty spaces. Formed in 2009 by Pat Troxell, a Philly-by-way-of-Austin-by-way-of-Philly transplant with a love of punk and a strong DIY ethic, his wife Anna, and guitarists Sean Miller and Pete Urban—Creepoid grew from a casual recording project to a band to watch, whose dark aesthetic and killer live chops have earned them opening gigs for nearly every cool punk band playing Philly these past 4 years (giant list here). They’ll celebrate Creepoid’s release this Thursday with an epic release party at JB’s; stream the record in advance via Spin, then get to ready to revel in the muck.
9:00 at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $10–12. Tickets available here.
Friday, February 28: St. Vincent
Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, is this generation’s David Byrne, a statement I feel confident making given her collab with the White-Haired Giant in 2012. Her music doesn’t sound like anyone else making records today; she’s both charmingly quirky and devastatingly unique, as if her body is an empty shell in which alien species transmit new sonic ideas. She’s playful, but in a dark, detached kind of way, like a child who creates an intense Lego village only to relish in slowly destroying it. And—as her new record, St. Vincent, makes clear—she has a way of juxtaposing the very banal with the very weird, for a result that feels uncomfortably alluring. It’s been more than a decade since the doe-eyed beauty first appeared on our radar, as a robe-clad, silver-tongued choruser with The Polyphonic Spree; since then, she’s served a stint in Sufjan’s band and released four of her own records, the most recent of which extends her long trajectory of pushing boundaries. Live, the long-limbed ingénue is one part spazzy dance moves and energy, and one part other-worldy vocals—the sum of which just might be the weirdest (and most wonderful) show you’ve seen this year.
8:30 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., sold out.
Friday, February 28: DRGN King
Philly’s DRGN King craft big, exuberant rockers imbued with psychedelic flourishes and a whole lot of heart, and this Friday will stop by Johnny Brenda’s for their first hometown show following a national tour. Comprised of core duo Dominic Angellela (vocals/guitar/songwriting/hair) and Brent “Ritz” Reynolds (production/keyboards/beats/vibes), plus drummer Joe Baldacci, bassist Steve Montengero, and a slew of collaborators and friends, the band has been riling crowds since 2010, and will continue the onslaught this Friday, playing tunes from their debut LP, Paragraph Nights, and maybe some new ones too (they’ve hinted about recording on FB). Live, the 5-piece is pure rock’n roll, all rock star thrashing and hair—which means this Friday just might be the winter dance party you’ve been waiting for. Before you go: Check out Dom’s cover of The Dead Milkmen’s “Punk Rock Girl,” then scope this sweet vid for “Wild Nights” for a very good idea of what you might be up against.
9:15 at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $10. Tickets available here.
Saturday, March 1: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
Stephen Malkmus, Pavement front man, is quite possibly one of my fave songwriters still making music today; there’s something so wry and rollicking and … Malkmus-y about his tunes that makes me wanna jump for joy (or at least engage in some serious air-drumming). The founder and front man of legendary ‘90s, post-punk band Pavement, the band to which all other bands are compared, Malkmus made tight tees and angular guitar riffs seem cool, and went on to inspire tons of similarly quirky, twitchy rockers while still remaining firmly planted in the Indie Underground. For the past 15 years, he’s been writing and touring with new band The Jicks, trading fuzzy nonchalance for a sense of playfulness, and proving that just because you’re old(er) doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. (I’ll add that he still looks damn good in a tight tee too.) He’s now touring behind new record Wig Out at Jagbags, a nimble, free-wheeling journey through jangly choruses and spastic ragers, that rhymes “Tennyson” with “venison,” and revels in its idiosyncrasies. He stops by the TLA this Saturday; major vibes (and lots of people in their 40s) expected.
9:00 at the TLA, 334 South St., $18. Tickets available here.
Saturday, March 1: Bleeding Rainbow
There are a lot of great punk bands making music in Philly right now (see: this insane list, and also this one), but few as prolific or consistent as Bleeding Rainbow, who’ve been churning out ‘90s-influenced jammers with a surprising amount of bite for nearly 6 years now, and whose new record, Interrupt, is their most confident yet. Formed in 2008 by husband-and-wife duo Rob Garcia and Sarah Everton, the band, who originally went by the moniker Reading Rainbow, transitioned over time from a wide-eyed duo writing ‘60s-influenced pop nugs—to a fully-formed and ready-to-shred 4-piece, whose expanded line-up means they can tackle complex melodies that transition from gazy to rage-y, or ricochet between styles wildly. We <3 Bleeding Rainbow because throughout the years, they’ve continued to push themselves creatively, while still remaining staunchly DIY, and because they’re not afraid to stick up for the city or themselves. They’ll celebrate Interrupt’s release this Saturday with a show at West Philly’s Golden Tea House; wear your ripped jeans, because things will get shreddy.
8:00 at Golden Tea House, West Philly, $5–7. More info available here.