The Internet and Twitter might be all a-Twitter with news of SXSW, but there’s still plenty of awesome stuff going on right here in Philly.
Thursday, March 13: Com Truise
If there was an award for best band name ever, Com Truise would probably win it. The project of New York electronica artist Seth Haley, Com Truise mines from the best of the ‘80s dance and electronica genres: think Devo, Prince, Giorgio Moroder, Tom Cruise action movie soundtracks, and more—fusing together a new blend of dreamy, space-age pop. Conceived in 2010 when Haley, a former art director, quit his job to focus on making beats, Com Truise arrived during the height of the chillwave movement that incited global head-nodding circa ‘10–’11, and soundtracked many a laidback hang sesh with immaculate, knobby beats and killer remixes (check out this insane collection of some of his best here). He’s now touring behind shiny new EP, Wave 1, inspired by the journey of “the word’s first Synthetic Astronaut” (whatever that means)—and will stop by Boot & Saddle this Thursday for what is sure to be a VERY vibe-y show, space-gear not required.
8:30 at Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., $15. Tickets available here.
Saturday, March 15: Vintage Kicks
Vintage Kicks are a Philly-based surf-punk band who write fun, jangly, low-stakes rockers perfect for summer BBQs or DIY house shows, and who will celebrate the release of their new EP, Suburban Sunshine (released on cassette, because they’re old-skool like that) this Saturday at KFN. Formed in 2010 by friends from Philly and Jersey, Vintage Kicks burst onto the scene with 2011’s King Geek, a spastic collection of punk- and emo-tinged ragers, that barreled forth with ragged guitar lines and front man Alex Marlys’s emphatic, screech-y vocals. Now, 2 ½ years later they’re back with Sunshine, which tempers some of their more aggressive tendencies in favor of sun-drenched rockers, inspired by rock star ambitions and life in the suburbs. “It’s about being a sad starving rock star in a suburb…it’s about suburban things everyone deals with, like cute chicks jogging past your house or bumping into people you don’t want to see at the local bar,” describes Maryls over email. Live, the fivesome is pure punk attitude and sweat—which means Saturday should be pretty epically shreddy. This is an early one, so plan accordingly. Just $5!
7:00 at Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., $5. Tickets available at the door.
Monday, March 17: The Internet
It takes some balls to call your band The Internet—but duo Syd Tha Kyd and Matt Martians have never had any problem acting ballsy. As 2/14 of the famed Odd Future collective, Syd (real name Sydney Loren Bennett) and Matt (real name Matthew Martin) might take on more of a producer role within OFWGKTA, but indulge their own creative vision as The Internet, a strikingly sweet, neo-soul project that eschews OF’s aggression in favor of Bennett’s pillowy vocals and pristine production. Her stylistic choices might come as a surprise to OF fans expecting harsh raps—but they’re a welcome one, proving the group is more diverse and more sensitive than their lyrics suggest. It’s also refreshing to see Bennett—OF’s sole female member, and one of the few openly gay hip-hop stars today (alongside bandmate Frank Ocean)—rising to the spotlight, and indeed her smoky vocals and confidence are sure signs of a star in the making. “We’re in control of our creativity, so expectations don’t matter,” she tells Interview Magazine. “After all the outside bullshit goes away, then you can do anything. You can conquer the world.” She conquers the TLA this Monday; we’re psyched to watch her fly.
8:00 at the TLA, 334 South St., $16. Tickets available here.
Monday, March 17: Arcade Fire
I still remember the first time I heard Arcade Fire—it was January 2005 and my college hallmate had an extra ticket to see this band I had never heard of—The Arcade Fire—at the TLA. I went, not expecting much, and actually we missed about half their set because we were pre-partying maybe a little too hard. But I remember being drawn in by lovely, lush melodies and theatrics (Régine Chassagne, if I remember correctly, had an umbrella that she spun around and opened in time to the music) and went home and download their tunes right after. The next time I saw Arcade Fire, in summer 2010, they played a much larger venue (The Mann Center; read about it here), but still managed to make the large space feel intimate, thanks to soaring melodies and an overarching sense of grandeur. Now, the Canadian rock giants return to Philly again, playing their largest show yet at the Wells Fargo Center—and despite my usual dislike of stadium venues, this one might be worth checking out. There are few rock bands that can make a huge space like this feel alive, but Arcade Fire’s 10-person line-up and playful, cathartic tunes might be the exception to the rule. Not to mention new record Reflektor is their most buoyant yet—and I have a feeling rockers like “Here Comes the Night Time” will positively shimmer live. Also check out the official after-party—featuring front man Win Butler taking a turn behind the DJ booth—at Union Transfer immediately after (details here). SXSW what? It’s all going down in Philly Monday night.
7:30 at Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St., $30.50–$70.50. Tickets available here.
Tuesday, March 18: The War on Drugs
In some ways, The War on Drugs are like the city’s naked, beating heart: meandering, yearning, and world-wearied, but also persistent, sprawling, and hopeful. For nearly a decade now, Adam Granduciel and friends have been crafting twangy, blues-influenced road songs and rock anthems, drawing on all your fave bands growing up: Dylan, Springsteen, Neil Young, ‘80s arena rock and ‘90s indie giants—collaged together into an emotional mélange of sing-along choruses and chugging slow-growers. Formed 2005 by Granduciel and Kurt Vile—the city’s longhair, mural-inspiring sweetheart—the band grew slowly, releasing their first EP in 2008, then regrouping later that year when Vile left to pursue a solo career (the pair remain good friends). In 2011, they won rave reviews for sophomore LP Slave Ambient, including a much-coveted “Best New Music” title, but continued to push themselves creatively. They’re now preparing for the release of their third record, Lost in the Dream, which drops this coming Tuesday, and will celebrate with a hometown show that night. Before you go: stream Lost in the Dream for free via NPR, and get ready to fall in love all over again.
8:30 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., $18. Tickets available here.