Atlanta hooligans the Black Lips have been palling around for more than a decade now, writing raucous, ramshackle, garage-punk tunes and successfully avoiding the fate that befalls many punk bands in their second decade: getting soft. In fact, if anything, these dudes have hit their sweet spot. Sure, their live shows aren’t the exciting beer and vomited-fueled affairs they once were (we use the word “exciting” facetiously here)—instead, they’ve matured into the type of righteous rockers who can rile a crowd, but still send you home bruise-free. Their 6th LP, Arabia Mountain, is also their best so far, full of jangly pleasers like the zippy “Family Tree” and effortlessly familiar “New Direction.” This Thursday, they’ll bring their boisterous jamz to the First Unitarian Church, where much forty-drinking and raging will occur. Plus, everyone knows that fall is the best season for shows at the Church, where the air is breezy (instead of sweltering) and you can wear your Chucks and still feel comfy. See you there Philly!
8:30 at the First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St., $16–$18. Tickets available here.
Thursday, November 7: Kate Nash with La Sera
British pop starlet Kate Nash burst onto the scene in 2007 with quirky, piano-based single “Foundations,” after supposedly being discovered on MySpace by fellow Brit Lily Allen. Her debut record, full of similarly cutesy charmers, soon followed, and she was immediately thrust into the public spotlight, even as some critics wrote her off as a childish, and a product of media manipulation. Over the next few years though, Nash matured—abandoning her “Dear Diary” style in favor of punk and post-punk-influenced nugs, and her record label for a DIY approach. Her third LP, Girl Talk, was self-produced, and funded through Kickstarter, and shows Nash at her most powerful yet. For her Thursday visit to Philadelphia, she’ll team up with La Sera—aka, Vivian Girl Katy Goodman, Princess of DIY. In Viv Girls, Goodman is the sweet, graceful foil to Cassie Ramone’s spastic vocals and guitar-playing, and as La Sera, she concocts floaty, girl-group influenced garage rock gems. Together, they represent all that’s right with ladies in music today…and as a Kate myself, this double-dose of Kateness makes me incredibly happy. Rock on ladies!
8:30 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., $15–$17. Tickets available here.
Saturday, November 9: My Bloody Valentine
Irish rockers My Bloody Valentine are widely considered among the fore of shoegaze, a genre named for its shy, nerdy fans who would rather stand motionless at a concert and stare at their feet than attempt to make eye contact with the cute guy or girl standing next to them. Really though, you can’t blame anyone for staring at their feet listening to MBV—the music is so dense and layered that it’s entirely possibly to be swept up in the swirling soundscapes and lush feedback without even realizing you’re mute and motionless. Formed in 1983 in Dublin, Ireland, the band reached its critical peak with 1991’s Loveless, a dreamy, sprawling record much beloved by critics and fans alike—which was supposedly so expensive to produce that it bankrupt label Creation, and led to the band being dropped. They disbanded in 1997, then reformed a decade later, and after years of anticipation, finally released their sophomore record, the stunning m b v, this year. They’ll stop by the Electric Factory this Saturday to promote it—we predict epic vibes and lots of ‘gazing.
8:30 at the Electric Factory, 471 N. 7th St., $37. Tickets available here.
Sunday, November 10: Justin Timberlake
15 years ago, if someone had told an eighth-grade me that Justin Timberlake—the curly-haired, N Sync sweetie whose perfect harmonies made “Tearin’ Up My Heart” a staple at middle school dances—would become one of the biggest idols of this generation…I probably wouldn’t have believed it (because what has Joey Fatone done since then?) But it’s been more than a decade since JT bid “Bye Bye Bye” to his boy band past, and since then, he’s seamlessly transitioned into one of the 21st century’s most creative pop stars, with three number one records, an impressive number of chart-topping singles, and featured roles in more than a dozen Hollywood films. We admire JT for his dedication to his craft; fearless pursuit of real emotion (find me a pop song more touching than “Cry Me a River”); and super-slick, untouchable dance moves—whether nodding his head in unison, puppet-like, or slinking across the stage seductively on “SexyBack.” This Sunday, he brings his larger-than-life show to the Wells Fargo Center—for a result that will have teens and adults alike screaming with glee.
8:00 at the Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St., $49.50–$175. Tickets available here.
Tuesday, November 12: Leagues
Your new favorite band! Nashville trio Leagues came together in 2010 when its members—professional musicians disillusioned with the scene—left their previous projects in order to form something new. That “something new” was Leagues, and together they craft sparkling, propulsive, dance-rock hits that feel both immediately familiar and strikingly on-point. It’s somewhat surprising, given their diverse musical backgrounds—singer/guitarist Thad Cockrell released four records of heart-on-sleeve alt-country before calling it quits in 2009; guitarist Tyler Burkum worked as a touring musician for capital P Popsters like John Mayer and Sheryl Crow; and drummer Jeremy Lutito cut his teeth with singer-songwriter Mat Kearny. Yet in the end, it’s these varied influences precisely—plus a belief in truth (as opposed to cynicism!) in music—that sets Leagues apart. “As music gets smaller and more fractured, we wanted to write songs that would stand over that – something big and American,” describes the band. We say mission accomplished. We’re basically obsessed with first single “Spotlight”—stream it for free right here, then get ready to fall in love.
8:30 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., $15. Tickets available here.