What we’re seeing live this week!
Thursday, October 17: Islands
On the surface, Islands front man Nick Thorburn is just another quirky songwriter, making delightfully oddball indie pop and winning the requisite cult following for doing so. Yet dig a little deeper and he’s also so much more: part actor, part collaborator, and part social media snarkster. In addition, he’s one of the most creative and engaging performers I’ve seen, engaging fans with both silly antics (my first live Islands experience, in 2010, featured both moshing and the borrowing/modeling of my bf’s glasses) and heartbreaking ballads (two winters ago when he played the Church, it was quiet enough to hear the crowd breathing). A founding member of early aughts band The Unicorns, Thorburn went on to create Islands following their dissolution, and has since released five records of lush orchestral concoctions, perverted disco anthems, and stripped-down ballads. On new record Ski Mask, he combines all these influences into a cornucopia of sweet crooning and back-room piano bounce. Highly recommended!
9:00 at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $13. Tickets available here.
Friday, October 18: The Lawsuits
Philly’s The Lawsuits formed in 2007, and took the city’s folk scene by storm, with their rollicking, rootsy blend of soulful vocals (courtesy of resident powerhouse Vanessa Winters and front man Brian Strouse), and Americana-tinged melodies. Since then, they’ve evolved into a multi-faceted musical force, combining ‘60s folk, ‘70s pop, and yes—a little bit of country—on new record Cool Cool Cool, which they’ll celebrate this Friday at Johnny Brenda’s. We first fell in love with The Lawsuits during their summer 2012 stop at Rittenhouse Square Park, where they sparked dancing and DIY percussion while performing with hip-hop group Ground Up. Since then, we’ve loved watching them earn props from everyone from Daytrotter to Rolling Stone, and are psyched for their impending break-through. Stream singles “Long Drive Home” and “Dreaming #26” now to get psyched, and consider scooping your tix up in advance, as we have a feeling this baby is gonna be a sell-out.
9:15 at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $10. Tickets available here.
Saturday, October 19: Morgan Page in 3D
For more than a decade now, LA DJ Morgan Page has blown minds (and eardrums) with his high energy beats and creative remixes—the latter of which earned him two Grammy noms. These days though, the Vermont native has another goal in mind: changing the way people perceive music. On his new “Morgan Page Presents” tour, he’ll employ interactive 3D lights and color, for an immersive experience that will (in his words!) make you “feel like you’re flying.” Upon arrival, show-goers will receive polarized glasses to help them visualize the madness—"I want to have this escapism where you're so in the zone [that] when [the show] ends…you don't realize where you're at," he tells MTV. This isn’t your typical Disneyland “Stars Wars 3D” experience though—Page’s technology was originally created for Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” tour, but never used due to his untimely death—which means this is truly a one of a kind experience. See you on the floor, Philly!
8:30 pm at Soundgarden Hall, 520 N. Columbus Blvd., $20. Tickets available here.
Tuesday, October 22: The Men with Purling Hiss
One for the garage-obsessed! Brooklyn’s The Men write fuzzy, punk and classic rock-inspired jams that recollect all your favorite ‘90s ragers (think Dinosaur Jr., The Replacements, Foo Fighters), and in the past half-decade, have transitioned: from unknown band of snarky Brooklynites, emulating everyone from The Ramones to Spacemen 3 with gleeful irreverence—to much beloved indie rock stalwarts, thanks to a BNM recommendation from P’fork, and several highly-charged shows. They’re joined by Philly face-melters Purling Hiss—a.k.a., Mike Polizze and co., who are our pick for the city’s next Kurt Vile-esque celebrity (look for their personalized mural circa 2015). Their most recent LP, Water on Mars, is a grungy, psych-tinged affair that ricochets between the easy-going pop of “Mercury Retrograde” and the gritty noise of “Lolita”...proving these dudes have the chops to make it big. Don’t sleep!
9:00 at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $12. Tickets available here.
Tuesday, October 22: Teen Daze
Free show alert! Over the next two weeks, new South Philly spot Boot & Saddle plays host to a trio of free shows, beginning with Canadian mood-master Teen Daze this Tuesday. A solo project from British Columbia producer Jamison (who one might dub “the Work Drugs of Canada”), Teen Daze offers gently sparkling, reverb-drenched chillwave, that sounds equally on point on the dance floor as on the beach. Over the past three years, he’s released three full-length records, including 2013’s Glaciers: a gorgeous slow-burner that drifts into ambient, Eno territory, with icy soundscapes and lush, washed out vocals. Did we mention the show is free? Just show up, grab a beer, and lose yourself in the winter vibes.
9:00 at Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., free.