Wednesday, October 30: Thee Oh Sees
This Mischief Night, why not indulge a band whose newest LP is named Floating Coffin, and who match imagery of blood splattered corpses and evil spells with wicked guitar freak-outs and weirdo falsetto vocals? Over the past decade, San Fran’s Thee Oh Sees have proven one of the most prolific and exciting garage bands to land on our radar, and this Wednesday, they’ll bring their fuzzed-out jamz to Underground Arts. We loved their 2012 record Putrifiers II (which spurred one of my fave songs of the year in “Flood’s New Light”)—and while Coffin is a bit more morbid, it’s also a perfect excuse for zombie make-up. Live, John Dwyer and co. are known for charged, high energy shows and melting souls, so make sure to wear your Kevlar vest.
8:00 at Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St., $15. Tickets available here.
Wednesday, October 30, AND Thursday, October 31: Man Man
This Halloween, there are few bands we’d rather hang with than Man Man, who infuse everything they do with a sense of devilish whimsy year round, and who will inevitably pull out all the stops for their two-day Halloween celebration at Union Transfer. Over the past decade, we’ve witnessed this band of hooligans more times than we can count—and each time, we left greatly satisfied and with huge smiles. The brainchild of Ryan “Honus Honus” Kattner—former barista turned mustachioed-keyboard-poundin’-madman—the band’s released five records of zany, oompah-inspired art-rock, including the recent On Oni Pond, which sees them tempering some of their more outlandish tendencies in favor of moving anthems like “Head On (Hold on to Your Heart).” But don’t think for a second that this means these shows will be tame—if we know Honus (and we’d like to think we do), costumes, sing-alongs and dance-alongs will abound, and you’ll be riding a high sweeter than the sugar rush that comes with consuming handfuls of trick-or-treater candy. Before you go: check out this spooky playlist Honus and drummer Pow Pow compiled for XPN—then get ready to get spooky.
Friday, November 1: Jessie Ware
British singer Jessie Ware practically defines the modern pop star this decade, with rich, opulent vocals and lush arrangements that showcase them. A self-described “boringly sensible” artist, who was pursuing a career in journalism when she was unwillingly thrust into the spotlight (after contributing vocals to SBTRKT’s "Nervous"), Ware went on to release one of the most stunning records of 2011 with Devotion: a capital “R” Romantic record brimming with passion and American Idol fodder. The record was nominated for a Mercury Prize, and Ware became the new voice of a generation—subtle, soulful, sophisticated, and sincere. We <3 Jessie because through it all, she’s remained remarkably modest (“I'm a very normal, down-to-earth person,” she tells P’fork), and imbues passion into everything she does. This Friday, she’ll stop by the TLA for what is sure to be a mesmerizing performance—especially in its wildest moments.
8:00 at the TLA, 334 South St., $25. Tickets available here.
Saturday, November 2: Holy Ghost!
Your best bet to cut loose! This past July, Holy Ghost! opened for New Order at the Mann Center, and mega-vibage occurred. My friends and I were a bit intoxicated (I blame the open bar, beforehand)—so my memories aren’t as sharp as they would be otherwise. But I definitely remember dancing. Wildly. Which makes perfect sense, because Holy Ghost! write some of the poppiest, danciest tunes I’ve heard in a long time. Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel have been buds since childhood, and formed Holy Ghost! in 2007, immediately turning heads with insatiable single “Hold On” (released on indie dance label DFA). The raging continued with 2011’s slippery, self-titled record, and they’re now touring behind 2013’s Dynamics, which matches the breezy cool of new wave with boisterous guitar and slick keys. Grab a costume (or not!) and get ready to get sweaty.
8:30 at the TLA, 334 South St., $20. Tickets available here.
Sunday, November 3: The Dismemberment Plan
DC’s The Dismemberment Plan are one of those odd, cult-ish bands whose instantly recognizable sound is complemented by their storied history. Between 1993 and the present, the band broke up and reformed several times, played a half-dozen “farewell” shows…and released four records of manic, fractured indie rock that’s chock full of surprising insights about life and growing up. Along the way, they’ve regaled fans with equally volatile live shows, and are especially known for inciting on-stage dance parties during quirky hit “The Ice of Boston.” “On paper, we've played a lot of weird rooms in Philadelphia,” writes the band, in an email to fans this week. “Upstairs at Nick's House of Beef, The First Unitarian Church, Stalag 13 Warehouse, and a utility room somewhere on the campus of U Penn” (we think we know the one.) This Sunday though, they’ll step it up with a stop at Union Transfer, supporting their 5th (and brand new) record, Uncanny Valley—which sheds the uptightness of previous work in favor of more relaxed pop charmers. Old skool fans shouldn’t fret though—we have a feeling some older material will still find its way onto the set list.
8:00 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., $25–$27. Tickets available here.