What we’re checking out live this week!
Wednesday, October 9: Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Ignore the pretentious name for a sec, and focus on the tunes. UMO craft catchy, ‘60s-influenced indie pop, that’s somehow more compelling than other ‘60s-influenced indie pop. The difference lies in singer/guitarist Ruban Nielson’s quirky melodies, and complete rejection of current trends. “I don't really care about nowness and newness,” he tells Pitchfork. “I feel like it's OK to just pretend that dubstep doesn't exist.” (Sometimes, I feel the same way, Ruban.) This combination comes to the fore on new record II, which takes the vintage pop of “How Can U Luv Me” (one of our fave songs of 2011!) and adds both real emotion and impressive guitar noodling, for a record as casually laidback as a Sunday afternoon…or a Wednesday evening at the Church. Let’s get weird!
8:30 at the First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St., $13–$15. Tickets available here.
Thursday, October 10: Buried Beds
Philly’s Buried Beds have been making music for nearly a decade now, and hit their sweet spot on new record In Spirit, which they’ll celebrate this Thursday at Boot & Saddle. Core members Brandon Beaver and Eliza Jones grew up together, and formed Buried Beds after moving in together post-college. Since then, the pair—together with violaist Hallie Sianni, plus a rotating cast of likeminded friends—has released three records of increasingly lush and dreamy indie pop, and has hit the road with Dr. Dog and mewithoutYOU. On In Spirit, they find inspiration in both fairy tales and fantastical real life stories, weaving images of giants and spells with lush orchestration and gorgeous, float-y vocals. Check out sparkling first single “Stars” via P’fork, then get ready to experience the magic live on Thursday.
9:00 at Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., $10. Tickets available here.
Sunday, October 13: Janelle Monae
Janelle Monae is an extraordinary artist and performer, who somehow manages to be even more extraordinary live. In the past three years, the 27-year-old R&B wunderkind has released two critically-acclaimed records of funk- and doo-wop-influenced R&B, won one Grammy award (for her collaboration with rockers fun.), and has performed for the President of the United States—in addition to garnering praise from everyone from OutKast to George Lucas to Prince (who guests on her new record). Live, she doesn’t so much perform as she does amaze—incorporating costume changes, dance routines, and oh yeah, powerhouse vocals—into a formidable carnival of fun. We <3 Monae for her unique personal style, gleeful indulgence of sci fi and technology, and infinitely danceable, grooveable beats. She’s now touring behind her sophomore record, The Electric Lady—we’re hoping for some surprise cameos this Sunday.
8:00 at the Electric Factory, 421 N. 7th St., $25. Tickets available here.
Monday: October 14: Woodkid
Yoann Lemoine is most known for his work as a music video director; his resume includes such stunners as Drake and Rihanna’s “Take Care” and Lana Del Rey’s “Blue Jeans” and “Born to Die.” So it’s no surprise that the young Frenchman’s own videos are equally stunning. When not traveling the world, shooting mini masterpieces, Lemoine records and performs as Woodkid: a project supposedly conceived when folk guru Richie Havens gifted him with a banjo post-shoot. Since then, Woodkid has evolved into its own, sprawling entity, featuring grand, dramatic songs (with orchestration from the Opéra de Paris and the Orchestre National de France) and their equally grand accompanying videos, which together present the auteur’s own view of the world: as something beautiful, but also dark. Live, his flair for the dramatic shines through, resulting in big, spectacular shows, guaranteed to be the most impressive thing you do this Monday.
8:30 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., $20–$22. Tickets available here.