What we’re checking out this week!
Thursday, September 12: Zola Jesus and J.G. Thirlwell
24-year-old Nika Roza Danilova (a.k.a., Zola Jesus) craft gorgeous, haunted, electro-goth ballads, which have evolved, over the years, from moody, reverb-heavy concoctions to lush, orchestral explorations, such as those found on her 2013 record, Versions. Arranged with the help of veteran producer and no wave pioneer J. G. Thirlwell (who’s worked with the likes of Nick Cave, Thurston Moore, and Nine Inch Nails, in addition to releasing more than a dozen solo records as Foetus)—Versions adds a string quartet to the mix, recasting previously raw tunes with cinematic splendor. “I’ve always felt like I let the songs fall short [before Versions]; like they were never able to become final,” she tells Pitchfork. In Spring 2012, she performed the songs live at NYC’s Guggenheim Museum to critical appeal—and now will bring the same enchanting performance to Philly’s International House, during their first ever silent art auction. Bid on works from around the world, sip on cocktails, and prepared to be transformed by a breathtaking Danilova. All proceeds will benefit the iHouse arts program
7:00 at International House, 3701 Chestnut St., $25–$30. Tickets available here.
Friday, September 13: Toy Soldiers
Since forming in 2007, Philly’s Toy Soldiers have proven an unstoppable force on the local scene, bringing rootsy, ramshackle melodies, high spirits, and a sense of old-fashioned, rock’n roll revelry to each and every performance. The brainchild of front man/guitarist/harmonica-ist Ron Gallo, Toy Soldiers spent the past year touring and playing more than 120 shows, winning fans with their energy and songwriting, and will release their second full length, The Maybe Boys, this Friday. A celebration of friendship, good times, and solidarity, Gallo describes the record as “a live snapshot in time where everyone that listens is in the room dancing and drinking with us”… which is exactly how we envision the vibe during their record release this Friday. Check out killer first single “Tell the Teller” here—and consider scooping up your ticket in advance, because this baby will definitely sell out!
9:30 at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $10–$12. Tickets available here.
Saturday, September 14: Chromatics
Portland synth-rockers Chromatics craft dreamy, sprawling, electro-pop growers that effortlessly encapsulate feelings of restlessness and urban ennui, and this Saturday, will illuminate the dance floor at Making Time, providing an outlet for unabashed raging. In the past 12 years, the band’s released four records, including 2012’s propulsive Kill for Love, and have performed live at New York Fashion Week (after an invite from Karl Lagerfeld.) They’ll perform this Saturday alongside Glass Candy, a side project of Chromatics producer/multi-instrumentalist Johnny Jewel and vocalist Ida No, who together craft glammy disco gold that will make you feel like it’s 1980, NYC. It’s been a while since we’ve let loose in Voyeur’s expansive dance floor (and zebra-print basement) and this Saturday, we’ll welcome it back like a fall sweater: warm, cozy, and just the right fit. See you on the floor, Philly!
9:00 at Voyeur, 1221 St. James St., $15. Tickets available here.
Tuesday, September 17: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs burst onto the scene in 2001 with a self-titled EP and a whole lot of attitude, after opening for the likes of The White Stripes AND The Strokes, and becoming one of the first buzz bands whose tunes I actually downloaded. These days, they’re basically rock gods, and Karen O is the standard to which all female performers are compared. (We kid—but seriously, how many reviews have you read that compare other singers to Karen O?) No one does ferocity, or bad-assery, like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and no one yelps or rages in a leotard like Karen O. In 13 years, the band’s released four records of brash, sexy rock with surprisingly tender souls, and has become a household name in the process. Their new LP, Mosquito, is a similarly sweltering journey through emotional highs and lows—and this Tuesday, they’ll stop by Penn’s Landing for their first Philly show in four years. There’s not much more satisfying than rocking out in the breezy, Indian summer air, listening to the YYY’s—so what are you waiting for? It’s “sacrilege” not to go!
7:30 at the River Stage at Penn’s Landing, Chestnut St. and Columbus Blvd., $35. Tickets available here.