Concert Previews

plays World Cafe Live Friday.
plays World Cafe Live Friday. (Soul/R&B's Joan Osborne)
Posted: April 06, 2012

Joan Osborne

You wouldn't know it from her biggest hit, the 1995 pop smash "One of Us," but Joan Osborne's music has always drawn heavily from the wellsprings of soul and R&B. Her first album, before her breakthrough, was titled Soul Show. She later toured with the Motown backing band the Funk Brothers, and has recorded albums with such titles as How Sweet It Is, a collection of R&B chestnuts, and Breakfast in Bed, which takes its title from the Dusty Springfield country-soul classic of the same name. Now Osborne is digging even deeper into those roots with her terrific new album, Bring It on Home, in which the 49-year-old Kentucky native shows just how much she is at home with vintage material, wrapping her warmly husky voice around songs by, among others, Willie Dixon, Ike Turner, Allen Toussaint, Slim Harpo, and Otis Redding.

- Nick Cristiano


Joan Osborne will perform at 8 p.m. Friday at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. Tickets: $28 and $48. Phone: 215-222-1400.

Busses

With their 2010 self-titled debut, Philly indie-rock trio Busses began to establish themselves as Philadelphia's alternative to Chicago post-punk. Their cathartic, visceral melodies, coupled with reverberating guitars and minimalist arrangements, bring to mind a combination of the verbose lyrics of Cap'n Jazz, Tortoise's jazz influences, and the loud noise-rock of U.S. Maple. The album was an eclectic but cohesive combination of songs. Eastern melodies, monastic chants, and eerie drumbeats coalesce into a raucous, soulful anthem on "Safe Vacation Destinies," while "Methods & Procedures" is a poignant lullaby that morphs into a carefree, childlike rhyme. With the release of a free two-song EP this week, the band demonstrates a slightly shinier, happier take on life. The songs are tight and catchy, and pop influences are more apparent, like a more aggressive Arcade Fire.

- Katherine Silkaitis


Busses, with Break It Up and Orbit to Leslie, performs at 9 p.m. Friday at Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. Tickets: $10. Information: 215-739-9684, johnnybrendas.com.

Cuddle Magic

Don't fear: Cuddle Magic aren't as twee as their name - or the title of their recent third album, Nympho Info - suggests. The Philly/Brooklyn 10-piece constructs brainy chamber pop that's surprisingly airy, using glockenspiels, ukulele, vibraphone, toy piano, flute, clarinet, and trumpet, along with the usual guitar/bass/drums, often arranged in staccato conversations behind unassuming male-female vocal interplay. The group formed at Boston's New England Conservatory, and they're prone to crafting songs built with mathematical concepts and graph paper that allude lyrically to Herman Melville, Vladimir Nabokov, Walter Benjamin, or James K. Polk, and compositionally to Steve Reich or Tortoise. Nympho Info is precocious and, yes, a bit precious, but it's also fascinating. And it'll be fun to see all those band members crowded - or cuddled - onto the Tin Angel's tiny stage.

- Steve Klinge


Cuddle Magic, with Lake Street Drive, play 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Tin Angel, 20 S. 2d St. Tickets: $10. Information: 215-928-0978, www.tinangel.com.

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