March 13, 2016
More Rain (Merge ***) In his capacity as Zooey Deschanel's helpmate in She & Him, Matt Ward is responsible for more than his share of musical sunshine. Fair enough, then, that on his eighth solo album the guitarist and producer - who oversaw gospel great Mavis Staples' new Living on a High Note - tends toward the gray and drizzly. More Rain is a musical mood piece that throws an overcast spell on a set of 11 originals and one cover - of the Beach Boys' normally sunny "You're So Good to Me" - that demonstrates Ward's way with vintage rock, folk, and R&B atmospherics.
January 24, 2016 |
It was from the Psychedelic Swamp that Dr. Dog first emerged, and to the Psychedelic Swamp they have now returned. That is, at the turn of the millennium, when Scott McMicken and Toby Leaman of Philadelphia indie band Dr. Dog were students at West Chester University, they recorded a low-fi concept album called The Psychedelic Swamp that was never intended for release. But a decade and a half later, that project - about a man named Phrases who attempts to escape his humdrum daily existence by making an ill-fated getaway to a place called the Psychedelic Swamp - became the focus of a 2015 Philadelphia Fringe Festival production called Swamp Is On that was a collaboration between Dr. Dog and the Pig Iron Theatre Company.
December 17, 2015 |
It's Jordan Smith, of course Was there ever any doubt Jordan Smith would take home the crown on NBC's The Voice this season? The 22-year-old Kentuckian, who learned the ropes singing at his Harlan County church, was declared the winner Tuesday night on the second of a two-episode season finale. Smith, who was coached by Adam Levine , on Monday scored the Nos. 1 and 3 hits on iTunes with a rousing - some would say bombastic - performance of The Sound of Music 's "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" and a soulful rendition of "Mary, Did You Know?"
October 28, 2015 |
PRINCETON - It all feels so easy, looks so casual. But it sounds unlike anything. Roomful of Teeth, the vocal octet whose somewhat regular presence here Philadelphians should envy, seemed to be just dropping in at the McCarter Theatre Center for an 80-minute-or-so Sunday program that may have radically changed forever the way some listeners hear voices in concert. Far more inviting than alienating (as innovation can be on first encounter), this group founded by Brad Wells uses amplification - each singer has a microphone - to create intimacy with the audience, sometimes as though the voices are whispering in your ear. In a darkened auditorium with singers in everyday street clothes, there's almost a campfire effect.
October 9, 2015 |
The Zombies have long been known for opulent melodies, unpredictable key changes, and a smart, soulful sound embracing jazz, R&B, blues, psychedelia, and classical nuances, from their smash singles (1964's "She's Not There," 1965's "Tell Her No," and 1969's "Time of the Season") to their chamber-pop, hippie-hymnal epic, 1968's Odessey and Oracle , an album that led to the band's breakup. At the heart of all this were Colin Blunstone's breathy vocals and principal composer Rod Argent's organ and piano.
September 25, 2015 |
In November 1985, sibling sons of Glasgow Jim and William Reid - then the centerpieces of the metronomic Jesus and Mary Chain - released their first and best album, Psychocandy . It's an album that remains definitive and influential for its meeting of early Beach Boys-like melodies and slowed-down Velvet Undergroundish noise. With shadowy guitar feedback as fuzzy as their hair, the sunglass-wearing brothers' seminal surging sound and dry, minimalistic rhythm was a sonic primal scream topped by lip-licking romanticized lyrics that were alternately syrup-sweet (literally, as in "Just Like Honey" and sinister, "In a Hole")
August 23, 2015 |
Saturday CAPE MAY At 8 p.m., the Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale performs a full-length concert at the Cape May Convention Hall (714 Beach Ave.). The Emmy award-winning, Grammy-nominated ensemble is composed of 80 young choir members and a 20-person men's chorale. $20 ($15 for seniors; $10 for kids 12 and older). 609-884-9565. Sunday WILDWOOD Through Friday, get a taste of the Shore at Wildwoods Restaurant Week. Select eateries ranging from Schellenger's Restaurant to Westy's Irish Pub will offer a four-course meal for $30. For a list of participants, see wildwoodsnj.com/wildwoods-restaurant-week.cfm, or call 609-729-9000.
August 23, 2015 |
Bob Rose said he had tried but figured there was no shot. He and a partner book shows each summer on the Ocean City Music Pier. Before each season, he talks with city officials and residents about which acts they'd like to see. This year, someone suggested the Beach Boys. "I'm thinking, 'Yeah, right,' " Rose said. "So I talked to my partner, and he decided to pursue it, and, lo and behold, [the Beach Boys] liked the idea of playing in Ocean City. When you're pitching 'America's Greatest Family Resort,' you can't think of a better band than the Beach Boys.
June 13, 2015 |
From the start, Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno have used their record collection as a source of inspiration, gleefully embracing the past with little anxiety of influence. The duo formed in Los Angeles in 2009 as a vehicle for Cosentino's yearning, soaring songs and love of girl-group pop, surf rock, and pop-punk. Crazy For You , their debut album, arrived in 2010. "The first record, there was a lot of influence from the '60s," says Cosentino, on the phone from Portland, Ore., early in a tour that comes Sunday to Union Transfer.
June 8, 2015
COMING THIS WEEK Aloft "How can a mother abandon her son?" Not easily, as Jennifer Connelly, Cillian Murphy, and Mélanie Laurent find out in this wintry drama of estrangement and reconciliation from Oscar-nominated director Claudia Llosa ( The Milk of Sorrow ). R Jurassic World A new breed of genetically engineered dinosaur causes trouble at the Isla Nublar theme park in this third sequel based on Steven Spielberg's 1993 runaway megahit. Spielberg executive-produced this one; Colin Trevorrow of the tiny Aubrey Plaza time-travel indie Safety Not Guaranteed directs.