February 15, 2015 |
If you're going to have a big arena-rock sound at this point in pop music's history, and you're not actually on an arena-size stage, you'd better have a way to sound big. The four brothers from South Africa who make up Kongos had to do that several ways at Electric Factory on Thursday night. First, these smooth-singing sons of South African vocalist-songwriter John Kongos - guitarist Daniel, bassist Dylan, drummer Jesse, and keyboardist and accordionist Johnny - had brotherhood. Their rich, high harmonies, on the pugnacious "I'm Only Joking" surely came from years spent sharing bedrooms and bathrooms, to say nothing of studios and stages.
March 8, 2014 |
It was late last summer when Larry Kirwan first thought about bringing the saga of Black 47 to a close. "We were coming back from a gig in Buffalo, and I remember thinking, 'Wow, the band sounded really good,' " the frontman for the Celtic-rock sextet said from his home in New York. "And I thought, 'This would be a good time to call it a day - go out when you're sounding really good rather than for other reasons.' . . . Everyone in the band was down with it. It feels like a great time" to finish.
October 19, 2013 |
The first time the duo called Cults came through town, for their eponymous 2011 debut, Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion talked up the influences that made up their fuzztoned, girl-groupy death-pop. Just about to start a tour that would take up most of the next two years, the duo spoke of Lesley Gore and My Bloody Valentine. Now we have Static, their sophomore effort. It's bolder, scratchier (hence the title), and touched by the cinematic sweep of blaxploitation sound tracks and deep, throbbing rhythms.
January 12, 2013 |
If you combed through the piano recital programs of the coming year and put the most forbidding pieces into one concert, you'd have Ieva Jokubaviciute's recital Thursday at Settlement Music School. In the program, titled " New Century, New Paths" and presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, this fully matured Lithuanian pianist skillfully guided one's ears through Debussy, Schoenberg, Scriabin, Janacek, and Berg in performances that confidently created a trajectory from which all the composers benefited.
September 25, 2007 |
Since Joni Mitchell is the archetypal female singer-songwriter and a restless musical adventurer, her influence knows no bounds. You might not hear the author of "You Turn Me On I'm a Radio" on the radio all that much, but her impact on everyone from Sarah McLachlan to Feist to Led Zeppelin (which is said to have written "Goin' to California" about her), has been enormous. That much is apparent of late, starting with A Tribute to Joni Mitchell, which came out in the spring and was highlighted by Prince's shimmering "A Case of You. " Two other projects with Mitchell's name on them arrive today.
January 29, 2007 |
A good big band is a wonderful thing to hear. A good arranger writes charts that magnify each section's and each musician's strengths and diminishes their weaknesses. More often than not, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, based at the New York club with that name, fits that description. It played two sets at the Art Museum on Friday night, and the orchestra provided the packed foyer a glimpse into a style too seldom heard in today's music. The group, one of the few consistently working big bands in today's jazz, is the direct descendant ? the ghost band, really ? of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, which rolled on from 1965 till 1990, when drummer Lewis died.
November 18, 2005 |
Syncopated thunder? A mad chorus of jackhammers? The thump and thwack of a monolithic machine? Walk the Line, James Mangold's blazing biography of American music legend Johnny Cash, begins with a mysterious, momentous sound. At first it's off in the distance, but as the camera glides across the central California landscape to the imposing stone walls of a correctional facility, the noise grows closer, louder, frenzied. And then, finally, the source is revealed: a wild assembly of inmates in Folsom Prison stomping and clapping impatiently, even menacingly, waiting for the Man in Black to come out and play them some tunes.
September 6, 2005 |
I can barely stand to watch any more of the nightmare that has descended upon my old home in New Orleans. But like the friends who now e-mail me from their diaspora in Houston, Memphis and Maringouin, La., I cannot pull my eyes away from the television and streaming video and pictures on the Internet. It isn't the spectacle of apocalypse that draws me. My eyes keep straining to spot a glimmer beneath the floodwaters and heavy fire clouds of some remnant of the beautiful Crescent City as I last left it. I try to conjure up the smell of sweet olive trees and jasmine blooming outside my door in Riverbend.
March 7, 2005 |
After 24 years as silly ambassadors of hair rawk and home video sex-capades, M?tley Cr?e deserves respect. As the cornstarch in the roux of debauched '80s metal, the Cr?e added thickness to a genre about to go pop while providing the necessary sweeteners to push it there. Yet, by decade's end, M?tley's calling cards - excess, power ballads, Lycra tights - had been revoked. Fans of the sweet, the sour and the spandex - themselves in a land-of-the-lost where teased hair-don'ts rule - sold out the Spectrum Friday night.
January 10, 2005 |
Something was amiss at the Troc Friday for Was (Not Was), the newly reformed kitchen-sink art-funkers renowned for biting, sarcastic lyrics. There were no people, no noise. Instead, Detroit's fusion of Steely Dan to Sun Ra was relegated to the upstairs Balcony due to poor sales. Rather than be down, a tightly packed older crowd and the elders of bizarre R&B connected for a thrill ride of free-associative disco-jazz. Led by faux bros David Was (Weiss, lyricist/flutist)