September 27, 2013 |
SUPPOSE YOU threw a party, and everybody came. Or, at least, all your buds from far as well as near. That's what the guys in the Philly-based "trans-fusion" (jam-meets-electronica) band Disco Biscuits are hoping for, with their second annual City Bisco festival holding down the fort on two stages today and tomorrow at the Mann Music Center. "It's definitely the party of the weekend," proclaimed Aron Magner, keyboardist for the headlining band that closes both bake-offs. Tonight it's with a hip-hop- strong support team, including Big Boi, Method Man and Redman, then tomorrow in a mix with electronic dance music "controlists," like Gigamesh, Emancipator, Shpongle, Lee Foss and more.
September 25, 2012 |
"Have I ever really helped anybody but myself / To believe in the power of songs?" Emily Haines sang in "Dreams So Real" during Metric's performance at the Tower Theater on Saturday night. Such self-doubt and existential questioning are typical of the Canadian quartet's songs, whether asking "Is this my life?" in "Breathing Underwater" or pleading, "Fate don't fail me now" in "Artificial Nocturne. " But those sentiments are at odds with the confidence and exuberance of Metric's music and stage presence.
March 23, 2012 |
After nearly 20 years away from the music business, British synth-pop icon Thomas Dolby launched his return last year with a passion - or rather, several passions. First there was a transmedia game, The Floating City, which was "set against a dystopian vision of the 1940s that could have perhaps existed if WWII had turned out a lot differently," he explains. Participants from around the world took part in the three-month long cyber-game, which wound down shortly before the release of Dolby's corresponding album, A Map of the Floating City.
November 21, 2010 |
The Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway classic South Pacific opens a short run at the Academy of Music on Tuesday, and the word in show circles is that whatever faith you've lost in this musical - whether in bad summer stock or in the eccentrically shot film version - will be restored. Not having had much faith in it to begin with, I attended the Lincoln Center Theater production during its New York run with much urban skepticism, but left feeling as corny as Kansas in August. The veracity of Bartlett Sher's staging, the real-person acting (no Mitzi Gaynor glamour girls here)
July 24, 2010 |
The future of serious music - a possible future, at least - is roaring in through a side door marked "dance clubs. " And behind that door? Miles of wires, for starters, generating synthesized sound at 8 p.m. Saturday at Crane Arts in North Philadelphia. A collection of artists from the British-based Nonclassical recording label will play hard-to-explain works involving sampling, looping, synthesizers and turntables, all staples of raves, circuit parties, and subgenres sometimes dismissed as "overdose music.
January 9, 2010 |
When keyboardist Erik Deutsch released Hush Money last fall, it was a breath of fresh air for jazz enthusiasts. Long known for helping soulful guitarist Charlie Hunter to get his groove on, Deutsch crafted a down-and-dirty organic sound on Hush Money that also managed to be synthetic, airy, and elegant. On his album, the composer-keyboardist found room for old Moog synthesizers and analog tape buzzes within his moody modern ballads and Hammond organ-filled grinders. The influence of film scoring legend Nino Rota's cinematic sweep held sway on the bluesy "Black Flies.
November 17, 2008 |
For a band that has made formidable inroads within shoegaze electronica, distorted art metal, and ambient electronic circles, M83 knows how to make sharp left turns yet stay smoothly on the road. Then again, with each record since 2001, the French band has shown it understands the idea of change that is radical yet seamless, with music influenced equally by the Laserium grandeur of Tangerine Dream and My Bloody Valentine's wall of woe. Since 2005, a series of musical switcheroos have been decided by breathy singer/guitarist Anthony Gonzalez - M83's co-originator - and fans have hung on each decision.
June 28, 2008 |
At around 10:30 p.m. Thursday, the electro-pop band Ladytron took the stage at the TLA. Or at least, it looked like they did. Between the smoke-filled air and the blinding backlight, it was hard to make out more than a half-dozen silhouettes floating in the haze. Formed in Liverpool, Ladytron combines the icy remove of German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk and the robot-love come-ons of Depeche Mode and New Order. Singers Helen Marnie and Mira Arroyo, who traded lead vocals throughout the night, stood back from the lip of the stage lost amid a forest of synthesizers, idly dancing to some private rhythm.
January 2, 2006 |
Why cram when you can jam? That must have been the idea behind singing-songwriting guitarist Todd Sheaffer's decision in 2001 to leave New Jersey's ruggedly hick-popping (his term) From Good Homes and form Railroad Earth. Yet rather than noodle endlessly in a sea of listless improvisational soloing (ugh), Railroad Earth - who sold out two shows at the TLA on Friday and Saturday - managed a delicious, elegant union within a sextet's arrangement of lengthy country-jazz and bluegrass swing movements.
February 25, 2005 |
When pianist Herbie Hancock's quintet reached back in time to play his "Dolphin Dance" on Wednesday night, it was from an oblique angle. Tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker and trumpeter Roy Hargrove slowed down the melody until it seemed as if the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall were moving in slow motion. The tune emerged from the shadows as if from a solar eclipse. Fast forward nearly 2 1/2 hours later, and Hancock & Co. were deep in a spectacularly funky patch. Hargrove was in sweet, lyrical form; Brecker channeled incredible passion through his tenor, and that was before the band received two standing ovations and ended with Hancock's 1973 classic, "Chameleon.