The Black Angels @ Union Transfer


The Black Angels, Dead Meadow, and Spindrift played @ Union Transer on 10/27/11.

Spindrift, based in LA, started off the night with their energetic set. Their music is an interesting hybrid of psychedelic rock n roll, old country rhythms and stylings, and native american type chantings/ drumming. They all dressed in country gear. They have a female who was on keys/vocals, three guys on guitars including a double neck guitar/bass, more vocals, and drums. A lot of their songs were mostly instrumental. They have some cool videos and have done some work with feature length films too. I loved them! 

Dead Meadow from DC were next. They’ve been around for awhile but still look real young. They brought their bluesy druggy jams to the max tonight, playing for a full hour. They have a guy  on guitar/vocals, a bassist, and a drummer with a kit that was clear. Also some preprogrammed noises for atmosphere/rhythms. Dead Meadow also had some cool effects like fog and echo on the mic, plus lots of soloing and distortion. Some of their songs stretch to a sludgey 8min, and others are a little more choppy and upbeat at 3-4min.

The Black Angels from Austin, TX ended the night with an awesome set. Last year I saw them at First Unitarian and let me tell you the venue change is a simple but important factor in sound and presentation… they were able to perform how they were meant tonight! The visuals were large scale on a screen behind them on stage, and didn’t disappoint, varying in color, shape, subject matter. Kind of like how their website intro is if you’ve seen that. Anyway The Black Angels played a bunch from their most recent album Phosphene Dream including Telephone, Bad Vibrations, Yellow Elevator #2, and a ton from their album Passover-Sniper At The Gates of Heaven, with a twist on vocals, Bloodhounds On My Trail, Better Off Alone, Black Grease. I really like when all three guys do vocals,which they did on a few songs, Alex’s voice is great, and Stephanie as usual did awesome pounding out the rhythms that drive their sound. They’re a little less drone-y psych on stage now but more energetic, it was a really good show.


The Renderers @ Little Bar

dsc0859The Renderers and Sore Eros played @ Little Bar in South Philly 10/21/11.

I was lucky to see this show because I missed them when they came around at the start of their tour.

Sore Eros  from Northhampton, MA went on stage around 11:30. There were some bands before them but I wasn’t interested. Sore Eros invited Maryrose Crook from The Renderers up for a song, and it was a kind of duet, very beautiful. Brian Crook (Renderers) also played guitar/noise for a song or two. Sore Eros has a psychedelic post rock indie sound, even though the sound was great I felt like I was spying on some basement practice session. The drummer was banging away with surprising intensity considering their otherwise low key sound. There were maracas, a melodica, 2 guitars- one with rhythm the other with intricate melodies, and a bassist. They also had a bunch of electronics that I won’t pretend to know. The vocalist has a interesting voice and a good range of sound. Sore Eros has nice lyrical content too, very sweet. Their name is a palindrome.

The Renderers, from New Zealand, were on around 12:15. They did a bunch of songs from A Dream of the Sea, their older albums, then a few from their new album. Maryrose is a striking individual, a powerful musician with a simple style- such a pleasing voice. Her guitar is a beauty, with a really nice tone. Brian sang a few songs too. Renderers were dark and noisy, crunchy, and a little shoegaze-y. They have four people, 2 guitars, bass, drums, and some electronics that contributed to beeps/noise on a few songs. Watching them was incredible, they really draw you in and take you into this otherworld. Not every band can capture you like that, fantastic set and the audience loved ’em. They are on Siltbreeze.

Arbouretum @ O’Rielly’s


Suicide Magnets, Dirt Weed Revue, Eternal Tapestry, and Arbouretum played @ O’Rielly’s at 10pm.

O’Rielly’s is an artsy, comfortable bar in Kensington & a cool space to see a show.

Suicide Magnets are a Philly band. Unfortunately I got lost on the way to the bar and missed the set. But I heard one song as I came in and they have a female singer who had a cool effect on the microphone, kinda delayed/echo-y. My friend said they had a song called Fuck you Patrick Swayze.

Dirt Weed Revue came on next. They played for maybe 25 min? Could be longer cause it was one hell of a trippy jam. Tonight they had 2 guitars and 2 drums. Their music is somewhat cerebral, you really have to go with it and see where it takes you. It started off slow, the bass drums didn’t kick in until 10 min, but when they did it was awesome, extreme rhythm going on and everything was in sync. The one guitar was playing progressions and the other was doing noisier stuff, being played with various items(screwdriver made an appearance) and tonight there were several interjections into the sound with shouting type vocals. Loud and intense session!

Arbouretum from Baltimore, MA were next. They had 3 guys tonight, drums, bass, guitar, usually there are 4. I would say the 4th member tonight was the copious amounts of smoke from the fog machine just driftin by. Arbouretum had more traditional song structures and was kind of a throwback, I felt a real classic rock/psych vibe there and the music is accessible. I don’t remember the songs but the one from their upcoming album was awesome. Pretty minimal set up, not too many pedals or effects just intense rock n roll. The guitar was nice, had a wooden overlay and solid warm sound.

Eternal Tapestry  from Portland, OR was last. These guys had 2 guitars, bass, drums, and sax/noise. Not too much vocals going on, more just long jams, of which there were 4. I’ve been listening to them a lot lately so I was excited to see them live and they did not disappoint. They played close together and had a lot of energy. The sax is a great element to their sound and was wailing along, the drumming had a fast, tight structure sort of leading things. They have an impressive flow to their songs and sound fantastic live, their records I’ve heard are a little more mellow but they tore it up! This was their last gig before they’re going on tour to Europe. Eternal Taspestry and Arbouretum are both on Thrill Jockey records and are modern psych bands to keep an eye (or ear)on.

They Might Be Giants @ TLA


They Might Be Giants and Jonathan Coulton played a sold out show @ Theatre of Living Arts 9/30/11.

Jonathan Coulton , from Brooklyn, came on stage around 8:45. His music is mainly geeky folk rock. Jonathan Coulton, aka JoCo,  plays guitar and sings, he also has a bassist and a drummer. He played a bunch of songs from his new album Artificial Heart, which was produced by John Flansburgh. Songs titles/ subject matter included glasses, being socially awkward, taking medication to feel fantastic, and stickin it to yourself. One song was in french and that was Je Suis Rick Springfield. Not being a previous fan of his music, let’s just say the show didn’t convert me, but there were plenty of others in the audience getting into the music, especially  his big hit, the song Still Alive from the game Portal.

They Might Be Giants  started their set a little after 10. On stage there was John Linnell & John Flansburgh, and then Dan Miller on guitar/vocals, Danny Weinkauf on bass, and Marty Beller on drums. Other instruments included bass clarinet, accordion, and keyboard/synth. They started off the night with Philadelphia, from Venue Songs, because it’s about the TLA. They played songs from most of their albums but their most recent, Join Us, which came out in July, was the main focus. Fingertips, Can’t Keep Johnny Down, Ana Ng and XTC vs. Adam Ant were my favorites of the night. TMBG have a ton of energy on stage and really involve the crowd in the performance. Celebration and Clap Your Hands had everyone dancing clapping and stomping their feet, Ape Club had the crowd chanting ‘people’ or ‘ape’ depending on which side of the stage you were on. The visual effects were also entertaining, there was a screen set up on stage with video clips playing random footage, a mini puppet show, and then the standard disco ball/ multi colored lights. For a meta effect the audience was filmed and the footage was up on the screen. TMBG are great musicians and never fail to put on an exciting show.