In this week's cover story A.D. Amorosi writes about the Lipsius family and its klatch of labels that helped put Philly soul on the map. Although Guyden/Jamie/Arctic/Phil-L.A. no longer exist, Frank Lipsius is determined to keep his father's music alive. On Cooler Than Ice: The Arctic Records Story, a freshly minted and extensive box set, some of Philly's brightest stars perform their earliest tunes.
1) It's hard to believe, but Della Humphrey was only 12 years old when she recorded "Don't Make the Good Girls Go Bad."
2) Kenny Gamble dropped several singles on Arctic, including "Chains of Love."
3) A Temple University student at the time, Daryl Hall recorded his early singles with the Temptones, among which was "Something Good."
4) The Volcanos' catchy, Motown-inspired tune, "(It's Against) The Laws of Love" was released in 1965.
5) Better known for "Yes, I'm Ready," Arctic's first hit, Barbara Mason's "You Better Stop It" showcases a powerhouse voice.
6) A traditional gospel group, the Brockington Chorale Ensemble's "How I Got Over (Part 1)" was included on Arctic's second long-playing release.
Every few weeks, Critical Mass will feature one Philly love note in its collaboration with blogger Emma Fried-Cassorla of phillylovenotes.com.
I AM: Kevin McKenzie, creator of Amusing My Bouche and a sales consultant currently stranded in Maryland.
MY LOVE NOTE:
Someone was honking their horn.
I lay there, eyes still closed as the sunlight did its best to try and coax me from sleep. My head was throbbing mildly, a gift from the German beers I had imbibed the prior evening, and I was sure a few more moments of slumber could hold the impending headache from hell at bay. But...now this...
Someone was honking their horn.
The great Nigerian author of Things Fall Apart and several other novels, stories and essays has passed away. In this video, Bill Moyers interviews Chinua Achebe for PBS. Read the New York Times obit here.
There's so much music stuff in the paper this week, it's crazy. Here's some links.
Album Reviews: BOY (who plays World Café Live on Wednesday), Flume, Lady and Killing Them Softly
Plus so many freakin' music picks:
- Esben and the Witch — tonight @ Kung Fu Necktie
- Sky Ferreira — Saturday @ Johnny Brenda's
- Joe Hardcore — Saturday @ Broad Street Ministry
- Helen Money — Saturday @ Kung Fu Necktie
- Thao & the Get Down Stay Down — Saturday @ Underground Arts
- Temple Symphony Orchestra — Sunday @ Kimmel Arts
- Phosphorescent — Monday @ Johnny Brenda's
- Benoit Pioulard — Monday @ First Unitarian Church
- Richard Thompson — Tuesday @ Academy of Music
- Mount Moriah — Tuesday @ Johnny Brenda's
- Schwervon — Wednesday @ Kung Fu Necktie
Everyone who dropped food onto their whites and jumped into the fountain at the last Diner en Blanc, prepare for the best. Diner En Blanc 2: The Sequel will occur — on — ta da, my birthday, Aug. 22. I will expect white roses. Found that out at Serrano’s spring dinner/new menu affair of which I’ll have more to tell you next week.
Busy week for Philly movie stuff. Rich Wolff’s Breaking Glass Pictures was supposed to open his new transvestite-prison flick K-11 at the re-designed/re-opening Roxy Screening Room soon-ish. With the Roxy not yet open though, K-11 — opened on screens in 14 other cities — just hit Comcast’s on demand this week. For those who know not their K-11 lore, this is director Jules Stewart’s flick starring Mexican superstar Kate Del Castillo (as the transvestite prison boss) and Red Widow’s Goran Visnjic. Wolff pulled out a press clip calling the film a “deranged John Waters remake of The Shawshank Redemption” with which I wholeheartedly agree.
FEATURING: Angel Haze, Mac DeMarco, The Little Ones, Death Grips, Eric Burdon, Kitty, King Tuff, Kelly Hogan, George Clinton (I think) and more.
On Saturday night I was in a church pew and a mosh pit, within the span of about two hours. I suppose that might not be so unusual if you’re used to attending Sunday hardcore matinees. But this was a hip-hop mosh pit. At various other points of the night, I was also at a sweaty, debaucherous Brazilian dance party, a big outdoor rock show, a big shiny auditorium pop show, an orchestral concert, a dingy basement dance club, on a gorgeous landscaped bike path at sunset and in a clothing store, eating pizza. Such is the quick-change mish-mash and experiential overload of South by Southwest, which wrapped up for me in typically chaotic, multivalent fashion.
Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell at the W Hotel, 11 a.m.
The day started early, with this live taping for KGSR which we sort of unintentionally snuck into. They were quite late getting started, despite it being live radio, which is probably why they only played two songs. Somehow, two was enough, though, and it was also a treat getting to hear them talk a bit in between, telling stories about their long friendship (they’ve been collaborating in one way or another since the early ’70s). Not sure if this was age or just a week full of shows, but Emmylou’s voice, miraculous as it definitely still is, was getting awfully whispery in the upper registers.
Ivan & Alyosha at Peckerheads, 12:30 p.m.
Biked across town precisely too late to catch an evidently very prompt 20-minute set by West Philly’s own Waxahatchee, then doubled back to see a few songs by this very nice, spirited New York folk-pop band, who seem like they ought to do very well. E thought they seemed like good Christian boys.
Little Daylight at Cedar Door, 12:30 p.m.
After a non-stop, action-packed Thursday (and a late late night recounting it for y’all), I took things a bit slower on Friday, conference day four. My baby got into town that morning, and we downshifted to help her settle in and acclimate for her first-ever SXSW experience; plus it was an especially hot day, set times seemed to be delayed everywhere, I was drained from the start anyway, and for some reason the lines for the (generally free) day parties were particularly bad.
It was a good time for a breather, which in this case meant catching merely three bands during the day:
- Old favorite Diamond Rings [@ The Main, 1:30 p.m.], a.k.a. Toronto punk-rocker-turned-electro-pop-cheeseball John Regan, who wears a gnarly spiked leather jacket and a rainbow guitar strap and is a happy happy bouncy man on stage.
- Moody L.A. slow-jam brothers Inc. [@ Club DeVille, 2:30 p.m.] (my second PBR&B show?), just the right speed for a hot, sluggish afternoon, whose decidedly strange visual presentation was faithfully replicated from their album cover and PR photos (makes you wonder just how carefully cultivated the holes are in that ripped t-shirt).
- Jittery NY-via-TX indie-punk goofs Parquet Courts [@ Red 7, 4:30 p.m.]. They were definitely more intense (and just tense) in person, playing with a tightly controlled manic insistence reminiscent of the Feelies or early Devo; stretching their songs out a bit but also making impressively executed sudden stops and zero-second transitions, though sadly their endearingly quirky vocals were somewhat buried.
The evening was low-key and desultory as well. I caught bits of quite a few things here and there, but only a couple of full performances. There were some nice moments though. Maybe the best came at the start — after dinner at Elizabeth Street, my confirmed favorite Austin restaurant (a stylish French-Vietnamese bistro with the most unimaginably perfect grilled octopus), we caught the tail end of local indie chamber orchestra Mother Falcon (I think I counted 19 members) performing OK Computer outside Home Slice Pizza (where we had also seen the earnestly bearded and impassioned local folky-chamber-rock group Seryn earlier). Mother Falcon’s arrangements of Radiohead (the back half of “No Surprises” and a “Lucky”-into-”The Tourist” medley, at least) were utterly gorgeous and inventive, and so were their jazz-inflected original numbers — they played three as an encore — albeit a good deal livelier. Plus the whole concept is just awesome (and the name may or may not be very sneakily dirty).
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