Call it the orchestra’s all-American election special, open to democrats, republicans and communists. The music of Barber, Gershwin and Copland is familiar to most ears, but the excellent music of Puerto-Rican born Roberto Sierra may be a revelation. This will be the local premiere of his Sinfonia No. 4. The soloist in the Gershwin Piano Concerto in F will be Kirill Gerstein, who, appropriately for this music, has dual careers in the classical and jazz worlds.
STARTS TONIGHT: Fri., Nov. 2, 2 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 3 p.m.; $20-$130, Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St., 215-893-1999, philorch.org.
WHO: Richie Hawtin, Loco Dice, Ean Golden, Josh Wink, Rob Paine
WHAT: A very unique tour, CNTRL: Beyond EDM, is hitting Philly for a two-part event. The concept is to inform and inspire people about the history and future of electronic music. First off, they're stopping by Drexel University for a daytime seminar from 5-7 p.m., presented by Dubspot, the renowned electronic music production and DJ school. In addition to touring acts Richie Hawtin, Loco Dice and Ean Golden, locals Josh Wink and Rob Paine will be joining the fray along with Ovum’s Matt Brookman, who will lead a guest lecture. Topics covered at the seminar include using technology to control creativity, old school DJing vs. controllerism, sound quality and an open Q&A. Afterward, its party time! The whole gang will throw down, culminating with Mr. Plastikman himself, Richie Hawtin dropping one of his groundbreaking techno sets he’s known for internationally.
WHEN & WHERE: Fri., Nov. 2, 5 p.m.-7 p.m., Main Building Auditorium, Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut St. and 8:30 p.m.-2 a.m., Electric Factory, 421 N. Seventh St., ticketmaster.com.
WHY: Cause we're kind of hawt for Hawtin.
Which came first, the band’s name or its sound? Not sure which is the case with Philly four-piece The Sea Around Us, but the two match up immaculately, immersing the listener in a surging tide of lustrous guitar and weblike rhythms, buoying resonant vocals that seem to be both echoing from afar and intimately close. The band recently recorded its full-length debut, Amor Fati, with in-demand local producer Kyle “Slick” Johnson, and it’s a richly ornamented cabinet of eccentric indie-pop wonders. The title is a Latin phrase evoking not only an acceptance but an embrace of one’s fate, a concept touted by Friedrich Nietzsche. The album radiates just such an effusive embrace, sans the philosopher’s bleak nihilism. This is decidedly sunny stuff, albeit with complex subtleties to be found within those beams.
Thu., Nov. 1, 8 p.m., $8-$10, with Jounce, Icewater and The Defog, Milkboy, 1100 Chestnut St., 215-925-MILK, milkboyphilly.com.
When you’re John Vanderslice — exacting songwriter and studio tinkerer of the highest order, a man who used to spend about three months just setting up drum mics — it’s a big deal when you flip the script and make an entire album in three days. The San Francisco indie-pop savant experimented with the brevity thing on last year’s White Wilderness — a collaboration with the Magik*Magik Orchestra that sounds nearly as dense, melodically rich and playfully skewed as his other, more painstaking recordings. Whether or not he returns to his meticulous old ways on the next album, Vanderslice the live performer remains the same: warm, spontaneous, loose, animated and joyful, even when he’s singing paranoia- and pathos-soaked narratives about terrorists, small-town dreamers, crippling depression or Romanian gymnasts. There’ll be no orchestra tonight, but Vanderslice typically brings a couple multi-instrumentalist co-conspirators along for the sonic ride, and we hear Eric Bachmann of co-headliners Crooked Fingers may join them.
Thu., Nov. 1, 9:15 p.m., $15, with Crooked Fingers, Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 215-739-9684, johnnybrendas.com.
It's our Halloween issue! Pat Rapa talks with professional actors about the roles they've played in haunted houses in less-flush eras of their careers: "I wandered around, mean as fuck, glaring at people and barking at them in a voice like Jack Nicholson chewing on speed and broken glass."
Theresa Everline hangs out with mummies at the Penn Museum: "There are numerous human heads with (ew!) preserved hair. There’s a falcon, an ibis, a herd of cats, a crocodile and two young children — all mummified."
Mark Cofta goes to the Adrienne for Luna Theater Company's 70 Scenes of Halloween, in which a resentful suburban married couple are stalked by two scary monsters: "Beast and Witch are simultaneously neighborhood children, Jeff and Joan’s friends and the couple’s barely controlled ids.
And a roundup of Halloween events, from Dracula ballet to a Rocky Horror Puppet Show to zombie-pop.
Deni Kasrel on human-robot choreography in Science per Forms from Carbon Dance Theatre: "Homer must be reprogrammed, not merely asked to avoid beaning the other dancer."
Patrick Rapa talks to Kate Ferencz about her band Evil Sword and their love of costumes and weirdness. " Regardless of what time of year it is, if you come to an Evil Sword show you are expected to wear a costume."
Michael Pelusi has a few things to say about the Aimee Mann/Ted Leo show at Union Transfer on Friday: "Thirteen years after Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia, Aimee Mann has found another simpatico filmmaker: Tom Scharpling, host of The Best Show on WFMU. Scharpling’s videos for songs from Mann’s latest album, Charmer (SuperEgo), delight in testing the resolve of her deadpan. ..."
Peter Burwasser is intrigued by the gigantic Cage: Move From Zero series starting up on Friday: "Was John Cage a creative genius or a clever charlatan?"
Sam Adams calls the highly ambitious adaptation of David Mitchell’s sci-fi epic Cloud Atlas "a movie of big ideas — and only some of them are terrible." Directors: Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer Stars: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Hugh Grant Grade: B+ Theaters: Franklin Mills, UA Grant, UA Riverview.
Christian Graham reviews The Other Son, "a West Bank story of mistaken identity and clashing cultures that, unfortunately, fails to hit as hard as it could." Director: Lorraine Levy Stars: Emmanuelle Devos, Pascal Elbé and Jules Sitruk Grade: B- Theater: Ritz Five.
Drew Lazor calls indie drama Smashed "a forthright exploration of alcoholism clipped by its own rhetoric." Director: James Ponsoldt Stars: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul and Octavia Spencer Grade: B- Theaters: Ritz at the Bourse.
Plus, a roundup of rep films by Christian Graham that includes all kinds of old-school Halloween flicks, like The Monster Squad at The Balcony, The Exorcist at County Theater and Halloween at Rave.
WHO: Squarepusher with Justin Paul, Kezner and Mount Kimble
WHAT: Forward-thinking electronic-music pioneer Tom Jenkinson, aka Squarepusher, is back with a new album, Ufabulum, on Warp Records and a dazzling live show to complement it. On his acclaimed new tour, he’s based the performance on a self-crafted a/v rig of “video synthesizers,” which are manipulated live to create a stunning sci-fi-inspired audio-visual experience. Expect a fresh set from the ever-morphing Jenkinson, who claims the show will include current material only. The supporting lineup consists of Playloop’s Justin Paul, Kezner and Mount Kimbie.
WHEN & WHERE: Sat., Oct. 27, 8 p.m., $25, TLA, 334 South St., tlaphilly.com.
WHY: Cause you wanna Squarepush-push it real good!
Jeffrey Lewis’ lonely, lovelorn songs have grown more nuanced and poetic over the years, but that waggish wit has always been there. Same goes for the quirky topicality and conversational sensibility that reached fuller flower on last year’s A Turn in the Dream-Songs and 2009’s great, mortality-oriented Em Are I. The proof is in The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane (and Other Favorites), a compilation of DIY cassette recordings issued by Rough Trade in 2001 now available on vinyl for the first time, in a 10-year anniversary edition (well, almost) from Don Giovanni records. It’s as good as any excuse for a tour, not that we need any justification for a chance to catch New York’s most entertaining (and most endearingly neurotic) songwriter-cartoonist in action. Hopefully he brings along some of his ingenious “low budget videos” — large-format lyric-illustrating flip-books — which are perhaps the best expression of his twin supertalents.
TONIGHT, Thu., Oct. 25, 8 p.m., $8-$10, with Birdie Busch, World Café Live Upstairs, 3025 Walnut St., 215-222-1400, worldcafelive.com.
You know what I say about expectations? I say who needs them. Historically, when I make them I never meet them, so I tried really hard to keep my lookout low for this weekend’s CMJ Music Marathon in New York City. CMJ happens every year: It’s a five-day conference for music professionals and the people who love them, offering dozens of panels on everything from music licensing to composing criticisms. On top of that, there are showcases. So many showcases of various genres and stature, set up at different venues across the city. Some are free to the public and some require credentials. It’s overwhelming and best thought out in small doses, like, first: Figure out how to get there. And second: See what happens.
My expectations were as follows: See some new music, see some old friends, find a bed to sleep in or a couch or floor or something, and not get irreversibly lost in Manhattan. Despite cab odyssey that took me to 92nd Street and Second Avenue —instead of my intended destination, 92 Second Ave. — I guess I can safely say that the weekend was successful by those standards. I was also able to take one shower and eat some free rotisserie chicken and I only almost cried like, three times the whole weekend. So it goes.
My weekend starts with a 6 p.m. Mega Bus that turns into a 6:45 p.m. unnamed bus with some pretty rad cosmic seat patterns. By the time I get to Union Station it’s 9 p.m. and too late to pick up my press pass, so I go to a friend’s place to snack on some bird meat and drink some beers. Two hours later we hit up Glasslands Gallery, an old warehouse converted into an art space/music venue with no line and cheap Brooklyn Lager tallboys. The venue is stuffed and I have to teeter on a raised ledge that juts out from the bar, only half confident that I won’t fall overboard. I watch Isaac Delusion, a French psych-pop outfit that plays what my friend dubs “pill music.” The sound is very mellow, cathartic, electronic, like something that would come stock on a first generation iPod.
I was tempted to keep this pair of headphones for myself, but when they're on my scrawny head I look like Princess Leia if she was a pitiful drowned rat. I bet they'd look so much better on you.
Here's the deal with them: They're called Chambers and they're designed by Wu Tang producer/occasional filmmaker Rza. Besides the actual headphones, the whole getup includes a black zip-up pouch, a twin-plug airline-system adaptor, a detachable cable (which includes a handsfree unit that works like a charm on the iPhone) and an alternate cable for your alternate-cabling pleasures.
You can read more about the fancy innerworkings here. Now let's get on to the contest details:
Since the headphones are red, we'd like you to snap some photos in the city of red things, whether it be a building, a baseball cap, a pumpkin that came out the wrong color, whatever, and upload it on Instragram (follow us @phillycitypaper!) with the tag #cpwin. On Monday we'll scroll through the entries and choose our favorite one. Then we'll contact that photographer and mail them the prize.
Are we good? If you have questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, get to snappin'!
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