This Icepack’s for the ladies: those who left town, those who stayed, even the gal who married me (anniversary time with Glamorosi, yo). Alice Cohen, the one-time Vels and Fun City frontwoman, left these parts a while ago for Brooklyn and a career in electro-pop far eerier than what she accomplished in Philly. After dropping Sky Flowers and Walking Up Walls in ’08 and ’09, respectively, Cohen just released her strongest record to date, Pink Keys. Where Walls was a raw train-of-thought batch of song sketches and improvised lyrics, Pink Keys is, in Cohen’s words, more produced and tuned into the “so-called ‘hypnagogic’ scene of the Brooklyn community I live in, a sort of hybrid dance-pop with cosmic leanings and escapist, fairy-tale imagery.” So how does Cohen make use of her days playing at the Ripley and hanging at the Hot Club? “I drew on a lot of my experiences as a Philadelphia musician. In fact, I used the actual same Linn drum machine that we used in the Vels, but played it manually.” Cohen says she channeled her R&B roots and allowed herself to play with vocal styles from other eras. “It’s definitely flavored by my memories and time spent in Philadelphia.”
➤ One-time Philadelphia mag and Philly Weekly scribe Jessica Pressler is ready for her close-up. The New York writer who recaps Gossip Girl episodes for the mag will have a meta-moment when she appears as, what else, a blogger in an episode of the show during its sixth and final CW season this October. I’m not sure Pressler can pretend for long. Let’s see how she holds up.
➤ Closer to home, one-time City Paper editor and staff writer Jen Darr — she learned to box for a cover story back in ’98 — is behind a righteous rock-out benefit Aug. 30 at World Café Live. The Sophie Jane Darr Summer Concert Series is dedicated to Jen’s niece, who passed away from brain cancer just before Christmas 2007. The family started a charity in Sophie’s name three years ago and has held all kinds of events, with 100 percent of monies raised benefiting kids with cancer and other heinous diseases. This Sophie show features Philly and Brooklyn bands such as Toy Soldiers, Desoto Jones, The Hyde and Leroy Justice. Do that.
➤ In other Jen news, chef Jen Zavala, the lass behind El Camino Real and the debuting-soon Cherry Bomb Bus and this week’s Hen’s Revenge ladies-only bash at Prohibition Tap Room, has something else to crow about. She hooked up with the Farmers’ Cabinet crew over the weekend for a TBD role at one of their restaurants (they have The Boilermaker on South 11th, too). As long as Jen’s cooking, it’s a’ight.
➤ Lots more meta-moments when Icepack gets illustrated at citypaper.net/criticalmass.