Monday, December 11, 2017

Morrissey Cancels Philadelphia Concert Date

Four hours before the doors were set to open, we received the all too familiar news delivered by Bigmouth himself.  Morrissey had cancelled yet another show, this time in Philadelphia at the Fillmore due to a sickness in the touring party.  Although obvious and expected, it was still disappointing.  I was first introduced to The Smiths in 1986 by my high school English teacher, who is soon to be immortalized by Josh Radnor on the TV show “Rise” in March on NBC.  Appalled that I had not heard The Smiths, he made me a cassette copy of The Queen is Dead – the very next day.  Immediately, I fell in love. Our love was not traditional.  Morrissey and I were connected in life by a series of letdowns and disappointments.  His latest cancellation was just another one of those connections.  I have always wanted to see Morrissey play live and even now, over 30 years later, seeing him perform a show still eludes me.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Concert Review: Lo Moon @ Boot and Saddle - Philadelphia, PA 11/07/17

My brain is in a state of perpetual motion – a state necessary to generate enough fuel to power my body’s most essential organ. My mouth. It’s impossible to quantify how many things come out of my mouth throughout the course of one day, and an attempt to do so would take the auditory equivalent of a Clockwork-Orange-style intervention. Despite my mouth’s perpetual verbal kinetics, on occasion, it has been proven possible to be tamed. A beautiful woman.  A painting. A song.  A moment so powerful that my brain shuts off, my mouth stops, and my heart is given the green light to just feel. To accept a feeling without definition. To enjoy a moment without description. Enter Lo Moon.


Monday, October 23, 2017

Concert Review: Magic Giant @ The Foundry - Philadelphia, PA 10/15/17

Music is a medium. Emotions translate into melodies like a blackout-inducing power surge. Songwriters can transform great sadness into song and weave joy into a melody. Heartache and happiness leave their hearts and we absorb them into our souls. This past Sunday at the Foundry in Philadelphia, Magic Giant sent love. Their music hugged me and told me I was pretty. Never had a concert made me feel so loved – unless we include the time I made out with a random girl in the parking lot at a Grateful Dead show.  I don’t think that one counts. 


Monday, October 9, 2017

Concert Review: KMFDM @ Underground Arts - Philadelphia, PA 10/06/17

Dark times were rampant in 1984.  It was the year of Orwell's Big Brother, and Apple made sure they sold the paranoia with their Super Bowl XVIII commercial, depicting bleak interpretations of conformity - ringing strangely true to the red menace of communism that was threatening our individualism. AIDS had ended the era of free love, and crack cocaine took the pleasure out of casual drug use. White supremacists engaged in a gun battle with the FBI.  There was a deadly tornado, a serial murderer, and a Miss America scandal. The Soviet Union boycotted the Summer Olympics as the Cold War raged on amid fears of nuclear annihilation.  As a 14-year-old boy, I was scared.  I was scared of big brother watching me.  I was scared of a nuclear attack.  I was scared of girls. I had plenty of questions and no answers.  Would tensions with Russia lead to war?  Would I get drafted? Would I ever get laid?  It was a frightening time in my life, and I took solace in music.  Today, there is no shortage of political unrest.  North Korea continues its quest to join the nuclear arms race. White supremacists marched through Virginia.  There are chemical weapons attacks, mass murder shootings, and severe hurricanes.  Big Brother has turned from political commentary to a reality television show.  And after many relationships, I am still afraid of women. There are still major issues in this world.  I still have questions, and I still don't have answers.  Will tensions with North Korea lead to war?  Will my boys get drafted? Will I ever get laid?  Not much has changed.  Not even KMFDM.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Rediscovered Albums - Musicforthemorningafter by Pete Yorn

I always thought I hated Pete Yorn.  I'm not really sure why.  I couldn't tell you one song he sings.  At some point, I must have heard something by him and made a snap decision that he wasn't for me.  It doesn't happen often, but it happens.  Even owning a copy of his collaboration with Scarlett Johansson, which I loved, was not enough for me to listen to any of his catalog.  Then he turned 43.  The local Philly radio station played a song to celebrate his birthday.  The song was "Life on a Chain."  Suddenly, it was 2001 and I was in love.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Concert Review: The Alarm @ Radio 104.5's Performance Theater - Bala Cynwyd, PA 07/07/17

"Defiantly they wait for their hairdresser," read the caption to a 1983 picture in Creem Magazine.  It was the first glimpse I had gotten from the band.  It's funny now, looking back on it, that the magazine that covered the hair metal explosion for the next six years was poking fun at this band.  The Alarm had just released their first EP in the states and it was different.  It contained songs of courage, grit, and guts which strayed from your garden variety alternative music of the day.  It was one of the first albums I remember "borrowing" from my sister.  Their music still stands for the same things some 34 years later - but for different reasons.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Fran's Top 10 Songs of 2017 (So Far...)

It is that time of the year again where I prove to you that my musical taste is no better than that of a 14-year-old girl.  You'll be able to tell my selections this outing are more influenced by mainstream, adult-alternative radio. I've also used my listening stats from Apple Music, which is a first, and I'm a little surprised I listened to some of these songs as many times as I did.  Regardless, I hope that some of these are in your Top 10 as well.  Without further ado, please enjoy my Top 10 Songs of 2017 (So Far...).

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Concert Review: Phoenix @ The Fillmore Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA 06/02/17

Phoenix was a gift.  Literally.  It was 2006 when the package arrived in the mail.  The contents were simply a CD and a sticky note.  The sticky note read, "You deserve some great music."  The CD was the brand new album by Phoenix, It's Never Been Like That.  I didn't know Phoenix from The Dodos, so I popped it in the CD player.  From the opening notes of "Napoleon Says," I was hooked.  I was suddenly transported to the sexy pop that, I imagine, is played in clubs of the French Riviera.  I listened, while acting aloof, sipping drinks with Daft Punk.  They asked me where I got my awesome mask.  I didn't tell them.  That's how I roll.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Dark as Roses, Fine as Sand: The Legacy of Chris Cornell

My Thursday morning commute to work is usually a quiet one.  It's the one day a week that I am not driving my kids to school. Typically, my mornings are filled with teenage chatter and comedians on Apple Music.  This Thursday morning drive was being sound-tracked with today's current adult alternative music.  Basically, it is background noise I can tune out while I think.  I'm a thinker.  OK, I'm an over thinker.  I repeat the day before in my head and then plan the day ahead of me.  It's an indulgence that I don't always give into, otherwise it will control me.  I'm not one to give stock in the news.  Actually, I avoid it at all costs. Years of my dad watching the nightly news and reading the paper cured me of that.  While my friends were watching whatever they wanted to watch on their TV's, we watched the news.  On the rare occasion that I did read the paper, my father would feed me the sports scores before I had the opportunity to read the details.  No, on this day it was music.  On this day, Thursday, May 18th, I was mindlessly lost in melody following the highway on autopilot. And then the text came in.

"Did Chris Cornell die?"

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Concert Review: The New Pornographers @ Union Transfer - Philadelphia, PA 04/27/17

The biggest challenge for any band is to stay relevant to their existing fan base while continuing to grow. The New Pornographers passed this test with flying colors with their new album, Whiteout Conditions. They focused on their power pop roots and writing of Carl Newman to give us their most consistent record to date. How well does this new focus translate to their live show? Brilliantly!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

As Good As It Gets: A Conversation with TJ from The Nearly Deads

I have interviewed Ally Dickaty, lead singer of The Virginmarys, Gustav Wood, lead singer of Young Guns, and Rich Meyer, bass and vocals of the Grammy nominated band Highly Suspect, for this blog. Notice a trend there?  All dudes.  All super talented, incredibly smart, wickedly funny, and hellaciously hot but all dudes.

As much as I enjoyed those interviews, it was absolutely wonderful to finally get to interview a kick ass lead singer of a band which has a new EP coming out on May 26th.  I had the pleasure of talking with TJ of The Nearly Deads and this is what transpired. 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Album Review: Whiteout Conditions by The New Pornographers

The New Pornographers front man, A.C. Newman, once said in an interview with Big Takeover magazine that he would like to be able to write different kinds of music but he only knows how to write one kind.  When you have the market cornered of catchy power pop riffs and inter-playing, male and female harmonies I say, "If it ain't broke don't fix it".

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Concert Review: Civilian @ The Foundry - Philadelphia, PA 03/06/17

Civilian, as a band, is a message.  A call for change, not revolution. Their message is not preachy by any means. They want you to be aware of the role you play in change for any issue you are passionate about.  Their lyrics ask you to think.  Any journey starts with a small step.  That step is not tweeting about it.  That step is not posting about your displeasure.  That step is our interaction with the problem.  Become active.  Lend a helping hand.  Give your time.  Give your compassion.  Think. That is when you realize the brilliance of Civilian.

Monday, February 13, 2017

14 Anti-Valentine's Day Songs For The Trenches

Little known fact about me:  I'm addicted to makeup.  It's my crack but at least it helps me look and feel prettier, doesn't rot my teeth, destroy relationships with everyone who loves me, and make me look 87 years old prematurely.  When you're Sephora VIB Rouge and the girls (and fabulous guys) who work there ask you where you've been when they haven't seen you in a few weeks, you start to realize you may have a problem.  Emphasis on the word "may."

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Concert Review: The Dollyrots - Live, Acoustic, and Awesome! @ Randy Now's Man Cave Bordentown, NJ 08/25/16

Imagine you got to see one of your favorite bands perform live in your living room. Only 25 other people on the guest list, and afterward the band hung out to mingle and eat cupcakes. Yeah, that’s right. It happened. Not in my living room, but at a record & consignment store. This past summer, The Dollyrots performed an intimate acoustic concert at Randy Now’s Man Cave in Bordentown, New Jersey, and it was AWESOME!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sitting at the Kitchen Table: A Conversation with Joe Robinson of Pacific Radio

New bands are like craft beers.  You drink them and you enjoy them, but you are always on the lookout for the next new one. Then the day comes when you discover "the one" and you are ready to buy it by the case.  I want to buy Pacific Radio by the keg.  Hot off their new EP Kitchen Table and their upcoming gig at BottleRock, front-man Joe Robinson had time to field a couple questions from me over the phone.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

These Words: A Conversation with The Lemon Twigs

Only once or twice in our lifetime will we be introduced to new music that is innovative and unique. Not to say that it won't draw from influences, but it does not imitate them. It shapes them into a whole new beast.  It is clay in the hands of a sculptor. Artists have to be fearless. They need to be self-assured and exude a cool confidence. To know what it is they want and to have the guts to create the path to get there. That point in our lifetime has arrived, and the guides to take us on our journey are Brian and Michael D'Addario. These two teenage brothers from Long Island, NY have created an album well beyond their years with Do Hollywood. Their recorded work is is filled with intricate instrumentation, shifting melodies and beautiful harmonies, but when The Lemon Twigs hit the stage their music melds with their raw energy to create a power pop atmosphere with a sense of garage punk. We see trendsetting prodigies. They just want to play music. I had the opportunity to speak with them as they kicked off their tour at Underground Arts in Philadelphia. I couldn't have been more thrilled to have the chance.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Steph's Top 10 Albums of 2016 - The Never Too Late Edition

I was supposed to put this countdown together for Fran a few weeks ago but then I kind of forgot I was going on a last minute trip to Orlando and didn't submit it.  Then school slammed me hard and I've written 15 pages of papers for my Survey of World History class in the last 7 days and have another 5 pages due tomorrow.  Think that doesn't sound too bad?  Go on.  Go type 15 pages of shit about shit no one cares about anymore and see how long it takes.  With references in APA style.  I'll wait.

Yeah.  I thought so.  Lesson learned?  Moving on.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

25 Years and Still Going Strong: An Interview with Joie Calio of dada

25 years ago dada burst onto the scene with their debut album Puzzle.  Songs like "Dizz Knee Land" and "Dim" peppered the airwaves and gave the trio of Joie Calio, Michael Gurley, and Phil Leavitt their first taste of rock stardom.  Although the band stopped releasing studio music in 1998 they are still together.  They have weathered the storm of label turmoil, musical changes, and time.  In 2017 they will embark on a 25th Anniversary "dada Forever Tour". Joie Calio was nice enough to sit down and answer a few of our questions.

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