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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Headed "Home"

Abandoning the big City and headed West tomorrow for the Nowadays Fest: MORE INFO HERE!!!  Turns out Bethlehem, PA has a new venue and is hosting this 2 day gathering or art and music.  Having gone through their most notable collection/assembly of song, the over-crowded drunk-fest they call Musikfest, there is some trepidation.  Could this be midfield at the end of a Lehigh/Lafayette football game?  Drunken frat boys wilding and assaulting each other in a cathartic orgy of testosterone?

Doubt it.  Thinking more along the lines of emo-inspired hipsters out to show the World not-caring is the new black.

Tomorrow NYC's Caveman and the talented trio Jukebox the Ghost support headliners Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr.  A step both out of my comfort zone and a return to roots.  There is a contentment about the moments spent back "home."  Coming in as a tourist is nice accent to the already special visits made to my family.   It was always my contention that Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton, PA should be a major cultural hub (like a poor man's Austin, TX or Nashville.)  The same can be said for the Wilkes-Barre-Scranton area where I attended college.

These places both have tremendous beauty and absolutely wonderful people in and around them.  Over recent years they have, by some accounts, bounced back a bit from awful financial ruin.  Serious musicians are finding time to swing by for concerts (at venues like the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre. ) Minor league sports teams have faired pretty well.  Legalized gambling has rolled in and the casinos that were built report steady business.

Gotta love a place that invests some money in the entertainment dollar.  We can't take it with us, can we?

And where there is gambling, drunken concert going, depravity in general...  doesn't that mean that prosperity is nearby?  Work hard, party hard.  Right?  Go out and get yours.  If you cannot this weekend please give these songs/artists a try.

Temper Trap "Need Your Love"  Dougy Mandagi's voice is as strong as ever.  Good energy and good hook on the Aussie's first release from their upcoming LP.   Very much anticipating this record and sorry the timing of their NYC shows was poor.

Silversun Pickups "Bloody Mary"  Another LP that is long overdue is the LA bands 3rd effort, Neck of The Woods.  They have been consistent since their 2006 debut.  Every 3 years they produce.  And this single is a bit of a departure.  A lot more melody and some long instrumental build up.  It is trippy and rocking at the same time.  Still very much guitar driven but with a lot more cool vibe.  This bodes well for the entire record.

Tanlines "Brothers"  Interesting for several reasons.  First, is is directed by Weird Days (who did the campy and funny video for Real Estate's "Days."  Second, the song is terrific.  Another bit of 80s nostalgia full of synths, twang and emo heavy vocals.  Finally, it is the second song named "Brothers" that I dig this year.  War on Drugs has the other:  Terrific live version can be heard/seen here  Give Brooklyn's Tanlines and Philly's War on Drugs a moment of your time.  They deserve it.

Santigold "Disparate Youth"  Santi White, er, Santigold, has Philly roots too.  And one heck of voice!! This trippy, dance groove from her upcoming sophomore LP hits all the right notes.  Easy to detect she recorded this in Jamaica.  Reggae beats and harmonies under a catchy keyboard line.  Then, the voice.  Sultry, sexy and confident.  A perfect pop song.  While you are at it catch this track from her debut album.  It has that Dale Bozio thing that is quite pleasant:  L.E.S. Artistes

Cloud Nothings "Stay Useless"  Neo Punk rock from Cleveland rockers via Case Western University.  Young, a little angry and a whole bunch of fun.  They made waves at last weeks SXSW and are surely headed for alt glory.  Go on, enjoy.

Caveman "Thankful"  Their first official video and the opening track of their debut record CoCo Beware.  A strong drum beat drives this great song.  Simple and effective.

Jukebox the Ghost "Schizophrenia"  More Philly in the house!!  Piano fronted trio with their eyes firmly on melody and tempo.  They get compared to Ben Folds a lot.  Makes sense.  And that is some lofty comparison, "The Sing Off"not withstanding.

Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr "Simple Girl"  Detroit indie pop duo.  This track is pleasant and silly.  Same for the video.    All very familiar but worth the trip nonetheless.

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Final Four picks= Who cares???  They are all detestable!!  Where have you gone Butler???

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