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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

Topic: Philadelphia

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May 23, 2014 at 6:00 AM

In the presence of Nothing | Concert preview

Nothing

Nothing, from left: Kyle Kimball, Nick Bassett, Brandon Setta, Domenic Palermo. Photo by Shawn Brackbill.

Nothing’s music video for “Bent Nail” — the second single off its debut, “Guilty of Everything” — dramatizes a familiar scenario for any struggling band.

In the three-minute clip, below, the Philadelphians, who play Barboza Friday, give a spirited performance to a half-empty room of denim-vested, tattooed onlookers, all folded arms and vacant stares.

By the time the song hits its slow, dreamy crescendo, the crowd’s apathy has turned to outright hate, and they begin pelting the foursome with rotten fruit and eggs as they play on.

The video “is to be taken literally,” singer-guitarist Domenic Palermo explains via telephone. “I wanted to try and convey the self-abuse that musicians deal with.”

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: alternative, Philadelphia, shoegaze

March 27, 2014 at 12:30 PM

The War on Drugs’ retro-futurist rock | Concert preview

The War on Drugs

The War on Drugs — with Adam Granduciel, pictured — plays Seattle Friday. Photo by Dusdin Condren.

From songwriting savants (Kurt Vile) to psych-pop troupes (Dr. Dog), punk stalwarts (Pissed Jeans) and noisy newcomers (Purling Hiss), Philadelphia’s music scene — at least from afar — seems to be having a moment.

With their latest, “Lost in the Dream,” The War on Drugs — headlining The Neptune Theatre Friday — continues this impressive run.

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: indie, Philadelphia, The Neptune

March 19, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Purling Hiss’ psych-punk, Neighbors’ indie rock at The Sunset | Concert preview

Purling Hiss

The Philadelphia band Purling Hiss plays The Sunset in Ballard Wednesday. Photo by Tiffany Yoon.

Philadelphia singer-songwriter-guitarist Mike Polizze — alias Purling Hiss, playing The Sunset Tavern Wednesday — is among the American underground’s more prolific home recordists, having released new albums annually for the past five years.

Compared to early work like 2009’s eponymous debut and 2011’s two-song, 40-minute “Paisley Montage” — messy four-track transmissions from the acid-damaged mind — 2013’s full-band, classic rock and punk-influenced “Water on Mars” establishes a stronger pulse, while retaining enough grime to keep the noise crowd satisfied.

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Philadelphia, Post-punk, psychedelic

March 4, 2014 at 6:30 AM

Nothing feels good | New recordings

Nothing

Nothing, from left: Brandon Setta, Kyle Kimball, Nick Bassett, Domenic Palermo. Photo by Shawn Brackbill.

Nothing
“Guilty of Everything”
(Relapse)

The current crop of shoegaze groups — Philadelphia’s Nothing among them — is staggering enough to rival the style’s early-1990s heyday.

How to explain this?

At least partially, it’s because the right amount of washed-out guitars and gauzy vocals can make twee-pop heavy, or doom metal pretty.

And it’s not exclusive — to play it, one doesn’t need chops so much as effects pedals, sturdy amplification, and a desire to experiment.

Yet where nü-gaze often falls short is originality. The genre’s pioneers — Ireland’s My Bloody Valentine, Scotland’s The Jesus and Mary Chain, England’s Slowdive — made noise and wrote songs. Too frequently now, bludgeoning audiences’ ears takes precedence.

Nothing, however, gets the balance right.

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: New Recordings, Philadelphia, shoegaze