I wrote the intro for a big package on Philly’s neighborhoods appearing in the latest US Airways Magazine. The rest of the piece touches on local food, drink, music, art, sights and more.
My neighbor Bill Chenevert asked me for a quick bit on my favorite Philly venue since PW just came out with its music issue. I chose Union Transfer because it makes the act of seeing a show so simple.
Wrote up two albums — Frank Ocean's channel ORANGE (#1) and Tame Impala's Lonerism (#7) — for City Paper's annual Top 21 Albums of the Year. It’s compiled on the strength of dozens of best-of lineups put together by writers, critics and other dorks. Here’s the top 10 list I submitted:
1. Frank Ocean channel ORANGE (Def Jam)
2. Band of Skulls Sweet Sour (Pias Recordings)
3. Killer Mike R.A.P. Music (Williams Street)
4. Tame Impala Lonerism (Modular Recordings)
5. Hot Chip In Our Heads (Domino)
6. Miike Snow Happy to You (Downtown Records/Universal Republic Records)
7. Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d city (Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope)
8. G.O.O.D. Music Cruel Summer (Def Jam)
9. Aesop Rock Skelethon (Rhymesayers)
10. Galactic Carnivale Electricos (Anti)
Clips are now Tumblr-tagged for
your my perusing pleasure…
Photo: Some magical place in Portland, Oregon that allowed me to consume these beverages simultaneously.
Photo: Neal Santos
Did it up for this week’s CP but it got snipped for space. (I write like I talk: too much). Here’s the still-relatively-short review in full.
Frank Ocean can write and that’s why we need to pay attention. Yes, that he-ain’t-trying falsetto sounds like fresh linens on the line smell. Yes, his Tumblr coming-out has his name on the lips of every sexually progressive and socially stunted pundit with functioning ears. And yes, he somehow manages to make headbands and Mao blouses look cool. But Ocean's R&B-skewering quill demands our most astute attention. His channel ORANGE (Def Jam) is sagaciously personal, a collection of carnal liqueform images linked together by the common thread of uncommonality. He slips into designer loafers and disaffected wealth on “Super Rich Kids” and the sauntering “Sweet Life” (“You’ve had a landscaper and a housekeeper since you were born / The starshine always kept you warm / So why see the world when you got the beach?”). The deliberately choppy Far East brush strokes of “Monks” paint the tale of an eager fan he fell for on tour. And on the super-charged “Bad Religion,” he unloads about risky unrequited love to a captive cabbie, half-channeling Prince as he achingly reveals the truth to a complete stranger (“Taxi driver / I swear I’ve got three lives / balanced on my head like steak knives / I can’t tell you the truth about my disguise”). His July 25 Union Transfer show is sold out and you already know why.
July 21 at Electric Factory. Excited for this one; copped tix way back in March. Might be my favorite live band. See you there.