Archive for December, 2010

philadelphia

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

In the past few years, the philly music-scene has been producing innovative music by really cool people. Dr. Dog, Man Man, and The Extraordinaires all have a sound that counters the disco-pop-rock sound that is “in” these days, and we all should benefit from their work.

In the summer of ’06, my St. Louisan circle of friends introduced me to Dr. Dog. I wasn’t sold at first because of the cute band name and because I was skeptical of anything that sounded too throwback and not forward-sounding enough. Example, “Oh No”

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Now, this is a song that I like now, but in 2006, it sounded like the above description. But any criticism of Dr. Dog sounding as though they were reaching back to an older period ended once I heard “The Girl” in 2007-

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It’s important to note that Dr. Dog shares vocal responsibilities with the guitarist Scott McMicken (the two previous songs were McMicken’s) and bassist Toby Leaman.

Here are three Leaman tracks:

“Die, Die, Die”

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The Pretender

“The Ark”

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Earlier this year they released Shame, Shame. Next up…

Man Man was thrown into our consciousness by some girl JoMunto (one of my St. Louis pals) had a class with. Apparently, she approached Munto and told him that he looks like Honus Honus (which he does), the frontman of Man Man. As these things go, Munto did a little research and found he liked these crazy-ass men-children.

To date, they’ve provided the best Take-Away Showhttp://www.blogotheque.net/Man-Man,4324

“Gold Teeth” utilizes a technique that hits a nerve with me. It’s when the melody is slowed down, but the percussion/rhythm is amped up. This begins to take place at 4:05 minutes into the song and finishes it out.

Gold Teeth

Another example of this device is used on Wilco’s “Via Chicago.”

“Spider Cider” shows off their rambunctiousness that is contagiousness when watching them live.

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“Van Helsing Boombox” is one of those radio-friendly tracks that you’re happy never made it to the radio.

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“Ice Dogs” incorporates some tempo and melody changes that do not happen enough in today’s popular music where the danceability of a song determines the quality of a song.

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And on to the band that you may not have heard of, THE EXTRAORDINAIRES.

Any praise that I can muster up for any one band will be lauded onto these guys. If I could be any band’s next door neighbor (and it actually be a possibility), it’d be these guys. Young, involved in all things philycoool, they hand-make books that are partnered with their albums… simply put, they’re cooler than anyone I know. Led by the Purdy brothers, these guys are smart, entertaining, goofy as hell, and they have this careless aire that is also shared by Man Man. Both bands legitimately seem like they don’t give a shit about the music industry. All the bands that come out of LA (and most from Brooklyn) always seem to be trying to “out fashion” one another, but these Philly bands don’t care about any of that. They’re not trying to piggy-back any emerging style that is making its way to ipod or hybrid car commercials and they continue making music that really doesn’t pigeon-hole them.

This track became my drinking buddies’ anthem, “The Warehouse Song”

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These songs are straightforward, but good nonetheless. “Neighborhood Watch”

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A dark-humored children’s story. “Hi-Five the Cactus”

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And a song about a relationship from an insecure male’s perspective, “Seeds of Jealousy”

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The Extraordinaires have a new album out, and unfortunately, I’ve yet to purchase it. In the next week or so, I will have it.

Those three bands provide huge reasons why I’d like to live in Philadelphia, PA. Maybe it’ll happen, maybe it won’t, but if any of these bands come through your city, you should go see them. Enjoy the philly roof-tops-