Come get weird tonight with Norwegian Arms and Laser Background at Dreamcastle in South Philly as they begin their Philly house show residency experiment. The guys sent us an email at the end of August announcing their plans to tour our city’s various house venues from mid-September to mid-October. The message also included a set of rules that the members of each band must adhere to during the tour (including living at each house for at least two days). You can check out the note with the complete list of rules and tour dates HERE.
Norwegian Arms posted this status on their Facebook the other night which perfectly sums up our feelings of why their house show tour is important for the city’s underground music scene and why you should go out and support the artists and houses involved. “I think the best thing about this House show residency is that not only does it allow me to play in four hardworking house venues in this city, but it also raises people's awareness of spaces like there, where people allow folks to enter into their homes and share in a common cultural experience. We've also chosen them because they reflect different neighborhoods.” They’ll also be joined this evening by buddies The Circadian Rhythms and Jon Pfeffer (from Capillary Action). Dreamcastle, (Please contact one of the acts or the venue for more deets.), 8pm, $1 - $5 (sliding scale), All Ages, BYO-fun things - Dan Brightcliffe
For those who decide whether to come or go based on the first forty seconds of an album, Restorations’ LP2 is practically tailor-made for snap judgments. After a chiming, anthemic guitar opening, the band already known for fist-raising jams lets all hell break loose with “D,” their most unrestrained opener yet. The drum kit-mauling, earth-shaking bass lines and ascendant guitar riffs can only be described as complete sensory overload, and make it clear that the following eleven songs are going to be fueled by pure viscera. If your preferences run towards structure over huge sound, this release may leave you cold; LP2’s predominant means of exploring the band’s wealth of ideas are stadium-sized instrumentation and endless waves of atmospherics, as well as a dose of ennui.
This is a murkier, more inward-looking Restorations than we’re used to. Everything that was there before, musically, is blown sky-high this time around. They’ve managed to pack ideas into every iota of the song list, aided by Jon Low’s miles-deep production; the density of the music itself is offset by an album-long meditation on place, belonging, and the ramifications of leaving the familiar behind, which makes the outsized sound that much more of an interesting direction. Juxtaposing the existential discomfort with more sophisticated, complex forays into Restorations’ sonic wheelhouse.
The spiraling guitars, one of the album’s specially prominent features, are everywhere, serving various purposes in each song. “Kind of Comfort”’s jittery glam rock aspirations accompany lyrics of searching and wanderlust. Even the more downbeat cuts (“In Perpetuity Through The Universe,” “New Old”) are propelled beyond their subject matter by the songs’ barely-concealed restless energy. At its more pensive moments, like the folk-inflected “Civil Inattention,” there is a restless undercurrent of texture and volatility that never quite lets up.
Album closer “Adventure Tortoise” is all monster buildup laced with extraterrestrial effects, kicking off into a sort of requiem for the band’s neighborhood. “I’d really like to stay to help this place,” growls Jon Loudon through his teeth, but the allure of letting it all go is too strong to resist. The longing for a place “where nobody knows your name” isn’t quite all-consuming enough to inspire real action, but it is definitely the new paradigm Loudon means.
It takes guts to pull off a release that feels ten minutes long but contains more emotional and musical texture than most records. Restorations cover a whole lot of ground on LP2, and for the most part, pull off their ambitions. A bit too sanguine for shoegaze, and maybe too heady for punk, Restorations’ second full-length album brings an intriguing palette of aspirations to their open road-ready sound, prepared to try anything and everything. - Alyssa Greenberg