It’s October - our favorite month of the year! Why? Well, it means Halloween, the bestest holiday ever is just around the corner, and it’s also The Deli Philly’s birthday month so we have plenty to celebrate. And we’ll be doing so on Friday, October 26 at PhilaMOCA for our Halloweenniversary Partay! We simply had so much fun dressin’ up and throwin’ down at the old Mad Decent mausoleum last year that we just had to do it again, and we also decided to combine the bash with our anniversary celebration to really make it another night to remember. As always, we’ll be bringing you some fine music acts to keep us all entertained throughout the evening. Who will be gracing the stage this year? Well, we are proud to have experimental electro-acoustic-pop outfit Grandchildren headlining the evening. If you’ve ever caught one of their live performances, then you should already know why you need to come. The ultra-rad West Philly six-piece will have plenty of mind-melting new material as they gear up to release their sophomore full-length album, and old favorites will also be in tow to drive the crowd into a frenzy. Grandchildren will be supported fellow locals Ghost Light, who put out a wonderful EP Awful Feelings earlier this year via Single Girl Married Girl that was our July Album of the Month, and ex-Armchair Andy Molholt’s latest psych-pop project Laser Background, who also recently released their strangely intoxicating self-titled debut EP via UK label Stroll On Records (Ku Klux Glam - the collaboration of Ariel Pink and R. Stevie Moore). Plus as a very special guest and treat (certainly not a trick), kick-ass San Francisco psych rockers Sic Alps (Drag City, Siltbreeze, Slumberland, Woodsist) will also be getting friggin’ weird with us. And of course, we’ll have plenty of party favors to help us all do that. Yeah, it’s going to be a dope time so mark your calendars, punch it in your iPhone or do whatever you need to do to remember to show up!
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