Yeah, it’s effin’ cold out! That’s why this Saturday you can find a whole evening’s worth of entertainment all under one roof at Kung Fu Necktie. The night will kickoff with a solo set of panty-dropping vocals from Sun Airway’s Jon Barthmus. Then prepare to be engulfed in sonic waves when Nightlands, a.k.a. The War on Drugs’ Dave Hartley, hits the stage to share some new tunes from his latest album Oak Island. (You can check out our recent interview with Hartley HERE.) And you don’t have to leave after his performance because you can either stay downstairs for Sugar Town’s 12th Anniversary and benefit show for Ladyfest Philly with Radiator Hospital, Bike Crash and Batty, or head upstairs and pretend like you are at a house show with Catnaps, Roof Doctor, Tutlie and Incorporated Village of the Ghost. See - there is no need to go anywhere else. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., 7:30pm, $10, 21+ - H.M. Kauffman
Other places to hideout from the cold this weekend…
Johnny Brenda’s (1201 N. Frankford Ave.) FRI It's a King Thing, Windsor Park Walkers, Clamfight, SAT It’s the Year 2007 w/Reef The Lost Cauze
Kung Fu Necktie (1250 N. Front St.) FRI Leather, Heathen Reign, SAT (Downstairs - Early) Nightlands Record Release Show w/Jon Barthmus (Sun Airway), (Upstairs) Roof Doctor, Catnaps, Traffic Nightmare, Tutlie, (Downstairs - Late) Sugar Town Ladyfest Benefit w/Radiator Hospital, Bike Crash, Batty
North Star Bar (2639 Poplar St.) FRI Mater Mathu, Study Electricity, Problem Solving, SAT Hopscotch Injury, Makeshift Uprising, Easy Three & The Funky T, Ridden Fifths
The Fire (412 W. Girard Ave.) FRI Uptown Tone, Mazon, ANDtheNAMELESS, Feevaleo, SAT Electric Grioland, Socin Lberation Front, Leana Song, Prophecy Music Project, DJ Femstar, SUN Mean Streets, Horse Theives and Other Villians
MilkBoy Philly (1100 Chestnut St.) FRI Among Criminals, Kid Felix, Post Sun Times, SAT Steppin Razor
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