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August 2014
A Sunny Day in Glasgow
"Sea When Absent
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Sea When Absent (Lefse Records) opens like a shoegaze-y car crash. The latest album from A Sunny Day in Glasgow doesn’t bother gradually layering melodic elements; they get right to business from millisecond one, hitting you with reverberating electronic tones, orchestral violins, and the crooning vocals of Jen Goma and Annie Fredrickson. It’s a weirdly aggressive move for such an intensely soulful LP, but it’s pretty emblematic of how the record works as a whole. For an album as focused at creating moments of subtle beauty, Sea When Absent doesn’t have the time to let you gradually pick up on it on your own. A Sunny Day in Glasgow is the rare type of band that takes beauty and emotional resonances and waves it around like a chair in a bar fight.
 
In the strictest possible sense, this is a shoegaze-psychedelic-electronica album with a particular emphasis on vocals. But the more you listen; the more you start to discover what a diverse series of musical influences are rattling around in there. Mixing the electronica stylings of Flying Lotus and Saltillo with the indie-pop elements of bands like Death Cab and Phantogram, the basis is a percussion of grungy electronic tones, topped with a combination of guitar and synth, adding just the right balance, while being mixed in with a cavalcade of classical instruments and outlandish effects.
 
But the crown jewel of the album is Goma and Fredrickson’s understatedly gorgeous vocals. They play off, sometimes bizarre, instrumentations perfectly, complimenting them while also adding a fulcrum of relative normalcy to Sunny Day’s outside-the-box compositions. This is what really gives the album its sense of slick melancholy, creating an ambience of stylish vulnerability in tracks like “Byebye Big Ocean (The End),” where there is a sense of crooning sorrow, while “Oh I’m A Wrecker” sees them go much farther into the indie-pop paradigm.
 
While this record maintains the complexity and delightful weirdness of past A Sunny Day in Glasgow albums, it also comes with a newfound sense of clarity, in great part due to the outside production of Jeff Zeigler (of The War on Drugs and Kurt Vile fame). Zeigler is able to successfully piece together the moving parts of this bi-continental band, with mastermind Ben Daniels orchestrating things from the other side of the world in Australia, making the album’s abrupt left turns from spacey psychedelics to grounded punk-pop a little easier to digest. The wealth of ideas rarely feels busy or forced. Sea When Absent is ultimately proof that weird doesn’t necessarily have to mean messy. 

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Weekend Warrior, March 23 - 25

Weekend Warrior, March 23 - 25

Oh, Dr. Dog, how we've missed you while you were on tour in support of your new album for ANTI-, Be The Void. Sure, you needed to spread around its fantastic, bellowing, melodically mincing 12 tracks, but you were gone for far too long. At least, now we have you back for a little homecoming at the Electric Factory this weekend - a sold out show tomorrow with openers Purling Hiss, who, if you remember, is a total "raging erection of rock 'n' roll," and one on Sunday with openers Birds of Maya (Purling Hiss' Mike Polizze's other lover) who just showers you with their gritty, bones-bare pub sermons. The E Factory will be home to a good ole fashion party this weekend - Philly style. Electric Factory, 421 N. 7th St., SAT. SOLD OUT; SUN, 8:30pm, $23-$25, All Ages - Annamarya Scaccia

 
More to do this weekend…
 
Johnny Brenda’s (1201 N. Frankford Ave.) FRI The Frankford Freeze-out w/Bruce Ice Cream and The Freeze Street Band and Adult Content, SAT Kim Phuc
 
Kung Fu Necktie (1250 N. Front St.) FRI Taggart and Like a Fox, SAT Sweet Lights,
SUN Son Step, Banned Books, Tygerstrype
 
The Level Room (2102 Market St.) SAT (Downstairs) Mean streets, The Line, The High Five, LE Yikes SURF CLUB, SAT (Upstairs) Dysrhythmia, Cleric, Torrential Downpour
 
North Star Bar (2639 Poplar St.) FRI Kensington Sound House, SUN Maniac and Cadaver Dogs
 
The Fire (412 W. Girard Ave.) FRI The Externals, Dagny, Cait Black, SAT Vulcans and Brianna Judge, Sunday (All Ages) Members Only, DRGN King, Dark, Young Pilgrims, SUN Polarbear Lars and Chicken, Alaska
 
M Room (15 W. Girard Ave.) FRI Said the Whale, Gems and Avatarz, The Fallen Troubadours
 
Tin Angel (20 S. 2nd St.) FRI (Early) Laura Cheadle, (Late) Shannon Pelcher, SAT Jeffrey Gaines
 
The Blockley (3801 Chestnut St.) Sat The Coup, LP Stiles, MH The Verb, Voss
 

Fergie’s (1214 Sansom St.) FRI Original Rays and The Donuts
 
World Café Live (3025 Walnut St.) FRI Soulidified, SUN Andrew Lipke
 
The Legendary Dobbs (304 South St.) SAT The Formulary, Black Stars, The Blak Sheep
 
Triumph Brewery (117 Chestnut St.) SAT Cosmic Dust Bunnies and Fikus
 
PhilaMOCA (531 N. 12th St. Philadelphia) FRI Slutever and Little Big League
 
JR's Bar (2327 S. Croskey St.) SAT Penniless Loafers, Velvet Crown, Slutever, thee our fathers
 
Connie’s Ric Rac (1132 S. 9th St.) FRI Hot Jam Factory
 
The El Bar (1356 N. Front St.) SAT Yakbuckets, Faked Raygun, John Pitale Blues Band, Ken Ho Experience, The Smit System
 
The Station (1550 McKean St.) FRI Cisco Jeeters, The Sparklers, St.James and The Apostles
 
The Rotunda (4014 Walnut St.) FRI Resistance Is Fertile: Seeds of Spring, SAT Groupthink, Alpha Wave Movement, Tim Motzer
 
The Trocadero (1003 Arch St.) SUN The Keystone Ska Exchange
 
Theatre of Living Arts (334 South St.) SAT Ground Up and Reef Da Lost Cauze
 
Emoda Gallery (302 Moore St.) FRI Quit Life and Lowlife
 
Highwire Gallery (2040 Frankford Ave.) SAT Northern Valentine and MPSP, SUN Sod House and Travis Woodson
 
Circle of Hope (2009 Frankford Ave.) SAT Many Arms Album Release Show w/Heavy Medical and Color is Luxury
 
Cha-Cha’Razzi (Please contact one of the acts for details.) FRI Attia Taylor, Catnaps, Liz & The Lost Boys, Bike Crash
 
The Treehouse (Please contact one of the acts for details.) FRI W.C. Lindsay EP Release Party w/Cold Fronts, Lucy Stone, Tongue Sculptors
 
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