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Artist of the Month
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April 2016
The Original Crooks and Nannies
"Ugly Laugh
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The Original Crooks and Nannies follow-up to 2015’s Soup For My Girlfriend begins with the sputtering staccato of “Call It Good.” The track’s rhythmic pulse collides flawlessly with Madeline Rafter’s vocals and buzzing synth, supported by a backbeat tailor-made for the dance floor. The album’s opener prepares its listener with ease for the pulsating energy of “Carry Me,” a heartfelt melody that brings to mind the romantics of Matt and Kim or the twee-drenched lyricism of Mates of State. The track’s sentiments are earnest, amplified simultaneously by urgent diction and humming chords. “Carry Me” is a living testament to The Original Crooks and Nannies’ ability to craft love songs so cathartic that it hurts.
 
Similarly, the unabashed desperation of “Throw Out” followed by the electro-hum of “Television” suitably precedes the tangibly raw frustration of “Dates.” For Rafter and her bandmate, Sam Huntington, drinking poison and having smashed teeth proves to be a more desirable fate than going on a date. Even in its state of exaggeration, the track is a potential artifact of our contemporary moment, depicting romance in the age of Tinder and the banality of #netflixandchill. It’s a critique with a memorable hook.
 
“Ghost” is suitably haunting with lines like “I can make you feel/I can make you feel much better” and crashing riffs and cymbals. The narrative of the song, like its namesake, will linger in your mind long after its heartfelt and nearly ethereal end. The intimacy of “Ghost” is transformed into a cinematic nostalgia in “Shake Hands.” Breathing to life an account of suburban antics and shared memories, Rafter and Huntington’s duet-esque ballad is irresistibly sweet, even for the most jaded listener, preparing its audience for the forthright emotives equally fervent in “Crying at the Dog Park.”
 
The woozy start of “Central Heating” and the narrative blends effortlessly into Ugly Laugh’s final track “Holy Wreck.” The album’s closer is an intimate confession paying homage to failures, flaws, and limitations. It’s a veneration of vulnerability and the beauty that can be found between fractures. “Holy Wreck,” much like the songs that precede it, is introspective, a melodic mirror reflecting the complexities of emotion and the adjacent irony of love, making Ugly Laugh the quintessential album that you didn’t know you were waiting for. It begs to be replayed again and again. - Dianca London

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scene blog

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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