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Curtis Cooper





The Deli Philly’s December Record of the Month: Messy - Curtis Cooper

Equal parts confessional and self-veneration, Curtis Cooper’s latest offering begins without a shred of hesitation or apology. Starting off with the full throttle swell of “Freak Out,” Messy unfolds with a satisfying in-your-face bravado. As Cooper croons, “I dare to say that I’m not scared,” screeching riffs, hissing cymbals, and deliberately executed diction amplify the satisfying defiance of survival on your own terms and the intoxicating thrill of reveling in what other’s might consider flaws. A dance-worthy homage to vulnerability, “Freak Out” reminds listeners that it’s okay not to be okay and that sometimes the best way to save yourself is by embracing your inner chaos.

Throughout Messy’s second track, “Philly Jelly,” Cooper channels their inner Billy Corgan circa Machina of God, reviving the best of the grunge era’s zeitgeist. Passion laced with angst and yearning, the song captures the contradiction of being defined by external factors like lovers or hometowns. Through dissonance and sincerity, “Philly Jelly” proves itself to be a perfectly tempered exploration of how proximity can inform desire and a sense of belonging. Prefaced by a whispered countdown, “Crazy” shines a spotlight on Cooper’s softer side. With melodic licks of guitar and proclamations like “I heard your words and I fell for your lines,” the track is as much as it is a love song as it’s an anthem about hero worship. Disillusioned, yet nostalgic, it captures a far too often omitted perspective on romance and remembrance.

“Percs of Life,” prefaced by a calm yet evocative interlude, examines the highs and lows of life with initially sparse instrumentation that gradually blooms into gut-wrenching chords. When Cooper sings, “Time to feel alive again/time to be confined again,” the song, like an ouroboros, turns in on itself, resembling the cyclical nature of mortality implied by its lyricism. “Yeah, No,” a psych-infused melody, feels like a vivid fever dream, enveloping its listener in a brief yet lush soundscape reminiscent of a Devendra Banhart b-side or Brian Jonestown Massacre at their tamest.

With the similarly subtle yet instantaneously catchy “Jkayla,” they pick up the tempo. As the track progresses, it carves out an unpredictable topography of its own. By the time Cooper confesses, “I could have been you/I should have been you,” Messy’s listeners will believe them as if it each word was gospel truth. “Everyone Loves You” is a dark and brooding ballad about the thin line between love and objectification and the ever present promise of escape. Ending with “everyone loves/everyone loves you/everyone stays,” the tune sets the proverbial stage for the equally grim “Everybody’s Dying.” Whether the death in this song is literal or metaphorical, Cooper’s macabre lyrics and heavy riffs continue to echo in the minds of listeners as it eases into the LP’s second interlude.

The album’s closer, “Is It Real,” is a hushed yet existential meditation on love and the meaning of life. Here, Cooper’s fondness for the late great Elliott Smith shows, leaving their audience with a sense of melancholic nostalgia mixed with undertones of hope. Similar to 2016’s Laughing in a Line, Messy is required listening for any Philly native who considers themselves a music lover. Cooper’s anthems aren’t just timely; they’re necessary. (Photo by Abigail Townsend) – Dianca London





New Curtis Cooper Album Available for Streaming & Purchase

Messy, the new album from Curtis Cooper, was recently unearthed. A transfixing torment registers throughout this collection of songs. Encircling lyrics of solitude will engulf the mind, creating a canvas of beautiful despair. Enlisting Scott Stitzer (of Mumblr) to produce and play an array of instruments, with Jack Zaferes occupying bass duties, these tracks creep into your head and take up temporary residence. It feels like a deeply personal release that pushes toward detonating grunge instrumentation at points, while still showcasing a folky feel, at others. Johnny Brenda’s will play host to Cooper’s record release celebration on Friday, January 19, where they'll be supported by Laser Background and Coping Skills.





Weekend Warrior, April 7 - 9

The world continues its trend of being a chaotic and confusing place. So as the week reaches its tail end, the Pilam Human BBQ XXXIX will be offering a refreshing daylong reprieve this Saturday combining music, eats and whatever your debaucherous heart desires. The noon till midnight billing will include nearly 20 acts in all. Among them, the incisive lyricism of Sad13 delivered on an enthusiastic uplifting danceable platform and the emotive electro-pop/rock of Brandon Can’t Dance, who hovers between a solemn solitude and then swims in a sea of infectious grooves. With a new album Dark Nuclear Bogs set to arrive on April 28, the candy-coated psych-carnival of Laser Background will alter one’s perspective, while the reverberating, relatable melodies of Clique lock into your head as will the spellbinding narratives of this year’s Deli Philly Best Emerging Alt Rock Artists Poll winner, Curtis Cooper.  These are but a small sampling of the lineup, which can view in full HERE, so head over to Pilam for a day of sonic sustenance. - Michael Colavita
 
More places to enjoy this weekend…
 
Pilam (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) SAT Human BBQ XXXIX: Sad13, Brandon Can’t Dance, Laser Background, King Azaz, Curtis Cooper, JamForceF!ve, Darling Run, Glassgrade
 
Rotunda (4014 Walnut St.) SAT Electrifest: King Azaz, Wordz the Poet Emcee, Downtrodder, Sour Spirit, Interminable, EX. By V., Pinkwash, SUN Madam Data, Kilamanzego, Anatomy Of An Outcast, Carl Kavorkian, Sheena & Thee Nosebleeds, Swarm, Mighthaunt, Solarized
 
Johnny Brenda’s (1201 N. Frankford Ave.) FRI Vertical Current, SAT Jesse Hale Moore, Birdie Busch, Rosali, Zach Eggleston, Lord's Delight, SUN Beaucoup Blue
 
Boot & Saddle (1131 S. Broad St.) FRI Grandchildren, SAT Lizdelise, SUN Eaten Alive, Sweet FA
 
Kung Fu Necktie (1250 N. Front St.)  FRI The GTVs, Sarah M. /Coronal Mass Ejection, Acolytes/DJ Deejay, SAT Sour Kid, Gender Work/Fame Lust
 
Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill St.) FRI American Dinosaur, SAT The Tough Shits, Taiwan Housing Project
 
The Trocadero (1003 Arch St.) SAT Chestnut Grove, Whiskeyhickon Boys, The Hoppin' Boxcars, Christine Irizarry & The Foolhardy, SUN The Evergreen Drive, Bodies Under Siege, Kevin Cox
 
TLA (334 South St.) FRI  30 and Over League, Warchyld, SAT Jealousy Curve, Pawnshop Roses
 
World Café Live (3025 Walnut St.) FRI (Upstairs) Conjunto Philadelphia, SAT (Upstairs) Matt Duke
 
The Fire (412 W. Girard Ave.) FRI Karl K BMA, Funklord,, SAT E. Grizzly, Teef, Yorito
 
MilkBoy Philly (1100 Chestnut St.) FRI Among Criminals (Release Show), Alright Junior
 
MilkBoy South Street (401 South St.) SAT A Day Without Love
 
Ortlieb’s Lounge (847 N. 3rd St.) FRI Thom McCarthy, Katie Jo Knaub, Cult Class, SAT The Binary Sea, Secret Nudist Friends
 
Silk City (435 Spring Garden St.) FRI DJ Dav, Reed Streets, SAT DJ Deejay, SUN Francisco Collazo
 
Fergie’s (1214 Sansom St.) SAT Dave Steel Blues Band, SUN Rusty Cadillac
 
Connie’s Ric Rac (1132 S. 9th St.) FRI The Virus, SAT Joe Jack Talcum, Dandrew, Bunny Savage, Whiskey Effect, The Founders, Dirty Soap Blues Band
 
Voltage Lounge (421 N. 7th St.) SUN Mass Folk Commons
 
The Grape Room (105 Grape St.) FRI Palaceburn, Sucker, SAT The Space Cats, The Electives, Vanderlyle, Jac Carson, George Obrien
 
Ardmore Music Hall (23 E. Lancaster Ave.)  SUN Steal Your Peach
 
Everybody Hits (529 W. Girard Ave.) FRI Brandon Can’t Dance, Shannen Moser, Russel the Leaf
 
The Pharmacy (1300 S. 18th St.) SAT Joy Again, Heavy Harold, Buster/Sonic Screemers, Action Party
 
Tralfamadore (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) FRI Busy Bee, Blushed, Elissa Janelle Velveteen, xo alice
 




The Deli's Best Emerging Philly Alt Rock Artist: Curtis Cooper!

We are nearing the end of this year's Deli Philly Best Emerging Artists Poll. After compiling the jurors', readers'/fans' and writers' votes for the Alt Rock category, congrats go out to Curtis Cooper! The Philly songwriter caught our attention towards the end of 2015, and then truly emerged on the local music scene last year with the release of his debut Laughing In Line. The album begins in a more radio-friendly manner, but as you delve deeper into the cuts, it becomes apparent that gifted artist has a much more diverse musical palette that we predict will only expand as time goes on. BTW: We absolutely flipped over the video of his powerful performance of the previously unreleased single "2016," which you can view below.  

 

And coming in a very close race for second and third are the good time boys of Mumblr and the pot-lovin', rockin' ladies of Marge. We'll also be back very soon with our final Readers'/Fans' Poll for the categories of Hip Hop/Funk/Electronica, so stay tuned! 





Misfits Under Mistletoe - The Guild’s 2016 Holiday Jawn at KFN Dec. 22

DIY promoter collective The Guild will be holding its annual holiday covers concert tonight at Kung Fu Necktie. What’s in store at Misfits Under Mistletoe - The Guild’s 2016 Holiday Jawn? Joining forces will be members of Cayetana and Timeshare to kick out your favorite Replacements’ jams as Playing Makeup, Wearing Guitar, while members of The Spirit of the Beehive and Loose Tooth will be on hand to explore the catalogue of The Nerves. Shannen Moser and company, who will be known this evening as Shan and These Charming Men, are sure to play plenty of beloved songs from The Smiths, with Curtis Cooper and friends taking on System of a Down. Gamers will also be treated to music from Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2 soundtracks, which will be performed by members of Jet Set Sail and PEARS – the band. And as if this wasn’t already enough, The Guild Family Goddamn Cover Band will be closing things out with “the greatest hits of ALL TIME!” It will be a wonderful night to spend with your chosen family, before you find yourself sitting around the boob tube with those other folks this Xmas weekend. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 Front St., 8pm, $5, 21+ - Alexis V.
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