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December 2014
The Spirit of the Beehive
"The Spirit of the Beehive
"
mp3
There is something rather dark and mysterious about a band that takes its name from a classic Spanish film that focuses on its protagonist, a young girl, who becomes fascinated by the 1931 horror movie, Frankenstein. And with an album cover that portrays a child in a bee costume positioned in front of a tombstone saying, “Here Lies Mom-n-Dad Now Their Gone Isn’t That Sad,” you can’t help but be intrigued, if not a bit disturbed. The Spirit of the Beehive is a local fledgling outfit who has popped up on my radar this past year, appearing on numerous bills, oftentimes at DIY spaces. The band has further grabbed my attention with its debut self-titled full-length album, which was recorded by The Weaks/ex-Dangerous Ponies, Evan Bernard and Chris Baglivo, and released via rising Philly indie label Ranch Records.  
 
The record’s opening track, “Roll Over,” begins with an eerie instrumentation before a languid female voice comes in with barely intelligible lines. “Cycles in and out of morphine hazes. Finding spaces between your floorboards. And I watch the dust move.” Thankfully the group provides us with lyrics on its Bandcamp page; otherwise, the beautifully poetic verses filled with drug-fueled imagery would be lost in the wash of power chords and feedback. “All lost in the black market. To wait in the fix aisle, I roll over.” You also get a sense of the band’s lo-fi, DIY aesthetic when you are abruptly taken out of the world, created by the album’s first, with studio chatter before moving on to the next track. With “Short Walk,” you can’t help but feel the influences of greats like Nirvana and more recently Creepoid with the hushed vocals and sonic bursts. These two tracks set the tone for the first half of the LP, where you travel in and out of the territories of dream pop and shoegaze when the female lead vocals grab a hold of you and then the grungier, harder-edged side takes over with the male lead. This juxtaposition provides quite an enjoyable balance that I actually wished went on longer throughout the record.
 
It’s not until “Ether,” where the two combine forces, changing the dynamic of their relationship. The title of the song suggests that you might be finding something more ethereal; however, the driving bass line provides a sense of urgency throughout the track. It also marks the point where the male lead begins to dominate the rest of the album, while taking on some of the characteristics of its counterpart. What remains a constant is a psychedelic, drug-filled angst full of guitar licks and distortion, giving off the vibe of a band that is here to rock, and they don’t care if you are ready for it or not.
 
The Spirit of the Beehive closes out their ambitious LP with the longest and cleanest sounding recording on the album, “Fever Dream,” demonstrating that they don’t need to hide behind studio effects, while making you wonder where their follow-up release will go next. It’s an eclectic and modern sounding record that also pulls from past genres I hold close to my chest. I highly recommend that you go download it ASAP. - Q.D. Tran

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Man Man

Free 40th Street Summer Series Showcase w/Man Man at 40th & Walnut Sts. Sept. 27

This weekend, University City is sending off their 40th Street Summer Series with one hell of a high note: Man Man will be playing a free outdoor concert this afternoon! The prodigal local outfit is known for their insane mashup of styles, grandiose over-the-top lyrics, frantic keyboardsmanship, and one of the most impressive mustaches in modern music. Their music could be described as a head on collision between heyday surf-rock and soulful indie, with just enough pseudo-hip hop to make things interesting. They’ll be joined by opener Needle Driver, an NYC avante-garde rock outfit, who will certainly add to the weirdest, most exhilarating way to say goodbye to summer. Behind the Walnut Street Free Library, 40th & Walnut Sts., 6pm, Free, All Ages - Daniel Ludwig

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Weekend Warrior, July 25 - 27

XPN hosts its 10th Annual XPoNential Music Festival at Wiggins Park along the Camden Waterfront (and the neighboring Susquehanna Bank Center for some of the larger headliners). And as usual, its set to feature the widespread mix of bigger name alt-indie bands, roots-rock/Americana artists, and up-and-coming local artists. The big players for this year include Beck, Ryan Adams, Band of Horses, Jenny Lewis, and Dawes. But the event will be rounded out by a ton of local heroes, including The Districts, who will be saying farewell to their friend and guitarist Mark Larson as he gets ready to start his collegiate life. Larson will passing the reins to Pat Cassidy (of Keepers). Philly favorites Man Man will bring their quirky theatrics and high-energy percussion with synth-laden melodies to the Marina Stage on Sunday. Timothy Showalter, a.k.a. Strand of Oaks, will captivate the audience with his melodic folk tunes that resonate from his latest LP, HEAL, on Saturday. Doylestown-based indie heartthrobs Commonwealth Choir will get the crowd moving with tracks from their self-produced debut EP Shirtless, and The Lawsuits will be making their American Diamond Recordings family proud on Sunday with the rest of this annual 3-day festival will featuring acts like Rodrigo y Gabriela, The Hold Steady, Ingrid Michaelson, Lucius, and more. XPoNential Music Festival, Mickle Blvd., 8pm, $30 - $125, 21+ - Bill McThrill
 
Other places to escape the chill this weekend…
 
Johnny Brenda’s (1201 N. Frankford Ave.) FRI Johnny Popcorn, Iron, SUN A Sunny Day in Glasgow, Pattern is Movement, Myrrias
 
The Boot & Saddle (1131 S. Broad St.) FRI Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel, I IM EYE MY SAT Harsh Vibes, The Love Club, SUN (Early/Late) Marietta
 
Bourbon and Branch (705 N. 2nd St.) FRI Circadian Rhythms, Laser Background SAT Somewhere South, Man Illuminated SUN Cassavetes, Callowhill
 
Kung Fu Necktie (1250 N. Front St.) FRI Roof Doctor, Mitch Esparza, Widow Maker Social Club, SAT The Dirty Cut/This is Hardcore & A389 Recordings present: Full of Hell, Castle Freak, SUN My Son Bison/ Cannons, Left & Right, Drugstore
 
Union Transfer (1026 Spring Garden St.) FRI Noah Breakfast
 
Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill St.) FRI The Striptease Orchestra SAT William Way’s INDIGOGO: Queer Funhouse & Dance Extravaganza
 
The Trocadero (1003 Arch St.) FRI (Balcony) SugeMasaya (Ceilingfans, Mixtape Release), SAT (Balcony) Voletta, Kali Ma
 
TLA (334 South St.)  FRI Kur, Deek, Young Chris, Quilly Mills, SAT Romeo Delight (Van Hale Tribute), The Ozzman Cometh (Ozzy Tribute)
 
Electric Factory  FRI This Is Hardcore: Turmoil, All  Else Failed, Timebomb This is Hardcore: Title Fight, Blacklisted/(Revel Ovation Hall) Christina Perri, SAT This is Hardcore: Wisdom in Chains, Full of Hell, SUN This is Hardcore: Bad Luck 13, Riot Extravaganza
 
World Café Live (3025 Walnut St.) FRI Soulidified Presents: LVRGRL: Paying Homage to Teena Marie Kriss Mincey, SAT (Upstairs) Carfax Abbey, Torsion SUN (Upstairs) Barakka
 
The Mann Center (5201 Parkside Ave.) FRI Kurt Vile & The Violators
 
The Barbary (951 N. Frankford Ave.) SUN Satellite Hearts
 
The Fire (412 W. Girard Ave.)  FRI Ruder Than You, Trouble in Tokyo, Lovecartel, SAT YDi, Decontrol, Spectrum Disorder, Thee Nosebleeds, SUN Vilebred, Mat Burke
 
MilkBoy Philly (1100 Chestnut St.) SAT Welters, NARK, Jantones
 
Ortlieb’s Lounge (847 N. 3rd St.) FRI New Sound Brass, SAT Toy Cannons
 
North Star Bar (2639 Poplar St.) FRI Explosive Head
 
Silk City (435 Spring Garden St.)  SUN Chris Vance, Voss, Selina Carrera, I Know Brasco, Jeide Prince
 
Tin Angel (20 S. 2nd St.) FRI Tanya Limosnero, John Swana, Craig Ebner
 
Fergie’s (1214 Sansom St.)  SAT Hambone Relay
 
The Legendary Dobbs (304 South St.) FRI Seeing Snakes, The Riverside Odds/BlackRue, Scars of Bourbon, SAT Cyanide Saints, Spur Gang/Mesmeria, Rebels Been Rebels Sun Smacking Madison
 
Connie’s Ric Rac (1132 S. 9th St.) FRI Bosom Band, Sucker/Eric Madman
 
Voltage Lounge (421 N. 7th St.) FRI This Is Hardcore: Thunder & Glory, SAT This Is Hardcore Fest: Latex, Mischief Brew
 
Philadelphia Record Exchange (1524 Frankford Ave.) SAT Amanda X (Record Release)
 
Creep Records (1050 N. Hancock St., Suite 76) SAT Ma Jolie, Awkward Talking
 
Teri’s (1126 S. 9th St.) SUN Cute Girl From English
 
Half Moon Lounge (4228 Lancaster Ave.) SUN Future Primitive, Toska
 
The Grape Room (105 Grape St) FRI American Dinosaur, Hopscotch Jefferson, Overcoming Gravity, Young Pilgrims, Saver, SAT Science the Rat, the Lift & the Drag: A Tribute to Stagazer Lily w/Mia Johnson
 
Ardmore Music Hall (23 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, PA) FRI West Philly Orchestra, SAT Splintered Sunlight
 
Morgan’s Pier (221 N. Columbus Boulevard) FRI Luke Goodman, SAT Dave Tidey, SUN Polido Social Club, Dave Tidey
 
LAVA Space (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) FRI The Mighty Paradocs, Upholstery, Mermaid Parade, Revolution, I Love You
 
Golden Tea House (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) FRI Japanese Breakfast, SAT Christopher Walking
 
Dagger House (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) This Is Hardcore After-show: Congenital Death, Constraint
 
Wolf Cycles (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) FRI Hound, Bad Energy
 
Mount Misery (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) SAT (Last Show at Venue) Mumblr, Snoozer
 

New Video: "School Of Rock Charlotte Kids React to MAN MAN!"

This is adorable. School of Rock's Music Director in Charlotte, NC, Eric Lockwood, exposed some camp youngsters to the wonderful weirdness of Philly's own Man Man, and told them that they were about to view the "greatest band in the world performing the geratest song in the world - "Black Mission Goggles" live at Amoeba. We definitely spotted some future music critics and a couple of new Man Man fans in the crowd. You gotta love the brutal honesty of children! Special thanks to Philly Mag for bringing this to our attention.

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New Music Video: "Loot My Body" - Man Man

Man Man just premiered a new lyrics music video over at The A.V. Club for the track "Loot My Body," which contains a lot of great tour footage. They'll also be heading on the road again soon keeping them quite busy through February. Unfortunately, no Philly dates on the schedule yet which isn't surprising since they already did a two-night run for Halloween at Union Transfer followed by a more intimate show at Underground Arts on their last trek around the country in support of their most excellent LP On Oni Pond.

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Man Man & Banned Books Providing Beautiful Insanity at Underground Arts Dec. 29

So, Man Man is returning to Philly this Sunday for a performance, and as always, it’s sort of a big deal. Not only are they amongst that select pantheon of local bands that have achieved wider renown, but they’re also arguably one of the cornerstones of our weird, wonderful indie rock community. Each song in their library is a sublime blending of straightforward rock and some sort of manic hallucination. Seeing them is like being hit over the head with a melody, after which you might be hit with more literal objects, because that’s the sort of thing Man Man does. They’ll be bringing this beautiful insanity to the Underground Arts tonight, joined by the harmonically berserk Banned Books, an outfit that mixes the intensity of a ska band with the composition of a boundary-pushing indie one. Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St., 8pm, $25, 21+ - Daniel Ludwig
 
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