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Artist of the Month
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February 2015
Suburban Living
"Suburban Living
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Suburban Living’s self-titled debut LP (PaperCup Music) is a memorable showcase of moody dream pop and lush emotives. The anticipated follow-up to the well-received Cooper’s Dream EP and 2013’s “Always Eyes” 7” single, Suburban Living enhances a sound familiar to fans of Beach Fossils, while channeling the percussive pulse and melancholy of post-punk legends like Joy Division. 

Opening with “Faded Lover,” the album’s first track unfolds with guttural riffs and an unrelenting backbeat that perfectly frames frontman Wesley Bunch’s emotionally wrought yet controlled vocals. The song falls somewhere between the driving tempo of Echo & The Bunnymen’s “Stars Are Stars” and The Cure’s “Primary,” making it a suitable metaphor for willing romantics. A crystallization of everything quintessential about the dissonance of post-punk and the catchy melodics of shoegaze, “Faded Lover” lingers like a ghost with its listener, dissipating into a silence that begs for subsequent returns.
 
“New Strings” impresses with cinematic reverb and percussion that gradually swells into a melodic narrative that proves to be just as upbeat as it is brooding. Bunch’s knack for crafting duality and juxtaposition keeps tracks like it from becoming merely sentimental. The sincerity of Bunch’s diction is one equally fostered by disenchantment and passion alike. As if tapping into the emotional core of what made fellow shoegazers The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart so relatable, Suburban Living’s “New Strings” manages to tug at the heartstrings without playing puppeteer. 
 
“Wasted” kick-starts with beach-y chords and mellow diction that intensifies midway through the song’s duration via shouts that seem to beckon a sense of urgency in Bunch’s audience. With ease, it signals a shift in the album’s tone preparing listeners for the more subdued yet earnest “Dazed,” whose instrumentation embodies the state evoked by its namesake. As if it were a millennial epilogue to the sentiments of Psychocandy, the song proves to be just as pensive in its own rite. With jangly hooks and introspective vocals, it feels synonymous with early cuts by Real Estate or a kindred spirit with the unabashed sincerity of the Stone Roses. Here, Bunch is anything but withholding.
 
The dance-y synth and cadence of “No Fall” perfectly compliments the track’s energy. Suburban Living’s sixth track is a probable favorite for fans. “Hotel Unizo” serves as an instrumental prelude to the album’s closer, “Different Coast,” which is similarly orchestrated in the sense that it captivates. Fashioned by straightforward feelings that confess of vulnerability and modes of coping, “Different Coast” is deliberately constructed to mesmerize its listener towards catharsis. 
 
In the end, it is clear that Suburban Living’s latest release is the beginning of something monumental. - Dianca Potts

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Norwegian Arms

Spaceship Aloha & Norwegian Arms Opening for Oumar Konate at JB’s May 27

Multi-faceted worldly musician from Mali, Oumar Konate, makes his Philly live performance debut tonight. And he’ll also be joined by a lineup of multi-faceted worldly locals to complement this occasion. When he’s not banging away at the drums for Man Man, Christopher Sean “Pow Pow” Powell is the savvy producer behind Spaceship Aloha. The artist manages to construct a lush blend of vibrant electronic melodies amid a space-age Hawaiian musical landscape. And the end result may have you dancing in a fervor. Whether it’s the ukulele-fueled minimalist approach of Trimming of Hides or the whimsical, melodic use of electronics to round out the sounds on Wolf Like A Stray Dog, Norwegian Arms consistently proves to be an effervescent chameleon of a band. And the fact that they’ll be performing 100% all new material this evening is all the more reason to attend. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 Frankford Ave., 9pm, $10, 21+ - Bill McThrill


Dream Safari Opening for Norwegian Arms & Snowmine at JB’s Feb. 7

Philly’s own Dream Safari plays an expansive sound that seems to reach to the corners of the earth. The stage name of Chris Coulton, the project specializes in a danceable electro world beat that pulls inspiration from multiple genres. In the past few months, Coulton has called upon various deejays in the area to release a remixed version of his EP, Night Howl, helping to demonstrate the flexibility in his sound. It doesn’t feel calculated, but rather the various disco, jungle-pop layers flow easily into one another, making for a versatility that allowed the “remixes” album to hold up against the original. They’ll be opening for Philly/Brooklyn trio Norwegian Arms, who will be headlining this evening at Johnny Brenda’s. The weirdo-folk outfit allows its surroundings to seep into the music, taking their listeners on a journey with them, from the woods of Siberia to the streets of New York City. Also performing on the bill is Brooklyn-based Snowmine. The group toes the line between dance-worthy and extremely chill ambiance, depending on the listener’s mood. The night promises to be full of spacious and layered sounds, ones that invoke music from various world corners, and will be sure to expand to every corner of the venue. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 9pm, $10, 21+ - Shaylin O’Connell

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Photo Recap: Pattern is Movement 12" Release Show w/The Spinto Band, Norwegian Arms, Worshyper & WYLDSTYLE DJs at Union Transfer

This past Thursday, Pattern is Movement celebrated the release of their 12" "Suckling" b/w "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" at Union Transfer, while continuing to pique our interest in regards to their long-awaited LP that is scheduled to drop in January 2014 via Hometapes. Stacking the bill with talented pals The Spinto Band, Norwegian Arms, Worshyper and the WYLDSTYLE DJs (who brought the 90's dance-pop jams), all were encouraged to shake what their mamas gave them. (BTW: Keep your eyes and ears on Worshyper - sexy, cerebral R&B grooves from the Great Northeast. We sure will.) Check out our photos from the evening HERE! (Photo by Brandi Lukas)


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Photo Recap: Pattern is Movement 12" Release Show w/The Spinto Band, Norwegian Arms, Worshyper & WYLDSTYLE DJs at Union Transfer

- by Brandi Lukas 


Pattern is Movement

 

The Spinto Band

 

Norwegian Arms

 

Worshyper

 

WYLDSTYLE DJs

 

 

 

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Pattern is Movement & Friends at Union Transfer Oct. 24

The truly dynamic duo of Andrew Thiboldeaux and Chris Ward, a.k.a. Pattern is Movement, headline an exceptional evening of Philly-centric musicians tonight at Union Transfer. The 12’’physical release of their new single “Suckling” b/w “Untitled (How Does It Feel) will also be on-hand at UT. With the release of PiM’s yet-to-be-titled new LP scheduled for January 2014, via Hometapes, the group is all but assured to unleash some new material that they’ve been practicing for a live setting. The pair produces multilayered songs that harness the textured interplay of an array of instruments, primarily keys/synth/percussion and vocals, creating an elaborate way to get into the mood for some lovin’. Delaware natives, The Spinto Band, will help to warm things up, bringing their sleek combination of crisp vocal harmonies and airy arrangements, while another intriguing outfit Norwegian Arms cooks up their custom recipe of high-energy weirdo folk. The stacked-vocal, experimental R&B trio of Worshyper round outs this diversely cutting-edge bill. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., 8pm, $13, All Ages - Michael Colavita


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