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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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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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