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Charlotte Littlehales and Arrah & The Ferns Open the New Year at The Fire Jan. 1

From never considering herself to be much of a performer to honing an eight year career of music and guitar mastery that is capable of shifting to rock, folk, jazz, and country, Charlotte Littlehales has steadfastly found herself immersed in the local music scene. With Scott Churchman (Ape School, Folklore) and Lux Perpetua’s Jason Wolf (formerly of The Extraordinaires) backing her live on stage, the crew skillfully brings her songs to life. And if you choose to ring in the New Year by seeing her open for bluegrass crooner Joe Brady at The Fire tonight, then you might get treated to some music from her upcoming album that’s currently in the works. Also joining them will be charming indie popsters Arrah & The Ferns, whose album All The Bad in One Place was one of the brightest of 2010. And if you catch their set, then you might be able to find out more on how you can help them with their upcoming music video that’s destined to be filled with unicorns and sombreros. The Fire, 412 W. Girard Ave., 9pm, $7, 21+ (Photo by John Hayes) - Bill McThrill


January 2011
An American Chinese
"Utopian Tree

Somewhere between psych pop and fuzzed out folk, indie darlings An American Chinese proves to possess a sound as unique as it is fun. Heard throughout their prior EP Panic Pilgrim, their latest full length, Utopian Tree continues in this tradition, refashioning listeners to ease into a sound that eludes the pitfalls of convention, keeping the band’s work far from feeling so-so. From the buzzing charm of “Jersey Claw to the acoustic drive of “The Distaste of Dairy Frank”, Utopian Tree blooms clever and crisp, full of pop charm and acoustic based chants.

Recorded in the band’s South Philly studio, An American Chinese’s debut LP begins with an atmospherically brief intro by way of “Safe Tigers”, which bleeds effortlessly into the windy backdrop of “Japanese Salesman”. Dreamy chords alongside textured vocals by frontman Mitch Marzec sets the album’s second track catchy with tambourine shakes and snare. Followed closely by “No No Like That”, An American Chinese makes the most of sparse yet concise backbeats alongside an acoustically seeped progression enriched by harmonized lines and a sharp chorus. “Jersey Claw” one of Panic Pilgrim’s best, resurfaces, with buzzing hums that lean into tongue-in-cheek lyricism nestled between steady drums and chords that play out like a chilled out b-side by the Violent Femmes with a pinch of scattered synth that vaguely conjures memories of the electrified interludes of The Cars’ power-pop single “Just What I Needed”. A presumable favorite for fans, “Indian Punk” remains upbeat and nears full-throttle while “Petition To Dear St. Augle” gradually eases into an energized conclusion by way of a stripped down intro that brings to mind pop smith Kiwi Lawrence Arabia. “Chasing Rabbit” is dancey with hints of acoustic punk sensibility and delectable synth. The cricket chirps of “Building a Blue Jay”, in addition to the track’s melodic integrity, render the song cinematic and bright. “Panic Pilgrim, Quick Grab Your Suitcase” showcases An American Chinese’s chops for imaginative storytelling with finesse. Ending with a final track bearing the quintet’s name, Utopian Tree roots itself in the swirling psych pop dreams of an act with the power to render listeners swaying and spellbound well after its latter notes. You can purchase the album here. - Dianca Potts



Have Fun and Don't Get Arrested - Happy New Year!

Uh-oh - New Year’s Eve is tomorrow! Do you have someone to kiss at midnight? Do you have any plans!?! Well, it’s up to you to swing the former, but we can certainly help you with the latter. And the right event might just get you the action that you are looking for. Now, we think that there will be plenty of kissable peeps at The Annual R5/Making Time New Years Eve Freakout at 90 Degreez (formerly Transit), and the all night open bar will help create a little social lubrication. But if you don’t have your tix already, SORRY, because this baby is SOLD OUT. Also the Hands and Knees/Tigerbeats Party is a good alternative, but unfortunately, there is no open bar there. Luckily, there are plenty of open bars and kissable people throughout the city on NYE. If your pockets are a bit deeper, The Blockley has the man who laid down plenty of those beats that you were jamming out to when your parents just didn’t understand. DJ Jazzy Jeff will be spinning his favorites just for you. Open bar is also included. Now, if live music is your thing and you’re still trying to get some lovin’ (we just want to say that we do not condone excessive PDA in the middle of a live performance - unless it is on stage), then you might find a love fest at KFN with Dangerous Ponies, Banned Books and Bandname. Your odds of a hookup might also be best at a molly-fueled jam band show like Lotus or The Disco Biscuits. But most of that action is back at the hotie anyways. Honestly, there is a shitload of options for your flava and we’re kind of feeling like the guy in Clerks that’s not even supposed to be here today/this week so we’d like to direct you to the friendly folks at Phrequency who have kindly put together a list of more options and details for this weekend here. We’ll be back with Weekend Warrior next week. Happy New Year - we’ll see you on the other side soon enough! - The Deli Staff

Gettin’ A Bit Cozy w/Cozy Galaxies at North Star Bar Dec. 30

There’s something strange about Cozy Galaxies and their self-titled LP, which was released late summer. On the one hand, the five-piece (formerly known as The Major Leagues) crafts really lush, clean, and picturesque soundscapes - ones that, in regards to both technical and emotional reverence, sweep you away with its driving rock swells and marching dream-pop coating. But on the other, the Philly (by way of Lancaster) outfit throw in random sprinkles of lyrical defiance - or, by Tipper Gore standards, “explicit” vocabulary - like “bullshit”, “motherfucker” (“Clean Yourself Up”), and “shit” (“Dreamer”). It’s not confusing or disturbing. More like weird and unexpected - a sort of wake-up call from the inevitable reverie you’ll slip into when listening to their songs or, rather, while watching them live like you will tonight at North Star Bar. They’ll work the stage with other noteworthy locals, like Giant Mind, who smolders with their irresistible soft-spoken slithers and red-light rock-jazz; Ah, Wilderness, who takes it back with jangly, ‘60s psych-pop; and Flamingo, who’s absolutely tempting with their one-two punch of dripping-sex vocals and ripe-tide of guitar riff come-ons. Tip: this show is best paired with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, tea light candles and some brie, but I somehow don’t think that you’ll be getting all three at the North Star, unless you sneak in your own. North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St., 8pm, $8, 21+ - Annamarya Scaccia

Alien Architect Opens for Wu-Tang Clan at The Troc Dec. 30

Versatile rhyme-sayer Alien Architect has a huge show tonight opening up for the legendary and bombastic motherfuckin’ Wu-Tang Clan at The Troc. Known to perform in various incarnations from acoustic spoken-word to prog-rocky full band productions, AA creates genre-bending tunes that would allow you to find him on a singer-songwriter stage like The Tin Angel or the big stage like this evening. Sharing the bill with such hip hop royalty should allow him to gain a bunch of new fans and continue to assert the depth of the Philly hip hop scene. He will also be doing a bunch of more intimate shows in the next few months, but given this opportunity expect Alien Architect to bring his A-game to the highly coveted opening slot. The Trocadero, 1003 Arch St., 9pm, $41.50 adv/$44 door - Adam G. 

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