The 2010 Art Star Craft Bazaar is going down this Saturday and Sunday at Penn’s Landing. The super family friendly event will be filled with fun crafts, games, food and other basic human needs. The music that will be filling the air of this event is expansive and impressive. The lineup is fairly folk tinged with many local favorites taking the stage to put their own take on jangling acoustics, tambourines and booze soaked vocals. Highlights include the musical collective, The Spinning Leaves, whose airy tunes and warming howls are both haunting and reassuring. Also, Oh! Pears, the brainchild of Corey Duncan, former guitarist in Pattern Is Movement, is bringing his idiosyncratic orchestrations to the show. My personal favorites of the day are Toy Soldiers, who are billed as Ron Gallo (songwriter and singer) and Friends. They have a new album coming out and will be celebrating later tonight at the TLA with a stellar lineup if you like what you hear. Jack McBrearty (The Mural and The Mint, Songs for Lonesome Hearts), who was the music coordinator for this event, managed to put together way too many Philly bands to write something nice about on this show, and I am sure I could, but let’s be serious. It is already two and I am still not weeping into my mini pitcher. The lineup for the two days also include Songs for Lonesome Hearts, Arch in Round, Gildon Works, Like A Fox, The Invisible Friends, The Great Unknown, and North Lawrence Midnight Singers. The Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, on Columbus Blvd between Walnut St. and Chestnut St., 11 - 6 pm, All Ages - Adam G.
For those who decide whether to come or go based on the first forty seconds of an album, Restorations’ LP2 is practically tailor-made for snap judgments. After a chiming, anthemic guitar opening, the band already known for fist-raising jams lets all hell break loose with “D,” their most unrestrained opener yet. The drum kit-mauling, earth-shaking bass lines and ascendant guitar riffs can only be described as complete sensory overload, and make it clear that the following eleven songs are going to be fueled by pure viscera. If your preferences run towards structure over huge sound, this release may leave you cold; LP2’s predominant means of exploring the band’s wealth of ideas are stadium-sized instrumentation and endless waves of atmospherics, as well as a dose of ennui.
This is a murkier, more inward-looking Restorations than we’re used to. Everything that was there before, musically, is blown sky-high this time around. They’ve managed to pack ideas into every iota of the song list, aided by Jon Low’s miles-deep production; the density of the music itself is offset by an album-long meditation on place, belonging, and the ramifications of leaving the familiar behind, which makes the outsized sound that much more of an interesting direction. Juxtaposing the existential discomfort with more sophisticated, complex forays into Restorations’ sonic wheelhouse.
The spiraling guitars, one of the album’s specially prominent features, are everywhere, serving various purposes in each song. “Kind of Comfort”’s jittery glam rock aspirations accompany lyrics of searching and wanderlust. Even the more downbeat cuts (“In Perpetuity Through The Universe,” “New Old”) are propelled beyond their subject matter by the songs’ barely-concealed restless energy. At its more pensive moments, like the folk-inflected “Civil Inattention,” there is a restless undercurrent of texture and volatility that never quite lets up.
Album closer “Adventure Tortoise” is all monster buildup laced with extraterrestrial effects, kicking off into a sort of requiem for the band’s neighborhood. “I’d really like to stay to help this place,” growls Jon Loudon through his teeth, but the allure of letting it all go is too strong to resist. The longing for a place “where nobody knows your name” isn’t quite all-consuming enough to inspire real action, but it is definitely the new paradigm Loudon means.
It takes guts to pull off a release that feels ten minutes long but contains more emotional and musical texture than most records. Restorations cover a whole lot of ground on LP2, and for the most part, pull off their ambitions. A bit too sanguine for shoegaze, and maybe too heady for punk, Restorations’ second full-length album brings an intriguing palette of aspirations to their open road-ready sound, prepared to try anything and everything. - Alyssa Greenberg