What we're seeing this week!
Friday, January 30: London Grammar
British trio London Grammar craft dark, deep, electro-pop ballads you can get lost it, nestled between powerful vocals and twinkling, expansive keys. Conceived of in 2009 when vocalist Hannah Reid met guitarist Dan Rothman freshman year at university (with keyboardist/drummer Dot Major hopping on board a year later), the band first turned heads with 2012's "Hey Now," a beautiful, stirring slow jam simmering with emotion, that easily would have made its way on to the Garden State soundtrack, if only it arrived 5 years earlier. Since then they've risen to the ranks of superstars in their home country, thanks to an appearance on Disclosure's Settle and the strength of their debut LP, If You Wait — a sexy, downtempo record you can make love to at night and wake up to the next morning and still dig. This Friday, they journey to the Electric Factory, where they'll saunter and croon their way into your heart; absorb this video for "Hey Now" first to get in a sexy mood.
8:30 at the Electric Factory, 421 N. 7th St., $25–30. Tickets available here.
Friday, January 30: Giraffage
Giraffage — a.k.a. Charlie Yin — already has one thing going for him in today's Spotify-centric world. He has a catchy name, the type that might attract curious, click-happy music listeners (like myself) to check out his profile. Luckily, his tunes don't disappoint. Just as a giraffe makes little sound but still conveys a sort of stately grace, so to does Yin, creating soft, electronic, bedroom pop imbued with a quiet elegance. (If you don't think giraffes are elegant, click here). A musician since childhood, who decided to pursue music full-time after graduating from Berkeley (much to his parents' chagrin) — Yin slowly turning heads through relentless touring (with XXYYXX, Phantogram, and Porter Robinson), entrancing remixes (for The-Dream and R. Kelly), and dozens of sleepy, R&B-infused slow burners that find meaning in expertly stitched vocals, tempo changes, and the spaces between the sounds. He's now touring behind 2014's No Reason EP, which is unique in that it features no samples, all original beats — and will bring it to life this Friday at JB's. Come space out and lose yourself in the beats.
9:15 at Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $12. Tickets available here.
Saturday, January 31: Blast off featuring HR + Chuck Treece
Honestly, we're not 100% sure what to make of this event, billed as a "winter reggae throwdown" by hosts Rockers Galore — the funky, spunky Philly collective who mix funk, reggae, and Hawaiian koompa music into a breezy good time (I can personally attest that each time I've seen them live I've been drunk and loving life). They'll be joined by noted awesome people HR and Chuck Treece — the former of DC hardcore band Bad Brains, and later Human Rights—and the latter of skate-punks McRad, not to mention professional skateboarding fame, and stints with Pearl Jam, Billy Joel, and The Lemonheads (yes, really). Local reggae orchestra I Yahn I Arkestra will provide instrumental backing — and while we can't predict exactly how it will all go down, we are certain this will be one of the most fun, creative events of the weekend, and a good excuse to drink rum in late January.
8:00 at Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St., $10. Tickets available here.
Tuesday, February 3: Alex G
I first discovered Alex G the way many people did: through the internet, and his massive collection of online tunes. For nearly 4 years now, the 21-year-old Philadelphian and former Temple student (he dropped out to focus on making music) has been writing and recording in his bedroom, releasing songs with a GBV-like frequency while staying mostly under the radar. Fadar called him "the internet's secret best songwriter" — and it's true that Alex G (full name: Alex Giannascoli) has an unusual way of crafting jangly, lo-fi gems that surprise you with their catchiness, combining deceptively simple lyrics with whimsical, Pollard-worthy melodies. But what really impressed me about Alex G was seeing them live (Alex G is also the name of Alex G's band) — while playing a house show in West Philly, the four-piece stood in the middle of the room, fans gathered tightly around them — thrashing and screaming as if the music was salvation. Which in a way, it kinda is—Giannascoli's success this past year (he's been featured on Pitchfork, Stereogum, and countless others) — is proof that sometimes all it takes to make it is talent, and that your new fave songwriter could be sitting next to you in math class.
7:30 at PhilaMOCA, 531 N. 12th St., sold out.