Results for Philadelphia

interviews

Ron Gallo

Ron Gallo, formerly of indie Philadelphia rock group Toy Soldiers, released a new album titled HEAVY META earlier this year. While Toy Soldiers experimented with Americana as well as more straightforward rock, HEAVY META marks a stylistic departure for Gallo. Ron says the record comes at a time of transition in his life, both personally and musically. A recent transplant to Nashville, Ron experiments with a grittier musical palate on this project. Upon the release of HEAVY META, Greg listed it among his buried treasures. Jim also counts himself a fan, noting that some of the music sounds like it belongs on one of the famed Nuggets compilations of 1960s garage rock recordings. Recently, Ron and his band joined Jim and Greg in our studios to perform music from HEAVY META.

Go to episode 623

Rosanne Cash

Considering that Rosanne Cash was born into music royalty, she's a veteran of the business. But that hasn't stopped her from blazing her own trail. The eldest daughter of Johnny Cash, Rosanne, too, is something of a maverick, never fitting into any proper "Country" or "Rock" cagetories. She eschewed the binding confines of Nashville for New York City, where she lives with husband and musical partner John Leventhal. Rosanne recently released her 13th studio album, The River and the Thread, and she joined us for a special live performance at the WXPN studios in Philadelphia. She talked with Jim and Greg about her father's legacy, working with her husband, breaking away from the Nashville industrial complex, and how she can write a beautiful song based on a tweet.

Go to episode 452

Low Cut Connie

Philadelphia rock ‘n’ rollers Low Cut Connie was founded in 2010 by lead singer and pianist Adam Weiner and drummer and guitarist Dan Finnemore. They later added musicians James Everhart, Will Donnelly and Larry Scotton to round out their 1950s-influenced, signature sound. A key element of their music is the use of a piano to pound out some raunchy, rock tunes and make people get up and dance. They've released three albums so far: Get Out the Lotion, Call Me Sylvia and Hi Honey. Even President Obama is a fan, he put the group's song "Boozophilia" on his summertime Spotify playlist alongside artists like Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder. The band visited our studio a few weeks ago where Greg and Jim asked them about how they first formed, their career ups-and-downs and singer Adam Weiner's experience with the TV show The Voice.

Go to episode 519

Jeff Chang

Jeff Chang, author of Can‘t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation, joins Jim and Greg in the studio this week. Jeff, who co-founded the Quannum Label in San Francisco, was on the show previously when his book first came out, and he and our hosts engaged in a discussion of hip-hop's history. Now that Jeff's book has come out on paperback, Jim and Greg welcome him back to the show to discuss where hip-hop is today and where it is going. In order to get a sense of hip-hop's diverse makeup, the three music journalists decide to embark on a geographical tour of the genre, beginning with Chicago and working their way through the United States, and even the U.K.

Go to episode 15

Moby

Singer, songwriter, producer, and now troubadour Moby joined Jim and Greg a few weeks ago for a live interview and performance at the Public Radio Programmer's Conference in Philadelphia, PA, known to us in the biz as the PRPD. Moby has been on the show a number of times, but never before a live audience. The first song he performs is actually one he worked on for John Kerry's presidential campaign in 2004 — and we'd like to think this event was no less auspicious for Moby. Also enjoy his rendition of a Johnny Cash song (one written by June Carter Cash), and feel free to sing along!

In between musical interludes that include the tracks "Go" and "Porcelain," Jim and Greg walk Moby through his musical evolution. His career, which now spans over 20 years, is celebrated in a new double-disc set entitled Go: The Very Best of Moby. Though, as Jim points out, the album doesn‘t do justice’s to Moby's hardcore punk, or even hardcore electronica roots. Fans know that Moby is no stranger to extremes, though. In addition to being a“rock star,”Moby is a Christian, a vegan, and… a tea lover!

Go to episode 49
specials

Rock Clubs in the 21st Century

Just like the small independent band or the mom and pop record store, independently owned rock clubs are also finding it hard to navigate their way through the ever-changing, increasingly corporate music industry. Cities often don‘t have the friendliest live music regulations, especially after tragedies like 1993’s E2 stampede and The Station fire. But, with album sales down, bands are more and more dependent on live music revenues. Jim and Greg have been writing about this issue in Chicago for years, but wanted to get a national perspective. They invited the following guests to share their insights: Sean Agnew of R5 Productions in Philadelphia, Mitchell Franks of Spaceland, Echo and Echoplex in Los Angeles and Jake Szufnarowski of Rocks Off Concert Promotions in New York City.

Rock clubs have an important place in the music industry, but they are just as important to the music fan as well. To illustrate this, Jim and Greg both reveal two of their most significant experiences at an independently owned music venue. Jim discusses seeing Hüsker Dü perform their album Zen Arcade in its entirety. It was at Maxwell's on New Year's Eve, and Jim was a college student. As he explained during The Feelies' interview, Maxwell's was pivotal to him learning about music, and this Hüsker Dü performance, complete with wrestling, was one of his most memorable. Jim plays "What's Going On?" from Hüsker Dü's live album The Living End.

Greg discusses seeing house music fixture Ron Hardy DJ at Chicago's Muzic Box. Hardy was not as internationally known as his peers, but Greg remembers how the DJ was able to bring together so many different types of music fans. The democracy of the dance floor is one of the reasons music clubs are so integral to the community. Greg plays a famous track from Hardy's set list, "Love Can't Turn Around."

Go to episode 140
reviews
The Light of the Sun (Deluxe Version)The Light of the Sun available on iTunes

Jill Scott The Light of the Sun

Is Jill Scott a contender for the next round of lists? Her new release The Light of the Sun is the number one album in the country, a first for Scott. The R&B singer started as a poet in Philadelphia and has gone on to have a successful career in both music and acting. Since her last release in 2007, Scott has gone through tough breakups of the romantic and professional variety. And that's provided much of the subtext for the songs on The Light of the Sun. Jim doesn‘t think the level of self-pity is warranted though, especially when the music is so upbeat. He’s not used to this tough lady feeling sorry for herself. And more disappointing is her singing. Jim says Trash It. Greg can‘t believe what he’s hearing. This isn't a return to form, in his opinion, but a whole new territory. The record sounds loose and fun, and despite the massive life changes, Scott sounds remarkably resilient. He says Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 292
UndunUndun available on iTunes

The Roots Undun

After over a decade of music-making, Philadelphia quintet The Roots have earned a reputation as the best live band in hip hop. They've put out ten studio records, backed artists like D'Angelo and Erykah Badu, and rule the airwaves every night as Jimmy Fallon's house band. Has this caused the quality to drop off on the group's latest release Undun? Greg says not a bit. He named the record his second favorite of 2011 and he's not backing down. He especially wants to call out DJ Black Thought for some overdue props; Greg ranks him up there with Jay-Z. He says Buy it. Jim agrees, but unlike Greg, he's not loving the four-part classical suite that closes the album. It's beautiful, but out of place. In fact, the self-consciousness of the whole story underlying Undun - the rise and fall of a street kid - puts Jim off. It's a Buy It album, but not the band's best.

JimGreg
Go to episode 319
Game Theory (Bonus Track Version)Game Theory available on iTunes

The Roots Game Theory

Philadelphia hip-hop group The Roots have an album up for review entitled Game Theory. The rappers and musicians largely changed the way hip-hop was perceived by incorporating live instrumentation and rock-style jams into their recordings and performances. Greg has always been a fan, and loves songs like the dark track "In the Music," but doesn‘t think the record is consistent enough. There’s an entire eight minutes of music dedicated to the recently departed producer J Dilla that he can't really excuse—so he gives it a Burn It. Jim believes Game Theory is the best record the group has done since 1999's Things Fall Apart. He loves the dark tone of the record and emotional content of the lyrics, and doles out a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 39
Lost in the DreamSlave Ambient available on iTunes

The War on Drugs Slave Ambient

The Philadelphia band The War on Drugs straddles the line between indie singer/songwriter and psychedelic rock. It was originally founded by Kurt Vile and Adam Granduceil, but Vile has since left to pursue a solo career. Granduceil continued as The War on Drugs, releasing a moderately succesful record called Slave Ambient in 2011. His new album, Lost in the Dream, is his best, according to Jim. Working out the songs on the road created a wonderful live atmosphere. It's perfect headphone music, says Jim: Buy It. Greg likes the record as well, but wishes some of the more meandering tracks were better edited. He gives Lost in the Dream a Try It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 433
rock doctors

Family Practice

Time now for The Rock Doctors to open up the clinic. Every so often Jim and Greg like to give back, so to speak, and help some listeners with an ailment of a musical variety. Whether someone is allergic to hip hop or addicted to jam bands, our hosts hope they can provide the right musical prescription. Heck, they've even taken an appointment with Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman.

Before they get to their main appointment of the episode, they run over to the emergency room to take a call from Anne in Philadelphia. Anne is getting married next month and has been racking her brain to come up with a good song for the“Father/Daughter”dance. Problem is, Dad is something of a music expert who likes to dig deep for his wedding selections. But songs like Leadbelly's "Ain't It A Shame" don‘t hit the right emotional chord (and aren’t exactly crowd pleasers).

So, Anne wants to know what Drs. Kot and DeRogatis would recommend? Greg goes first, suggesting "The Way You Look Tonight." Sure, this Oscar-winner could be an obvious choice, but it's the lesser-known version by The Jaguars that Greg prescribes. Jim takes a cue from one of rock's best Dads, Loudon Wainwright III (father to Martha and Rufus and Marshall). His song "Daughter" has the perfect mix of humor and sentimentality.

Jim and Greg call their next two patients in from the waiting room. Doug and Susan have been happily married for 18 years. But they've never been able to get along…musically. Doug is a Presbyterian minister with an indie rock past who remains as passionate as ever about music. He loves jangly pop and expansive Spector-esque production, but doesn't give a lick about lyrics. Susan, he tells our nurse, is stuck in "Classic Rock Hell and '70s Rock Purgatory." She still favors FM rock like Jimmy Buffett and Little Feat, and has little tolerance for Doug's“trash can music”and fondness for“whiny broads.”So the doctors are tasked with finding this couple something new they can listen to together.

Jim begins by recommending a dose of the California quartet Delta Spirit. He couldn‘t resist prescribing Susan a band that actually uses trash cans, but more he thinks the couple will appreciate the group’s emotional and spiritual lyrics. Greg prescribes Arrow by Heartless Bastards. On their 4th release the Ohio group finally has the songs to match the intensity of Erika Wennerstrom's vocals. And they reference much of the classic rock and soul that Susan favors.

So how did the medicine go down? Doug gives a Buy It to Delta Spirit, noting that Matthew Vasquez can really sing. Susan still just hears this as something up Doug's alley. Doug also appreciated Heartless Bastards, but despite Wennerstrom's singing style, not because of it. He's curious to see the band live, but didn‘t fall in love with the record. Susan liked the direction Greg went in more, but again, didn’t find a winner in Heartless Bastards. But both husband and wife enjoyed the process of listening to and critiquing music…and that's all the Doctors can really ask for!

Do you need to consult with the Rock Doctors? Or know someone who does? Fill out a patient form and send it to interact@soundopinions.org.

Go to episode 335
news

Music News

Jim and Greg start by discussing news that Alan Ellis, the administrator of the popular UK bit-torrent site Oink.cd was acquitted of charges of conspiring to defraud copyright owners. Usually Jim and Greg are reporting victory for the music industry, so they were surprised to see this verdict. But, the key was that Ellis could not be linked to any conspiracy; he merely provided the ability to search for content. A judge or jury is not likely to be as lenient to the actual downloaders, like Trent Reznor. During its operation Oink facilitated the trading of 21 million music files.

Music fans were hit with lots of sad news last week. First, there was the death of Memphis punk rocker Jay Reatard at the age of 29. Then, there was the death of Wax Trax Records founder Dannie Flesher at the age of 58. And finally, there was the death of soul singer Teddy Pendergrass at the age of 59. Pendergrass first got attention as the drummer, then singer in Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. In fact, many people may not know that it was Pendergrass, not Melvin, who sang one of their biggest hits, "If You Don't Know Me By Now." Pendergrass continued to work with Philadelphia team Gamble and Huff and to become the king of the“slow jam.”But, to remember Pendergrass, Jim and Greg decide to play "You Can't Hide From Yourself," an up-tempo track that shows his diversity as a performer.

Go to episode 217