Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Lemon Twigs
Small Victories single

This delightfully authentically 70s prog/pop- sounding single, produced by Todd Rundgren, speaks for itself lyrically, as it’s about just that, the small victories of everyday life. It’ll be on their upcoming album Go To School, a concept album about a chimp named Shane, raised as a human boy, which is a very interesting concept. The album comes out August 24. The single is out now.

Andrea Weiss

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Rayland Baxter
World Café Live, July 14, 2018
Philadelphia, PA

He’s been around since 2012, but I’d never heard him until now, with the deeply quirky single "Casanova." College loan debt is likened to overbearing women who you’ve never met, yet who call you every day telling you to behave. For real. And that was enough to convince me to buy his new album, Wide Awake, and go see him live.

The album is great, a mix of folkish songs and adult rock. Some are political, like "Strange American Dream," about the US now, and "79 Shiny Revolvers, about gun control, but the relationship songs are sad in a "why did you go away" vein, and also a "don’t know where I stand" one. I like his gentle touch, and his guitar playing.

Live he shredded on guitar, was a lot rowdier than on the album, and the band kept things moving smoothly. When they took a break, the older, folk-like songs on solo acoustic guitar sounded right at home. I loved it.

When they played "Casanova" everyone sang, including his friends in the very good opening act, Okey Dokey, on the refrain, making an already strange song even quirkier.
Andrea Weiss
Peace Train
World Café Live, July 13, 2018
Philadelphia, PA

This has nothing to do with Cat Stevens. This is an interracial, female duo from South Africa, Sharon Katz and Nonhlanhla Wanda. They make Afro-pop, but with an indie rock edge, somewhat dream pop with guitars instead of keyboards. Katz is an excellent guitar player, Wanda a great singer. They are official musical ambassadors, internationally acclaimed, and Grammy nominated, who burst onto the world stage with a 150-voice choir, a 10-piece band, and a tour with Ladysmith Black Mambazo in South Africa in 1993, right when apartheid was crumbling.

When I saw them live they were on the verge of going to the US/Mexico border to lead a march from the US side into Mexico, to meet up with a choir there to protest the forced separations. There is more here about it.

They turned the Café into party central. People got up and danced in the aisles, walked up to the front and danced, and these were retirees. But who cares about age with this much fun to be had? They played songs from their wonderful new album Side By Side, and their edge came from the fact that they were musical freedom fighters, helping to end apartheid at home, and in the US.

I loved every bit of it, even as I was exhausted by all the high energy by the end. This is a duo and band to delight in, to protest with, and not to miss if they come to your town.

Andrea Weiss


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