Monday, June 24, 2019


Orville Peck
Sub Pop

He’s an alt-country singer/songwriter who performs with a mask on: not a Lone Ranger type, but a piece of cloth, hand sewn, with fringe. He also likes rather campy cowboy outfits.

He is gay, and what is the most appealing about his music is the way he stands hetero romantic clichés on their heads by writing about men the way men would write about women. I always like that. It’s good irony. He kind of sings like Johnny Cash, too, which enhances the irony. So if you appreciate the quirky the way I do, you’ll probably like this album an awful lot.

Andrea Weiss

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Empty Pockets
Live In Seattle
MT Pockets

The live album from this very likable indie folk/country band is a chance for the whole band to shine. The harmonies are great. Erica Brett is a wonderful singer and keyboard player. I love Marc Macisso’s flute and harmonica solos, and Josh Soloman’s guitar solo is also good.

The songs span their last few albums. My favorites are “Traveling Song,” “Leaving Jackson,” and “The Bubble,” about getting off the internet and connecting with people. I haven’t seen them live yet, and I want to, so I have a request of the band for that reason: Play World Café Live in Philly. I will be there in an instant, and know I’ll have a great time.

Andrea Weiss

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


Filthy Friends
Emerald Island
Kill Rock Stars

The second album from the collaboration of Peter Buck, Corin Tucker, Kurt Bloch, Scott McCaughey, and Linda Pitmon is classic guitar-driven indie rock. It's melodic, powerful, angry, but refuses to despair, and is sensible. Their politics are unabashedly left-wing, without giving in to whining, like on “November Man,” their great broadside against Trump. But for all the politics in their lyrics, there is also a sense that things are changing in confusing ways.

Buck shows off his guitar playing, which is wonderful, and Tucker lets loose nicely, especially on “Last Chance Country,” “The Eliot,” and the title song. While their playing and singing at times recalls REM or Sleater-Kinney, this band has a sound of its own.

The last song, “Hey Lacey,” is a same-sex love song, just Corin and Peter. It’s lovely, filled with love, and one of the best songs on the album, one of the best albums I’ve heard all year.

Andrea Weiss

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Empty Pockets

The Empty Pockets
Ten Cent Tour
MT Pockets

This very likable folk band from Chicago are Josh Solomon on guitar, Nate Bellon on bass, Danny Rosenthal on drums, and Erika Brett on keyboard. Josh, Nate, and Erika take turns on lead vocals.

They recently released Live In Seattle, but Ten Cent Tour, despite its name, was recorded in the band’s studio. It is very polished, well-played, and well-sung. The two standout tracks are “Leaving Jackson,” where Erika Brett shines, and “Traveling Song,” which showcases the guys. This is the first thing I’ve heard from this band, and it's so good I can’t wait to hear the live album.

Andrea Weiss

Tuesday, June 11, 2019


Dream Syndicate
These Times
Anti- Records

The new album from Steve Wynn and company is another fine one. Musically, it’s solid, with great guitar playing. They’re still successfully updating the Velvet Underground.

A new wrinkle is that Wynn and the band sound happy, even content. It doesn’t mean they're blissed out. They're still wary about this newfound state of mind, but figure it’ll pass.

Put the two together, music and lyrics, and it’s positive music that really rocks, and really says something about being happy.

Andrea Weiss

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Sorry To Bother You

Sorry To Bother You
Written/directed by Boots Riley
Significant Productions
MNM Creative
The Space Program
Annapurna Pictures

This witty, subtle, nuanced satire of capitalism is not to be missed. The story of how Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) parleys a telemarking job into overthrowing capitalism, in a way that seems totally unbelievable at first, is totally believable by the end. It’s a wry take on absolute power corrupting absolutely.

The plot of Green’s rise would look silly on paper, so just see the film. You’ll want to overthrow capitalism too.

Andrea Weiss

Thursday, June 6, 2019


Mavis Staples
We Get By
Anti- Records

Mavis Staples, at 79, is a national treasure. Her new album, We Get By, is 70s-style R&B, soul, and blues as indie rock. Produced by Ben Harper, it's another fine one. She sings about not just love and life, but also her role as a civil rights activist. MLK recruited her and her family, the Staples Singers, to write songs for the movement. All those songs are now classics, like “Freedom Highway.”

The sadness of loss, in life and love, is balanced by a search for truth and justice, righteous anger, and the knowledge that the fight for everyone’s rights is worth it.

I would rather hear this than what’s popular, especially rap, with its slurs thrown around at gay people and women, and no one should be using the N word, even in an attempt to be ironic and post-modern.

If you want a better way to be woke, in the tradition of the great blues artists, this is the way to do it, with Mavis’s wonderful album.

Andrea Weiss

Sunday, June 2, 2019


Ansgar Media, Cinetic Media, Under the Influence Productions, Village Studios

Blaze Foley was a country musician. While he never had any hits, he was a songwriter’s songwriter, much like his friend Townes Van Zandt. His life was good, and bad, and he died a real country death--he got shot. He died way too young.

The film stars Ben Dickey, who is wonderful. I’d heard of him before. He was part of the Philly music scene for a while. Lucinda Williams paid tribute to him with “Drunken Angel.”

The film is based on the memoir of his lover, Sybil Rosen. It weaves between three time periods: when he was first starting out; at his peak, when he was making albums; and after his death, when Townes, played by Charlie Sexton, talks in a radio interview about what Blaze meant to him, and to music.

This film is a must-see if you want to know about a musician more people should know about. If you want a good music film, or just a good film, period, this one is for you.

Andrea Weiss


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