Sounds – May 24, 2018

Sounds – May 24, 2018

BREAK TIME IS OVER THE BREEDERS — ‘All Nerve’
THE GOOD: American alt-rockers the Breeders return with the classic “Last Splash” lineup for a fifth full-length album.
THE BAD: No.
THE NITTY GRITTY: The Breeders only made five albums? Yeah, I thought there were more too, but “Safari” was an EP, the Amps was another Kim Deal thing that SOUNDED like the Breeders, and there are a lot of B-sides.
“All Nerve” isn’t the second coming of “Last Splash.” The new record isn’t as instantly catchy, and the songs visit some murky places. However, it’s just as powerful. The Deal sisters have matured, and despite the fact they can still crank out something as punchy and infectious as “Nervous Mary” and “Wait in the Car,” the more intensely emotional moments such as “Dawn: Making an Effort” come more naturally these days.
However, “more emotional” doesn’t mean “mellowed out.” “All Nerve” does breathe, drums go down-tempo in spots, and there are brief silences. Yet these songs are still razor-sharp and can’t be contained.
BUY IT?: Yes.

DAVID BYRNE — ‘American Utopia’ 
THE GOOD: Ex-Talking Heads frontman David Byrne comes back with his first proper solo outing (collaborative albums NOT included) in 14 years.
THE BAD: “Utopia” may NOT be perfect, but at least the 66-year-old musician still takes chances.
THE NITTY GRITTY: The record is part of a larger multimedia project called “Reasons to be Cheerful,” which hopefully brings optimism to our tumultuous times, yet the music stands on its own.
Byrne brings together elements from his past, such as island rhythms (“Every Day Is a Miracle”), dark new wave (“Bullet”) and intense, body-shaking grooves (“Everybody’s Coming to my House”). The new musical combinations work for the most part, and while there may be a few lyrical hiccups along the way, “American Utopia” does what it sets out to do.
That is, the songs make us FEEL the world around us, while bringing on a few smiles, a couple of somber moments and some food for thought to ponder after the final notes fade out.
BUY IT?: Surely.

EELS — ‘The Deconstruction’
THE GOOD: Eels, that would be singer/songwriter Mark Oliver Everett and whoever else showed up this time, comes back with its (his) 12th.
THE BAD: Despite a four-year break from music, Everett immediately retreats to his comfort zone. Don’t expect any shake-ups. Not “bad” if you’ve remained a fan since the man was simply known as “E” back in the early ’90s.
THE NITTY GRITTY: You get the usual mix of soft, intimate songs and beat-heavy tracks, all featuring Everett’s knack for catchy melodies and copious amounts of self-reflection. Expected touches include ghostly choirs floating in and out of the room at various times, subtle patches of funk, moody strings and the occasional burst of sunny (don’t be fooled — Everett still has issues) pop.
In other words, you’ve been here at least 10 times before. And “Deconstruction” peaks early. The first half is quite good; the second half drags a little. Still, every Eels record has its memorable bits. Swing by if you’re feeling melancholy or listless.
BUY IT?: Your call.

Clubs – May 24, 2018

Clubs – May 24, 2018

Thursday, May 24
279 Bar & Grill, 279 S. River St., Wilkes-Barre: Always Undecided
Augustine’s Club 17, 518 N. Main St., Old Forge: Line dancing with Chris and Darlene
Bart & Urby’s, 119 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: Trivia Night
Bartolai Winery, Route 92 and Coolidge Avenue, Falls: Open mic with Big Al and Billy Edwards
Bobby Keen’s, 117 W. Market St., Scranton: Karaoke with Edwin
Boulder View Tavern, 123 Lake Harmony Road, Lake Harmony: Strawberry Jam
Chacko’s Memory Lane Lounge, 195 N. Wilkes-Barre Blvd., Wilkes-Barre: Kartune
Cooper’s Seafood House, 701 N. Washington Ave., Scranton: EJ the DJ
Grotto Pizza, 36 Gateway Shopping Center, Edwardsville: Bingo Night
Grotto Pizza/Skybox Sports Bar, Wyoming Valley Mall, Wilkes-Barre Twp.: Know Limit Trivia
Heat Bar & Nightclub, 69-71 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: Karaoke
The Keys, 244 Penn Ave., Scranton: Open mic and Nintendo 64 tournament
Levels Bar & Grill, 519 Linden St., Scranton: DJ NRG
OSE (Oak Street Express), 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor: DJ Famous
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: LondonForce Duo
Wise Crackers Comedy Club at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: The Lab — Comedy Showcase
World of Brew Bar & Bottle Shop, 170 Laurel Plaza, Pittston: Open call hosted by Jami Kali

Friday, May 25
279 Bar & Grill, 279 S. River St., Wilkes-Barre: The Violets from Chatter
American Legion Post 665, 901 Main St., Dickson City: Marilyn Kennedy
Andy Gavin’s, 1392 N. Washington Ave., Scranton: Gas Trio
Augustine’s Club 17, 518 N. Main St., Old Forge: Mike Barrasse
Backyard Ale House, 523 Linden St., Scranton: Shiny Penny with Light Weight
Bar Louie at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Bark at the Moon — Ozzy Osbourne tribute
Bartolai Winery, Route 92 and Coolidge Avenue, Falls: Jimmy T — Elvis tribute artist
Bobby Keen’s, 117 W. Market St., Scranton: DJ Edwin Valez
Blu Wasabi, 223 Northern Blvd., Clarks Summit: Bill Arnold Band
Breakers at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Neil Nicastro Duo
The Club at the Highlands, 2700 Highland Blvd., Archbald: Tina and Joe from Oldies but Goodies
Crotti’s on Ash, 1431 Ash St., Scranton: Clarence Spady
Evolution Nightclub at the Woodlands, 1073 Highway 315, Plains Twp.: DJ NRG
Grotto Pizza, 36 Gateway Shopping Center, Edwardsville: Punch Bug Trio
Grotto Pizza/Grand Slam Sports Bar, RR 415, Harveys Lake: Flatland Ruckus
Grotto Pizza/Skybox Sports Bar, Wyoming Valley Mall, Wilkes-Barre Twp.: Group Du Jour Trio
Heat Bar & Nightclub, 69-71 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: Inferno Drag Show
Irish Wolf Pub, 503 Linden St., Scranton: Earthmouth, Hallucination, Burial Fog, Gypsy Valley Kings and Fields of Arkansas
JJ Bridjes Restaurant, 925 Northern Blvd., Clarks Summit: Phyllis Hopkins Trio
Karl Hall, 57B N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: Worst Ones, Girls Galore, Das Black Milk and Down To Six
The Keys, 244 Penn Ave., Scranton: Failed Action Figures, a Comedy Show
Kildare’s, 119 Jefferson Ave., Scranton: Donnybrook Irish Band
Lucchi Family Wine Cellars, 134 N. Main Ave., Scranton: Dashboard Mary
Mendicino’s Pizza, Route 502, Covington Twp.: Fuzzy Park Duo
Molly O’Sheas at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: John Strasburger
Moxie Club, 80 Orchard St., Carbondale: FullCircle
OSE (Oak Street Express), 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor: Butch N the Kid
River Street Jazz Cafe, 665 N. River St., Plains Twp.: Subnotics
Thirst T’s Bar & Grill, 120 Lincoln St., Olyphant: 2nd Gear and Rick Gillette
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Militia
Wise Crackers Comedy Club at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Joe DeVito with Mike Gaffney and Teri Grenahan

Saturday, May 26
279 Bar & Grill, 279 S. River St., Wilkes-Barre: David Cupano
Ale Mary’s at the Bittenbender, 126 Franklin Ave., Scranton: Black Tie Stereo
Augustine’s Club 17, 518 N. Main St., Old Forge: Paul LaQuintano
Bar Louie at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Area 52
Bartolai Winery, Route 92 and Coolidge Avenue, Falls: Crimson Tears and Black Fawn Forest
Breakers at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Jason Dumm Band
Cooper’s Seafood House, 701 N. Washington Ave., Scranton: Q-Ball
Grotto Pizza/Grand Slam Sports Bar, RR 415, Harveys Lake: Strawberry Jam
Hog’s Hollow Saloon, 1459 State Route 93, Berwick: Brickyard Road
Mendicino’s Pizza, Route 502, Covington Twp.: Last Call Duo
Molly O’Sheas at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Nick Michels
OSE (Oak Street Express), 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor: Renora Code and DJ Famous
River Street Jazz Cafe, 665 N. River St., Plains Twp.: Escaper
Skytop Lodge, 1 Skytop Lodge Road, Skytop: Doug Smith Orchestra
Streamside Bandstand at the Woodlands, 1073 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Dimensions featuring Valarie Adams
Thirst T’s Bar & Grill, 120 Lincoln St., Olyphant: Nothing to Next — Breaking Benjamin tribute
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Nowhere Slow
Wise Crackers Comedy Club at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Joe DeVito with Mike Gaffney and Teri Grenahan

Sunday, May 27
Grotto Pizza/Grand Slam Sports Bar, RR 415, Harveys Lake: Rice Crew
Heat Bar & Nightclub, 69-71 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: Not Yo Granny’s Bingo
Irish Wolf Pub, 503 Linden St., Scranton: American Opera and Will Wood
R & J’s Wild Rover Pub, 1315 Hamlin Highway, Lake Ariel: Marilyn Kennedy

Monday, May 28
Duffy’s Coffee House, 306 S. State St., Clarks Summit: Open jam session

Tuesday, May 29
Augustine’s Club 17, 518 N. Main St., Old Forge: Open mic with Greg Preate

Wednesday, May 30
Augustine’s Club 17, 518 N. Main St., Old Forge: Karaoke with Tiffany
BADS, 415 Main St., Luzerne: Open mic night
Ole Tyme Charley’s Restaurant & Pub, 31 S. River St., Plains Twp.: Karaoke
OSE (Oak Street Express), 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor: Karaoke with DJ Edwin Velez
Pour Boys Bar, 932 Wyoming Ave., Scranton: Village Idiots
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Bryan Brophy

Concerts – May 24, 2018

Concerts – May 24, 2018

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
Dustin Douglas & the Electric Gentlemen, Saturday, June 2
Joe Nardone presents the Ultimate Doo Wop and Rock Show, Saturday, June 9
Alison Krauss, Sunday, June 10
Dave Hause, Sunday, June 17
Peter Frampton, Monday, June 18
Summer Smash, Tuesday, June 19
Quiet Riot, the Sweet & House of Lords, Friday, June 29
Dion, Friday, July 27
Yanni, Tuesday, July 31
Blues Traveler, Wednesday, Aug. 1

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
I Love the ’90s Tour with Salt N Pepa, Saturday, May 26 (Outdoor Summer Stage)
Dai Nhac Hoi Da Vu Memorial Day, Sunday, May 27 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Earth, Wind and Fire, Saturday, June 2
(Outdoor Summer Stage)
Third Eye Blind, Friday, June 8 (Outdoor Summer Stage)
Summer Sunsplash featuring Matisyahu, Friday, June 15 (Get Wet Ultra Pool Stage)
William Demeo Gotti Release Party, Saturday, June 16 (Wet Nightclub)
DJ Pauly D, Saturday, June 23 (Wet Nightclub)
Andrew Dice Clay, Friday, June 29 (Outdoor Summer Stage)
Vic Latino’s Free Live, Saturday, June 30 (Outdoor Summer Stage)
August Alsina, Saturday, July 7 (Wet Nightclub)

Peoples Security Bank Theater at Lackawanna College
Tickets: 570-955-1490
The Cameos, Saturday, June 16

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
The Machine performs Pink Floyd, Friday, June 1
Satisfaction, Saturday, June 1
Mark Wills, Friday, June 15
Trace Adkins, Friday, June 22
Nightwind, Saturday, June 23
The Robert Cray Band, Sunday, June 24
Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo, Thursday, June 28
Canned Heat, Friday, June 29
Craig Thatcher Band, Thursday, July 5
#yes50: Celebrating 50 Years of Yes, Friday, July 6

River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp.
Tickets: 570-822-2992
Subnotics, Friday, May 25
Escaper, Saturday, May 26
Start Making Sense, Friday, June 1
Elephants Dancing and Fake Fight, Saturday, June 2
Marbin, Friday, June 8
Bumpin Uglies with Jordan Ramirez, Saturday, June 9
The Toasters, Ladrones, Sgt. Scagnetti, Disposable and BunchAJerks, Saturday, June 16
Serne Green & Fireside Collective, Sunday, June 17
Catullus, Friday, June 22
Professor Louie & the Crowmatix with Miz — performing the music of the Band, Saturday, June 23

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
I Love the ’90s, Saturday, May 26
Earth, Wind & Fire, Saturday, June 2
Open mic featuring Simply Living, Sunday, June 3
Manchester Orchestra, Tuesday, June 5
Third Eye Blind, Friday, June 8
Underground Culture Vol. 2, Friday, June 8
Open mic featuring TV Dinner, Sunday, June 10
Geogg Tate’s 30th Anniversary of Operations: Mindcrime, Thursday, June 14
Lake Street Dive, Tuesday, June 19
Grand Khai, Friday, June 22

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
Lillie Mae, Thursday, May 24
Apocalyptica, Thursday, May 24
Daryl Hall & John Oates, Friday, May 25
Afk X Svdden Death, Saturday, May 26
Leikeli47, Sunday, May 27
EMO Night Brooklyn, Friday, June 1
The Little Mermen, Saturday, June 2
Anthony Jeselnik: Funny Games, Sunday, June 3
Sam Tsui, Tuesday, June 5
Smallpools and Great Good Fine Ok, Wednesday, June 6
The Glitch Mob, Wednesday, June 6
Too Many Zooz, Friday, June 8

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
Summerland Tour, Thursday, May 31
Old Crow Medicine Show, Tuesday, July 24
Sleep, Wednesday, July 25
This Is Hardcore Fest, Friday, July 27, through Sunday, July 29
Glassjaw and Quicksand, Wednesday, Aug. 1
Beres Hammond, Saturday, Aug. 4

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Tickets: 800-298-4200
Justin Timberlake, Saturday, June 2
Depeche Mode, Sunday, June 3
Def Leppard, Monday, June 11
U2, Wednesday, June 13, and Thursday, June 14
Harry Styles, Friday, June 15
Paul Simon, Saturday, June 16
Sam Smith, Wednesday, July 4
Shania Twain, Thursday, July 12
Panic! At the Disco, Friday, July 27
The Smashing Pumpkins, Saturday, July 28

Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tickets: 212-307-7171
Billy Joel, Saturday, June 2
Wisin & Yandel, Friday, June 8
Luis Miguel, Saturday, June 9
Def Leppard and Journey, Wednesday, June 13
Daryl Hall & John Oates and Train, Thursday, June 14
Anthony Santos, Saturday, June 16
Imagine Dragons, Tuesday, June 19
Thirty Seconds to Mars, Wednesday, June 20
Harry Styles, Thursday, June 21, and Friday, June 22
U2, Monday, June 25

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
Phillip Phillips, Thursday, June 7
Third Day, Saturday, June 9
Kryptonite Tour with John Bevere and Bethel Music, Friday, June 15
The Monkees present the Mike and Micky Show, Friday, June 22
The Ultimate Doo-Wop Show, Saturday, June 23
Seal, Tuesday, June 26
Erasure, Friday, July 13, through Sunday, July 15
Dickey Betts with Marshall Tucker Band, Devon Allman featuring Duane Betts,
Wednesday, July 18
Punch Brothers with Madison Cunningham, Saturday, July 28
Alice Cooper, Thursday, Sept. 6

SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Tickets: 610-332-1300
Philadelphia Funk Authority 20th Anniversary Celebration Concert, Friday, May 25
Almost Queen, Saturday, June 2
Bria Skonberg, Wednesday, June 6
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Thursday, June 7
Jenny Lewis, Wednesday, June 13
M. Ward, Friday, June 15
Gordon Lightfoot, Wednesday, June 20
Nick Lowe with Los Straitjackets, Tuesday, June 26
Langhorne Slim and the Lost at Last Band, Friday, June 29
Craig Thatcher Band, Saturday, June 30
Eaglemania, Saturday, July 7

Mercy Gang honors past member in latest album

Mercy Gang honors past member in latest album

Mercy Gang entered the local music scene in 2012 with a hip-hop and mash-up style.
Since then, the group has released two albums and plans to work on a third this fall. It plans to perform at the Electric City Music Conference, set for Thursday, Sept. 13, to Saturday, Sept. 15. More dates for shows in Pennsylvania, New York and Canada will be announced.
Mercy Gang emcee Jermaine Kroon recently went On the Record about the group’s performances and its first album without Mario Lozada, aka Hefty Metal, who died in 2015.

Q: How did Mercy Gang form?
A: Mercy Gang started from a collaboration on a song between Maine the Medicine, former member Sway and the late Hefty Metal. Paulie Bagz joined the group shortly after, while DJ Merc would later join Mercy Gang in 2014 after doing a show with us.

Q: Where does the name Mercy Gang come from?
A: The proposed name was “The Mercenaries.” We didn’t really care for it, so we started saying Mercy Gang for short.

Q: What does a typical Mercy Gang show look and sound like?
A: A Mercy Gang show is very energetic and in-your-face. We love to engage with the crowd. We often do a mash-up with the band Clever Clever. The crowd really enjoys it. One of our big hits with crowds is our version of the classic song “My Girl,” which we call “Your Girl.” “Your Girl” is featured on our bonus mixtape, “Brothers Keeper,” with guest vocals from Nowhere Slow on the chorus.

Q: What do you hope audiences experience at your shows?
A: We want them to experience our passion for the music and the love and appreciation we have for our fans. We really want to leave it all on the stage, microphones smoking.

Q: Tell us about your newest album, “M.E.R.C.Y.,” that came out in September.
A: “M.E.R.C.Y” stands for “murder every rapper coming at you.” Hip-hop is a very competitive sport, so we wanted to welcome all challengers, all in the name of fun. Working on this album was very emotional. This was the first album we worked on without our former group member Hefty Metal, who passed away on Sept. 11, 2015. We got back in the studio not only to honor our brother Hefty but also to begin the healing process. “M.E.R.C.Y.” was released on Sept. 9, 2017, in remembrance of Hefty. Hefty would definitely want us to keep banging out music, so we put all our blood, sweat and tears into this project. We have two unreleased tracks by Hefty on the album that are amazing. The album includes features from Jay Preston of Esta Coda, Ed Cuozzo of University Drive, Lambo Lo of Animal Planit (and) Aaron Ferranti, formerly of Clever Clever. The music is produced by JL Studios, Holla Da Scholar, U.G. and many more. All records are mixed, mastered and recorded by JL Studios in Olyphant.

—Brooke Williams

Concerts – May 17, 2018

Concerts – May 17, 2018

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
Montgomery Gentry, Friday, May 18
Guitars and Stars, Tuesday, May 22
Dustin Douglas & the Electric Gentlemen, Saturday, June 2
Joe Nardone presents the Ultimate Doo Wop and Rock Show, Saturday, June 9
Alison Krauss, Sunday, June 10
Dave Hause, Sunday, June 17
Peter Frampton, Monday, June 18
Summer Smash, Tuesday, June 19
Quiet Riot, the Sweet & House of Lords, Friday, June 29
Dion, Friday, July 27

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
I Love the ’90s Tour with Salt N Pepa, Saturday, May 26 (Outdoor Summer Stage)
Dai Nhac Hoi Da Vu Memorial Day, Sunday, May 27 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Earth, Wind and Fire, Saturday, June 2 (Outdoor Summer Stage)
Third Eye Blind, Friday, June 8 (Summer Outdoor Stage)
Summer Sunsplash featuring Matisyahu, Friday, June 15 (Get Wet Ultra Pool Stage)
William Demeo Gotti Release Party, Saturday, June 16 (Wet Nightclub)
DJ Pauly D, Saturday, June 23 (Wet Nightclub)
Andrew Dice Clay, Friday, June 29
Vic Latino’s Freestyle Live, Saturday, June 30
Lee Brice, Friday, June 20

Peoples Security Bank Theater at Lackawanna College
Tickets: 570-955-1490
The Cameos, Saturday, June 16

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives, Friday, May 18
Dark Star Orchestra, Saturday, May 19
Michael McDonald, Sunday, May 20
The Machine performs Pink Floyd, Friday, June 1
Satisfaction, Saturday, June 1
Mark Wills, Friday, June 15
Trace Adkins, Friday, June 22
The Robert Cray Band, Sunday, June 24
Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Thursday, June 28
Canned Heat, Friday, June 29

River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp.
Tickets: 570-822-2992
The Dishonest Fiddlers with Clarence Spady, Friday, May 18
Dean Ford and the Beautiful Ones — Prince tribute, Saturday, May 19
Subnotics, Friday, May 25
Escaper, Saturday, May 26
Start Making Sense, Friday, June 1
Elephants Dancing and Fake Fight, Saturday, June 2
Marbin, Friday, June 8
Bumpin Uglies with Jordan Ramirez, Saturday, June 9
The Toasters, Ladrones, Sgt. Scagnetti, Disposable and BunchAJerks, Saturday, June 16
Serene Green and Fireside Collective, Sunday, June 17

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
Bullet for My Valentine, Friday, May 18
Blue October, Saturday, May 19
The Everly Brothers Experience, Sunday, May 20
Manchester Orchestra, Tuesday, June 5
Third Eye Blind, Friday, June 8
Echoes: The American Pink Floyd, Saturday, June 23
#Freestyle Live, Saturday, June 30
Huey Lewis and the News, Saturday, July 14
Andrew Dice Clay, Friday, June 29
Cedar Green, Friday, June 29

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
Elvana, Thursday, May 17
Bokante, Friday, May 18
Lawrence, Sunday, May 20
Jake Miller, Monday, May 21
Mainland, Tuesday, May 22
Flatbush Zombies, Tuesday, May 22
Tool Music Clinic, Wednesday, May 23
COZZ, Wednesday, May 23
Lillie Mae, Thursday, May 24
Apocalyptica, Thursday, May 24

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
New Found Glory, Wednesday, May 23
Summerland Tour, Thursday, May 31
Old Crow Medicine Show, Tuesday, July 24
Sleep, Wednesday, July 25
This Is Hardcore Fest, Friday, July 27 through Sunday, July 29
Glassjaw and Quicksand, Wednesday, Aug. 1
Beres Hammond, Saturday, Aug. 4
ZHU, Tuesday, Sept. 25
Lost ’80s Live, Saturday, Sept. 29
Ja Rule, Friday, Oct. 12
Kamasi Washington, Friday, Nov. 9

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Tickets: 800-298-4200
Justin Timberlake, Saturday, June 2
Depeche Mode, Sunday, June 3
Def Leppard, Monday, June 11
U2, Wednesday, June 13, and Thursday, June 14
Harry Styles, Friday, June 15
Paul Simon, Saturday, June 16
Sam Smith, Wednesday, July 4
Shania Twain, Thursday, July 12
Panic! At the Disco, Friday, July 27
The Smashing Pumpkins, Saturday, July 28

Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tickets: 212-307-7171
Billy Joel, Wednesday, May 23, and Saturday, June 2
Wisin & Yandel, Friday, June 8
Luis Miguel, Saturday, June 9
Def Leppard and Journey, Wednesday, June 13
Daryl Hall & John Oates and Train, Thursday, June 14
Imagine Dragons, Tuesday, June 19
Thirty Seconds to Mars, Wednesday, June 20
Harry Styles, Thursday, June 21, and Friday, June 22
U2, Monday, June 25, and Tuesday, June 26
Sam Smith, Friday, June 29, and Saturday, June 30
Radiohead, Tuesday, July 10

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
Jackson Browne, Thursday, May 17, and Friday, May 18
Phillip Phillips, Thursday, June 7
Third Day, Saturday, June 9
Kryptonite Tour with John Bevere and Bethel Music, Friday, June 15
The Monkees present the Mike and Micky Show, Friday, June 22
The Ultimate Doo-Wop Show, Saturday, June 23
Seal, Tuesday, June 26
Erasure, Friday, July 13, and Saturday, July 14
Dickey Betts with Marshall Tucker Band and Devon Allman featuring Duane Betts, Wednesday, July 18
Punch Brothers with Madison Cunningham, Saturday, July 28

SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Tickets: 610-332-1300
Renaissance, Thursday, May 17
Mingo Fishtrap, Thursday, May 17
Spyro Gyra, Wednesday, May 23
Philadelphia Funk Authority 20th Anniversary Celebration Concert, Friday, May 25
Almost Queen, Saturday, June 2
Bria Skonberg, Wednesday, June 6
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Thursday, June 7
Jenny Lewis, Wednesday, June 13

Sounds – May 17, 2018

Sounds – May 17, 2018

THE GO! TEAM — ‘Semicircle’
THE GOOD: British indie pop collective Go Team, still led by the deft hand of Ian Parton, comes back with a boisterous, frolicking ’60s throwback for its fifth.
THE BAD: “Semicircle” sounds semi-familiar, the record a slight retread of earlier works “Thunder Lightning Strike” (2004) and “Proof of Youth” (2007). But hey, we loved those albums, so no real harm done.
THE NTTY GRITTY: Once again, Parton combines elements of garage rock and hip-hop, further enhancing both genres with a myriad of wobbly early ’70s samples, cheerleading squads, marching bands and super-syrupy pop hooks. This entire album is INSANELY CATCHY, finding its power within sing-song melodies across the top and thick, layered beats below.
Tune in and you’ll find yourself immediately under the spell of songs such as the fierce, stomping opener “Mayday” and the gorgeous sunshine popper “The Answer Is No, Now What’s The Question.” Whatever the extreme, Parton makes sure each track gets securely lodged in your grey matter upon contact. I see you smiling already.
BUY IT?: Definitely.

LANE 8 — ‘Little by Little’
THE GOOD: American DJ/producer/electronic artist Daniel Goldstein (stage name Lane 8) self-releases his hypnotic second full-length album.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Opening track “Daya” slowly builds, with its multi-layered beats growing more intense as the minutes pass. Right from the very beginning, Lane 8 has you hooked. “Little by Little” is an immersion album. For the better part of an hour, the record possesses an amazing, pulsating and undulating flow that never lets go.
All the tracks hail from the same place, but each has its own unique spin or personality. Despite similarities running throughout the grooves, the entire work never feels stuck on “repeat.” Whether it comes with a familiar voice handling a lead vocal (Polica guides “No Captain” while Patrick Baker punches up “Skin & Bones”) or stands on its own instrumentally (the echoing “Atlas” or the forceful yet graceful title track), each song lifts body and soul to a higher plane altogether. Get lost and get revitalized.
BUY IT?: Yes.

KIMBRA — ‘Primal Heart’
THE GOOD: New Zealand singer/songwriter Kimbra Lee Johnson (just “Kimbra” to you and me) releases her third.
THE BAD: As far as electronic pop albums go, “Primal Heart” is somewhat formulaic, but nothing here is outright bad or disagreeable.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Other than the 2011 Gotye collaboration “Somebody That I Used to Know,” massive chart success has eluded the singer here in the states. Perhaps she’s a victim of that old marketing conundrum — too weird for the mainstream, too straight for the underground, perpetually stuck between two disparate worlds.
“Primal Heart” won’t change that. However, the record has enough rock-solid moments and subtle R&B flavors to make it worthy of your attention. Whether it’s the tribal stomp carrying “Top of the World” or the sheer pop brilliance emanating from “Like They Do on the TV,” Kimbra drives the beats and melodies directly home, with our overall satisfaction immediately imminent. The good vibes more than make up for any lack of innovation.
BUY IT?: Sure.

Concerts – May 10, 2018

Concerts – May 10, 2018

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
Ani DiFranco, Friday, May 11
The New York Bee Gees, Saturday, May 12
Montgomery Gentry, Friday, May 18
Guitars and Stars, Tuesday, May 22
Dustin Douglas & the Electric Gentlemen, Saturday, June 2
Joe Nardone presents the Ultimate Doo Wop and Rock Show, Saturday, June 9
Alison Krauss, Sunday, June 10
Dave Hause, Sunday, June 17
Peter Frampton, Monday, June 18
Summer Smash, Tuesday, June 19

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
Fabolous, Saturday, May 12 (Wet Nightclub)
I Love the ’90s Tour with Salt N Pepa, Saturday, May 26 (Outdoor Summer Stage)
Dai Nhac Hoi Da Vu Memorial Day, Sunday, May 27 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Earth, Wind and Fire, Saturday, June 2
(Outdoor Summer Stage)
Third Eye Blind, Friday, June 8 (Summer Outdoor Stage)
Summer Sunsplash featuring Matisyahu, Friday, June 15 (Get Wet Ultra Pool Stage)
William Demeo Gotti Release Party, Saturday, June 16 (Wet Nightclub)
DJ Pauly D, Saturday, June 23 (Wet Nightclub)
Andrew Dice Clay, Friday, June 29

Peoples Security Bank Theater at Lackawanna College
Tickets: 570-955-1490
The Cameos, Saturday, June 16

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
Sinatra: Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back, starring Tony Sands & the Comedy of Bob Goss, Thursday, May 10
Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives, Friday, May 18
Dark Star Orchestra, Saturday, May 19
Michael McDonald, Sunday, May 20
The Machine performs Pink Floyd, Friday, June 1
Satisfaction, Saturday, June 1
Mark Wills, Friday, June 15
Trace Adkins, Friday, June 22
The Robert Cray Band, Sunday, June 24
Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Thursday, June 28

River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp.
Tickets: 570-822-2992
Starman, Friday, May 11
Dustin Douglas and the Electric Gentleman present the Stevie Ray Vaughn Retrospective, Saturday, May 12
The Dishonest Fiddlers with Clarence Spady, Friday, May 18
Dean Ford and the Beautiful Ones — Prince tribute, Saturday, May 19
Subnotics, Friday, May 25
Escaper, Saturday, May 26
Start Making Sense, Friday, June 1
Elephants Dancing and Fake Fight, Saturday, June 2
Marbin, Friday, June 8
Bumpin Uglies with Jordan Ramirez, Saturday, June 9

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
Eaglemania, Saturday, May 12
Open Mic Night featuring Wilbium, Sunday, May 13
Bullet for My Valentine, Friday, May 18
Blue October, Saturday, May 19
The Everly Brothers Experience, Sunday, May 20
Manchester Orchestra, Tuesday, June 5
Third Eye Blind, Friday, June 8
Echoes: The American Pink Floyd, Saturday, June 23
#Freestyle Live, Saturday, June 30
Huey Lewis and the News, Saturday, July 14

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
Saint Jhn, Thursday, May 10
Lake Street Dive, Saturday, May 12
Mo Lowda and the Humble, Saturday, May 12
Madison Beer, Wednesday, May 16
Elvana, Thursday, May 17
Bokante, Friday, May 18
Lawrence, Sunday, May 20
Jake Miller, Monday, May 21
Mainland, Tuesday, May 22
Flatbush Zombies, Tuesday, May 22

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
Greta Van Fleet, Saturday, May 12
Sum 41, Monday, May 14
New Found Glory, Wednesday, May 23
Old Crow Medicine Show, Tuesday, July 24
Sleep, Wednesday, July 25
This Is Hardcore Fest, Friday, July 27
Glassjaw and Quicksand, Wednesday, Aug. 1

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Tickets: 800-298-4200
Justin Timberlake, Saturday, June 2
Depeche Mode, Sunday, June 3
Def Leppard, Monday, June 11
U2, Wednesday, June 13, and Thursday, June 14
Harry Styles, Friday, June 15
Paul Simon, Saturday, June 16
Sam Smith, Wednesday, July 4
Shania Twain, Thursday, July 12
Panic! At the Disco, Friday, July 27

Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tickets: 212-307-7171
Bon Jovi, Thursday, May 10
Billy Joel, Wednesday, May 23, and Saturday, June 2
Wisin & Yandel, Friday, June 8
Luis Miguel, Saturday, June 9
Def Leppard and Journey, Wednesday, June 13
Daryl Hall & John Oates and Train, Thursday, June 14
Imagine Dragons, Tuesday, June 19
Thirty Seconds to Mars, Wednesday, June 20
Harry Styles, Thursday, June 21, and Friday, June 22
U2, Monday, June 25, and Tuesday, June 26

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
Jackson Browne, Thursday, May 17, and Friday, May 18
Phillip Phillips, Thursday, June 7
Third Day, Saturday, June 9
Kryptonite Tour with John Bevere and Bethel Music, Friday, June 15
The Monkees present the Mike and Micky Show, Friday, June 22
The Ultimate Doo-Wop Show, Saturday, June 23
Seal, Tuesday, June 26
Erasure, Friday, July 13, and Saturday, July 14

SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Tickets: 610-332-1300
Carbon Lead, Thursday, May 10
Simone on Simone: Lisa Simone with the Rob Stoneback Big, Sunday, May 13
Renaissance, Thursday, May 17
Mingo Fishtrap, Thursday, May 17
Spyro Gyra, Wednesday, May 23
Philadelphia Funk Authority 20th Anniversary Celebration Concert, Friday, May 25
Almost Queen, Saturday, June 2
Bria Skonberg, Wednesday, June 6
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Thursday, June 7
Jenny Lewis, Wednesday, June 13

Sounds – May 10, 2018

Sounds – May 10, 2018

TOP OF THE (OTHER) POPS THE FRATELLIS — ‘In Your Own Sweet Time’
THE GOOD: Scottish indie pop/rock outfit the Fratellis releases its fifth.
THE BAD: Here in the United States, these guys had two massive indie hits — “Flathead” and “Chelsea Dagger.” But that was over 10 years and four albums ago. Since its sophomore effort, 2008’s “Here We Stand,” we’ve pretty much ignored the band. That’s a shame.
THE NITTY GRITTY: While any Fratellis album won’t change the world, each has its share of damn-near irresistible guitar-driven pop songs. “Sweet Time” follows this tradition. Big hooks riding rock-solid arrangements litter the record.
Then somewhere around the middle, matters get practically majestic. The one-two punch of “I’ve Been Blind” and “Laughing Gas” finds choruses soaring into the stratosphere as six-strings ring out with copious amounts of cathartic melancholy. Simply divine.
But nothing on “Sweet Time” outright drags; the momentum barely diminishes until closing epic “I Am That.” Sometimes you need to sacrifice a little progression for that big, goofy smile on your face.
BUY IT?: Yep.

FRANZ FERDINAND — ‘Always Ascending’
THE GOOD: Scottish indie rockers Franz Ferdinand come back with their fifth (sixth if you count one-off Sparks collaboration FFS) and their first without guitarist Nick McCarthy.
THE BAD: Despite some new blood in the band (keyboardist/guitarist Julian Corrie), FF seems stuck on repeat. Depending on your expectations, that might not be a bad thing.
THE NITTY GRITTY: When they’re up, the boys crank out highly danceable rock tracks built on solid rhythms, jagged riffs and big melodies. When they’re down, the music gets moody (in a good way) as frontman Alex Kapranos holds back ever so slightly and goes all smooth on us.
On “Ascending,” we get the usual jumpy stuff, such as the instantly gratifying title cut and the silly, flirtatious “Glimpse of Love.” Yet there’s something to be said for the darker bits, especially melodramatic closer “Slow Don’t Kill Me Slow.” It’s during these quieter moments that a gentler yet equally compelling (and often overlooked) side of the band shines on brightly.
BUY IT?: Sure.

THE WOMBATS — ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’
THE GOOD: British alt-rockers the Wombats give us a nondescript fourth.
THE BAD: Meh…
THE NITTY GRITTY: On its 2007 debut, “A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation,” the Wombats made hyper anthems built on big melodies, sarcastic wit and punk attitudes. Then the band got slick — and somewhat dull. And as it got further away from that blistering debut, the music grew more forgettable.
“Beautiful People” continues to drive home the point that this is a catalog of diminishing returns; it’s not a BAD album per se, but not a very distinct one either. Tracks such as “Cheetah Tongue” and “Out of My Head” bring on the tight beats, sharp riffs and cool melodies. But that’s not enough to distinguish the boys from a host of other somewhat snappy but interchangeable acts (Kooks, Two Door Cinema Club, Foals, etc.).
Adjust your expectations accordingly, and “Beautiful People” still gets the job done. But will we get another dose of the same circa 2021? Probably.
BUY IT?: Your call.

Concerts – May 3, 2018

Concerts – May 3, 2018

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
Criss Angel Raw, Wednesday, May 2
Miranda Sings, Saturday, May 5
Art Garfunkel, Tuesday, May 8
Ani DiFranco, Friday, May 11
The New York Bee Gees, Saturday, May 12
Montgomery Gentry, Friday, May 18
Guitars and Stars, Tuesday, May 22
Joe Nardone presents the Ultimate Doo Wop and Rock Show, Saturday, June 9

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
Jessica Kirson, Saturday, May 5 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
I Love the ’90s Tour with Salt N Pepa, Saturday, May 26 (Outdoor Summer Stage)
Dai Nhac Hoi Da Vu Memorial Day, Sunday, May 27 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Earth, Wind and Fire, Saturday, June 2
(Outdoor Summer Stage)
Third Eye Blind, Friday, June 8 (Summer Outdoor Stage)
DJ Pauly D, Saturday, June 23 (Wet Nightclub)
Vic Latino’s Freestyle Live, Saturday, June 30 (Outdoor Summer Stage)
Huey Lewis and the News, Saturday, July 14 (Outdoor Summer Stage)
Lee Brice, Friday, July 20 (Outdoor Summer Stage)

Peoples Security Bank Theater at Lackawanna College
Tickets: 570-955-1490
The Cameos, Saturday, June 16

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
Get the Led Out, Friday, May 4
The Mavericks, Saturday, May 5
Queensryche, Sunday, May 6
Eric Kearns, Tuesday, May 8
Sinatra: Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back, starring Tony Sands & the comedy of Bob Goss, Wednesday, May 9, and Thursday, May 10
Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives, Friday, May 18
Dark Star Orchestra, Saturday, May 19
Michael McDonald, Sunday, May 20
The Machine performs Pink Floyd, Friday, June 1
Satisfaction, Saturday, June 1

River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp.
Tickets: 570-822-2992
Of Good Nature, Thursday, May 3
Clarence Spady Band, Friday, May 4
MiZ, Saturday, May 5
Starman, Friday, May 11
Dustin Douglas and the Electric Gentleman present the Stevie Ray Vaughn Retrospective, Saturday, May 12
The Dishonest Fiddlers with Clarence Spady, Friday, May 18
Dean Ford and the Beautiful Ones —
Prince tribute, Saturday, May 19
Subnotics, Friday, May 25

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
The Used, Friday, May 4
’70s Flashback — Make-A-Wish of Greater Pennsylvania benefit, Saturday, May 5
Stone Sour, Sunday, May 6
Stone Temple Pilots, Tuesday, May 8
Eaglemania, Saturday, May 12
Open Mic Night featuring Wilbium, Sunday, May 13
Bullet for My Valentine, Friday, May 18
Allen Daniel, Saturday, May 19

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
Company of Thieves, Thursday, May 3
Mir Fontane presents More Macaroni, Friday, May 4
Craig Wedren, Monday, May 7
Iron Maidens with Live Evil, Wednesday, May 9
Saint Jhn, Thursday, May 10
Lake Street Dive, Saturday, May 12
Mo Lowda and the Humble, Saturday, May 12
Madison Beer, Wednesday, May 16
Elvana, Thurday, May 17
Bokante, Friday, May 18

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
Greta Van Fleet, Saturday, May 12
Sum 41, Monday, May 14
New Found Glory, Wednesday, May 23
Old Crow Medicine Show, Tuesday, July 24
Sleep, Wednesday, July 25
This Is Hardcore Fest, Friday, July 27
Glassjaw and Quicksand, Wednesday, Aug. 1

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Tickets: 800-298-4200
Bon Jovi, Thursday, May 3
Justin Timberlake, Saturday, June 2
Depeche Mode, Sunday, June 3
Def Leppard, Monday, June 11
U2, Wednesday, June 13, and Thursday, June 14
Harry Styles, Friday, June 15
Paul Simon, Saturday, June 16
Sam Smith, Wednesday, July 4
Shania Twain, Thursday, July 12
Panic! At the Disco, Friday, July 27

Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tickets: 212-307-7171
Bon Jovi, Wednesday, May 9, and Thursday, May 10
Billy Joel, Wednesday, May 23, and Saturday, June 2
Wisin & Yandel, Friday, June 8
Luis Miguel, Saturday, June 9
Def Leppard and Journey, Wednesday, June 13
Daryl Hall & John Oates and Train, Thursday, June 14
Imagine Dragons, Tuesday, June 19
Thirty Seconds to Mars, Wednesday, June 20
Harry Styles, Thursday, June 21, and Friday, June 22
U2, Monday, June 25, and Tuesday, June 26

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
Lord Huron, Thursday, May 3
Steve Martin and Martin Short, Friday, May 4, and Saturday, May 5
Jackson Browne, Thursday, May 17, and Friday, May 18
Third Day, Saturday, June 9
Kryptonite Tour with John Bevere and Bethel Music, Friday, June 15
The Monkees present the Mike and Micky Show, Friday, June 22

SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Tickets: 610-332-1300
Carbon Lead, Thursday, May 10
Simone on Simone: Lisa Simone with the Rob Stoneback Big, Sunday, May 13
Renaissance, Thursday, May 17
Mingo Fishtrap, Thursday, May 17
Spyro Gyra, Wednesday, May 23
Philadelphia Funk Authority 20th Anniversary Celebration Concert, Friday, May 25
Almost Queen, Saturday, June 2
Bria Skonberg, Wednesday, June 6
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Thursday, June 7

Sounds – May 3, 2018

Sounds – May 3, 2018

MAKING GLORIOUS MESSES NO AGE – ‘Snares Like A Haircut’
THE GOOD: L.A. noise/punk duo No Age (drummer/vocalist Dean Allen Spunt and guitarist Randy Randall) comes back after a half-decade away with its fourth full-length (and first since leaving Sub Pop for Drag City).
THE BAD: No gripes.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Expect a bit of everything this time. One could classify “Haircut” as a loud straight-up indie set, but it’s much more multi-dimensional. The ripping “Cruise Control” kicks things off with a tuneful explosion. From there, we plow through the harsh blues of “Send Me,” the loopy instrumental psychedelics forming the title track, and the catchy stomping grunge throwback “Tidal.”
Further twists and turns include the feedback symphony “Third Grade Rave” and the tawdry D.I.Y. electronics carrying “Squashed.” You often forget there are only two guys behind this brew that’s both abrasive and vulnerable (often at the same time). No Age sticks to loud territories, yet its naked emotions always bubble to the surface. It can penetrate a wall of sound with a feather.
BUY IT?: Yep.

DJANGO DJANGO – ‘Marble Skies’ 
THE GOOD: British indie pop outfit Django Django gives us a precious third.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: These guys have always smashed together a bevy of influences transcending all decades – psychedelic ’60s, funky ’70s, synth-soaked ’80s, underground ’90s – they’re all here. The trick is making all these different sounds actually WORK together. Django Django does that.
“Marble Skies” is its unabashed pop record. Sure, past indulgences remain intact. Only now, the familiar sounds are coated with big melodies, galloping rhythms and shiny guitar/synth duels that bring on the stinging riffs and engaging countermelodies.
The title track immediately sucks you in and from then on, all bets are off. Django Django has never been this much FUN before. However, “Marble Skies” is more than just a slick, disposable ear candy collection. Pull these tracks apart, and you’ll notice that the aforementioned complex meshing of eras hasn’t been abandoned. This band still believes in multi-faceted pleasures. Lucky us.
BUY IT?: OK

BORN RUFFIANS – ‘Uncle, Duke and the Chief’
THE GOOD: Canadian indie outfit Born Ruffians releases its fifth.
THE BAD: Same as it ever was … but is that bad?
THE NITTY GRITTY: If you liked the first four albums, you won’t find much to gripe about here … except maybe a 30-minute running time. Frontman/guitarist Luke Lalonde and his crew deliver another dose of rag-tag, catchy and slightly quirky indie rock. Hand-clappers such as “Fade to Black,” sloppy blues-tinged numbers such as “Side Tracked,” disposable stompers a la “Ring That Bell” – they all leave a mark and they all click.
“Uncle” is the type of record that sounds as if it were tossed off in a single afternoon. Then you play it a couple of times, peel back all the murky layers and slowly realize these songs are much more accomplished and smarter than the jagged first impressions. Be careful. Spin “Uncle” a few MORE times, and you might start looking forward to the NEXT Born Ruffians outing. That’s how they get ya!
BUY IT?: Sure … why not?

Sounds – April 26, 2018

Sounds – April 26, 2018

FEVER RAY — ‘Plunge’
THE GOOD: Swedish singer-songwriter and electronic artist Karin Dreijer (half of the Knife with her brother Olof) comes back with a long overdue (nine years) second solo album under the moniker Fever Ray.
THE BAD: Not here.
THE NITTY GRITTY: A lot has happened musically, culturally and politically since Ray’s eponymous debut in early 2009. Because of all that advancement, “Plunge” could have come off as immediately dated or behind the times. No worries — Dreijer has weathered every storm and kept up brilliantly.
“Plunge” is a triumph. Much more focused and tighter than the Knife’s work, the album is a buzzing, clicking, pulsating collection of electronic pop songs — GLORIOUSLY WEIRD AND SEDUCTIVE electronic pop songs. Lyrically half political and half in love (lust?), these tracks ride rhythms both pounding and fragile while the melodies across the top are either graceful or sing-song simple.
“Plunge” ends up a varied, unpredictable set where not one experiment comes up short. The almost decade-long wait was worth it.
BUY IT?: Yes.

PORCHES — ‘The House’ 
THE GOOD: Porches — essentially New York-based musician Aaron Maine and some rotating musicians — delves deeper into electronic pop on its third.
THE BAD: “The House” has its share of great songs but also succumbs to a fair amount of mini-tunes that feel unfinished (can you say “filler”?). You take the strong with the weak.
THE NITTY GRITTY: But when Maine truly focuses, the end results are stunning. Driven tracks such as the shimmering and slightly paranoid “Find Me” and the snappy yet delicate “Anymore” immediately pull you in with their seamless beats and confident melodies.
But just as the momentum builds, it also crashes sooner or later. Varying moods and tempos usually work. Here, however, they detract from the album’s overall clout. At times, “The House” comes off like a better-than-most B-sides collection instead of an accomplished, proper album.
Despite its shortcomings, though, the record is worth your time and still makes us hopeful for Porches’ future. We’ll gladly take more Maine somewhere down the line.
BUY IT?: Your decision.

MOBY — ‘Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt’
THE GOOD: DJ/producer/electronic artist Moby releases his 15th full-length album.
THE BAD: Sequencing?
THE NITTY GRITTY: “Nothing Hurt” gets off to such a strong start that you begin to think this may be the man’s best album since 1999 masterpiece “Play.” The multi-layered, sinister shuffle carrying epic opener “Mere Anarchy,” the angelic overtones coloring the seamless “The Waste of Suns,” the brooding funk pulling us into “Like a Motherless Child” — all of it is simply brilliant. Somewhere around track five or six, however, things begin to fizzle.
Once you hit its middle, “Nothing Hurt” becomes one mood, one tempo, one outlook — all of it pretty down and bleak. “The Sorrow Tree” ramps up slightly, but it’s not enough to keep the momentum from almost dying off completely. Moby’s not happy in Trump’s America; we get it. Without even the slightest change in tone or form, though, these trip-hop-flavored electronic pieces begin to bleed together, and some of the messages get lost.
BUY IT?: Your call.

Concerts – April 26, 2018

Concerts – April 26, 2018

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
Josh Wolf, Thursday, April 26
Nick Di Paolo, Saturday, April 28
Criss Angel Raw, Wednesday, May 2
Miranda Sings, Saturday, May 5
Art Garfunkel, Tuesday, May 8
Ani DiFranco, Friday, May 11
The New York Bee Gees, Saturday, May 12
Montgomery Gentry, Friday, May 18
Guitars and Stars, Tuesday, May 22
Joe Nardone presents the Ultimate Doo Wop and Rock Show, Saturday, June 9

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
DJ Pauly D, Saturday, April 28 (Wet Nightclub)
Jessica Kirson, Saturday, May 5 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
I Love the ’90s Tour with Salt N Pepa, Saturday, May 26 (Outdoor Summer Stage)
Dai Nhac Hoi Da Vu Memorial Day, Sunday, May 27 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Earth, Wind and Fire, Saturday, June 2
(Outdoor Summer Stage)
Third Eye Blind, Friday, June 8 (Summer Outdoor Stage)
DJ Pauly D, Saturday, June 23 (Wet Nightclub)
Vic Latino’s Freestyle Live, Saturday, June 30 (Outdoor Summer Stage)
Huey Lewis and the News, Saturday, July 14 (Outdoor Summer Stage)
Lee Brice, Friday, July 20 (Outdoor Summer Stage)

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
Next Best Thing Presents: Hollywood Nights, Friday, April 27
KIX with Autograph, Saturday, April 28
Branson Fever, Tuesday, May 1, through Thursday, May 3
Get the Led Out, Friday, May 4
The Mavericks, Saturday, May 5
Queensryche, Sunday, May 6
Eric Kearns, Tuesday, May 8
Sinatra: Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back, Starring Tony Sands & the Comedy of Bob Goss, Wednesday, May 9, and Thursday, May 10
Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives, Friday, May 18
Dark Star Orchestra, Saturday, May 19

River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp.
Tickets: 570-822-2992
Billy Strings with J.P. Biondo, Friday, April 27
7800 Fahrenheit, Saturday, April 28
Of Good Nature, Thursday, May 3
Clarence Spady Band, Friday, May 4
MiZ, Saturday, May 5
Starman, Friday, May 11
Dustin Douglas and the Electric Gentleman present the Stevie Ray Vaughn Retrospective, Saturday, May 12
The Dishonest Fiddler with Clarence Spady, Friday, May 18
Dean Ford and the Beautiful Ones — Prince tribute, Saturday, May 19
Subnotics, Friday, May 25

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
Dreams with Mountain Sky Orchestra, Saturday, April 28
Parkway Drive, Wednesday, May 2
The Used, Friday, May 4
’70s Flashback — Make-A-Wish of Greater Pennsylvania benefit, Saturday, May 5
Stone Sour, Sunday, May 6
Stone Temple Pilots, Tuesday, May 8
Eaglemania, Saturday, May 12
Open Mic Night featuring Wilbium, Sunday, May 13
Bullet for My Valentine, Friday, May 18
Allen Daniel, Saturday, May 19

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
The Residents, Tuesday, April 26
Assembly of Dust, Saturday, April 28
Jeremy Loops, Sunday, April 29
Zahsosaa and Gang, Tuesday, May 1
Camila Cabello, Tuesday, May 1
King Krule, Wednesday, May 2
Company of Thieves, Thursday, May 3
Mir Fontane presents More Macaroni, Friday, May 4
Craig Wedren, Monday, May 7
Alt Nation’s Advance Placement Tour, Tuesday, May 8

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
Minus the Bear, Saturday, April 28
Lord Huron, Tuesday, May 1
Greta Van Fleet, Saturday, May 12
Sum 41, Monday, May 14
New Found Glory, Wednesday, May 23
Old Crow Medicine Show, Tuesday, July 24
Sleep, Wednesday, July 25
This Is Hardcore Fest, Friday, July 27
Glassjaw and Quicksand, Wednesday, Aug. 1

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Tickets: 800-298-4200
Bon Jovi, Thursday, May 3
Justin Timberlake, Saturday, June 2
Depeche Mode, Sunday, June 3
Def Leppard, Monday, June 11
U2, Wednesday, June 13, and Thursday, June 14
Harry Styles, Friday, June 15
Paul Simon, Saturday, June 16
Sam Smith, Wednesday, July 4
Shania Twain, Thursday, July 12
Panic! At the Disco, Friday, July 27

Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tickets: 212-307-7171
Bon Jovi, Wednesday, May 9, and Thursday, May 10
Billy Joel, Wednesday, May 23, and Saturday, June 2
Wisin & Yandel, Friday, June 8
Luis Miguel, Saturday, June 9
Def Leppard and Journey, Wednesday, June 13
Daryl Hall & John Oates and Train, Thursday, June 14
Imagine Dragons, Tuesday, June 19
Thirty Seconds to Mars, Wednesday, June 20
Harry Styles, Thursday, June 21, and Friday, June 22
U2, Monday, June 25, and Tuesday, June 26

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
Dita Von Teese and the Copper Coupe Burlesque Revue, Tuesday, May 1
Lord Huron, Thursday, May 3
Steve Martin and Martin Short, Friday, May 4, and Saturday, May 5
Jackson Browne, Thursday, May 17, and Friday, May 18
Third Day, Saturday, June 9
Kryptonite Tour with John Bevere and Bethel Music, Friday, June 15
The Monkees present the Mike and Micky Show, Friday, June 22

SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Tickets: 610-332-1300
John Popper, Wednesday, May 2
Carbon Lead, Thursday, May 10
Simone on Simone: Lisa Simone with the Rob Stoneback Big, Sunday, May 13
Renaissance, Thursday, May 17
Mingo Fishtrap, Thursday, May 17
Spyro Gyra, Wednesday, May 23
Philadelphia Funk Authority 20th Anniversary Celebration Concert, Friday, May 25
Almost Queen, Saturday, June 2
Bria Skonberg, Wednesday, June 6
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Thursday, June 7

Show of talent PSU displays range of musical groups, styles with free performance

Show of talent PSU displays range of musical groups, styles with free performance

A free concert will show off Penn State Worthington Scranton’s growing music program and its wide range of musical styles this weekend.
Worthington Scranton Chorale, the Roc[k]tet show choir and Campus Jazz Band all will perform in the college’s annual spring concert Saturday, April 21, at 4 p.m. at the Theater at North, 1539 N. Main Ave., Scranton.
Sharon Ann Toman, director of music and assistant teaching professor in music, began holding the spring concerts a few years after she joined the staff in 2000. The groups performed on campus on many years, but as the years went on, the groups grew and so did the audiences for the shows. The campus auditorium can accommodate 200 people, and after the concert reached capacity two years ago, Toman knew they needed a new venue. They shifted to the Theater at North in 2017 and packed that, too, she said.

Toman

Toman has watched the groups grow since she arrived, with the chorus up to 40 members from just a dozen back then. The band, too, started small but has grown to about 20 to 25 members, she added. Some faculty and staff also sing in the chorus and play in band, which Toman called “nice because then faculty and students and staff can interact.”
“All of them have a love for music,” Toman said of her students. “They like to sing; they like to play. … I always say we work hard but we also laugh hard.
“The rehearsals are interesting. They’re light-hearted, and the students have a good time, and I think that’s important. And above everything else, while they’re having a good time, they’re learning.”
In Saturday’s four-part concert, audiences will hear the eight-member mixed show choir perform “How Far I’ll Go” from the Disney cartoon “Moana,” “Stand by Me” and “Forget You.” The chorale, a mixed chorus of about 40 voices, will perform a traditional spiritual, “Peace Like a River”; “Candle on the Water,” from “Pete’s Dragon”; Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” and Billy Joel’s “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me.”
“We do fun stuff. … And of course we always sing the Penn State alma mater,” Toman said.
The 25-piece campus jazz band, meanwhile, will play “everything and anything” from “Smoke on the Water” to the Blues Brothers, Toman said. 
“They play about seven songs, which is enough to show off their talents,” she added.
Under the direction of Deano Noto, Abington Heights Middle School’s eighth-grade chorus also will perform at the concert, continuing a tradition Worthington Scranton began three years ago when it invited a local school group to perform, too. The choir will perform two songs on its own and then join the college performers for a patriotic song.
People sometimes are surprised to hear Worthington Scranton has such a thriving music program, Toman said, “because when you think of music in higher-education places, you really think of Marywood (University) as well as the University of Scranton.” But her students can stand on level with those music students, she insisted.
“The unique spin on this is the fact that none of these students are music majors,” Toman said. “They could be science, they could be English, they could be business. They’re all from different majors. I don’t have music majors on campus. I’m a graduate (of) Marywood, (and my students) can keep up with the people from Marywood and the University of Scranton. I’m very blessed with a lot of talent here on campus.”

Old-school sound Record Store Day celebrates vinyl with specials, live music

Old-school sound Record Store Day celebrates vinyl with specials, live music

Eleven years ago, Joe Nardone Jr. participated along with fellow independent record store owners across the country in celebrating a special day for music lovers.
Today, hundreds of stores across the globe celebrate the annual Record Store Day, which takes place this Saturday, April 21. This record fanatic’s holiday always features special vinyl and CD releases, exclusive promotional products and in-store concerts in area stores.
Much like prior years, Nardone’s Gallery of Sound, 186 Mundy St., Wilkes-Barre, features several bands performing in-store starting at noon that day. For the first time, Dickson City’s Gallery of Sound also will host solo acoustic artists, beginning at 1 p.m.
Each year at Embassy Vinyl, 352 Adams Ave., Scranton, the store raffles off a turntable for customers who buy an item on Record Store Day. It also does T-shirt and bag giveaways.
“It’s a good day to come down to a store like mine, or any independent record store where you can come down, experience new live music you’ve never heard and find something you’ve never heard of, or something you’ve always been looking for,” Embassy Vinyl owner R.J. Harrington said. “It’s a good day to actually get from behind the curtain of digital media and just actually get down there and, especially in a store like mine, you get your hands dirty. You gotta dig through stuff to find what you’re looking for.” 
Jay Notartomaso, owner of Musical Energi, 24 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, decided to stretch his store’s celebration beyond the day, dubbing it “Record Store Weekend.” He will keep the sales and giveaways to Saturday and then host musicians Sunday, April 22.
“It’s just kind of hard to manage both, because once the music starts, it’s hard for people to move around the store,” Notartomaso said. “So I thought maybe we just have the live entertainment part (Sunday). A lot of people would come just for that … and not really for the releases.”
Depending on how sales go on Record Store Day, Musical Energi may have specials on merchandise Sunday as well, he said.
Both Gallery of Sound locations and Musical Energi give away items such as the Record Store Day-branded bags, posters, pins and compilation CDs. Notartomaso said his store also raffles off gift cards each year to customers making purchases.
Nardone said that between traffic and sales, Record Store Day is “the biggest day of the year for any record store. It’s fueled the whole growth of vinyl.”
A 2017 end-year report the Recording Industry Association of America published revealed that, for the first time since 2011, music sales in physical formats — vinyl and CDs — exceeded digital ones. That’s thanks in part to streaming services, which account for 65 percent of music industry revenue, but also because of the resurgence of vinyl usage among the younger generation.
“Vinyl sales are still strong. The fad is over, and it’s a thing,” Nardone said. “People are buying records. Anyone can consume music on the internet. But the people who are collectors and into music long-term want to have a collection of records.”
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If you go
What: Record Store Day
When: Saturday, April 21
Online: Visit recordstoreday.com for a full list of releases.

Local events
Embassy Vinyl, 352 Adams Ave., Scranton
Saturday, April 21, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Live performers to be announced at the event’s Facebook page and embassyvinyl.com.

Gallery of Sound, Fashion Mall, Dickson City
Saturday, April 21, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
1 p.m. — Daniel Rolser (Esta Coda/A Fire with Friends)
1:35 p.m. — Jordan Ramirez (Half Dollar)
2:10 p.m. — George Yurchak (Eibes)
2:45 p.m. — Sean Flynn (American Buffalo Ghost)
3:30 p.m. — Doug Griffiths (Purcell)
4:15 p.m. — Charles Davis (Dog House Charlie)
5 p.m. — David Hagel (Coal Miner Canary)
galleryofsound.com

Gallery of Sound, 186 Mundy St., Wilkes-Barre
Saturday, April 21, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Noon — Bret Alexander
1 p.m. — Indigo Moon Brass Band
2 p.m. — Rockology Music Academy student bands
3 p.m. — Jackknife Stiletto
4 p.m. — Aaron Fink & the Fury
5 p.m. — Trippy Switch
6 p.m. — Rockology Music Academy staff jam

Musical Energi, 24 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre
Saturday, April 21, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Record store day deals
Sunday, April 22, 2 to 6 p.m.
Live music from Brendan Brisk, Tori V and DJ Matt Rat
musicalenergi.com

Sounds – April 19, 2018

Sounds – April 19, 2018

FIRST AID KIT — ‘Ruins’
THE GOOD: Harmonizing Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Soderberg return with another lush songbook.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Produced by Tucker Martine (Case Lang Veirs, Decemberists, Camera Obscura), “Ruins” finds the ladies bringing their precious vocals to another set of songs swimming in introspection and heartbreak. It STILL amazes me that two Scandinavians who grew up nowhere near the Deep South (or any part of the United States) can sound more authentic than anything pouring out of Nashville these days.
Add a little pre-Beatles rock ‘n’ roll sway here, an echo-drenched pedal steel guitar there, and the picture becomes complete — gorgeous country crossover tunes straight out of 1963. The slow-dancing “Fireworks,” the rousing campfire singalong “Hem of Her Dress,” the melancholy-soaked title cut — these songs are all about the sentiment emanating from those spellbinding voices, and of course “Ruins” packs an emotional wallop. You may shed a tear or two, but you’ll also smile before it’s all over.
BUY IT?: Definitely.

TUNEYARDS — “I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life”
THE GOOD: Singer/songwriter/percussionist Merrill Garbus (she IS Tuneyards) comes back with a confrontational fourth.
THE BAD: No gripes.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Even the in-your-face politics (Garbus chiming in about feminism, racism and other hot-button Trump-era topics) can’t totally squelch the power of the grooves contained within. “Private Life” is the most electronic-leaning of all her works.
Tracks such “ABC 123” and “Colonizer” bang, pulsate and ride chugging basslines while Garbus tries to either understand or at least apologize for the world raging on around her. Heavy-handed messages? Doesn’t matter. You’ll still feel compelled to body-pop to a track like “Look at Your Hands” or clap along to the borrowed (stolen?) island rhythms carrying “Hammer.”
Sure, Garbus grew up in a Connecticut suburb, but her music has a streak of authenticity running right down its middle. The echoes of disco and R&B drag us back into the city after dark — not a bad place to feel accepted.
BUY IT?: Oh yeah.

THE SUFIS — “After Hours”
THE GOOD: Neo-psychedelic indie duo the Sufis comes back with a low-key (and slightly lo-fi) third.
THE BAD: No issues. Expect a slight shift in sound though.
THE NITTY GRITTY: This time, Calvin Laporte and Evan Smith embrace synths, tightly compressed live drums and reserved vocal deliveries. Cool and calculated, the record bangs and crashes while still retaining a mellow vibe throughout its all-too-brief running time (always leave ’em wanting more, right?).
For the uninitiated, try to imagine some catchy ’90s Swedish indie pop crashing into a dose of sloppy garage rock. Spread a few prog overtones across the top, and that’s Sufis. You won’t be able to resist the cozy melodies on “Anymore” or the drunken reggae swagger carrying “Till I Get Home.” Embrace the weird on the squiggly “Crispy Grapes 2” or the sly, sinister vibes making up “Watch Out.”
“After Hours” ends up a bizarre mixed bag that zooms in, hypnotizes and is gone in a tight 28-minute flash. Dig it.
BUY IT?: Surely.