Sounds – September 7, 2017

Sounds – September 7, 2017

K. FLAY — ‘Every Where Is Some Where’
THE GOOD: Illinois singer/rapper K. Flay (born Kristine Meredith Flaherty) dodges the sophomore slump with a genre-bending winner.
THE BAD: Nope. 
THE NITTY GRITTY: After a failed start with RCA and independently releasing a critically acclaimed debut, K. Flay now finds herself at Interscope. However, “Every Where” is hardly a major-label bid for the mainstream.
Lyrically, Flay likes her sex, drugs and other nocturnal pastimes. Musically, we’re smacked upside the head with a cool mix of streamlined dance pop, grisly guitar-driven alt-rock and seedy, hip-grinding hip-hop. Flay flanks it all with a not-so-pretty, bad-ass rock ‘n’ roll attitude. It’s a razor-sharp combination that never lets up.
From the flirtatious “High Enough” to the aggressive “Black Wave” (“Don’t test me!”), Flay doesn’t let her vulnerability completely rise to the surface. And she doesn’t exactly sound susceptible while singing “The President Has a Sex Tape.” Treat her right or you’ll live to regret it. Ignore this album and you’ll regret that too.
BUY IT?: Yeah.

BONOBO — ‘Migration’
THE GOOD: Electronic artist Simon Green (aka Bonobo) comes back with an accomplished sixth.
THE BAD: No gripes.
THE NITTY GRITTY: On the surface, “Migration” might seem like just another down-tempo or ambient techno album — a mostly instrumental set with a handful of guest vocalists showing up on a few tracks to add a little electro-pop flavor.
And yet, “Migration” works extremely well as a cohesive work while not falling into the more common trappings of its genre. First of all, while the songs with vocals are refreshing, they’re not the stand-out tracks here. Green’s twisting-and-turning instrumental bits are just as compelling. The steady synths across “Outlier” wash over you. The majestic vocal samples on “Figures” are divine.
Second, the record never wears out its welcome. Despite being over an hour long, there’s a cool ebb and flow to the whole affair. Just when matters get all-too-dreamy, Green snaps us back to attention with a sharp-focused rhythm. And yet we never completely leave this “otherworld” until the music’s over.
BUY IT?: Yes.

NITE JEWEL — ‘Real High’
THE GOOD: California singer/songwriter Ramona Gonzalez (stage name Nite Jewel) embraces your best night out circa 1995 on her fourth full-length album.
THE BAD: Sequencing? The second half of the record kind of crawls. However, that could be the late-night “come down” after some heavy partying. 
THE NITTY GRITTY: “Real High” plays like the perfect cross between early ’90s new jack swing and Todd Terry-remixed Everything but the Girl. The R&B influences hail from the mainstream, but the record is still innovative enough for the underground. Add a few Euro-flavored echoes deep within these mixes, and the tracks become even more exotic.
From the breezy shuffle carrying “Had To Let Me Go” to the modern poppy bounce lifting “The Answer,” both the record’s grooves and melodies are highly infectious. The songs take hold, and once you’re locked in their rhythm, there’s no escape. Gonzalez also possesses the perfect voice for her own material; it’s slightly flirtatious but always commanding. She’s strong yet fun — the perfect date.
BUY IT?: Surely.

Concerts – September 7, 2017

Concerts – September 7, 2017

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
Shining Star — Earth, Wind and Fire tribute, Saturday, Sept. 23
Stephen Stills and Judy Collins, Wednesday, Sept. 27
Matthew West, Saturday, Sept. 30
Fozzy, Wednesday, Oct. 4
Linda Eder, Friday, Oct. 6
Joe Nardone Presents: A Doo Wop Celebration, Saturday, Oct. 14
Up Close with Roy Firestone, Friday, Oct. 20
Penn State’s Premiere Jazz Ensemble, Thursday, Oct. 26
Arlo Guthrie, Friday, Oct. 27
The Fab Faux, Saturday, Oct. 28

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
Andrew Dice Clay, Friday, Sept. 8 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Artie Lange, Saturday, Sept. 16 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
DJ Pauly D, Saturday, Sept. 16 (Wet Nightclub)
The Midtown Men, Friday, Sept. 29 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
The Stylistics, Saturday, Oct. 7 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Trinidad James, Saturday, Oct. 14 (Wet Nightclub)
Eddie Griffin, Saturday, Oct. 21 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Brian McKnight, Friday, Oct. 27 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
The Manhattan Transfer, Friday, Nov. 3 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Foghat, Saturday, Dec. 16 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
The Amish Outlaws, Saturday, Dec. 30 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
Quiet Riot with Black N’ Blue, Thursday, Sept. 7
Tyler Farr, Friday, Sept. 8
Montgomery Gentry, Friday, Sept. 15
Rick Springfield, Thursday, Sept. 21
The Charlie Daniels Band, Friday, Sept. 22
Ana Popovic, Saturday, Sept. 23
Jim Breuer, Friday, Sept. 29
Mike Albert and The Big E Band — Elvis tribute, Tuesday, Oct. 3
Islands in the Stream: An Afternoon with Dolly and Kenny, Wednesday, Oct. 4, and Thursday, Oct. 5
Clint Black, Friday, Oct. 6

River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp.
Tickets: 570-822-2992
MiZ, Friday, Sept. 8
Kung Fu — Extreme Funk, Friday, Sept. 15
Mind Choir, Spur, Under the Clothesline, Saturday, Sept. 16
Still Hand String Band, Friday, Sept. 22
Steal Your Peach, Saturday, Sept. 23
The John Kadlecik Band, Sunday, Sept. 24
Scott Sharrard, Friday, Sept. 29
Solar Federation — Rush tribute, Saturday, Sept. 30
Marbin, Sunday, Oct. 1
Terry Lee Goffee: The Greatest Johnny Cash, Friday, Oct. 6

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
Garden Grove Festival featuring Badfish, Saturday, Sept. 9
Graham Nash, Thursday, Sept. 21
David Bromberg, Friday Sept. 22
Secondhand Serenade, Thursday, Oct. 5
Stroudsburg Unplugged featuring R.D. King, Saturday, Oct. 7
Blackmore’s Night, Saturday, Oct. 7
Theory of a Deadman, Friday, Oct. 13
Air Supply, Saturday, Oct. 14
I Prevail presents Rage on the Stage Tour, Saturday, Oct. 28
Last in Line, Friday, Nov. 3

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
Picture This, Friday, Sept. 8
Dan Croll, Saturday, Sept. 9
Casey Donahew, Sunday, Sept. 10
2 Chainz, Sunday, Sept. 10
John Mark McMillian, Thursday, Sept. 14
Bastille Wild, Wild, Wild World Tour, Thursday Sept. 14
Gabrielle Aplin, Saturday, Sept. 16
Foster the People, Monday, Sept. 18
Mutemath, Tuesday, Sept. 19
Company of Thieves, Tuesday, Sept. 19

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
Danzig, Friday, Sept. 8
UB40 Legends Ali, Astro and Mickey, Saturday, Sept. 9
Post Malone, Friday, Sept. 15
Project Pabst Citywide Festival, Saturday, Sept. 16
Alison Wonderland, Friday, Sept. 22
Young M.A., Saturday, Sept. 23
Rezz, Friday, Sept. 29
Two Door Cinema Club, Saturday, Sept. 30
The Kooks, Tuesday, Oct. 3
The Script, Wednesday, Oct. 4

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Tickets: 800-298-4200
Lady Gaga, Sunday, Sept. 10, and Monday, Sept. 11
Barry Manilow, Friday, Sept. 15
The Weeknd with Gucci Mane and Nav, Saturday, Sept. 16
Arcade Fire, Sunday, Sept. 17
Halsey, Saturday, Oct. 7
Guns N’ Roses, Sunday, Oct. 8
Bruno Mars, Tuesday, Oct. 10
Katy Perry, Thursday, Oct. 12
Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull, Friday, Oct. 13
Fall Out Boy, Sunday, Oct. 29

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, New York
Tickets: 866-781-2922
An Evening of Chamber Music with the Manhattan Chamber Players, Thursday, Sept. 14
Scott Samuelson and Jeanne MacDonald: Old Friends, Saturday, Sept. 16
Graham Nash, Sunday, Sept. 24
Cabaret Night with Borislav Strulev and Friends, Thursday, Sept. 28
Electrifying Evening with ZOFO, Thursday, Oct. 19
John Sebastian, Saturday, Oct. 21
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Saturday, Nov. 4
Los Lonely Boys, Sunday, Nov. 5

Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tickets: 212-307-7171
Eric Clapton, Thursday, Sept. 7, and Friday, Sept. 8
Bryson Tiller, Friday, Sept. 8, and Saturday, Sept. 9
Depeche Mode with Warpaint, Saturday, Sept. 9, and Monday, Sept. 11
Arcade Fire, Tuesday, Sept. 12
Sam Hunt, Thursday, Sept. 14
Paul McCartney, Friday, Sept. 15, and Sunday, Sept. 17
Scorpions, Saturday, Sept. 16
Bruno Mars, Friday, Sept. 22, and Saturday, Sept. 23
Billy Joel, Saturday, Sept. 30
Katy Perry, Monday, Oct. 2, and Tuesday, Oct. 3

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
Adam Ant, Wednesday, Sept. 13
Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Thursday, Sept. 14
The Gipsy Kings, Friday, Sept. 15
The Mavericks, Saturday, Sept. 16
Joe Bonamassa, Wednesday, Sept. 20; Thursday, Sept. 21; and Saturday, Sept. 23
Jerry Seinfeld, Friday, Sept. 22
Seu Jorge Presents: The Life Aquatic — Tribute To David Bowie, Wednesday, Sept. 27
Jim Gaffigan, Thursday, Sept. 28, through Saturday, Sept. 30
Kevin James, Saturday, Oct. 28, and Sunday, Oct. 29
Ludovico Einaudi, Monday, Oct. 30
Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, Wednesday, Nov. 1

SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Tickets: 610-332-1300
Classic Stones Live, Friday, Sept. 8
Henry Rollins, Sunday, Sept. 10
The Weight Band, Thursday, Sept. 14
Ben Bailey, Friday, Sept. 15
Box of Rain — Essential Grateful Dead of ’68-’74, Friday, Sept. 15
Dana Fuchs, Saturday, Sept. 23
Rob Schneider, Thursday, Oct. 5
Craig Thatcherband, Friday, Oct. 6
Tom Green, Sunday, Oct. 22
TUSK — the Ultimate Fleetwood Mac tribute, Friday, Nov. 10

Rockers conjure Signs & Wonders through music

Rockers conjure Signs & Wonders through music

Wilkes-Barre psychedelic rock group Signs & Wonders considers itself a “living art project.”
“The music begins by writing itself,” singer Jami Kali said. “It takes us along with it.”
Ray Novitski (vocals, guitar and bass), Kali (vocals and synth), Chris Wallace (keyboards, synth and bass) and “Big Fat” Paulie Weisgerber (drums) formed Signs & Wonders in 2013. As they scout out-of-town venues and work on recording an album, the quartet took a break to go On the Record about their journey as a group and their hopes for the future.

Q: Where did your band name come from?
Jami Kali: The Bible says, “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” We are not a religiously influenced band, but this is a profound statement and holds much relevance in our current state of existence.
Chris Wallace: I love the mystical connotations of the words “signs and wonders” together. I don’t believe in the concept of “god” as widely accepted, yet I find ancient religious scriptures to be an account of the magic humans once possessed, now forgotten, evidenced in this passage: “Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands.” It’s a nice thought and we, as a band, are mystical beings conjuring our signs and wonders through music.

Q: How did you each get involved in music?
JK: I was raised by my mother and father in a very musical environment. It was only natural for music to become my passion. I began singing and playing with instruments at a very young age and continued to teach myself throughout my life. I’m still learning many things from others, myself and the world.
Ray Novitsky: I was always banging on stuff when I was a kid and have always been obsessed with music. When I was 20 years old, I bought a guitar and taught myself how to play.
“Big Fat” Paulie Weisgerber: I have a family history of musicians. My grandfather was a percussionist in the Navy during World War I, and my dad was very accomplished with brass instruments. He could play just about anything that you blow into. It was obvious at a young age — beating on tables, boxes, pots and pans — that I would follow suit.

Q: What do you remember about the first time you performed in public together?
RN: Our first show took place at the Rattler, a rock ‘n’ roll bar operated by James Callahan. We were surrounded by friends and had a very positive reception.
PW: Not just the first night, but every night we play out together, it’s always so fun. Even if I have a bad day, it’s still a blast playing with these guys (and girl). All three of them are excellent at what they do and are far more experienced at live performances than I am. I use that to keep myself grounded. They make it fun because they are so good.

Q: What is the process like for writing your music?
RN: We jam out and sometimes something sounds so cool that we go with it and continue to layer it with new parts. It keeps growing until it sounds the way we’d like it to sound. The writing process is very free and spontaneous. We don’t even set out to write anything. It just happens.

Q: How have you changed as musicians over the years?
JK: I am continuously evolving and growing as a musician. My tastes change, my mind takes on new interests, and every day life is different from day to day. These things influence how I approach my creative endeavors.
RN: I’ve become more comfortable and confident. The constant experimentation with sounds has caused me to become more daring. I’m less shy on stage than I am in my everyday life.

Q: How has the NEPA music scene changed over the years?
JK: The NEPA music scene is like a rollercoaster. It is currently at one of those butterflies-in-your-stomach peaks. This summer, thus far, has been packed with many amazing performances and wonderful times with our fellow local musicians. It’s incredible to hear so much original music coming from the valley. There are many talented musicians out there doing their thing, and there are so many good friends supporting all of us.
RN: In the Wilkes-Barre area, a ton of venues closed, and that has led to heavier competition to get a show. They have to be booked further in advance than was the case previously. While some faces have disappeared, there are many new ones popping up. However, the Scranton scene is booming.

Q: What music do you listen to? What inspires you?
JK: I am heavily influenced by ’90s grunge, the psychedelic movement, the sound of one hand clapping, modern and post-modern poetry, Buddhist dharma and the music of nature.
PW: I listen to anything with good drummers and intelligence. And if I hear autotune, I autotune to something else.

Q: Have you faced any major challenges as a rising band?
JK: There are challenges around every corner, and that keeps things very exciting. Not only does a ton of effort go into the creation process, (but also) it is always very important to me to spread my music to as many ears as possible. Promotion is near the top of my list, and it sometimes takes a lot of time and energy to get your sounds into the right ear canals.
RN: It isn’t easy to get your name out there. Social media like YouTube creates an overload of new music, and you can get buried in that mass of data. You have to come up with unique ways to make yourself stand out in all of that madness.

Q: What are your future goals?
RN: I want to have as much fun as possible and hopefully one day make this my full-time job.
JK: We hope to keep evolving together as musicians, reach as many people as possible and go on tour through our beautiful country. I hope for things to keep getting better and better.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Meet Signs & Wonders
Members: Ray Novitski, vocals, guitar and bass; Jami Kali, vocals and synth; Chris Wallace, keyboards, synth and bass; “Big Fat” Paulie Weisgerber, drums
Established: 2013
Genre: Alternative Psych Rock
Online: signsandwonders.bandcamp.com; facebook.com/signsandwondersbandinstagram.com/_signsandwonders/

Satellite Ranch Music and Arts Festival launches  at Mountain Sky

Satellite Ranch Music and Arts Festival launches at Mountain Sky

Whether you like to dance, stretch or appreciate art, the inaugural Satellite Ranch Music and Arts Festival set for this weekend at Mountain Sky has something for you.
The two-day event kicks off Friday, Sept. 1, and continues on Saturday, Sept. 2, at the Scott Twp. venue with a full schedule of activities that includes plenty of live music, yoga and art workshops, and live demonstrations. Camping is encouraged for guests who wish to get the most out of their admission, especially with certain aspects of the performances stretching into the early morning hours.
Bryan Dewey, one of the festival’s co-promoters, is part of the entity Funkstronaut Productions, which brings together a collection of DJs and electronic artists for Satellite Ranch’s lineup. Organizers have long wanted to present an outdoor festival at Mountain Sky, he said, with plans finally starting to come together this past January.

Flux Capacitor

“We’ve been in talks for a few years now (with Mountain Sky), and they were hesitant on electronic music and DJs,” Dewey said. “It gets a bad rep, so we like the term ‘intelligent dance music.’ The main difference is the music we have has a lot of soul in it. It’s not loud and crazy, but there’s plenty of weirdness. But there’s a lot of heart and a general loving vibe. We have everything from funky jam bands that incorporate electronic elements to hip-hop with electro to a silent disco from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.” 
Music will be spread across two stages, and VIP passes give guests access to an indoor area. But Satellite Ranch will offer much more, such as various styles of yoga practice, including kundalini and mellow-flow; a graffiti art workshop; painters doing live demonstrations and selling their works; light and art installations; body painting; a live production workshop; and plenty of vendors, from vegan and vegetarian foods to bonsai tree experts.
Dewey cited years of expertise by his team of organizers in pulling together varied elements for a multi-faceted event and said he has high hopes for drawing a diverse crowd locally and from neighboring states for Satellite Ranch’s first year.
“We want to show the region what a great festival could be up at Mountain Sky. We feel like we put something together that is pretty awesome,” Dewey said. “(It) promises to be an intimate festival showcasing a variety of music not typically seen together outside of larger gatherings … (in) an atmosphere that will surely be out of this world.
“We aim to breathe fresh life and energy into an already amazing local music scene as well as expand musical tastes and horizons of attendees, all while providing a safe and peaceful environment with friendly and loving vibrations for all.”
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

If you go
What: Satellite Ranch Music and Arts Festival
When: Friday, Sept. 1, music begins at 3 p.m.; and Saturday, Sept. 2, music begins at noon
Where: Mountain Sky, 63 Still Meadow Lane, Scott Twp.
Details: Tickets include camping and are $130 for two-day VIP passes, $65 for two-day general admission and $40 for Saturday only. Parking is $5 or free with three or more people in the car. For more information, visit the Facebook page or satelliteranchfestival.com

 

Sounds – August 31, 2017

Sounds – August 31, 2017

THE MOONLANDINGZ — ‘Interplanetary Class Classics’
THE GOOD: British “band” the Moonlandingz delivers a totally trashy and completely danceable debut. 
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: The music is damn near undefinable, but so is the group itself. A melding of art collective the Eccentric Research Council, band members from Fat White Family and producer/musician Sean Lennon, Moonlandingz gives us a record combining Gothic pop, psychedelic disco, noisy garage rock and androgynous glam. It’s outrageous music to accompany the group’s equally outrageous stage shows.
Strange collaborations include Yoko Ono wailing away with the Human League’s Philip Oakey on the corrupt dance-floor anthem “This Cities Undone.” Randy Jones, the Village People’s original cowboy, guests on the sleazy “Glory Hole.” Slow Club’s Rebecca Taylor adds haunting vocals to the disturbingly beautiful “The Strangle of Anna.”
Add occasional blasts of switched-on techno or surf guitar, and these multi-layered soundscapes get even weirder. Time will tell if this is the beginning of a long-term cunning collaboration or a one-off oddity. I’m hoping for the former, not the latter.
BUY IT?: Yes.

!!! — ‘Shake the Shudder’
THE GOOD: California dance-punks !!! crank out their seventh full-length album.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Frontman Nic Offer and his crew continue to revel in their world of decadent funk, groove-heavy rock and steamy, sweaty disco. One song here sums up the band’s attitude since its 2001 inception — “Dancing Is the Best Revenge.” Doesn’t matter what authority, politicians or the world at large throws at you. Boogie your ass off and all will be fine. “Shake the Shudder” is simply the latest bunch of songs in an ever-expanding, pounding playlist that cracks and booms long into the night.
The beats never stop, and their tempos don’t change all that much. However, the slick stuff spread across the top keeps the record from getting stuck in “repeat” mode. So whether it’s the childish electronics on “What R U Up 2day” or the reserved melodic thrust carrying “Imaginary Interviews,” these slabs of pure depravity should keep you moving for a long time to come.
BUY IT?: Yeah.

THE CHAIN GANG OF 1974 — ‘Felt’
THE GOOD: Indie pop singer/songwriter Kamtin Mohager (stage name CGof1974) gives us his fourth.
THE BAD: Too formulaic.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Mohager was never exactly blazing new trails on any past records; each collection is a throwback to alternative synth-heavy rock circa ’84 (as opposed to the ’74 moniker). The guy proved himself very adept at dishing out memorable hooks atop airtight backdrops where guitars and keyboards meshed harmoniously over solid backbeats. Agreeable snappy stuff.Produced by the Naked and Famous’ Thom Powers, “Felt” is more of the same. However, the new album leans in a more dedicated pop direction, so some of the music’s uniqueness is now sorely lacking. Mohager still churns out decent songs though. Personal favorites include steadily flowing goodies such as “Wallflowers” and “Looking for Love.” However, “Felt” slips into mediocrity pretty quickly. Maybe the next collection will be better.
BUY IT?: Meh…Spotify will do. Besides, there’s no CD on this release. You have to make the great leap from download to vinyl if you want a physical copy.

Concerts – August 31, 2017

Concerts – August 31, 2017

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
Shining Star — Earth, Wind and Fire tribute, Saturday, Sept. 23
Stephen Stills and Judy Collins, Wednesday, Sept. 27
Matthew West, Saturday, Sept. 30
Fozzy, Wednesday, Oct. 4
Linda Eder, Friday, Oct. 6
Joe Nardone Presents: A Doo Wop Celebration, Saturday, Oct. 14
Up Close with Roy Firestone, Friday, Oct. 20
Penn State’s Premiere Jazz Ensemble, Thursday, Oct. 26
Arlo Guthrie, Friday, Oct. 27
The Fab Faux, Saturday, Oct. 28

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
Blood, Sweat & Tears, Friday, Sept. 1 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
21 Savage, Saturday, Sept. 3 (Wet Nightclub)
Andrew Dice Clay, Friday, Sept. 8 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Artie Lange, Saturday, Sept. 16 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
DJ Pauly D, Saturday, Sept. 16
The Midtown Men, Friday, Sept. 29 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
The Stylistics, Saturday, Oct. 7
Eddie Griffin, Saturday, Oct. 21
Brian McKnight, Friday, Oct. 27
The Manhattan Transfer, Friday, Nov. 3

The Pavilion at Montage Mountain, Scranton
Tickets: 570-961-9000
Luke Bryan and Brett Eldredge, Wednesday, Sept. 6

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
Quiet Riot with Black N’ Blue, Thursday, Sept. 7
Tyler Farr, Friday, Sept. 8
Montgomery Gentry, Friday, Sept. 15
Rick Springfield, Thursday, Sept. 21
The Charlie Daniels Band, Friday, Sept. 22
Ana Popovic, Saturday, Sept. 23
Jim Breuer, Friday, Sept. 29
Mike Albert and The Big E Band — Elvis tribute, Tuesday, Oct. 3
Islands in the Stream: An Afternoon with Dolly and Kenny, Wednesday, Oct. 4, and Thursday, Oct. 5
Clint Black, Friday, Oct. 6

River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp.
Tickets: 570-822-2992
Clarence Spady Band, Saturday, Sept. 2
MiZ, Friday, Sept. 8
Kung Fu — Extreme Funk, Friday, Sept. 15
Mind Choir, Spur, Under the Clothesline, Saturday, Sept. 16
Still Hand String Band, Friday, Sept. 22
Steal Your Peach, Saturday, Sept. 23
Scott Sharrard, Friday, Sept. 29
Solar Federation — Rush tribute, Saturday, Sept. 30
Marbin, Sunday, Oct. 1
Terry Lee Goffee: The Greatest Johnny Cash, Friday, Oct. 6

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
Plumcocks CD release featuring Eternal Boy, Saturday, Sept. 2
In Your Memory, Friday, Sept. 8
Like the River and More, Saturday, Sept. 9
Graham Nash, Thursday, Sept. 21
The Brevet, Friday, Sept. 22
David Bromberg, Friday Sept. 22
Secondhand Serenade, Thursday, Oct. 5
Stroudsburg Unplugged featuring RD King, Saturday, Oct. 7
Blackmore’s Night, Saturday, Oct. 7
Theory of a Deadman, Friday, Oct. 13
Air Supply, Saturday, Oct. 14

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
Haken with Sithu Aye, Friday, Sept. 1
The Goodfellas — Labor Day Weekend Party, Sunday, Sept. 3
Picture This, Friday, Sept. 8
Dan Croll, Saturday, Sept. 9
Casey Donahew, Sunday, Sept. 10
2 Chainz, Sunday, Sept. 10
John Mark McMillian, Thursday, Sept. 14
Bastille Wild, Wild, Wild World Tour, Thursday Sept. 14
Gabrielle Aplin, Saturday, Sept. 16
Foster the People, Monday, Sept. 18

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
Danzig, Friday, Sept. 8
UB40 Legends Ali, Astro and Mickey, Saturday, Sept. 9
Project Pabst Citywide Festival, Saturday, Sept. 16
Alison Wonderland, Friday, Sept. 22
Young M.A., Saturday, Sept. 23
Two Door Cinema Club, Saturday, Sept. 30
The Kooks, Tuesday, Oct. 3
The Script, Wednesday, Oct. 4
Timeflies, Friday, Oct. 6
Galantis, Saturday, Oct. 7

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Tickets: 800-298-4200
Lady Gaga, Sunday, Sept. 10, and Monday, Sept. 11
Barry Manilow, Friday, Sept. 15
The Weeknd with Gucci Mane and Nav, Saturday, Sept. 16
Arcade Fire, Sunday, Sept. 17
Halsey, Saturday, Oct. 7
Guns N’ Roses, Sunday, Oct. 8
Bruno Mars, Tuesday, Oct. 10
Katy Perry, Thursday, Oct. 12
Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull, Friday, Oct. 13
Fall Out Boy, Sunday, Oct. 29

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, New York
Tickets: 866-781-2922
Sting with the Last Bandoleros and Joe Sumner, Friday, Sept. 1
An Evening of Chamber Music with the Manhattan Chamber Players, Thursday, Sept. 14
Scott Samuelson and Jeanne MacDonald: Old Friends, Saturday, Sept. 16
Graham Nash, Sunday, Sept. 24
Cabaret Night with Borislav Strulev and Friends, Thursday, Sept. 28
Electrifying Evening with ZOFO, Thursday, Oct. 19
John Sebastian, Saturday, Oct. 21
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Saturday, Nov. 4
Los Lonely Boys, Sunday, Nov. 5

Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tickets: 212-307-7171
Miel San Marcos, Saturday, Sept. 2
Eric Clapton, Thursday, Sept. 7, and Friday, Sept. 8
Depeche Mode with Warpaint, Saturday, Sept. 9, and Monday, Sept. 11
Arcade Fire, Tuesday, Sept. 12
Sam Hunt, Thursday, Sept. 14
Paul McCartney, Friday, Sept. 15, and Sunday, Sept. 17
Scorpions, Saturday, Sept. 16
Bruno Mars, Friday, Sept. 22, and Saturday, Sept. 23
Billy Joel, Saturday, Sept. 30
Katy Perry, Monday, Oct. 2, and Tuesday, Oct. 3

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
Adam Ant, Wednesday, Sept. 13
Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Thursday, Sept. 14
The Gipsy Kings, Friday, Sept. 15
The Mavericks, Saturday, Sept. 16
Joe Bonamassa, Wednesday, Sept. 20; Thursday, Sept. 21; and Saturday, Sept. 23
Jerry Seinfeld, Friday, Sept. 22
Seu Jorge Presents: The Life Aquatic — Tribute To David Bowie, Wednesday, Sept. 27
Jim Gaffigan, Thursday, Sept. 28, through Saturday, Sept. 30
Kevin James, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 28 and 29
Ludovico Einaudi, Monday, Oct. 30
Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, Wednesday, Nov. 1

SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Tickets: 610-332-1300
Old Dominion, Sunday, Aug. 27
The Mavericks, Thursday, Aug. 31
Classic Stones Live, Friday, Sept. 8
Henry Rollins, Sunday, Sept. 10
The Weight Band, Thursday, Sept. 14
Ben Bailey, Friday, Sept. 15
Box of Rain — Essential Grateful Dead of ’68-’74, Friday, Sept. 15
Dana Fuchs, Saturday, Sept. 23
Rob Schneider, Thursday, Oct. 5
Criag Thatcherband, Friday, Oct. 6

Sounds – August 24, 2017

Sounds – August 24, 2017

LORDE — ‘Melodrama’  
THE GOOD: New Zealand pop sensation Lorde comes back after a long hiatus with an ambitious sophomore effort.
THE BAD: Nope. “Melodrama” was worth the wait.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Whether the 20-year-old ever shakes up the mainstream again with a song as big as “Royals” is irrelevant. Lorde now has two solid albums under her belt, and “Melodrama” proves she can run with a concept as well. Teaming up with Jack Antonoff (Fun., Bleachers) and a bevy of other producers, Lorde offers a record that embraces solitude.
Lorde wrote the songs during a time of upheaval many people her age experience. She broke up with a longtime boyfriend and later moved out of her parents’ house. Inspiration came from being really “alone” for the first time. From the beat-heavy breakup of “Green Light” to the intimate revelations spread throughout “Liability” to the emotional intensity coloring “Supercut,” the album paints a vivid picture of turmoil and growth. It’s musically multi-faceted, too, ranging from banging electronics to reserved ballads.
BUY IT?: Yes.

FEIST — ‘Pleasure’
THE GOOD: Canadian singer/songwriter Feist returns with her fifth album and first in six years.
THE BAD: Depends upon your expectations. Those craving another breezy pop gem like “1 2 3 4” aren’t going to get it.
THE NITTY GRITTY: “Pleasure” is a raw, intimate affair built with stripped-down arrangements. Feist confronts her inner demons while getting reacquainted with bare-bones indie rock, modern folk and even a touch of the blues.
One can detect echoes of P.J. Harvey across the “plugged-in” moments and strains of Cat Power during the quieter bits. “Pleasure,” however, is distinctly Feist. Even when she sounds defeated, her warm voice is unmistakable and her breathy, unassuming delivery always welcome.
This time, that voice is accompanied by ghostly harmonies, spontaneous guitar, distinct bits of keyboard that sound either majestic or playful, rudimentary drumbeats and lo-fi atmospherics stolen from the world outside. The end result sounds very impulsive at first, but repeat listens bring out the songs’ deliberate brilliance.
BUY IT?: Surely.

SHERYL CROW — ‘Be Myself’
THE GOOD: On her 10th set, singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow revisits her ’90s rock heyday.
THE BAD: No big problems.
THE NITTY GRITTY: “Be Myself” finds Crow bringing back producer Jeff Trott, whom she worked with during the ’90s and early 2000s. So that slight country detour taken on 2013’s “Feels Like Home” (which wasn’t all that genuine anyway) has been abandoned. Although, those still craving a little Southern swagger will find it on the charming “Rest of Me.”
For the most part, “Myself” is a down-to-earth, gutsy, guitar-fueled Crow album in the tradition of her self-titled effort (1996) and “The Globe Sessions” (1998). Yeah, we’ve been here before. But when the woman turns on her self-assured attitude, it’s tough to resist that confident voice belting out those slick melodies.
Pick any track — the flirtatious “Roller Skate”; the melancholy “Strangers Again”; the low-burning, infectious “Alone in the Dark” — they’re all good. Crow doesn’t break new ground on “Be Myself,” but she does deliver the pop/rock goods.
BUY IT?: Why not?

Lifelong love of music drives folk rocker forward

Lifelong love of music drives folk rocker forward

Katie Hearity, better known as k8, can’t remember her life without music.
“Born making music,” as she described it, Hearity has always strummed the guitar, played the piano or sang “into anything that remotely resembled a microphone.” Today, the singer/songwriter has only begun to make her musical mark on Northeast Pennsylvania and wants everyone to hear her voice. And as her song “Shadows and Smoke” goes, “in the dark in the corner, if you listen real close, you might hear the sound of a song.”

Q: What do you remember about the first time you performed in public?
A: I sang a solo in “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” when I was 6 or 7, I think. I loved it and wanted more but was also kind of shy and awkward about it at first. Even so, I knew it was what I was meant to do in life.

Q: How did you come up with your band name?
A: I was just a kid when I figured out that “Kate” could be “k8.” I was playing one of my favorite Nintendo games at the time, “Skate or Die!,” and I saw some graffiti on one of the walls that said “sk8.” I dropped the “s,” and the rest is history. I still get a lot of people calling me “kay-eight” or “k dash eight,” but everyone gets it when it’s on a license plate. It’s just Kate.

Q: What is the process like for writing your music?
A: For me, every song kind of has its own process. Sometimes I have an idea for the concept of the song first; sometimes I have one lyric that I really like and then build on it from there. Other times, I have the vocal line first. There are parts of the process that are always the same, too. For example, once I have a line or two written, I run through them on repeat until I work out the next line, and the line after that, and so forth.

Q: How have you changed as a musician over the years?
A: I like to think I’m a much better songwriter after all this time and experience. Most importantly, though, I’ve learned how lucky I am to get to make music, and I’m finally having fun with it again. Early on in my career, I found myself always chasing the approval of others — managers, lawyers, record labels, clubs. That can really muddy the water over time and make you forget the reason you started playing in the first place. I do it now because I love it, because it’s my true purpose in life. Having that perspective is everything. When the crowd can sense you love what you’re doing, they will love what you’re doing too. It’s contagious.

Q: What are some of your favorite memories as a musician?
A: I may have too many to fit in this interview. Some highlights include the time I played the keyboards in Clove; the Concert for Karen/Concert for a Cause events; the release party for my first record, “Something Out of Nothing,” in 2004; hearing those songs on the radio for the first time; recording the Days Inn jingle with Bret Alexander and Paul Smith at Saturation Acres; and, most recently, opening for Angaleena Presley at the Kirby Center.

Q: How has the NEPA music scene changed over the years?
A: There have been a lot of changes. I might be dating myself here, but I remember when every club had a stage, sound and light system and a house sound technician. Back then, when you went to a club (or) to see a band play in NEPA, it was like going to a full-blown concert. It seems like a lot of that has faded out in favor of the DJ or acoustic solo/duo projects. There’s still a ton of talent in this area. There are great musicians, singers, songwriters, bands, producers, studios. We still have it all — we just need the people to keep coming out and supporting it.

Q: Who has influenced you over the years?

A: Very early on, I remember country music such as Elvis, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Barbra Mandrell, then, as most ’80s kids did, I slid over to pop music like Michael Jackson, Debbie Gibson and, later, Mariah Carey. When I went to college, I really got into more singer/songwriter, folk rock stuff. The Indigo Girls are undoubtedly one of my biggest influences. A lot of people tell me they can hear it in my music. I really love Kacey Musgraves, Brandi Carlile, Haim and Clare Bowen right now, too. I listen to a lot of different stuff, but anything with a good hook usually does it for me.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you have to face?
A: I think my biggest challenge is maintaining the business side of being a musician. Of course, I’d much rather be writing or performing all the time, but you have to book shows and studio dates, update your website, try to stay relevant in social media and track all of your income/expenses for taxes. The business stuff can be a lot.

Q: What are your future goals for music?
A: At this point in my career, I want to continue performing and really hone in on my songwriting. I’d love to write a song that got picked up by a major artist somewhere along the way. That would be pretty cool. For me, my very favorite thing has always been the songwriting.

–by Samantha Stanich

Concerts – August 24, 2017

Concerts – August 24, 2017

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
Donnie and Marie Osmond, Thursday, Aug. 24
Greta Van Fleet, Friday, Aug. 25
Il Divo, Wednesday, Aug. 30
Shining Star — Earth, Wind and Fire tribute, Saturday, Sept. 23
Stephen Stills and Judy Collins, Wednesday, Sept. 27
Matthew West, Saturday, Sept. 30
Fozzy, Wednesday, Oct. 4
Linda Eder, Friday, Oct. 6
Joe Nardone Presents: A Doo Wop Celebration, Saturday, Oct. 14
Up Close with Roy Firestone, Friday, Oct. 20
Penn State’s Premiere Jazz Ensemble, Thursday, Oct. 26

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
Fetty Wap, Saturday, Aug. 26
Blood, Sweat & Tears, Friday, Sept. 1 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
21 Savage, Saturday, Sept. 3 (Wet Nightclub)
Andrew Dice Clay, Friday, Sept. 8 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Artie Lange, Saturday, Sept. 16 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
DJ Pauly D, Saturday, Sept. 16
The Midtown Men, Friday, Sept. 29 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
The Stylistics, Saturday, Oct. 7
Eddie Griffin, Saturday, Oct. 21
Brian McKnight, Friday, Oct. 27

The Pavilion at Montage Mountain, Scranton
Tickets: 570-961-9000
I Love the ’90s — The Party Continues Tour, Saturday, Aug. 26
Luke Bryan and Brett Eldredge, Wednesday, Sept. 6

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
Shellshocked Churchills, Thursday, Aug. 24
Don McLean, Friday, Aug. 25
Sterling Koch Crossroads Duo, Wednesday, Aug. 30
Large Flowerheads, Thursday, Aug. 31
Quiet Riot with Black N’ Blue, Thursday, Sept. 7
Tyler Farr, Friday, Sept. 8
Montgomery Gentry, Friday, Sept. 15
Rick Springfield, Thursday, Sept. 21
The Charlie Daniels Band, Friday, Sept. 22
Ana Popovic, Saturday, Sept. 23

River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp.
Tickets: 570-822-2992
Mike Dougherty Band — Michael Jackson tribute, Friday, Aug. 25
Suze with Half Dollar, Saturday, Aug. 26
Clarence Spady Band, Saturday, Sept. 2
MiZ, Friday, Sept. 8
Kung Fu — Extreme Funk, Friday, Sept. 15
Mind Choir, Spur, Under the Clothesline, Saturday, Sept. 16
Still Hand String Band, Friday, Sept. 22
Steal Your Peach, Saturday, Sept. 23
Scott Sharrard, Friday, Sept. 29
Solar Federation — Rush tribute, Saturday, Sept. 30
Marbin, Sunday, Oct. 1

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
Railroad Earth, Friday, Aug. 25
T. Mac and Friends, Saturday, Aug. 26
Plumcocks CD release featuring Eternal Boy, Saturday, Sept. 2
In Your Memory, Friday, Sept. 8
Graham Nash, Thursday, Sept. 21
The Brevet, Friday, Sept. 22
David Bromberg, Friday Sept. 22
Maverick MMA III, Saturday, Sept. 30
Secondhand Serenade, Thursday, Oct. 5
Theory of a Deadman, Friday, Oct. 13

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
John Butler Trio, Friday, Aug. 25
Mr. Brightside — 2000s Indie Night, Friday, Aug. 25
Rave of Thrones featuring Kristian Nairn, Saturday, Aug. 26
Kur, Sunday, Aug. 27
Allie X, Tuesday, Aug. 29
Haken with Sithu Aye, Friday, Sept. 1
The Goodfellas — Labor Day Weekend Party, Sunday, Sept. 3
Picture This, Friday, Sept. 8
Dan Croll, Saturday, Sept. 9
Casey Donahew, Sunday, Sept. 10

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
Lil Yachty, Thursday, Aug. 24
Reebok Les Mills Live, Saturday, Aug. 26
Ninja Sex Party, Sunday and Monday, Aug. 27 and 28
Danzig, Friday, Sept. 8
UB40 Legends Ali, Astro and Mickey, Saturday, Sept. 9
Project Pabst Citywide Festival, Saturday, Sept. 16
Alison Wonderland, Friday, Sept. 22
Young M.A., Saturday, Sept. 23
Two Door Cinema Club, Saturday, Sept. 30
The Kooks, Tuesday, Oct. 3

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Tickets: 800-298-4200
Lady Gaga, Sunday and Monday, Sept. 10 and 11
Barry Manilow, Friday, Sept. 15
The Weeknd with Gucci Mane and Nav, Saturday, Sept. 16
Arcade Fire, Sunday, Sept. 17
Halsey, Saturday, Oct. 7
Guns N’ Roses, Sunday, Oct. 8
Bruno Mars, Tuesday, Oct. 10
Katy Perry, Thursday, Oct. 12
Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull, Friday, Oct. 13
Fall Out Boy, Sunday, Oct. 29

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, New York
Tickets: 866-781-2922
Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams Jr., Saturday, Aug. 26
Sting with the Last Bandoleros and Joe Sumner, Friday, Sept. 1
An Evening of Chamber Music with the Manhattan Chamber Players, Thursday, Sept. 14
Scott Samuelson and Jeanne MacDonald: Old Friends, Saturday, Sept. 16
Graham Nash, Sunday, Sept. 24
Cabaret Night with Borislav Strulev and Friends, Thursday, Sept. 28
Electrifying Evening with ZOFO, Thursday, Oct. 19
John Sebastian, Saturday, Oct. 21
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Saturday, Nov. 4
Los Lonely Boys, Sunday, Nov. 5

Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tickets: 212-307-7171
Mega Summer Concert, Thursday, Aug. 24
Marc Anthony, Saturday, Aug. 26
Miel San Marcos, Saturday, Sept. 2
Eric Clapton, Thursday and Friday, Sept. 7 and 8
Depeche Mode with Warpaint, Saturday and Monday, Sept. 9 and 11
Arcade Fire, Tuesday, Sept. 12
Sam Hunt, Thursday, Sept. 14
Paul McCartney, Friday and Sunday, Sept. 15 and 17
Scorpions, Saturday, Sept. 16
Bruno Mars, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 22 and 23

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
Adam Ant, Wednesday, Sept. 13
Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Thursday, Sept. 14
The Gipsy Kings, Friday, Sept. 15
The Mavericks, Saturday, Sept. 16
Joe Bonamassa, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, Sept. 20, 21 and 23
Jerry Seinfeld, Friday, Sept. 22
Seu Jorge Presents: The Life Aquatic — Tribute To David Bowie, Wednesday, Sept. 27
Jim Gaffigan, Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 28 through 30
Kevin James, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 28 and 29
Ludovico Einaudi, Monday, Oct. 30
Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, Wednesday, Nov. 1

Back in the spotlight – TLC, Coolio and more bring ‘I Love the ’90s’ tour to Pavilion

Back in the spotlight – TLC, Coolio and more bring ‘I Love the ’90s’ tour to Pavilion

Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins crept into the hearts of millions as the sultry-voiced singer of TLC.
Also comprised of crooner Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas and rapper Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, TLC’s albums “CrazySexyCool” (1994) and “FanMail” (1999) catapulted the trio into music history as one of the best-selling female acts of all time. Chart-topping hits such as “Waterfalls,” “No Scrubs” and “Red Light Special” earned the female group numerous accolades since the 1990s, including four Grammys, five MTV Video Music Awards and five Soul Train Music Awards.
Lopes perished in a car crash in Honduras in 2002, but Watkins and Thomas continued creating music, including a self-titled, crowd-funded EP that includes the single “Way Back” featuring Snoop Dogg, which they released this year.
Strong as ever even as a duo, TLC headlines “I Love the ’90s: The Party Continues” tour, which makes a stop in Scranton at the Pavilion at Montage Mountain on Saturday, Aug. 26, at 6 p.m. Other acts on the bill include Coolio, Tone-Loc, Young MC and Rob Base.
During a recent phone interview from the road, Watkins previewed what fans can expect to see and hear at the show.


Q: What city am I
catching you in?
A: I am melting like the Wicked Witch of the West in Las Vegas. It’s so hot here.

Q: TLC has always been really brave about facing social issues in your performances and songs. With politics and injustices making news every day, can audiences expect to see some of that trademark outspokenness on this tour, too? 
A: Well, you’ll definitely hear it on this album, for sure on (the song) “American Gold.” But we always have something to say, no matter what. (Laughs) I think it just naturally comes across from us being who we are, so we still stand up strong for everything when we sing it, always.

Q: TLC also always inspired with the looks of your videos and live shows, so is the live act still a big spectacle, or is it more stripped down?
A: Nah, we still give you a production. We got the lights … the dancers, the band. It’s a full production always. We’ll never stop that.

Q: How are you feeling these days? How is life on tour? (Watkins has sickle cell anemia.)
A: I can’t complain. I just have to take care of myself daily, so I do oxygen before and after the show. There’s a lot of Gatorade and water with electrolytes. I have to do certain things to stay on top of it. I won’t pretend that it’s easy, but if I pace myself and watch the things I do, and do what my doctor says, I stay pretty healthy. I have my physical therapist and masseuse out here; they keep me in shape pretty good, too, rubbing out all the kinks … because I’m always dancing.

Q: These days, it seems like artists band together for tours like “I Love the ’90s,” which feel almost like mixtapes. What is it about this music that stays fresh and never gets old for listeners?
A: I think about that time, everybody has that era where you just remember that song, like “Oh my god, it makes me feel…” You remember that song by Will Smith, “Summertime”? Every time you hear it, you go, “I remember that summer. I was at the park.” I think of that time, it was such good music, organic, and it was refreshing. Lyrically, the content was strong. I think it was just a good era of music. And I think it’s kind of like everybody grew up with it, so they’re still bumpin’ to it. My daughter even be out there like (singing Montell Jordan’s) “This Is How We Do It.”

Q: What’s your favorite moment during live performances, being in front of all those people singing along with you?
A: It’s to see the fans’ faces. There’s a couple of times — that moment when they first get to see you and that energy — it’s just like they lose it. It’s really cool. When their favorite jam comes on, they might hear the horns to (“Creep”) and they’re like, “Ahh!” You can tell some of them, it’s either (that) that’s their jam, they’re reliving their high school days or “This is the song that makes me feel great about myself.” So you just feel all the different emotions. And all their faces, it’s cool to look at when the lights aren’t blinding me.

Q: With this Kickstarter EP, you have made it known this is probably going to be the last TLC album. But has your mind changed at all being on this tour and seeing the response from fans? You just sound like you’re having so much fun. It’s hard to believe this could really be the last.
A: When we say our last, we don’t mean the last of TLC, but yes, it is the final album — studio album. That doesn’t mean we won’t do a residency. The thing that’s so great is we have a body of work now that has lasted 25 years, and hopefully this new music will make it go even longer, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be going away. So I’ll still be performing, you can still rock with us, but I doubt it’s going to make me change my mind to go in the studio to make another studio album, honestly. This industry is a little crazy for me, so I really think this has to be it.

Q: Finally, I have a few silly questions for you from some superfans. What music do you listen to when you’re taking a nice, relaxing bath?
A: Oh, that’s a good one! I love Marvin Gaye, “I Want You,” and there’s a song called “So Beautiful” by Musiq Soulchild and also Sade, “Cherish the Day.” Soft music like that calms me, because I have two (kids) that follow me, so that’s my relaxing music.

Q: Any new music you’re excited by?
A: I would say Bruno Mars because he is killing right now. He’s covering all the funk. Unfortunately, Prince … and all them are not here anymore, and he’s covering that whole genre of music. So when “24K Magic” came out, I was like, “Ohhhh!” I almost threw my phone out the window. So yes, I would say Bruno, all day.

Q: Last question. Were you prepared for how iconic your haircut would remain to this day? I know a few girls who definitely went into salons and asked for “The T-Boz.”
A: That is so awesome because I used to argue for that haircut, because in my head, I thought it was awesome. So I’m like, “Oh my god, this is going to be cool,” and I remember them being like, “What do you mean, sideburns? You’re going to look like Elvis Presley.” So that’s why I tell people, if you like something about yourself, even if people can’t see your vision, be yourself. Do what you want, because it ended up well for me. People started talking about it, and it ended up being iconic. So I never thought it would go that far, especially when I would see men with my haircut (laughs), and that was like the best ever. That is one of my favorite haircuts ever.

Scranton hip-hop artist builds fan base

Scranton hip-hop artist builds fan base

Scranton hip-hop artist Danny Griffith, who performs under the moniker 10griffy, recently released his first full-length album, “Lucid Conscience Vol. 1.”
He will be attending music production school Icon Collective in Burbank, California, this fall.
Griffith, who’s up for song of the year and best hip-hop act at this year’s Steamtown Music Awards, went On the Record to discuss his sound and his process.

Q: How did you first get involved in music?
A: I always took a pretty deep interest in music growing up, and I started playing guitar seriously when I was like 14, and then about a year and a half ago I got my hands on some production equipment and started producing music, and that led to recording, and it just changed everything for me.
Q: Where does the name 10griffy come from?
A: It’s like a play on words with Ken Griffey Jr. I grew up around baseball a lot, and I just think he’s a great baseball player and it’s a good, funny play on words.
Q: What is your process for writing music?
A: I mean, it could start a lot of different ways. Sometimes I have, like, a melody in my head, sometimes I have, like, a song idea, something to write about, but it always starts with the beat first. I like to write the beat first and then write over it so I have a perfect feel for what I’m working with, and making the beat could start with some drums, it could start with a cool guitar riff I’ll play, anything.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a musician?
A: I’d say really just getting people to take it seriously and getting the music to people’s ears, like genuinely. — not forcing it down their throats with a bunch of Facebook posts because that’s not gonna build your image. Just genuine networking I find is the hardest part, so I try to slowly but strongly build up a fan base one by one.
Q: What are the future goals for your music?
A: Definitely to make a career out of it. I’m going to a music production school (Icon Collective) this fall, I’m moving out to Burbank, California, and I’ll be working out there. I have no clue where that’ll take me, but that’s the music business I guess.

Meet 10griffy

Name: Danny Griffith

Started: January 2016

Based out of: Scranton

Genre: Psychedelic hip-hop

For fans of: Mac Miller and Tame Impala

Online: For more information and to hear his music, visit 10griffymusic.com

— paul capoccia

Sounds – August 17, 2017

Sounds – August 17, 2017

HYPERACTIVITY
MEAT WAVE —
“The Incessant”
THE GOOD: Chicago punks Meat Wave return with a crashing, banging third.
THE BAD: “The Incessant” loses focus across its final third (the droning, drunken “Birdland” brings matters to a halt), but that’s not enough to crash the entire affair.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Thankfully, most of the album is an aggressive set born of frustration and built on pounding drums and slashing guitars. Recorded by the legendary Steve Albini (Breeders, Nirvana, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion), “The Incessant” kicks into high gear with terse quick tracks such as “To Be Swayed” and “Run You Out” before the band smashes its way into more complex territories.
From there, the trio offers the slightly spooky yet still forceful “No Light.” Then there’s the jagged, post-punk title track (image the Strokes slamming into some vintage Husker Du). “Killing the Incessant” ends the record with an enormous thunderclap.
The album ends up showcasing that Meat Wave is NOT a one-note act. The music either breathes or burns itself out in an instant.
BUY IT?: Sure.
THE DRUMS — “Abysmal Thoughts”
THE GOOD: New York indie rock outfit the Drums comes back with a layered fourth.
THE BAD: No.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Frontman Jonathan Pierce is now the only remaining original and permanent member of the band. However, the Drums’ aesthetic hasn’t changed all that much. The band (the guy?) still churns out a mix of post-punk and surf rock, bringing together ’60s garage elements, the gothic ’80s and today’s do-it-yourself indie pop.
“Thoughts” also feels more experimental than past efforts. Tracks such as the haunting, slowly rising opener “Mirror” and the slightly soulful “Your Tenderness” use the standard Drums penchant for echo very effectively while delivering melodies more complex than usual. Pierce uses varying tempos and falls victim to fluctuating mood swings, ensuring the record never stays in one sonic place for too long (a slight drawback on earlier efforts).
Time will tell if the guy can keep this momentum going as a probable solo act. For now though, the act is on very solid musical ground.
BUY IT?: Yes.

WAVVES — “You’re Welcome”
THE GOOD: California garage punk act Wavves leaves Warner Bros. and releases a sixth album by its own damn self.
THE BAD: Stuck on repeat?
THE NITTY GRITTY: Wavves keeps to the formula. That is, slightly obnoxious but always catchy straight-forward, guitar-drenched rock songs. What could go wrong? Frontman Nathan Williams and his crew crank out a dozen jams that either do the quiet-loud-quiet-loud thing or simply stomp all the way through.
Tunes such as “Million Enemies” and “Stupid in Love” smack us across the teeth with big riffs and sing-along hooks. That’s never disagreeable. Then a couple of tracks dip their toes into “weirder” waters, such as the fractured doo-wop of “Come to the Valley” and the cloying, wobbly closer “I Love You.” For the most part though, Wavves keeps it tight and loud.
The group is going to have to take a step forward at some point, but that doesn’t happen on “You’re Welcome.” Maybe next time. For now, you get an engaging record, albeit one that’ll sound more than a little familiar.
BUY IT?: Your call.

Concerts – August 17, 2017

Concerts – August 17, 2017

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre 

Tickets: 570-826-1100
Donny and Marie Osmond, Thursday, Aug. 24
Greta Van Fleet, Friday, Aug. 25
IL Divo, Wednesday, Aug. 30
Earth, Wind and Fire tribute starring Shining Star, Saturday, Sept. 23
Stephen Stills and Judy Collins, Wednesday, Sept. 27
Matthew West — All In tour, Saturday, Sept. 30
Fozzy, Wednesday, Oct. 4
Linda Eder, Friday, Oct. 6
Joe Nardone Presents: A Doo Wop Celebration, Saturday, Oct. 14
Up Close with Roy Firestone, Friday, Oct. 20
Penn State’s Premiere Jazz Ensemble, Thursday, Oct. 26

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
3 Doors Down, Friday, Aug. 18 (Outdoor Summer Stage)
Lil Jon, Saturday, Aug. 19 (Wet Nightclub)
Smokey Robinson, Saturday, Aug. 19 (Outdoor Summer Stage)
Fetty Wap, Saturday, Aug. 26
Blood, Sweat & Tears, Friday, Sept. 1 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
21 Savage, Saturday, Sept. 2 (Wet Nightclub)
Andrew Dice Clay, Friday, Sept. 8 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
Artie Lange, Saturday, Sept. 16 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)
The Midtown Men, Friday, Sept. 29 (Gypsies Lounge and Nightclub)

The Pavilion at Montage Mountain, Scranton
Tickets: 570-961-9000
I Love the ’90s — The Party Continues Tour, Saturday, Aug. 26
Luke Bryan and Brett Eldredge, Wednesday, Sept. 6

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
Friar’s Point, Thursday, Aug. 17
The Beach Boys, Friday, Aug. 18
The Wall Live Extravaganza, Saturday, Aug. 19
John Butler Trio, Wednesday, Aug. 23
Shellshocked Churchills, Thursday, Aug. 24
Don McLean, Friday, Aug. 25
Sterling Koch Crossroads Duo, Wednesday, Aug. 30
Large Flowerheads, Thursday, Aug. 31
Quiet Riot with Black N’ Blue, Thursday, Sept. 7
Tyler Farr, Friday, Sept. 8

River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp.
Tickets: 570-822-2992
Aaron Fink and the Fury, Friday, Aug. 18
Tom Morgan’s Birthday Bash with an All-Star Band of Great Friends, Saturday, Aug. 19
Mike Dougherty Band — MDB tribute to Michael Jackson, Friday, Aug. 25
Suze with Half Dollar, Saturday, Aug. 26
MiZ, Friday, Sept. 8
Kung Fu Extreme Funk, Friday, Sept. 15
Mind Choir, Rosary Guild and University Drive, Saturday, Sept. 16
Still Hand String Band, Friday, Sept. 22
Steal Your Peach, Saturday, Sept. 23
Scott Sharrard, Friday, Sept. 29

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
The Funeral Portrait and Marina City, Friday, Aug. 18
Badfish (Sublime tribute), Saturday, Aug. 19
Railroad Earth, Friday, Aug. 25
T. Mac and Friends, Saturday, Aug. 26
Plumcocks CD release featuring Eternal Boy, Saturday, Sept. 2
In Your Memory, Friday, Sept. 8
An Intimate Evening of Songs and Stories with Graham Nash, Thursday, Sept. 21
David Bromberg, Friday Sept. 22
Maverick MMA III, Saturday, Sept. 30

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
Broccoli Samurai with Catullus, Thursday, Aug. 17
No Place Like Home, Friday, Aug. 18
Queen Ifrica, Saturday, Aug. 19
School of Rock, Sunday, Aug. 20
SahBabii, Tuesday, Aug. 22
Sabrina Carpenter, Wednesday, Aug. 23
John Butler Trio, Friday, Aug. 25
Mr. Brightside — 2000s Indie Night, Friday, Aug. 25
Rave of Thrones featuring Nairn, Saturday, Aug. 26
Kur, Sunday, Aug. 27
Allie X, Tuesday, Aug. 29

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
Lil Yachty, Thursday, Aug. 24
Reebok Les Mills Live, Saturday, Aug. 26
Ninja Sex Party, Sunday, Aug. 27, and Monday, Aug. 28
Danzig, Friday, Sept. 8
UB40 Legends Ali, Astro and Mickey, Saturday, Sept. 9
Project Pabst Citywide Festival, Saturday, Sept. 16
Alison Wonderland, Friday, Sept. 22
Young M.A., Saturday, Sept. 23
Two Door Cinema Club, Saturday, Sept. 30
The Kooks, Tuesday, Oct. 3

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Tickets: 800-298-4200
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Friday, Aug. 18
Shawn Mendes, Tuesday, Aug. 22
Lady Gaga, Sunday, Sept. 10, and Monday, Sept. 11
Barry Manilow, Friday, Sept. 15
The Weeknd with Gucci Mane and Nav, Sept. 16
Arcade Fire, Sunday, Sept. 17
Katy Perry: Witness the Tour, Monday, Sept. 18
Halsey, Saturday, Oct. 7
Guns N’ Roses, Sunday, Oct. 8
Bruno Mars, Tuesday, Oct. 10
Fall Out Boy, Sunday, Oct. 29

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, New York
Tickets: 866-781-2922
Goo Goo Dolls with Phillip Philips, Saturday, Aug. 19
Mark Nadler: Cole Porter, After Dark, Sunday, Aug. 20
Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams Jr., Saturday, Aug. 26
Sting with the Last Bandoleros and Joe Sumner, Friday, Sept. 1
An Evening of Chamber Music with the Manhattan Chamber Players, Thursday, Sept. 14
Scott Samuelson and Jeanne MacDonald: Old Friends, Saturday, Sept. 16
Graham Nash, Sunday, Sept. 24
Cabaret Night with Borislav Strulev and Friends, Thursday, Sept. 28
Electrifying Evening with ZOFO, Thursday, Oct. 19

Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tickets: 212-307-7171
Lionel Richie: All the Hits with Mariah Carey, Saturday, Aug. 19
Billy Joel, Monday, Aug. 21
Mega Summer Concert, Thursday, Aug. 24
Marc Anthony, Saturday, Aug. 26
Miel San Marcos, Saturday, Sept. 2
Eric Clapton, Thursday, Sept. 7, and Friday, Sept. 8
Depeche Mode: Global Spirit Tour with Warpaint, Saturday, Sept. 9, and Monday, Sept. 11
Arcade Fire, Tuesday, Sept. 12
Sam Hunt, Thursday, Sept. 14
Paul McCartney, Friday, Sept. 15, and Sunday, Sept. 17

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
Jerry Seinfeld, Friday, Sept. 22
Joe Bonamassa, Wednesday, Sept. 20; Thursday, Sept. 21; and Saturday, Sept. 23
Seu Jorge Presents: The Life Aquatic — Tribute To David Bowie, Wednesday, Sept. 27
Jim Gaffigan: Noble Ape tour, Thursday, Sept. 28, through Saturday, Sept. 30
Kevin James, Saturday, Oct. 28, and Sunday, Oct. 29
Ludovico Einaudi, Monday, Oct. 30
Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, Wednesday, Nov. 1
The Fab Faux with the Hogshead Horns and the Creme Tangerine Strings, Saturday, Nov. 4
Tori Amos, Tuesday, Nov. 7, and Wednesday, Nov. 8

Clubs – August 17, 2017

Clubs – August 17, 2017

Thursday, Aug. 17
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
The Bog, 341 Adams Ave., Scranton: Space Jam! An Electric City Boogie
Boulder View Tavern, 123 Lake Harmony Road, Lake Harmony: Strawberry Jam
Chacko’s Memory Lane Lounge, 195 N. Wilkes-Barre Blvd., Wilkes-Barre: Kartune
Elixir Bistro Bar at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Robb Brown
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
Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Separate Ways the Band (Journey tribute)
The Olde Brook Inn, Route 307, Moscow: Tony Vergnetti
OSE (Oak Street Express), 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor: DJ Famous
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Mark Sutorka

Friday, Aug. 18
279 Bar & Grill, 279 S. River St., Wilkes-Barre: The Husty Brothers
Augustine’s Club 17, 518 N. Main St., Old Forge: Tina and JoeThe Beaumont Inn, 4437 Route 309, Dallas: Sage
Boulder View Tavern, 123 Lake Harmony Road, Lake Harmony: The Frost Duo
Benny Brewing Co., 1429 Sans Souci Parkway, Wilkes-Barre: Adam McKinley
Breakers at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Nowhere Slow
Cove Haven Resort, 194 Lakeview Drive, Lakeville: DJ Marc Anthony and comics Pat O’Donnell, Mike Eagan and Mike Burton
Elixir Bistro Bar at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Cruise Control acoustic duo
Grotto Pizza/Grand Slam Sports Bar, RR 415, Harveys Lake: Empire in Decline
Heat Bar & Nightclub, 69-71 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: Inferno Drag Show
Irish Wolf Pub, 503 Linden St., Scranton: Descendency, Terrorize This, Threatpoint, Beyond Fallen and Drama Scream
JJ Bridjes Restaurant, 925 Northern Blvd., Clarks Summit: Crimson Tears
The Keys, 244 Penn Ave., Scranton: University Drive, Permanence and Black Hole Heart
Mendicino’s Pizza, Route 502, Covington Twp.: Dan Reynolds Duo
New Penny, 1827 N. Main Ave., Scranton: Dashboard Mary
The Olde Brook Inn, Route 307, Moscow: Derrick Kenyon
O’Leary’s Pub, 514 Ash St., Scranton: Pink Slip
OSE (Oak Street Express), 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor: DJ Nino Blanco
Paradise Stream Resort, 6213 Carlton Road, Mount Pocono: Byrd Pressley Band and John Knight
Parker House Tavern, 12 E. Parker St., Scranton: Reach for the Sky
Pocono Palace Resort, 5241 Milford Road, East Stroudsburg: DJ Chris and comics Brad Lowery, Mike Gaffney and Kevin Lee
River Street Jazz Cafe, 665 N. River St., Plains Twp.: Aaron Fink & the Fury
Streamside Bandstand at the Woodlands, 1073 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Boomer Happy Hour with Frankie and Toby
Thirst T’s Bar & Grill, 120 Lincoln St., Olyphant: Nowhere Slow Duo and Kevin Vest
The VaudeVille Inn, 1259 Bryn Mawr St., Scranton: Karaoke with DJ Naomi
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: London Force
Wise Crackers Comedy Club at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Andrew Kennedy and Bill Campbell

Saturday, Aug. 19
279 Bar & Grill, 279 S. River St., Wilkes-Barre: Empire in Decline
Ale Mary’s at the Bittenbender, 126 Franklin Ave., Scranton: Jay Orrell
American Grill, 1320 Wyoming Ave., Exeter: Rock U
BADS Bar, 415 N. Main St., Luzerne : Riffmatik
​Bartolai Winery, Route 92 and Coolidge Avenue, Falls: Euphoria
Boulder View Tavern, 123 Lake Harmony Road, Lake Harmony: Mother Nature’s Sons
Breakers at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Crimson Tears
Cove Haven Resort, 194 Lakeview Drive, Lakeville: DJ Trex and Cassadee Pope
Elixir Bistro Bar at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Silver Meteor
Evolution Nightclub at the Woodlands, 1073 Highway 315, Plains Twp.: Dance Party
Grotto Pizza/Grand Slam Sports Bar, RR 415, Harveys Lake: Stoned by Proxy
​Heat Bar & Nightclub, 69-71 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: Laila McQueen of RuPaul’s Drag Race
Irish Wolf Pub, 503 Linden St., Scranton: Rage On, Prosody and Earthmouth
McGrath’s Pub and Eatery, 112 E. Main St., Dalton: The Third Nut
Mendicino’s Pizza, Route 502, Covington Twp.: Last Call Duo
O’Leary’s Pub, 514 Ash St., Scranton: Fish and Friends
OSE (Oak Street Express), 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor: Better Than Bad
Parker House Tavern, 12 E. Parker St., Scranton: Gypsy Wagon
Paradise Stream Resort, 6213 Carlton Road, Mount Pocono: Into the Spin and Buddy Fitzpatrick
Pocono Palace Resort, 5241 Milford Road, East Stroudsburg: Where’s Pete and comic John Knight
River Street Jazz Cafe, 665 N. River St., Plains Twp.: Tom Moran’s Birthday Bash featuring Mike Specht, MiZ, Justin Mazer, Mike Doughtery, John Ventre, Jason Specht and Pete Specht
Sidney’s Lounge, 820 Northern Blvd., Clarks Summit: FullCircle
Skytop Lodge, 1 Skytop Lodge Road, Skytop: Doug Smith Orchestra
Streamside Bandstand at the Woodlands, 1073 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Sugar & Spice
Thirst T’s Bar & Grill, 120 Lincoln St., Olyphant: Anytime Soon and Ron Schoonover
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Grey Fog
Wise Crackers Comedy Club at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Andrew Kennedy and Bill Campbell

Sunday, Aug. 20
The Beaumont Inn, 4437 Route 309, Dallas: Dex
Grotto Pizza/Grand Slam Sports Bar, RR 415, Harveys Lake: Great Rock Pair
Heat Bar & Nightclub, 69-71 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre: Not Yo Granny’s Bingo
Irish Wolf Pub, 503 Linden St., Scranton: Chief Big Way featuring Joe Belladonna of Anthrax
The Olde Brook Inn, Route 307, Moscow: Riley Loftus
OSE (Oak Street Express), 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor: Sally’s Ride
The VaudeVille Inn, 1259 Bryn Mawr St., Scranton: Open mic night
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Karaoke with DJ Huff

Monday, Aug. 21
Duffy’s Coffee House, 306 S. State St., Clarks Summit: Open jam session
OSE (Oak Street Express), 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor: Paul LaQuintano
Skyy Vu Deckbar at the Woodlands, 1073 Route 315, Wilkes-Barre: Strawberry Jam
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton:
DJ APTRIK

Tuesday, Aug. 22
OSE (Oak Street Express), 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor: Violet Sisters
Streamside Bandstand at the Woodlands, 1073 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Streamside Karaoke
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Patrick McGlynn

Wednesday, August 23
Bazil, 1101 Northern Blvd., Clarks Summit: Marko Marcinko Jazz Trio
The Crimson Lion Hookah Lounge, 37 E. South St., Wilkes-Barre: Trivia Night
Levels Bar & Grill, 519 Linden St., Scranton: Open mic with J.R. Huffsmith
Ole Tyme Charley’s Restaurant & Pub, 31 S. River St., Plains Twp.: Karaoke
O’Leary’s Pub, 514 Ash St., Scranton: Jami Novak Band
OSE (Oak Street Express), 601 N. Main Ave., Taylor: Speaker Jam Karaoke
Ruth’s Chris Steak House at Mohegan Sun Pocono, 1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.: Live Music Wednesdays
Skyy Vu Deckbar at the Woodlands, 1073 Route 315, Wilkes-Barre: Smoke on the Water featuring Marty Edwards & Heartbeat
The V-Spot Bar, 906 Providence Road, Scranton: Riley Loftus and Neil Nicastro
Whiskey Dick’s, 308 N. Washington Ave., Scranton: Trivia Night

Sounds – August 10, 2017

Sounds – August 10, 2017

ORILLAZ – “Humanz”
THE GOOD: Cartoon band and long-time Damon Albarn (Blur) project Gorillaz comes back with a fourth proper album and first in seven years.
THE BAD: The Gorillaz catalog is one of diminishing returns. “Humanz” is fine, but continues this downward trend.
THE NITTY GRITTY: When Albarn started putting this record together in late 2015, he told all collaborators to imagine a world after Donald Trump wins the U.S. Presidency. Prophetic? Well at the time, a lot of people didn’t see it actually happening. So, the entire vibe of “Humanz” is a rebellious doomsday house party thing; not overtly political, but subtle jabs against the new establishment are certainly here.
Too bad the record feels extremely scattershot; some collaborations working much better than others. And all too often, Albarn himself slips too far into the background. Still, highlights include the slick Kelela contribution “Submission,” the heart-wrenching Benjamin Clementine piece “Hallelujah Money,” and the dark damaged funk of “Sex Murder Party.”
BUY IT?: Sure … and spend the extra couple of bucks on the deluxe edition if only for the super strange Carly Simon appearance.

PICK A PIPER – “Distance”
THE GOOD: Canadian electronic artist Brad Weber (AKA Pick a Piper) travels the world, finds inspiration and creates “Distance.”
THE BAD: No.
THE NITTY GRITTY: A sometimes-collaborator with electronic/dance artist Caribou, Weber now fronts his own collective with a couple of musician buddies and a handful of guest vocalists. “Distance” is a nine-song travelogue that’s half vocal and half instrumental. The beats and atmospherics always take center stage as the man leaps between synth-based indie pop tunes and more ambient rhythmic pieces.
“Distance” finds a nice balance between the two extremes; the record is an incredibly coherent whole with a seamless flow. The collection also slips into a happy medium between aggressive dance floor bangers and more delicate chillwave. You won’t get stressed, but you won’t drift off either. From the swirling choruses on “Geographically Opposed” to the tribal female chants decorating “Flood of My Eyes” to the pulsating bounce carrying “January Feels Lost,” one gets swept up in the colorful and throbbing surroundings.
BUY IT?: Sure.

FUTURE ISLANDS – “The Far Field”
THE GOOD: Baltimore synth-pop/indie rock outfit Future Islands come back with a confident fifth.
THE BAD: No complaints.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Their formative years behind them, Future Islands broke out big time three years ago when the band’s performance of “Seasons” on the Late Show with David Letterman became an internet sensation. All of a sudden, fortunes changed for the better while the guys were touring for what was already their fourth album.
So where do you go from there? “The Far Field” keeps the momentum pushing forward. Frontman/lyricist Samuel T. Herring and his crew deliver a tight record filled with confident compositions that continue to blur the lines between new wave and post-punk. One can detect the New Order influence within the backbeats and basslines, traces of O.M.D. spread across the keyboards, and big dramatic melodies in the tradition of Doves or Editors on top of it all. Toss in one duet with Blondie’s Debbie Harry and the evening is complete.
BUY IT?: Definitely.