Music picks: Beach Slang plays the Church, Good Old War brings along a 'Voice' contestant
Beach Slang, The Robert Glasper Experiment, and Good Old War
Bad name for a good band: Beach Slang are an all-grown-up Philadelphia pop-punk band that pushes all its emotional chips to the center of the table on pretty much every song, as they do on The Things We Do Find the People Who Like Us, a release that has turned up on quite a few 2015 best-of lists.
Songs such as "Too Late to Die Young" and "Young and Alive" arrive with extra gravitas because, at 40, leader James Alex _ formerly of '90s and '00s Bethlehem punk band Weston _ is not so young anymore, and his insistence on delivering every song with nonironic life-on-the-line urgency creates an air of desperation to, above all, make a deeply felt connection with his audience. --Dan DeLuca
Beach Slang, with Tim Kasher and Field Mouse, plays at 8 p.m. Saturday at the First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St. Tickets: $13-$15. Information: 215-821-7575.
The Robert Glasper Experiment
Robert Glasper's relationship with genre is fluid and slippery. His two Black Radio albums with his quartet, the Robert Glasper Experiment, were nominated for R&B Grammys (the 2012 one was the winner over the 2013 edition), and the pianist plays a prominent role on Kendrick Lamar's smash-hit rap album To Pimp a Butterfly. On the other hand, this year's release with his acoustic trio, Covered: Recorded Live at Capitol Studios, got a Grammy nod for best jazz instrumental album, even while it included songs by Radiohead and Philly's Musiq Soulchild and Bilal alongside such jazz standards as "Stella By Starlight."
On Tuesday night at World Cafe Live, he will lead the Experiment. Expect the show to be wide-ranging and genre-agnostic. Sultry jazz vocalist and songwriter Laurin Talese opens. --Steve Klinge
The Robert Glasper Experiment, with Laurin Talese, is to perform at 8 p.m. Tuesday at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. Tickets: $20 advance/$23 day of show. Information: 215-222-1400.
Good Old War
For this summer's Good Old War album Broken Into Better Shape, Philly's Keith Goodwin and Dan Schwartz worked as a duo.
But drummer Tim Arnold is back in the fold as a touring member. He'll be onstage Friday night when the band returns to Union Transfer, where they recorded Live from the City of Brotherly Love in 2012.
Arnold participated in the early writing stages of Broken, Good Old War's fourth studio record, before decamping to Atlanta to start a family. Goodwin and Schwartz went on to collaborate with some outside writers, including Emile Haynie, who has worked with Bruno Mars and Fun.
Broken features a glossy pop sheen that's new to the band, but it's anchored in the folk harmonies and easygoing, sing-along melodies that have been, and still are, the trio's hallmark.
Sawyer Fredericks, winner of season 8 of The Voice, opens. --Steve Klinge
Good Old War, with Sawyer Fredericks, is to play at 8:30 p.m. Friday at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. Tickets: $20. Information: 215-232-2100.