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Our Weekly Concert Picks: April 23–April 29

A jam-packed week for shows!

A jam-packed week for shows!

Friday, April 25: Low Cut Connie

Philly rock fivesome Low Cut Connie craft brash, booze-soaked, bar-band rockers, hearkening back to a time when rock'n roll was king, and bands balled out with abandon. The brainchild of Adam Weiner, a disillusioned pianist in an NYC karaoke bar who one day decided he was fed up and never coming back—Low Cut Connie is fueled by good times, girls, and moving far, far away from their karaoke roots. Their sophomore record, Call Me Sylvia, is a gritty, high-energy rocker that incorporates bits of classic rock, rockability, British invasion, and more, for a result impossible to listen to without dancing along. Live, the fivesome prove equally inspiring, between Weiner's impassioned Jerry Lee Lewis keyboard banging, and singer/guitarist Dan Finnemore's catchy melodies. They headline Johnny Brenda's this Friday, playing tunes from Sylvia, and possibly some new ones too (we hear there's a new record in the works). Come for the tasty beats; stay for the vibes!

9:15 at Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $12. Tickets available here.


Friday, April 25: Woods

As the weather warms up and spring blooms across the city, all I wanna do is drink beer outside and listen to Woods, the breezy, summer pop project of Woodsist co-founder Jeremy Earl, and the type of mellow tunes that make you feel better about absolutely everything. Formed nearly 10 years ago as a solo project for Earl, Woods won props for sleepy, bedroom-folk melodies with surprisingly hooky choruses, and Earl's unique, gentle falsetto. As his popularity grew, so did his band size—emerging finally as a quartet in 2009 and never looking back. Along the way, they're released a staggering eight full-length records, and founded the Woodsist Fest in Big Sur, CA (whose line-up this year features former Philadelphian Meg Baird, in addition to Real Estate, Foxygen, and more). They're now touring behind 2014's With Light and Love, a laid-back and earnest collection of tunes that add a little polish and a little heart to their already impressive catalogue.

8:30 at Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., $12. Tickets available here.


Friday, April 25: M.I.A.

10 years after she burst into public consciousness—rapping about the Iraq War and gun control while riding an elephant—M.I.A. remains a controversial force on the scene. And the singer (born Mathangi Arulpragasam) is totally ok with that. This Friday, she brings her creative jamz to the Tower, touring in support of new record Matangi. In celebration, here are five reasons we <3 M.I.A.

    1. She's not a slave to genre. "I don't pay attention to what's happening now," she told Pitchfork, weeks before Matangi's release. "My references are beyond the [music] industry." Pretentious? Maybe. But it's also sort of true—no one combines dance, hip-hop, Indian Bhangra music, punk and art rock in quite the same way, and we love her for it.
    2. …or anyone else for that matter. When label Interscope delayed Matangi's release by months, M.I.A. threatened to leak it herself. When the NFL tried to sue her for the infamous middle finger incident, she fought back, pointing out the NFL isn't actually a bastion of purity. Try and cross M.I.A. and she will cut you (with her words).
    3. She's not afraid to get political. From her earliest releases, M.I.A. has peppered her tunes with political commentary—and has taken to Twitter to call out the Sri Lankan and UK governments, The Nobel Prize selection committee, WikiLeaks criticizers, and more.
    4. She looks (and sounds) FIERCE. M.I.A. is a fashion icon. Elle rounds up some of her best looks here (my favorite is  #6).
    5. She's probably more centered than most of us. Matangi was supposed inspired by Hindu goddess Matangi, and overflows with references to reincarnation and spirituality. "l found meaning in the universe that makes sense to me," she tells Complex Music. "You make choices based on what makes you feel good and not constantly compromising. I think that is the message of this whole album."

8:00 at the Tower Theater, 69th and Ludlow Sts., $35. Tickets available here.

Saturday, April 26: Plastic Little

It's been 4 years since Plastic Little's last hometown show—long enough that they might have dropped off your radar completely, if you're not as obsessed as we are. Allow us to provide a refresher.  Formed in the early aughts by Philadelphians Jayson Musson (PackofRats), Kurt Hunte (No Body's Child), Jon Folmar (Jon Thousand), Si Young Lee (DJ Si Young) and Michael Stern (SQUID)—Plastic Little turned heads with ridiculous monikers, fly beats, and hilarious, often biting lyrics that poked fun at everyone and anyone—other rappers; "the industry"; Male Chauvinism and Black Power culture; Harry Potter fans, etc. They called it quits a few years back—according to Wikipedia, Musson's now an artist in BKLYN—but will come out of retirement this Saturday to play a raucous set at Underground Arts, alongside Needlepoints, Sweetheart, and Gun$ Garcia. No word yet on whether they've prepped new material, but we're hoping for "Miller Time" (which you might recognize as a sample in Baauer's "Harlem Shake") and some trademark Plastic Little irreverence. See you there Philly!

8:00 at Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St., $3 with RSVP, $10 at the door. Tickets available here 


Tuesday, April 29: Future Islands

Baltimore synth-rockers Future Islands are one of those bands that has been sorta on the edge of my radar for years now, but earned a proper place in my heart (and on my playlists) with excellent new record Singles. I have a feeling I'm not the only one. A trio featuring impassioned front man Samuel T. Herring—a khaki-clad crooner with a receding hairline and deep, booming voice—Future Islands evolved, over the years, from a heartstrings-soaked new wave adventure to the type of bold, expressive dance rock that makes you wanna kick off your shoes and try out this move. Herring has one of those instantly recognizable voices in rock—sometimes thick and gruff, like Tom Waits, and sometimes calm and soothing, like Rod Stewart—and when laid over a poppy dance beat, the effect is pretty much mind-blowing. They play the First Unitarian Church this Tuesday, where we are sure much dancing will occur—hope you scooped up your tix already though, because this show is SOLD OUT.

8:30 at the First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St., sold out.

Last call for April residencies…

In addition to all the above, it's the last week to catch St. James & The Apostles (playing Ortlieb's Lounge on Wednesday, April 23) and Night Panther (playing Bourbon & Branch on Friday, April 25) at their weekly spots. Also noteworthy: Night Panther's special guest for the closing night show—none other than Philly faves Pattern Is Movement! Revisit our full guide to spring residencies here.