Concert picks for the first week of December!
Thursday, December 4: Locals
Cool new band alert! Locals are a brand new local band — brand new as in just played their first show about a month ago — but have already won us over with playful summer pop guaranteed to zap your winter stasis. Conceived 3 years back when Philadelphians Adam Cantiello and Matthew Young bonded over a love of old surf tunes (think The Beach Boys, The Ventures, Endless Summer) — Locals slowly evolved into a five-piece band, whose layered, percussive grooves boast the breezy feel of seasoned rock vets (I'm instantly reminded of another "local" band featuring five dudes making island rock). Along the way, they've attracted the attention of many a local tastemaker — and this Thursday, they'll help introduce their tunes to Philly, playing alongside silky smooth crooners Bel Heir. Before you go: check out this live performance of "Stay Away" from our friends at Out of Town Films, then get ready to love Locals.
9:00 at Johnny Brendas, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $12. Tickets available here.
Friday, December 5: The Work Drugs Christmas Spectacle
Honestly, we're not 100% sure what to make of this event, billed as a spectacle by Philly popsters Work Drugs — but we're hoping for Santa hats, cocoa, and possibly some Mariah Carey Christmas covers. For nearly 4 years now, the duo of Thomas Crystal and Benjamin Louisiana (plus friends) has regaled crowds with their self-described music for "dancing, boating, yachting, sexting, and living," releasing songs with a prolificacy that makes Bob Pollard look lazy, and gaining more than 150,000 Facebook fans while doing so. We've already detailed our love for their 2012 record Absolute Bearing, which marries images of gleeful destruction with smooth-as-ice beats — since then, the band's released five more records of hazy new wave, including 2014's hypnotic Runaways. They're joined this Friday by local up-and-comers Vita and the Wolf, featuring the smoky vocals and attitude of Jennifer Page. Wear your best holiday sweater!
8:30 at Boot and Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., $10–12. Tickets available here.
Friday, December 5: Low Cut Connie
Low Cut Connie are a great live band. I know — in a world where every band ever instagrammed is "killing it," it's hard to believe…but Low Cut Connie are actually really great. It's no surprise, considering their history — singer/pianist Adam Weiner cut his teeth pounding out tunes at a NYC karaoke bar, where he undoubtedly honed his finger-work and dramatic flair. But it turns out he really shines when he's center stage — and with Low Cut Connie he does just that. A collaboration with longtime friend Dan Finnemore, Low Cut Connie began as a side-project and took off running, propelled by Weiner's drunken howl and Jerry Lee Lewis bounce and Finnemore's wicked guitar lines. Along the way, they released two records of throwback-style, bar-band blues (lauded by NPR and Rolling Stone alike), and played literally hundreds of shows, stomping, sweating, climbing on stage equipment, attacking their instruments, and turning every performance into the feel-good throwdown of the year. This Friday, they bring their booze-soaked tunes to JBs, where they promise some new material and more unabashed raging. You've been warned, Philly.
9:30 at Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $12–14. Tickets available here.
Saturday, December 6: Yo La Tengo
Yo La Tengo hail from New Jersey, land of highways, and Springsteen fans, and Jersey shore guidos, and dozens of sleepy, tree-lined streets, tucked in small towns nestled in valleys between where the freeways meet. The latter, it seems, are the main source of inspiration for the trio, who have been crafting quiet, lovely tunes for nearly 30 years now, with no signs of slowing down. Formed in 1984 by Ira Kaplan, a wiry, bookish type with an undoubtedly awesome record collection — plus Georgia Hubley, his shy, sandy-haired, honey-voiced wife — YLT transitioned from just another indie band, gigging around the tri-state area — to revered legends among the Matador crowd, and one of the only bands I've seen half a dozen times and still get excited to see again. Along the way, they picked up bassist James McNew, whose countermelodies help flesh out the YLT sound — and released 13 near-perfect records that surprise you with their nuance. Live, the band is known for both improvisation and special guests (in the past 5 years I've seen them perform with both a giant spinning wheel and the Sun Ra Arkestra) — which means their performance this Saturday should be epic indeed.
8:00 at The Troc, 1003 Arch St., $22.50–24. Tickets available here.