Wednesday 12/12: Nada Surf + Eternal Summers at the First Unitarian Church
When Nada Surf first burst onto the scene in 1996 with sarcastic summer anthem "Popular," I don't think anyone suspected that a decade and a half later, they'd still be making music—let alone rising to the ranks of indie's most respected veterans. But—to quote the band themselves—"there comes a time when you can't judge no more"—and indeed Nada Surf completely re-invented themselves after being dropped by label Elektra in 1998, going on to release 4 records of sparkling indie pop, including 2012's lovely The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy. Live, the band is a wonder to behold, between front man Matthew Caws' emotive crooning and bassist Daniel Lorca's constant chain-smoking. Roanoke, VA's Eternal Summers, whose 2012 record Correct Behavior was one of our fave understated releases of the year, open.
8:30 at the First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut Street, $20. Tickets available here.
Wednesday 12/12: Cold Fronts at Kung Fu Necktie
Philly's Cold Fronts are a band on the rise, thanks in part to big pop licks, and a spirit of rock'n roll revelry. Since forming 2 years back, the band quickly proved its mettle, playing an insane number of shows, including opening spots for fellow Philadelphians mewithout and Free Energy, plus The Morning Benders, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., and more. Craig Almquist sings and shreds like the best of 'em while Alex Smith keeps things moving on drums. The band's debut EP Pretty American is available as a free download via Bandcamp; scoop it up now + get psyched.
8 p.m. at Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front Street, $5. Tickets available here.
Friday 12/14: The Polyphonic Spree Holiday Show at the Troc
Honestly, we're not quite sure WHAT to make of this event, which is advertised as including TWO sets from the band (a rock set and "holiday" set), plus holiday cartoons and special guest performances from the Franklin Institute Traveling Science Show, the Philadelphia Zoo On Wheels, and something referred to simply as "Ballooniac." We don't know what to expect…but we can't wait to find out! Perhaps no band is better poised to spread joy than the Spree, whose impressive 18-member line-up is already suited to grand theatrical productions and moments of choral splendor. Since forming in 2000, the band has released 4 studio albums, including the recent HolidayDream, which features holiday faves like "Let It Snow" and "White Christmas," re-imagined with an impish spirit. On record, they're appropriately festive…but we have a feeling they'll positively EXPLODE with cheer played live.
7 p.m. at the Trocadero, 1003 Arch Street, $20. Tickets available here.
Saturday 12/15: Forgetters at the Barbary
25 years ago in the NYU cafeteria, Blake Schwarzenbach joined a band. That band was Jawbreaker, and it ruled so hard, going on to release iconic post-punk anthems such as "Boxcar" and "Save Your Generation." When Jawbreaker broke up in the mid-90s, Schwarzenbach formed Jets to Brazil, whose low-key melodies and incisive lyrics nursed many an emo kid to sleep in the early part of the century. Now Schwarzenbach is back with another new project, Forgetters, along with Against Me! drummer Kevin Mahon and Hiretsukan's Michelle Proffit. The band's debut, self-titled record dropped last month, and features an array of excellent post-punk anthems, and trademark Schwarzenbachian vocals. The Barbary's small capacity means this should be an intimate performance—not to mention a chance to get up close and personal with Blake.
7:30 pm at The Barbary, 951 Frankford Ave., $10. Tickets available here.