Music critics' picks
POP Mike Brenner was halfway done recording the last Slo-Mo album of Dobro-steel-guitar driven, Phillycentric, slo-groove rock, roots 'n' soul when his producer brought in local rapper Mic Wrecka to help on a song that became the killer title cut: "My Buzz Comes Back."
Mike Brenner was halfway done recording the last Slo-Mo album of Dobro-steel-guitar driven, Phillycentric, slo-groove rock, roots 'n' soul when his producer brought in local rapper Mic Wrecka to help on a song that became the killer title cut: "My Buzz Comes Back."
"We clicked so well I erased much of what I'd recorded and remade the album with him," said Brenner. Wrecka's on the new "Smokey Mountain" disc, as are vocalists/players Sue Rosetti and Steph Hayes (Stargazer Lily) and Lauren Hart, plus bassist Steve Demarest and percussionists Mark Schreiber and Hoagy Wing. The new disc is "much more organic and cohesive," assesses Brenner, "with a '70s R&B-band feel sometimes popping through."
The tunes are catchy as hell, the production playfully perverse - twangy and urbane at the same time. Celebrate the album release twice, with a free-at-noon concert on WXPN (88.5-FM), then an evening show.
World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., 7:30 tonight, $15 and $25, 215-222-1400, www.worldcafelive.com.
- Jonathan Takiff
It's selector's choice when Ruff Ryder DJ/producer Swizz Beats teams with Cosmic Kev and Diamond Kuts for a turntable-ism affair this weekend to celebrate DJ Buttaball Ed's birthday.
The Bronx-born Beats has cemented his place in the upper echelon of hip-hop producers since his 2002 mixtape-style debut, "Ghetto Stories." He's worked with Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, Foxy Brown, Mya, Mary J. Blige, Eve and many others.
Veteran DJ Kev of Power 99 made a name for himself in the early '90s with a series of mixtapes and is known for his sharp turntable techniques.
Crocodile Rock Cafe, 520 W. Hamilton St., Allentown, Pa., 9 tonight, 21+, $20, 610-434-4600, crocodilerockcafe.com.
- Damon C. Williams
The Rosebuds are North Carolina husband-and-wife duo Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp. In 2003, their bright, indie-pop tunes caught the ears of Merge Records, run by Superchunk's former indie-rock It Couple, Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance - and more famously, the home to Arcade Fire. Their debut, "The Rosebuds Make Out," was a hook-laden mix of the Pixies and Yo La Tengo. In 2005, the band took a less successful, darker detour with "Birds Make Good Neighbors." Their latest, "Night of the Furies" is the best of both worlds. Bowerbirds and Greyhounds open.
Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 9 p.m. Wednesday, $10, 215-739-9684, johnnybrendas.com.
- Sara Sherr
This weekend's monthly Jazz Vespers at Old Pine should have continued the post-surgery comeback that Zan Gardner began last month with a triumphant show at Chestnut Hill's Mermaid Inn. The beloved Philly vocalist had been injured in a December fall.
Tragically, Gardner's throaty, playful voice was silenced by a May 1 car accident, just one day before her 59th birthday. The Vespers concert will now be dedicated to her, with friend and fellow vocalist Ms. Justine performing some of Gardner's favorite tunes with the late singer's usual trio - Dave Posmontier (piano), Paul Gehman (bass) and Tony Deangelis (drums). Gardner and Ms. Justine recorded together on "Father John and His Ladies," the 2000 CD by pianist "Father John" D'Amico, the music coordinator for Jazz Vespers for the past 15 years.
Old Pine Street Church, 412 Pine St., 5 p.m. Sunday, $12, 215-925-8051, www.oldpine.org.
- Shaun Brady
Chamber Music Now! ends its season with a flourish, commissioning four composers to write music featuring Romanian cellist Ovidiu Marinescu. "Four Ways to View a City" also expands its celebration of Philadelphia through the visual medium of film.
The assigned artists include composers Andrea Clearfield (whose music is visually represented by filmmaker Chris Garvin), Richard Belcastro (filmmakers Can Yegen and Ed Feldman), David Ludwig (filmmaker Deron Albright) and Paul Geissinger, who created his own film. This has the makings of a revelatory event.
Harold Prince Theatre, Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut St., 3 and 8 p.m. tomorrow, $15, 215-898-6701, www.pennpresents.org.
- Tom Di Nardo