Little Boots at Making Tiempo
This month's edition of DJ and impresario Dave Pianka's Making Time dance party is a three-for-one deal. It's playfully renamed Making Tiempo because, although the show will get under way Saturday night, it'll be May 5 by the time the action really gets going. The headliner is diminutive British dance diva Victoria Hesketh, also known as Little Boots, whose album Nocturnes, the follow-up to her 2009 Eurodance debut Hands, is due out next week. Also on the bill are Italian DJ/production duo Tiger & Woods, and Beach Fossils, Dustin Payseur's melancholy Brooklyn dream-pop band. And of course, Dave P., Sammy Slice, Mike Z., and all the other Making Time DJs will be spinning in multiple rooms, upstairs and down, until the wee hours of Cinco de Mayo morning.
- Dan DeLuca
Grandchildren likes to describe itself as an electro-acoustic orchestral pop band from Philadelphia. It originated as a recording project that fused folk songs with sampled beats, then evolved into a small orchestra known for high-energy live performances featuring multi-instrumentalist swapping. Not bad as far as aesthetic self-chronicles go. What Grandchildren doesn't tell you has to do with magic and sparkle; then again, save that for the music. While its cinematic 2010 debut, Everlasting, was an intimate, psychedelic affair, Grandchildren's new record, Golden Age, is slightly hotter and certainly weirder. Closer to an approximation of its live double-drummed and intricately percussive sound, the new album - produced by Chris Powell from Man Man and Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog) - is gently harmonious, winsomely tribal, and eerily high-pitched, just like the records Peter Gabriel used to make when he had a dark sense of humor. Grandchildren plays its record-release gig only days before Golden Age is out: Look for its "Sunrise" single at YouTube for further proof of its frisky sound.
- A.D. Amorosi
It's fitting that the only nonoriginal on Gina Sicilia's superb fourth album, It Wasn't Real, is by the late, great Etta James. Still in her 20s, Sicilia, a singer and songwriter from Newtown, remains rooted in, but not limited to, the blues. Her smoky alto is a striking instrument, but the way she harnesses its earthy power reflects a maturity that's also found in her frank songwriting. The result is a combination of polished craft and gut-level emotion that is a knockout, and earns Sicilia the right to comparisons between herself and James.
- Nick Cristiano