With three albums since 2005, Philadelphia's Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have found an art-punk place somewhere between the primal urgency of the Velvet Underground and the Afro-ambient lean of Talking Heads. That ideal is almost a mission statement, as heard in its eponymous debut CD, 2007's Some Loud Thunder, and 2011's Hysterical. Little, though, has been said about the band's live presentation. Vocalist/lyricist Alec Ounsworth (whom I last heard singing as part of Fergus Carey's "The Last Waltz" at the Trocadero), drummer/producer Sean Greenhalgh, and whoever else they can scare up create a hypnotic groove with a web of noisy, spindly guitars to go with its words of hurt feelings and passive/aggressive passion. If that's not a great way to spend a New Year's Eve, brother, you're just not angsty enough.
- A.D. Amorosi
You'd be hard pressed to find a sluttier, dancier, more forward-thinking party in Philly than Making Time, especially for this year-ending bash. While DJs Dave P, Sammy Slice, Mike Z, and Dave Pak do their patented "indiedance.cocainesexjams.partytrainanthems.nitemusic.futuristicsounds" on the main floor, SnKpaK and the boys of Rocktits rock tunes in the Bear Den of Room 2. As this party roams throughout the two open floors of Union Transfer, I'm uncertain whether these various artists are sharing or cramming the space. Then again, the multiple tsunamis of sound and the crush of bodies are part of the mad fun. Then there's Room 3, the Hypercage, featuring Philly's slam-dancing Broadzilla DJ team, along with Adam Sparkles and Tony Modica. This nutty turn-of-year mess is the place to be if you're looking to sweat.
- A.D. Amorosi
He never really broke through after making a splash with his Springsteen-esque 1986 debut, but at least John Eddie has enough of a sense of humor to have titled his 2003 comeback album Who the Hell Is John Eddie? Artistically, at least, the Nashville-based, former Jersey Shore rocker continues to rise above any professional travails, demonstrating stirring faith and perseverance, as well as good humor, while adding some country touches along the way. No doubt for this occasion, he will break out "Happy New Year" from his 2012 album Same Old Brand New Me. The song is better-known in the version by Kid Rock, who is obviously a fan - he has also recorded two other Eddie songs. Make sure to arrive early for opener Scott McClatchy, a local roots-rocker who has been doing his best work in recent years.
- Nick Cristiano