In the round
The Tin Angel offers its own holiday gift Saturday night when four understated talents share the stage for an "in the round" performance. Eclectic pop-rocker Devin Greenwood (left), back from Paris, where he's been producing Joseph Parsons' disc, is turning into Philly's own "It" guy, showing up on albums by everyone from chanteuse Norah Jones to Philly folkie Birdie Busch. Busch, coheadlining with Lowlands members Chris Kasper and Adrien Reju, is promising a true holiday vibe to the performance and stage set, "something to crack the form and warm the heart." The friendly foursome, well-versed in one another's music, will play solo and collaboratively, and Greenwood says it's likely a few Christmas carols will make their way onto the set list, too.
- Nicole Pensiero
When the Greyboy Allstars chose their name nearly 15 years ago, they paid homage to their original producer/collaborator DJ Greyboy: They had yet to prove themselves allstars. But the name became either a self-fulfilling prophecy or a prescient coincidence: The five musicians went on to do their own high-profile gigs, most notably horn player Karl Denson with his Tiny Universe and guitarist Elgin Park (Michael Andrews) with his work scoring soundtracks (including the new film
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story,
which features several Greyboys as the film's house band) and producing Metric, Brendan Benson and others. The California jam band released its first studio album in nine years this spring:
What Happened to Television?
, which reunites them with producer DJ Greyboy for a jazz funk set indebted to '70s blaxploitation soundtracks and the Meters.
- Steve Klinge
Valencia / Armor for Sleep
Doggone area emo kids: They're as cute as buttons no matter how somber their songs get or how low their lyrics go. Actually, it's New Jersey's anthemic spacey emo quartet Armor for Sleep who have the greater propensity for emotional depth charges. Then again, they've had more chances at album-making what with their new Sire label debut,
Smile for Them
, their third shot at blasting out. Singer/guitarist/songwriter Ben Jorgensen & Co. rip, roar and snort their way through the glammy, snotty likes of "Williamsburg" before making a stop at this year's niftiest unwilling Christmas song, "Snow Globe." Philly's Valencia? Singer Shane Henderson (vocals) and guitarists Brendan Walter and J.D. Perry (guitar) haven't made a follow-up to 2005's
This Could Be a Possibility.
But with Saves the Day-like ardor and forlorn childhood sweetheart-ness in "The Space Between" ("Can you remember sitting by my side/On the bank of the Delaware River and talking about life"), we'll wait for another album as long as we must.
- A.D. Amorosi