Philadelphia has one of the most vibrant music scenes in America, and now that classes are over, there’s no excuse not to take advantage of it. Those spending the summer off–campus will be sorry to miss the live performances of some of modern music’s best up–and–comers. Here’s a short run–through of some must–see rock shows coming up this month:
Don’t let appearances deceive you. This short, chubby, moustached man might be one of the most soulful crooners of our time. This month, he’s coming to the seedy backroom of Boot & Saddle to cover pieces from the late great Sam Cooke—a mellifluous vocalist he’s emulated throughout his entire career. For those who dream of scenes of late–night hip–swinging to 60s–era R&B, this show is a must–see.
Local Philly indie-punk legends are making their return to the city this May for an album–release show for Everything Matters But No One Is Listening. Though listed under Beach Slang’s work on music–streaming services, the new album is actually music from frontman James Alex’s project, Quiet Slang. Drawing inspiration from a solo Tiny Desk performance with NPR, Quiet Slang is a mellow, stripped–down take on Beach Slang’s signature punk sound, complete with actual covers of songs from Beach Slang’s 2014 LP Cheap Thrills on a Dead End Street. The show, just like the new music, is sure to be a raw and emotional performance from a Philly favorite.
Hop Along is yet another band with Philadelphia roots that will make a return before setting off on a cross–country tour this summer. The folk–rock rhythms behind lead singer Frances Quinlan’s high–pitched, breathy voice give the comforting acoustics a catchy edge. The band is on tour promoting their third album Bark Your Head Off, Dog, which has received largely positive reviews for its intricate song craft and enticingly beating acoustics.
This show is a must–see: if not for the HAIM–Sylvan Esso fusion sound of Maggie Rogers, then for the witty punch of the opener, Caroline Rose. Both are examples of the power that female artists have in indie rock today. Rogers, whose online oeuvre is limited to one EP and a single, rose to fame after nearly moving Pharrell Williams to tears with an early recording of her song, “Alaska.” Her music is a pure and clean fusion of her backwoods roots in rural Maryland and her time studying electronic music in France. Paired with the spunky modern–girl persona of Caroline Rose in her new album Loner, this is sure to be one of the more sonically powerful nights at Union Transfer this summer.
Most famous for the song “Naïve,” which was featured on the soundtrack of the romantic comedy 17 Again, The Kooks are known for their feel–good sound. Bringing guitar rock back to Brit–pop at the same as The Arctic Monkeys in 2006, they’ve since evolved to incorporate experimentations with soul and electronic music into their sound. Currently on tour for their 2017 compilation, The Best of…So Far, The Kooks are expected to release new music later this year.
Post Animal might be best known as Joe Keery’s band before his success on the hit Netflix series Stranger Things, but their new album When I Think of You in A Castle can stand alone as a piece of modern rock that’s equal parts Beach Boys and Black Lips. Post Animal is a reincarnation of the psychedelic progressive rock of the 1960’s with just a bit more edge. For those with nostalgic dreams of days spent dancing to bands like Yes or Led Zeppelin, a Post Animal concert can get you pretty close.