Staff Pick: Lewis Watson 5/21

Coming up on Sunday, May 21 is Lewis Watson, a London-based singer/songwriter with a smooth and soulful voice paired with a mellow acoustic sound. Watson began uploading covers of songs by artists such as Bon Iver, Bombay Bicycle Club, and the Knife to a Youtube channel which received little attention back in 2010, yet his music career did not fully take off until he started posting videos of his original songs. These original compositions received great responses from listeners, and it wasn’t long until he recorded his first EP, “It’s Got Four Sad Songs On It BTW,” produced by his former music teacher, Joe Porter. The buzz that the 2012 EP generated was enough to attract several record labels to Watson’s music, and he eventually decided to sign with Warner Bros. As he began performing at larger festivals, Watson’s fanbase grew, and another EP titled “Another Four Sad Songs” followed months later. I can appreciate the rawness of both EPs- they are not overproduced or written to fit a mainstream mold. Each feature Watson, who sings the melody as well as additional background harmonies, his acoustic guitar, and occasional extra instrumentation that compliments his performance. Watson’s lyrics are honest, original, and very relatable. His third EP, “Wild,” was made possible with the help and collaboration of artists and producers such as The Arctic Monkeys, Florence and the Machine, Richard Wilkinson, and Mr. Hudson. The EP, which was released in 2013, contains a heightened confidence from Watson, as well as a more polished production value than the previous two. After releasing two more EPs in 2013, Watson created his first full length album, “The Morning,” which debuted in July 2014. Watson then parted ways with Warner Music in order to focus more on his songwriting, which is exactly what he did! “Midnight,” his next full-length album, was released in early 2017, and he signed with Cooking Vinyl, a well-established indie record label. Watson’s sound is the perfect blend of relaxing indie and upbeat acoustic pop. His powerful voice will undoubtedly fill our downstairs room- grab tickets here!

-Dana Schwartz, Marketing Intern

Staff Pick: The Feelies in Philly 4/29

One of New York City’s best underground post-punk bands The Feelies are the type of band whose style and influence you can hear in so many bands that came after them. Their debut album Crazy Rhythms was a commercial flop, however so many alternative rock bands who emerged after them cite it as a major influence, with R.E.M. being the most significant. The album is now critically acclaimed because of the impact it had on future genres that emerged through the influence of their sound. After a couple more albums and a long hiatus, The Feelies are back with their second new album since reuniting in 2008. In Between has all the punk vibes that made them classic, yet presents them within a newer, looser frame of reference. Singer/guitarist Glenn Mercer describes the album as “…all done very low key. We refer to it as ‘off the clock’ when you’re not paying an hourly rate, so in that sense it was a lot more relaxed. I don’t think anyone would notice a drastic change in the sound or the vibe of the record. I think it sounds a lot more relaxed and laid back.” The Feelies are coming to WCL Philly on April 29th and you don’t want to miss it! In the meantime check out this old-school cool video of them playing one of their most classic songs “Crazy Rhythms” at the legendary CBGB Club in New York City circa 1978.

-Nick DiGiacomo, Marketing Intern

Staff Pick: Bill Laurance in Philly 1/31

Bill Laurance is a modern day musical renaissance man. In addition to being the long time pianist of the internationally-acclaimed and Grammy-award winning jazz ensemble Snarky Puppy, Bill Laurance has released multiple acclaimed solo albums, works extensively with dance companies, owns his own music production company specializing in scoring for film, TV and commercials, and is a specialist lecturer at the Institute of Contemporary Music in London. His music, much like that of Snarky Puppy’s, seamlessly blends several genres into a transcendental journey that takes you to a new other-worldly state of mind with every song. A fantastic example of this is the live studio recording of his song “December in New York” off of his 2015 solo album Swift. His articulate piano playing perfectly captures the ebb and flow of the city that never sleeps as he gracefully and effortlessly maneuvers through intricate melodies and graceful harmonic textures behind a dynamic jazz ensemble. His playing is so precise and impeccable it’s hard to believe someone can play that well in a studio, let alone live! The journey his music takes you on just listening to it is extraordinary, so one can only imagine what it would be like to experience that live, which is why you should catch him downstairs at WCL Philly on January 31st!

-Nick DiGiacomo, Marketing Intern

Staff Pick: Maybird in Philly 12/1

The music genre of modern psychedelia has been expanding rapidly within the past decade.  Artists such as Tame Impala and The Flaming Lips have popularized psychedelic rock by adding a modern twist to classic styles from the past.  Maybird is one of those bands that can be included into this category.  Hailing from Brooklyn, NY, the band was formed when singer-songwriter Josh Netsky joined with pedal-steel guitarist Kurt Johnson.  They sought to move towards a more laid back, psychedelic vibe than Netsky previously had in his solo project.  The band’s sound, having memorable guitar leads and lush vocal harmonies, can be described as energetic, noisy and hallucinatory.  Oftentimes, in songs like “Maybird,” their catchy pop rock structured songs turn into free, mind-expanding jams by the end.  The group’s lead single, “Turning Into Water,” is a fun, twangy trip through time and space.  The band is also known for their eclectic live performances.  Band member Sam Snyder was given the nickname “Overhand Sam” for his unorthodox style of guitar playing.  Maybird is currently on an east coast tour supporting their 2016 release Turning Into Water EP.  For fans of The Strokes and Electric Light Orchestra. Catch Maybird Upstairs in Philly on December 1st!

-Evan Cook, Marketing Intern

Staff Pick: Slow Club in Philly 11/13

Sophisticated indie rockers Slow Club will be bringing their exquisite, love-song pop harmonies to Philly next month.  The English duo, formed in 2006, has released two EPs and five full-length LPs.  They are currently on tour supporting their 2016 release entitled One Day All of This Won’t Matter Anymore.  The band first gained recognition with their 2009 debut Yeah So.  Their albums can be characterized by charming indie rock jams meeting intimate folk duets.  Simple, underlying rhythms combined with dreamy guitars support multinstrumentalists Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor’s intricate vocal harmonies.  The track “Tears of Joy” off their 2014 release Complete Surrender includes a touch of jazz, dance, and even a slight hint of funk.  The final track “Wanderer Wandering” off the same record is a new-wave synth ballad, yearning for the affection of a significant other.  Their newest record has a catchy, pleasant presentation juxtaposed with sorrowful lyrical content.  In a live setting, the two artists play with a full band, but also perform acoustic renditions of some of their more popular songs.  Slow Club is for fans of Florence and the Machine, St. Vincent, and Sufjan Stevens.  Catch them Upstairs in Philly November 13th!

-Evan Cook, Marketing Intern

Staff Pick: Langhorne Slim in Wilmington 10/23

Langhorne Slim and his band, The Law, have been storytelling to audiences since 1999.  A Pennsylvania native, the band’s leader and primary songwriter uses his acoustic guitar and country-tinged voice to take the audience on a journey through life’s rough moments and the happier ones.  The band first gained recognition after the release of their first full-length, self-titled LP in 2008.  Following the album’s popularity, the group made appearances on national late night shows such as David Letterman and Conan O’Brien, and also gaining a spot on notable music festivals including Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, and the Philadelphia Folk Festival.  Although, their most critically acclaimed record, The Way We Move, is the album most of their fans and critics call “damn near perfect” in the world of folk music.  Langhorne Slim’s raspy, southern honesty comes out especially in track five, “On The Attack,” off this record.  While tracks like “Salvation” and “Wild Soul” show the softer side of the artist.  All in all, Langhorne Slim gives his audience honest folk songs while adding a touch of country, creating his own brand of alternative folk music.  For fans of The Avett Brothers and Bob Dylan.  Catch Langhorne Slim & The Law on October 23rd at the World Cafe Live at The Queen in Wilmington!

-Evan Cook, Marketing Intern

Staff Pick: Astronautalis

With a dirt-and-grit voice and lyrics focused around the honest difficulties of living, Astronautalis shows another side to his home Sunshine State. Many of his fans identify his genre as grunge hip hop but Astronautalis self titles his music as “historical fiction hip hop”. When you listen to songs such as “Forest Fire“, off of his new album Cut The Body Loose, you quickly realize how deep his lyrics can go. Astronautalis doesn’t shy away from talking about the struggles of life. It is hard to tell which stories are real and which are not but some people believe that is part of his charm and reason. These stories are dark and sad and though they may be imaginary they still mimic others true stories and daily compromises. From the story of his house burning down in a matter of minutes to a dialogue between him and another man about police brutality in “Running Away From God” – everything is a strong commentary on our time and world. After 5 albums and a career stretching 13 years, Astronautalis is unapologetic and relaxed on stage as he drags you into his world. He comes to World Cafe Live Wilmington on September 30th – grab your tickets!

-Kara DeLucia, Marketing Intern

Staff Pick: Sara Watkins

Keeping work close to home, Sara Watkins started her musical career in the band Nickel Creek alongside her brother Sean. After dedicating much of her musical career to the established folk band, Sara decided it was time to go solo in 2007 showing off her songwriting skills in new tracks that kept her folk roots while adding pop and rock influences. Watkins’ relateable voice has the innocent sweetness of an alto, layered with a rough texture that makes her always seem impassioned in speech. These qualities are only strengthened by her experienced and eloquent lyricism.With the release of her third solo album Young In All The Wrong Ways, Watkins continues to weave stories that leave you feeling like you know her. Though each song tells its own tale, the album conveys a message of moving forward with your life while leaving mistakes and regrets in the past. This self-proclaimed “breakup album with [her]self” is a story of forward momentum. With emotionally fueled tracks like “Move Me” and the more melancholy “Invisible”, Sara Watkins is laying her heart out for us all to relate to and empathize with. We’re ecstatic to welcome Sara Watkins to WCL Philly on September 28th. Tickets are on sale now!

-Kara DeLucia, Marketing Intern

Discover New Music: Valley Queen

Valley Queen is a Los Angeles based band combining elements of country, blues, and soulful rock to create their signature sound. Driven by vocalist/guitarist Natalie Carol’s uniquely captivating voice and moving lyrical themes, the group has released several singles since 2014, and received attention from sources like The Village Voice, Noisey, and Huffington Post. “Valley Queen’s music is rich with nuance and depth, rooted in deep California country,” according to NPR’s Bob Boilen. The band recently released two singles, including “In My Place” which Stereogum calls “classic California country, filled with golden guitar tones employed in the search for salvation.” Fresh off of this release, the group will embark and a coast to coast run of tour dates, including a show at World Cafe Live on September 6th. Grab your tickets today!

-Lexi Campion, Marketing Intern

Staff Pick: The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow

From the heart of Massachusetts, The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow brings pride and vigor to their craft as a rugged roots-folk band. Their name originates from their love of sharing good whiskey and music with friends and family, a feeling which comes across in the band’s warm harmonies and upbeat melodies. With the release of their first-ever live album, The Heart of the Run, The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow is passionate as ever from their humorous western-inspired “Governor’s Wife” to their ode to a girl left back home, “Massachusetts”. With this new album, an award winning self-titled music documentary and their new-found national acclaim – The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow has a lot to offer when they visit Philadelphia on August 18th! If you’re looking for a whiskey tasting along with The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, come in early for our Spirits Exploration Series featuring Wigle Whiskey. Combo tickets are available for those who want the full experience!

-Kara DeLucia, Marketing Intern