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Album Review: Dangerous Ponies - Dangerous Ponies

Dangerous Ponies’ self-titled debut begins with a syrupy sweet keyboard intro leading into a frenzy of voices that are almost overwhelmingly ecstatic. At first, it seems to be a mission statement for the band if there ever was one. Their live shows are some of the most consistently joyful, high-energy affairs you’re likely to find in Philly, what with all the costumes and other theatricalities. But once you delve a little further, the true appeal of the band is apparent. Their songs are certainly exuberant, and maybe even cute, but they’re spared from the cloying quality that seems to plague many “cute” bands. Because even though this album is, more often than not, something you’ll put on just for fun, certain elements, particularly the vocals, indicate experiences that are sincere and intensely felt.
 
But the party always comes first, of course. The first half of the album is more or less what people think of when they think of Dangerous Ponies. Power-pop that’s sweet and fairly direct, with sugary keyboards and guitars that switch from spindly to grungy and back again. “On a Liner” Pts. I and II are bouncy, charming, and benefit from a horn or two. Then there’s the island shuffle of tracks like “I Only Wear My Favorite Clothes at Home” and “Ghosts”. From there things get a little more surprising. An interesting tonal shift happens in the form of “For Mikey Part I”, a down-tempo, acoustic strummer that swells with intimidating noise towards the climax. After the “Mikey” suite is “Get Out of Bed”, an orchestral-oriented song that reaches an unexpected level of grandeur.
 
Another surprise (though only slightly) is the production, which feels distant and crystal clear at the same time. It helps give a sheen and uniformity to an album that surely won’t disappoint fans, but isn’t afraid to take to take a couple risks either. Dangerous Ponies is available via Punk Rock Payroll. - Joe Poteracki

I Only Wear My Favourite Clothes At Home by Dangerous Ponies 

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Girls Rock Philly 2nd Annual CD Release Party at JB’s Nov. 6

If you think rock 'n' roll is just for the boys, then you're living in the dark ages (seriously), and that’s exactly why Girls Rock Philly is necessary for the music community. GRP is a yearly girls-only week-long summer camp geared towards young, ambitious musicians ages 9 - 17. It teaches campers the ins and outs of musicianship, from writing songs and playing instruments to creating handmade band merch, while building self-esteem, nurturing female empowerment and dispensing important women's history in a positive environment. And this afternoon, you can witness the progress these excited rock 'n' roll campers have made during GRP's second annual album release all-ages shindig for its Girls Rock Philly 2010 CD compilation and showcase DVD at Johnny Brenda's (tots under five get in for free!). Celebrating the fruits of its largest camp turnout to date, the GRP show will feature camper and volunteer bands and DJs, as well as great prizes and giveaways of women in rock swag. And if you can't make it to the show to hear what these rock stars in the making can do, then head over to the GRP website where video of the showcase will be streaming or just swing over to GRP's CD Baby page to order a copy of the comp after today for yourself. Either way, support these future Chrissie Hyndes as they learn to nurture what they love. Johnny Brenda's, 1201 Frankford Ave, 12pm, $5, All Ages - Annamarya Scaccia
 
 
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Weekend Warrior, November 5 - 7

Striving for a bigger sound, the brothers McGowan (The Tea Club) enlisted the help of whimsical divas like Vinchelle Woods and Kate Foust as well as a cavalcade of talented musical misfits to form a new project in Virtual Virgin. They also recruited the help of other multimedia experts to create a barrage for the senses! Of course, the fact that their music often sounds like the end result of David Bowie brainstorming in a room with LCD Soundsystem and Massive Attack doesn’t hurt either. And when they play much beloved DIY space The Ox tonight, it’s guaranteed to feel like your walking into a whole other world altogether. To help them set the mood for the evening will be the folk-y new side project from Da Comrade! maestro Fletcher T. VanVliet, On the Water, which we have particular fondness for, and artsy indie pop Brooklyn outfit The Lisps. The Ox, (you should know by now or ask a friend), 8pm, $5, 21+
 
More shows to tantalize the senses…
 
Johnny Brenda’s (1201 N. Frankford Ave.) SAT Girls Rock Philly 2nd Annual Album Release Show
 
Kung Fu Necktie (1250 N. Front St.) SUN East Hundred and Turning Violet Violet
 
North Star Bar (2639 Poplar St.) FRI Levee Drivers and Andrew Jude, SUN Cheap Seats
 
The Fire (412 W. Girard Ave.) FRI Goodnight Lights, SAT Parachuting Apostles and Hamburger Hunt
 
Tritone (1508 South St.) FRI G. Calvin Weston, SAT Attia Taylor and Bells Bells Bells
 
Danger Danger Gallery (5013 Baltimore Ave.) FRI Dry Feet, SAT Creeping Weeds
 
Millcreek Tavern (4200 Chester Ave.) FRI Kickin Bear
 
The Trocadero (1003 Arch St.) FRI Rasputin's Secret Police and Karma Bat
 
JR's Bar (2327 S. Croskey St.) FRI Kelly & The Ruths, Charlotte Littlehales
 
The Blockley Pourhouse (3801 Chestnut St.) SAT Tommy Conwell & The Young Rumblers
 
Murph’s Bar (202 E. Girard Ave.) SAT The Tea Club and The Nonstop Mints
 
Fergie’s (1214 Sansom St.) FRI Hired Guns Blues Band, SAT 722 Presents
 
Raven Lounge (1718 Sansom St.) FRI Clotworthy
 
Connie’s Ric Rac (1132 S. 9th St.) FRI Lightninging
 
The Barbary (951 N. Frankford St.) FRI Brown Recluse
 
The Rotunda (4014 Walnut St.) FRI Landing Pad
 
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Ceramic releases first full length album "The Past Ain't Fair

“The Past Ain’t Far,” the impressive first full-length record from Brooklyn-based Ceramic, restores faith in the alt-country category. This isn’t another bearded hipster with a banjo, but rather elegantly produced, memorable music reminiscent of early Wilco, folky Beck, and Jason Molina’s Magnolia Electric Co. Led and produced by songwriter John Scheaffer along side producer Charles Newman (who worked on the Magnetic Fields’ “69 Love Songs” among other masterpieces), “The Past Ain’t Far” mixes roots rhythm and blues, pop folk, and wistful rock n’roll. The album opens with the dreamy, melodic strings and romantic acoustic guitar of “You Give More Than Enough” and closes with the Brian Jonestown Massacre-channeling-the Doors “Lose the King.” In between, stand out songs include the nouveau spaghetti western ditty “How’d You Get So Down” and the title track “The Past Ain’t Far” with its delicate fingerpicking amid the background of an old, faintly scratching vinyl record. - Whitney Phaneuf

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Julie Peel plays Union Hall on 11.15

Folk singer, Deli favorite and all ‘round decent gal Julie Peel has been spreading her sound around Europe as of late, but will be returning to the US for a clutch of shows this month and next, three of which take place in New York. For the uninitiated, Peel pens charming folk-pop songs, driven by thick strums on her acoustic guitar, cheerful arrangements and a voice that is sultry and soulful. Don Miss the 11.15 show at Union Hall in Park Slope. - Dean Van Nguyen

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