LETTER FROM ROME: Apocalypto Now

[Photo via THE BIG PICTURE] BY SIMONE SECCI FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT ROME — The noises that people used to hear in the streets of L’Aquila, one of the main cities in central Italy, were those that you can hear in every other place in the world: People talking, traffic, kids playing. Now L’Aquila is a ghost town ruled by a terrible empty silence, a silence of death. The numbers that corresponds to the terrible earthquake, that hit L’Aquila last Monday are those of a catastrophe: 228 people founded dead, hundreds injured and more than 70.000 homeless, so far. Unfortunately L’Aquila wasn’t […]

Wonder If Sarah Palin Can See This From Her House

Pretty awesome pix of Alaska’s Mt. Redoubt eruption HERE. TANGENTIALLY RELATED: L’AQUILA, Italy — More than 150 people died and tens of thousands were left homeless when a 6.3 magnitude earthquake shook central Italy early Monday, seriously damaging historic buildings in the medieval hill towns of Abruzzo Region east of Rome, officials said. Most of the deaths and damage were centered in L’Aquila, a picturesque fortress town at the quake’s epicenter. Outside a damaged convent, a dozen nuns still dressed in bright orange and blue bathrobes climbed into a van headed to an assistance center. Sister Lidia, the mother superior, […]

We Know It’s Only Rock N’ Roll But We Like It

FINE PRINT: Times New Viking, JB’s Last Night [Photo by TIFFANY YOON] BY SIMONE SECCI FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT I have to admit that I was suckered at this one. Fooled as many people by a fake press release, that displayed Times New Viking as a supergroup including former Pavement bass player Mark Ibold, I went to Johnny Brenda’s thinking that I would find a bunch of aged indie rockers in front of me. Instead I found this heterogeneous trio of twenty somethings from Columbus, Ohio. But Let’s start from the beginning: First on stage Fnu Ronnies local band I believe, devoted […]

We Know It’s Only Rock N’ Roll But We Like It

HOW ARE YOU: Daniel Johnston, Popped Fest, WCL, Sunday Night BY SIMONE SECCI FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT Popped festival 2008: same graphics, same format, fancier names (Gogol Bordello, Daniel Johnston) and locations such as World Café Live and there was where your favorite Philadelphia-adopted Italian reporter was last night to delight his ears. Sunday night there were two stages, with the upstairs more oriented to a dancier, hip and more uncommitted entertainment and a downstairs where a various bunch of more or less underground rock acts gather the attendance. First on stage Gildon Works offered a really great live show of indie […]

HEAR YE: Animal Collective Strawberry Jam

NOW PLAYING ON PHAWKER RADIO * PET SOUNDZ: Animal Collective Waves The Freak Flag BY JONATHAN VALANIA Back in college — which was longer ago than I care to admit, so let’s just say some time after the Earth cooled but before the Internet — I lived in an old Victorian house that the college owned and subdivided into separate apartments. It was a gathering house for all the freaks and geeks who didn’t quite blend in with the frat-boy-cheerleader-chug-a-lug-date-rape ethos of the main campus. Across the hall my neighbors had set up a de facto commune of 24/7 hacky-sack […]

All Of This Happened While You Were Sleeping

JESUS SHAVES: Entrance, First Unitarian, Last Night BY SIMONE SECCI FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT No way that you can’t recognize the members of the Entrance Band into a room, first because last night at the first Unitarian there weren’t that many people also because they are the only ones that are dressed like we are in the 1970. And what happens when they start playing? You feel like we are in the 1970. I have to say it’s not a bad thing at all because the incredible power of the guitar and voice of this really skinny, modern hippie — that I […]

We Know It’s Only Rock N’ Roll But We Like It

SEXY BOY: Air‘s Jean-Benoit Dunckel, The Fillmore, Last Night BY SIMONE SECCI FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT Air are one of those bands that have this precious ability to relax you like nothing else does. Personally I find this amazing and besides any consideration about the nature of the music, which draws heavily and equally from seventies prog, sixties extravaganza and eighties pop. But even though — doesn’t this mix sound perfect? And it does, it really does! The live show is just great, the duo of Jean-Benoit and Nicolas have this amazing back up band that recreate live every single sound from […]


FIRST THING U LEARN IS THAT U ALWAYS GOT TO WAIT: Modest Mouseketeers, Electric Factory, Last Night SIMONE SECCI FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Never saw Modest Mouse live before and I regret that ’cause probably if I’d done that right after their masterpiece, The Lonesome Crowded West, that would have probably gotten stuck in my head as one of the best live acts of the last decade. Having the legendary Johnny Marr from The Smiths (!!!!) on the guitar and a tag team percussive duo of the two Jeremiah Green and former Black Heart Procession drummer, Joe Plummer, like saying probably the […]

All Of This Happened While You Were Sleeping

DROOLING BANJOS: Fan Of Friends, Popped! Fest Night 4, The Parlor, [FLICKR] BY SIMONE SECCI FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT I really appreciate when there are initiatives that help promote the local artists. I think that must be the interest of every city and as a foreigner it’s nice to see that in Philadelphia, at least some people care about it. Especially when like last night they were really good expressions of that already underlined local scene. Unfortunately I have to report that especially the first part of the show with Fursaxa on stage didn’t see the participation of as many people as […]

We Know It’s Only Rock N’ Roll But We Like It

SMASH YR. HEAD ON THE INDIE-ROCK: Sebadoh Reunion, North Star, Last Night BY SIMONE SECCI FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT I’m not going to hide my excitement about seeing live one of my favorite band since I was 14, that implicates I guess that I can’t be totally neutral in judging their show and also that my expectations about it were pretty big. First band I found in front of me when I got to the North Star bar is Bent Moustache from Holland. They are, I have to say, a very powerful and unstoppable noisemaking machine, growling and sharp bass and guitar […]

LIVE REVIEW: ‘You Got Out Alive From The Eighties’

Afterhours, Khyber Pass, Philadelphia, March 28th, 2007* BY SIMONE SECCI FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT First thing to say, the Afterhours that I know and I saw playing live in Italy a couple of times, look very different from the band I saw tonight at the Khyber. For obvious reasons, because the crowd and the hype around them here are of very different proportions and also because their sound and live show was really different. Maybe cause of the influence of Twilight Singers leader’s Greg Dulli, maybe because of a new direction of the band, but tonight they rocked. Hard and loud and […]

MAILBAG: Postcard From Rome

dear johnathan how are you?how has been philly in the cold cold winter?Rome wasn’t so cold…I’m writing to you to let you know that i’m coming back to philly on the 20th and that i’m gonna stay for a while and that i would really like to continue my collaboration with you.and speaking which i have an interview with Chris Leo from Vague Angels(and also the Van Pelt,The Lapse etc)ready if you are interested i can send it to you instantly just let me know. coming back on the 20th looking forward to meet you and the other phawker people […]