switch between the sub-menus above











finds + must-haves

Depeche Mode: Sounds Of The Universe
Various Artists: On The Radar
LCD Soundsystem: Sound Of Silver
The Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour
Superbad 2-Disc Unrated Edition - DVD
Michael Moore's The Awful Truth: The Complete First Season- DVD
Role Models- DVD
The Office: Season One- DVD









new + upcoming releases

August 3rd -
Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Los Lobos – TinCan Trust
Katie Melua – House
Wavves – King Of The Beach
Kick-Ass - DVD
Diary of a Wimpy Kid - DVD

August 10th -
Cam’ron – The UN: Gunz N’ Butta
Sarah Blasko – As Day Follow Night
Landing On The Moon – We Make History Now
Death at a Funeral - DVD
The Joneses - DVD

August 17th -
American Hi-Fi – Fight The Frequency
Peter Block – Peter Block
Chromeo – Business Casual
Just Surrender - Phoenix
]Furry Vengeance - DVD
Dexter Season 4 - DVD

August 24th -
Eels – Tomorrow Morning
Mogwai – Special Moves [Live]
Katy Perry – Teenage Dream
T.I. – King Uncaged
Jenny Wilson – Hardships!
The Back-up Plan - DVD

August 31st -
Carl Broemel [My Morning Jacket] – All Birds Say
Goo Goo Dolls – Something For The Rest Of Us
Alain Johannes – Spark
Portico Quartet – Isla
Why Did I Get Married Too? - DVD










[CD] Review of Sting’s Symphonicities
Reviewed by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Given Sting’s far-reaching ambition and interests, it was merely a matter of time before he recorded an orchestral album, but 2010’s Symphonicities surprises by offering symphonic arrangements of his older songs instead of a new work. This is a canny move, for the common complaint lodged against rock-classical crossovers is against the quality of the material — think Paul McCartney or Billy Joel — a criticism that can’t be leveled here, as this is a selection of some of Sting’s best songs. By relying on his catalog, Sting has wound up with an album that is pop, not classical, in structure, but the sound of Symphonicities is surely symphonic, with “Next to You” driven by sawing strings instead of buzzing guitars. Occasionally, this changes the impact of a song, but rarely does it alter its intent; indeed, there’s a handful of tunes, like “Englishman in New York” and “When We Dance,” that feel unaltered in this larger setting. Naturally, it’s the Police songs that are changed most — “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” bears a sprightly yet dreamy arrangement, “Roxanne” trades its reggae rhythm for a languid, seductive lilt — and it’s also on these familiar songs where Sting’s engagement is palpable. He may not be radically reinventing these songs, but he’s certainly reinvigorated by this lush setting, and this energy prevents Symphonicities from falling into pretentious traps; it’s lively and fun, and it’s Sting’s most satisfying record in a long time.

[CD] Fol Chen’s Part II: The New December
Reviewed by Heather Phares

Fol Chen continues to embrace mystery and avoid the obvious on Part II: The New December. As on Part I: John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made, the enigmatic band makes a virtue out of indirectness, sending songs through secret passages and tunnels that end in hooks some distance from where they were expected. There’s a strong experimental streak in the brainy way Fol Chen takes what seems like a straightforward idea and twists it into something completely different; like the Dirty Projectors, the group flirts with and subverts mainstream pop ideas, and like labelmates Cryptacize, they’ve got a flair for the deceptively simple. The band goes even further down the rabbit hole than on Part I, beginning The New December with some of its strangest music. “In Ruins” contrasts deep, whispered vocals with lively girlish ones atop busy keyboards playing busy, vaguely Eastern-tinged melodies; “Your Curtain Call” begins with breathy beats and woozy flutes, expanding into bells and a drunken sax solo before pulling back again; and “Men, Houses or Beasts” tiptoes so slowly that it almost sounds like it was recorded at the wrong speed. Fittingly for a band so committed to disguising its identity, some of The New December’s best songs deal with miscommunication and missed connections. On “The Holograms,” a tale of forgotten names and words doubling into optical illusions, bounces along on one of the album’s catchiest melodies, while the excellent “C/U” keeps its lovers apart despite its almost perversely straightforward beat. Likewise, the band buries some of its best songs on the album’s second half: “Adeline (You Always Look so Bored)”’s sharp-tongued chamber pop recalls St. Vincent’s abundant musical and lyrical wit, and “They Came to Me” boasts rubbery beats that are just as danceable as they are strange, and could be heard at a club with a trampoline for a dancefloor. How exactly these songs fit together with “Holes”’ delicate plucking and the title track’s pixelated folk might be locked in Fol Chen’s brains, but even if there are more pieces of their puzzle-pop missing here than there were on John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made, The New December is never boring.

[CD] Repo-Men
Reviewed by Katey Rich

In his directorial debut Repo Men, Miguel Sapochnik is going for something unusual-- or at the very least, something only familiar in an offbeat, screwball kind of way. For while the movie takes place in your typical bleak future and has the standard caustic attitude toward the promise of a brave new world, Repo Men is funnier, bloodier and weirder than most post-apocalyptic tales.

Unfortunately, that doesn't exactly make it better. Bearing the clear marks of long post-production delays and a lot of tinkering in the editing room, Repo Men is largely a mess, zipping among flashbacks and action scenes and brutally gory moments with little narrative drive to link it all together. And for all its oddities and successfully fresh nods to other sci-fi classics, Repo Men's story of a man forced to fight his own people after seeing the light is thuddingly familiar, a sci-fi cliche no amount of new ambition can overcome (hell, it even bested James Cameron in Avatar). It's easy to see the promise in Sapochnik's directorial zing and to enjoy the central relationship between Jude Law and Forest Whitaker, but none of it makes it any easier to slog through the muddle of the film.
At some point in the future Remy (Law) and Jake (Whitaker) are lifelong friends who, years ago, got out of the military with a newfound penchant for violence and greed. Lucky for them there was a corporation in dire need of their specialized skills, a corporation that manufactures artificial organs and sells them to desperate people at exorbitant rates. When people can't pay-- and who could pay?-- Remy, Jake and their kind are sent out to repossess the organs with a cold attitude and a quick jab of the knife.

Predictably Remy's wife (Carice van Houten) isn't thrilled about this, and Remy goes on the standard "one last job" when his own heart gives out, forcing him to take an artificial one and inevitably face repossession. His boss (Liev Schreiber, once again hilarious in a bad movie) is oddly unconcerned about one of his best employees facing death, while Jake sees Remy's debt as a reason to keep him in the job. The only solution is for Remy to head out on the lam, eventually teaming up with a woman whose body is crammed full of unpaid-for organs (Alice Braga) and scheming to take down the corporation as a whole.

Focus on the running away and the scary surgeries and the Liev Schreiber wisecracks and Repo Men stars to feel a little like X-Men Origins: Wolverine, another movie that seemed to be ruined in the editing room by a skittish studio and a director unable to tighten the reins. With a sense of humor about itself and a handful of well-crafted action scenes, Repo Men is far more enjoyable than Wolverine, but get similarly bogged down in an illogical story that seems to change direction from scene to scene.

Law and Whitaker build a convincing rapport together, and neither really deserves the blame for failing to build their characters-- the legion of flashbacks that were eventually cut seemed to have been intended to carry all the dramatic weight, and without them, Remy and Jake are simply wisecracking, violent ciphers. Both suffer significantly from a whopper of a twist at the end-- the characters are all we have to hold onto, but they never developed in the first place.
There's a lot of style and even a little bit of substance in Repo Men, but not enough of either to hold the ludicrous plot in place. It's entertaining enough for many audiences to walk away satisfied, but you can't help wishing it had fulfilled its promise.

[DVD] Greenberg
Reviewed by Katey Rich

In the most recent phase of his career, writer-director Noah Baumbach has made a name for himself by telling stories about unlikable people. Narcissists and man-children, ice queens and underminers, all people you might never choose to spend the length of a movie with but people you know all the same. And while he may not have written Roger Greenberg as his most unlikable character yet, as played by Ben Stiller that's exactly what he becomes. Casting a movie star to play an irritating schlub was his first mistake, but as he builds Greenberg around Stiller's performance, Baumbach comes to seem nearly as self-absorbed and naive as the character himself.

Greenberg is recently out of a mental institution after an unnamed breakdown, and while his brother and his family vacation in Vietnam (yes, they're that type of L.A. people), Greenberg uses the spacious house as his own retreat, sleeping in the college-age daughter's room, stressing out whenever the neighbors use the pool, and panicking even at the responsibility of caring for the dog. Lucky for him there's Florence (Greta Gerwig), his brother's 25-year-old assistant who knows every detail of her boss's life, but is aimless and adrift in her own.

Greenberg and Florence start a tentative, awkward, and almost immediately destructive relationship, while Greenberg spats occasionally with his former bandmate (Rhys Ifans) and, er, that's pretty much all that happens. Played elegantly by Gerwig, Florence is an immediately recognizable character, a capable and smart college grad without a clue of what to do next, and Greenberg is the kind of guy you'd warn her away from instantly if you knew her in real life. Not only is he inconsistent, dragging her in one minute and pushing her away the next, but he insults her to his friends-- "She's the kind of girl you'd have a crush on at work, but outside the office you'd wonder if she was as cute as you thought she was"-- and belittles her to her face. As the screenwriter Baumbach is nearly as cruel; Florence has no reliable friends or family, and aside from a decent singing voice, is given no ambition, no talent, no role other than a sounding board for Greenberg's neuroses.

Baumbach's goal, as usual, is a kind of bourgeois realism, and he acquits himself well with the details of a world he clearly knows-- Florence's dingy apartment compared to the Greenbergs' comfortable home, a party overtaken by children and later, one with self-absorbed college kids. But while he's not exactly Nancy Meyers , celebrating a rich lifestyle with no ability to criticize it, he seems to have run out of ways to make these indulgent, overly neurotic characters worth paying attention to. Even Jennifer Jason Leigh and the usually wonderful Mark Duplass, playing two of Greenberg's old friends, are trapped in this morass of nice clothes and good hair that have nothing to say other than "Hey, rich people have problems too!"

The toxic heart of it all, though, is Greenberg, and yet another Stiller performance as a neurotic near-douchebag unable to relate to anyone around him. In his more mainstream comedies-- Meet the Parents, Tropic Thunder-- that character is redeemed after forcing to own up to his problems. In Baumbach's world, though, he's just another fucked-up human like the rest of us. There really are plenty of Greenbergs in the world-- but Greenberg the movie is not a convincing reason to spend this much time with him.

Motherhood covers a day in the life of Eliza Welsh (Uma Thurman). She lives in two apartments with her husband Avery (Anthony Edward) and two young children Lucas and Clara. Yes, I said two apartments. The rent is stabilized and when it comes to children, the more space you have the better. Even with the double digs Eliza has a hard time taking care of the family and tending to her blog “The Bjorn Identity,” a website dedicated the woes of mommyhood.

The one thing that’s making this particular day more hectic than others is her daughter’s 6th birthday party. You know how it is when you’re a kid; every birthday requires the utmost attention and most importantly, a party that provides the perfect goodie bag at the end. Not only does Eliza have to take care of her everyday chores including moving the car before the street sweeper rolls through and picking up the groceries, she also stumbles upon a contest asking for wannabe parenting writers to submit a 500-word answer to the question “What Does Motherhood Mean to Me?” The winner gets her own column! The only problem? Her entry must be submitted by midnight.

I walked into Motherhood expecting the bottom of the barrel for no other reason except my disapproval of the film’s poster. Something about it just screams cliché and suggests that if you see this movie, you’re going to be beaten over the head with motherhood disparities until you decide to get a puppy instead of having a kid. Yes, Motherhood beats you senseless with tiresome troubles of having children, but the realism behind them justifies their use.

The film opens with a shot of a list Eliza makes of things she must do during the day. It contains the usual daunting errands, but also reminds her to do what some would consider mindless tasks like getting dressed. For a minute I though she’d be like the forgetful Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates. Nope, she just has a lot on her plate. You really didn’t even need to see her list. Not only does Eliza’s fashion mimic her constantly manic life but so does her face. She’s busy and wants everyone to know it. At times it’s justified, but sometimes you’ll want to jump through the screen, shake her and tell her to take a deep breath. I know Eliza is exhausted, but constantly expressing her fatigue grows old fast.

Don’t worry, growing bored of her frazzled nature won’t leave you bored with the film. Motherhood maintains a steady pace and has a number of hilariously endearing scenarios. At first things like irritable moms in the playground seem cliché, but when you do a double take, you recall situations that help you relate. In one of the film’s most endearing moments Eliza is blocking traffic for a very understandable reason, trying to save her parking spot. What starts as an argument between her and one of the drivers she’s clogged up in her desperation turns into an instance in which a stranger recognizes the fact that she’s just having a rough day. How many times have you jut wanted a perfect stranger to sympathize with your situation? I’ve got one too many to count.

Motherhood has two primary downfalls. The lesser of the two is Thurman. She’s a fine actress, but something about Eliza isn’t quite convincing. I sympathized with her situation more than the character. Her relationship with her husband doesn’t strike a chord either. I guess their lack of chemistry has its reasons, but a moment of reconciliation isn’t as heartwarming as I believe it is intended to be. As always, the kids are adorable and can do no wrong and Minnie Driver is great as Eliza’s sassy friend Sheila who puts Eliza in her place when necessary. It’s too bad more of the film isn’t dedicated to her character.

The movie isn’t for everyone. It relies on the viewer’s willingness to empathize with Eliza’s plight. If you’re like a guy Eliza encounters in the film purporting that motherhood distress is no different than any other childless person’s troubles, Motherhood might not be for you. On the other hand, if you’re a parent yourself or have tremendous respect for moms and dads around the world, Motherhood will provide you with a sweet and charming theatergoing experience.














current staff picks

CDs: The Mars Volta – Bedlam in Goliath
Tom Waits – Small Change
V/A – Woodstock ‘94
DVD: The Cable Guy

CDs: Prince – Musicology
V/A – Hello Radio
Tom Waits – Frank’s Wild Years

CDs: Franz Liszt – Piano Concerto No. 1
The Beatles – Rubber Soul
Ghostface Killah: Supreme Clientele
DVD: Stripes

CDs: Tori Amos – Boys for Pele
The Notorious Betty Page Soundtrack
DVD: Pan’s Labyrinth

CDs: Horse The Band – A Natural Death
David Hillyard and The Rocksteady Secen – Playtime
Punk-O-Rama Volume 1
DVD: Memento

CDs: John Legend – Evolver
Estelle – Shine
The Beatles – Rubber Soul
DVD: V for Vendetta

CDs: Soul Coughing – Irresistible Bliss
Lauren Hill – The Miseducation Of Lauren Hill
Miles David – Bitches Brew
DVD: Capote

CDs: John Zorn – Naked City
Foo Fighters – Foo Fighters
Bjork – Debut
DVD: Stripes











concert listings

Sunday, Aug 1:
Willie Nelson – Community Theatre At May Center of the Performing Arts
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Wachovia Center
Amy Grant – American Music Theatre

Monday, Aug 2:
The Arcade Fire – Mann Center
Spoon – Mann Center

Tuesday, Aug 3:
Green Day – Susquehanna Bank center
AFI – Susquehanna Bank Center
Kelis - Trocadero

Wednesday, Aug 4:
Tegan and Sara – Festival Pier
Rufus Wainwright – Mann Center
The Barenaked Ladies – Susquehanna Bank Center
OAR – Star Pavilion at Hersheypark Stadium
The Beach Boys – The Community Theatre at Mayo Center of the Performing Arts
Russian Circles – Starlight Ballroom

Thursday, Aug 5:
The Kings of Leon – Susquehanna Bank Center
Kansas – Community Theatre At Mayo Center of the Performing Arts

Friday, Aug 6:
KISS – Susquehanna Bank Center
Local Natives – First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia
The Absolute Zeros – Tin Angel

Saturday, Aug 7:
Kean – Trocadero
Ingrid Michaelson – Mann Center
Jimmy Buffett – Susquehanna Bank CenterSunday,

Sunday, Aug 8:
Something Corporate – River Stage at Great Plaza
Meshell Ndegeocello – World Café Live

Tuesday, Aug 10:
Jimmy Buffett – Susquehanna Bank Center

Thursday, Aug 12:
Josh Joplin – Tin Angel
Among Criminals – The Trocadero

Friday, Aug 13:
Beth Orton – World Café Live
Herbie Hancock – Mann Center
Mewithoutyou – TLA
Carsie Blanton – Tin Angel

Saturday, Aug 14:
Maroon 5 – Susquehanna Bank Center
Owl City – Susquehanna Bank Center
Paul McCartney – Wachovia Center
Deadbolt – Trocadero
Sound Tribe Sector 9 – Festival Pier
Govt Mule – River Stage at Great Plaza
Maps and Atlases – Kung Fu Necktie

Sunday, Aug 15:
MGMT – Mann Center
Paul McCartney – Wachovia Center
Slayer, Megadeth, Testament – Susquehanna Bank Center
Devon Allman – North Star Bar

Monday, Aug 16:
The English Beat – World Café Live

Tuesday, Aug 17:
Birds of Maya – Johnny Brenda’s

Wednesday, Aug 18:
Crystal Castles – Electric Factory
Rihanna – Susquehanna Bank Center
Mary Chapin Carpenter – Keswick Theater
Shannon McNally – Tin Angel

Friday, Aug 20:
Ray LaMontagne – Susquehanna Bank Center
Bonnie Prince Billy – Philadelphia Folk Festival
The Devil Wears Prada – First Unitarian Church
Horse Feathers – Whitaker Center
Dean and Britta – Trocadero
Lucas Carpenter – World Café Live

Saturday, Aug 21:
Jeff Tweedy, Erin McKeown – Philadelphia Folk Festival
Toby Keith – Susquehanna Bank Center

Sunday, Aug 22:
Richard Thompson – Philadelphia Folk Festival
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Trocadero
Ozzfest – Susquehanna Bank Center

Monday, Aug 23:
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Trocadero

Thursday, Aug 26:
Xavier Rudd – TLA
Marah – Johnny Brenda’s
Janet Robin – Tin Angel

Friday, Aug 27:
The Jonas Brothers – Susquehanna Bank Center
The Devil Wears Prada – Crocodile Rock
Styx – The Community Theater at Mayo Center of the Performing Arts

Sunday, Aug 29:
Anthony Hamilton – Susquehanna Bank Center

Monday, Aug 30:
Ben Arnold – Tin Angel

Tuesday, Aug 31:
Rush – Allentown Fairgrounds
Toby Keith – Susquehanna bank Center












special orders

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