Power Animal

The Beautiful Artistry of Power Animal at Little Berlin Dec. 18

How does one describe the beautiful artistry of Power Animal? The music hits a listener from a variety of angles at once. However, this sonic exposure isn’t a smash-and-grab attack. It’s a pensively organic collection of textures, serving as a catalyst to rejuvenation, wiping the slate clean, and starting anew. The freeing tones are inherently light and energetic, generating a head-bobbing sway, while still retaining a depth that captures you at the core. Tonight, Power Animal, a.k.a. Keith Hampson, is part of a lineup at Little Berlin that also includes the delicate daydreaming pop of Sam Tremble & Allison Lorenzen, a.k.a. Slow Dance. Introspective minimalist rocking Vermont transports Hello Shark draw you in close, fleshing out personal narratives that are part stream of consciousness diary-inflected tales. Chicago’s Lala Lala rounds out the bill with their spin on haunting bare bones grunge. Little Berlin, 2430 Coral St., 7pm, $7 Donation, All Ages (Photo by Mac Whalen) - Michael Colavita


Weekend Warrior, May 2 - 4

Worshyper is celebrating tonight at Bourbon & Branch the vinyl release of their full-length album, Keeps, which you should totally grab a copy for those nights when your partner needs a bit of sexing up. The group has just been getting better and better with each performance so I am definitely looking forward to this evening's set. And what you should be equally excited about is the return of Power Animal, a.k.a. Keith Hampson, with a whole album of new material. There will be plenty of posi vibes all around. Also joining in the fun will be the electro-tropicalia grooves of Dream Safari and NYC beatmaker/singer Shraf. Bourbon & Branch, 705 N. 2nd St., 9pm, $10, 21+ - H.M. Kauffman
Other places to escape the chill this weekend…
Johnny Brenda’s (1201 N. Frankford Ave.) SAT Mercury Radio Theater, Cape Wrath
Kung Fu Necktie (1250 N. Front St.) FRI A Brood of Vipers, The Spirit World, The Gang Age, SAT (Downstairs) Widow Maker Social Club, (Upstairs) The Only Ghost in Town, Hurry, Brian Mietz
Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill St.) FRI Rosu Lup, SAT Break-in Fundraiser w/Mat Burke, TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb, Ali Wadsworth and the Satellite Hearts, Penrose, Levee Drivers
The Trocadero (1003 Arch St.) SUN Plutonian, Alustrium
The Fire (412 W. Girard Ave.) FRI Carl Crossfade, Traverse, SAT Thorazine, Pagan Babies, Wally, The Baptist Preachers, The Bushmaster, SUN Matt Ford, Ant Dior
Tin Angel (20 S. 2nd St.) SAT (Late) Laura Cheadle & the Family Band, The Bosom Band, (Early) IVA w/Cris Valkyria
Fergie’s (1214 Sansom St.) FRI Hired Guns Blues Band, SAT Sparkle Pony, SUN Rusty Cadillac
Ardmore Music Hall (105 Grape St.) FRI Jeffrey Gaines, Matt Santry, Paul Keen, SAT Ataloft Album Release w/Travel Lanes, Katie Frank & The Pheromones
Golden Tea House (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) SAT Wet Food, Westboro Baptist Choir, Nemesisters
The Slow Club (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) SUN Vegan Legions
Yell Gallery (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) SAT The Lavendar Collection Launch Party w/Misty Sol, Moor Mother Goddess, DJ Halfbreed
The Vat (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) FRI Void Vision
The Sankofa House (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) SAT Stakes is High: Hip Hop w/Selina Carrera, Isis Tha Saviour, Electric Lady, DJ Aura, Nolita Selector
Major Oak (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) SUN Skeleton Lipstick
The Dog Morgue (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) FRI Mumblr, Pill Friends, Cousin Brian

Free Download: "Unkept" - Power Animal

We're huge fans of Power Animal, a.k.a. Keith Hampson, who has performed multiple times at our anniversary parties and Deli-curated showcases. He bravely just posted a piece over at Impose, about his struggles, with Tourette syndrome, depression, generalized anxiety disorder and ADHD, and how he copes with mental illness on a daily basis. We are also very happy to hear that he is doing better, and has been working on a whole new album. It's been way too long that the world has gone without a new Power Animal recording, and his latest track "Unkept" certainly didn't disappoint - so dope! The powerful, glitched-out number was written a few months ago during a spell of bedridden illness. Hampson will be returning to the stage this Friday, May 2 at Bourbon & Branch opening for former Power Animal bandmates Worshyper and local dance-pop outfit Dream Safari.


Album Review: Exorcism - Power Animal

The words of Power Animal may be obscured by a boatload of studio manipulation, but what they’re communicating is always clear: This is Feel-Good Music. Evident from Power Animal’s major-key synth hooks and disco percussions is a love of the kind of nostalgic sentimentality bands like M83 and Passion Pit maximize with unrelenting waves of keyboard and second-wave British invasion bands like The Kooks channel into plain-spoken love narratives. But unlike these late-aught champions of electronic-indie, Power Animal don’t do “pleasant” by blending every pleasant thing they could think of into an overwhelming pastiche. Instead of indulging dream-pop’s natural affinity for cheese and excess, Power Animal strip it down into the grimy, humble Exorcism, an EP that, with its bare-bones approach and subtle use of hooks, aims to reclaim the genre’s humanity. 
There’s no denying that Exorcism presents itself as “quirky.” The jerky keyboard lines and garbled vocals sound as if they’re culled from records warped by years of sitting in an attic (an image also brought to you by the record’s hazy, Mono production), and the wonky structure of its opening suite “Better Water” suggests the hippie-warbling excess Exorcism could’ve easily devolved into. But as the EP progresses, these cracks begin to reveal the sincere, very real character hiding underneath the saccharine signifiers. The little winks that pepper Exorcism’s excellent second half make it practically interactive. “Mold Spores” was already assured its place as the album’s best tune before the chuckle that slips through its second verse makes its glee infectious, as if we’re being let in on whatever great time Power Animal are scoring. By Exorcism’s eponymous closer, we’re sharing the record’s smile.
It could be a more “conventionally” pretty record, but it’d be worse for it. This ambitious kind of pop has a tendency to become weightless in its nostalgia-bating, and while Power Animal certainly capture the comfort nostalgia offers, they also capture its insubstantiality. Built from bits and fragments of pop-eras past, Exorcism sounds as if it could break apart at any moment. It holds together, of course, but as music that sounds like it wants to save the world through sheer positivity goes, Exorcism accomplishes something far more impressive: It actually manages to inspire the feelings it evokes.
You can purchase the album HERE, and all profits from digital sales will be donated to Philabundance, a local charity organization that provides food to the needy in the Philly area. - Adam Downer