Korine embraces the darkness at Johnny Brenda's - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

It had been a rain filled, dark and dreary Thursday which, for a crowd at Johnny Brenda’s, was night capped by a darker and moodier Korine. The Philly two piece were ringing in release day for their new album, Tear, which was going to reach all the corners of the internet at midnight. In a packed crowd, surrounded by visibly ecstatic fans equally ready to shout their lungs out or dance their hearts out, Korine unleashed the upbeat but poetically dark full-length.

Johnny Dynamite, a recent transplant to Philly and a labelmate of the headliner on Born Losers Records, was a ball of energy for his set, only standing still for appropriate power poses. Lots of fog and bright color combo fit like a glove with Johnny’s aesthetic, he wore all black: a nylon bomber jacket, gold chain and a mullet few like Curt Smith have pulled off.

Johnny Dynamite | photo by Megan Matuzak for WXPN

Johnny played from his album Sleeveless, an indulgent, powerful 80s rock sound that vibed like The Police had gone all in on a synth wave album. This vibe translated to specific tracks like “Triflin’ Kids” and “Fucked Up Paradise.” In a moment of vulnerability, Johny Dynamite also played a song he admitted to not play too much, “Walking Poetry” from his pandemic album Heartbroken.

Like Korine, Johnny Dynamite was on the cusp of releasing a new album. To tease the album, he played a song about people who change and feelings of frustration called “Lakehouse,” cheekily remarking “I’m going to steal a little of their thunder.”

Korine | photo by Megan Matuzak for WXPN

Korine opened up their Johnny Brenda’s set Thursday night with “Mt. Airy,” a pop-infused track with a catchy warbling synth tone, the album’s first single and opening track. Anyone would be hard pressed not to dance to the track, so not surprisingly it swept up the already-buzzing, black-clad, fishnet-wrapped, chain-belted goth crowd.

Dim blue spotlights, hazy fog and projected neon green butterflies matching the Tear cover art, set the scene at Johnny Brenda’s. Powerful blasts of light accented the tracks, synchronized with Korine’s dark synth pop sound.

Songs from their back catalog like “Cruel” in that element were elevated, the band’s sharp demeanor expressing the rawness still felt there. By contrast, they played “Sunshine,” a dancier 2021 single and clear crowd favorite. Both featured a full stream of beats with satisfying claps, bass laden synth melodies and a subtle vibration under the crowd’s feet.

Korine | photo by Megan Matuzak for WXPN

Korine bounced and played around in Tear, letting the vibrant breath of the album’s tracks go. The tracks were accompanied by the moody lyrical undertow, like in “The More I Try” and “Train To Harlem,” an especially airy and light single from the band. Dramatic, pulsing and balladic, “Lost in the Dark” and “Dream Dancer” were lyric-driven. Both felt like a piece of Korine was more exposed, the messages more clear.

They didn’t play the album in full, some cards close to the chest, because why give it all away?

Korine expressed a great deal of gratitude towards the end of their Tear album release show at Johnny Brenda’s. Born Losers Records, who had DJed at the top of the night, were thanked for their unwavering support. They then addressed the crowd saying how grateful they are to get to do what they do and still kind of shocked people show up.

The band played a two song encore, “Elegance & You” and “Cast” plucked up from their last two albums like touchstones to Tear. Each one felt like it was the crowd’s favorite song, and if that proves nothing else, the fans still aren’t going anywhere.

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