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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

New Chris Kasper single - City By the Sea

Here's a wonderfully bluesy tease to the upcoming Chris Kasper album.   New single "City By The Sea", is just enough to keep fans from getting restless, while he tours with Carsie Blanton along the West Coast.  Hopefully there will be some local dates soon, as 2017 seems so far off right now.

Bandade Presents: the dove & the wolf and Dirty Dollhouse

Bandade Music is very aware of the power of music in our lives. Formed in Nashville in 2015 and now located in Philadelphia, Bandade works to build community, raise awareness, and fight cancer through music. So far, they’ve had support from Alabama Shakes, Jason Isbell, Florence Welch, Sam Beam of Iron and Wine, and more; and since their move to Philadelphia, local artists are playing a major role in the Bandade community, helping to raise funds to fight cancer, and transforming an ordinary Wednesday night into an opportunity to be part of a larger purpose. Last month, Philly artists the dove & the wolf and Dirty Dollhouse highlighted the most recent Bandade benefit, and Root Down in the Shadow was there. Learn more about Bandade and see their calendar of upcoming shows at MyBandadeMusic.com.

the dove & the wolf

the dove and the wolf - photo by Dan McGurk
Upon first listen, Paris turned Philly expats the dove & the wolf stir something gloriously familiar.   The duo of Paloma Gil and Lou Hayat sings in tight, almost unison harmonies, and their guitars, in a sweeping wash of chorus, tremolo, and reverb recall the onset of dream pop and alternative rock -- an already too long ago time when artists such as Galaxie 500, Slowdive, Mazzy Star, and later, The Cranberries and Sixpence None the Richer went from cassette tapes to the airways.

the dove and the wolf - photo by Dan McGurk
And while their understated vocals and the intricate interplay of the guitars are enough to capture the nostalgic ear, it soon becomes clear that the dove and the wolf are the kind of artist rooted in our own time. Unlike many of their predecessors, songs and lives shows do not swell into big choruses or sing along hooks. Instead, the drums and bass boil beneath the dreamy surface, building a tension that reflects a theme in their music, one that seeks to place the introspective heart within the chaos and immediacy of our world.

Nowhere is this more clear than in their song, “Seven Days”. Written after the attacks in Paris as the duo were grounded in their home country, the lyrics question:

i cannot stop thinking about it 
and i don't know what to feel 

do i want to stop thinking about it? 
what am i supposed to feel? 

These lyrics are straightforward, present, and immediate, and like so many found on their latest release EP, I Don’t Know What to Feel are content to be questions. The songs are reflections of the quiet moments, the unforgiving seconds that turn to sleepless hours. They do not search for answers, they do not offer us any, nor do they expect any from us. And in this way, the music of the dove & the wolf is our sonic consolation, a slender thread in a sea of invisible wifi waves.

the dove and the wolf - photo by Dan McGurk

Dirty Dollhouse 

Dirty Dollhouse - photo by Dan McGurk
When Chelsea Mitchell released her EP Married in the Aviary in 2013, she orchestrated a star-studded group of musicians to perform alongside of her at World Cafe Live. Joining her that night were Amber Twait and Vanessa Winters; and since then, the three have come to form Dirty Dollhouse. Standing on stage, the trio of could easily remind one of the original Trio. And like Dolly, Emmylou, and Linda, the soaring harmonies of Dirty Dollhouse have become must hear entertainment.

Dirty Dollhouse - photo by Dan McGurk

 Two weeks ago at Milkboy, the trio took another step forward in their evolving their sound when Eric Lawry (formerly of Kalob Griffin Band) and Joshua Machiz (TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb) accompanied the group on drums and upright bass. Often, the addition of a drum and bass section can be a danger to artists unaccustomed to the shift in dynamic a driving rhythm section will produce. But rather than be drowned out, Dirty Dollhouse rose to a new level. After a brief soundcheck of Mitchell’s “Nobody’s Daughter” teased the audience with a taste of the airy, cascading harmonies we’re used to, the quintet launched into “25 Shades” and the power and prowess of the vocalists punched forth, igniting the songs with a fresh energy that can drive even the largest stage.

Dirty Dollhouse - photo by Dan McGurk
Whether solo, as a trio, or with the full band, there is never a bad time to see Chelsea Mitchell. Her signature hooks, melodies, and the wide array of jazz, folk, and pop will always shine. Count Lawry and Machiz as two more reasons to add Dirty Dollhouse to your concert calendar.

Joshua Machiz of Dirty Dollhouse - photo by Dan McGurk


Check out the dove and the wolf upcoming in Philly at First Unitarian Church 9/30/16 with Shivers and Hand Habits

Also in October they join another amazing line-up at Boot and Saddle for the Sonja Sofya record release show with Arc Divers.  

Chelsea Mitchell of Dirty Dollhouse plays a Candlelit house show this Sunday 9/25 at W/N W/N Coffee Bar with August John Lutz II of Levee Drivers as Cheap Dates and the talented Ladybird.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Arc Iris - Moon Saloon

Arc Iris returns to Philly this Wednesday, at Boot & Saddle with friends Superhuman Happiness and Birdie Busch.  To catch you up to speed, here's a little review of Moon Saloon to get you excited about the show.

If a well crafted album is meant to be a journey and an exploration, Arc Iris' Moon Saloon manages to accomplish both for its musicians and listeners.

Opening with a simple four-tap count-off from a gently gated hi-hat, "Kaleidoscope" kicks Moon Saloon off with Ray Belli (drums) and Zach Tenorio-Miller (keys) digging into a syncopated boom bap groove as Robin Ryczek (cello) surges in with her own sonic undertow. With a single, shimmering guitar chord, Jocie Adams is introduced as the narrator. Her lyrical foundation is paved with questions and reflections. As the track pushes forward, the original lines are spliced with slight variations and embellishments as a larger form takes shape. The track grows exponentially as single-line melodies and riffs erupt into soaring choral breaks. As the crescendo fades, a punchy, scattered ending reminds us not to get too comfortable...there’s more to come.

Splashed throughout the tracks of this album are vocal and instrumental bursts that possibly began as impulsive utterances and were then crafted into cathartic, joyously expressive moments. "Kingdom Come" presents a taste of this and captures the spontaneity of their musically playful side. In contrast, "Paint with the Sun" and "She Arose" serve as excellent reminders that Arc Iris isn’t messing around. At the appropriate time and place, they can throw in the kitchen sink with musically spectacular fashion.

The ideas and sounds crafted into the rest of the album, described as “dream-folk” by NPR, display a compositional creativity and musical growth for Adams’ that extends galaxies beyond her previously designated role in The Low Anthem. There is tremendous teamwork and musicianship that proves Arc Iris has arrived. Jocie, Zach, Ray and Robin achieved this by inviting their tremendously talented friends, Mike Irwin (trumpet), Charlie Rose (pedal steel. banjo) and many others to join them in front of and behind the microphones to help create something beautiful. Moon Saloon is the culmination of relentless touring and sculpting their sonic identity, along with growing in front of their fans and friends. With the album ready and released, we can now walk away from an Arc Iris show with an album that matches the intensity of what we just saw. It has happened just in time.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Five to See Live at Philadelphia Folk Festival 2015

It's Folk Festival Time for everyone in the Philadelphia area.  Have you checked out the newly updated Philadelphia Folk Festival website?  The site is so easy you can personalize your own schedule for the festival.   Other fests say you can do it, but they still end up being super cumbersome. You can sort this by stage or date, or just select a bunch of favorites from any page and have them show up as highlights to the schedule with the "Show My Schedule" button.

But even if you a super easy site isn't for you, here's Root Down In The Shadow's "Five to See Live" at the 55th Philadelphia Folk Festival presented by Philadelphia Folksong Society. 

Hurricane Hoss  Friday 3:30 Martin  Guitar Main Stage: 
Hurricane Hoss is everything country & folk music needs. None of this bro, country-pop with bimbos in the videos. Hoss brings back swagger and sass and has the chops to back it up.

The backing band this year is a veritable "who's who" of Philly, which people have come to expect of the Perfect Storm. Erik "Slim" Sayles is slinging electric, Hannah Taylor is providing harmonies, Josh Machiz of TJ Kong on bass, Eric Lawry (formerly of the KGB) singing and drumming, Isaac "Slowey" Stanford on Steel, Rachel Icenogle of Cast Shadows and Upholstery on cello, and Jaron Olevsky (Amos Lee, Birdie Busch) on keys.

If you're not one of the smart ones camping at Philadelphia Folk Festival this year, this is going to be a hard set to make early in the afternoon on Friday.  Fortunately, Hoss is playing all over fest this year and you'll have six more chances to see Hurricane Hoss.

Anderson East  Friday 9:45 Martin Guitar Main Stage:
Festivals are wonderful. It's a great time to catch a summertime set from your favorite bands. Festivals are also great for watching a set of your friends favorite band risk-free. Our pal Carolyn Lederach, who has introduced us to more bands than NPR has a favorite for the fest and it's Anderson East.

Here's what Carolyn has to say: "Anderson East hails from Nashville via Arkansas. As someone who's not usually drawn to Country infused music, I was completely won over by Anderson on his debut album 'Delilah'. Anderson has a special way to bring a modern twist with a retro Southern sound. Not to mention his live shows are not to be missed. If you want someone who will pour their heart out on stage and give a stellar performance to boot, DON'T miss Anderson East on Friday night. "

Anderson East - Photo by Carolyn Lederach

Tall Heights Saturday 1:40pm Lobby Stage
Tall Heights brand new album Neptune comes out this Friday... and just hours later they take to the Philadelphia Folk Festival stage for the 2nd time in just as many years.  Tim Harrington and Paul Wright return to Philly for the 1st time since their Milkboy Philly and Sofar Sounds Philadelphia appearances last October and it should be magical.

Tall Heights - Only | Sofar Philadelphia

Driftwood Soldier Sunday 2:45 Front Porch Stage   
Driftwood Soldier is Root Down In The Shadow’s new folky favorite on the Philly scene. Listening to Scavenger’s Joy you're immediately drawn to a mix of Owen Lyman-Schmidt’s funky mandolin with Bobby Szafranski’s slick bass.  Next take Owen’s cerebral lyrics, integrated with an intense yet mellow delivery much like Neil Fallon of Clutch and David Lamb of Brown Bird, and your hooked. If you haven’t checked out, Scavenger’s Joy, what are  you waiting for?

Heart Harbor Saturday 12:00pm Camp Stage
Taking part of the Saturday tradition that is the WXPN Presents Helent Leicht showcase, is Heart Harbor joining Katie Barbato and Matt Duke. Fresh off of her Key Session debut this Tuesday and her debut EP Tender Trap (released this April, produced by Erin McKeown), Kerri Mallet and co. makes their large-stage Heart Harbor debut.

Heart Harbor - "Hating Nothing"

Honorable Mention:
Darlingside Friday 8:45 Martin Guitar Main Stage
I only give the fellas from Darlingside an honorable mention as by this point you should know this band.  I'm guessing this is likely Darlingside's last Philly appearance for the year.  After being XPN's album of the month in February, these XPN favorites have taken part in nearly every major event this year including Non-Comm and XPoNential Festival.  

Friday, July 22, 2016

Bands Pick The Bands - 2016 XPoNential Music Festival Presented by Subaru - Artists Preview

Wooo Hooooo

It's XPoNential Fest Time!!!!  Every year WXPN brings a ton of great bands and artists to the Wiggins Park shore in Camden, NJ.  With so many bands on the line-up it's daunting to figure out which bands to see.  Fortunately, the way WXPN does the line-ups you CAN make it to every band should you choose.  However, we all know it's going to be hot as hell.  Not quite as hot as 2011 with the 100 degree days, but still super hot.  

Luckily for us, some of the festival performers have put in their two cents for which bands they are excited about.

Rosemary Fiki starts the
fest at 4pm today on the JerseyArts.Com Marina Stage. Let's see what she's recommending:

Band Most Excited to Share the Festival Stage with:
This is our first time time performing at XPoNential so to be completely honest, I'm super stoked to share the Festival stage with everyone! If I absolutely had to choose, I would say The Districts. We actually shared the stage with them at the benefit concert, Beyond The Bars at The World Cafe and that was my first time hearing them. I fell in love with how they were able to effortlessly mix rock, folk, and blues. It's awesome to watch how the crowd reacts to their performance...they have crazy good energy.

Band Most Excited to see live at the #XPNFest:
It would have to be Gary Clark Jr. and Alabama Shakes. I was so inspired and moved by Gary Clark Jr.'s NPR interview where he talks about being mentored, being the underdog and his big break of getting invited by Eric Clapton to perform at the Crossroads Blues Festival...I just found his story so humbling. He's an amazing guitarist and I really enjoy watching him live. I also love watching Alabama Shakes because they rock out hard. I'm also a little bit bias but it's so rad that it's a woman-fronted band. Their music has the perfect combination of rock and soul.

The Districts are making their third XPoNential Music Festival Presented by Subaru appearance playing 2:20pm Saturday on the River Stage at Wiggins Park.

They were psyched to see Beck in 2014 and Phosphorescent and Dr. John in 2013.

This year "the band we're most excited to share the stage with is Mavis Staples and the band(s) we're most excited to see are Father John Misty, Queen of Jeans and Kississippi! Looking forward to it!"

Kississippi starts off the festival Saturday 12pm on the JerseyArts.Com Marina Stage.

Band Most Excited to Share the Festival Stage with:
It’s hard to narrow it down to one artist because I’m excited about this whole lineup. Brandi Carlile and Tommy Stinson are two artists that I’ve looked up to since I was a kid. I’m seriously blown away every time I look at the festival flyer and see all of our names on it. There’s no one playing this fest that I’m not excited to play with, these two have left a mark on me and stick out to me the most.

Band Most Excited to see live at the #XPNFest:
I already named Brandi Carlile and Tommy Stinson because they mean a lot to me. Another band that I hold near and dear to my heart is The Districts. I met these guys for the first time when my high school band played a show with them at The Fire, and thirty seconds into the first song our whole band was asking each other why they were opening for us. I still remember how proud I was of them the first time they played XPoNential. They continue to make me feel that way with everything they do. Brandi Carlile, Tommy Stinson, and the Districts all made the decision to build their lives around music when they were very young. They’re all sticking to it, and that’s something to admire.

Ben Arnold plays 12:30 Saturday on the River Stage at Wiggins Park

Band Most Excited to Share the Festival Stage with:
There's a particularly strong representation some of the most inspired new music out there at this years festival and it's coming right out of our own backyard.

So I'm looking forward to playing on the same stage with The Districts once more. We just played a show together over the winter. They are not only ridiculously talented. They're also a bunch of really sweet and humble guys.

Band Most Excited to see live at the #XPNFest: I'm definitely looking forward to seeing Mavis Staples, Femi Kuti and Preservation Hall because they are all giants. But I'm really psyched to see Rosemary Fiki and Low Cut Connie bring it. They're both killing it live and I think the supportive hometown festival crowd is going to love these Philly bands as much as I do.

The Record Company play Saturday 4:10pm on the JerseyArts.Com Marina Stage.

Band Most Excited to Share the Festival Stage with:Darlingside have amazing songs and harmonies not to be missed and I am also looking forward to hearing David Wax Museum after our set.

Band Most Excited to see live at the #XPNFest:
Other than the bands named I am going to try and catch as many of the other artists as I can. You really can't miss. Chicano Batman, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Alabama Shakes are all bands I haven't seen and have wanted too see. So we'll try to get over and catch all of them and as many of the other acts as possible. Any choice is a good one, the entire lineup is great stem to stern.

Queen of Jeans plays Friday at 4:35 on the JerseyArts.Com Marina Stage.

Band Most Excited to Share the Festival Stage with:
Rosemary Fiki! We shared the stage with her at the Beyond the Bars fundraiser at World Café Live and were blown away!

Band Most Excited to see live at the #XPNFest:
Band most excited to see live at the #xpnfest: case/lang/veirs - coolest collaboration ever and a rare chance to see some really legendary women share the stage together!

Eliza Hardy Jones plays the River Stage at Wiggins Park 12pm on Sunday. She returns to XPoNential Festival for the first time since her appearance as a member of Strand of Oaks in 2014.

Band Most Excited to Share the Festival Stage with:MAVIS STAPLES.  What an incredible force of nature. Mavis Staples is an absolute legend and a true inspiration. Her voice, her message, and her total joy force are pretty unmatched. It's a definite honor to play in a line-up that includes her.

Band Most Excited to see live at the #XPNFest:Father John Misty. His songs reach down my throat and punch me in the guts in all the right ways. I've never seen him live, and I'm pumped to finally get the chance. I love how the production on the new record bathes his cynicism in beauty. That song Holy Shit is perfect. There are moments of true genius on this record; laugh tracks, string arrangements, synths and guitars, that voice, and lyrics that just cut your heart out. I love it.