The Legendary Roots Crew will be on hand in full force (and that’s a lot of people) next Friday the 31st of June when Philly’s Mural Arts Program unveils the new Roots mural at World Communications Charter School at 512 South Broad Street.
You can get a taste of what the mural looks like in the above image from Amber Art and Design (featuring artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh) – the sea of faces features Roots onstage mouthpiece Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Roots digital mouthpiece Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson on the drums at his right, and a tapestry of its other contributors over the years, including “Captain” Kirk Douglas on guitar and Leonard “Hub” Hubbard on bass. From the folks at Mural Arts:
From founders Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter and Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson’s humble beginnings at the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), to their staggering thirteen recorded albums, to an endless overseas touring schedule, and their current position as house band on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” on NBC, The Roots have influenced generations of artists locally, nationally, and globally.
The mural has been paired with an online multimedia component as well – dig in to some of the videos and photo galleries at the Mural Arts website here. The dedication takes place next Friday, May 31, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. And of course, there’s the Roots Picnic the next day to maximize the Roots-iness of your weekend.
With the release of City Rain’s new single “The Optimist” imminent, the duo today premiered a new music video for the song over at EDM website Magnetic Magazine. It’s a step forward from their previous video efforts – “I’m Gone” leaned more towards lo-fi goofiness (frontman Ben Runyan and former guitarist Jarrett Zerrer riding around West Chester on the back of a truck), while “Montage” was a brilliant slash of New Wave color and light reminiscent of 80s MTV.
By comparison, “The Optimist,” filmed in the streets and rooftops of Port Richmond by local videographer Simon Rogers, seems suited for multiplex screens. Tracing the song’s motivational message of pulling oneself up from distress and despair and finding your own path in life, it opens with Runyan literally at rock bottom and regaining his footing by chasing after the video’s female lead – who may be a love interest, or may be a metaphor for happiness and self-fullfillment. From Magnetic Mag:
Love and Loss in the Recession, “The Optimist,” is the human condition as told though the eyes of the young men of City Rain. While every person has the capability to create his or her own personal hell, there is inversely their capability to manifest redemption. “The Optimist” is the story of the way back.
You can watch the video for “The Optimist” below, and see it in person on a big (ish) screen at the release party / viewing party this Monday, May 27th, when City Rain’s appearance at the North Star Bar’s Victorian Dining Room series. The free concert series tends to showcase acoustic / stripped down / rearranged performances by local acts, and when Runyan appeared on XPN’s Philly Local Show this week, he said that City Rain would pull back from its normally bracing performances to a more hushed, intimate vibe to suit the room. More information at the North Star’s website.
The Chester County-based folk group Tin Bird Choir performed in a stripped down two-piece configuration for this weeks’ installment of the WXPN lunchtime buskers’ series at The Porch at 30th Street Station. The band mixes poppy harmonies with the acoustic troubadour tradition, and is releasing its Kickstarter-funded second record next month. The band’s CD release party will be June 15th at Steel City Coffeehouse in Phoenixville. Watch a video of them performing below, and be on the lookout for next week’s installment of the series featuring The Districts.
Grammy-winning and critically revered American folk performer Patty Griffin makes a Philadelphia appearance next month, headlining Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center. Griffin is on tour in support of her seventh record, American Kid, released this month on New West Records, and this week we’re giving away a pair of tickets to the show on Wednesday the 6th of June. Just leave a comment below with your favorite Patty Griffin song and we’ll announce a winner next Thursday afternoon the 30th.
Ground rules: you have to leave your first and last name in the comments, and you have to enter an email where we can contact you if you win (the e-mail will not be made public). Below, watch Griffin performing “Wild Old Dog” at The Living Room in New York last month.
This tasty new set tripped down the Daytrotter wire today; backed by a DJ and a handy cache of moody, evocative beats, up-and-coming Philly rapper Grande Marshall released a session that’s available as streaming and downloadable audio for members. He recorded five songs – “Anslinger’s Revenge,” “95′s,” “Boathouse,” “Lupin III” and “Thuggis Shidd Pt. II” – at Good Danny’s in Austin.
Daytrotter honcho Sean Moeller described Marshall as a young man who “had to adjust to an impartial real world that’s been littered with hardship and disappointment:”
When he raps, you hear this in every line. You hear that the struggle is still fresh and he’s being strong about it, but there are plenty of parts to the story that are tender and will always be tender.” Heavy stuff, but important and meaningful stuff. … Grande Marshall songs are about staying afloat when everyone’s so quick to tie blocks of cement to everyone else’s ankles, just to watch them sink. It’s the kill or be killed mentality that Grande Marshall talks about – that grand and selfish notion that it’s either me or it’s you going down – and it’s incredible how few winners there are when that game’s played. Grande Marshall will win.
Download Grande Marshall’s Daytrotter Session here. For more, check out some of Grande Marshall’s appearances in the Key archives here.
The guys of Market East clearly have a thing for the warmer months of the year. There was “Marielle,” the rhapsody over cherry red lips and beach afternoons that opens their debut EP (check it out performed for Out of Town Films here). There are the languid, easygoing arrangements and breezy Brian Wilson-style vocal harmonies that pepper their songs. And now their is Children of Summer, their new EP and a sonic step forward for the trio of Kurt Cain-Walther (vocals), Max Perla (vocals, drums) and Vincent John (vocals, guitar). The EP gets its official release next month and celebrates on June 8th at MilkBoy with a stacked lineup; Joey Sweeney and the Long Hair Arkestra, Night Panther, Mohican and Former Belle. Last week, while the Non-COMMvention was raging at WXPN HQ, we took the Key Studio Sessions on location to Studio A in South Philly to record a few live tracks with Market East. Two of the performances you hear below are new tracks from the forthcoming EP – you’ll recognize “Evergreen” from our premiere the other week – and one is a cover that needs no introduction. Listen to the tunes below, and get the details on Market East’s album release show here.
Late last year, Philly rapper Taylor Dunn released his latest mixtape, On the Contrary; this week, we got a music video for the single “Water.” In sweeping camera shots around various recognizable (and sometimes not-so-recognizable) center city locales, Dunn – who is a LaSalle basketball player in another life – delivers his free associative, lively rhymes over a punchy beat, owning his hometown and celebrating its grandeur as quickly as its scuffs. Check out the video below and look for a cameo from Key contributor Dan Brightcliffe (aka beatmaker Philth Spector), and find out more about Taylor Dunn at his Twitter.