By

Explore the world of percussion with Man Forever at Kung Fu Necktie tonight

Man Forever | photo by Lisa Corson
Man Forever | photo by Lisa Corson

As related in a Zen koan, Ryonen was the name of a Buddhist nun who lived in the early 19th century. The granddaughter of a famous Japanese warrior, Ryonen was inspired to study Zen when the empress she served died suddenly. Several Zen masters rejected her because of her beauty, so she burned her face with a hot iron.

More importantly, if Google’s search results are any indication, Ryonen is the name of a thin, large-eyed nude model. “I was excited to see that,” says John Colpitts with a laugh, “but it had nothing to do with the piece.”

Ryonen (Thrill Jockey), the latest release by Colpitts’ Man Forever project, was indeed named for the more philosophically-oriented of the two beauties. The album features two lengthy, intense all-percussion compositions written by the drummer (better known as Oneida’s Kid Millions) and performed by him along with the renowned So Percussion ensemble. He’ll perform an expanded 30-minute version of the album’s opening track, “The Clear Realization,” with Brooklyn-based percussion trio TIGUE at Kung Fu Necktie Wednesday night, on a bill with Stoner Boner DJs.

On the CD, “The Clear Realization” floats Colpitts’ hazy, ethereal vocals over intricately interlocking polyrhythms, building to a mesmerizing, almost spiritual, pitch. Live, he promises, the piece is “heavier in terms of the patterns and the impact. It’s more evolved and a little less raw.”

Man Forever was born at the suggestion of Ben Swanson at the now-defunct vinyl-only label St. Ives, an offshoot of Secretly Canadian. “Ben said, ‘I’d like to hear a solo drum record from you. We’ll put it out if you get it to us.’ I hadn’t even considered doing something like it,” Colpitts recalls. He was at a loss as to how to even approach such a project until hearing Fireworks Ensemble performing a chamber rendition of Lou Reed’s polarizing Metal Machine Music in 2010.

“I saw that and thought it would be really interesting to try to do something like Metal Machine Music but with drums,” he says. “So I had some conversations with Brian Chase from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs about tuning drums to just intonation and different pitches and I recorded [the first album] by myself.”


Continue reading →

By

There’s one kind favor I’ll ask of you, that’s to listen to tonight’s episode of Folkadelphia Radio featuring Scranton’s Coal Town Rounders

Blindlemonjeffersoncirca1926Memento mori is a Latin phrase that means “remember you will die” and it is a commonly used motif in art serving to remind about the temporary nature of mortality. The motif can be seen throughout time and artistic disciplines, symbolized, for example, by skull imagery in paintings, depictions of the Grim Reaper and his danse macabre, cemetery architecture, and literary themes.

The subject of death and specifically burial instructions make up a significant portion of blues and folk songs, including “The Fatal Flower Garden,” “Country Blues,” and “The Butcher’s Boy.” None of these though is as detailed and poignant as Blind Lemon Jefferson‘s “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean,” also known as “One Kind Favor,” originally recorded in 1927 for Paramount Records and included in the massively influential Harry Smith Anthology of American Folk Music. We’re taking a close look at the song tonight on Folkadelphia Radio.

Jefferson was discovered in Dallas, Texas by Paramount Records and taken to Chicago to record throughout the 1920s, leading to commercial success and national acclaim. Jefferson’s unique style of playing and singing influenced the development of the Texas blues tradition and beyond. In 1930, Son House and Charley Patton, also recording for Paramount, were told to record their own take on the song, which led to the melody-sharing “Mississippi County Farm Blues.”"See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” has been covered by artists as diverse as Lightnin’ Hopkins, Canned Heat, Diamanda Galas, The Dream Syndicate, and more. As a continually fulfilled wish, many admirers over the years have taken the pilgrimmage to the Wortham, Texas cemetary on Highway 14, due approximately 85 miles south of Dallas to keep Jefferson’s grave site clean.

Continue reading →

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: Chuck Ragan at The TLA, Baths at Union Transfer and Ryan Montbleau at Tin Angel

Photo via chuckraganmusic.com
Photo via chuckraganmusic.com

Tonight at the TLA, singer-songwriter/guitarist Chuck Ragan will celebrate his new record Til Midnight. Despite the hard edge and grit of his earlier work – both solo and with Hot Water Music -  there’s no shortage of love songs or intimacy on his latest effort. Watch “Something May Catch Fire” (which definitely has a Springsteen vibe) below and get tickets here.

Continue reading →

By

Surprise! The Menzingers threw a secret album release party at Golden Tea House

 

photo by Rachel Del Sordo
photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Yesterday, The Menzingers released their fourth full-length album, Rented World. (Read our review here.) The band surprised its hometown fans when it was revealed that they were playing a secret CD release show at the Golden Tea House last night with Nona and Holy Mess opening. With less than a day’s notice, fans flocked to this West Philadelphia venue. Punk rock time was thrown to the side as the show was sold out before doors were scheduled to open. The Menzingers threw a crazy party, and you can check out scenes from the show in the gallery below.

By

Download “Shadow Of A Man” by neo folkies NEULORE

Photo by Rory White
Photo by Rory White

NEULORE are the Nashville based duo of lead singer Adam Agin and William T. Cook. They met in 2008 and released their debut EP, Apples & Eve, in 2010. The newest song, “Shadow of a Man,” was featured in Grey’s Anatomy and in May they’ll be on the Communion Music Tour with a stop in Philly at Underground Arts on Thursday, May 8th. Also on that bill are Bootstraps, Busy Living, Cub Sport, Joey Sweeney & the Long Hair Arkestra, Heyward Howkins and Our Griffins. Fans of Mumford & Sons, Imagine Dragons and American Authors will delight in both the “folksiness” and the hyper melodicism of this new song by NEULORE.

Below, download the anthemic “Shadow Of A Man.”

By

Unlocked: The Key’s review of Ataloft’s self-titled debut

a3607964194_10Darren Schlappich might be known as the lead guy in one of the region’s  Americana staples, Frog Holler, but that doesn’t mean Americana is his whole world.

The singer-guitarist has an evident appreciation of expansive pop-rock productions stylists like Brian Wilson, Phil Spector and John Brion, and while those leanings might not always get a chance to shine in his main project, his new band does an admirable job of scratching that itch.

On the debut LP from Ataloft, released on ZoBird Records earlier this month, Schlappich explores tones and takes chances with his music that he might not have in Frog Holler. Banjo player and multi-instrumentalist Mike Lavdanski also made the jump from Holler to Ataloft for the project, and it’s clear that the two have a very distinctive writing style. We hear it in “Bucket of Blood” – the midtempo shuffle and the twangy chord changes – as well as the delicate “A Heart Attack on the Holidays,” a plaintive solo acoustic number. Indeed, these were selections from Schlappich’s songbook that he wrote thinking that they may wind up being Frog Holler tracks, but here they’re dressed up in different tones and textures, aided by third-member and studio guru Bruce Siekmann, who sparked the collaboration. Continue reading →

By

UK singer-songwriter Passenger brings summer tour to the Electric Factory

PassengerHe’s come a long way from a guitar case on the side of the road. After handily selling out World Cafe Live downstairs last summer, Mike Rosenberg – AKA Passenger – announced a summer tour that takes him through Philly this August for a headlining show at the Electric Factory. The venue presale begins Thursday, April 24th, at noon; general onsale happens Friday, April 25th, at 9 a.m.; more information at the Electric Factory website. Below, watch a music video for the new single “Heart’s On Fire.”