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Edison will premiere new line-up and new songs at Kung Fu Necktie on 4/27

Michael James Murray of Edison | photo by Colin Kerrigan
Michael James Murray of Edison | photo by Colin Kerrigan

At the start of 2013 a band called Edison drifted into Philly with a debut EP called Living Room and a handful of shows.  Founded by locals Michael James Murray and Alexander Savoth, the duo crafted roaming soundscapes that incorporated string sections with quietly jazzy drums and large-room production that still kept things intimate with closely placed vocals.

Following several months of solo work by Murray and Savoth that coincided with a new approach to Edison, the band is back with an expanded line-up and new material, ready to hit the stage again at Kung Fu Necktie on Sunday, April 27th.  Chris Giraldi joins on drums and Bennet Daniels (Neighborhood Choir, Hippy Johnny) takes control of the bass, bringing new perspectives and possibilities to a band that already reached aural moments of Air and Radiohead.  Tickets and information for the 21+ show with Marc Neibauer and HLEP can be found here.  Listen back to last year’s EP below.

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What the end of jazz nights at Ortlieb’s means for Philly’s jazz community

Local university and college students play with Fresh Cut Trio at The Painted Bride in February | Courtesy of Emily Rolen
Local university and college students play with Fresh Cut Trio at the Painted Bride in February | Courtesy of Emily Rolen

Pete Souders owned Ortlieb’s Jazzhaus for 20 years, but learned in January that the establishment he built a reputation for would no longer be needing his services. His Tuesday Night Jazz Jam Session was canceled.

But, he can’t say he didn’t expect it.

After growing exhausted of the hectic lifestyle of running a night spot and music venue, Souders sold Ortlieb’s in 2007, and after a bouncing around of owners, it was purchased by Four Corners Productions.

“I decided to sell it because I thought I was really getting tired,” Souders said.

Under its newest ownership, Ortlieb’s has shifted gears from its once-smooth atmosphere to a place of socialization, drinks and indie rock. It’s also dropped the “Jazzhaus” portion of its name.

The newest owners asked Souders to come in to host his Jazz Night upon opening, but Souders said he saw major flaws from the get-go.

When he owned Ortlieb’s, Souders said a large, acoustic piano sat center-stage which amplified the room, but once the newest owners came in, they hired a engineer who wired various mics for the jazz performances taking over the piano, which Souders said he thought was “unnecessary.”

Real jazz, Souders said, is able to fill an entire room without the need of any additional equipment.

But then again, Ortlieb’s is now hosting more than jazz performances, necessitating a more involved setup.

But Souders said he saw more concerns than just the equipment. Right before Christmas, the owners told him they  “weren’t making any money during the first hour-and-a-half.” They also asked his to cut the session back from its 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. slot so it wrapped up by 11:30 p.m. The owners told him they “weren’t making any money during the first hour-and-a-half,” Souders said.

He said that the new owners at Ortlieb’s told him they wanted to attract a better bar crowd at midnight, and Souders’ smooth tunes weren’t cutting it. It boiled down to a business issue.

“I had mixed emotions,” Souders said. “…[the situation] was anticlimactic.”

The current owners declined multiple requests for interviews.

So is the the current state of Ortlieb’s and what happened to its long-standing tradition a reflection for what might happen across the city’s jazz community? Continue reading →

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Modern Baseball will kick off its summer tour at The Barbary in June

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Modern Baseball | Photo by Allison Newbold | allynewbold.com

Modern Baseball may have just wrapped up a tour with The Wonder Years, but that doesn’t mean they’re slowing down any time soon. The never-wavering Philly based pop-punk band has announced a stacked summer tour with the likes of post-harcore band Tiny Moving Parts, emo/rock band The Hotelier and pop-punk outfit Sorority Noise. And to top it off, the tour kicks off right here in Philly.

Coming off of the release of their highly acclaimed album You’re Gonna Miss it All, MoBo played a sold out show with The Wonder Years at the E Factory April 13, and if you missed it, the Barbary show on June 1 should be at the top of your list. Tickets go on sale tomorrow via TicketWeb. Get tickets when they become available here, and see the full list of tour stops via MoBo’s facebook page. Check out the studio session Modern Baseball did with The Key here.

“Your Graduation” by Modern Baseball: The Key Studio Sessions from WXPN FM on Vimeo.

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Marge release twee pop debut Not Bad

marge

You might get a vibe of cynical apathy from an initial look at local outfit Marge and its new EP. The album is called Not Bad, after all, and aside from a Bandcamp page there isn’t much else out there from the quartet, not even a Facebook page (edit: Facebook page is here).  But that doesn’t really matter once you listen to the twee pop songs on the effort – they speak for themselves as a collection of pop culture-referencing nuggets that are sugary and gritty at the same time.  Without a carefully curated social media presence, and only first initials / last names listed in the album credits, Marge is currently a local enigma that will hopefully keep doing what they’re doing.

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Morgan’s Pier begins to roll out summer lineup, including free R5 shows from Merchandise and Temples

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Temples | photo by David Lichterman | https://www.facebook.com/lavidphotos

Morgan’s Pier has started to roll out its summer lineup of live music, including the first free shows presented by R5 Productions on Wednesday nights throughout the summer. Live shows under the stars at the Pier have become a summer highlight in Philly, and from DJ sets to punk bands, there’s something for everyone.

As far as the free shows go (with an RSVP), R5 has already booked post punk band Merchandise (6/26) and psychedelic rockers Temples (8/6), with more bands expected to be added to the lineup later in the spring.

The Morgan’s Pier live music season commences Thursday, May 1 with a free show featuring Greg D. of Risky Disko, followed by Broadzilla on Friday, May 2 and DJs Dave P. and Sammy Slice on May 3. See the full lineup of DJs and bands, as well as tickets and info for all of the shows here. Watch videos of bands playing free shows below.

Continue reading →

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Nick Millevoi set to release new record Numbers on the Side this month

Nick Millevoi | photo by Matt Hurst
Nick Millevoi | photo by Matt Hurst

Circling back to his solo work after releasing recordings with satellite projects Many Arms and the Ricart / Millevoi Quartet, local guitarist Nick Millevoi will release Numbers on the Side this month at the Pageant: Soloveev Gallery.

Spanning three tracks of dramatically different lengths and textures (the first stretches its legs to 21:30), Numbers on the Side is equal parts instrumental experimentation and environmental experimentation.  Millevoi brought in fellow Philadelphian Eric Carbonara to record the effort at The Rotunda in West Philadelphia, utilizing “the 103-year-old building’s high ceilings and 80-ft dome to help create the sonic space for this intense music.”

As each chord ricochets and delays off of The Rotunda’s walls, Millevoi warps and bends the noises into sounds that barely resemble a guitar.  On “‘Where is the Crime?’” he creates what seems like a live-action car chase, complete with revving engines and sharp turns before it flatlines and the chase comes to an end.

It’s hard to imagine that all of the screeches, fuzz and layers come from one guy, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Millevoi it’s that he is always one step ahead in the world avant-garde guitar experimentation.  Stream Numbers on the Side below and get more information about the release show on April 26th here.

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Guitar deities and #xpnfest artists Rodrigo y Gabriela give a taste of their new album in “The Russian Messenger”

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Rodrigo y Gabriela | photo courtesy of the artist

There may be no two people on earth who play the guitar like Rodrigo y Gabriela. The XPoNential Music Fest artists are a harmonious duo who blend rock with flamenco, metal, jazz and more. They are finger magicians, with Rodrigo’s pulsating guitar lines leading the way and Gabriela following as the “rhythmic battery,” with a finger picking style that is truly otherworldly.

Rodrigo y Gabriela are known especially for their exhilarating live performances, mesmerizing audiences from their early days on as buskers in Dublin to the huge festivals and sold out crowds they play to now. To get a taste of their latest record, 9 Dead Alive, watch an in-studio performance of “The Russian Messenger,” performed live at Lumbini Studio in Mexico. Uno dos tres va!