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The All Mutable Summer Jam will push things forward with two days of experimental sounds this July

Kilamanzego | photo by Manny Arocho | courtesy of the artist
Kilamanzego | photo by Manny Arocho | courtesy of the artist

For the past couple years, local booking and promotions collective All Mutable has been throwing shows with some seriously stacked lineups with boundary-pushing, genre-defying artists. Their latest endeavor is no exception. Happening over two days in late July, the All Mutable Summer Jam will bring together 15 artists across two locations.

The lineup for the first night, July 27 at Lacquer, includes Philly’s own 700 Bliss, plus Container, Dreamcrusher, Swan Meat, Deli Girls, Beau Mahadev, and Collar. Day two at PhilaMOCA on July 28 will bring Chicago electronic musician and footwork pioneer RP Boo to the stage, plus NYC-based artists Sporting Life and YATTA. Also in the mix, all the way from Japan, is experimental electronic producer Foodman. But there are also quite a few locals lined up, too — including beatmaker Kilamanzego, NAH, Ada Babar, and Palm’s vocalist/guitarist Kasra Kurt. Read more about the artists via R5 Productions, read more about All Mutable in this interview with The Key’s Alex Smith. Continue reading →

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Community and Eclecticism: Philly gig promoters All Mutable on making an inclusive, daring scene

Chicago-based footwork dance originator RP Boo plays an All Mutable show on March 4th | photo via facebook.com/Arpebu.Inc

As improbable a feat as this may seem, the still wet from the womb music promotions collective All Mutable has burned itself into the psyche of the Philly music scene with their daring vision of community and eclecticism. Even more improbable, they’ve managed to become one of the few promoters who force me– your friendly, neighborhood musical curmudgeon– to instantly smash “going” on all of the squad’s Facebook solicits even when I’m wildly unfamiliar with the bands they’re offering. Theirs is the ability to cultivate a strange, impossible oasis of color and sound within a sometimes diversity-barren landscape of independent DIY music.

While the group were all friends and music collaborators in various bands first– Jazz Adam from New York City, Nicki Duval from Connecticut, and Robin Meeker-Cummings from West Philadelphia (born and raised, naturally)– it is together with All Mutable that their true talents have reach an apex. While their roots are in experimental and noise music (and that aesthetic still rings true even as they expand), they’ve hosted raging punk noise outfits like Pinkwash, edgy afro-accoustic post-punk like Daphne, and minimalist drum and noise outfits like NAH under their umbrella and miraculously they’ve avoided any cross-genre clashing, eschewing the 10th grade mix CD model and have taken an approach that speaks more to the deliberate nature of their intention: freeing up class modalities and pushing forward with a futurist vision that is inclusive and liberating.

We sat down with the All Mutable squad for insight into their process, the origins of their name, and the future of DIY indie music Philadelphia and beyond. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Allysen Callery

If I was to use a single word to describe the music of Allysen Callery, it would probably be “timeless,” although a more accurate way to frame her songs is to say they exist “outside of time.” The Rhode Island based songwriter has tapped into a wellspring of creative spirit and energy that is directly linked to traditional ballads and standards, staples of the folk world. You can feel the presence of classic English poetry and Child Ballads, the collection of English and Scottish broadside ballads collected and published by early folklorist Francis James Child in the nineteenth century, in Callery’s thought process. These are nearly universal stories of romance, morality, mortality, history, and drama that have stood the test of time, influencing musicians and collectors like Harry Smith, Joan Baez, Peggy Seeger, Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention, Vashti Bunyan, and even more contemporary like Anais Mitchell, Marissa Nadler, Meg Baird, and Sam Amidon. Callery has distilled the very essence of what makes these stories ageless, forever relevant, and oftentimes still shocking, deeply meaningful, and utterly heartbreaking. It’s a real trip listening to Allysen’s most recent albums and hearing a ballad like “Young Edwin,” a variation on the murder ballad “Edwin in the Lowlands Low” (Roud #182), or “Long Black Veil,” a newer entry into the balladeering universe, written by Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkins in 1959 and made famous by Lefty Frizzell, Sammi Smith, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, and others, sandwiched in between originals. Without even realizing it, the seemless transition either makes you believe Callery has written the classic tune herself or that Allysen is arranging a full record of covers and renditions. In both cases, it’s an extreme compliment to Callery’s deft musicianship and inventive storytelling that she can simultaneously draw and utilize this immutable literary and musical tradition, while also putting down what she finds in her mind and imagination on paper and record. I think that Allysen Callery is writing the ballads that future folklorists will call “classic.” Only time will tell.

Allysen Callery made her first trip to the Philadelphia area to play a concert at MilkBoy Coffee (now Melodies Cafe) on July 20th. We are thankful she spent some of her inaugural visit with us.

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Jazz Adams, Marisa Dabice, Sadie DuPuis, and Andrea Jacome are Shifting the Gaze at this years Women in Music panel

Old Maybe | photo courtesy of the artist
Old Maybe | photo courtesy of the artist

Shifting the Gaze: Women in Music is back for its third year at Kelly Writers House next Wednesday. An event panel series founded and curated by music writer, photographer, filmmaker, and U Penn senior, Amanda Silberling, Shifting the Gaze was created in order to “explore the intersectional challenges that women and other marginalized people face in the music industry.”

While last year’s installment featured punk icon, Alice Bag, this year’s boasts the four Philly-dwelling rockstars, Jazz AdamsMarisa DapiceSadie Dupuis, and Andrea Jacome, who will lead a conversation discussing these intersectional challenges, and incite dialogue as to how to make our community more inclusive. If you don’t already know about these absolutely kickass ladies, read on to get a feel of just the gist of the many roles these local leaders hold. Continue reading →

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Andre Altrez dabbles in atmospheric trap on new No Come Down project

Andre Altrez
Andre Altrez | photo by BlackMythPhoto | twitter.com/BlackMythPhoto | courtesy of the artist

After catching our ear with the mellowed-up, jazz-tinged Sprout EP, Philly rapper and producer André Altrez switches up gears for his latest, No Come Down — a gripping set of trap bangers that flaunts and flexes his skill. Altrez co-produced the EP, which is currently streaming on Bandcamp, in collaboration with Scrap, Butch Dawson and Ben Thomas. The tone is highly contemporary (notes of Migos and 21 Savage make their way to the surface) but Altrez takes the set in alluring and atmospheric directions, adding a psychedelic wash to the hazy dreamscape of “Mystic Thots” as well as the unflinching dose of reality that is “Consequences.” Continue reading →

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Old Maybe’s Jazz Adam on embracing chaos with the Piggity Pink EP

Old Maybe | photo courtesy of the artist
Old Maybe | photo by Max Branigan | courtesy of the artist

The first sounds you hear on Piggity Pink, the new EP from experimental Philly three-piece Old Maybe, are the atonal moans of loose electric guitar strings slapping to and fro, then being shakily snapped into place with a tremolo bar. A bass enters, measured drums, and then the squalor of “Dianetics” gives way to “Ugly Love Me,” a swift and sweaty post-punk style dance song guided by Jazz Adam’s frenzied vocal delivery. It’s a moment of quick accessibility, but it’s not too much longer till we’re in the dissonant zone of “Pink Pigging.”

This five minute run is, in a nutshell, is the tightrope Old Maybe walks: lively askew pop on the one side, punishing abrasion on the other, and Adam doesn’t see any other way the band could be.

“They wouldn’t admit to this, but I think a lot of musicians fear loss of control,” she says. “Being a trained musician in any genre, even in metal, is like a place where a lot of musicians in their life feel control. They have their instrument, they’ve spent so many hours and logged so much time being perfectionists.”

Adam gets it, but that approach doesn’t make sense with the way she writes. “I do not feel like I had the control that I wanted at the get go of writing, at the end there’s still no control, but that’s what I love about it and that’s what my bandmates love about it. That gives [our music] a lot of room to change overtime. And I think relinquishing control and being ok with that, just like letting things happen, that is the reason why it comes out so unique.”
Continue reading →

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Now Hear This: New songs by Kelela, Parquet Courts, Fever Ray, Alvarius B., Special Request, Circuit Des Yeux and more

Fever Ray | via facebook.com/FeverRay

Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.

Much as I may pride myself on keeping my ears as wide open and omnivorous as possible, I’m often struck, as the time of reckoning draws nigh, that so much of the music that really affects me from any given year tends to fall into a few relatively narrow categories.  Looking back on the 2017 releases that I’ve spent the most time with and returned to most consistently, most of them can be sorted into two general buckets: emotionally resonant electronic pop made by (relatively young) women – Lorde, MUNA, Sylvan Esso, Kelly Lee Owens – or wordy, wide-ranging critical statements made by opinionated and perhaps over-analytical old (or at least aging) men: Randy Newman, Jens Lekman, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields.

Is there a throughline there?  I tend to think of it in terms of personality: if there’s one thing most likely to pique my interest in a new artist, or keep me engaged with a familiar one, it’s in their music’s ability to serve as a tool for human expression, straightforward or otherwise; a means of telegraphing a vivid and recognizable individual identity – whether that individual be a quote-unquote “real person,” a constructed persona or, as it surely is in the vast majority of cases, some ambiguous, unparseable intertwining of the two.  Perhaps that quality is more readily apparent in the second group of aforementioned artists.  It’s not that those verbose songmen are single-mindedly preoccupied with age and mortality – though it’s clearly on their minds (see: Newman’s heartwrenching “Lost Without You”; Murphy’s “tonite”; Lekman’s bouncy but pensive “Wedding in Finistère”; the entire conceit of Merritt’s 50 Song Memoir) but it certainly informs their outlook, helping to distill a clarity of perspective (and tendency toward warts-and-all honesty) translating into albums that function as poignant, if sometimes roundabout self-portraits.   Continue reading →

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Keith Hampson debuts new Prayer Circles project

prayer circles
Prayer Circles | photo by Megan Gouda

Power Animal‘s Keith Hampson has announced a new strain of work called Prayer Circles. Branching away from the electronic pop of the former moniker and into a more experimental realm of tech-based sound, the Philadelphia musician debuted his new project this week with a video for “Swollen Larynx of Highway from Window.”

Continue reading →

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WXPN Weekend Arts Crawl…Holiday events and a full cultural calendar!

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Saturday’s 5th annual Seaport Parade of Lights at The Independence Seaport Museum and Penn’s Landing offers a unique take on the holiday season.  There’s Santa’s Workshop on the Water with hands on ornament making, a replica of the ship Olympia in ice, carols and madrigals, and much more.  The day ends at 5:00 with the Parade of LIghts of boats on the Delaware lit for the holidays and led by the Jupiter, a 1902 tug maintained by the Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild. Continue reading →

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Stream the new Mazzy Star album Seasons Of Your Day (playing Union Transfer on 11/22)

mazzystar

Mazzy Star will release Seasons Of Your Day next Tuesday, their first new album since 1996.  NPR Music has chosen the record for its First Listen feature this week and you can stream the full LP here.  From NPR’s Will Hermes:

Seasons of Your Day (out Sept. 24) is the first Mazzy Star record in 17 years, and it comes as the group’s sound is being echoed by younger artists — see Baltimore’s shadowy Beach House and the mutable glam-pop of Lana Del Rey. It’s a lovely, intoxicating record, but the group’s sound has also evolved…. Sandoval’s singing has become much more interesting since those early days — her phrasing more nuanced, less somnambulant, no longer so smothered in reverb. David Roback, Mazzy Star’s other central figure, is playing more acoustic guitar alongside his signature summer-of-love electric, and there’s a strong English folk and blues flavor on Seasons that recalls albums by Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions, the singer’s project of the past decade.

Tickets and information for Mazzy Star’s show at Union Transfer on November 22nd can be found here.  Stream Season Of Your Day here and listen to “California” off of the new record below.