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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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The Week Ahead: Phosphorescent, Ingrid Michaelson, Cat Power, Bouncing Souls

Cat Power
Cat Power | photo by Eliot Lee Hazel | courtesy of the artist

We’re in the year-end wind-down zone, but that doesn’t mean you should plan on spending the next week huddling up at home and binge watching Schitt’s Creek (though that wouldn’t be a terrible idea in moderation). We’ve flagged a several shows that are totally worth your attention, beginning tomorrow night with rock legend Ronnie Spector in Bethlehem, and carrying through Sunday when Bouncing Souls take on The Queen in Wilmington. Here are 12 concerts you can see in the next seven days all around Philadelphia. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Raphael Saadiq, Beach House, The Hold Steady, #XPNFest and more

David Byrne | Photo by Jody Rogac

Well, first and foremost, there’s #XPNFest. I mean, duh. Three days, 32 bands, BB&T Pavilion and Wiggins Park, etc. etc. Highlights including David Byrne and The War on Drugs are shouted out below, full details at XPNFest.org. Know what though? This summer in Philly has been the summer of redonkulous concertgoing options, this week is no different, and we here at The Key would be doing you a disservice if we didn’t let you know everything else that’s going on. Read on for our full roundup of picks: 22 concerts to see in and around Philadelphia for the next seven days. Continue reading →

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Kilamanzego chops up a Tierra Whack favorite on her new single “red light green light.”

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

If you’ve ever caught Philly rapper Tierra Whack in concert, you probably walked away with the hook to “Toe Jam” rooted in your noggin; “CRACK KILLS IF IT DON’T GETCHA WHACK WILL.” The song had the same effect on Philadelphia soundscaper and beatmaker Kilamanzego, who chopped up the hook and folded it into her latest musical collage, “red light green light.” Continue reading →

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The Skeleton Key: Multitudes of new music for July, a First Time’s The Charm recap, and gigs from black metal to beatmakers to punk wrestlers

First Time’s The Charm | photo by Yoni Kroll for WXPN

This is a special Skeleton Key and not just because I’m checking in with you a bit later than usual. Don’t worry, my neighbors are still shooting off fireworks all day every day so it’s basically still the 4th and will probably stay that way at least until August. For this column I want to talk about all the new music coming out this month because there’s seriously just so much of it. And check this out: last weekend was First Time’s the Charm which was the debut of eight bands playing their very first sets ever. So much new music! Let’s start with a list because you should always start with a list: Dark Thoughts, Smarthearts, Rosali, Lester, Dark Web, Rabbits to Riches, Empath, and Fleabite. Oh, and a just-announced split between Jenna & The Pups – the solo pop punk band from HIRS frontwoman Jenna Pup – and, well, herself. The PUP/HIRS album will be out in August. Continue reading →

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Now Hear This: New songs from Andy Jenkins, Gang Gang Dance, Gorillaz, Arp, LUMP, Wilder Maker, and more

Orquesta Akokán | via orquestaakokan.bandcamp.com

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

Aw yeah, summer. The entropy, the lethargy, the visceral extremes.  Now, summer makes all sorts of things weird anyway, but I feel like summertime in music-land has gotten especially wonky in recent years. Basically, my take is that the focus on large-scale music festivals which has ballooned over the past decade or so has taken a palpable bite out of non-festival-centric touring itineraries, and thus summer concert calendars, and even, indirectly, album release schedules. (Aside from the overwhelming hype cavalcade of Drake, Jay-Zeyonce and Kanye and Co. all dropping within a matter of weeks, the last few weeks have felt a bit thin for noteworthy new releases, and the rest of July and August, peering ahead, are looking even sparser.) Maybe I’d be less sore about all this if I felt closer to the target audience for either Firefly or Made in America, but as it stands those festivals’ biggest impact on me, personally, has been (presumably) shutting Philly out of proper local headline dates for the makers of some of my favorite music of the year: Janelle Monáe, for instance, and Amen Dunes.

Still, there’s plenty that’s worth seeing, concert-wise, in the coming weeks – it just feels like (even) more of an unpredictable hodge-podge than usual. Some of it is coming in the form of smaller, locally-targeted festivals: there’s XPN’s own XPoNential Festival, of course, and the decidedly weirder and more DIY All Mutable Summer Jam which is running the same weekend (July 27th-28th); I’m also pretty hyped about the free, Latin Roots-affiliated Nuevofest which is coming up this Sunday (read on for more about that.)

Anyhow, this being summertime, what do you say we all take a trip? Just a little musical vacation around the globe and beyond, to points both familiar and strange; real, imaginary and somewhere in between. I can’t say that it will all be straightforward or entirely uncomplicated – what is nowadays, after all – but I do promise we’ll have some fun along the way. And it’ll feel oh so nice to arrive back home at the end.

Continue reading →

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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 →