The Key Studio Sessions: Cvgebird

For Philly’s Selina Carrera, live music isn’t a one-way thing. A concert can be a form of community, and it’s something the charismatic Philadelphia singer-songwriter and rapper brings to the stage under the banner of her project Cvgebird.

A small example: at every concert, Carrera takes a few minutes to freestyle while her band improvs underneath, and she makes the experience show-specific by asking the audience to start her off with a few words to build her bars around. Sometimes these improv ideas make their way into songs in the Cvgebird repertoire, and sometimes they exist purely in the moment.

When the band visited WXPN Studios this week to record a Key Studio Session, there was no audience to go to for suggestions, so Carrera asked the crew: myself and production assistant Makena Duffy. I went with the word “falafel” (my lunch earlier that day) while Duffy offered “peanut butter” (we were in a food mood, I suppose?) and sit-in bassist Rah M. Sungee rounded it out by suggesting “butterfly” (bouncing into the world of nature). Carrera nodded, pondered, and as the mellow funky groove began to blossom around her, she launched into a story about two people in the early stages of a relationship, trying to get to know one another better over a meal. The words of choice were not shoe-horned in, as I’ve often seen happen with this type of freestyle, but flowed naturally into a dreamlike world, a place in a story that had not existed moments before. Impressive.
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The Skeleton Key: From Harrisburg synth punk history to West Philly porch pics to jazz gigs and more, we’ve got you covered this June.

Clark Park Fest Flyer | art by Justin Duerr

Say what you will about the thrill of the hunt but the fact that I can listen to just about any music out there whenever I want is a great feeling. Case in point: the other day I was reading about an old Harrisburg punk who had recently passed away, Mike Rage from the band Late Teens, and went down the rabbit hole of early 80s central Pennsylvania punk and hardcore. What a treasure trove of bands! It’s truly remarkable stuff.

Of the bunch the one that really, really stood out was Billy Synth & The Turn Ups, a synth punk act that existed in various iterations from the late 70s to the mid-80s. I’m going to swing back around to talk about them but first you should put on the Billy Synth album Disorderly Conduct – originally released in 1983 on the band’s own Tragik Records and with some tracks appearing on a compilation called “We Have Got To Make It On Our Own” that Mind Cure put out a few years ago – that some nerd was kind enough to upload to YouTube. Continue reading →