By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: Eleanor Friedberger at Johnny Brenda’s, Control Top at The Galleries at Moore, Ronnie Vega at LAVA Space

Eleanor Friedberger| Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN | hellerhound.com
Eleanor Friedberger| Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN | hellerhound.com

Singer-songwriter Eleanor Friedberger makes a solo stop at Johnny Brenda’s tonight, on the road sans band after releasing her latest album New View last year. Local solo artist Jesse Hale Moore opens, so it’ll be a night full of raw and stripped-down tunes. Read The Key’s interview with Friedberger here, watch the video for “He Didn’t Mention His Mother” below, and find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

By

New Orleans born trumpeter Christian Scott reaches out from the birthplace of jazz to embrace its Diaspora of sound

Christian Scott | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

“We have all of this music that has grown out of jazz music over the course of the last 100 years,” says Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah. “What this generation is doing is trying to re-acculturate all of this music and collapse all of it back into a cohesive sound. We’re stretching jazz to fit all of the conventions of the things that have grown out of it”.

With his latest album Diaspora (the second installment of an ambitious trilogy of works he’s releasing this year), the New Orleans born trumpeter / composer seeks to illuminate the underlying harmony of the seemingly disparate musical cultures of the world. The music of Diaspora is a highly thoughtful melding of sophisticated jazz harmony and melody (“Our Lady of New Orleans”) with trap and NOLA Bounce Beats (“IDK” and the title track, respectively). The record is a masterwork which finds Scott and his ensemble reverse-engineering the past ten decades of American popular music, connecting it all back to the roots of the tree, jazz and the blues.

We spoke with him ahead of his September 10, 2017 performance at World Cafe Live. Continue reading →

By

Watch DJ Jazzy Jeff build a beat from the ground up using three random vinyl LPs

DJ Jazzy Jeff | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
DJ Jazzy Jeff | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Crafting a good beat is an art — particularly if you’re taking the old school sampledelic approach. Digging up the right records, identifying the right spots of those records and recontextualizing them alongside other records that create something new and wholly engaging…it’s a mix of genius and happenstance. And Philly’s DJ Jazzy Jeff is a master of that balance.

For an illustration, check out this spotlight on the Philly icon that Mass Appeal’s Rhythm Roulette feature put together. In it, producer and record collector Gene Brown pulls his van up to Jeff’s Delaware home — previously seen during his PLAYlist Retreat project — and let him choose three LPs from rows of crates, while blindfolded. He walks away with nuggets from Al Johnson, Reuben Howell and Les Dudek, and sets to focused listening, brainstorming and assembling, and the process is magic to watch. Continue reading →

By

Make Music Philly Day returns tomorrow with Sonni Shine, Lazy Eye and more

sonni shine
Sonni Shine | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller | koalafoto.com

June 21st, the longest day of the year makes for a great opportunity to open your porches, sidewalks, storefronts and yards for local musicians to perform in on and around them. Founded in France back in 1982, the fête is an opportunity to put on free shows by both seasoned and new artists testing their craft. If you’re into checking out what Philly has to offer but don’t know where to start, read through the neighborhood offerings below. And don’t be that guy running around screaming “Freebird” at every musician you see, please. Let’s keep it classy.

Continue reading →

By

Chaos, Unity and Rock n’ Roll: In deep with Low Cut Connie

Low Cut Connie | courtesy of the artist
Low Cut Connie | courtesy of the artist

Sitting across from me at an uncomfortable metal table outside of Anthony’s Italian Coffee House in the Italian Market, Low Cut Connie’s flamboyant front man Adam Weiner swipes through cheeky black and white pictures of scantily-clad, partying people on his phone. He holds his phone towards me so I can see the pictures too. Pretty closely. In perfect detail. Maybe too much detail.

As he flips through the pictures, he cracks an impish smile and lets off a nostalgic sigh, as if he’d been describing his first kiss or senior year prom date. In front of him sits a large disposable cup of coffee he bought for $3 and change at Anthony’s, which is surely empty by now. It’s approaching 6 p.m. as Weiner and I near the end of a long two-hour interview, which has had its ups and downs. You could say it’s ending on a high note.

“You look at these pictures and you say, what a fucking great mix of people, you know? It’s all just a few hours with Low Cut Connie,” he emotes as the mid-November wind tussles with his stark black wavy hair. Continue reading →

By

Stream a new single from Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, see him at South next month

christian scott
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah | photo via Bandcamp

When we last checked in on Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, he was blowing minds with his interactive LP/app Stretch Music. It was the latest instance of the New Orleans trumpeter’s left-of-center approach to music, which has evolved over the last decade to honor the jazz, hip hop, and African traditions that filter through his hometown. The melting pot of his music is potently amplified on “The Coronation of X aTunde Adjuah,” a single from his newest album Rebel Ruler. Out now on Ropeadope, the record is the first part of an LP series called The Centennial Trilogy that challenges the politcal status quo.

Continue reading →

By

Between a Hobby and a Straight Jacket: The fall and rise of Philly’s DJ Sega

DJ Sega | photo courtesy of the artist
DJ Sega | photo courtesy of the artist

When compared to its New Jersey and Baltimore counterparts, Philly club music perfectly exemplifies the quintessential Philly attitude – hard, unique and really really fast.

Robert Taylor Jr. – better known by his stage name DJ Sega – is one of the greats who helped to shape the Philly club sound in the 21st century. He has been spinning in Philly since 2004 at Jamz Entertainment Center, now Rolling Thunder Skating Center. Before meeting the resident DJ Dee Square, he frequented the teen nightclub.

In 2006, DJ Sega secured a slot at the venue by hitting up Dee Square. “After introducing myself, I explained a few things to him and gave him a couple CDs of my music,” says DJ Sega. “He called me the next day, we met at my house. Couple days later, I recorded my first club music mixtape at DJ Touchtone’s house after Dee Square recorded one.”

DJ Sega | photo courtesy of the artist
DJ Sega and DJ Dee Square| photo courtesy of the artist

Not long after, DJ Sega was spinning regularly at Jamz. Here, he got to perform alongside Philly Club legends such as DJ Tameli and DJ Tim Dolla.

DJ Sega recognizes Philly teen nightlife scene as “legendary.” Coming of age in the same place that gave him his start causes Jamz to have a special place in his heart.

“It was awesome!” Sega enthuses. “Spinning in front of 1,500 kids every weekend who enjoyed the same music I enjoyed was pretty incredible. Not to mention, this is one of the parties I grew up in.”

The death of his grandmother catapulted DJ Sega into producing – the only emotional outlet he now had was his music. He had just recieved a pre-released beta version of some music production software in return for filling out a survey.

“That summer I proclaimed that my senior year was going to determine a lot about who I am and what I’m going to be,” remembers Sega. “Quite a bit happened that entire year, but to keep focus, I knew I needed to start balancing my goals, and watching out for my family. I made club music for myself as an outlet to personal struggles – think of me producing at that time as a mix between a hobby and a straight jacket.” Continue reading →

By

Being Novel: Eleanor Friedberger discusses the hard work of a singular songwriter

Eleanor Friedberger Photo by Joe DeNardo
Eleanor Friedberger | Photo by Joe DeNardo | courtesy of the artist

Eleanor Friedberger has impugned the Philadelphia Grand Jury, and roundly rejects Philly Councilman Mark Squilla’s now notorious (and already-dead) legislation proposal.

Take that, Philly. She’ll do what she wants here.

You’d have only to listen briefly to almost any of Friedberger’s work to hear something novel, enduring and for the most part accessible too — arguably a rare combination of qualities in pop music. Her three solo records are ear candy for audiophiles that never seems to wear thin, buoyant and quirky, with her trademark asynchronous lyrical delivery that manages to offer something new with each listen. And together with her brother Matthew, Friedberger’s bountiful catalog as half of the The Fiery Furnaces features eight intense studio records to date, often layered with discord and din, musical conversations of meandering meters masterfully woven with Friedberger’s bright vocal melodies, that serve to challenge and expand the listener’s sense of euphony.

In advance of her upcoming appearance at MilkBoy in Center City, our conversation with Friedberger covers everything from pop production to college keg stories, and she even offers her advice on the best way to come up with something new. Continue reading →

By

Free at Noon Flashback: Django Django pulls from all genre’s to create a sound wholly their own.

Django Django | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo
Django Django | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Though we had to take a little break from our trip back to 1969 in the #XPNGreatestYear Coutndown, the Free at Noon showcase from London’s Django Django may have been the perfect band to end this week’s journey through music history. The art-rock quartet implements such a plethora of sounds, spanning the globe and several decades, that they showed the crowd at World Cafe Live, and listeners at home, how these last seven decades of music shape the here and now. Continue reading →