Tonight’s Concert Picks: Bleeding Fractals at PhilaMOCA, Beth Orton at World Cafe Live, Rich Mystics ft. Eric Slick at North Star Bar

Bleeding+Fractals++3For tonight’s installment of the Tuesday Tuneout series, Maggot House Records are bringing Bleeding Fractals and Cool Points to PhilaMOCA. The former is a post-punk rock band which features sharp and driving riffs and screaming vocals (the group claims to have been founded on a shared fear of city bears). The latter, Cool Points, is similarly based in punk noise and lead by talented singer Jill Mallon. This event will also include a screening of the documentary, My Basement is a Shithole, which explores the basement show culture in Philadelphia’s punk music scene. Take a listen to “Colfax Kids” by Bleeding Fractals (which are apparently an unusual sort of mathematical set) and find information on the show here.

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Download Eric Slick’s Primal Essence, pre-order a limited edition DVD

As it happens, we have some more Dr. Dog-related news for you today. Much as we’re bouncing-off-the-station-walls excited for B-Room, the band’s seventh album that was just announced via Spin Magazine, we’re equally pumped to report that drummer Eric Slick is releasing a limited-edition DVD of his short film / interactive performance Primal Essence.

We had the pleasure of premiering Primal Essence this winter when The Key curated the January lineup of PhilaMOCA’s Tuesday Tune-Out series, and it was impressive stuff. Surrounded by a variety of onstage-instruments, Slick provided a live soundtrack as his onscreen counterpart slipped into a surreal dream sequence that blurred the lines between film and audience. (Check out a recap of the performance via JUMP Magazine here.)

Since its premiere, Primal Essence was performed twice more – once at Brooklyn’s Big Snow Buffalo Lodge in February, and a “retirement performance” at Springhouse Sound in April, which was recorded and filmed. The audio from the latter performance is now streaming on Springhouse Sound’s Bandcamp, where you can also pre-order the DVD, which is available in a limited run of 50 copies. From Springhouse:

The DVD includes two versions of the film, extra bonus videos and comes with a picture hand-drawn just for you by Eric himself!

The DVDs are limited and hand-numbered, and will be shipped to you on September 10th, 2013.

Listen to Primal Essence below, and download it – or pre-order the DVD – here.


The Week So Far: 12 must-read stories on The Key (incl. Firefly, The Flaming Lips, The Downtown Club)


Relive the weekend’s Firefly Festival with reviews and photos [link]

William Tyler stops by for a Folkadelphia [link]

David Dye, Michaela Majoun and the XPN hosts list their favorite albums of 2013 so far [link]

Vampire Weekend will perform at the Mann Center on 9/19 [link]

Italian prog-rock film composers Goblin will make their U.S. debut this fall, playing Underground Arts on 10/5 [link]

The Flaming Lips will play Festival Pier with Tame Impala on 10/3 [link]

Members of Belle & Sebastian will DJ a party at Dolphin Tavern following their July 10th show at the Mann Center [link]

Dr. Dog drummer Eric Slick goes solo / acoustic on his new track “Creature Comfort” [link]

Stream local electronic / R&B duo Marian Hill‘s new single “Whiskey” [link]

Set times for this year’s XPoNential Music Festival have been announced [link]

Check out pictures of Wilco‘s Solid Sound Festival set, get ready to see them at XPo Fest next month [link]

Local new wave outfit The Downtown Club recorded this week’s Key Studio Session [link]


From the Pages of JUMP: Laser Background and Avery Rosewater played Kung Fu Necktie

LaserBackground020713aPhilly psych-pop group Laser Background headlined Kung Fu Necktie last night, along with Spanish Prisoners and Avery Rosewater. George W. Miller III of JUMP Philly was there covering the scene. He reports:

Andy Molholt, the frontman for Laser Background, announced to the crowd at Kung Fu Necktie last night that the relatively new band is working on new tracks for a forthcoming album.

“We love your tracks, Andy,” a woman yelled from the crowd.

“We love you too, audience member,” Andy replied. Continue reading →


From the Pages of JUMP: Eric Slick performing Primal Essence at PhilaMOCA

Here at The Key we’re big fans of JUMP Magazine and their extensive coverage of the broad-reaching Philly music scene – pop to punk, jazz to jam band, and whatever else you can think of. Beginning this week, we’ll regularly highlight some of the features from the pages of JUMP here on The Key, starting with their coverage of our Tuesday Tune-Out at PhilaMOCA last night. Eric Slick played an impressive live score to his film Primal Essence, JUMP editor and publisher G.W. Miller III was there with his camera, and this is what he had to say:

This month, John Vettese (below, on the right) and The Key are hosting the Tuesday Tune-Out shows at PhilaMOCA and they kicked off their portion of the ongoing series with an amazing show.

Dr. Dog drummer Eric Slick, who also drums for Norwegian Arms, Ape School and others, performed a solo show set to a video he produced (with the help of his Norwegian Arms bandmate Brendan Mulvihill and friend Andy Molholt). The video, titled Primal Essence, featured Slick in a dream sequence – in which he had a romantic liaison with a slice of pizza.

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Eric Slick’s five favorite things about Philly in 2012

For The Key’s year-in-review, we asked our trusted sources – our writers and photographers, XPN’s on-air staff, fellow bloggers in the Philly scene and even a few musicians – to send us their Top Five Whatevers. Could be the traditional music route – albums, songs, concerts of the year – or it could be only loosely connected. We’ll be sharing these recaps every day through to the end of the year. Today, drummer Eric Slick of Dr. Dog, Norwegian Arms, Ape School and more shares his five favorite things about Philly in 2012. Continue reading →


Unlocked: Annotated album art from Norwegian Arms’ Wolf Like a Stray Dog

Tonight, Norwegian Arms celebrates the release of it’s debut LP Wolf Like a Stray Dog at Johnny Brenda’s, and it’s truly a multi-sensory affair. In addition to the lush record that we’ve been featuring all week on Unlocked, and the imaginative live performance discussed yesterday in our interview with the band, the LP comes packaged with an elaborate collection of photos, poems and visual mementos of band leader Brendan Mulvihill’s time in Russia. In today’s post, he gives us a peek at some of the images and the meaning behind them. Check them out below, and pick up your own copy when the band celebrates the album’s release tonight at Johnny Brenda’s. Continue reading →


Unlocked: Brendan Mulvihill and Eric Slick of Norwegian Arms on sounds, snowstorms and packs of wild dogs

Just as I was getting ready to ring up Brendan Mulvihill of Norwegian Arms for our interview on Monday, a funny tweet from his account showed up. “Goodbye, obsession with Slavic literature. You’re looking fine, South American lit.” It got me wondering about this Philly songwriter’s relationship with his own time teaching in Eastern Europe and Russia, which inspired Wolf Like a Stray Dog, the album Norwegian Arms released this week which we’ve featured all week on Unlocked. Is it becoming a burden, having to continually revisit those feelings of loneliness and isolation? Is he ready to write new music about new surroundings? We talked about this, while drummer Eric Slick weighed in on the process of translating Mulvihill’s emotions to sound and evocative arranged music, and translating that even further to perform it live, like they will tomorrow at Johnny Brenda’s.

The Key: I got a kick out of that tweet you just posted. So are you saying you’re ready to move beyond Sibera?

Brendan Mulvihill: Ha, not exactly. I got to go to South America a couple times in the past two years, and as a cultural primer, I like to get into the literature. So I read a lot of stuff by Roberto Bolaño and Cesar Aira. Plus, there’s only so many depressing, super-heavy Slavic reads you want to go through before you’re ready to change gears.

TK: So, the songs on this new album – they were written while you lived in Russia, they’re a reaction to Russia. But is it a mistake to say they’re about Russia? Many of them seem universal.

BM: To me, a lot of them are more direct, very literal. But that’s because I know what specifically they’re about. I didn’t want to make it obsessively only about those things. Those experiences, emotional or whatever that I was going through, are universal experiences. So I approached it more from communicating the human experience, rather than the literal experience. It’s not so much intentionally ambiguous as much as I’d rather not have it be a narrative.

TK: The title track, “Wolf Like A Stray Dog,” is one song that’s definitely about being there, and the communication barrier. And you told me before that it’s actually about the stray dogs in Tomsk?

BM: Yes, over the year I kind of increasingly identified with them. The way they function in society was interesting – we don’t really have roaming packs of stray dogs in America, so that in itself was a new experience for me. They’re wild, for all intents and purposes they’re feral, but they’re also highly socialized. They have to socialize, they have to function within their pack, and they have to interact with humans to get food. So they’re nice, and people will be friendly to them but at the same time people kind of hate them. And myself, because I was still learning the language, I couldn’t necessarily communicate all my feelings with the people, but I still had to interact with them. Continue reading →


Stream and pre-order Norwegian Arms’ new record (playing Johnny Brenda’s on 12/21)

From the first flicker of mandolin on the opening track of Norwegian Arms‘ upcoming full-length Wolf Like a Stray Dog, an epic journey is set into motion, unraveling over the subsequent ten tracks and encountering themes as Odyssean as discovery, wanderlust, curiosity and frustration.  That journey was sparked by the real-life journey of the psych-folk duo’s Brendan Mulvihill – who migrated to Siberia in 2009.  Mulvihill (aka “Keith Birthday”) spent the cold days in Tomsk, Russia teaching English as a Fullbright Fellow and working on a new catalog of material for his band-back-home.

Upon Mulvihill’s return state-side, he reunited with bandmate/drummer “Dr. Awkward” (Eric Slick, also of Dr. Dog) and recorded Wolf Like a Stray Dog in just one week.  With an official release slated for January 15th, 2013, pre-orders for the new record begin tomorrow and the full album stream is up today on Norwegian Arms’ Soundcloud.  The debut full-length will be available on vinyl, CD and cassette, each accompanied by a booklet with Mulvihill’s photography and writings.  Norwegian Arms plays Johnny Brenda’s on December 21st with Laser Background and Night Panther; tickets and information for the 21+ show are available here.  Below, stream “And Then I Found Myself in the Taiga” and listen to the entire album here.  You can also download two free tracks as a preview of the record here.


Norwegian Arms playing a free show at Morgan’s Pier on Saturday

Norwegian Arms are a self-described “minimalist weirdo-folk duo” featuring singer/songwriter/mandolin player “Keith Birthday” (Brendan Mulvihill) and drummer “Dr. Awkward” (AKA Dr. Dog‘s Eric Slick). The band has been releasing music since 2009 in-between Slick’s touring/recording schedule with Dr. Dog, and despite Mulvihill’s stint living and teaching in Siberia, where he wrote the band’s most recent album. (You can read more about that here, in our interview with Norwergian Arms from last summer.) The duo are reuniting to play a free show at Morgan’s Pier this Saturday, August 4th with Jukebox the Ghost. The show is listed as 21+, but those who are under 21 who wish to attend may do so with a parent or guardian. Earlier this week, the band wrote on their Twitter account:

If that sounds like a good time, then make sure to get to Morgan’s Pier early on Saturday; Norwegian Arms are opening the show at 6 p.m.! For more info on the event visit R5’s website here.  In the meantime, cool off from the Philly summer heat with Norwegian Arms’ track “Tired of Being Cold” off the band’s new album, Wolf Like a Stray Dog.