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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Brianna Cash at Underground Arts, On the Water at Eris Temple Arts, Tisbury Obama at Bourbon and Branch

Brianna Cash with Ill Fated Natives | Photo by John Vettese
Brianna Cash with Ill Fated Natives | Photo by John Vettese

Singer-songwriter Brianna Cash hits the stage at Underground Arts tonight opening for Bridget Kelly. The acoustic soul artist from Philly recently teamed up with blues-rock power trio Ill Fated Natives for a dynamic single, “Beautiful Energy,” and an awesome set at the Roots Picnic in May. Check out the song below and get tickets and information on tonight’s show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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On the Water’s Baptism EP takes a blusier approach to basement folk

On the Water | via weareonthewater.com
On the Water | via weareonthewater.com

Theatrical folk group On the Water welcomed in the new year with the release of their latest EP, Baptism. The West Philadelphia troupe of varying sizes and instruments recorded the four-song set at Sex Dungeon Studios in Philly, and is the band’s first release since their March 2013 album False Starts. On the Water’s freak-folk style has garnered attention in the West Philly basement scene with their accordion and banjo-led sea shantys. But one of the first differences on Baptism compared to past releases is a lack of their tumultuously folk-influenced instruments. There isn’t a single song featuring an accordion, banjo, or mandolin on Baptism. Lead vocalist and lyricist Fletcher Van Vliet appears to have taken a bluesier approach to this latest release. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Districts at A.K.A. Music, On The Water at PhilaMOCA, Cheerleader at Kung Fu Necktie

Photo by Eric Ashleigh
Photo by Eric Ashleigh

Central PA natives The Districts will celebrate the release of their first EP on Fat Possum Records tonight with a free show at AKA Music in Old City. The Americana-rock band is about to head out on a winter tour with White Denim, with a South By Southwest appearance and spring shows on the horizon. Pre-order the EP here, and watch the band’s HotBox session performance of “Radiator” below.

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Photos: The 5th annual 2nd Street Fest takes over Northern Liberties (ft. The Low Anthem, Denison Witmer, On The Water and more)

West Philadelphia Orchestra's set continues offstage and in the middle of the Piazza crowd | Photo by John Vettese
West Philadelphia Orchestra wraps up their set in the middle of the Piazza crowd | Photo by John Vettese

The fifth annual 2nd Street Fest brought a bustling crowd and wide assortment of food vendors, community organizations and local musicians to Northern Liberties on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Among those performing at the Fairmount and Germantown stages at either end of the mega-block party were Chambersburg indie-punk outfit The Shackletons, Americana ghouls The Bailey Hounds, singer-songwriter Denison Witmer and aggro-folk crew On the Water.

In the Piazza at Schmidt’s, West Philadelphia Orchestra stole the show playing a long set of eastern-European infused brass band dance jams; when they were notified that their time onstage was over, they marched off, still playing, and wrapped up their performance in the midst of a frenzied crowd. Electro-poppers Vacationer turned in an impressive performance as well, and the big stage show wrapped up with The Low Anthem‘s first post-hiatus Philadelphia performance, though the festival continued out on the street till 10, and into the wee hours at the North Bowl afterparty. Check out photos in the gallery below.

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On the Water, Norwegian Arms and more performing at Dock Street Beer Run on 6/9

When the worlds of long-distance running, live music and beer enthusiasts collide, Dock Street Brewing Company is there. The West Philly brew pub and pizza-eatery has for the past several years thrown a 5K run and music festival at its Baltimore Avenue HQ during Beer Week, and this year’s lineup is as enticing as its famed Man Full of Trouble porter.

Music begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday the 9th of June on an outdoor stage across from Cedar Park. The lineup so far featured pirate folkies On the Water and global visionaries Norwegian Arms, West Philly via North Jersey dub stars Post Sun Times and a group called Bomple, about which the internet seems to know not much.

As for the athletic element – the run is returning to the “scavenger hunt” approach of its inaugural year where “a 3 to 4 mile scenic adventure run through University City / West Philly” features a handful of stops where runners need to find beer-related clues and collect tokens that are turned in at the finish line. Prizes are awarded to top finishers by gender and overall, but the key point: It’s a fun run. So the dude or lady who’s stressing out over their pace while frantically checking splits on their wristwatch might feel a bit out of place.

Participants also receive two beer vouchers (one at the start, another upon completion), a t-shirt and some other goodies. Registration is $20 in advance via the Dock Street website and more information can be found at the run’s Facebook event page. Below, check out a montage of last year’s event, plus a 30-second clip of Hoots and Hellmouth wrapping up the day of music. Note the sun glare – it was 95 degrees out that day. Dock Street (somehow) promises its runners more cooperative weather this year.

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Folkadelphia Session: On The Water (celebrating the release of their record ‘False Starts’ on Friday)

Photo by James Clark Conner
Photo by James Clark Conner

I would like to take this opportunity to formally nominate On The Water to become the house band for every West Philly basement. If you haven’t yet had the chance to experience these musical ne’er-do-wells in the underbelly of a row house or warehouse, crammed inside with a ton of other sweaty, excited human beings, clutching a can in one hand and your fist in the other, well, you’ve been missing out. That all can change when On The Water, led by Fletcher VanVliet and featuring a variably sized collective of musical cohorts and companions on your various stringed, percussive, and amplified instruments, celebrates the release of their brand new, barely broken in record False Starts at Beaumont Wherehouse on this coming Friday, April 12th.

In fact, a West Philly basement might be the perfect modern equivalent to a pirate’s galley. Maritime terminology notwithstanding, On The Water craft the same kind of raucously muscular songs and chants that could easily translate to the theme music for the oarsmen on the deck of a ship (or perhaps as the last sounds a traitorous soul hears as he is committed to walk the plank). Both have a primal energy that demands attention, participation, and respect – and perfection and gloss be damned! That’s what makes False Starts and this Folkadelphia Session so great and fun to listen to – it’s raw and real.

On The Water (operating as a six piece band) recorded these songs, both new and old, at the XPN Performance Studio on February 26th, 2013 before embarking on tour. They return to officially release their new album False Starts on Friday, April 12th at Beaumont Wherehouse.

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Listen to “Dog Eat Dog,” a new track from Philly folk hooligans On The Water (playing The Field House on 2/15)

On The Water, the rotating collective of self-described “oddballs, loons, and hooligans” led by Fletcher VanVliet, formerly of Da Comrade, is gearing up for the release of their debut full-length entitled False Starts. Hark! Listen to the first offering from the album, a song entitled “Dog Eat Dog,” which conjures up to mind the solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short life of men of days past. With a step up in fidelity than their previous EP Anchor, the new music does not sacrifice the grizzled, rag-tag, impassioned feeling of the West Philly basements that birthed the band. The band will be heading out on an extensive national tour starting in March and playing their last Philly show for a bit on Friday, February 15th at The Field House with Thee Idea Men. More info on that show here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ali Wadsworth at City Hall, KISS and Motley Crue at SBC, On The Water at Johnny Brenda’s, Ross Belenoit at Fergie’s

Feelin’ a little country? Catch Philly singer and songwriter Ali Wadsworth as she graces City Hall tonight with her blues-infused ensemble as they perform new music to be released on her upcoming solo album. Wadsworth, who previously sang in Goldiebox and Unlikely Cowboy, is currently competing on this season of NBC’s The Voice . Tonight’s show is free and starts at 5:30. Listen to the new singles “Where Is Your Love?” and “All Due Respect” below.

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Photo Recap: Saintseneca, On the Water and Bad Braids at St. George’s Church

Ohio’s own Saintseneca were joined by local folk outfits On the Water and Bad Braids for a Folkadelphia Presents concert Wednesday night at Historic St. George’s Church in Old City. Check out our photos from a night full of pickin’ and grinnin’ in a beautiful space.

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Listen to On The Water, the new album by Future Islands (performing at Kung Fu Necktie on Dec. 2nd)

Photo by Mike Vorassi

Via NPR Music:

[Singer Sam] Herring and Future Islands succeed on their latest release — On the Water, out Oct. 11 — which trades (most of) the band’s dance-floor catharsis for heart-tugging slow-burners. If you’re worried that the loss of beats per minute hinders what has made the band memorable live and in the recording studio, don’t fret. The group has the ability to make affecting music by using less — for an example, see the title track, which opens the record.

Despite the minimalist approach, Future Islands’ members make use of the studio and take advantage of the overwhelming amount of talent in their home city. Lush strings highlight “Grease,” while field recordings of wind chimes and the sea bookend the album. Wye Oak‘s Jenn Wasner makes an appearance in the lovely “The Great Fire,” while Double Dagger’s Denny Bowen provides live drums and percussion throughout On The Water.

You can read the full write-up and listen to streaming audio of the album here. Future Islands performs with Ed Schrader’s Music Beat at 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 2nd, at Kung Fu Necktie; tickets to the 21+ show are $10.