Avant-folk collective On the Water released a new EP, Falling Upwards, a dense three-track collection that highlights their singular approach to music-making. The complex, multi-stylistic arrangements recall the ornate compositions of Joanna Newsom, punctuated by the guttural howls of vocalist Fletcher VanVilet and bursts of heavy guitar. Continue reading →
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 →
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 setat Sex Dungeon Studios in Philly, andis 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 →
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.