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Sonni Shine strikes out on her on on the solo single “Someone Like You”

Sonni Shine | photo via sonnishine.bandcamp.com

Philly singer-songwriter Sonni Shine got her start in the breezy reggae-tinged band The Underwater Sounds, but in more recent years she’s branched out in a variety of directions. She’s collaborated with trancey electronic music producer goldenSpiral, she’s played guitar in Zeek Burse’s funk-soul band, and next month she releases her first solo album.

Reconcile is out September 7th via Bandcamp, and if you’re a fan of any nook of the past four decades of singer-songwriter-dom, there’s something in here for you. You’ll hear spoken word verses set to drum circle percussion, you’ll hear Ani DiFranco-ian turns of phrase, you’ll hear touches of Fiona Apple-esque introspection, and you’ll hear soul grooves that glide like Janis Ian.

The lead single, “Someone like You,” definitely feels like the latter as it slinks along for four minutes and change of contemplative keys, smooth bass, and a voice pining for a sort of companionship that might be unattainable.  Continue reading →

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goldenSpiral unveils a surrealist “Eternal Life (Dub)” video ft. Sonni Shine

goldenSpiral (left) and Sonni Shine | photos by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

Philly-based electronic/hip hop producer goldenSpiral‘s newest video “Eternal Life,” featuring singer and guitarist Sonni Shine (former frontwoman of Underwater Sounds), has been in production for three years, and the hard work behind the screen has definitely paid off. Continue reading →

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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.

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The High Key Portrait Series: Sonni Shine

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

High Key” is a series of profiles conceived with the intent to tell the story of Philly’s diverse musical legacy by spotlighting individual artists in portrait photography, as well as with an interview focusing on the artist’s experience living, creating, and performing in this city. “High Key” will be featured in biweekly installments, as the series seeks to spotlight artists both individually and within the context of his or her respective group or artistic collective.

After six years writing and recording four albums, and playing over six-hundred shows together, The Underwater Sounds are parting ways. If that makes an interview with frontwoman Sonni Shine sound like a bit of a bittersweet epilogue, consider all that’s on the horizon for this reggae/soul/ska artist, as she teams up with so many other talented Philly musicians for new projects.

This Spring, it seems Sonni’s mellifluous vocals will be everywhere, lucky for us, on everything from a new EP from reggae crew Cultureal – executively produced, mixed and mastered by Phil Nicolo at Studio 4 – to a new collaboration with electronic-dub DJ goldenSpiral, “Eternal Life,” to a Sade tribute show at Bourbon and Branch on May 7th along with Zeek Burse and members of WorldTown. If that’s not enough, the singer says she looks forward to a project of her own as she lends her soulful voice to some independent material she’s been working on, music with more of, as she puts it, a “soul-folk/roots vibe.”

For now, The Underwater Sounds offer you a music video for “My Future.” The second installment of the band’s September 2015 release, Visions of Love and Light, will be available at their “Final Farewell” show at Underground Arts on Friday, February 5th, and all who attend will receive a download card.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Sonni Shine at Hard Rock Philly and Shapebreaker at Kung Fu Necktie

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

Best known for her work with reggae outfit The Underwater Sounds, Philly’s Sonni Shine is all on her own tonight for an intimate acoustic show at Hard Rock Philly. It’s been two years since her band has released new material, but on its Facebook page they promise 5 new tracks are on the way. With elements of funk and jazz, the band’s music is designed to be danceable and melodically seducing. Listen to “What You Waiting For” from their 2012 release Que Se Queda below and come out to see the free show tonight at 5:00 p.m.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cheers Elephant at Johnny Brenda’s, The 9 Songwriters Series at Milkboy, and Sonni Shine & the Underwater Sounds at The Blockley

Philly indie favorites Cheers Elephant with be rocking out at Johnny Brenda’s tonight with local surf rock quartet The Great White Caps and Virginia indie band The Trillions. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9:15 p.m. Tickets for the 21+ event are available for $10 here. Check out the sweet music video for Cheers Elephant’s song “Doin’ It, Right” below.

Started in 2008 by singer/songwriter Justin Trawick, “The 9 Songwriter Series” is a touring show that features a rotation of nine singer/songwriters from various cities and musical backgrounds brought together on one bill. Tonight the Series is coming to MilkBoy Coffee in Ardmore and the line-up features the Series founder Justin Trawick, as well as local artists Dani Mari, Reverend TJ McGlinchey, Jason Ager, and Alexandra Day, as well as
Chris Scanlon, Max Seidman, Sarah Napolitan (of Turnips), and Jon Paul. The show begins at 8 p.m. and admission is $8.

Local reggae act Sonni Shine & the Underwater Sounds are playing tonight at The Blockley, along with Brooklyn-based funk band The Pimps of Joytime. The 21+ show begins at 9 p.m., tickets are $12. Sonni released a new full-length album since she recorded her Key Studio Session. You can listen to it below.

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This Weekend’s Concert Picks: Sonni Shine And The Underwater Sounds at Milkboy Philly, Serpent Throne at Johnny Brenda’s

Sonni Shine And The Underwater Sounds

With the holiday weekend coming up, there’s not a whole lot going on show-wise. However, there are a pair of shows tonight that feature local acts we wrote about over the summer: the reggae-infused funk act Sonni Shine And The Underwater Sounds (opening for En Fuego at Milkboy Philly) and the instrumental prog-metal quartet Serpent Throne (at Johnny Brenda’s). Sonni Shine came into the XPN studios to record a Key Studio Session, which ran back in August; XPN2’s John Vettese highlighted Serpent Throne in one of his Philly Local Philes. You can listen to a track from Sonni Shine’s session and Serpent Throne’s latest album below.

En Fuego (record-release show) + Sonni Shine And The Underwater Sounds, Penrose at Milkboy Philly (9:30 p.m., 21+, $8–$10); Serpent Throne + Gondola, The Pilgrim at Johnny Brenda’s (9:15 p.m., 21+, $8)

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The Key Studio Sessions: Four new songs from Sonni Shine And The Underwater Sounds

When singer-guitarist Sonni Shine and bassist Kenny Shumski sat down for an interview following their Key Studio Session this summer, they wondered why more reggae bands weren’t open to experimenting with sounds and styles. Perhaps they can lead by example. Their eclectic roots foursome Sonni Shine And The Underwater Sounds made a splash on the Philly scene this past year, blending reggae with snappy funk, exploratory prog, and bright, bold pop on their self-titled debut (which Key Readers voted the number-one debut album of 2010). We see that cross-section reflected in the band’s Key Studio Session: “What You Waiting For” has a vibrant bounce from drummer Sean Youngman, “Warrior” wanders across time-signatures with Billy Campion’s fierce Santana-esque lead guitar, and the radiant “Black And Blue” could be a crossover hit. All these songs will appear on the new album the Underwater Sounds plan to release toward the end of this year. Download them below to tide you over in the meantime; listen to Shine and Shumski’s interview tomorrow night on XPN2 during the Key Studio Sessions Hour at 7 p.m.; and check out the band’s website to keep up on its slate of live appearances (including a show this Friday, Aug. 26, at West Chester club The Note).

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Tonight’s Picks: Sonni Shine And The Underwater Sounds at North Star Bar + Buffy Sainte-Marie, Lykke Li

Sonni Shine And The Underwater Sounds perform with Abstract Verses and Ill Dootsat at 8 p.m. at North Star Bar; tickets to the 21+ show are $8. Tonight’s show is a benefit for The Shakedown Project, which “was founded to create innovative, thought provoking experimental theater which blurs the disciplinary lines of entertainment, combining different art forms into unique coherent narratives.”

Also playing: Buffy Sainte-Marie performs at World Cafe Live (8 p.m., $27-$50); XPN Welcomes Lykke Li + Grimes at Theater Of Living Arts (8 p.m., $40)