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Healing and Connecting Through Music: Inside the Weathervane Music winter concert

J Pope (left) and Songs in The Key of Free will play Weathervane’s winter studio concert | via Facebook

The folks behind Weathervane Music don’t necessarily consider themselves activists. The Philly nonprofit is more of a champion for independent music through its ten-years-running documentary series Shaking Through.

At the same time, the do look to elevate artists working for social causes, artists who see working for a better world as much a part of what they do as making music. Gabe Greenberg, Creative Director of Weathervane, emphasized a growing need to showcase artists who support social justice issues or provided an unheard perspective. That’s something they’re doing with their winter studio concert at Miner Street Recordings this Friday, December 7th.

The show will open with a performance by Songs in the Key of Free, a group that works to challenge mass incarceration and reform the prison system. Headlining is J Pope and the HearNow, the project of Baltimore singer and rapper Jasmine Pope, who makes activis,-driven songs with her jazz/funk ensemble.

Greenberg says this shift was in part prompted by the 2016 election; in its aftermath, he says, there has been a palpable threat to freedom of expression. “When you think back to the 60’s, activist music used to be incredibly prevalent, and mainstream artists were going out there and making bold political statements,” Greenberg says. “With the DIY scene, it became cool to be apathetic and not care. Now we’re seeing more bands saying ‘no, this is important, and affects my day-to-day life.’ The need to be intentional and mindful is growing, we want to feel a sense of connection.” Continue reading →

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J Pope and Songs in the Key of Free will play Weathervane Music’s winter studio concert

J Pope (left) and Songs in The Key of Free will play Weathervane’s winter studio concert | via Facebook

Local nonprofit Weathervane Music invites us to close out 2018 with them at an intimate studio concert next month at Miner Street Recordings, the organization’s home-base studio in Fishtown which you may recognize as the backdrop to their Shaking Through series. The December 7 show will feature performances by “artists we think have an important message to share through their music,” as Weathervane writes on Facebook.

The show includes a headlining set by J Pope and the HearNow, the project of Baltimore singer and rapper Jasmine Pope, who blends activism into her music with backing from her jazz/funk ensemble. A performance by local collaborative venture Songs in the Key of Free will open the evening; the collective’s justice-focused music works to challenge mass incarceration and reform the prison system. Continue reading →

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Weathervane Music kicks off its December residency with Acres of Diamonds and Jesse Hale Moore

Jesse Hale Moore | Photo by John Vettese
Jesse Hale Moore | Photo by John Vettese

Philadelphia arts incubator Weathervane Music – aka the folks behind the acclaimed Shaking Through series – are setting up shop in Boot and Saddle every Tuesday night in December, and kicked off the residency last night with a knockout double-bill of Acres of Diamonds and Jesse Hale Moore. Continue reading →

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Join Lushlife and Weathervane Music for the premiere of a new Toynbee Tile-inspired Shaking Through Session at Art in the Age on 11/7

Photo via www.facebook.com/lushlifemedia
Photo via www.facebook.com/lushlifemedia

Shaking Through‘s fall season is off to a tremendous start with their current episode from The So So Glos and an upcoming episode spearheaded by Lushlife.  The Weathervane Music project, which brings bands and artists to Miner Street Recording in Fishtown to record a brand new song in two days, let the local hip hop artist loose in the studio and the result is a four-movement, eleven minute “rap epic” titled Toynbee Suite.  The inspiration, as noted by the recording’s title, were the mysterious messages inlaid across the city and around the world known as “Toynbee Tiles.”  From the press release:

…Toynbee Suite arcs across four dramatically different movements and features a tremendous cast of musicians. With key contributions from RJD2NightlandsYikes the Zero, as well as orchestral arrangements from Joshua StamperToynbee Suite is perhaps the most ambitious song from the already ambitious Shaking Through, which Pitchfork calls “an inspired recording project,” and IFC declares is “one of the best online music series.”

The episode premiere will take place at Art in the Age on November 7th, with appearances by Lushlife, Tim Meskers (formerly of Brown Recluse) and Bailiff.  More information can be found here.  Below, watch Lushlife’s video for “Magnolia,” followed by the trailer for the 2011 documentary on Toynbee Tiles called Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles.

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Weathervane Music kicks off Shaking Though Volume 4 with Ava Luna and Twin Sister (at Johnny Brenda’s on 1/12)

To celebrate the start of Shaking Through Volume 4, Weathervane Music is bringing soul / pop band Ava Luna and experimental pop group Twin Sister to Johnny Brenda’s this Saturday, January 12th.  The Shaking Through series was started by local non-profit Weathervane Music to “document the birth of a song,” giving the featured bands two days in Miner Street Recordings to create and record a new track from start to finish.  The video series was shortlisted for the 2012 Vimeo Festival + Awards and its catalog includes episodes with Sharon Van Etten, Strand of Oaks, Hezekiah Jones and over twenty-five other artists.

In addition to sets by Shaking Through alums Ava Luna and Twin Sister, this week’s event will feature the premiere of Volume 4 Episode 1 with R&B singer Steven A. Clark and appearances by members of Dr. Dog, The War on Drugs, Man Man and Purling Hiss.  Tickets and information for the 21+ show can be found here.  Below, watch the Shaking Through episodes from Ava Luna and Twin Sister. Continue reading →

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Hezekiah Jones records new song for WXPN and Weathervane Music’s Shaking Through

Today at Miner Street Recordings in Fishtown, Hezekiah Jones is recording a new song for Shaking Through, WXPN and Weathervane Music’s online audio and video initiative. Brian McTear, Executive Director of Weathervane and the owner of Miner Street, is producing the session.

Each session is curated, and Hezekiah was my selection for the episode that will run in April. Raphael Cutrufello—he’s “Hezekiah”—has assembled a five-piece band (including Andrew Lipke and Sisters 3) to perform a new song, “Borrowed Heart.” The song is part of a forthcoming musical score Raphael has been writing for one of his favorite movies, The Bride Of Frankenstein. Watching the band work together on the song is a fascinating process. As I am writing this, sitting in the studio control room, Raphael is recording his vocal parts while watching a section of the movie on a monitor in the studio control room. (The timing of the Raphael’s singing needs to perfectly match the film, requiring a handful of vocal takes.) Andrew Lipke and the background singers are rehearsing the harmonies he wrote for a section of the song; McTear is talking to the band about adding a keyboard while recording engineer Jonathan Low is listening to different mixes of the song (featuring an acoustic and an electric bass).

Below, some photos from the session today which will be released in mid-April.

Raphael Cutrufello (left) and Andrew Lipke (right)
Raphael Cutrufello
Sisters 3
Sisters 3
Brian McTear
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Link Roundup (Holiday Edition): Weathervane Music, Gang Of Four, Kuf Knotz’s “Boombox Collective”

Philly’s Weathervane Music boosts careers of new talent “Back in 2002, when Brian McTear was producing an album for chamber-pop songwriter Matt Pond at his Miner Street Recordings studio, the two friends batted around ideas about the future of the music industry. CD sales had peaked the preceding year. And though Napster had ushered in the file-sharing revolution, the recording industry was not yet in free fall.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Kuf Knotz Presents: The Boombox Collective “A new hip hop monthly event at World Cafe Live, The Boombox Collective is a response to the lack of hip-hop centric shows within the Philadelphia area. Created by Kuf Knotz, his plan is to provide a platform for artists to be able to perform in front of a broad audience of listeners. Scheduled appearances include Chalk & The Beige American, Curly Castro, Dave Vegas, and DJ Stoupe (from Jedi Mind Tricks).” (Phrequency)

Mister Heavenly Develop New Genre They’d Like To Call Doom-Wop. “Pitchfork and Sub Pop Records released two songs off of Mister Heavenly’s new album. With a kind exchange of your email address, they will email you the songs, which include self-referential “Mister Heavenly” and “Pineapple Girl”. The band, which we’ve mentioned before, consists of Nick Diamonds (of Islands), Honus Honus (from Man Man) and Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse). Sub Pop Records states that they are “spurred on by a mutual appreciation for doo-wop and doomed love songs (aka doom-wop).” Doom-Wop? Sounds silly… but sounds goooood” (Philebrity)

First Listen: Gang Of Four, ‘Content’ “Gang of Four, a provocative dance band with a history of making smart and vital rock, makes you think on your feet. In 1978, the shock of punk’s punch had music lovers wondering how the hell to follow the previous year’s initial burst of revolutionary music. Gang of Four led the way with an EP called Damaged Goods, followed by one of rock music’s smartest and most urgent albums, Entertainment.” (NPR)

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Miner Street / Weathervane compilation album will help benefit Philadelphia Public Schools

Hemming
Hemming’s Candice Martello and Cayetana’s Augusta Koch with Three Man Cannon’s Matt Schimelfenig in Miner Street Recording | photo by John Ryan | courtesy of the artist

Fishtown studio Miner Street Recordings and non-profit Weathervane Music have been collaborating to produce some of the most exciting musical projects in Philadelphia for awhile now — you may recognize them from the Shaking Through documentary series (which just released its latest episode with Jesse Hale Moore this morning). Now, the two organizations have announced their latest endeavor: a compilation album to benefit Philadelphia Public Schools.

Called Equal Loudness, the album will feature music from various Philly-based artists, including Cayetana, American Trappist, Square Peg Round Hole, Hemming and more, who have each donated a song to the compilation with the goal of raising awareness and bringing about change to schools in need. Continue reading →