Tonight’s Concert Picks: Arrah and the Ferns at PhilaMOCA, White Laces at Kung Fu Necktie, Dani Mari at Philadelphia Folk Festival Co-Op Showcase, Baroness at Union Transfer

FernsArrah and the Ferns play PhilaMOCA tonight.  The concert will act as both the band’s album release show for Make Your Mind as well as its final show before going on hiatus.  Formed in 2005 in Muncie, Indiana, the country / indie rock band has been a staple of the local show circuit for the last few years after settling down in Philadelphia in 2010.  They stopped by for a Key Studio Video Session last year – check it out below.  Tickets and information for tonight’s show with  Pretty & Nice, Andrew Cedermark and Jackie Paper can be found here.

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Arrah and the Ferns release new single, announce hiatus, playing a farewell show at PhilaMOCA on 5/24

FernsIt’s been a couple weeks of breakup bummers; in addition to Dangerous Ponies announcing plans to go their separate ways this past weekend, twangy indie four-piece Arrah and the Ferns also quietly announced their indefinite hiatus not long before that. (Hat-tip to The Deli for catching this news today.)

Frontwoman Arrah Fisher – whose place of employ appeared in a great Food Network segment last night, along with Adam Garbinski of Bloodline fame and some dude wearing a Richie Records t-shirt – explained the hiatus in a post on the band’s Facebook page:

that’s right, we’re releasing a new LP and promptly disbanding! I know it doesn’t make much sense…but we’re CrAzY like that!

You see, our guitarist BELSKI is moving to Montana in June and Arrah is going to embark on some lengthy world travels come August. (but have no fear, the ferns always return in some form) So please come out to these last few shows and celebrate with us. it’s never really over.

We love y’all. Thanks for all the support. We’ll be around!! And hey on the upside, you get a whole new album to listen to and get sick of…

The band has two remaining gigs: a free show this Saturday, May 18th at the South Philly Tap Room’s Wheat Beer Fest (quoth the band: “Beeeeeeeer”) and an all-ages farewell at PhilaMOCA on May 24th. This show doubles as the band’s album release for their final LP Make Your Mind. Check out a new song from the LP, “Get Lost,” below.


Foodie Rockers: Watch Arrah Fisher (sans Ferns) and South Philly Tap Room make a cameo on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives tonight

ArrahScottyThe above image that appeared on Arrah and the Ferns‘ Instagram yesterday afternoon prompted a barrage of questions in my brain. Why is singer-guitarist Arrah Fisher eating a sandwich on The Food Network? What kind of sandwich is it? (It looks tasty.) And what restaurant is this?

Swapping Facebook messages with Fisher, I got answers to two out of these three questions this afternoon. The sunny eatery where we see her (and boyfriend Scotty) is the South Philly Taproom, one of two places where Fisher bartends and waits tables when she’s not rocking stages. (Fun fact: the other place is SPTR’s sister gastropub, American Sardine Bar, and holy cow their patty melts are delicious.)

The restaurant / watering hole will be featured in a new episode of The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives tonight at 10 p.m. Fisher says she was not personally interviewed for the episode, but she was present for the cameras, meaning there’s a cameo or two. You can check it out tonight at 10 from the comfort of your own home, or from South Philly Taproom itself, where a screening party will be hosted. There’s even talk of free head cheese tacos and other surprises, but you’ll have to attend to find out for yourself. The Taproom is located at 1509 Mifflin Street, a short walk from the Tasker-Morris stop on the Broad Street Line.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ingrid Michaelson at World Cafe Live at the Queen, Daniel Bachman at Little Berlin, Arrah and the Ferns as Black Sabbath at The Fire, Jess Klein at Burlap and Bean

XPN welcomes Ingrid Michaelson’s continuing tour in support of Human Again, released back in January, to World Cafe Live at The Queen. The New York singer-songwriter will be performing acoustic on this leg of the tour, tickets to the all-ages show range from $31 to $41 and are available here. Below, watch a live video of the song “Ghosts” from Human Again, recorded in Laurel Canyon earlier this year.

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Aarah and the Ferns headline Maasai Rising benefit at MilkBoy tomorrow

Arrah And The Ferns
Countrified Philly rockers Arrah and the Ferns are headlining a benefit show at MilkBoy tomorrow night to support Maasai Rising. The Philadelphia-based organization was founded in 2010 to educate and empower the women of the Maasai tribe in Kenya and Tanzinia. Also on the bill are indie poppers Sunset Recorder and a solo set from Kate Foust from Lady. Tickets and information about the 21+ show are available here. Below, get a free download of Sunset Recorder’s song “Sweet Dreams.”


Guest VJ Q.D. Tran previews The Deli’s Tuesday Tune-Out series (kicks off at PhilaMOCA tonight)

Photo by David Turcotte |

It’s the start of a new month, which means a new edition of PhilaMOCA‘s music-and-film series, Tuesday Tune-Out. This time, we’ve got a great round of offerings lined up by the folks at The Deli.

When you’re covering a local music scene like we do here at The Key, you get to know the folks who are out there with you every week in the proverbial trenches. Editor Q.D. Tran and his staff at The Deli are good people through and through – friendly, enthusiastic and passionate about the Philly scene and everything that goes along with it, from spoken word to art. I’m happy to call them my buddies (as well as friendly competitors or what have you), and I’m happy to invite Q.D. to our corner of the internet to give an overview of The Deli’s offerings for the month. All events are at PhilaMOCA (531 N. 12th Street), start at 7:30pm and are $5.

From Q.D.:
Hola – so when Eric Bresler, PhilaMOCA’s Creative Director, approached me about a new series that he was working on which integrated live music and film and would have different curators each month, I immediately volunteered to take a month. Combining music and movies is a no-brainer in my book, I grew up loving both as I am sure many of you who are reading this have. Obviously, it was a blast to get to put together the lineup of featured artists for September – so much so that I decided to recruit openers for most of the evenings as well. John Vettese asked me to “Guest VJ,” sharing a few videos and words about my picks. Below is what I came up with last night. I hope that it gets people inspired and pumped up as much as all of us are who are participating in Tuesday Tune-Out this month. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Arrah & The Ferns at Johnny Brenda’s, Low Cut Connie at North Star Bar, and American Babies at Kennett Flash

When she lived in Muncie, Indiana, Arrah Fisher was more into the college town’s indie-pop scene. When she moved to Philadelphia in 2010, she found a new voice, one with a lot more twang. The east coast lineup of Arrah & The Ferns developed a raw country sound that fit, to say the least, and the lineup grew in 2011 with new additions to the group including guitarist Ryan Belski, drummer Mike Harkness, and bassist Buddy Szczesniak. Their folk alt-country style is led by Arrah’s unique and poppy voice. Their most recent work is their EP, Soldier Ghost. They will be going into the studio soon to record their next release, but not before playing Johnny Brenda’s tonight. Tickets to this 21+ show are $10, grab yours here. We did a Key Studio session with Arrah and the Ferns in February, you can watch that video and an interview with Arrah below.

The nitty, gritty boys from Alabama Low Cut Connie are moving east for a show at North Star Bar tonight. They released their debut album Get Out the Lotion last year, giving a glimpse to their gritty lyrics and having an “explicit” label on the purchase page. Nonetheless, they bring a fun vibe to the stage with their indie rock 1950’s styled jams. Tonight’s show is 21+ and tickets are $12. Show kicks off at 9 p.m. Below listen to the catchy song “Rio” off the album.

In the early 2000’s, Tom Hamilton spent the majority of his musical days producing electronic beats in the band Brothers Past. After a little while he chose to go on a different path and slowly ascended into creating a new raw style of music with friends that surely became American Babies. Philadelphia homebodies, the babies toured for a while and came back to Philly to record their second LP, Flawed Logic with Bill Moriarty (Man Man, Dr. Dog). They play tonight at Kennett Flash, doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets are $12 in advanced, $15 day of show.


Laser Background releases a zany music video for “Weird Conscience” (playing Kungfu Necktie on 7/19)

After the absurdist Philadelphia psychedelic pop foursome The Armchairs disbanded just over a year ago, co-songwriter Andy Molholt focused his energies into Laser Background, a zany one-man project cut very much from similar cloth. The self-titled EP he digitally released in the winter is bright, fast, catchy, a bit quirky and far-out, but in a way that makes you want to rush along and join it. Musically, it easily recalls The Apples In Stereo and Of Montreal. Next week Molholt celebrates the EP’s physical release – on cassette via the UK’s Stroll On Records tape label, and on 7″ via Molholt’s own imprint – with an appearance at Kung Fu Necktie in Fishtown. Leading up to the show, Laser Background yesterday released a video for “Weird Conscience,” filmed in various locales around north-eastern Montgomery County and Bucks County. (Love the shots on the wooden horse playground at Peace Valley Park – many a splinter I suffered growing up as a result of those things.) The video is a total blast, and you can check it out below while making plans to catch the band next Thursday. Laser Background, Arrah and The Ferns and Circadian Rhythms play Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 North Front St., on Thurs. July 19 at 8 p.m. Admission to the 21+ show is $5.

Laser Background – Weird Conscience from Laser Background on Vimeo.


Listen to the new single from Philly songwriter Daniel Ryan Belski (playing PhilaMOCA on June 29)

If you’ve been following our Key Studio Sessions, you’ve seen and heard Daniel Ryan Belski in action already. He was the charismatic redbearded lead guitarist in our video session with Arrah and the Ferns, and he also was a counterpoint player when Lady recorded their session last year. But Belski was a songwriter in his own right before getting involved with either of those bands, recording and performing first under the name The Divine Lorraine, and later under his own name. Now, the collection of songs he’s been toiling over for the past two-plus years is about to see the light of day in the forthcoming release They Always Haunt at Night, and we couldn’t be more excited for him. Below you can check out the EP’s first single, “Seems To Last Forever” – it begins as a folk-pop song with a slick bass groove, but adds sophisticated symphonic flourishes as the song progresses, ending up with a snappy three-and-a-half minute piece that’s tonally rich and has us itching for more. Thankfully we won’t have to wait long – Belski is throwing an EP release party at PhilaMOCA on Friday, June 29, with Key favorites Adam and Dave’s Bloodline and Lion Versus.


Download The Key Studio Sessions Compilation Vol. 4 (feat. City Rain, Pink Skull, Lushlife, Chill Moody, + more)

Photo by Arrah Fisher

Special thanks to all of the bands for coming to our studio, and to John Vettese for recording them. We’d also like to thank volunteer production assistants Fred Knittel, Madeleine Lesperance, and Dan Malloy as well as photographers Kate Bracaglia, Corey Cohen, Sarah Fry, Shamus McGroggan, Noah Gabriel Merenda, Sylvia Ramirez, and Heidi Schlenzig for sharing their work. Continue reading →