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Bad Braids kicks off its European travels tonight at Cha-Cha’razzi

Bad Braids’ Megan Biscieglia / Photo by Elizabeth Lennox
Bad Braids’ Megan Biscieglia / Photo by Elizabeth Lennox

Before beginning a European tour during the month of September, Bad Braids will play a kickoff show at South Philly’s Cha-Cha’razzi tonight at 7:35 pm. The band (in this configuration, just Megan Biscieglia solo, sans her usual rotating cast of collaborators) recorded a Choice/Cuts session at the beginning of the calendar year which showcased their hauntingly beautiful brand of psych/folk. Continue reading →

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From Banned Books to Bad Braids, an eclectic all-local lineup hits Boot and Saddle on 1/24

Banned Books | via Facebook

An upcoming show at Boot & Saddle on January 24th will leave you wondering how much strangely awesome music can come out of one city. Local hard art rock group Banned Books headlines the eclectic show with support from Son Step, Laser Background, and Bad Braids.

If you are into psychedelia or really any kind of experimental music, this is a must go to show. Bad Braids will be opening the show with some hauntingly powerful acoustic-based songs, followed by the sometimes spacy, sometimes video game soundtrack-sounding tunes of Laser Background.

Son Step will be prepping for this show with the arrival of new band member Joel Gleiser (Modern Inventors), and word on the street is they’ll have some new songs to share. In the meantime, check out their existing collection on Bandcamp. Banned Books closes out the night with their truly unique racket of multiple instruments and sounds. Check out the mayhem they create below and get tickets to the gig here. ($10, 21+)

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Watch Bad Braids’ Choice/Cuts Session for “Mountains” (playing Boot & Saddle on 1/24)

 

Bad Braids | photo by Abi Reimold
Bad Braids’ Megan Biscieglia | photo by Abi Reimold

In the latest Choice/Cuts collaboration from The Deli Magazine and HotBox Studios, Bad Braids performed a new song called “Mountains.”  The episode is the second in a two-part feature on singer/songwriter Megan Biscieglia that also includeds November’s “Jackal” recording.  ”Mountains” is representative of Biscieglia’s beautiful folk/psych catalog of work – it starts quietly with repetitive guitar parts before her hypnotizing vocals come in, accented by a soothing flute melody.  Both “Mountains” and “Jackal” will be included on Bad Braids’ next full-length release, which will follow this year’s Supreme Parallel LP.  Catch Biscieglia live at Boot & Saddle on January 24th with Banned Books, Laser Background and Son Step; tickets and infor can be found here.

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The Deli’s Choice / Cuts series returns with Bad Braids’ “Jackal”

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Bad Braids’ Megan Biscieglia | Photo by Abi Reimold | abireimoldphoto.com

The Deli’s Choice/Cuts series is back and the current episode features Philly psychedelic/folk outfit Bad Braids performing at Hotbox Studios. Bad Braids, which is really comprised of just singer/songwriter/guitarist Megan Biscieglia and a rotating cast of collaborators, premieres a new track called “Jackal” for the series. Biscieglia’s music has also been described as “haunting,” but “Jackal” is especially crooning, with eerily distorted and reverberating vocals mixing with poignant electric guitar riffs. The song moves pensively, beginning slow building into an emotional crescendo. In short, it’s agonizing and biting and totally amazing. Watch the video The Deli recorded of Bad Braids’ performaning “Jackal” at Hotbox below.

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Photos: Angel Olsen, Pillars and Tongues and Bad Braids at Johnny Brenda’s

Angel Olsen | Photo by Abi Reimold | abireimoldphoto.com All photos by Abi Reimold | abireimoldphoto.com

Last night Chicago-based singer-songwriter Angel Olsen headlined Johnny Brenda’s, still on tour in support of her 2012 release Half Way Home. Joining her were avant-pop outfit Pillars and Tongues and Philly’s Bad Braids. Check out a gallery of photos from the show below.

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Go on the road with Bad Braids in a new video for “Palace”

bad braids

When Nikki Volpicelli spotlighted Bad Braids‘ latest LP Supreme Parallel for an Unlocked feature earlier this year, she connected the music on the album to being in unknown surroundings, solitude and the power of imagination.  These three concepts appear again in the video for “Palace,” a montage of road trip footage paired with the short, gliding track from local singer-guitarist Megan Biscieglia.  It feels like a dream sequence, though the scenes are incontestably real, filmed by Biscieglia’s friend (and NYC film producer) Diana Martinez while on a road trip a decade ago.  Watch the video below and revisit Bad Braids’ Unlocked series here.

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The Week’s Best MP3s, incl. Bad Braids, Les Professionnels, Owen, Fort Frances

owen

Previewing songs from an upcoming album, Mike Kinsella brought his solo project Owen to Folkadelphia recently.  The Chicago native and former member of Cap’n Jazz and American Football performed four intimate songs for the session, including “Love is Not Enough,” which you can stream and download below.  Check out the full session here.

Local remixers Les Professionnels kicked off their inaugural Just Say Yes Party last week with a free download of “Just Say Yes.”  The dance jam features contributions from a number of collaborators including Anna Lunoe and The Dead Rose Music Company.  Stream and download “Just Say Yes” below.

This week on Unlocked, The Key looked at Bad Braids‘ new album Supreme Parallel.  The feature started off on Monday with a free download of “Pennies” from the local project of Megan Biscieglia, a track that shows off the delicate but powerful traits of the multi-instrumentalist’s music.  Take a look back at the ful Unlocked installment here.

South Philly singer-songwriter Ryan Tennis and his nine-piece Clubhouse Band stopped by recently for a Key Studio Session.  Recording four songs that span Tennis’s creative palate, the band worked their numbers to the greatest advantage during the session.  Download “Madeline” below and get the full session here.

Chicago’s Fort Frances were featured on Tuesday’s My Morning Download with their song “I Had Love.”  Melding a rootsy jangle with a singer-songwriter vibe, the new band are instant ear catchers and are now supporting their second studio effort, this week’s Harbour EP.

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Unlocked: Bad Braids’ Megan Biscieglia’s “Songs I Love at the Moment”

Bad Braids’ Megan Biscieglia / Photo by Elizabeth Lennox
Bad Braids’ Megan Biscieglia / Photo by Elizabeth Lennox
Bad Braids’ Megan Biscieglia has musical tastes that range from 70′s Britfolk, Indonesian and Tamasheq crooners to Black Sabbath and The Everly Brothers. Today, she made a special playlist for The Key, admitting, “I get a little obsessed with songs and will listen to them over and over and over until I can’t listen to them anymore. These are some of the songs that at the moment, are on that constant stream.” Check out her complete video playlist here, as well as her lovely anecdotes about the music. Bad Braids play the Rigby Mansion tomorrow to celebrate the May 1 release of Supreme Parallel and the kick-off to her European tour.

Trees – “Murdoch”
Megan Boscoeglia (MB): This song is beautiful and a little bit scary. I have an urge to fill this playlist with only Trees, Fairport Convention, and The Incredible String Band, but I will refrain from doing so.

Dara Puspita – “To Love Somebody (Bee Gees cover)”
MB: This is a 60′s girl group from Indonesia who played their own instruments  I found this on a blog once and fell in love with it. Their other song “Lonely Street” is also one of my favorites.

Black Sabbath – “Wizard”
MB: If you put this song on [every] morning, first thing when you wake up, it is guaranteed you will grow a little more badass as each day passes.

TwinSisterMoon – “Spells”
MB: I accidentally downloaded this while trying to download something else. I’ve found a lot of really great music that way. I thought while listening that it was for sure from the 60′s, but it is current and they live in France. This song kind of kills me.

Patti Smith – “Lands”
MB: Patti Smith is intense. I have always liked her music, but never really got into it until I read her book a few years ago.
Continue reading →

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Unlocked: Q&A with Megan Biscieglia of Bad Braids

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Before next Wednesday’s release of Supreme Parallel, we swapped email Q’s and A’s with Bad Braids’ Megan Biscieglia, the 25-year-old songstress behind the group who started writing and recording on her own music back when Talkboys were still topical. This Saturday, she’s celebrating the coming of her second full-length album (and her European tour) with a release show at the fantastical Rigby Mansion in Germantown. We got a preview of Parallel last September, when Biscieglia performed an intimate bathtub version of “White Mane” at Rigby for Out of Town Films. Fingers crossed, Saturday’s event will turn just as magical.

The Key: What is your connection with the musicians you chose to collaborate with on Supreme Parallel?
Megan Biscieglia: All the musicians who played on SP are very dear friends of mine. I’m lucky enough to have a close knit group of friends who are all incredibly talented. Paul Christian recorded most of the album and can pretty much play anything/ do anything/ fix anything/ is a wizard/ not human. Paul, April Heliotis, Cameron Vance, and I sometimes play in another band fronted by Mike Bruno, the Black Magic Family Band. We were all already accustomed to playing music together, so it made sense to ask them to play on my record. I knew their vibe and I knew whatever they did would be special. I met Jesse Sparhawk at a show we played together at the now defunct Emoda Gallery. I love everything he makes and feel honored he is on my record.

The Key: You’re leaving to head to Europe for a month and a half shortly after your release show this Saturday. Do you have any advice on booking a tour of that magnitude?
MB: If you decide you want to embark on a journey such as the one I am about to go on, you need to be 1,000% into it. Be ready to spend all of your time, energy, and money. As far as the actual booking of the tour goes, if you take yourself seriously, other people will too. Know that you will be ignored by many, but at the same time many others will be more generous and supportive than you could ever hope for. Get in touch with people who have toured before to book your show, they’ll know how to treat you right. Once you’re gone, be open minded and get weird.

The Key: Have you visited some of the places you’re touring in the past?
MB: Only London.

The Key: Your music has vibrant “folk” aspects to it, but you don’t seem to play many shows with other acoustic and/or folk artists. Your shows tend to lean on the side of dark rock/punk/psych stuff. and metal. Is that a conscious performance decision or is it personal style/taste?
MB: doesn’t happen so much anymore. When I first moved to Philly, I didn’t know many people. The people I did know played in heavier bands. When i decided I wanted to start playing music, they helped me and booked me in whatever show was already happening. Nowadays, I play with all kinds of bands. I like going to shows that have versatility and I’m happy when I get to be apart of them.

The Key: What do you read that inspires your lyrics, and if you don’t look towards books, how do you come up with them?
MB: I’m not really sure where my lyrics come from, they just kind of happen. I do read a lot of fantasy, and though I can’t really say whether or not one book in particular has affected what I write, I can definitely say I have a fondness for and interest in made up places, not of this time and maybe not of this planet. I love getting lost in a book or movie, then looking up and being surprised I’m sitting in my living room. I wanted to create another world for the listener with Supreme Parallel. Maybe a dreamier and hazier world where everything is a little bit foggy and warm and everyone is floating around, a place you can forget your troubles for a second and zone out.

The Key: Aside from singing, you play everything from the lap harp to guitar to sets of wine glasses. When did you start playing music and which instruments did you start with?
MB: I started writing music when I was 6. My best friend at the time and I wrote and recorded songs together on his karaoke machine and on my talk boy. We both played the piano in the recordings and I would occasionally play the bongo. I started playing guitar when I was 15. But didn’t really get into it until I was 20..

The Key: You grew up in South Jersey and went to school in Brooklyn, NY. Now, you’re building a career in Philly, where you’ve resided for the past two years. How did you start performing live, and which city did you start performing in?
MB: I was living in Brooklyn and was in a pretty dark place. My best friend had moved out of the country, my other best friend and I were in the midst of a tragic break up, and I was very very lonely. I didn’t really know what to do with my time and didn’t really have anyone to spend it with. I had written songs since I was a kid, but never really thought anyone would want to hear them. I thought maybe I’d try to play out and in the process I’d meet new friends or maybe a band I could play in. I think that’s what I wanted to do, play in someone else’s band. I had friends in Philly and they booked me at some house shows. I started playing in Brooklyn first though, my first show was at coco66 in Brooklyn and then 2 weeks later is was at the Manton house in Philly opening for Gods and Queens. I went on tour kind of right away, and fell in love with that.

The Key: What made you decide to further your career in Philly as opposed Brooklyn?
MB: New York is too money driven. I was finding it difficult to focus on creative things because I had to hustle so much just to feed myself. All of my priorities were off too, I just wasn’t happy. I started taking music a little more seriously and found happiness in that, but could never really find the time. Philadelphia made sense because I already knew a lot of people here who were doing things I wanted to be a part of. There is a rich artistic community here and it is a relatively cheap place to live.

The Key: BONUS QUESTION: Did you grow up listening to N*SYNC and the Backstreet Boys like I did, and if so, how would you rate them as musicians?
MB: No, but I was a Hanson freak. I can tell you that my moms ringtone was once “Sexy Back” by Justin Timberlake. No one can deny, not even my mom, that song is dope.

Bad Braids’ shares the “release” part this Saturday with local harpist Mary Lattimore (whose “The Withdrawing Room” will be distributed on 300 limited edition black vinyl) and the “tour kick-off” thing with her good friend (and co-conspirator) Mike Bruno, who’s accompanying her to Europe. Go here for more information about the show. Go here

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The Week So Far: 11 must-read stories on The Key (incl. Bad Braids, Pattern is Movement, Johnny Marr)

richie havens

Legendary folk musician Richie Havens is remembered for his soulful voice and historic set at Woodstock [link]

Mike Kinsella of Owen previewed new material in this week’s Folkadelphia session [link]

In celebration of Earth Day, The Key took a look back at Philadelphia’s Earth Week in 1970 [link]

Suzie Brown, Cheers Elephant and more to play the 65th Annual Pastorius Park Free Summer Concert Series in Chestnut Hill [link]

Ryan Tennis brings his nine-piece band to XPN for a Key Studio Session [link]

Make Music Philly brings DIY concerts to the streets on June 21st [link]

Johnny Marr gives advice and talks about his new solo album in an interview with Nikki Volpicelli [link]

Get a look inside Pattern is Movement‘s recording process with an “album screening” at PhilaMOCA [link]

Bad Braids‘ upcoming Supreme Parallel is featured in this week’s Unlocked series [link]

Download “I Had Love” from Chicago’s Fort Frances [link]

Kennett Square’s Friday Nights Under the Stars announces their line-up with New Sweden, Ryan Tennis and more [link]