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Kensington Picnic returns for a second year with a great lineup featuring Spacin’, Mary Lattimore and more

Mary Lattimore | photo by John Vettese
Mary Lattimore | photo by John Vettese

Kensington Picnic will return this August for its second round. Though the lineup is not finalized yet, it looks like an even split between folk and experimental rock. Performers include the Strapping Fieldhands, Laura Baird, and Spacin’. Repeat performers include Birds of Maya and Mary Lattimore.

On the rock front, there’s the Strapping Fieldhands, an indie rock band from the 1990s that returned last year with their first release in 10 years. Birds of Maya played a great set at PhilaMOCA this year, as well as an awesome benefit show at Circle of Hope to support the Shalefield Organizing Community. Last but not least, there’s Spacin’, formed in 2012 by Birds of Maya’s Jason Killinger. Last year, Spacin’ performed their debut Deep Thuds LP at Hopscotch Music Festival and recently released the B-side to their Megatations tape via Telephone Explosion Records.

On the folk side of things, there’s the charismatic Laura Baird. The other half of the amazing Baird Sisters, Laura did a great interview with the Key’s Maura Filoromo. Over the years, Baird has played a range of instruments from trombone to flute and banjo. She incorporates elements of these into her performances. Harpist Mary Lattimore will also perform. Over the years, she has performed with artists ranging from Kurt Vile and Thurston Moore to Sharon Van Etten and Meg Baird. Last year, she played on a cover of Kitty Wells’ country tune “Christmas Ain’t Like Christmas Anymore” and a brilliant session with Folkadelphia. In September, she will release her latest album, Slant of Light as a collaboration with Jeff Zeigler (from Arc in Round). 

The picnic is set to take place on Frankford Ave, between Susquehanna and Dauphin, near Liberty Vintage Motorcycles. Get more information on the free event here.  Check out music from the artists below.

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Birds of Maya hosting a benefit concert for the Shalefield Organizing Committee tonight

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Local power rock trio Birds of Maya are hosting a benefit show at Circle of Hope at Frankford and Norris streets tonight in support of the Shalefield Organizing Committee.  Formed this year, the SOC “is a group of concerned residents from across eastern Pennsylvania who work to protect human and ecological rights for those living in the shalefields”.  Fracking (the drilling of rocks for natural gas) has inspired a significant environmental and ethical debate in recent years due to its destructive side effects.  Tonight’s benefit for SOC will feature sets by Birds of Maya alongside Dance Nook and Matt Sowell.  More information can be found here.  Watch Birds of Maya perform at PhilaMOCA below.

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Download free tracks from Daniel Bachman, Chris Forsyth and Birds of Maya (playing Little Berlin on 10/24)


Wednesday, October 24th’s event at Little Berlin will sort of be like a reprise of August’s Kensington Picnic.  The show will feature local experimental guitarist Chris Forsyth, acoustic psych-folk player Daniel Bachman and Philly power jam band Birds of Maya (the other project of Purling Hiss’s Mike Polizze).  Bachman is currently touring in support of his latest record Seven Pines, which was released on October 9th through Tompkins Square – check back Monday an interview with him. Forsyth also has a new record out, July’s Kenzo Deluxe released through Northern Spy. Doors open at 7:00 p.m., music begins at 7:30, admission is $5 to $7, and more information can be found here.  Below, watch Daniel Bachman work his magic with “Copperhead” and go here to get a free download of a live session he recorded with Be Nice to Your Kids.  You can also stream and download Chris Forsyth’s song “Soft History” and Birds of Maya’s “Ready to Howl” (reissued in September through Testostertunes/Richie Records) below. Continue reading →

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Photo Recap: Kensington Picnic

On Saturday afternoon, the greenest grass in Kensington was occupied by neighbors and music fans checking out performances from Steve Gunn, Birds of Maya, Blues Control, and others. People sat outside on their blankets and lawn chairs grilling corn and hamburgers, drinking sweet tea and coffee, and enjoying a summer day. That is until the rain came in and washed some of the crowd out. Above check out a photo recap of the picnic including the performances by Steve Gunn, Mary Lattimore, and Jeff Zeigler.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Kensington Picnic, Aloe Blacc, Oldermost, Sharon Little, and Spring Standards

Summer time is for being outdoors, eating ice cream, and enjoying time with friends. You can experience that all today at the Kensington Picnic on Frankford Ave. between Susquehanna and Dauphin Street. It’s a folk-y phenomenon with performances from Meg Baird, Steve Gunn, Birds of Maya, Blues Control, and more. This free show kicks off at 1 p.m. and will go till’ it’s over. Bring your picnic baskets, blankets, and lawn chairs for a perfect summer day. You can find more info on the picnic’s event page.

American descendant of Panamanian parents, Aloe Blacc grew up in Los Angeles and became invested in the California hip hop scene. He worked in troupes such as Emanon and Jazz Liberatorz, and began his solo career in 2006. He has released two LP’s that evoke his R&B style underneath his eclectic singing and rapping skills. He plays tonight at the TLA at 7 p.m. Tickets to this all ages show are $20. Below watch Aloe Blacc’s video for “I Need A Dollar”.

Philadelphians Oldermost produce beautifully-crafted melodies drizzled with soft-spoken vocals, delicate piano strokes and steady rhythmic drumming. You can listen to their EP Lose Your Mind on their bandcamp page. Their warm energy will be flowing tonight at Johnny Brenda’s, along with Capewrath and Daniel Ryan Belski. Tickets to this 21+ show are $10, grab yours here. Doors open at 8 p.m.

The Candlight Concert for Epilepsy Awareness is a concert series taking place in Pennington, NJ. It is a chance to raise funds and awareness about the effects of epilepsy. Tonight’s feature is righteous soulful singer Sharon Little. She recently released her sophomore album, Paper Doll. Catch her tonight at the concert while donating to a worthy cause at the same time. Doors are at 7 p.m., show at 8; tickets are $15. And if you can’t make it out to the show, you can stream it live on StageIt.com.

WXPN welcomes The Spring Standards CD Release Show to World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington, DE. They released their double EP Yellow // Gold, and it reflects their memories of growing up as folksinger children and provides a snapshot living life today in the big city. Also playing tonight is Wilmington’s own, The Spinto Band. The show starts at 8 p.m, tickets are $18-20. Below watch The Spring Standard’s official video for “Heavy Home” off the EP.

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Birds of Maya to reissue “Ready to Howl”; playing Kensington Picnic Saturday

Local lords of lo-fi garage rock Birds of Maya have announced through their label Testostertunes/Richie Records that they’ll be re-releasing their 2010 album Ready to Howl on CD and digital download on September 18th. The band will also perform this Saturday, August 11, at the Kensington Picnic along with the likes of Meg Baird and Blues Control. The Picnic is slated to start at 2pm, about the intersection of Frankford and Susquehanna Avenues. It’s a free event, and more information is available here. If you’ve never seen Birds before, here’s a video of them ruling at The El Bar for Ready to Howl‘s album release:

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Kensington Picnic throws a free outdoor concert with Meg Baird, Birds of Maya and more

The new Kensington Picnic block party announced its lineup yesterday, and for fans of the city’s burgeoning art-folk / proto-blues scene, it’s a doozy. On Saturday, Aug. 11 on Frankford Ave. between Susquehanna and Dauphin, folk luminary Meg Baird (who recently played a breathtaking set opening for Sharon Van Etten at Union Transfer) will perform solo, as well with Watery Love, the garage punk band she drums in alongside TestosterTunes Records founder Richie Charles and members of New Jersey’s Home Blitz. Also on the bill are Blues Control and Birds of Maya, who reportedly ruled at PhilaMOCA this past Friday, guitar experimentalists Chris Forsyth and Steve Gunn, and the Virginia transplant Dan Bachman, whose nimble acoustic playing recalls Jack Rose and John Fahey. Watch video of the artists below, and follow the festival’s Tumblr page for more details.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Summer Fiction at Johnny Brenda’s, Birds Of Maya at Kung Fu Necktie, An American Chinese at Danger Danger

Bill Ricchini

Whenever some seriously inclement weather—like, say, a freakish rainstorm—takes over the city, having a lack of worthwhile arts-and-entertainment options later in the evening is usually a good thing. That way, you don’t feel so bad about staying in the entire night, drying out your soaked clothes while drinking hot tea and watching re-runs of Law & Order. Unfortunately, there’s not one, not two, but three can’t miss shows going on tonight, all of which feature amazing local acts. So, Philadelphia: Get ready to get wet—again. At Johnny Brenda’s, Bill Ricchini celebrates the release of Summer Fiction, the debut album by his new indie-pop recording project of the same name (you can listen to the album here); In Grenada, which (re-)released its own stellar debut two months ago, opens (9 p.m., 21+, $10). Mike Polizze has recently been drawing a lot of attention with his latest side project, Purling Hiss. (Last month, he toured with Kurt Vile and The Soft Pack in support of Purling Hiss’ new album, Public Service Announcement.) Tonight at Kung Fu Necktie, however, he’s back with his main band, the loud-as-hell blues-rock trio, Birds Of Maya; Australia’s Taco Leg (yes, the band is really called “Taco Leg”) opens (8 p.m., 21+, $6). Finally, An American Chinese—which John Vettese highlighted last week in the Philly Local Philes (“Metropolitan” off the band’s new Utopian Trees is definitely worth checking out)—performs with Univox and The Naked Hearts at Danger Danger Gallery (8 p.m.)

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Philly Local Philes: Birds Of Maya With Harmonica Dan’s “Regulation”

Philly Local PhilesToday’s segment focuses on Birds Of Maya, the Fishtown three-piece that wails on blues-derived heavy rock songs for upwards of 20 minutes. No joke: their current full-length, Ready To Howl (out now on Richie Records), is a double LP with only three songs. “Regulation,” a collaboration with Philly mainstay Harmonica Dan, is considerably more brief than the norm—only four minutes and change. (The track can be found on a tour 7-inch released earlier this year.) Birds Of Maya has earned a reputation for relentless, high-energy sets—which will likely be the case when the band performs tonight with Woods and Meg Baird at 8 p.m. at Kung Fu Necktie; tickets to the 21+ show are $5.