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Listen to Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band’s “The Ballad of Freer Hollow”

Christ Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band
Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band | photo by Constance Mensh

Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band are currently out on the road in support of Intensity Ghost, an LP set for release tomorrow via No Quarter.  The record is the first from Forsyth and his all-star band, assembled a year ago to allow the live playing of 2013′s Solar Motel solo effort from the Philadelphia guitarist.  In addition to August’s “I Ain’t Waiting,” we now have “The Ballad of Freer Hollow” to prime us for the full-length.

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Listen Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band’s celestial new song “I Ain’t Waiting”

Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band
Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band | photo by Constance Mensh

With a full band debut release set for October with Intensity Ghost, local experimental rockers Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel band have shared the first song from the record with “I Ain’t Waiting.”  The 5-track LP will be out on October 28th through No Quarter and follows Forsyth’s 2013 Solar Motel effort.

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Chris Forsyth to release new full-band LP this October

Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band | photo by Constance Mensh
Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band | photo by Constance Mensh

Local guitarist Chris Forsyth has announced a few details of his next explosive and exploratory studio LP Intensity Ghost, out this October on No Quarter Records.  The album follows last year’s Solar Motel effort and is the first recording to feature the band Forsyth assembled for touring, including drummer Steve Urgo, guitarist Paul Sukeena (both of whom are known in the Philly for their own projects as well) and Brooklyn bassist Peter Kerlin.  From No Quarter:

Intensity Ghost is the follow-up to last years critically acclaimed Solar Motel album, which made year ends lists at The New YorkerUncut Magazine and Popmatters and provoked ecstatic comparisons; from Television and Neil Young & Crazy Horse to Richard Thompson and The Grateful Dead…. Forsyth brought the group into the studio in late 2013 to capture what became Intensity Ghost, a 5-track masterwork of grace and power.

Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band close out a summer tour with two hometown dates this month: a free show at the new Spruce Street Harbor Park on Thursday, July 24th and a show with Oneida at Boot & Saddle on July 25th.  Check out a live video of “Little Johnny Jewel” below and take a listen to Forsyth’s 2013 Key Studio Session here.

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The Best of Philly Music 2013

Photo by Abi Reimold
Photo by Abi Reimold

In September 2010, we started The Key because we wanted to offer the local music scene another platform to reach more audiences. We also started it because starting in the early aughts we noticed something happening here creatively amongst the local music scene that was hadn’t felt in a while – it was growing creatively and the buzz about how good the local scene was becoming more significant.

More new bands were starting than ever before, more music was becoming available for fans and more musicians were looking for ways to connect to fans. To me, the last five years of “the scene” reminds me a lot of the Philly music scene in the mid-Eighties to early Nineties when bands like Electric Love Muffin, Three Times Dope, The Wishniaks, Nixon’s Head, the Goats, the Dead Milkmen, Schoolly D, The Low Road, The Hooters, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, and Tommy Conwell all represented for Philly on both local and international stages. We thought Philly 2012 was a banner year for the local music scene. Guess what? 2013 was even better. Here are some of the best things about the Philly music scene in 2013.

Dr. Dog made their best album yet, B-Room.

Man Man made their best record yet, On Oni Pond.

The Districts signed with Fat Possum. Look for an EP with a couple of old songs and new tunes on January 26th.
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Folkadelphia Bonus Session: Chris Forsyth

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The first line of Philly guitarist Chris Forsyth‘s online bio really does it for me: “Chris Forsyth’s hypnotic compositions assimilate art-rock textures with vernacular American influences.” I mean, could I have dreamed of saying it any better? We last heard Forsyth in 2012 on Early Astral, a collaboration with Koen Holtkamp (of Mountains) and with his own Kenzo Deluxe, a heavy-duty album that showed off all the different things a guitar could do, from sonic textures, to deconstructionist blues, to melody-filled jam outs. Forsyth returns with a full backing group, the Solar Motel Band, for his brand new release appropriately titled Solar Motel. Solar Motel is divided into four long-form pieces of what Forsyth terms “cosmic Americana.” What that means, you’ll have to find out for yourself; attend the Solar Motel album release show FOR FREE at the Rotunda this Friday, November 15.

In honor of the release, we present a second Folkadelphia Session this week, a bonus audio treat for your ears. On August 22nd, before his collaborative improvsational set and subsequent show with Philly musicians Mary Lattimore and Jeff Zeigler, Forsyth tracked a few solo acoustic numbers for us. Put six strings in this guy’s hands and there is nothing he can’t and probably won’t do. For even deeper Forsyth exploration, listen to the Solar Motel Band’s recent Key Studio Session.

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Chris Forsyth and The Solar Motel Band, The Lawsuits, Reek

Photo by Allison Newbold | allynewbold.com
Photo by Allison Newbold | allynewbold.com

Chris Forsyth and his Solar Motel Band recorded this week’s Key Studio Session.  Drawing from the experimental guitarist’s latest record, the set of three songs includes two off of the album and a new one.  Download “I Ain’t Waiting” below and get the full set here.

Philadelphia native Vikesh Kapoor (now based in Portland) released his beautiful debut LP The Ballad of Willy Robbins last week.  The singer-songwriter was a recent guest of Folkadelphia and recorded a live session.  Below, get a free download of the studio versions of “I Dreamt In Blues” from Kapoor’s new record, and see him live at Kung Necktie on November 8th.

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The Key Studio Sessions: Chris Forsyth and The Solar Motel Band

All photos by Allison Newbold | allynewbold.com

When experimental Philly guitarist Chris Forsyth began to write his follow up last year’s epic of minimalism, Kenzo Deluxe, he decided the new music needed to be performed as a band. He’d released a handful of textured, expressionistic EPs and LPs over the past half-decade, and had become revered as a player who could coax evocative tones and layered arrangements out of six strings. But the new material called for something more. Solar Motel, released this week on Paradise of Bachelors Records, packs a punch that connects the rumbling rootsy jams of Crazy Horse and the Dead to space rock pioneers like Spiritualized and post-rockers Explosions in the Sky. It’s expansive, dynamic and gripping, and the musicians playing with him – Paul Sukeena of Spacin’, Steven Urgo of The Interest Group and New York-based bassist Peter Kerlin – knock it into overdrive.

Forsyth describes the performance they recorded for their Key Studio Session as particularly “unhinged.” It features two songs from the record, plus a Tom Veraline-referencing new one, “I Ain’t Waiting”; production assistance from Tom Volpicelli of Mastering House further helped capture the vibe of the band’s live set. If you want to experience it in person, Forsyth and The Solar Motel Band performs this Friday, October 18th at Ortlieb’s Lounge in Northern Liberties; tickets and information on the show can be found here. Stream and download the session below, and learn more about Forsyth in our interview from this summer.