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Psychedelic rock quintet Ruby The Hatchet will be getting nice and weird tonight at Union Transfer in support of Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats at 7 p.m. The show will features tracks off the Philly-based band’s album Valley of the Snake which came out back in February. Check out the XPN Concert Calendar for more information. Continue reading →
Philly psychedelic guitarist Chris Forsyth first worked with Koen Holtkamp on 2012′s Early Astral album, and they are back again, this time with the forthcoming collaboration The Island. Where their previous collaboration was harder and heavier, the first single from the new one, “Long Beach Idyll,” is a beautiful spacewalk. Continue reading →
Local space rock four-piece Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band just announced a short hiatus in order to finish their upcoming album, which is due out some time in 2016 on No Quarter Records. But that doesn’t mean that fans have to wait until the release of The Island, Forsyth’s side-collaboration with experimental multi-instrumentalist Koen Holtkamp, out this fall via Trouble In Mind Records. The group recently played a set of all new material at Baby’s All Right in New York, is now streaming over at NYCtaper. Continue reading →
New Brunswick, NJ rockers Screaming Females have been hitting the road pretty hard this year, which means possibly two things. Either they just really love playing (if you’ve ever seen them in concert or heard Live at the Hideout, clearly they do). Or, perhaps, they’re also getting ready to follow up 2012′s raging LP Ugly. Definitely hoping it’s the latter, especially considering the recent “Wishing Well” that is available as a tour-only 7″. Listen to the track here via RollingStone.com, check out a recent live video from their current tour with Pujol and get tickets and more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →
A couple weeks back, we posted about this the latest installment of the Double Decker Music Series, a new mobile concert event created by local tour guide Sebastian Petsu. In it, local artists perform their music on top of an open-top double decker bus as it drives through the streets of Philadelphia. The latest installment took place on June 1st and featured folk singer/songwriter Gretchen Lohse and experimental guitarist Chris Forsyth, and if you weren’t lucky enough to get tickets (or if you did attend and want to relive the experience), you can watch a few clips of the performance care of local filmmaker Bob Sweeney’s Tumblr. Take a peek below.
One of the more unique live music happenings of the autumn returns next month as Gretchen Lohse and Chris Forsyth perform on top of an open-top double-decker tour bus as it drives around Philadelphia. The Double Decker Music Series was launched last fall by local tour guide and music scene regular Sebastian Petsu; the inaugural show / ride took place in October and featured singer-songwriter Birdie Busch and local experimental / jazz player Charles Cohen. Staging a show in this setting combines the freewheeling nature of an outdoor performance with ever-changing scenery of a drive around town; the music combines with the shifting skyline of center city, almost like a drive with the radio on (except the people making the music are actually driving with you).
In between Lohse’s set of haunting folk songs and Forsyth’s set of cerebral guitar rock, Petsu “will share dry wit and music history about the City of Brotherly Love.” The show is limited to 40 tickets, and are only available in advance; boarding begins at 7:45 on June 1st at 5th and Market Streets, and prompt arrival is encourages (“you can’t show up late, or the venue will be gone”); and in the case of rain, the performance will take place on Monday, June 2nd. You can check out video from that performance here, and get tickets and information on the show here.
To the uninitiated, the ocean of instrumental guitar style players, whom often use and meld original compositions, melodies, and effects together with traditional blues fingering picking techniques, must seem particularly difficult to navigate. A lot of this music, both past and present, is lumped into a genre box called American Primitivism, termed by one of the giant looming figures in the fretted world, John Fahey, which tinges all of the be-lumped players with the “primitive” or untutored, uneducated stigma. Sure, some of these players are self-taught, but many have had formal training, and most have been at this thing for a long time. This style, while a niche in folk music (and some might say commercial appeal), has not only existed since around the late 1950s, but has continued to grow and thrive since then. Father figures like Fahey and the musicians on his Takoma Records, like the transcendental Robbie Basho, eclectic Leo Kottke, and Delta blues Bukka White, passed the torch to players like the technical, yet expressive Glenn Jones and the raucous ragtime and blues of Jack Rose. Of course, these are just a handful of people, a couple of veterans in the game. I think we live in a great time for this style; guitarists continue to take up the mantle, but in true modern fashion, they manipulate, experiment, incorporate, augment, exclude, and mess around with the original framework. My mind jumps to the Tompkins Square label that not only reissues lost gems from cult icons like Don Bikoff, Mark Fosson, and Harry Taussig, but are committed to releasing new forward-thinking releases from Daniel Bachman, James Blackshaw, Ryley Walker, and nearly countless others in their fret-heavy Imaginational Anthem compilations. Through Folkadelphia alone, we’ve recorded, presented, and championed players like Chris Forsyth, Matt Sowell, Ben Seretan, Jesse Sparhawk, and William Tyler. And, of course, this doesn’t even include musicians and bands that dabble in the genre, that pull from its now rich history – Kaki King, Ben Chasny, Jim O’Rourke – where and why should you draw a line? To the uninitiated, perhaps much of it sounds similar, but I urge you to keep listening with focused ears because once you start digging, a world of diversity, complexity, and limitless imagination and possibility will present itself to you.
One of my now favorite guitarists is the Portland, Oregon based Marisa Anderson. Perpetually on tour, her playing style has developed to be fleet-fingered and impossibly adaptable, nimbly pivoting from meditative improvisation to electric blues inflection to twangy country and cosmic beyondness. She’s also very prolific. In 2013 alone, she released two albums: Mercury, a collection of original compositions, and the appropriately named Traditional and Public Domain Songs. The two releases showcase very different elements; Mercury is like a primer on what is possible with six strings and ten fingers, a blistering 16 songs in less than 35 minutes, while Traditional and Public Domain Songs stretches familiar tunes like “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Pretty Polly” into uncharted experimental territory – pretty out there stuff! Whatever she is working on, Marisa Anderson is a guitarist to keep your eye on because you never know what she’ll come up with next.
Two things are certain. We recorded Marisa Anderson on her last visit to Philadelphia on October 18th, 2013. She returns to play a Fire Museum presented show at the Random Tea Room with Matt Sowell next Friday, May 9th (info. here).
Redbull’s Sound Select monthly feature, showcases local artists across the country is bringing some additional recognition to Philadelphia artists.
On May 6, Sound Select will present Brooklyn-based experimental artist Daniel Lopatin, who goes under the moniker Oneohtrix Point Never, at South Philly’s Boot and Saddle. His latest album, R Plus Seven, plays with all types of sounds from bits of white noise to church organs.
Joining Oneothrix Point Never are Philly artists Embarker and Chris Forsyth. Embarker, the solo project of Michael Roy Barker, is notable for its unique experimentation with electronic textures and rhythms. Forsyth follows in similar suit, but with progressive guitar playing that teeters between free jazz and progressive psych. Collectively known for long tunes that can be both nervy and soothing, all three artists fights snugly on the bill. The show starts at 8 p.m. and the $3 tickets can be obtained here.