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New journeys with Hoots and Hellmouth

Hoots and Hellmouth | photo via facebook.com/hootsandhellmouth

Philly roots scene favorites Hoots and Hellmouth emerged from a stretch of semi-hibernation earlier this fall with In The Trees Where I Can See The Forest. It’s the band’s fourth, and finest album — a true evolution of its sound into something spacious and spectral, atmospheric and engaging. The acoustic bootstomp folk rock that they built their name around has given way to sensitive electric jams, with the stunning “Diction” acting as a centerpiece. On the one hand, it’s the same Hoots and Hellmouth you’ve always known, but on the other hand, they’re more grown up than ever.

The band — which features Sean Hoots on guitar and vocals, Rob Berliner on mandolin and vocals, Todd Erk on bass and Mike Reilly on drums –went on a U.S. tour this fall. It was their first run in a few years, and wasn’t without its challenges: a van break-in after a St. Louis gig left them with gear and personal items stolen, while shows in markets they never played before were on the underwhelming side.

When I caught up with Hoots via phone this week, he admitted that it took the band a minute to find their footing on this run, but it had its transcendant moments as well (including a performance for the OpenAir sessions at Colorado Public Radio), and he remains optimistic about the next leg of the journey. Tonight, Hoots and Hellmouth brings it home at Ardmore Music Hall; get tickets and more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar, and read my interview with Hoots below. Continue reading →

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Hoots and Hellmouth reach new heights In The Trees

Hoots and Hellmouth | courtesy of the artist
Hoots and Hellmouth | courtesy of the artist

The first thing you’ll notice about Hoots and Hellmouth’s new album In the Trees is the drums. This isn’t to say the band hasn’t incorporated a kit in the past, but it’s certainly never been this up-front and muscularand that change is a welcome one. With this newfound emphasis on the rhythm section and the guiding hand of engineer Nathan Sabatino, the band is sounding bigger and better than ever before on their new album, which is out today. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: I Want To Know What Love Is at Boot and Saddle, Little Strike at Johnny Brenda’s, Truck North at The Fire, and more…

Walla Fest
Clique | photo by Sabrina Jacot

Love Is In The Air: Boot and Saddle is presenting “I Want To Know What Love Is,” a Valentine’s showcase featuring art from Jacqui Powell, Jordan Stiff, and Lauren McFadden and performances from many bands such as Clique and Woven In. For more info, go here. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Hoots and Hellmouth at Ardmore Music Hall, Ma Jolie at Kung Fu Necktie, Family Volleyball at West Kensington Ministry

Photo by Deneka Peniston
Photo by Deneka Peniston

It’s been a couple years since we’ve heard new music from regional folk faves Hoots and Hellmouth, but we’re happy to hear they haven’t gone totally silent. The band emerges tonight for a headlining gig at Ardmore Music Hall with singer-songwriter George Stanford in support. Tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar; listen to H&H’s most recent single, “Repeat Myself,” below. Continue reading →

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Lyle Lovett to Lovers League: 54 scenes from the 54th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival

Two friends enjoying the main stage of the Philadelphia Folk Festival | Photo by Hope Helmuth | hopehelmuth.com
Two friends enjoying the main stage of the Philadelphia Folk Festival | Photo by Hope Helmuth | hopehelmuth.com

The annual Philadelphia Folk Festival is, on one level, about the music – and this year the music came in all scales. A headlining Saturday night set from Americana titan Lyle Lovett. Sets by buzzworthy up-and-comers Shakey Graves and Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear. And the music of the Philadelphia region was represented in force, from Band of Rivals and Lovers League performing in the campground to PhillyBloco taking the main stage and Hoots and Hellmouth helping close the festival out on Sunday night.

But in addition to being a great festival for hearing music, it’s a great festival for seeing a music community. Philly Folk is easily among the most photogenic music gatherings in our region, and to mark its 54th year, we’ve gathered together 54 photos from last weekend’s festival, shot by photographer Hope Helmuth. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Fresh Cut Orchestra at Underground Arts, The Chelsea Kills at MilkBoy, David Poe at Tin Angel and more

via facebook.com/thefreshcutorchestra
via facebook.com/thefreshcutorchestra

Philly based jazz ensemble Fresh Cut Orchestra formed in fall of 2012 when the Painted Bride Arts Center commissioned a performance by trumpeter Josh Lawrence, bassist Jason Fraticelli and drummer Anwar Marshall. The orchestra recently released their debut album, From the Vine, while the core trio hosts a monthly concert series at the Painted Bride, featuring other guest artists and educational workshops. In December 2013, the orchestra was awarded the Kimmel Jazz Residency, through which they played a work-in-progress performance and hosted two educational workshops at the SEI Innovation Studio. They will play a finished performance on June 21st. Join FOC at Underground Arts along with the Dan Monaghan Quartet and Ensemble Novo for a night of jazz innovation; get tickets and more information at the XPN Concert Calendar.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Pharoahe Monch at MilkBoy, Liars at Underground Arts, Hoots and Hellmouth at Boot and Saddle

Tonight, underground rap sensation Pharoahe Monch will bring his talents to the Milkboy stage as he celebrates his new album P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). The new disc, which features guest appearances by Black Thought, Talib Kweli, and more, is a continuation of the story he tells on his previous record W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) of his place in the industry as an artist and in America as a black male. Listen to lead single “Bad MF” below and get tickets here.

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Philly’s Hoots and Hellmouth to take up residency at Boot and Saddle next month

Photo by Deneka Peniston
Photo by Deneka Peniston

Wednesday nights in May will get a bit more folksy as Hoots and Hellmouth prepare for their upcoming residency at Boot and Saddle. It’s a first for both the band, who will use the opportunity to unveil and test out new material, and the venue, who have never hosted a residency before. Both parties sound pretty amped as the shows approach. From the band’s email announcement:

“We’re really looking forward to our first time in this room, and to be doing it under the auspices of a new material workshop/residency makes it all the more special. A fresh room for fresh experiments. We’re inspired. The Hoots & Hellmouth ‘sound’ has always been a bit restless by nature, not unlike our touring schedule…We started with a much folkier sound, incorporating primarily acoustic instruments and stomp boards to propel our songs forward. In the years since, we’ve added all kinds of things to the mix from drums to keys to electric guitars.”

Boot and Saddle is also proud to have the band be the first to do a residency since the venue’s reopening late last year. In the announcement, R5 Productions owner Sean Agnew comments:

“We are excited to host our very first residency at the Boot & Saddle with a band that’s become an institution around Philly. It’ll be fun to watch these shows develop and to watch who comes out over each week.”

Each show is 21+ and requires $8 for admission.

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PREMIERE: Philly art-poppers Auctioneer debut the melodic “Hard to Believe It”

Auctioneer1

Auctioneer | photo by John Vettese

Motley art rock crew Auctioneer – the brain child of Philly’s Craig Hendrix – has a new track available for free via Bandcamp titled “Hard to Believe it,” and it showcases a different side to the Philly multi-instrumentalist.

The band is known for its eclectic range of genres, recalling Talking Heads with more of a brass influence, but this track ventures into pop. The deep sincerity of Hendrix’s vocals remains, but the melody has a feels not unlike a Kings of Leon track, a simple structure that remains ever-engaging. Lyrically Auctioneer is always pretty profound, and “Hard to Believe it” flows and reconciles within the mind without trying too hard.

Hendrix’s collaborators on this recording are Todd Erk on bass (Hoots & Hellmouth), the illustrious Jesse Moore on piano and organ and Tommy Bendel on percussion. You can steam and download the track below for free. Catch Auctioneer with Fenster and Hello Shark this Wednesday, March 5 at Johnny Brenda’s. Get tickets for the show here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Their/They’re/There at First Unitarian Church, York Street Hustle at World Cafe Live, John the Conqueror at Boot and Saddle and more

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

Chicago indie rockers Their/They’re/There will play at First Unitarian Church tonight. The band is a collaboration of Evan Weiss from Into It. Over It., Mike Kinsella from Cap’n Jazz and Matthew Frank from Loose Lips Sink Ships, and its tour comes in support of the band’s new EP Analog Weekend. Check out their new video for “New Blood” below, read more in Beth Ann Downey’s interview and get tickets here.

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