Christmas week brought us two holiday sessions to enjoy. Veteran a cappella group The GrooveBarbers stopped by to record 10 classic holiday tunes in celebration of the 20th anniversary of The Night Before with Robert Drake. The second session came from Arbor Christmas All-Stars, an annual gathering of local bands at Gradwell House to record some original holiday songs. Check out a couple below and get the rest here and here.
This year’s final Folkadelphia session featured singer-songwriter Jenny Owen Youngs. The Brooklyn musician performed four tracks, including a cover of “Colors of the Wind” from Disney’s Pocahontas. Listen to the full session below and don’t forget to pick up a free download of Folkadelphia Sessions: Vol. 1here.
Cassavetes, a heavy indie/punk rock band from Philadelphia, have been hard at work recording a full length album with Uniform Recording‘s Jeff Zeigler. They just debuted the first raw single off that forthcoming release, entitled “Tie Down.” Starting off with an entrancing guitar line, the drums kick in a cymbals crash and the snare drum is pummeled, ushering in an epic full band sound.
Josh Agran’s gritty shouting leads us through the drum fills and punchy bass until the song softens for a bit. During this time, we hear that Agran can sing on the lighter moments just as well as he can yell at the heavy ones. The track continues back into the explosive hook that leads to shrieking guitar and trudging rhythm, ending with all the instruments rolling together into one big awesome ball of noise.
In a new edition of Unlocked, we got the inside story on Anthony Green‘s new LP Young Legs. The Circa Survive vocalist and Doylestown native shared two free downloads with The Key alongside an interview and some glimpses into the album’s recording process. Stream and download “I’ll Miss You” below and check out the full feature here.
A double dose of Folkadelphia brings us a session with Mary Lattimore / Jeff Zeigler / Chris Forsyth, followed by a bonus solo Forsyth session. The three local musicians embarked on a deep improvisational trajectory that resulted in, as Folkadelphia noted, an “Ultimate Session.” Stream and download the two sets below.
Maybe it was a stroke of genius or maybe it was heat stroke, but during the dog days of this summer, an idea struck me that I knew had to pursue. One of those “ah ha!” moments. We’d wrangle together a group of musicians so amazing, so talented for a collaborative live session that the result would literally be jaw-dropping. There was some serious buzz about the idea around the ol’ Folkadelphia watercooler (note: we don’t have a watercooler, but my audio engineers were visibly impressed and sent me encouraging emails). With that positive feeling flowing, I contacted the association of sorta-Philly musicians: harpist Mary Lattimore, synth player/manipulator/producer Jeff Zeigler (of Arc In Round), and guitarists Chris Forsyth and Daniel Bachman. I say “sorta-Philly” because Bachman lives in Virginia now although he previously lived in Philly (in an apartment with Lattimore no less). They were all ready, willing, and able to collaborate for an improvisational set. What I started dubbing “the Ultimate Session” was in place.
The four musicians were playing on the same bill at Johnny Brenda’s on August 22nd. Unfortunately, due to traffic issues Bachman was unable to make it. While it is certainly a loss, I stand by calling this an “ultimate session” because, for my money, this is a dream team of Philly musicians. It’s almost an extension of our previous session with Lattimore & Zeigler – maybe you’d call it a sequel, back with avengence, back with Chris Forsyth. Whereas the older session drifted casually between atmospheric and oceanic, the new one bites a little harder. Sure, there are still plenty of revelatory sections, moments of supreme sonic purity that make me feel like I’m floating, but darker, mechanical, maniacal elements creep in and permeate the mix. By the end, I have already mentally subbed the music into scenes of ’80s sci-fi thriller films.I’m saying to myself, “this section is the protagonist’s dark night of the soul” or “this would be the meeting between the two love interests in this future version of New York City.” You get the picture.
When the music stops, I don’t feel a finality, but instead just the close of this chapter of an on-going project. Perhaps next time not only Bachman will be able to make it, but other collaborators. Think of the soundscapes! Think of the potential mental soundtracks!
Chris Forsyth’s new album Solar Motelis now available and he’ll be celebrating with a release show this coming Friday, November 15th at the Rotunda. Mary Lattimore & Jeff Zeigler perform as a duo on December 4th at Union Transfer for the Rail Park Benefit.
Listen to our past sessions with Mary Lattimore & Jeff Zeigler and Daniel Bachman. Finally, make sure to stop back this Thursday, November 14th for a bonus session featuring Chris Forsyth performing solo acoustically.
John Pfeffer of Capillary Action is a unique songwriter. Having dabbled in free-form avant-rock in the past with his band - which, as he acknowledges, has been more like a name he uses for whatever music he’s currently working on – he just released a new, very avant-garde track under his own name called “Bodega.” It features collaborations he’s done with a handful of fellow Philly artists, including Ricardo Lagomasino of Many Arms, Eric Slick of Dr. Dog, YIKES the ZERO,Lushlife, and Jeff Zeigler of Arc In Round. The track is wildly experimental, and largely instrumental until around the 7 minute mark (it’s 10 minutes in total). Check it out for yourself below, via Soundcloud.
Arc in Round / Uniform Recording mastermind Jeff Zeigler will perform a solo set at Ortlieb’s Lounge tomorrow, May 4th. The local producer / multi-instrumentalist has recently dipped his hand into a few new projects, having teamed up with harpist Mary Lattimore as a live duo, enlisting friends to remix Arc in Round’s self-titled album, and recording his own solo spacey / synth tracks like the one below. The show, presented by Bands in the Backyard, features Zeigler with supporting sets from Mark Lanky and DJs Mikele Edwards (who appears on “Saw the Life”) and Team Krause. More information for the 21+ show can be found on the Facebook event page here. Stream “Saw of Life” below and get a name-your-own-price download here.
Philly’s Jeff Zeigler has amassed quite the resume in recent years, between his space-rock outfit Arc in Round and his production work for local luminaries Kurt Vile and The War on Drugs. Ziegler’s also been expanding into the solo / collaborative experimental zone, playing solo shows (at The Deli’s Tuesday Tune-Out), with renowned Philly harpist Mary Lattimore and now opening for English ambient artist Benoît Pioulard in the side chapel of the First Unitarian Church on March 25th. This past week, Ziegler released two new solo compositions: “Saw the Life” (which is available for download below) and a rough version of “Opportunity” (which is streaming-only). Check them out below, and get tickets and more information on Zeigler’s show on the 25 at the R5 Productions website.