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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Tin Bird Choir at Burlap and Bean, Planes Mistaken for Stars at Boot & Saddle, Kishi Bashi at Musikfest Cafe

Tin Bird Choir | Photo courtesy of artist's Facebook
Tin Bird Choir | Photo courtesy of artist’s Facebook

Barn rock band Tin Bird Choir headline Burlap and Bean Coffee this evening. Though their latest album was released in the summer of 2013, they recently covered the Rolling Stone’s “Sway” and have promised an enticing setlist. Tin Bird Choir will be joined by Elspeth Tremblay & the Satellites and Ginger Coyle for a night of Philly area folk. For tickets to the Philadelphia Folk Society and Dull Dime-presented show, head over to the XPN Concert Calendar, and be sure to listen to their cover of “Sway” below. Continue reading →

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In Synesthesia: Kishi Bashi amazes at Union Transfer

Kishi Bashi | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.virb.com
Kishi Bashi | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.virb.com

“It’s funny, you know?” said K Ishibashi on Wednesday night, “I used to be the best violinist in the Kishi Bashi Band.” The sold-out audience laughed uproariously, which caused K to chuckle a bit and look down abashedly. Now that he’s on tour with a string quartet—which features a professor of music—the former Of Montreal collaborator turned violin/beatbox/looping maestro is learning to share the limelight of his celebrated live shows. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Fresh Cut Orchestra at World Cafe Live, Kishi Bashi at Union Transfer, Kool Keith at Kung Fu Necktie and more…

Fresh Cut Orchestra
Fresh Cut Orchestra | photo via Facebook

Local jazz ensemble Fresh Cut Orchestra perform at World Cafe Live tonight. The ten-piece band is celebrating the release of their debut record From the Vine, out on Ropeadope Records yesterday. LP features nine original songs that show just how tightly these musicians vibe together. They move from contemporary jazz to Latin-influenced arrangemetns and abstract hip hop beats. Listen to “Sanguine” from the record below and pick up tickets for tonight’s all-ages show here.

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Ten summery songs to kick the winter blues

summer
Cayetana | photo via Facebook

There’s nothing worse than the discerning sense that winter is a timeless black hole and that you will never feel the sun’s warmth again in your life. The best way to pretend that the winter isn’t sucking the life out of you is to channel any summer vibes that you can get your hands on. One way to do that is to listen to some songs that remind you of sunny days and overall happiness. These ten songs are here to remind you that some day (not soon enough) it will be summer again.

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Guster’s Evermotion tour will bring it to The TLA with Kishi Bashi in April

Photo by Joe English | via facebook.com/Gustermusic
Photo by Joe English | via facebook.com/Gustermusic

Alt rock faves Guster recently announced a spring 2015 tour with soundscaper Kishi Bashi opening on several dates, including their Philadelphia stop at the TLA in April. The tour comes after the release of their seventh studio album, Evermotion, due out January 13. The Boston four-piece took a break from their acoustic tendencies for some experimental noise rock on this album with the help of the Shins keyboardist/Black Keys bassist, Richard Swift. Evermotion was recorded at Swift’s Cottage Grove studio in January 2014, and will be released via Guster’s own label, Ocho Mule Records. In addition to the new album, the band is  celebrating 20 years together, and performs at the Theater of Living Arts on April 24 with Kishi Bashi. Tickets and information on the show can be found at the XPN concert calendar. You can listen to a teaser of the new album below. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Kishi Bashi at TLA, Divers at Boot and Saddle, Jack Johnson and Amos Lee at The Mann and more

via facebook.com/mrkishibashi
via facebook.com/mrkishibashi

Multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Kishi Bashi just released his latest album Lightght (pronounced “Light”) this month. The latest album, named after a controversial one word poem by Aram Saroyan, features uplifting indie pop with chaotic yet beautiful mix of violin and technology. K. Ishibashi also is an utility player in of Montreal as well as a founding member of Jupiter One. Watch him perform live at the TLA; get more information at the XPN Concert Calender.

Kishi Bashi – Philosophize in It! Chemicalize with It! from Geoff Hoskinson on Vimeo.

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Laura Jane Brubaker’s Top 5 Essential Mixtape Songs

Image via So I Made You A Mixtape | simyam.tumblr.com

Year End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2013 awesome. In this installment, contributor Laura Jane Brubaker shares some essential mixtape tracks.

2k13 has come and [almost] gone, and if there’s one thing I can say I really nailed this year it would be the art of the mixtape. “But LJ,” you may say, “your 2k13 proved overwhelmingly to be a laundry list of failed romantic endeavors.” And right you may be, but rest assured that not a smidge of that was the fault of my meticulously crafted, amatoriously motivated mixtapes – of which there were two For Tom’s (different Toms), one for a crush who promptly came out as gay, and a Mixtape for Horoscope Fulfillment which, needless to say, didn’t fulfill squat. But there were also plenty of platonically-minded mixes and I still have friends, so ha.

Through all this I came up with a few good rules for crafting an excellent mixtape. First: don’t awkward yourself out of a good song. 89% of music alludes to love in some way so if you’re trying to avoid anything that mentions feelings because you’re wicked anxious about creeping someone out, you’re gonna have a crap mixtape. Second: be original, but don’t be afraid to recycle yourself. I got really good at trolling through my expansive Google Play library, which has served as theft/water-proof repository for all my musical holdings since 2010 and is a treasure trove of songs I don’t remember downloading or even hearing ever. New songs make for more interesting listening, I think, and some of my favorite musical discoveries have come while digging for mix material. Keep in mind, it’s also cool to use the same song a bunch if you think it works and you’re making lots of mixtapes anyway for some reason. Heck, that’s how I came up with this list. Finally: if you can pull it off, use a cassette. It’s old school, it’s unique, and while it may prove to be tricky for the recipient to play, the effort that goes in to a legitimate mixtape (versus a CD) makes the whole thing a lot more meaningful for everybody.

Here are the tunes I hold in the highest esteem for mix-craft. You can thank me when you’re married.

1) “One True Love” by Ben Seretan

This one comes out of the box first because, despite what I already said, using a song with the words “true love” in the title may be TOO bold a move depending on your situation. Nevertheless, Ben’s song is a lush and spacious landscape of a track, perhaps abstract enough in its construction to help you get away with the directness of the title. But if that’s what you’re going for then hey, don’t let me stop you. Continue reading →

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Kishi Bashi and his loops of sound are returning to the First Unitarian Church on 9/14

KishiBashiAfter a dazzling performance at Firefly Music Festival last weekend, violinist Kishi Bashi is bringing his soaring, uplifting indie-pop to Philly on September 14th. The singer and multi-instrumentalist has worked and performed with of Montreal, Alexi Murdoch, and is a founding member of indie band Jupiter One. His 2012 solo album 151a was self- recorded and self-produced himself (who goes by K Ishibashi in his other musical endeavors). His live performances feature loops of notes, vocals and sounds, carving out room for solo playing and lots of  experimentation. Tickets for the First Unitarian Sanctuary show go on sale Friday, June 28th. More information can be found here. Check out Kishi Bashi’s techniques in his Tiny Desk Concert from NPR Music, and watch a video of him playing Firefly below.

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Firefly Day Three Roundup: Passion Pit, Vampire Weekend and more

PassionPit
Passion Pit | Photo by John Vettese

The Firefly Music Festival wrapped up its second year in a giant field off of the Dover International Speedway with some rain, considerably more mud, an army of inflatables and a lot of fun.

Haim‘s poppy, percussion heavy set greeted us as we entered the grounds, followed by LA singer LP early on – she had a bright blue suit, a ukelele, a voice reminiscent of Chrissie Hynde, a stylish 90s alt-pop sound and a great command of the crowd; when the skies opened up for the first time in the afternoon in the middle of her set, folks kept dancing. The second rainstorm happened a little later during Matt and Kim‘s set, but their insanely catchy songs and practically mandatory crowd participation won out over the storm clouds just as handily (check out a video of a balloon / beach ball release here). That said, holy cow those are two ridiculously perky people, and not necessarily in the best way.

Thankfully Kishi Bashi was a nice comedown – the versatile indie violinist (Of Montreal, etc) and sound loop artist created a portable chamber orchestra show on the festival’s backyard stage. He worked through his 151a album and shouted out the fan in the crowd waving a Ron Swanson flag apropos of nothing. Next, California band Trails and Ways played an impressive set of wandering, worldly pop-rock on the festival’s (unfortunately) under-promoted Coffeehouse Stage. Through the woods and across a field, Toro y Moi delighted their crowd with a set of synth-groove disco as the clouds broke and the sun beamed in.

Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos bounded on the mainstage with tremendous energy, determined to atone for the band’s cancellation at Firefly 2012 (when, he explained, “I was in the hospital, it was fucked up, I didn’t think I’d ever play a show again”). He grumbled a bit about allergies, then went on to tear across the set, sounding great but maybe overdoing it a bit since his voice blew out near the end. He explained this, and said “I’m really going to need you to sing along on these last few.” Though it initially seemed like gimmick to drum up singalongs, by the ending notes of “Little Secrets,” you could hear his falsetto straining and wheezing. But Angelakos kept pushing it further – poor dude.

Providing the perfect wrap-up before we hit the road, Vampire Weekend played a 90-minute set on the festival’s Lawn Stage, hitting the old favorites (“A-Punk,” “Cousins”), the vibey deep cuts (“Diplomat’s Son,” “Ladies of Cambridge”) and a good portion of the excellent new Modern Vampires of the City (“Everlasting Arms” sounded incredible, “Hannah Hunt” was sweet too). We’re pretty excited for their return to Philly in September. More photos from the festival after the jump, and earlybird preorders for Firefly 2014 (June 20 through June 22) go on sale Wednesday. Continue reading →