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Why the heck did somebody think it was okay to deface the Kurt Vile mural?

For an update on this story, see below.

An unknown man took it upon himself to roll cover-up paint overtop of Fishtown’s Kurt Vile mural this morning. Located at Front and Master streets, the mural, painted by Steve Powers, provided the iconic cover art for Vile’s 2013 tour de force LP Wakin on a Pretty Daze

In the above photo posted to Philly photographer Conrad Benner’s Instagram (known on the local internet as @streetsdept), we see that much of the lower half of the mural – graphical interpretations of many of the albums lyrics – is now covered in a dreary white-grey paint. Benner said the photo was shot by fellow local artist Najeeb Sheikh this morning.

According to @dasheikee, the man said he was not connected to the city or the building’s owner and that he was buffing the mural because it was attracting graffiti to the neighborhood.

On the one hand, muralist Powers – who is also known for Mural Arts’ Love Letter along the Market-Frankford el – does indeed have roots in the graffiti scene. But where does graffiti end and art begin? Or, more simply, is all graffiti art? It’s a philosophical debate that stretches back to the 70s and before – a debate that Benner actively engages in. But let’s assume for a moment that this person defines graffiti as any unwanted writing or illustration painted on a building. Wouldn’t a stucco wall covered in empty white paint be more likely to attract that than a wall covered in a bright, colorful and lively work of art?

It boggles the mind. Let us know your thoughts in the comments and, if you haven’t yet seen it, watch the below video of the mural’s birth.

Update (6/29/14, 3:15PM) – The person responsible for painting over portions of the Kurt Vile mural is DJ Lee Mayjahs.

At 10:14 AM this morning, someone commented as “Dumb Buffer” on a story about this on Philadelphia Magazine.

The offender posted:

Hello everyone, I am the idiot in the picture. Let me start off by saying I Love Philadelphia, I love my neighborhood and I love Art. I am completely committed to supporting legal street art, publicly funded art and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. But what I did yesterday was the most stupid and selfish thing I have ever done. I think I literally had a mental breakdown and lost my mind there.

At 1:28 PM, Leah Kauffman, a Philadelphia based journalist posted an interview on her Facebook page with the mural buffer. During Kauffman’s interview with Mayjahs he admitted he was responsible for painting over the mural and putting the comment on the Philadelphia Magazine story.

Below is a portion of Kauffman’s interview: (read the full interview here.

I just spoke with DJ/kurt vile x espo mural buffer Lee Mayjahs on the phone. Turns out that he is not well. He is offering to pay espo to come down and restore the mural. I hope he gets the help he needs. I also hope espo takes him up on his offer.

Lee Mayjahs: I got home and started doing research on my computer. I can’t believe what I had done ad I wrote a letter to Kurt Vile apologizing. And I wrote a letter to the artist Espo apologizing, telling them that I would pay Espo to come down and repaint it. I also wrote a letter to the mural arts apologizing. Apparently it wasn’t official. Even though it wasn’t official I’m sorry for everything I did. I would do whatever I could do to make it right. I really am sorry. I don’t know what I was doing. I literally lost my mind and took it out which was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.

Leah Kauffman: Was it premeditated? Did you just have white paint laying around? It’s 9 am on a Saturday. What was going through your head?

LM: I live in that neighborhood. I’ve lived there for 15 years. I’m always cleaning up the streets and alleyways. I don’t know…for some reason I feel like ever since that piece has been there it’s attracted more and more graffiti to that neighborhood. Every time I paint over illegal graffiti I was blaming it on it (the mural) and I didn’t realize the people in the neighborhood love it, I’ve never really sat and looked at it. I never did any research on it and then I just snapped.

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Raising money for an important cause: Connor Barwin’s Make The World Better benefit with Kurt Vile, The Districts and The Tontons at Union Transfer

Connor Barwin | Photo by Rachel Barrish | Kurt Vile & The Violators | Photo by Rachel Barrish | The Districts | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Connor Barwin | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Last night Union Transfer was a filled with good vibes, good friends, and great music, all for an excellent cause. It was a benefit for Philadelphia Eagles player Connor Barwin’s Make the World Better Foundation. One day while riding his park through South Philly, Barwin came across a park at 28th and Tasker Streets that looked like it needed a big make-over and he decided to start this worthy foundation to raise money for it.

The evening started off with one of Connor’s favorite bands from Texas, The Tontons. Front the rock band is afro pop vocalist Asli Omar with rich and enticing vocals. They played their song “Lush” from a session they did with Weathervane Music’s Shaking Through. The Tontons were followed by the ever-so-always-all-the time-awesome The Districts who came home to Philly for a show after their tour across the country with Dr. Dog. The fiery foursome opened with “Lyla” and were constantly moving around the stage exuding tons of energy. Last but not least, a slight change from the prior crazy constant motions of The Districts, Kurt Vile & The Violators delivered a set of their psychedelic sounds. The crowd rejoiced when Connor Barwin returned to the stage to announce that over $120,000 was raised and would be donated to Ralph Brooks park.

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Governor’s Ball Day One: Kurt Vile, Jenny Lewis, TV On the Radio, OutKast and more

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The 4th annual Governors Ball is taking place on Randall’s Island in NYC and we are there to capture all three days of live music.

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‘ Kurt Vile & the Violators | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Hometown boys, Kurt Vile & The Violators hung out on the Big Apple stage during the first day of Gov Ball

Janelle Monae | Photo by Rachel Barrish |  rachelbarrish.com
Janelle Monae | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

The fabulous and frantic Janelle Monae came on the stage in a straight jacket (similar to her performance at the Roots Picnic two weeks ago) and broke free giving the audience a superb afternoon.

Washed Out | Photo by Rachel Barrish |  rachelbarrish.com
Washed Out | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Indie rock group Washed Out performed an excellent set in the Gotham Tent during day one of Gov Ball

Concert goer and Drexel student | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Concert goer and Drexel student | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Jenny Lewis | Photo by Rachel Barrish |  rachelbarrish.com
Jenny Lewis | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Getting stoked for XPoNential Fest? Same here. Jenny Lewis put on a kick-butt performance playing tunes from her new album and some Rilo Kiley numbers. Can’t wait to see her again next month. Continue reading →

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Two Sides of Confusion: Consequence of Sound contrasts Led Zeppelin and Kurt Vile

Photo by Abi Reimold
Photo by Abi Reimold

Would you think of Philly singer-songwriter Kurt Vile and classic rock icons Led Zeppelin in the same breath? In their weekly Two for Tuesday feature, Consequence of Sound compared and contrasted both artists’ music, noting that they consider the chaos and confusion of life, especially on tracks like Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused” and Vile’s “Wakin on A Pretty Daze.”

The CoS piece points out that Zeppelin, inspired by folk singer-songwriter Jake Holmes’ “Dazed and Confused,” grapples with the dark underside of chaos in their version of “Dazed and Confused”. The song descends to an agonizing place of misery through the progression of the song. Robert Plant, lead singer, confesses to feeling constantly hurt by women, leading him to conclude that “the soul of a woman was created below.”

While Zeppelin seems to be overwhelmed by the cacophony, Vile embraces it.  In the gorgeous ”Walkin’ On a Pretty Daze”, Vile describes the positives of being aloof. He admits that his brain is fried, but that he doesn’t mind.

Sometimes, it’s the perfect excuse to disconnect and regroup, like Kurt Vile does as he enjoys a bucolic morning by “livin’ low, lackadaisically so.”

 

Listen to the two tracks below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Menzingers at Union Transfer, The Roots Picnic at Festival Pier, Thee Idea Men at MilkBoy and more

Photo By: Rachel Del Sordo
Photo By: Rachel Del Sordo

Scranton punk favorites The Menzingers will headline Union Transfer tonight. Just last month, the band released its fourth full-length album Rented World with a surprise CD release show at Golden Tea House, followed by an acoustic set in WIlkes-Barre. Their new album takes a surprising new direction, with nods to 90s alt rock, but still contains the Menzingers’ signature pop-punk hooks. Check out their previous studio session and get more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calender. 

Continue reading →

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Hear Kurt Vile talk about movies, stardom and Bruce Springsteen with Bret Easton Ellis

Kurt Vile | Photo by Sebastian Kim via InterviewMagazine.com

Philly songsmith Kurt Vile is eternally in motion. Along with a second summer of heavy touring behind his monumental 2013 double album Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze - which has him playing the Strand Capitol Performing Arts Center in York on May 31st and the Mann Center for the Performing Arts with Nick Cave on July 25th, as well as numerous summer festivals – Vile is out covering Neil Young, hopefully working on new material, and sitting down with famed author and social critic Bret Easton Ellis for his weekly podcast, released yesterday.

A literary darling of the 1980s best known for his works American Psycho, Less than Zero and Glamorama, Ellis is somebody incredibly attuned to pop culture, but at the same time he seems refreshingly new to Vile’s discography. He admits to Vile in their casual and freewheeling conversation that he only came to his music on Smoke Ring for My Halo and Daze, and began working his way back from there. As a result, some of the things they discuss (Kurt comes from a big family, his dad worked on a train, his first music was written while working as a forklift operator in Boston) treads sort of familiar territory. But the meat and potatoes of the conversation comes from their philosophical asides, conversations on movies, the nature of stardom and the role of the music in contemporary culture. Ellis leads into the conversation with Kurt by describing himself as a listener who prefers hearing an album as an entire body of work – in contrast to his more singles-oriented boyfirend – and holds up Daze and an exemplary front-to back album crafted tremendously by “a surprisingly accomplished” musician.

Take a listen to the podcast below – the segment with Kurt begins at around 13 minutes. Get tickets and information on the shows in York and at the Mann by consulting the XPN Concert Calendar.

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Stream The Menzingers forthcoming album Rented World in its entirety at SPIN

The Menzingers | Photo The Menzingers | Photo via facebook.com/TheMenzingers
The Menzingers | Photo The Menzingers | Photo via facebook.com/TheMenzingers

Philly based punk band The Menzingers have a new album, Rented World, due out April 22 via Epitaph records, and as of today you can stream the album in its entirety over at Spin.com. For the new record, the band worked at Miner Street studios in Fishtown with the help of engineer Jonathan Low, who has worked with countless Philly luminaries from Restorations to Kurt Vile.

You can pre-order the album Rented World before its April 22 release here. Catch the Menzingers live when they return to Philly May 31 at Union Transfer. Find tickets for that show here. Stream opening track “I Don’t Want to Be An Asshole Anymore” below, and listen to Rented World in its entirety here.

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