Year End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2013 awesome. In this installment, contributor Nikki Volpicelli highlights women doing amazing work this year.
…because every single one of these women (and many more) deserves a shout out before this year ends.
Sometimes Nicky Devine is sitting at the bar at Johnny Brenda’s with a keen eye on the running of the evening’s concert. Other times you can’t find her at all because she’s sprinting around the venue, making sure everyone going on stage is happy (and wanting to return to our lovely city to entertain us again). That’s the life of a Production Assistant. Devine splits her time as a PA and a Production Supervisor for Weathervane Music, managing the production and release schedule of monthly Shaking Through sessions. She’s also Festival Director at the annual 2nd Street Festival, and if you’ve ever experienced the panic attack that is trying to maneuver your way through NoLibs on this day, you can begin to understand the impossibility of running the whole operation.
“Who asks these questions?” Was the first question I asked myself after reading this super well crafted Q&A with fuzz-rocker King Tuff (one of my favorite artists this year). I took to the side bar of the Philly Girl About Town blog for an answer and found co-editor Carly Marcoux. Compared to some of its online peers, PGAT only posts a few choice interviews and reviews per month, but Marcoux keeps busy, holding down a day job and playing drums on the side (and singing) in The Pretty Greens – a feminist fuzz-garage group that periodically publishes a pop-art fanzine called Pretty Signals (Issue #2 came out in August). SheT also plays in No Other and freelances for Tom Tom Magazine, a quarterly publication dedicated to female drummers.
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.
Here’s another Christmas song you’ll want to add to your collection. Below, download a beautiful, contemplative cover of Kitty Wells’ country Christmas song, “Christmas Ain’t Like Christmas Anymore,” by Mikele Edwards (Vocals, Piano and Melodica) and Jeff Ziegler (guitar/vocals) of Arc In Round, and Mary Lattimore on harp. The song, written by Roy Bodkin, originally appeared on Kitty Wells’ classic 1962 album, Christmas Day With Kitty Wells. The trio capture a haunting Mazzy Star reverbed vibe on their cover of the song. We’ve also included the original by Wells for you to listen to.
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.
The Walkmen, Sun Ra Arkestra, Sharon Van Etten, Spank Rock, Light Heat, Jeff Ziegler and Mary Lattimore, Birdie Busch, and the Dufalo Brothers are playing Union Transfer on Wednesday, December 4th. The show is a benefit for Phase One of the Rail Park with all the proceeds going to the Friends of the Rail Park, a non-profit that has been advocating the planning, designing and envisioning of a continuous 3-mile linear park along the former Philadelphia & Reading Rail line corridor. Friends of the Rail Park outlined their vision and plans last Spring, outlined in this article about it in Hidden City Philadelphia. Nathaniel Popkin writes:
The proposed park meets the elevated Reading Viaduct just east of and directly below Broad Street at the section of the railway known as the SEPTA Spur. The 1/5 mile long, elevated Spur–which will undergo an $8 million transformation into a park beginning in 2014–together with the City Branch, which is also owned predominantly by SEPTA, would constitute a two mile long linear rails-to-trails park, connecting the Callowhill neighborhood to Fairmount Park. The rest of the railroad viaduct heading north from the SEPTA Spur is owned by the Reading Corporation. The firm, based in California, has demonstrated little interest in selling the Viaduct to the City of Philadelphia.
The new below-grade park would extend from two points at the east end: the connection to the SEPTA Spur, where the rail viaduct dips under Broad Street (which is a bridge over the railway) and at Broad and Buttonwood in front of the School District Administration building. A key to the plan is the planned reconstruction of the Broad Street bridge, owned by PennDOT. Planners hope to convince the agency to install see-through railings and to puncture the bridge with light towers that are to be installed in the center of North Broad (lighting the space above and below). The parking lot now in front of the School District building would be replaced with a multi-level public space leading to the park.
Take a tour of the proposed Rail Park in this video below.
Get tickets to the Friends of the Rail Park benefit with The Walkmen, Sun Ra Arkestra, Sharon Van Etten, Spank Rock, Light Heat, Jeff Ziegler, Mary Lattimore, Birdie Busch and the Dufalo Brothers here.
From the gentle, opening burbles of “You’ll Be Fiiinnne” to the scratchy, contorted feedback closing out “Poor Daniel,” Mary Lattimore‘s debut effort is a mesmerizing three-track recording of meditative, reflective compositions. Lattimore’s previous works with Kurt Vile, Thurston Moore and Meg Baird have garnered acclaim for her intricate harp playing , as has her experimental collaboration with Arc in Round’s Jeff Zeigler (check out their 30 minute improvisational set for Folkadelphia here). Titled The Withdrawing Room and inspired by art, friends and photographs, the new record will be released on April 3rd through Desire Path Recordings. Stream an excerpt of the album below, hear the entire thing at Experimedia.