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Mary Lattimore and Jeff Zeigler to release Slant of Light in September

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Artwork by Rebecca Suss | http://www.beckysuss.net/

He’s the producer (and multi-instrumentalist), she’s the harpist, and they’re both massively talented. Jeff Zeigler has sat behind the controls for albums by Kurt Vile, The War on Drugs, Nothing, Purling Hiss, and has performed with members of The War On Drugs, Chris Forsyth’s Solar Motel Band, A Sunny Day in Glasgow, and his own group Arc in Round. A classically trained harpist, Mary Lattimore has performed with Thurston Moore, Kurt Vile, Meg Baird, Jarvis Cocker, and Steve Gunn, and was recently named a 2014 Pew Fellow. They’ve collaborated before, and now they’re releasing their first album together, Slant Of Light on September 23rd on Thrill Jockey Records. The album will be available in limited edition white vinyl; you can pre-order it here. The artwork for the album (above) was created by Philadelphia artist Rebecca Suss.

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Kensington Picnic returns for a second year with a great lineup featuring Spacin’, Mary Lattimore and more

Mary Lattimore | photo by John Vettese
Mary Lattimore | photo by John Vettese

Kensington Picnic will return this August for its second round. Though the lineup is not finalized yet, it looks like an even split between folk and experimental rock. Performers include the Strapping Fieldhands, Laura Baird, and Spacin’. Repeat performers include Birds of Maya and Mary Lattimore.

On the rock front, there’s the Strapping Fieldhands, an indie rock band from the 1990s that returned last year with their first release in 10 years. Birds of Maya played a great set at PhilaMOCA this year, as well as an awesome benefit show at Circle of Hope to support the Shalefield Organizing Community. Last but not least, there’s Spacin’, formed in 2012 by Birds of Maya’s Jason Killinger. Last year, Spacin’ performed their debut Deep Thuds LP at Hopscotch Music Festival and recently released the B-side to their Megatations tape via Telephone Explosion Records.

On the folk side of things, there’s the charismatic Laura Baird. The other half of the amazing Baird Sisters, Laura did a great interview with the Key’s Maura Filoromo. Over the years, Baird has played a range of instruments from trombone to flute and banjo. She incorporates elements of these into her performances. Harpist Mary Lattimore will also perform. Over the years, she has performed with artists ranging from Kurt Vile and Thurston Moore to Sharon Van Etten and Meg Baird. Last year, she played on a cover of Kitty Wells’ country tune “Christmas Ain’t Like Christmas Anymore” and a brilliant session with Folkadelphia. In September, she will release her latest album, Slant of Light as a collaboration with Jeff Zeigler (from Arc in Round). 

The picnic is set to take place on Frankford Ave, between Susquehanna and Dauphin, near Liberty Vintage Motorcycles. Get more information on the free event here.  Check out music from the artists below.

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Nikki Volpicelli’s 5 Behind-The-Scenes Women of 2013

Photo courtesy of Nicky Devine
Photo courtesy of Nicky Devine

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.

Nicky Devine
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.

Carly Marcoux
“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.

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. The GrooveBarbers, Lily Mae, Jenny Owen Youngs

It's A King Thing | Photo by John Vettese
It’s A King Thing | Photo by John Vettese

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. 1 here.

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Download “Christmas Ain’t Like Christmas Anymore” by Mikele Edwards, Jeff Ziegler and Mary Lattimore

Mary Lattimore | photo by John Vettese
Mary Lattimore | photo by John Vettese
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.

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Anthony Green, La Maison Tellier, Oldermost

 

Anthony Green | Photo by Allison Newbold | allynewbold.com
Anthony Green | Photo by Allison Newbold | allynewbold.com

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.

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Folkadelphia Session: Chris Forsyth | Mary Lattimore | Jeff Zeigler (aka the Ultimate Session)

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 Motel is 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.

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The Walkmen, Sun Ra Arkestra, Sharon Van Etten, Spank Rock and others playing Rail Park Benefit at Union Transfer on 12/4

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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.

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Stream Mary Lattimore’s The Withdrawing Room (being released on 4/3)

627From 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.

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The Week’s Best MP3 Downloads, incl. Kurt Vile, Mary Lattimore, Pissed Jeans

In exciting local music news, Kurt Vile announced further album details and a show at Union Transfer with Steve Gunn and Angel OlsenWakin On A Pretty Daze will be out via Matador Records on April 9th and will be a double LP (on blue vinyl!).  The lead track, “Wakin On A Pretty  Day,” is available as a free download on Matador’s website here – get ready for 9+ minutes of classic Vile-isms like “to be frank I’m fried / but I don’t mind.”  Tickets and information for Kurt Vile & The Violators at Union Transfer on Saturday, May 18th, can be found here.  Listen to “Wakin On A Pretty Day” below set to a video of images from this cover art documentary.

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