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

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.


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.


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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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Turning Violet Violet at Kung Fu Necktie, Bleeding Rainbow at Johnny Brenda’s, Mary Lattimore at Kung Fu Necktie, Philebrity Valentine’s Day special with Juston Stens at Underground Arts, plus more

Local indie group Turning Violet Violet play Kung Fu Necktie tonight.  The Key Studio Session alums carve out chamber alt-rock songs on the fringe of art-rock that seem bathed in a purple glow, though that might just be residual effects of their band name.  Either way, the songs on Turning Violet Violet’s debut full-length Double Cure are swathe-y, sweeping compositions that strike all the right feelings chords.   Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with TeamMate and Donora can be found here.  Revisit Turning Violet Violet’s Key Session here and watch their video for “Cold Bread” below.

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The Week So Far: 12 must-read stories on The Key (incl. Bleeding Rainbow, Kurt Vile, Attia Taylor and Pissed Jeans)

Photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Happy Valentine’s Day from Helen Leicht – get free downloads of Philly Local love songs [link]

Philly punks Pissed Jeans ravage the Key Studio Sessions [link]

Indiepop five-piece Catnaps releases a prom-themed music video for “Novelty” [link]

WXPN will broadcast Sunday’s Mumford & Sons concert from the SBC in Camden [link]

Bleeding Rainbow‘s new LP Yeah Right is the subject of the Unlocked showcase [link]

Philly’s Abi Reimold is spotlighted in a Folkadelphia session [link]

See photos from Toro y Moi‘s appearance at Union Transfer [link]

Five Things That Inspired Mary Lattimore’s Debut Album, The Withdrawing Room [link]

Watch local actors, fashion designers and musicians Khari Mateen and Elegant Animals collaborate in a video called The Living [link]

Explore Philadelphia with Dave Hartley of Nightlands and BlackBook Magazine [link]

Kurt Vile announces a headlining Union Transfer show, shares a free download [link]

Philly space-rocker Brendan Codey shares a new track called “Twin Chimney” [link]

UK experimental trio Beak> plays Underground Arts on a snowy night [link]


Five Things That Inspired Mary Lattimore’s Debut Album, The Withdrawing Room

Mary Lattimore, the Philadelphia harpist, has performed and/or recorded with Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, Daughn Gibson, Meg Baird, Tall Firs, Kurt Vile, Nightlands, and many others. (From March 25-31, she’ll be one of the two harpists performing as part of Nick Cave’s HEARD•NY at Grand Central Terminal). And her debut solo album, The Withdrawing Room, will be released in late March by the Desire Path label. Lattimore has recently been performing in duo with Arc In Round’s Jeff Zeigler (electronics/synthesizer), including a gorgeous 34 minute improvisation at one of our recent Folkadephia Sessions. Zeigler makes a few appearances on The Withdrawing Room, and the duo’s next concert is this Thursday at Kung Fu Necktie.

“Just like on the album,” says Lattimore, “when Jeff and I play live, it’s all improvised. I’ve been trying out a starting-point, a basic melody, but it takes different turns and changes into something different each time. I am still experimenting with ways of sustaining, and want to get more pedals to play through. Right now, I just use my Line 6 green looper and by repeating notes really fast through the effects, it can create a sort of wall of glitter where you can’t really hear the attack, which I like. Right now, I’m preferring more of a hazy and dark sound, or a wash of color, rather than a sharp, clear harp, stringy pluck.”

In preparation for Thursday’s show, and her debut album, we asked Lattimore to tell us about some of the things that influenced The Withdrawing Room. Continue reading →


Folkadelphia Session: Mary Lattimore and Jeff Zeigler

We all like to practice what we preach, right? I’m always talking about the limited meaning and importance of genre classifications in the modern age of musical omnipresence; no one would really bat an eyelash at a concert bill consisting of a country twanger and an avant-garde synthstrumentalist (I just invented that word, “synth” + “instrumentalist”). Reason being is that our minds have been collectively expanded by the shear amount of diversity in music that we listen to on a regular basis primarily thanks to the Internet. We don’t live in 1913 and we’re not about to riot about The Rite of Spring premiere. We take musical mash-ups and oddities in stride. Just the other day, I saw a video in which Justin Timberlake played bass with the Flaming Lips. That’s not even entirely that weird. I’ve heard that diversity is the spice of life and I’m inclined to agree.

And now our weekly Folkadelphia Session! This week features two prominent music heads in the Philadelphia scene- Mary Lattimore and Jeff Zeigler. I know (and you definitely have heard/seen) Mary from performing harp with the likes of Meg BairdKurt VileThurston Mooreand many others. I know (and you definitely have heard/seen) Jeff from either performing in Arc In Round or Relay, or from hearing a record he’s worked on with The War On DrugsApe School, and about a ton more. In any case, the two linked up and have of late been performing as an improvisational duo around town. As you’ll soon hear, this is not folk music, or, if it is folk music, it is of the extraterrestrial variety. Perhaps protest music from the icy moons of Jupiter. But like I mentioned, I like to get on my soapbox and shout about what I consider great or intriguing or unique, regardless of traditional “folk” qualifiers. I think you’ll find that that the ebb and flow of this session is like a dream you will not want to wake up from. Let’s just stop talking and drift away…

This coming week on Thursday, February 14th, Mary Lattimore performs at Kung Fu Necktie with Trummors, Fred Thomas, and Morning River Band (a diverse line-up that validates what I said before!) Hint, hint- a cool Valentine’s Day option!


Archer Spade Performance Series returns with Mary Lattimore / Jeff Zeigler Duo and Adam Caine (happening at Studio 34 on 1/19)

The Archer Spade Performance Series returns this month with performances by Mary Lattimore / Jeff Zeigler Duo and Adam Caine at Studio 34.  Conceived by local composers and musicians Dan Blacksberg and Nick Millevoi (collectively known as Archer Spade), the Performance Series is a monthly occurance that brings avant-garde, improvisational and experimental musicians to Philadelphia.  January 19th will see Philadelphia’s harpist-in-residence Mary Lattimore (Thurston Moore, Kurt Vile) collaborate with producer and musician Jeff Zeigler (Uniform Recording, Arc in Round) in anticipation of Lattimore’s solo record, set to be released in February.  Opening up the night will be New York solo guitarist Adam Caine.  More information for the all-ages evening can be found here.  Watch Lattimore and Zeigler perform at August’s Kensington Picnic below, then check out the Archer Spade Performance Series line-up as scheduled so far.

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Elliott Sharp’s Top Five Local Albums To Listen To Loudly With Headphones

For The Key’s year-in-review, we asked our trusted sources – our writers and photographers, XPN’s on-air staff, fellow bloggers in the Philly scene and even a few musicians – to send us their Top Five Whatevers. Could be the traditional music route – albums, songs, concerts of the year – or it could be only loosely connected. We’ll be sharing these recaps every day through to the end of the year. Today, contributing writer Elliott Sharp shares his top five local albums to listen to loudly with headphones.


1. Bee Mask – When We Were Eating Unripe Pears (Spectrum Spools)

The experimental electronic musician Chris Madak stretches sounds so far your ears will rip, and bleed, and it feels delicious, like an unripe pear.

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Find out about the music events on the fringe of Fringe (feat. Johnny Showcase, T.J. Kong and more)

The 16th annual Live Arts / Fringe Festival is largely known as an interdisciplinary performing arts showcase – and lest we forget, music falls under the umbrella of “performing arts.” To just note a few happenings: Philadelphia electronic duo Gemini Wolf will perform a live accompaniment to the dance-based production WAMB, while versatile local harpist Mary Lattimore scored the documentary Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present, which screens on September 19 at The International House. This weekend, The Key will run a review of 27, a surreal performance piece about the infamous “dead rock stars’ club”, and next week we’ll talk to Australian avant-jazz group The Necks about their involvement in the festival showcase performance Food Court.

Speaking of showcases, one Johnny Showcase, and his Lefty Lucy Cabaret (pictured), performs a Fringe Festival Opening Dance Party at South Philadelphia club Connie’s Ric Rac. Get your sensual swerve on beginning at 10 p.m. with DJ Carl Sexton; the cabaret brings the funk at 11:30; it’s free to hang for the 21-and-over.

And throughout the festival, the folks at Underground Arts will be hosting the annual after-hours festival hang, Late Nite Cabaret, for the first time.  They’ve got a stacked schedule for the next two weeks, including raucous folksters T.J. Kong and the Atomic Bomb on Saturday the 8th, noisemakers The Absinthe Drinkers on Sunday the 16th, and a Brat Productions interpretation of The White Stripes’ album Get Behind Me, Satan to close out the festival on Saturday the 22nd. Full schedule is available here – get ready to get weird.