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If you’ve spent any amount of time watching the Philly music scene, it’s hard to miss versatile guitarist Mike “Slo-Mo” Brenner. He’s ingrained in the local roots / Americana community, performing currently with No Good Sister, as well as collaborating with Psalmships and Kicking Down Doors; way back in the day, he led The Low Road and frequently sat in with Marah. Despite being one of the most skilled slide players – well, anywhere, but particularly in Philly – he also is very much about pushing the boundaries of what roots guitar means. He had a long-running collaboration with rapper Mic Wrecka in the aughts; going further back, the first time I caught him was at the North Star Bar in 2001, playing bluesy licks while a guy named DJ Vincenzo dropped breakbeats from two turntables. And for his current project, Brenner looks to the east. Continue reading →
Welcome to the first chapter of Folkadelphia’s new project that we’ve gotten in the habit of calling Unsung.
In the history of music, there are many unsung artists and albums that we firmly clutch close to our hearts. These artists create the kind of music that we wish other people knew more about or cared more deeply for. We wish that we could share with others our exact feelings about how we’ve been touched and affected by some musicians. We want to show them the light. We want to sing these musicians’ unsung song for everyone to hear.
With this series, we hope we can provide a way for people to connect with music that has been influential beyond its commercial impact and, perhaps, appeal. It’s never too late to find a new favorite band and honor their legacy and discography.
For this first part, we focused on what has become one of my favorite albums: Songs: Ohia’s Didn’t It Rain, which was recorded in Philadelphia in 2002. Continue reading →
“Sing For Gene Shay” is a new tribute song to the “Dean of Folk DJs” Gene Shay in honor of his retirement this Sunday, February 1st as the host of WXPN’s Folk Show. Written, recorded and produced under the name of “Friends Of Gene,” 25 local musicians and a team of four producers and engineers came together to pay a loving tribute to Shay, who has been on the air for 50+ years hosting folk music in Philadelphia. Continue reading →
As far as Philly Local musicians go, Mike “Slo-Mo” Brenner needs no introduction. But we’ll introduce the guy anyway. A versatile guitarist whose career has spanned folk to raga to slide guitar blues, he’s been a player in town for close to twenty years. In the 90s, he was in the breakout roots ensemble The Low Road; he also collaborated with Marah, took part in genre-spanning collaborations with DJs in the early 00s, and embarked on a hip-hop project with Mic Wrecka (playing XPoNential Festival and other XPN events). Most recently, Slo-Mo traveled to India to study slide guitar with teacher Debashish Bhattacharya. He’s the featured artist in this week’s edition of the WXPN Philly Local Busker’s Series at The Porch at 30th Street Station, and will play outdoors tomorrow from noon to 1 p.m. (indoors in case of rain). Below, watch a video documentary of Slo-Mo’s travels to India.
Post-punk quartet Parquet Courts headline an eclectic line-up at PhilaMOCA tonight. Back in Philadelphia for the third time this year, Parquet Courts continue to tour in support of their debut full-length Light Up Gold, which just got a proper label release through indie label What’s Your Rupture. Tickets and information for tonight’s all-ages show with Scott & Charlene’s Wedding, Amanda X and Household can be found here. Watch Parquet Courts perform “Master of My Craft” and “Borrowed Time” live on WNYC below.
One of the stand-out bands at March’s SXSW, Sir Sly make their way to Philadelphia tonight for a show at Johnny Brenda’s. With an EP plus a few more tracks released, the band has quickly made it clear that they will operate in the realm of expansive, catchy pop hooks. Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with JMSN and The Last Royals can be found here. Watch a new video for “Found You Out” below and download “Gold” here.
Local Brazilian band Alo Brasil plays Underground Arts tonight. More than just a performing band, Alo Brasil features an interactive live show influenced by African rhythms like samba, maracatu and more. Though often accompanied by costumed dancers, for their recurring “Underground Sessions” Alo Brasil has a refreshed line-up of musicians. Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show can be found here, or on the Facebook event page here. Watch a promo video for Alo Brasil below.
Lentil Fest continues at The Fire tonight, with performances by Kuf Knotz, Nicos Gun, Reef the Lost Cauze, Mike “Slo-Mo’ Brenner, Gedeon Luke and Brady & the Bear. In support of Lentil the french bulldog (born with a cleft pallate), all proceeds will benefit the French Bulldog Rescue Network, Street Tails Animal Rescue and ccakids.org. Tickets and information can be found here. Watch Kuf Knotz perform at the 2011 XPoNential Music Festival below.
Also happening: XPN welcomes The Smithereens to The Sellersville Theater; XPN welcomes Free Energy to the North Star Bar. Tickets and information for both shows can be found on the XPN Concert Calendar.
Portland’s Port St. Willow will be playing at the Kung Fu Necktie tonight. The band, formed by Nick Principe, has one release thus far – Even // Listen, released in November of 2010 – and has also been apart of Weathervane’s Shaking Through, where the band recorded their song named “Stay Even”. Primarily funneled through the musical talents of Principe, the sound bursts through with a heightened depth of melody. Although they have not released anything since their EP, they created quite an impact with “Stay Even” and the bright sound they created will join them on stage. Tickets and information for the 21 and up show with Our Griffins and Ben Seretan can be found here. Below, watch Port St. Willow’s recording experience with Shaking Through.
A little over a year ago, Blues / rock guitarist Mike “Slo Mo” Brenner (formerly of The Low Road) traveled to India to study Indian slide guitar with teacher Debashish Bhattacharya. While he was there, he recorded a few tracks to bring back home and work with. He then spent a year writing, recording, and collaborating with friends to create his new record, titled Tripti – meaning “satisfied”. (He tells us over e-mail that it’s also the name of his instructor’s wife, and the take-out Indian restaurant he frequented while studying.)
“It was such a great moment, to be in India, making music with my teacher, doing something very different than I had ever done,” writes Brenner of the project. “It’s very satisfying to finally release these tracks.”
There are guest appearances by several of Brenner’s new Indian friends, including Bhattacharya himself, as well as familiar Philly names like Susan Rosetti, who often performed with Brenner’s live band. The record was just released, and it is a charming blend of Brenner’s Western background and the traditions of Indian Sitar music. Watch video of his travels below, and listen to Tripti after the jump.