Listen to Norwegian Arms’ new 7″ and Daytrotter Session (playing Union Transfer on 10/24)

Illustration by Johnnie Cluney
Illustration by Johnnie Cluney

Norwegian Arms won’t release their new 7″ until October 15th, but the three-track EP is up for streaming on the “weirdo folk” duo’s Bandcamp now.  The A-side features a new recording of “Jitterbug,” while the B-side places live recordings of “The Iceman” and “Kiva Ivka” back-to-back (the latter two tracks were recorded during Norwegian Arms’ Brighton Sound Session earlier this year).  The Jitterbug 7″ follows 2012’s debut full-length Wolf LIke a Stray Dog, recorded after frontman Brendan Mulvihill returned from a sojourn in Siberia.

On top of the new release, the Philly band just shared a Daytrotter Session that was recored during their late-summer tour earlier this month.  The session includes live takes of “Jitterbug,” Stray Dog‘s “Soviet Bicycle” and “EZ A LVR Goes West” as well as a new song called “New Sky.”  Daytrotter members can stream and download the session here.

Norwegian Arms will support Pattern is Movement at Union Transfer on October 24th; tickets and information can be found here.  Listen to the 7″ below and get your pre-order in here.


New Video: Norwegian Arms “Wolf Like a Stray Dog”

Screen shot 2013-09-03 at 2.26.43 PMToday Philly’s Norwegian Arms premiered a new music video for “Wolf Like a Stray Dog,” the title track of the album they released in late 2012. The video stars his father and family dog alone in a large and ornate house, conveying the isolation Mulvihill sings about. He wrote it during his winter teaching in Russia, and in a roundabout way, it talks about how he felt more of a kinship with the stray dogs than he did with the humans around him – because he was still meeting people and learning the language. Here’s what Mulvihill had to say about the song in The Key’s Unlocked series last December:

The way [stray dogs] function in society was interesting – we don’t really have roaming packs of stray dogs in America, so that in itself was a new experience for me. They’re wild, for all intents and purposes they’re feral, but they’re also highly socialized. They have to socialize, they have to function within their pack, and they have to interact with humans to get food. So they’re nice, and people will be friendly to them but at the same time people kind of hate them. And myself, because I was still learning the language, I couldn’t necessarily communicate all my feelings with the people, but I still had to interact with them. And also, there was kind of a cultural thing where I felt slightly isolated. Here, I have been around long enough that I can surround myself with people of a similar mindset. There, it was harder to find people that defined a music scene, or an art scene. Even galleries, or things like that – they hadn’t really developed yet, or if they had, I wasn’t able to locate them in my time there. So I felt I had a hard time communicating with people where we no similar art or music or literary interests.

Check out the video, shot buy Out of Town Films, below.


Magic Gardens Art/Gage Festival expands for 2013 with more music, more food trucks, more installations

art gage PMG

Tomorrow night, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens will be hosting the Art / Gage Festival, an annual arts-music-food street fair event. Now in it’s sixth year, the festival has expanded to cover eight blocks of South Street, from Front to 9th. Magic Gardens events manager Allison Boyle says the festival aims to “bring in local artists, local music, and celebrate the creativity that we have here in Philly.”

For the first time this year, Art / Gage is partnering and collaborating with Night Market Philadelphia to expand the festival, both in size and in offerings; Night Market and The Food Trust will bring over 80 food trucks and local vendors to South Street – it’s supposed to be the largest Night Market Philly has yet seen.

There will be two stages – one on 9th Street and one on Second Street, playing live music all evening. “People love the bands – I think they’ll come out especially to see them,” Boyle says. Many awesome local musicians are set to perform, including Night Panther (who just released their debut LP), Norwegian Arms, Strand of Oaks, and The Late Ancients.

Beyond the music, there are many other artistic outlets to explore. Continue reading →


Watch Norwegian Arms’ surreal new video for “At the Formerly British Council Supported English Centre” (playing PhilaMOCA tomorrow)

Screen shot 2013-07-18 at 4.22.18 PMPhilly weirdo folk outfit Norwegian Arms released a surreal new music video today for “At the Formerly British Council Supported English Centre,” the second track on their 2012 album Wolf Like A Stray Dog. Starting out minimal and informally with a stylish dude strutting to the track in various monochromatic shots, it becomes a swirling psychedelic kaleidoscope of shapes and colors, all led by this dancing machine, who Norwegian Arms’ Brendan Mulvihill explains was pulled from their crowd in a way. “His name is Elvis Hatcher,” Mulvihill writes. “He was dancing like that at one of our shows and so we recruited him for this!” Check it out below; tomorrow night, Norwegian Arms plays with Jamaican Queens at PhilaMOCA. Tickets and information on the show can be found here.


Guest VJ Brendan Mulvihill previews this month’s Tuesday Tune-Out (kicks off tonight at PhilaMOCA)

NArmsFor the month of July, PhilaMOCA turned over the curator’s reins for its Tuesday Tune-Out music and film series to two local musicians who also book shows too. Andy Molholt of Laser Backrgound programs music at PhilaMOCA and other DIY venues around town, while Brendan Mulvihill of Norwegian Arms also has a daytime gig at Johnny Brenda’s. I caught up with Mulvihill over email to get a vibe on what they put together for the month of July. All shows are all ages, begin at 7:30 p.m. and are $5 at the door. For this month, all films are TBA.

From Brendan:
Basically we used this month to showcase bands we thought were really special and unique. We both have a soft spot for oddball pop (if that wasn’t already apparent in our respective projects). We also book a lot of shows for out of town bands we really like. So this is a sort of marriage of those two ideals. These are local and touring bands that we think deserve a lot more attention. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Norwegian Arms at City Hall, Low at World Cafe Live, Song Dogs at North Star Bar, Tigers Jaw at First Unitiarian

Norwegian Arms | Photo by John Vettese
Norwegian Arms | Photo by John Vettese

Local indie folk outfit Norwegian Arms are pairing up with the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia for a special City Hall Series performance. It’s all a part of Make Music Philly, which will be bringing you free music all day, all across the city. Norwegian Arms released a great, quirky, emotive album earlier in 2013, Wolf Like a Stray Dog, that both displays a variety of styles but maintains a unique, cohesive sound.The Jazz Orchestra was founded by renowned trumpet player Terell Stafford, who also happens to be Temple University’s Director of Jazz Studies.These two great acts will be holding down City Hall from 5 – 7:30 p.m. Check out “My New Toy Piano” from Norwegian Arms below.

Continue reading →


The Week So Far: 12 must-read stories on The Key (incl. The Districts, Mavis Staples, Birdie Busch and more)


Miles Davis would have celebrated his 87th birthday on Sunday.  Check out some live footage of the legendary trumpet player’s 1970 show at the old Electric Factory [link]

Diplo curated a summer playlist featuring James Blake, Daft Punk, Laura Mvula and more for Vulture [link]

XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week is Mavis Staples‘ cover of the Funkadelic track “Can You Get to That” [link]

Singer-songwriter / fiddler Sara Watkins recorded a session for Folkadelphia [link]

Birdie Busch will be releasing her recent PledgeMusic-funded album on vinyl and donating proceeds to the IHM Literacy Center in West Philadelphia [link]

Dock Street Beer Run announces the line-up for their June 9th 5k / music festival event, including On the Water, Norwegian Arms and Post Sun Times [link]

Sonja Sofia is profiled in the latest installment of Kettle Pot Tracks’ On the Hill series [link]

Local power rockers Lantern unveiled a new song called “Evil Eye” and the cover art for their upcoming LP Rock ‘N’ Roll Rorschach [link]

Watch a video of The Districts performing at The Porch at 30th Street Station yesterday for XPN’s Philly Local Busker series [link]

Folk duo Arborea shared a new video for their song “Pale Horse Phantasm”; they’ll be at the Highwire Gallery on June 9th for a Folkadelphia Presents show [link]

The Photon Band is back with a new album and a show at Johnny Brenda’s on July 6th [link]

Newish Philly outfit Divers were the subject of this week’s Key Studio Session [link]


On the Water, Norwegian Arms and more performing at Dock Street Beer Run on 6/9

When the worlds of long-distance running, live music and beer enthusiasts collide, Dock Street Brewing Company is there. The West Philly brew pub and pizza-eatery has for the past several years thrown a 5K run and music festival at its Baltimore Avenue HQ during Beer Week, and this year’s lineup is as enticing as its famed Man Full of Trouble porter.

Music begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday the 9th of June on an outdoor stage across from Cedar Park. The lineup so far featured pirate folkies On the Water and global visionaries Norwegian Arms, West Philly via North Jersey dub stars Post Sun Times and a group called Bomple, about which the internet seems to know not much.

As for the athletic element – the run is returning to the “scavenger hunt” approach of its inaugural year where “a 3 to 4 mile scenic adventure run through University City / West Philly” features a handful of stops where runners need to find beer-related clues and collect tokens that are turned in at the finish line. Prizes are awarded to top finishers by gender and overall, but the key point: It’s a fun run. So the dude or lady who’s stressing out over their pace while frantically checking splits on their wristwatch might feel a bit out of place.

Participants also receive two beer vouchers (one at the start, another upon completion), a t-shirt and some other goodies. Registration is $20 in advance via the Dock Street website and more information can be found at the run’s Facebook event page. Below, check out a montage of last year’s event, plus a 30-second clip of Hoots and Hellmouth wrapping up the day of music. Note the sun glare – it was 95 degrees out that day. Dock Street (somehow) promises its runners more cooperative weather this year.


City Hall Presents free music series begins May 29 with Summer performances from Kurt Vile, Dice Raw, Alo Brasil, Norwegian Arms, Cheers Elephant and more

Photos by Abi Reimold |
Photos by Abi Reimold |

City Hall Presents begins its new season next Wednesday, May 29 with Philly based Brazilian band Alo Brasil in the City Hall Courtyard at 5:30PM. City Hall Presents is a series of free performances that showcases the diversity and richness of the Philadelphia performing arts community. The events are free and take place every Wednesday at 5:30 in the City Hall Courtyard. WXPN has curated several of events this Summer including the opening event with Alo Brasil, followed by Cheers Elephant on June 5, and Andrew Lipke with the Azreal Quartet on July 10. There will also be a special Make Music Philly edition of City Hall Presents on Friday, June 21 featuring Norwegian Arms and the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia. WXPN’s Dan Reed will be broadcasting live from the City Hall Courtyard next Wednesday starting at 4PM for the kick off of the series with Alo Brasil.

Other highlights of the season include: The Philadelphia School of Circus Arts on June 19, Illstyle & Peace on June 12, Dice Raw & Company on August 7, and the series closes with a special performance from Kurt Vile. Go here for more information and the complete schedule.


The Week So Far: 9 must-read stories on The Key (incl. Kurt Vile, Grandchildren, Khari Mateen and Dave Hartley’s Top of The Key)


Grandchildren‘s Golden Age is featured in this week’s Unlocked series [link]

It’s been a big week for show announcements, with The Monkees [link], Patty Griffin [link], Pet Shop Boys [link] and The Olms [link] unveiling Philly dates

Joe Pug played a show at Johnny Brenda’s this week – check out a free download of five tracks from the Chicago singer-songwriter [link]

Khari Mateen will kick-off Brewerytown’s summer jazz concert series on May 15th [link]

Take a listen back to this year’s Key Studio Sessions with Volume 7, featuring Waxahatchee, Pissed Jeans and Ruby the Hatchet [link]

Kurt Vile shares a new video for “Never Run Away” – he’ll be at Union Transfer on May 18th [link]

Dave Hartley presents an overview of the NBA playoffs in a new edition of Top of Key [link]

Mount Moriah highlighted their sophomore album Miracle Temple during this week’s Folkadelphia session [link]

Download a compilation of music from local bands including Cheers Elephant, Roof Doctor and Norwegian Arms c/o Beat the Indie Drum [link]