Celebrate music education with Rally for Rock at Franklin Square next month

Rally for Rock
Kuf Knotz | photo courtesy of the artist

Rock to the Future will present its second annual Rally for Rock on September 13th at Franklin Square.  Benefitting the organization’s free music education programs, the event will feature live music from Kuf Knotz, Hezekiah Jones, Joey Sweeney and the Long Hair Arkestra and the Rock to the Future Student House Band.

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The Quarterly releases Holiday compilation, featuring five songs by Philly locals

The Quarterly Project recently released a five song compilation of holiday songs done by Philadelphia bands. Featuring Clipshow, You Do You, Conversations with Enemies, A Day Without Love, and Aphra covering Christmas classics, this release will certainly help any Philadelphian get in the Christmas spirit.

Definitely check out the true-to-orginal cover of “All I Want for Christmas is You” by You Do You, as well as the fuzzed up version of “Jingle Bell Rock” by Clipshow.  Warm up by the fire, watch the snow fall, and turn up your speakers.

Stream the compilation below, or download it for $3 via Bandcamp. Proceeds from the album go to Rock to the Future, a local non profit dedicated to bringing free music education to kids throughout the city.


Students set to rock out as Rock to the Future hosts 4th Annual Holiday Showcase

Students perform at the Rock to the Future summer camp | Photo by Elizabeth Mazenko
Students perform at the Rock to the Future summer camp | Photo by Elizabeth Mazenko

Seven student bands consisting of kids aged 9-18 years old are gearing up to jam out for Rock to the Future’s free Holiday Showcase happening Friday, December 20 at 6 p.m. at St. Michael’s Church in Philadelphia.

The inspirational non-profit Rock to the Future provides free after school music education to under-served students in the Philadelphia community, hosting a yearly holiday gala where hard-working kids are given a platform to showcase the skills they’ve acquired throughout the semester. These student rockers will performing original songs, family-friendly cover songs, and rocking holiday songs from traditional numbers to The Ramones’ “Merry Christmas, I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight” (now that’s more like it).

The all-ages show is free, but donations are accepted. Following the showcase, Rock to the Future will hold a holiday potluck, and all attending are encouraged to bring their favorite holiday treat. Get more information on the event here. Learn more about Rock to the Future in The Key’s interview here.


The Quarterly Project releases fall charity compilation (listening party & concert at The Fire 11/21)

The Quarterly Project recently released their Fall compilation, featuring local artists like Pocket, Cruiser, These Polar Opposites, and Molly Rhythm. The bands cover every spectrum of the Philly music scene, from rock n roll to emo, and you can’t help but be impressed. Not only does this project support the diversity of Philly’s music scene, but it works to help young Philadelphians develop the skills to be musicians. The proceeds from this compilation album (and the concert) go to local nonprofit Rock to the Future, which provides free music education to Philadelphia youth.

On Thursday November 21, The Quarterly will hold their fall listening party and concert at The Fire. The eclectic mix of Philadelphia musicians is sure to put on a good show, with music ranging from Family Vacation‘s nostalgic indie rock to Brian Fitzy‘s improvisational electronic funk. Also expect raw sets from the ambient yet powerful Last Full Measure and emo rockers When Ships Collide. Each of these bands have released killer new material in the past year, so make sure to check them out even if you cannot make it to the show.

Find tickets and information to the listening party and concert here. Stream the fall compilation below and pick it up on Bandcamp.


The Quarterly Project releasing Summer 2013 charity compilation (listening party/benefit concert at PhilaMOCA 8/29)

Screen shot 2013-08-05 at 8.54.27 AMBrian Walker, the singer and songwriter behind Philly’s A Day Without Love, is more than just a musician. He’s on a mission, and a quite noble one at that, “to bring communities together, and to help them grow” though music. His ideals are taking shape with The Quarterly Project, a digital charity label that aims to “unify the diversity of the Philadelphia music scene while being able to help the youth of the community.” In other words, like several other Philly music musicians of late, Walker wants to support music education for Philly youth, despite state budget cuts.

Walker rounded up 25 local musicians, among them Toy Soldiers, Amanda X, City Rain, and Former Belle, each of whom contributed a song to a compilation called Summer 13. The heavily collaborative effort was released last Thursday, August 2nd via Bandcamp, and all of the proceeds will be donated to the local nonprofit, Rock to the Future – a North Philly-based organization dedicated to providing free music education for undeserved Philadelphia youth.

When discussing the project Walker says that “It is important that musicians from the Philadelphia community do their best to not only network with each other, but also help their own community to keep the music growing.” The Summer 13 compilation became available to purchase via Bandcamp last week, and at the end of this month, on August 29th, there will be a an all-ages listening party/benefit concert held at PhilaMOCA, the lineup of which includes Philly artists such as City Rain, Minka, Song Dogs, and Josh Miller. Stream The Quarterly’s Summer 13 comp below; for more on music education in Philly, read our article about Rock to the Future here, read about the H.O.M.E. project at Andrew Jackson school here, and find out about a rally for music education at Liberty Lands Park starring The Dead Milkmen here.



How Rock to the Future is filling in the gaps in Philadelphia music education (see them at #xpnfest this weekend)

Photo by Elizabeth Mazenko
Photo by Elizabeth Mazenko

“Our goal is to spark an interest in music for the kids,” Rock To The Future co-founder Jessica Craft says as I sit with her in a sectioned-off corner of a wood-floor church auditorium. “A lot of them have probably never even seen an instrument up close before; they probably have never had an opportunity to touch a guitar or a piano.”

With a small coffee table between us, two mis-matched couches, and a small stage on the other side of a makeshift wall, Jessica and her partner Josh Craft bask in the heavy breeze of the window air conditioner that blows down on the “lounge” as the other teachers help the summer camp participants downstairs with lunch. Holding their first-ever summer session, the couple chats about their plans for the XPonential Festival this weekend and ideas for future programs.

Jessica and Josh Craft | Photo by Elizabeth Mazenko

The Crafts started Rock To The Future (RTTF) in 2010 with a mission to provide free music education to the under-served students of Philadelphia and their families. Their goals are high, but important: a 100% high school graduation rate and post-secondary program attendance rate. Most important, RTTF is based on the idea that learning music can have an overall positive effect on students’ lives, both in school and out. Continue reading →


Rock Rollick & Rummage this Saturday: live music at Garden Variety

Looking for an activity to do on what’s set to be a beautiful Saturday?  This weekend in Philly, there will be rummage sale along with food and craft beers on Poplar Street.  And, for just $5, you can stop by Garden Variety to check out a Rock to the Future benefit concert, featuring local bands, The Lawsuits, Commonwealth Choir, North Lawrence Midnight Singers, Ben Cady and the Rock to the Future house band.  What better way to spend a nice day then with good music?  Click here for more information about the event.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Rock to the Future’s Rock and Read Fest at The Rotunda, Patterson Hood & the Downtown Rumblers at World Cafe Live, and Bon Iver at The Mann

Rock to the Future, the non-profit organization that brings free music education to Philadelphia students during  after school programs, presents their Rock and Read Fest today at the Rotunda on Walnut St.  The benefit event features story readings, poetry and music by The National Rifle, Oh Bree!, Ted Nguyent, Mike Bell & the Movies and The Rock to the Future All Star Band.  Attendees can also pick up some new reading material at the book swap.  Entry is a $5 donation that goes directly to Rock to the Future, and the family-friendly event kicks off at 5:00pm.  More info here.  Here’s some background on Rock to the Future:

Hot off of his appearance at the XPoNential Music Festival this past July, WXPN welcomes the return of Patterson Hood & the Downtown Rumblers to World Café Live.  The Drive by Truckers frontman released his autobiographical third solo album Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance last week.  Fellow Athens, Georgians Hope For Agoldensummer open.  Day-of-show tickets for this all ages concert range from $20 to $30 at the World Café Live website.

Perhaps the biggest name in music in 2011, Bon Iver returns to Philadelphia tonight for a show at The Mann.  Justin Vernon’s moniker has been synonymous with exquisitely composed melodies paired with delicate, heartfelt vocals ever since his 2008 indie-folk cult favorite For Emma, Forever Ago.  But it was his crossover 2011 self-titled release that garnered the most acclaim, leading to two Grammy wins and a slew of festival headlining slots.  He performs tonight with New England folk-songstress Anais Mitchell.  Doors open at 6:00pm, and tickets are available here.


Weekend Picks: Sondre Lerche, Death Cab For Cutie, The Roots Picnic, Appel Farm Festival, Wildbirds And Peacedrums

Sondre Lerche

Norwegian singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche is equally at home playing jazz, ’80s pop, and Brazilian folk. Lerche is the product of a diverse musical education—growing up, he practiced everything from bossa nova to the Beach Boys. And he’s also something of a wunderkind: He began learning guitar at age 8, and wrote his first song when he was 14; he was discovered a few short years later. Lerche has released five full-length albums (despite being only 28), with the sixth set to come out this month. His style is varied and interesting, but it’s not inaccessible by any means; he has an ability to repackage the complexities of the many genres he’s familiar with into a unified, catchy result. Sondre Lerche performs with Nightlands and Kishi Bashi at 8 p.m. at World Cafe Live; tickets are $22-$32. —Kiley Bense

Also playing: Okkervil River + Titus Andronicus, Future Islands at The Trocadero (9 p.m., all ages, $19); Sun Airway + Dustin Wong at First Unitarian Church (8 p.m., all ages, $12)

Death Cab For Cutie has come a long way since releasing its debut album in 1998. Ben Gibbard and Co. signed to Atlantic, appeared at the Grammys, and lent their music to The O.C., Wedding Crashers, and Twilight—which came amid controversy both external (they were accused of selling out) and self-perpetuated (they publicly protested the music industry’s over-reliance on Auto-tune). Despite claims that the recently released Codes And Keys represents a new direction reflective of the band’s move to L.A. from gloomy Seattle and (relative) happiness, it’s really more of the same. Gibbard coos melodramatic lyrics over an easy, pleasant pop groove; lead single “You Are A Tourist” sounds a little like a Stone Roses song, if you replace imagination with sentimentality. For fans of Death Cab’s previous six albums, this is a seventh entry that can be counted on. Death Cab For Cutie performs with The Lonely Forest at 8 p.m. at The Trocadero; tickets to the all-ages show are SOLD OUT. —Kiley Bense

Also playing: The Roots Picnic featuring The Roots + Wiz Khalifa, Nas, Esperanza Spalding, Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, The Dismemberment Plan, and Little Dragon at Festival Pier (noon, $79.75); Appel Farm Arts And Music Festival featuring Josh Ritter, Gogol Bordello (acoustic set), Ani DiFranco, Good Old War, Nicole Atkins, John Francis, more at Appel Farm (10:30 a.m., all ages, $45-$50); Penrose + Conversations With Enemies, Toy Soldiers at Danger Danger Gallery (9 p.m., all ages, $5-$10); SAT Black Landlord + Kuf Knotz, DJ Sean Smoove at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10); The So So Glos + The Fleeting Ends, Sunny Ali & the Kid at Kung Fu Necktie (7 p.m., 21+, $10)

Wildbirds And Peacedrums is like an inside joke between Mariam Wallentin and Andreas Werliin, the couple that comprises the band. Their music is not a joke, of course, with the wild, Nina Simon-esque vocals from Wallentin and solidifying drums played by Werliin. But it seems like they’re playing to each other. They dropped out of music school together and formed the band a year later. They worked obsessively on the song “The Window”, which appeared on their first album, Heartcore. They make clear in interviews that the song is important to the couple—but, despite, mysterious lyrics such as “I could beat all, I’m not solely a lonely girl or a wild bird,” they refuse to let the public in on the specific meanings.  When they play live, Wallentin wonders off with creative melodies, often facing her husband, who keeps her centered with complex but traditional drum beats. Wildbirds and Peacedrums performs with Yellow Ostrich at 9 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are $10. —Dave Simpson

Also playing: Rock To The Future benefit featuring Grandchildren + Creeping Weeds, Grand Nationals at World Cafe Live (5 p.m., $13); Drexel Music Industry Showcase featuring Hezekiah Jones + Slo-mo, Money Fame And Love, Kuf Knotz at TLA (3 p.m., $10.50)