Led by singer and guitarist Mark Harper, Roof Doctor began as a Harper solo project, that grew into a five piece band including Chet Williams (sax, keyboard, percussion, bass and vocals), drummer Kevin Paschall, guitarist Alex Stackhouse, bassist Sean Reilly, and Harper pulling all the seemingly disparate parts together. Continue reading →
King Britt & Dozia’s Back2Basic’s Reunion takes place tonight at Hard Rock Cafe. A revival of the legendary Philly nightclub night, the event hosts both live musicians as well as DJs, allowing for a genre-bending night of frenzy. Started in 1990, the event hosted names like ?uestlove, James Poyser and more. The man behind the project is Britt, who was also a part of the venerable Digable Planets and other projects. In his interview with the Key’s Sameer Rao, Britt explained the motivation behind the reunion as “We thought it would be good to do this as a reunion, but also as a reminder that this [mixing different genres] is possible”. He then went on to emphasize that the event is “not just partying…it’s existential.” Check out this video of King Britt and The Back 2 Basics Band perform live at Silk City below. Get more details about the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →
Local five-piece Roof Doctor stopped by for this week’s Key Studio Session, recording four songs taken from their new Mobile Freedom Home LP. Get a free download of “Bulldog” below and check out the full set here, along with upcoming show dates.
If you just went by Roof Doctor‘s irreverent personalities, their tongue-deep-in-cheek social media presence (Twitter handle: @roof_deezy), the fact that they once tried to start a beef with Conor Oberst, you’d have no reason to take them seriously. But consider their chops and multi-instrumental prowess. Chet Williams has a knack for juggling sax, keyboard, percussion, bass and vocals; Kevin Paschall delivers intricate rhythmic accompaniment from behind the drumkit (I’m still wrapping my brain around the beat at the beginning of “Bulldog,” which they played in their Key Studio Session); Mark Harper reigns in everything that’s going on and arranges it into ultra catchy tunes. These dudes are so serious. Continue reading →
Philly Tapes Philly‘s third release show is just around the corner, and they’ve shared some behind-the-scenes footage of last weekend’s recording session with Roof Doctor and Mo Lowda & The Humble. The local bands recorded and collaborated on two songs, a new one from Roof Doctor called “Two Brothers” and a re-worked version of “Throw Me a Bone” by The Humble. The songs will be released on limited edition cassettes, given away for free to the first 50 people through the door at next week’s show at Ortlieb’s (also free). More information can be found on the event page here. Check out the preview video below, filmed by Bob Sweeney and featuring “Two Brothers,” followed by photos of the session taken by Melissa Roderman.
The project began in March when members of Commonwealth Choir and Big Tusk recognized an opportunity to cross local genre and scene divides by inviting bands into their home studio, The Gun Shop, for one-off recording sessions. The resulting tracks, one from each band, are recorded through an entirely analog process onto 50 limited edition cassette tapes that are given away for free at the subsequent release show at Ortlieb’s, which is also free.
This month will see the Bucks County-bred alternative rock of Mo Lowda & The Humble split with the surf / punk-leaning rock of Roof Doctor, two bands that already eschew tight genre definitions in favor of intricate arrangements and jazzy instrumentation.
Nick Cislak of PTP / Commonwealth Choir was excited to get two bands together that move in different circles but share a passion for supporting and expanding the local music community.
“I already knew Mo Lowda, but hadn’t heard Roof Doctor. When Roof Doctor reached out I checked out [their new album Mobile Freedom Home] and loved it. Getting this many great musicians who were this passionate about the project in the same room together was too good of an opportunity to pass up.”
Listen to “Where the Whitetails Go” off of Mo Lowda & The Humble’s recent debut LP Curse the Weather below, followed by “Bulldog” off of Roof Doctor’s new Mobile Freedom Homefull-length. The free release show will take place at Ortlieb’s on May 29th; more information can be found on the Facebook event page here. Check out the show flyer after the jump.
Pete Souders owned Ortlieb’s Jazzhaus for 20 years, but learned in January that the establishment he built a reputation for would no longer be needing his services. His Tuesday Night Jazz Jam Session was canceled.
But, he can’t say he didn’t expect it.
After growing exhausted of the hectic lifestyle of running a night spot and music venue, Souders sold Ortlieb’s in 2007, and after a bouncing around of owners, it was purchased by Four Corners Productions.
“I decided to sell it because I thought I was really getting tired,” Souders said.
Under its newest ownership, Ortlieb’s has shifted gears from its once-smooth atmosphere to a place of socialization, drinks and indie rock. It’s also dropped the “Jazzhaus” portion of its name.
The newest owners asked Souders to come in to host his Jazz Night upon opening, but Souders said he saw major flaws from the get-go.
When he owned Ortlieb’s, Souders said a large, acoustic piano sat center-stage which amplified the room, but once the newest owners came in, they hired a engineer who wired various mics for the jazz performances taking over the piano, which Souders said he thought was “unnecessary.”
Real jazz, Souders said, is able to fill an entire room without the need of any additional equipment.
But then again, Ortlieb’s is now hosting more than jazz performances, necessitating a more involved setup.
But Souders said he saw more concerns than just the equipment. Right before Christmas, the owners told him they “weren’t making any money during the first hour-and-a-half.” They also asked his to cut the session back from its 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. slot so it wrapped up by 11:30 p.m. The owners told him they “weren’t making any money during the first hour-and-a-half,” Souders said.
He said that the new owners at Ortlieb’s told him they wanted to attract a better bar crowd at midnight, and Souders’ smooth tunes weren’t cutting it. It boiled down to a business issue.
“I had mixed emotions,” Souders said. “…[the situation] was anticlimactic.”
The current owners declined multiple requests for interviews.
So is the the current state of Ortlieb’s and what happened to its long-standing tradition a reflection for what might happen across the city’s jazz community? Continue reading →
Philly’s Roof Doctor will bring its eclectic blend of surf, punk and indie rock to Kung Fu Necktie tonight. Their latest album Mobile Freedom Home arrived late last month just in time for Spring. Check out “Bulldog” below and get $5 tickets at the door before showtime at 8pm.
Up the Chain stopped by for this week’s Key Studio Session. The laidback five-piece tossed three new songs into the set list, along with tracks taken from last year’s Seeds and Thorns. The session is a showcase of the band’s chameleon-like sound, moving from rockabilly to rootsy pop and even including a song you could tango to. Take a listen to “Seasick Sailors” below and get the full set here. Up the Chain play The Ardmore Music Hall on April 26th; tickets and information can be found here.
Philly outfit Roof Doctor released their sophomore effort Mobile Freedom Home this week, posting it on Bandcamp as a name-your-own-price download. As Patricia Madej described in her review, it’s the kind of album “you’ll find yourself humming” as you “notice the small jangly, irresistible details” of each song. Stream and download “Bulldog” below and get the full album here. Roof Doctor plays a record release show at PhilaMOCA tonight; information can be found here.
Folkadelphia brought in Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors for a live session back in October, and fittingly chose the early days of spring to share the resulting outdoorsy recordings. Found via word-of-mouth, the band proved why their fans are so supportive of and excited by the “honest, down-to-earth, and catchy pop & rootsy Americana music” the Tennessee natives create. Stream and download the full session below.
Local favorites DRGN King have returned with a new single called “Solo Harp” this week. Following last year’s Paragraph Nights full-length, the new track moves in a different direction with swirling guitars, a distorted found-audio clip and sun-bathed vocals not unlike Dr. Dog’s mellower tunes. Stream and download the song below and stay tuned for more from the band’s forthcoming second LP. DRGN King play Boot & Saddle on April 20th; tickets and information can be found here.
Recent World Cafe subjects Lake Street Dive performed a version of “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5 during their session with host David Dye. Featured as a My Morning Download, the song opts for a dimly-lit jazz club vibe with heavy stand-up bass notes accompanied by soulful vocal harmonies and steamy horns. Stream and download the song here. Lake Street Dive returns to Philly on April 2nd for a sold out show at Union Transfer.
Punk Philly band Roof Doctor released their newest album in a way that’s as sweet as the album itself.
This morning, a link to Mobile Freedom Home was accompanied by one line: “Hey guys, here is our album. We love you. We hope you like it. <3”
The band’s fans have been anticipating the release for quite some time. Since November of 2012, in fact, and the album’s intimate sound and intricate instrumentation reflect their hard work laboring in at Fishtown’s Headroom Studio.
Mobile Freedom Home is the kind of album that you listen to once through and can’t quite distinguish track by track (except for “Bottle It Up,” man, give that one a listen), but instead familiarize yourself with the sound, finding yourself humming the tune as you mosey through your apartment. Then, you find yourself wondering, “What the hell is that song called?” only to return back the 10-track album hunting through the tracks discovering additional treasures off of the album. That’s how Roof Doctor gets you.
But upon second and third listen, you’ll start to notice the small jangly, irresistable details that accompany each track’s unmistakable vocals.