Kensington Picnic returns for a second year with a great lineup featuring Spacin’, Mary Lattimore and more

Mary Lattimore | photo by John Vettese
Mary Lattimore | photo by John Vettese

Kensington Picnic will return this August for its second round. Though the lineup is not finalized yet, it looks like an even split between folk and experimental rock. Performers include the Strapping Fieldhands, Laura Baird, and Spacin’. Repeat performers include Birds of Maya and Mary Lattimore.

On the rock front, there’s the Strapping Fieldhands, an indie rock band from the 1990s that returned last year with their first release in 10 years. Birds of Maya played a great set at PhilaMOCA this year, as well as an awesome benefit show at Circle of Hope to support the Shalefield Organizing Community. Last but not least, there’s Spacin’, formed in 2012 by Birds of Maya’s Jason Killinger. Last year, Spacin’ performed their debut Deep Thuds LP at Hopscotch Music Festival and recently released the B-side to their Megatations tape via Telephone Explosion Records.

On the folk side of things, there’s the charismatic Laura Baird. The other half of the amazing Baird Sisters, Laura did a great interview with the Key’s Maura Filoromo. Over the years, Baird has played a range of instruments from trombone to flute and banjo. She incorporates elements of these into her performances. Harpist Mary Lattimore will also perform. Over the years, she has performed with artists ranging from Kurt Vile and Thurston Moore to Sharon Van Etten and Meg Baird. Last year, she played on a cover of Kitty Wells’ country tune “Christmas Ain’t Like Christmas Anymore” and a brilliant session with Folkadelphia. In September, she will release her latest album, Slant of Light as a collaboration with Jeff Zeigler (from Arc in Round). 

The picnic is set to take place on Frankford Ave, between Susquehanna and Dauphin, near Liberty Vintage Motorcycles. Get more information on the free event here.  Check out music from the artists below.

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Listen to the new Strapping Fieldhands track “Impossible to Say” (playing Underground Arts on 10/4)


Strapping Fieldhands, a staple of the 1990s’ indie rock scene in Philadelphia, are back with their first release in ten years.  “Impossible to Say” b/w “Sitting on Her Whiskers” was just put out by local label Richie Records (Birds of Maya, Kurt Vile, Watery Love) and comes in tandem with the band’s recent reappearance on the live show circuit.  During their original heyday, Strapping Fieldhands were frequent tourmates with Pavement, Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 and Guided By Voices, and were closely connected to Siltbreeze and Omphalos Records.  Now breaching a second heyday with his band, Bob Malloy returns to his signature British accent (described by Richie Records as being “as convincing as a perfectly fitting Toupée”) and late night pub antics on the new single.  Stream “Impossible to Say” below and order the limited edition 7″ here.  Strapping Fieldhands will support The Oblivians at Underground Arts on Friday, October 4th; tickets and information can be found here.


Just Announced: Experimental new wave legends Pere Ubu playing North Star Bar on 9/11


Going weird and strong since the mid 70s, Pere Ubu are often called “the most original and important of the new wave bands.”  Their music is very hard to place and that’s just the way the band likes it, taking elements from tons of different genres and throwing it together to create music based more on mood and atmosphere than anything else.  In January, the group released their 17th studio album, Lady From Shanghai.  In support of their new album, the group is going on tour and it includes a stop at the North Star Bar with Strapping Fieldhands.  Click here for ticket information and check out a Pere Ubu classic below.


This Weekend’s Concerts: Tobacco, Strapping Fieldhands, Northern Liberties Music Festival, + more


Tobacco Maniac MeatEver find yourself listening to Black Moth Super Rainbow‘s Dave Fridmann-produced, analog-synth-heavy 2009 release Eating Us and think, “This is all fine and dandy, but what this album really needs is more distortion. And even more drugs.” If so, BMSR frontman Tobacco‘s latest solo release, Maniac Meat, is for you: 16 tracks of synth-saturated, groove-oriented, acid-trip electronica that saunters through the dancier side of psychedelic music. Tobacco performs with Junk Culture and Dreamend at 8 p.m. at First Unitarian Church; tickets are $12.

Also playing: Lelia Broussard + Bess Rogers and Allison Weiss at 10:30 p.m. at Tin Angel; tickets to the 21+ show are $10.


Fans of the current crop of lo-fi revival acts can pay their respects to Strapping Fieldhands, the Philadelphia quartet (formerly a five-piece) that—along with bands such as Pavement, Guided By Voices, and The Grifters—was one of the early progenitors of the genre back in the ’90s. The band performs tonight in continued support of the re-release of its 1994 debut, Discus—voted one of the top ten albums never heard of by Spin. (And if you haven’t seen the video from the Shaking Through session the band did at Miner Street Recordings earlier this year, make sure to check it out.) Strapping Fieldhands performs with The Doozer and U.S. Girls at 7:30 p.m. at Kung Fu Necktie; tickets are $8.

Also playing: After stuffing yourself with all-you-can-eat ribs during A Full Plate’s Rib Cook Off at the Northern Liberties Music Festival, pick up a bottomless beer cup and take in local acts such as Black Landlord, Blood Feathers, The Friggs, and more. The performances begin at 5 p.m. at Liberty Lands.


Philly folk duo The Spinning Leaves performs with bike-riding, cello-playing, Sub Pop recording artist Ben Sollee as part of his “Ditch The Van Tour 2010”; members of the Bicycle Coalition Of Greater Philadelphia will be on hand during the show, which also serves as the after-party for the organization’s Bike Philly ride. The Spinning Leaves perform with Ben Sollee at 9 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are $10-$12.

Also playing: The Bang On A Can Marathon, featuring performances by Keepers Of The Chaos, Bang On A Can All-Stars, Asphalt Orchestra, and more at 2 p.m. at World Cafe Live; tickets are $25.