West Philly’s jazz jam “Rhythm Sessions” returns this Sunday, April 13 to Studio 34, will feature Chelsea Reed and the Fairweather Five

Chelsea Reed and the Fairweather Five | Photo courtesy of the band

Rhythm Sessions – a Lindy and Blues event and West Philadelphia’s monthly jam for jazz dance, jazz music, and jazz fans – is happening again this Sunday, April 13 at Studio 34 on Baltimore Ave. in West Philly.

The event, which is typically the third Sunday of every month, has been moved up due to the Easter holiday, and this weekend’s session features music by Philly jazz band Chelsea Reed and the Fairweather Five. If you haven’t experienced Chelsea Reed live before, it is nothing short of an experience, knocking you back to the Bessie Smith era of the 1920’s and 30’s in the most authentic fashion.

With the cozy ambiance of Studio 34, the high energy tunes of Chelsea Reed and a BYOF policy (bring your own food), the all ages event is perfect for friends, family, and the like. No ticket is required to attend, just a donation suggestion of $10, but that’s up to you. Get more information on the event here. Watch Chelsea Reed and the Fairweather Five perform their own rendition of “Everybody Loves My Baby” below.

Hear all about it Chelsea Reed and the Fair Weather Five from The Temple News on Vimeo.


Bad Braids performs new song at First Unitarian Church (playing a Folkadelphia Presents show at Studio 34 on 3/14)

BBDuring her opening slot at the First Unitarian Church last Saturday, Bad Braids‘ Megan Biscieglia shared a new song that likely comes from her upcoming LP release.  Though this performance features a solo Biscieglia, the local singer-songwriter called in fellow Philly musicians Jesse Sparhawk, Paul Christian, Cameron Vance and Sean Yenchick to round out the full-length’s sound, which follows up her 2010 debut Arrow and Orb.  Bad Braids will perform at Folkadelphia‘s  March 14th show with Sondra Sun-Odeon and Eric Carbonara / Jesse Sparhawk at Studio 34.  More information can be found here.


Watch Sondra Sun-Odeon perform “Samarkand” with Helena Espvall (playing a Folkadelphia Presents show at Studio 34 on 3/14)

Sondra HelenaNew York multi-instrumentalist Sondra Sun-Odeon, formerly of Silver Summit, will be in town on March 14th for Folkadelphia‘s Studio 34 show with Eric Carbonara / Jesse Sparhawk and Bad Braids.  On her debut solo record Aetherea Sun-Odeon breaks away from the heavy doom-psych of Silver Summit and opts for delicately soaring guitar / vocal compositions looped with minimalist swathes of strings.  More information for the Studio 34 show can be found here.  In the video below, Sun-Odeon is joined by local Espers cellist Helena Espvall for her song “Samarkand” off of Aetherea.


Interview: Joo Won Park wants you to listen closely (playing Studio 34 on Saturday)

Last Tuesday morning, the musician Joo Won Park was standing on the JFK Boulevard Bridge holding a small recording device near a flock of seagulls in order to capture the sounds they were making. “You have to be very quiet and very patient,” he said softly, trying not to startle the birds. “When I am making a field recording, I have one rule: I always wait until I think I have captured the best sound of the day, and then I keep recording for five more minutes. The best sound always happens after you think you already have it.”

Park, 33, grew up in Korea. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the Berklee College of Music, in Boston, and his doctorate from the University of Florida. He has lived in Philadelphia since 2008, and is currently an assistant professor in the music department at the Community College of Philadelphia. He also composes, records and performs using a computer, toy instruments and field recordings.

Park kindly shared with us the piece he made using his field recording from last week’s meeting at the 30th Street Station (stream it below). About the finished piece, he said: “The first part is a collage of field recordings I made that day. The ‘outside’ sounds (hail, seagulls) and ‘inside’ sounds (train station, resonance of the metal poles of the bridge) are mixed into one soundscape. As the piece progresses, the sounds become more unnatural: the hail sound turns into a hectic melody, the voice becomes incomprehensible echo, and the pole sound with larger-than-life reverb signals the end of the piece.”

Though Park mostly works as a solo artist, on Saturday night, he performs in a duo at Studio 34 with Julius Masri (Superlith, et al.). Before we went out on the bridge to chase seagulls, Park and I walked around the train station and talked about his music and the importance of listening closely to what’s happening around us. Continue reading →


Jesse Sparhawk performs “Hummingbird” for Out of Town Films (playing a Folkadelphia Presents show at Studio 34 on 3/14)

Germantown-based guitarist Jesse Sparhawk recently sat down with the Out of Town Films crew for a performance of the nimble acoustic number “Hummingbird”; check it out in the video below. Sparhawk is on the bill of a Folkadelphia Presents show next month at West Philadelphia’s Studio 34 with harp player Eric Carbonara; the duo released the album Sixty Strings in 2011, next month they will showcase material from their latest collaboration. For more information on the all-ages show, visit the Facebook event page here.


Local guitarist Chris Forsyth releases Solar Motel Parts I-IV (playing Studio 34 for the Archer Spade Performance Series on 3/16)

Philadelphia guitarist Chris Forsyth has shared a two-track LP on his Soundcloud, displaying once more how varied, but consistently on-point, his playing can be.  Solar Motel Parts I-IV bob and weave, explode and retract and fly into the far corners of the cerebral stratosphere before circling back in for a pleasingly distorted, white noise coda.  It’s not clear whether this recording will be made available in physical form yet, but you can stream it in full below.  Chris Forsyth will be performing at Studio 34 on March 16th for the Archer Spade Performance Series; more information can be found here.


Archer Spade Performance Series returns with Mary Lattimore / Jeff Zeigler Duo and Adam Caine (happening at Studio 34 on 1/19)

The Archer Spade Performance Series returns this month with performances by Mary Lattimore / Jeff Zeigler Duo and Adam Caine at Studio 34.  Conceived by local composers and musicians Dan Blacksberg and Nick Millevoi (collectively known as Archer Spade), the Performance Series is a monthly occurance that brings avant-garde, improvisational and experimental musicians to Philadelphia.  January 19th will see Philadelphia’s harpist-in-residence Mary Lattimore (Thurston Moore, Kurt Vile) collaborate with producer and musician Jeff Zeigler (Uniform Recording, Arc in Round) in anticipation of Lattimore’s solo record, set to be released in February.  Opening up the night will be New York solo guitarist Adam Caine.  More information for the all-ages evening can be found here.  Watch Lattimore and Zeigler perform at August’s Kensington Picnic below, then check out the Archer Spade Performance Series line-up as scheduled so far.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ben Vaughn Quintet at The Tin Angel, Angel Olsen at Studio 34, The Astronauts at PhilaMOCA, Mirah at Johnny Brenda’s, The Tragically Hip at The TLA

South Jersey-bred rocker, producer and XPN host Ben Vaughn takes to the stage of The Tin Angel tonight. The venue is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month, and XPN Welcomes Ben and his quintet to rattle the walls a bit with some timeless garage rock tunes. The 21+ show begins at 8 p.m., tickets and more information can be found here. Below, watch a video of the Ben Vaughn Quintet playing “My First Band” at Maxwell’s in Hoboken last year.

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Exit Interview: Meg Baird on her 10+ years in the Philly folk scene

Photo by Aaron Igler |

“One thing that I love about Philly is that people aren’t very careerist here,” says Philly songwriter Meg Baird, Saturday afternoon over coffee at South Street’s OFC. “In cities like New York or L.A., I feel like there’s a greater pressure to present highly complete work. But here people are happy to hang out with your cocktail napkin work. They enjoy your sketch-y stuff, and I think they like being in on the process a little, where they see you play something that maybe you don’t really have worked out quite yet. It’s something people say is true in San Francisco too, so I’m kinda hoping that will be a nice segue, to help me feel comfortable.”

She pauses to sip her coffee. Almost two decades after moving to Philly from South Jersey, Philly’s honey-tongued songstress will be leaving the City of Brotherly Love for San Francisco, where her boyfriend lives. It’s an exciting but bittersweet time—while she’s eager to delve into the city’s long folk history (“there’s this band from San Francisco called Icky Boyfriends that really played a big role in my formative musical years,” she says. “I actually got to play with them last week in New York City which was incredible”), she knows for sure she’ll miss her family and friends, not to mention the community of musicians and music-lovers. Continue reading →


Listen to a new song from Angel Olsen (playing Studio 34 on 11/13)

Chicago singer-songwriter Angel Olsen released her captivating sophomore record Half Way Home in September via Bathletic Records, and you can stream the album’s first single “The Waiting” below.  Olsen, who recorded and toured with Bonnie “Prince” Billy in his Cairo Gang, will be making her way to Philadelphia on November 13th for a Folkadelphia Presents show at Studio 34 with Meg Baird and Brendan Codey; tickets are $8 here and more information can be found on the event’s Facebook page.