Philly rapper Young Chris headlines the TLA tonight. Emerging on the scene 12 years ago as an affiliate of Beanie Siegel and Freeway’s State Property collective, he branched out on his own, first as part of Young Gunz and then as a solo artist. When it comes to mixtapes, this dude is prolific, releasing on average two per year since 2007 (and embarking on the ambitious 30 Days / 30 Verses project in 2009). After a couple years of dropping random freestyle clips, Chris re-emerged this spring with the Philly-centric Gunna Season mixtape, which was praised by Stereogum: “the Philly veteran…just raps. And it’s great because he’s great at it.” Tickets and information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar; below, watch Young Chris’ video for “I’m Alive.” Continue reading →
With a name that evokes classic notions of taste style, you might initially think of The Gallerist as something pretentious or esoteric – art school dropouts more concerned with presentation and aesthetics than the actual music. Well, you might think these things if you’re particularly judgmental about band names.
Nothing about this trio of Philadelphia musicians actually reeks of ostentatiousness, though. In fact, on this somewhat quiet Tuesday evening at Ortlieb’s in Northern Liberties, they’re the only people in the bar still talking about the heart-wrenching removal of the US Men’s National Team from this year’s World Cup. Talking about it with a distanced reverence for the team’s accomplishments (particularly goalkeeper Tim Howard, whose considerable talents are now meme boilerplate), the conversation goes towards local sports very quickly. These are men who would sit comfortably in a number of crowds, and their music – a spirited take on familiar Americana and folk tropes – does much of the same.
Maybe you saw them open for some other local artist like Ron Gallo at a place like Tin Angel or Fergie’s, playing one-off gigs with just frontman/guitarist Mike Collins. Or perhaps you were lucky enough to see them open for the quickly-ascendant English singer-songwriter Laura Marling at the historic Prince Music Theater last year. Either way, their driving hooks, deft harmonies, and impassioned lyrics stayed with you well after the performance. On their new self-released EP Twine, which is officially released on Tuesday, July 15th, (and which initially gets offered to the public tomorrow at an album release show at the Bourbon & Branch), the band presents their clearest manifesto yet: five songs, each more instantaneously catchy than the last. The Key’s Skye Leppo wasn’t kidding when she said that The Gallerist “may just be one of the Philadelphia folk scene’s best kept secrets”, and we suspect that they won’t stay in the shadows much longer.
But right now, Collins and his bandmates – bassist Kai Carter and drummer John Holback – are understandably shrouded in some misconceptions about who they are. This is probably thanks to their name, which has made some people think they’re a one-person act. To be fair, the band name is in the singular, which dates back to the project’s origins as Collins’s solo vehicle in 2011. He still plays some solo acoustic shows, like last night’s at the Tin Angel, as The Gallerist.
“If you think about somebody who owns a gallery or frequents galleries…they really like bringing things together into one place. I liked the concept of someone collecting different things…experiencing different things, collecting experiences,” he explains. The 29-year-old New Jersey native started performing as The Gallerist while living in Boston, where he released the gorgeous A Falling Waltz EP in 2011 as well. When he moved to Philadelphia later that same year for graduate school, he chose to keep the name while looking for other members. Holback came to Collins’s attention via a Craigslist search for a drummer and bassist, while Carter came to their collective attention via his own Craigslist ad nearly a year later. Collins and the 31-year-old Carter played a few shows together as a duo while Holback, 26, was serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer in the Midwest; when he returned, they began playing as a trio and building a slow buzz for their evocative songs and tight musicianship.
The happenstance way in which these three musicians came together is fairly indicative of how a lot of local bands start, but few sustain their chemistry for this long a period of time; one gets the sense, when spending time with them, that their chemistry is completely natural and consolidated over a dedication to craft. This carries over into how they create music, and the collaborative dynamic is important to all of them.
“I’m not making all the decisions in this group. There are sounding boards, and we all discuss what’s going on collectively,” says Collins.
“The Gallerist was a huge transition for me,” adds Carter. “I moved out to Philly and left my previous gig playing for a solo artist, where I got told what to do. I got really burned out on being in some guy’s band and being a hired gun. To be a member of a band, writing harmonies and arranging with Mike. To have more creativity was good for me.” Continue reading →
Local trio The Gallerist will release its new EP Twine on July 8th, followed by a release show at Bourbon & Branch on July 12th. Frontman Mike Collins relocated to Philadelphia from Boston in 2011 before the release of his debut EP A Falling Waltz and has spent the subsequent years playing shows all over the tri-state area, including an opening set for Laura Marling last year. Blending a rugged Avett Brothers sound with story-songs that are full of outdoor imagery, Collins’ music is not fragile folk despite the vulnerable lyrics. The new collection of songs that will be featured on Twine were recorded with Philadelphia friends in Levee Drivers and The Lawsuits, so it’s sure to be rootsy, heartfelt and fun. Stay tuned for more from Twine; in the meantime, listen back to the title track from A Falling Waltz below. More information for the release show with Levee Drivers and the Bernhardt Family Band can be found here.
Tonight, audiences will get the best of both worlds. After touring together in 2012, singer / songwriter Aimee Mann and punk / indie guitarist Ted Leo have teamed together for a new project, The Both. On April 15, the two released their first and self-titled album via Mann’s Super Ego Records. (Fun Fact: The Both was the first band to play at the newly opened Boot & Saddle.) Check them out tonight at Union Transfer. The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are $24.
Ali Wadsworth is not a new voice in Philly by any means, but she’ll be releasing her debut solo LP at Ruba Club tonight. The celebration will be an incredible one: a cocktail hour, sets by Auctioneer, Thom McCarthy and Divers and a “super top secret party band” will surround the centerpiece performance by Wadsworth and her band. Before striking out on her own, Wadsworth was a member of Unlikely Cowboy with Good Old War’s Dan Schwartz, Goldiebox with her sister Claire and Philly super-group Fantasy Square Garden. The new album, recorded by Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man), features songs written for Wadsworth by her friends and fellow musicians. Tickets and information for the all-night party can be found on the Facebook event page. Watch Wadsworth perform “Still Not Over You” at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology below.
“That was a really long opening song,” Laura Marling told the sold-out crowd at the newly-renovated Prince Music Theater. It was actually more like four songs – a medley of the opening suite of her new album, Once I was an Eagle, which stretches to about fifteen minutes even with Marling performing solo, minus the percussive and instrumental flourishes on the record. She laughed and thanked the audience for being so attentive – as if they were going to talk over top of her. Marling had the crowd at her August 30th performance pretty much enraptured during her hour-and-fifteen minute set last night, and the English singer-songwriter has an uncanny way of making a packed theater feel as intimate as a living room show.
Though Marling is an intense performer in many ways – gritting her teeth, looking out at the crowd with an intense stare, singing expressively about lust and betrayal and self-reliance – when she is not singing, she is warm and funny, joking about her guitars acting up on her and self-effacingly cracking on the tedium of acting as both performer and technician.
“This is the point the set where I normally switch guitars,” she said. “But this guitar is behaving very well. And I feel comfortable tuning it in front of you.”
Though the set was largely focused on Eagle, Marling visited her 2010 outing I Speak Because I Can for a three-song stretch mid-way through (“Alpha Shallows” was great), performed “Sophia” from 2011′s A Creature I Don’t Know, test drove two new ones (“Bleed Me Dry” has been performed on radio sessions, another listed only as “Rambo” seems very brand new) and played her take on The Allman Brothers Band’s “Whipping Post.” The husky blues of the original was remade Marling’s minimal acoustic style, but she didn’t seem pleased with the results. “I think I’m too English to pull that one off,” she said. Not true; it sounded great.
Philly folk-inspired trio The Gallerist opened the night with a well-recieved half-hour set drawing from their 2011 EP A Falling Waltz as well as material from the record they told the crowd they’ll be recording this fall. Catch them playing two shows on October 5th at One Shot Cafe (with The Sun Flights) and The Fire (with The Levee Drivers). Below, see a gallery of photos from the concert, and after the jump, check out Marling’s setlist and a video of “I Speak Because I Can.”
Philly indie rock outfit Little Big League will be opening for Titus Andronicus at Union Transfer, warming up for the release of their first LP, These Are Good People (out July 11th on Tiny Engines Records). Fun fact: Drummer Ian Dykstra used to play for Titus Andronicus a few years back! Find tickets and more information here, and check out their new song “Lindsey” below.
Continuing their month of Tuesday Tune-Outs, 8static presents Cheap Dinosaurs tonight at PhilaMOCA. The local chiptune / rock band will perform a set of their “wall of sound” productions before screening the 1982 independent sci-fi film Liquid Sky. Like their Tuesday Tune-Out predecessor Chipocrite, Cheap Dinosaurs recently performed at Mag Fest in NYC where they participated in a showcase of chiptune music makers. Admission for tonight’s all-ages event is a suggested $5 donation at the door; more information can be found here. Watch a live video of Cheap Dinosaurs performing at PhilaMOCA from April 2011 below.
The Gallerist’s Mike Collins boasts Boston roots, but he sounds more Blue Ridge Mountains or the Mississippi delta than Bean Town. Collins writes sinewy, textured bluegrass. He’s not a musician with a lot of tricks or frills, and his resulting recordings are sparse in a way that allows their lyrical and emotional content take the spotlight. Collins has relocated to Philadelphia in recent years, and will be taking the literal spotlight at North Star Bar tonight. He’ll be playing with Moon Palace, Bombadil, and Mostly Maybe. Tickets and information for the 21+ show are available here. Below, watch the video Collins made for Kickstarter in 2011 in which he explains his recent work and upcoming project.
The Gallerist, led by Boston native Mike Collins, may just be one of the Philadelphia folk scene’s best kept secrets. The group’s 2011 album, A Falling Waltz, carries itself on songs with lively narrative lyrics and captivating melodies in the same vein of artists like The Civil Wars and The Avett Brothers. It shouldn’t come as a shock that the album was audio mastered by Jeff Lipton, who has worked with Bon Iver and City and Colour. Collins and his bandmates showcase their storytelling magic in tracks like “Washed-Away” and “Crumbs.” Listening to A Falling Waltz is like a conversation with an old friend, and it’s only a matter of time before the band strikes the right note to get noticed past Philadelphia and Boston. Catch the band tomorrow afternoon at One Shot Cafe for a free show at 1:30; more details can be found here. You can stream A Falling Waltz in its entirety here. Below, watch The Gallerist perform their title track from A Falling Waltz.