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Tonight’s Concert Picks: John the Conqueror at The Legendary Dobbs, Pity Sex at The Barbary, Royal Bangs at Milkboy, and more

Photo of John The Conqueror by John Vettese
Photo of John The Conqueror by John Vettese

Philly blues rock band John the Conqueror will be heading up The Legendary Dobbs this evening, before going on a European tour and releasing a new album The Good Life on February 25th. Soulful tracks make their blues sound attractive and inviting, and they’re sure to be even louder and entertaining live. Make sure to check them out before they leave the States for a good month; it’ll be their last Philly show until March 7th at MilkBoy.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Low Cut Connie at Johnny Brenda’s, Kalob Griffin Band at World Cafe Live, The Districts / Pine Barons at Chameleon Club, and more

Photo By: Charlotte Jacobson
Photo By: Charlotte Jacobson

Old school rock ‘n’ roll outfit Low Cut Connie is playing at Johnny Brenda’s tonight. With a tone like an upbeat “Piano Man” it’s no wonder that the honky tonk group’s whimsical tribute to Philadelphia “Boozophilia,” off of Call Me Sylvia, reached number 31 on Rolling Stone’s “50 Best Songs of 2012″ list. Just last month the band premiered their cover of Harry Nilsson’s “Jump Into the Fire” from their forthcoming tribute album via Rolling Stone. Get ready for their Philly show by listening a live performance of the new track below. Find details and tickets here.

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Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Alan Mann’s “Christmas On The Block” at The Legendary Dobbs on 12/22

Alan Mann and The Free Arts Band | Photo via www.relivethe80s.com
Alan Mann and The Free Arts Band | Photo via www.relivethe80s.com

Nothing depicts a community’s holiday spirit like a massive sing-along to a local favorite. In celebration of its 30th anniversary, Philadelphians from all over town will gather to sing along to Alan Mann’s 1983 holiday song “Christmas On The Block” which was the first independent music video to air on MTV.

Organized by longtime local rocker Kenn Kweder, as well as George Manney, and Mann’s former pianist Larry Saklad, the event will take place at The Legendary Dobbs on South Street. In addition, a camera crew from Attention Films will be at the show to film the performance and interviews for a documentary, and the band will performed backed by projections of archival Alan Mann footage.

Get more details here, and look for a download of the song next week when Helen Leicht’s 12 Days of Philly Local Christmas begins.

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Watch My Man Shafe long for “War No More” in live video featuring Khrista Bella (playing Dobbs 11/27)

My Man Shafe | Photo via www.soundcloud.com/mymanshafe
My Man Shafe | Photo via www.soundcloud.com/mymanshafe

Philly hip-hop artist My Man Shafe has a style that incorporates funk and soul, an approach that is reminiscent of the genre’s beginnings in the late ’70s / early ’80s. His melodic rap flow is easy to  vibe to as demonstrated by his live performance at the Legendary Dobbs a few months ago. He works off of singer Khrista Bella’s energy and impressive vocal skills to enhance his pro-peace anthem “War No More”. My Man Shafe will grace the Dobbs stage again on November 27th.

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The Key Studio Sessions: Curly Castro

All photos by Laura Lynn | www.facebook.com/llwphotography

We’ve long been fans of Philadelphia MC Curly Castro, and with good reason. He’s got the rabble-rousing fire of an activist and a strong social consciousness, but he also boasts a hype man’s energy and willingness to bring the party. He’s both Chuck D and Flavor Flav in one human being. And his tracks have range – dancefloor bangers (“West Indian Rum”), fierce Wu Tang-esque cut-ups (“Now they Call Me Castro”), satirical jingles (“Colored Water Fountain”). Earlier this year, Castro dropped his second full-length, Fidel, and many of the tracks performed in the Key Session come from it, but he skips all around his catalog – even to the heralded Wu Tang Pulp project of last year for set closer “Monty Hall Expo.” Joining him in the studio are sidekick Zilla Rocca – and the banter between these two dudes was so hysterical and priceless that it’s all available as downloads below as well – bassist Rah “The Sun God” Sungee and DJ Shane Six-Ten. Listen, download, and get a taste of what’s in store when this crew takes the stage at The Legendary Dobb’s this Sunday, September 22nd.

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Philly rapper Zilla Rocca covers The Beatles “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” plays Dobbs tonight

ZillaNot only is Philly MC Zilla Rocca skilled at kickin’ wicked rhymes of his own creation, he’s a master of interpretation and extrapolation, from his choice of sample material to his “covers.” See his Wu-Tang Pulp project with Curly Castro and Has-Lo. See also this cover of “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” by The Beatles, which appears on his Weak Stomach EP, released this week. Listen below. And catch Zilla tonight when he plays upstairs at The Legendary Dobbs at 11 p.m.

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Unlocked: Dig into a gallery of archival photos and show flyers from Informed Sources

All week we’ve peered into the 1980s Philadelphia music scene through the Unlocked spotlight on Informed Sources new retrospective Fun Under the Sun. To wrap it up, we offer a collection of images from the era, thanks to the band’s lead guitarist (and de facto historian) Frank Blank Moriarty. Check out the gallery above to see a mix of photographs and show flyers from Informed Sources’ run between 1981 and 1983, and head to Moriarty’s website for more. Tune in to 88.5 FM or XPN.org tonight to hear Moriarty join DJ Robert Drake on the air for the Land of the Lost. And get psyched for Informed Sources one-night-only reunion gig at The Legendary Dobbs on October 6.

Fun Under The Sun is the featured album in this edition of Unlocked; hear the spotlighted single “Imagined Fears” in Monday’s post, read Tuesday’s album review; watch the “Queen Mary II” video in Wednesday’s post, read my interview with the band from yesterday. And stay tuned to The Key for future album spotlights on Unlocked.

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Unlocked: Informed Sources’ Frank Blank Moriarty on bridging Philadelphia punk past and present

As soon as I saw the CD come across DJ Robert Drake’s desk here at WXPN – a three-track teaser, its cover art a photo of an old punk rock demo tape – I instantly wanted to know more. That was the first wave of appeal in Informed SourcesFun Under the Sun retrospective, released in full this week and celebrating with a one-night-only reunion at The Legendary Dobbs next week: it’s a time capsule of sorts, a window into an earlier era of Philadelphia music that I wasn’t able to experience first-hand. As I dug into the record, I discovered how much the music holds up and sounds relevant some thirty-plus years down the pike. And swapping e-mails with founding band member and lead guitarist Frank Blank Moriarty, I was also pleasantly surprised to learn how he too was fascinated and inspired by an earlier era of rock.

The Key: Listening to Fun Under the Sun and looking at the collection of archival images on your website, show flyers and the like, it feels like Informed Sources had a relatively impactful presence in its short time together. What drove you guys to do so much in such a short span?

Frank Blank Moriarty: When I was a teenager, I was lucky enough to find myself in an wildly creative era of rock. I saw Jimi Hendrix when I was 13, which was an incredible event to me. That opened me up to the possibilities of rock music. Having seen bands like The Who go from Who’s Next right into Quadrophenia and Led Zeppelin release Physical Graffiti on the heels of Houses of the Holy was inspirational. When I got my own opportunity to play in a band, I’d developed a real work ethic from seeing these other bands building such great creative careers. I knew we needed to have everything from graphic carryovers to stage introductory music to make an impact. After having watched and heard so much incredible music before I got to try my own hand in it, I just wanted to make the absolute most of chances presented by Informed Sources. Did we get anywhere near “superstar” status? No, but that’s not the point – you’ve got to go for it the best you can, take it seriously and ride forward motion.

TK: Can you give us a quick overview of what direction things went with the band after its last gig in October ’83?

FBM: That night we were on a bill with the great experimental band Bunnydrums, who were not only one of my favorite bands but also good friends. I played guitar with them on their encore – playing a cover of Link Wray’s “Switchblade” – and within a few weeks they’d asked me to join, paired with their original lead guitarist, Frank Marr. And our Informed Sources drummer in 1983, Sky Kishlo, went on to play with Strapping Fieldhands, as well as the Heathens, a very cool project with Beth Lejman from The Stick Men. Our original drummer, Doug Mosko, returned to Philadelphia and has played with me in several projects, including the heavy metal band Third Stone Invasion. We were signed to Jay Barbieri’s J-Bird Records, labelmates with The Who’s John Entwistle, Billy Squier, Andrew Gold, and more.

TK: What sparked the reunion and retrospective? I love how it’s seemingly random; not tied to a milestone anniversary or anything of that sort.

FBM: Yes, there is no rhyme or reason behind it – I just had all the material, we’d talked several times about getting it done, I had an opening in my time from writing books and other musical projects – so we made it happen! Continue reading →

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Unlocked: Look inside Informed Sources’ 2012 practice space, speculate what might be on those CD shelves

With the release of their new retrospective CD, Fun Under the Sun, Informed Sources are emerging from the vaults of punk rock Philadelphia and reminding present-day music heads what the scene was like back in the day. Three founding band members, joined by guest vocalist Matt Mulhall (standing in for the late Joe Stack), are performing a one-night-only reunion at The Legendary Dobbs on October 6 – and they’ve spent the past couple months warming up. Guitarist Frank Blank Moriarty shared this video from Informed Sources 2012 practice space, which reveals not only a bunch of dudes who still like to play fast and loud, but and impressively packed CD shelf along the back wall. Totally makes me about the stuff it might contain. Vintage punk? Experimental free jazz? Movie soundtracks? Check out this performance of “Condition Red” below, and get more information on the band’s “When the Punx Go Marching In” show here.



Fun Under the Sun is the featured album in this edition of Unlocked; hear the spotlighted track “Imagined Fears” in Monday’s post, read yesterday’s album review; and check back tomorrow for an interview with Moriarty
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L.A. punk legends Angry Samoans playing The Legendary Dobbs in October

First-wave punk rock legends Angry Samoans will return to Philadelphia this fall, bringing their breakneck drumbeats and shoutalong anthems to The Legendary Dobbs on Oct. 7. The current configuration of the Los Angeles-bred band features original vocalist / guitarist “Metal Mike” Saunders and original drummer Bill Vockeroth, as well as Matt “Malice” Vicknair on bass, who has been with the band since 2009. Below, watch a vintage video of Angry Samoans playing New Wave Theatre in 1980.

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