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Find the beauty in distraction with The Chairman Dances’ new video

chairman dances
The Chairman Dances | Photo by J. Randolph Brown

To gear up for The Chairman Dances‘ EP release this Friday at The Rotunda, check out their new video for “Consolation,” a track from the forthcoming Samantha Says. The video follows a girl with her nose buried in a book as the city of Philadelphia bustles around her. She seems pretty unphased by her surroundings, which include the band itself as the members surround her on a park bench. Continue reading →

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Mikronesia will play a free show at The Rotunda this weekend

Mikronesia
Mikronesia | photo by MIke Ferrare

The Rotunda‘s acoustics will be used in full effect this coming Saturday when Event Horizon presents a free concert with Mikronesia. The piano-based, beautifully ambient recordings of Mikronesia are the brainchild of Philadelphian Michael McDermott, formerly of Gemini Wolf and currently a composer, sound designer and general musical artist who has worked on projects across the artistic spectrum.

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Sonic Liberation 8 will re-imagine loft jazz and chamber music at The Rotunda

Sonic Liberation Front | Photo courtesy of the artist
Sonic Liberation Front | Photo courtesy of the artist

Living in New York City between 1976 and 1985, Kevin Diehl found himself in the midst of the fertile loft jazz scene. During that now-legendary period, some of the most influential and forward-thinking musicians of the last half-century gathered together in Soho, forging a new sound building on the 1960s avant-garde and asserting their independence from major record labels and nightclubs. They were a group fueled by the communitarian spirit of organizations like Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and St. Louis’ Black Artists Group (BAG).

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Travis Laplante brings Battle Trance quartet to The Rotunda tomorrow

Travis Laplante
Travis Laplante | photo by Adi Nachman

There’s something about the saxophone that seems to push its practitioners, more than any other single group of instrumentalists, to test sonic limits. Travis Laplante is undoubtedly part of that tradition. His solo work utilizes an arsenal of extended techniques to make his one horn sound like a battery of instruments, while he and altoist Darius Jones explore extremes of volume and breath in the quartet Little Women.

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Ars Nova and Archer Spade join up for experimental jazz at The Rotunda on Wednesday

archer-spade
via archerspademusic.com

You couldn’t exactly call Miles Archer and Sam Spade one of fiction’s great teams; after all, Archer’s death helps to set the events of The Maltese Falcon in motion. Dan Blacksberg and Nick Millevoi’s partnership as Archer Spade has fortunately been more productive. Under that name alone, they’re a new music trombone/guitar duo; a commissioning entity that has generated works by the likes of Gene Coleman, Roscoe Mitchell, and Dave Soldier; and a concert series now entering into a new partnership with Ars Nova Workshop. Continue reading →

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Philly Summer Sonic Rock Showcase brings a sweet end to the season with Mock Suns and more

Kandy Kane Productions Presents: Philly Summer Sonic Rock Showcase
Kandy Kane Productions Presents: Philly Summer Sonic Rock Showcase

As the end of the season approaches (insert appropriate cries as you reach for socks to keep wearing your Birkenstocks through the fall), quite a few Philly music groups are putting together their own ode to summertime vibes. One we’re particularly excited about is Kandy Kane Productions Philly Summer Sonic Rock Showcase, which will take place next Friday, August 29th, at The Rotunda on Walnut Street. The line-up includes a pretty boss round-up of local mainstays: Old Scratch, Dead Tenors, Senium, Mock Suns, Kind of Creatures, Village and Snoozer. Doors for the showcase open at 6:30 and festivities will rave on til 1 AM. $5 tickets for the event are available at the door. Below, you can check out some tunes from a few of the artists featured on the bill. Continue reading →

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New Philly indie rockers Spelling Reform release their debut single “Together Apart”

spellingref
Photo | https://www.facebook.com/spellingreform

Although new indie rock/pop quartet Spelling Reform only formed less than a month ago, the members of the group are no rookies to the Philly music scene.  It was not until this June that lead singer and songwriter, Dan Wisniewski (formerly of The Quelle Source) decided to gather the group together and immediately start making music. The indie rock group is comprised of members from The Quelle Source, The Chairman Dances, Bird Watcher and Monday Appreciation Society.

This week the band released its debut single, “Together Apart.”  Reminiscent of The Mountain Goats quirky sound, “Together Apart” is a naturally happy tune and shows the quartet’s versatility as a unit.  Stay tuned for an upcoming music video to accompany the single.

“Together Apart” is only a preview for their upcoming debut show tomorrow night, June 27th, at The Rotunda where they will open for Chairman Dances and Vita and Woolf.  Find tickets and info for the show here.

Listen to “Together Apart” below.

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This Friday: “All Sound is Queer” at the Rotunda

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Curated by filmmaker and sound artist Catherine Pancake, the All Sound is Queer event takes its name from a 2011 article penned by Matmos’ Drew Daniel in The Wire. In that piece, Daniel rebuffed the idea that LGBTQ identity should be tethered to explicitly “queer” music, whether that means Lady Gaga, house music, or pride-sneering punk. Instead, the creation of any sound art, he argues, represents a “queer” sense of creative exploration away from the norm. Make music, he suggests, and you’re automatically disrupting the status quo.

Daniel will be one of the artists on the bill at this free Bowerbird-presented show at the Rotunda in West Philadelphia on Friday June 20th, which was designed as “both a response and continuation” of that essay. The evening will also feature music, readings, and sound works by a host of artists who place experimental music in service of identity politics, including musician and artist Keir Neuringer, Alex Smith, Ex. By. V. (featuring Leah B.), writer and poet Megan McShea, John Eaton, and artist and composer Jules Gimbrone (pictured above).

Go here for more information about the event.

Below, watch a short film by Catherine Pancake, “Effortless Battle.”

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Kuupuu straddles the sonic and visual worlds at The Rotunda on Wednesday

Kuupuu | Photo via Facebook
Kuupuu | Photo via Facebook

Finnish musician Jonna Karanka, who performs solo as Kuupuu, is also a visual artist with a fondness for crafting environments from dumpster-dive recoveries and found treasures. In that sense, her sonic world is not that different from her visual one. On the countless recordings she’s released as Kuupuu, there’s a sense less of song forms than of handmade environments, as if each piece was a field recording captured in a fantasy land of cardboard, yarn, and discarded baby dolls.

Karanka is an active member of Finland’s neo-folk scene, having worked with a number of groups including Hertta Lussu Ässä, Avarus, The Anaksimandros, Kukkiva Poliisi, Hockey Night, Olimpia Splendid, Way Of The Cross, and Trio Jäätelö. Traces of that activity carry over into Kuupuu in the meld of electric and acoustic sounds and the occasional incursion into hazy psychedelia, but Karanka’s solo work is more mysterious and evocative, an accumulation of taped and improvised elements that conjure the squall of a half-intercepted radio transmission here, a warped ‘60s exotica album there. She’ll perform at The Rotunda on Wednesday night on a Fire Museum-presented bill alongside fellow Finnish experimentalist Tsembla (aka Marja Johansson) and the debut of a new duo featuring Fursaxa’s Tara Burke and composer/multi-instrumentalist Rosie Langabeer.

Kuupuu performs at The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street, Wednesday June 18th at 8 p.m. Tickets to the all-ages show are $6 to $10 (sliding scale), more information can be found here.

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Hey you! Check out this new music video from The Chairman Dances

The Chairman Dances | photo courtesy of the artist
The Chairman Dances | photo courtesy of the artist

The Chairman Dances just released a music video for what will be their first single off their new album, The Death of Samuel Miller.  The track is titled “Dance to the Neighbor’s Stereo,” and it’s going to be the catchiest song you hear today.  You can’t not like it.  If you say you don’t like it, then you’re just lying to yourself.

The video is set in the year 1990, with the band members displaying typical 90s fashion trends such as flannel shirts, ugly sweaters, and Michael Jordan Bulls jerseys.  The band acts as a stereo, blasting their music loudly so the neighbors can hear and dance along.  But keep a look out for the single’s release this Tuesday, and the album’s release on June 27th via Grizzly Records (they’ll be playing the Rotunda on Walnut Street this same night).

Dance to the Neighbor’s Stereo from Steady State Productions on Vimeo.