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The Kominas unpack the paradox of identity and music in recent Shaking Through session

The Kominas | photo via artist’s Facebook page

Philly / Boston punk outfit The Kominas recently stopped by Miner Street Recordings as the focus of Weathervane Music’s latest Shaking Through installment. If you’re new to the series, for an uber quick rundown, it’s a super interesting feature that goes behind the scenes — both in artist background and technical production — as a band works through the process of recording a new song, from it’s personal, creative idea of a beginning, to its end jam of a result.

In this episode, the twelve year old band (though three years old with the current lineup) delved into the topic of identity, and the unfair media fetishism The Kominas faced almost immediately as a band; where they were, and still are, externally branded as a political “Muslim punk band,” even though not all members are Muslim, and they do not sing with religious-minded intentions.

Guitarist Shahjehan Khan questions in the video, “This idea of being a political band.. what does that mean? Your art is gonna be about your life. And if it’s good and honest, you’re gonna talk about your identity. It’s not political, it’s just what it is.” Continue reading →

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Watch Waxahatchee’s new song “No Curse” take shape in their new Shaking Through documentary

Waxahatchee recording their Shaking Through session | photo courtesy of Weathervane Music
Waxahatchee recording their Shaking Through session | photo courtesy of Weathervane Music

As much as I am completely, avidly, and wholeheartedly obsessed with music, I cannot for the life of me fathom how artists can create songs. I am constantly in awe (and also thoroughly envious) of musicians ability to have art in their heads and then go and make it a real, living thing.

Weathervane Music’s Shaking Through video series allows musical plebeians such as I, to experience this amazing process of recording. Their brand new video showcases Katie Crutchfield’s Waxahatchee creating their new anthemic jam of a song, “No Curse.” Being as that the session was the first time the band played the song together, you’re able to see the song build and take shape before your very eyes. Continue reading →

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Tune in for a live-streamed Shaking Through Session with Waxahatchee this weekend

waxahatchee
Waxahatchee | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

The folks at Weathervane Music are back it again, this time bringing us a Shaking Through session with Waxahatchee. Katie Crutchfield & co will be in Fishtown’s Miner Street Recording this weekend, January 21st and January 22nd, and the live-stream cameras will be on hand to give us a backstage pass into their recording process.

Continue reading →

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Tune In for Hemming’s Shaking Through Studio Session this weekend

Hemming | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Hemming | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

This weekend, on February 6th and 7th, Weathervane Music’s Shaking Through series will be livestreaming their new studio session with Philly singer-songwriter Hemming, a.k.a. Candice Martello.

Martello will be joined by members of Cayetana and Three Man Cannon as her backing band to perform a song from her self-titled album that came out last year. The session will be done at Miner Street Recording. For folks who are used to seeing Martello play solo with her electric guitar, this will be a unique experience of seeing her work with a band. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Hemming at Boot and Saddle and Robert Glasper at World Cafe Live

Hemming | Photo by Megan Lynch | meganlynchart.tumblr.com
Hemming | Photo by Megan Lynch | meganlynchart.tumblr.com

Candice Martello, better known by her stage name Hemming, is a singer-songwriter from right here in Philly and will be performing tonight at Boot & Saddle as part of the month-long Weathervane Music Recidency. She will bring her brand of raw, emotional folk rock alongside fellow Philadelphians Rosa Lup; for more information on the show go the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Big Thief at Boot & Saddle, Jacob Snider at World Cafe Live and Impressionist at Johnny Brenda’s

Photo by Michael Buishas via facebook.com/adriannelenkermusic
Photo by Michael Buishas via facebook.com/adriannelenkermusic

Brooklyn’s Big Thief, once the solo outlet for Adrianne Lenker and now a full-fledged band, are on the verge of finishing their first full length and poised to make a splash as they continue to develop their delicate yet powerful sound. Tonight you can catch them at Boot & Saddle as part of the Weathervane Music Residency alongside indie pop quartet Zuli. For more information on the show click here. Continue reading →

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Watch Pattern is Movement record their final song in a church for Shaking Through

Pattern Is Movement | Photos by Peter English | via weathervanemusic.com

It’s no secret that Philadelphia experimental rock duo Pattern is Movement is calling it quits. But before they announced their break-up, they promised to go out with a bang – and part of that bang was recording a song for Philadelphia non-profit Weathervane Music’s Shaking Through series. Continue reading →

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Cayetana wraps up the current season of “Shaking Through” with the aching “Miss Thing”

Photo via Shaking Through
Photo via Shaking Through

By now, I’m sure you’re familiar with Shaking Through, a documentary series from Weathervane Music that follow artists as they record one song in two days, start to finish, at Fishtown’s Miner Street studio. The latest episode features the Philly punk trio Cayetana, and gives you some insight into the personalities of each member, how they got together to form a band and most importantly, how good the music sounds. The song recorded is “Miss Thing,” which frontwoman Augusta Koch wrote about her grandmother (we heard an early version in the band’s Key Studio Session last year). Check out the video and listen to the song below.

Shaking Through: Cayetana from Weathervane Music on Vimeo.

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Talking hiphop symphonies and Shaking Through with Lushlife’s Raj Haldar (radio premiere of Toynbee Suite tonight)

Raj Haldar tracking piano for the 4th movement of Toynbee Suite | Photo by Phil Bradshaw
Raj Haldar tracking piano for the 4th movement of Toynbee Suite | Photo by Phil Bradshaw

Toynbee tiles- those clandestine, ceramic squares marked with crudely scrawled chunks of some lost conspiracy manifesto- are everywhere. Ever walk past one? They’re all over Philadelphia. And Chicago. And Buenos Ares. Hundreds of tiles have been placed around the world over the past 20 years by an anonymous tile-placer, more often than not stepped over, torn apart by civic management or otherwise weathered by two decades of simply existing. The tiles don’t draw too much attention to themselves; there’s no Banksy-level gawking involved, but they have left many folks simply puzzled.

“They’re definitely esoteric. They’re cryptic,” says a puzzled Raj Haldar, i.e. Lushlife, between sips of coffee and behind sunglasses in a sleepy South Philly café. (It’s 6 p.m. in November, by the way.) He’s explaining what about the Toynbee tiles drew him to write an 11-minute, multi-movement rap song called the Toynbee Suite.

“I think, like a lot of people, they just piqued curiosity in me. I’ve been walking around town over the last decade and just had very much a passing interest in them,” he says. “That sense of unknown origin gave me a lot of scope to build a narrative of what was behind the tiles. That openness was fruitful for the creative process, rather than writing about a historical fact where you’re limited to structure.”

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A Toynbee tile at 8th and Market | Photograph Larry DeMark

The Toynbee Suite has dragged Haldar out of his creative comfort zone in a handful of ways. Aside from fixating on a particular, tangible subject matter (“I usually don’t rap about something this specific. My rhymes are more stream of consciousness,” he says), the sheer scope of the project forced the 30-year-old hip-hop artist to work with a slew of outside musicians and producers (“With the Lushlife records, I do absolutely everything. It’s completely DIY”) in a pithy 48 hours (“A three-minute song usually takes me like five months to write and record”). It’s operatic in its construction, divided into four movements, each based on a line from the most seminal and ubiquitous of the Toynbee tiles, the one that reads something like:

TOYNBEE IDEA:

IN KUBRICK’S 2001

RESSURECT DEAD

ON PLANET JUPITER

Recorded at Miner Street Studios in Fishtown, the Toynbee Suite is the latest in a series of installments from Shaking Through, a project from Weathervane Music that challenges musicians to write and record a song in two days, documenting the process along the way. Haldar’s might be one of the most ambitious Shaking Through episodes to date, although he had written the bulk of the Toynbee Suite months in advance. “Even with all that planning, the 48 hours was just so packed,” he says. “The song, in the multi-track, has over 140 tracks. It’s unreal.”

Shaking Through: Lushlife Preview from Weathervane Music on Vimeo.

Working with anyone but himself – nevermind between 15 and 18 musicians at any given time during the two recording days – was new territory for Hadar. Continue reading →