Lancaster’s Jesse Barki is upbeat but unplugged on his latest project, Introspective (Acoustic)

Jesse Barki | Photo by Mollie Swartz | courtesy of the artist

Lancaster singer-songwriter and former Mellowells member Jesse Barki has just released a new EP called Introspective (Acoustic). It comes as his first release since last year’s album Age of Unknown Callers and is a three-song-long effort offering a slightly different-sounding side of the artist.

Barki is heavily influenced by Bright Eyes, Bob Dylan, and Wilco, which has been evident throughout his discography. Each of Barki’s new songs maintain the honest, indie-folk sound that was heard in his three previous albums, except they’re more upbeat this time. Continue reading →


Jesse Barki of The Mellowells releases solo album Age Of Unknown Callers

Jesse Barki | courtesy of the artist

The Mellowells have had a quiet year, but that’s given the band’s members some time to work on their solo efforts. While the Lancaster-based quartet is known for its upbeat indie pop sound, on his new solo album Age Of Unknown Callers, vocalist/guitarist Jesse Barki goes in a different direction, pairing his classic folk singer vocals with just an acoustic guitar for a stripped-down sound that allows emphasis to fall on messages he packs into his lyrics.

Age Of Unknown Callers is outward-facing, socially minded LP, exploring more fully the themes Barki introduced in his 2017 Lightning Coma solo EP. According to Barki, the new album is “about how the world we live in today creates paranoia and anxiety in people’s lives through social expectations and attempts to face this problem and swallow the fears we have of not conforming to those expectations.” Continue reading →


The Mellowells’ Jesse Barki releases thoughtfully-crafted Lightning Coma EP

Jesse Barki | Photo via

Jesse Barki of Philly’s favorite Lancaster four-piece The Mellowells just released a solo record on Bandcamp called Lightning Coma and it’s a heck of a good listen. 10/10 would recommend to a friend. Swapping out The Mellowells’ indie pop-rock vibes for folky punk-esque feels not too distant from Pinegrove, Barki’s release features eight tracks of easy-flowing melodies and personal and introspective lyrics. Continue reading →


Just Announced: Kayleigh Goldsworthy will bring All These Miles to World Cafe Live upstairs

Kayleigh Goldsworthy | via Facebook

Since she moved to Philadelphia, we’ve seen Kayleigh Goldsworthy on the bill at lots of shows around town, including two Roger Harvey Family gigs. Now, the local singer-songwriter has announced her first headlining show in her new hometown. Goldsworthy will play a show upstairs at World Cafe Live on Saturday, February 16 with Jesse Barki. Continue reading →


Make Music Philly Day returns tomorrow with Sonni Shine, Lazy Eye and more

sonni shine
Sonni Shine | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller |

June 21st, the longest day of the year makes for a great opportunity to open your porches, sidewalks, storefronts and yards for local musicians to perform in on and around them. Founded in France back in 1982, the fête is an opportunity to put on free shows by both seasoned and new artists testing their craft. If you’re into checking out what Philly has to offer but don’t know where to start, read through the neighborhood offerings below. And don’t be that guy running around screaming “Freebird” at every musician you see, please. Let’s keep it classy.

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Meet The Mellowells, check out their new single “Tiny Beds”

The Mellowells | photo via

Annville, PA outfit The Mellowells have shared a second single from their forthcoming effort Head Space, following up last month’s “Melting Vibes” with “Tiny Beds.” The band will release their sophomore effort on September 30th before playing a Halloween show at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster on October 29th.

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Digging up the past with Philly punk vets Ex Friends

Photo by Danny Flexner
Photo by Isaac Turner |

Historical context, and the role it plays as we view our own present, is important to Joel Tannenbaum. He teaches history at the Community College of Philadelphia – why wouldn’t it be? His fixation on the past and its relationship to the current state of things is evident right from the first few seconds of “Dirty Ben Franklin,” the opening track to Rules for Making up Words (Paper + Plastick), the first record from Tannenbaum’s Ex Friends, when he growls:

“If you listen closely, you’ll hear the sound / Of ghostly feet walking on the old hunting grounds / Then you’ll hear voices, troubled and vexed / With vague premonitions of what’s coming next”

“I’m really genuinely proud of that song,” Tannenbaum says. “I feel like it let me do a lot of different things at once that I think are important in songs. It’s about history, which is very important to me obviously. It’s about this city in a very particular way.” He stops for a second, before finishing his thought. “And it’s an anthem.”

There’s a distinct air of weariness and exhaustion that runs through Rules for Making up Words, but we’ll get to that in a second. Right now, a little bit of Ex Friends history.

The band was conceived backstage at 2011’s Riot Fest, where Tannenbaum was performing with a  Plow United, the popular power trio he played bass in during the mid-90s. The band played its first show in a dozen years for the festival, and after the set, Tannenbaum was talking to his friend, artist and drummer JP Flexner. He realized that he needed to start playing music again. Continue reading →