[TRI STATE INDIE] Screaming Females Pack First Unitarian for Album Release Show

Sweat, beer and spit lined very surface of the First Unitarian Church Friday night for Screaming Female’s Album Release show.  Rose Mountain, the band’s 6th LP, is a melodic turn for the New Brunswick heavies, which boated well with the crowd that was clawing and dragging their way to the front, all at once, for the perfect stage dive during the electric set Screaming Female put on for their album release show.


Even though Screaming Females were obviously the focus of the show, there is a lot to be said about the rest of the bands on the bill, all of whom are Don Giovanni Records cohorts.

First up was Vacation, a group of seemingly young men from Cincinnati. While they some of their songs reek of pubescent angst, “Like Snow” for example, there is also a resounding cognizance of early punk sensibility.  “Straight to My Head”, the second to last song in their set, is the example to go by for their ingrained, New York Dolls/Ramones feel.

Outfitted in one of the raddest, faux leather, mom blazers to ever surface on the face of the earth, Amos of Tenement basked in the metaphorical spotlight.  You simply can’t take your eyes off of him as he slides, jumps and gyrates all over the stage, never missing a strum or note. The threesome from Wisconsin deliver a fast-paced brand of post surf punk that is like a slap in the face live, leaving you wanting more. That isn’t saying they aren’t capable of range, like the more mellow track “Cage That Keeps You In”, played towards the end of their set.

 

Priests proved to be the most explosive of the openers. To put it simply, foursome from D.C. blew the crowd away. A lot of attention has been surrounding the band since opening for Ex Hex, allowing the band to thankfully emerge from the clutches of D.C. with a lot more gusto. Katie Alice Glass, sporting a tailored yellow and white 50s picnic dress and four inch heels, theatrically screeches and belts her way through conversational and often political tracks like  “Doctor” and “Powertrip”, a song about Donald Trump. It’s not just another set, a Priests performance a true show across the board.

Rose Mountain isn’t a total separation to the ferocity of Screaming Females earlier LPs. The album has all of the energy and tenacity fans and critics have come to expect from the threesome, however, more focus is paid to the relationship between Marissa Paternoster’s earth-shaking vocals and the guitar/bass melodies, in addition to some back up vocals as heard on the title track “Rose Mountain”.

“Empty Head” and “Ripe” were clear crowd favorites as far as tracks off Rose Mountain are concerned. Right smack dab in the middle, the band unleashed “Treacher Collins”, a track off the 2009 Power Move LP, the crowd lost it and Screaming Females were there to match their intensity by thrashing wildly around the stage.

Screaming Females weaved several tracks from earlier albums with Rose Mountain, track after track, it felt like the threesome was reading the crowds mind and fulfilling their unspoken expectations. The well curated setlist included more melodious and slower tracks like “Broken Neck” off Rose Mountain and “A New Kid” off 2010 Castle Talka track that turned into a loud, shredding jam fest that Screaming Females visibly enjoyed and allowed them to (rightfully) show off.

A few of the dizzier fans in the front row began to wave their arms in worship, yelling “we are not worthy” as Screaming Females set began to wind down. Considering the tight time constraints First Unitarian operates under,  it was a stroke of luck that the threesome had enough time for one more song.  Screaming Females choose “I Don’t Mind It” off 2010’s Castle Talk, wisely. Screaming Females have clearly hit a stride.

Post: http://www.tristateindie.com/recap-screaming-females-pack-first-unitarian-for-album-release-show/

[TRI STATE INDIE] Minus The Bear and O’Brother Pack Underground Arts

For most of the October leg of Minus The Bear’s tour supporting Lost Loves, small venues were the pick of the day for the band. The smallest, ranking at 157 capacity, rested in Denver, the Marquis Theater, to the largest, Magic Stick in Detroit, with a roughly 1,000 person cap.

Last time around, Minus The Bear completely sold out the Electric Factory, which is double in size to Underground Arts, where the four seasoned musicians (and one sub drummer) played to a sold out crowd Saturday night. It was an intimate, and rare, experience for all in attendance. The crowd could reach out and graze Jake Snider’s pant leg if they really wanted to. It’s safe to say that Minus The Bear rediscovered their niche that works.

 

An amorous fan of O’Brother, who opened up the night, extended her hand to offer Tanner Merritt some fries, but was rejected. A good call considering the guttural bellows that is part of the band’s tight, yet grungy style.

O’Brother’s , who played a (roughly) 45 minute set of sweaty fervor, touched lightly on their sophomore release, Garden Window and really drove their latest,Disillusion, hard. “Oblivion”, for example, is as entrancing, as it is brutal, which seemed to sit well with the O’Brother fans and Minus The Bear fans alike.

“We have two more songs,” Merritt, frontman, said. “Play five more,” someone yelled. “Well they are long, so….” he cracked a smile.

Snider, Minus The Bear’s frontman, had a cool, calm and collected vibe on stage. He appeared content and comfortable in the intimacy of Underground Arts, allowing his pitch-perfect voice to do the work for him. His cohorts went above his level of energy by head banging and getting up close to the crowd for a closer look. The band slid in easily to their first song, “Fine +2 parts”, an oldie from They Make Beer Commercials Like This (2004), and a goodie.

Speaking of which, Minus The Bear jumped all over their impeccable discography, ranging from “Monkey!!!Knife!!!Fight!!!” off Highly Refined Pirates(2002), to “My Time” off Omni (2010), to “The Fix” off Menos El Oso (2006). It was a priceless gift from the band to the crowd, who would have never guessed they would hear such a range up close and personal.

Lost Loves is a collection of rare songs, some, like “Patiently Waiting” and “Electric Rainbow”, which Minus The Bear played towards the end of the set, only appeared as bonus tracks or b-sides. “The Lucky Ones”, one of the best off the album, warranted a solemn sing a long from beginning to end.


“You guys are sweet, sweet motherfuckers,” Snider said with a smile.

Everyone thought the show was over after the dance party that ensued for “Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse”. But as the crowd chanted “one more song”, the house lights pulsing along with them, Minus The Bear reemerged. They weren’t done giving the crowd the night of their life and finished off their set with two songs not listed on the set list: “Houston, We Have Uh-Oh” and “Knights”.

Post: http://www.tristateindie.com/recap-minus-the-bear-and-obrother-pack-underground-arts/

[TRI STATE INDIE] Little Dragon and Shy Girls Transfix Union Transfer

On Monday night the world stopped for a few hours. At Union TransferLittle Dragon was the only place that existed and the crowd was transformed.

Shy Girls opened up the night. Dan Vidmar’s liquid smooth vocals serenaded the die hard fans. Through the blood curdling screams and coo’s of the girls in the front row, the band delivered a set so sexual, the crowd was turned on from start to finish.

 

In a fuzzy white and pink skirt Yukimi Nagano emerged from back stage to a roar from the eager and hungry crowd. Little Dragon started off their set with “Mirror”, the first track off of Nabuma Rubberband, a shadowy song in tone and in no way reflective of the way the rest of the set would unravel. It didn’t just unravel, it exploded.

“We are a long way from home so we are going to play some songs we haven’t played in a long time,” Nagano said.

Little Dragon’s set is nothing like it was back in 2009.  Since the band’s earliest beginnings it would seem like they hit the ground running. On Monday night, enticing revivals of older songs like “Crystalfilm” and “Precious”.  The treasures the band have in their repertoire blended well with their more recent, bass heavy focus in Nabuma Rubberband.

Nagano gyrated and convulsed wildly, making everyone believe that she had been possessed by some unseen spirit or, perhaps, the very music Little Dragon creates.  Her face gleamed with anticipation as she introduced “Ritual Union”, a title track from 2009.  The crowd lost their minds and Nagano cut out to let the crowd sing a line of the song, loudly, all by themselves.

The crowd pounded the stage with open palms, demanding an encore from Little Dragon.  The band started their three song encore with the title track, “Nabuma Rubberband” off their new album.  But nothing seemed to compare when the crowd grew quiet for the last song.


As the first few chimes of “Twice” rang out into Union Transfer, the crowd was suddenly transfixed.  “Twice” is a song that seems to mean something to everyone and nothing was more apparent than that Monday night.  Again Nagano turned the microphone to the crowd, who sang the words to the song so loudly it echoed throughout the whole place.

“We should play Philly more,” she said.

Why yes, yes you should Little Dragon.

Post: http://www.tristateindie.com/recap-little-dragon-and-shy-girls-transfix-union-transfer/

[GRID] Going the Distance

Last spring, Philadelphia Runner Outreach Director Ryan Callahan read a text from his boss, spurring him to turn on the TV. It was April 15, 2013, and he watched in horror as multiple news stations reported on the devastation of the Boston Marathon bombing. Three people lost their lives, and about 264 others were wounded after two pressure cooker bombs exploded near the finish line.  Although Callahan had only been the outreach director for a month and a half, he knew that he needed to do something to show support.  

 

Emails from Philadelphia runners wanting to mobilize began to pour in, and Callahan and Philadelphia Runner decided to host a free run 48 hours later to honor those wounded and killed in the explosions. When the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office caught wind of how big the event was getting through a social media response, it decided to get involved, too. Last year, more than 2,000 people ran from the City Hall Courtyard to the Liberty Bell while people on the sidelines cheered them on.

“We didn’t do anything special; we met for a run,” Callahan says. “But … it allowed people to come together and celebrate our community in the wake of this tragedy. We thought it was going to be darker, quieter and sadder than it was, and it turned out to be the exact opposite.”

In late spring of 2013, a mutual friend introduced Callahan to Mike Kaiser, a Young Involved Philadelphia board member. The nonprofit, which started in 2001 and has more than 6,000 members today, advocates for young adults and gets them to interact with the city through several programs that focus on education and experiences. Callahan pitched Kaiser an idea—start a YIP Running Club. Kaiser was onboard. “It really was a partnership from the beginning,” Kaiser says. “The first run was great.”

YIP started doing fun runs in July 2013. In January 2014, Callahan and Kaiser coordinated a fun run where club members ran to the new Fringe Arts building and got an exclusive first look at the exhibit inside. Callahan has more fun runs planned for young Philadelphians looking for a great source of exercise and discovery. Alon Abramson, YIP runner and West Philly Runner organizer, has worked with Callahan in many capacities. Abramson first became acquainted with Callahan through West Philly Runners, YIP Running Club and more recently, a running group in Point Breeze.

“I try to support all of his ventures with the same kind of energy that he gives to my small running group,” Abramson says.

Callahan also keeps the running community well-connected by coordinating mixers with other city groups, such as Gearing Up, a nonprofit that helps to teach women in transition from abuse, addiction or incarceration how to safely ride a bicycle.

 “We don’t always look at our return on investments in terms of dollars and cents; we look at it in terms of how do we keep a happy and healthy running community in the city.” Callahan says. “My job is to help serve those people, grow their races, grow their running groups, help get their nonprofit off the ground [and] get more volunteers. … I see my first responsibility to the running community.”

Post: http://www.gridphilly.com/grid-magazine/2014/5/7/going-the-distance.html

[TRI STATE INDIE] Die Antwoord Keeps The Middle Fingers Up

The lights go out and the crowd roars. On the projection screen, the face of Leon Botha, who passed away in 2011, peers out to the crowd, blinking from time to time. An ominous Gregorian chant filled the Electric Factory Friday night, implying something quite dark and sinister was about to unfold.  DJ Hi-Tek took the stage, then Yo-Landi Vi$$er and Ninja took the stage in florescent jump suits, hoods up and the show began.

Considering Die Antwoord was just in Philly and played a sold out show three months ago, you would think the crowd would considerably downsize. But quite the opposite, the costume make up clad and off-the-wall outfits, including a shimmering tiger suit by one fan, filled the floor for the duo’s performance.

It’s important to know and Antwoord show is artistic like Kanye’s performances tries to be, minus the mind numbing rants.  The duo could easily rival each other for number of costume changes and on stage theatrics, as well as who could top who in feeding the crowd more of their character.  While Ninja chose to stare down the crowd with his ugly mug and stage dive repeatedly, Yo-Landi decided to baptize the crowd with her spit.  It’s a maniacal orgy of sex, hip thrusts, rule breaking and body-trembling rap-rave beats.

 

Die Antwoord continues to support their third full-length release since their first in 2010, Donker Mag.  The album can be a bit of a whiplash from time to time, like strange transitions between the interludes and heavy bass club anthems. The title track itself, “Donker Mag”, is a change in pace for the duo in both tempo and overall sing-songy nature.

“Happy Go Sucky Fucky” proved to be the song of the night, whipping the crowd into hysteria. The song has a few perfect moments between Die Antwoord and the crowd where everyone yells “fuck your rules” over and over.  They chanted together with so much vehemence, it became less about the words themselves but the way it made them feel, vagrant and in control.

“Cookie Thumper!”, much like “Baby’s On Fire”,  is not only an infectious song boiling over with her own spin on the sexual deviancies of hardcore rap, but it is the time Yo-Landi dominates the stage.  Yo-Landi, accompanied by two chameleonic dancers, showcased her fast spit and her effortless aptitude for sexual mystique.

Dawning the deformed, pit bull terrier mask over his face, Ninja prowled the stage like a caged animal for “Pitbull Terrier”.  Ninja wearing the mask is like someone ripping the scariest creature of your nightmares, humanizing it and throwing it up on stage…it’s terrifying. The crowd seemed a little hesitant to catch him that time as he dove over the pit and into the crowd for the third or fourth time. The song itself teems with intimidation,  which is not only the point but works perfectly with Ninjas encroaching demeanor.

Die Antwoord cut some slices out in their set for some tracks off of Ten$ion(2012). “DJ Hi-Tek Rules”, an anal track of DJ Hi-Tek’s very own, instigated more chanting along from the hardcore rap-craving crowd.  “Baby’s On Fire” also took it’s turn, producing a ripple effect amongst the sardine-packed, sweaty, jumping crowd.

 

Die Antwoord’s demented identities are the whole picture of the group. If it was, they wouldn’t have made it to Ten$ion. The sinister nature of their songs and the defiling beats dig deeper into each of the sexual and social fantasies the crowd might normally hide. On Friday night at the Electric Factory, Die Antwoord empowered the crowd to release themselves in ways they are often told not to. Die Antwoord is artistic in their ability to transcend.

Post: http://www.tristateindie.com/recap-die-antwoord-keeps-the-middle-fingers-up-the-electric-factory/

[TRI STATE INIDE] Black Flag @Union Transfer: Delirious in Nostalgia

It’s not often that you get to see a sunken ship, but on Tuesday night the nostalgic crowd at Union Transfer saw Black Flag.  As many of the fans present hung on to the yester years of one of the greatest punk bands to ever exist, as they peeled one finger at a time off the ledge of legitimacy.  As hard as Mike Vallely and Greg Ginn, the only original member left, tried to keep it together, the Black Flag that took the stage at Union Transfer just wasn’t the same.

Many die hard fans let go of Black Flag with their 2013 release, What The….There were those who, smartly, jumped ship then, others, like those present at Black Flag’s show Tuesday night, aren’t going down so easy.  The crowd was small but dedicated, thrashing like it was 1984 Slip It In all over again.

 

It felt like the good ol’ times as the foursome ripped into “Six Pack”.  Vallely’s voice was in main stride which seemed to have violent side effects from the crowd.  Similarly so, “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme”, “best hits of” compilation material, induced a frenzy from the crowd, which could have easily qualified as a full-fledged riot.

The most redeeming and captivating aspect of Black Flag’s set was the noteworthy efforts of fledglings, Tyler Smith, bassist, and Brandon Pertzborn, drummer. Both have been enlisted in the past year and, by far, go the hardest. Smith and Pertzborn are masterful musicians, they didn’t miss a single beat.  Despite the fact that something felt stale about Black Flag, Smith and Pertzborn were there to get the job done.

The air smelled of blissful denial of the band’s waning status but no one seemed to even notice, or care for that matter. “Damaged” off their first album validated the meager crowd’s presence.  To the band’s defense, Black Flag put it all into their performance Tuesday night at Union Transfer, doing their best to make it feel as raw as the band’s origin’s in 1976.

Post: http://www.tristateindie.com/show-coverage-black-flag-union-transfer-delirious-in-nostalgia/

[TRI STATE INDIE] Dubble Trubble: White Mystery Release Dubble Dragon April 20th

White Mystery is tackling their biggest project since the band’s origins in 2008: a double gatefold, half new music, half live album called Dubble Dragon. The album is a deep dive into the fantastical and exotic imagination of siblings Alex White and Francis White, two intertwined, fire-breathing dragons in the flesh.

It’s six thirty in the evening as Alex White, singer and guitar player, emerges from her bedroom cave, where she was nursing a pre-tour cold. She makes a pit stop to the bathroom to apply some bright pink lipstick, which barely stands out from her glorious locks of orange hair. Alex isn’t obsessed with appearances, rather she is suiting up to talk business.

“I was in a two piece with another gal called The Red Lights, another two piece after that, started a record label when I was 17 and started putting out 45s,” Alex listed nonchalantly. “I still put out records and I’ll be 29 next month.”

 

Their parents basement on the north side of Chicago has been the incubator for the Whites’ musical musings for as long as they can remember. They grew up in a creative family: their mother, who is both a seasoned and personal photographer best known for documenting the Disco Demolition in 1979, as well as a fashion designer for a younger brother and third sibling.

As teenagers they picked their instrument of choice, guitar and drums respectively, and took off running. Francis delved into the punk and psychobilly realms, while Alex planted her feet in loud, industrial, rhythm rock. They always found time to jam together, of course.

“We had a toy piano that we used to bang upon. We would jam quarters into it for no reason, it kind of turned into a piggy bank,” Francis reminisced about their first encounter with instruments as toddlers, “But it gave it such a demented sound we really liked.”

Missile X was Alex’s first enterprise, as Francis calls it. She started the label with a friend, Chris Playboy, and fellow Chicago musician. They decided to put out an album by one of their favorite bands: The Spits. The Spits like to dress up, like Ronald McDonald, Hamburglar and crew to be specific, so they released the bands album on Halloween with a custom lollipop inside.

Due to the tragic death of her label partner, Alex and Chris’ parents started a foundation, The Chris Saathoff Foundation, which was established in his memory and has raised $10,000 in the last 10 years for the foundation. Missile X fused with the White Mystery brand and the siblings have been releasing their own records annually since 2010.

“You think about nuns or monks and their vow of celibacy, we do not have a vow of celibacy, but neither of us is going to move across the country for a relationship and jeopardize the band, it’s just not allowed,” Alex seemingly quoted from the White Mystery bible. “The no-boyfriend-no-girlfriend pact technically ends on April 20, 2018, which is the 10 year anniversary of the band.”

Alex and Francis are no doubt ride or die. They even boast about a no hair cut rule too.  When the band started, they booked five shows very close together, two of which were at The Beat Kitchen, as Francis recalls. Fast forward to today, White Mystery has played in over 15 countries and 40 states.

“Dedication to the band is unwavering,” Francis said bluntly.

Its about three quarters of the way into the interview when Alex received a frantic text from one of the band’s interns. White Mystery was about to embark on their tour supporting Dubble Dragon and the pressure was on. Through the connections they have made, their dedicated interns and their own valiant efforts, Alex and Francis White have been self managed from day one.

“I had to keep visualizing what It looked like in terms of the front cover, opening the gatefold to the back of it to the experience of our fans taking the record out and visualizing the whole concept of the album itself, Dubble Dragon,” Alex explained her thought process. “It was not a mistake, its a fantasy story about two dragons.”

“Unteddy”, a track from the new album up on their website, oozes the band’s intense, head thrashing feel to the very core.  “Unteddy” is one part of the three part story of the Dubble Dragon. The band dropped the music video for “Double Dragon”, the title track and another part of the story, on Spin earlier this month. The video is a boys adventure into a psychedelic playground where his newfound dragon figurines come to life. But until Dubble Dragon drops, the rest of the journey the album encompasses will be incomplete.


“For new fans, they will have a taste of what happened on the first three album jammers as well as this very conceptual record,” Alex said. “For old fans, they will have a live concert on wax that they might have attended before.”

Dubble Dragon uses the gatefold to it’s full potential.  The first record tells the story of the Dubble Dragon, which they recorded in about six hours at The Double Door, while the second record is a live album. The siblings collected live recordings of their favorite tracks off of White MysteryBlood & VenomPeople Power, and Telepathic. Nothing will ever compare to Alex laying back on her knees while playing the guitar with her teeth or Francis’ dionysiac headbanging, but it’s a start.

“White Mystery shows are high-energy and dynamic. People fall in love at our shows! The pheromones are palpable,” Francis enthusiastically stated.

White Mystery’s face melting, psychedelic reckoning of the Dubble Dragon will all be available on vinyl as a special release during Record Store Day on the 19th and goes worldwide on the 20th following their record release show in Amsterdam.

“The last six years have been an epic adventure with my brother with all kind of Hobbit-like proportions,” Alex said. “There are villains and there is evil but there is also treasures. All of these concepts and the Dubble Dragon represent that epic adventure so far.”

Post: http://www.tristateindie.com/inside-scoop-dubble-trubble-white-mystery-release-dubble-dragon-april-20th-tour-dates/

[JUMP PHILLY] The Man Man Experience Experience

For as long as the members of Man Man can remember, singer Ryan Kattner, aka Honus Honus, hasn’t been shy about donning the most flamboyant dresses and capes to make his gaggle of characters come to life.

His fashionista spidey-senses tingle when he sees clothing more akin to grandma outfits for important rituals like bingo games or church outings, Kattner remarks. But more important than his best Tina Turner or Liza Minnelli impersonations is what lies beneath it all – a refined sense of performance and what a performer should be.

Photo By Mike Bucher

 

 

“If I am uncomfortable, I should be more uncomfortable and push myself,” Kattner says. “Once you can throw yourself out on a limb, it can go places.”

It’s no secret. Man Man is not a standard rock band, like The Beatles, The Killers or Foo Fighters. They aren’t the rock band anyone wants them to be, mostly because of who they are and have always been. By the same token, they just don’t give a shit. It’s a take it or leave it approach, but either way, you’ll never see anything like it again.

If “Head On,” a single from last year’s release, On Oni Pond, is your point of reference, seeing a Man Man show may be surprising.

“The song is a bit of a gateway drug,” explains drummer Chris Powell, aka Pow Pow. “You could say, ‘Oh this is great,’ or ‘Oh, fuck, that shit is crazy. I’m not into it.’ I think either is great.”

To Man Man, the “experimental” in an experimental genre is a dirty word. The band isn’t shy of catchy hooks, carnal melodies and storytelling, however mischievous and dark they may be. Where the experimental label catches up with the band stems from the theatrical and unconventional shenanigans of their live performances.

“It’s me throwing on a Tina Turner dress and doing my best Liza Minnelli impersonation,” Honus Honus says. “I don’t make a very beautiful woman, I make an interesting looking woman.”
A Man Man show is unforgettable from start to finish. Kattner regularly kicks back the piano bench to stomp and belt songs at the top of his lungs and shimmies all around the stage between costume changes and character impersonations.

“It’s like anything else in our set,” Kattner says. “It’s a juggling act. I know I have X amount of time to run across the stage and put on something before I have to start singing. If things get fucked up and go wrong, it’s exciting in its own way. It’s a forever quest.”

Powell, meanwhile, looks like he is sitting on a spring-loaded launch pad by the way he bounces around, which must be a hell of a ride judging from his animated facial expressions. Adam Schatz, known as Shono, and Bryan Murphy, aka Brown Sugar, equally match the the others’ ferocity with palatable tomfoolery.

One of the earliest examples of Man Man kicking it up a notch was in 2007, when they enlisted Philadelphia artist Isaac Lin to paint the drums that were scattered around the stage during a show. Lin, a friend of Powell’s from the pre-Man Man days of Need New Body and Icy Demons, incorporated his black calligraphy pattern with neon colors in between, which looked cool under the black lights Lin recalls. Man Man still features Lin’s creations on stage today.

More recently, Philadelphia-born costume designer Naomi Davidoff helped Man Man pull off a stunt that got the attention of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Davidoff took an off-white tunic and plastered Blitzer’s face in blue and magenta all over it, like a kind of awkward chicken pox one typically gets from watching CNN. Pictures of the tunic and news that Honus Honus referenced the station’s anchor in the song “End Boss” off of On Oni Pond first made it on to a segment of Anderson Cooper’s show, then Blitzer commented on it himself a week later.

“I’ve received many honors throughout my career but perhaps none as satisfying as being the inspiration for an indie rock song,” Wolf Blitzer says in the segment, which is accessible online.

“It’s about Wolf Blitzer breaking into houses and eating children,” Kattner says of the song. “I thought it would be more interesting if it was Wolf Blitzer, the CNN guy.”

Davidoff, who says she has been listening to Man Man for years, was excited to work with the band even before the tunic went viral.

“I thought it could be a really cool opportunity to make something custom of Man Man,” she says, “and see how Ryan would transform the costumes during their performance.”

In the summer of 2013, Davidoff reached out to Man Man to ask permission to use a song of theirs for her entry in the Boston Fashion Week. Davidoff proposed a trade: permission to use the song in exchange for free costumes for Kattner to wear on the upcoming tour for On Oni Pond.

“We had a few things that Ryan wore, tunics and stuff like that,” Powell says. “I really think that is one of the better ways to go about making each trip different. Honus does a really good job of switching that up, especially since Naomi asked us if we were interested.”

Davidoff’s vision: a tiger-striped, crushed velvet, reversible poncho cape. As magical as it sounds, crushed velvet doesn’t mix with the unforgiving heat of stage lights or Kattner’s zestful onstage theatrics. Aside from the heat issue, he needed interior pockets for his confetti and fake fingers stash. They went back to the drawing board to create poncho capes with “radiating patchwork, appliqué, crazy trims, dark patterns and stripes” fitting enough for Man Man’s untraditional front man.

Davidoff also created skeleton suits and LED tuxedo jackets for the whole band, which made their debut during Man Man’s Halloween show in 2013.

“During the Halloween show, I watched Man Man’s set from the stage,” Davidoff remembers. “Seeing Ryan master the costume changes from behind the scenes was great. Watching Man Man play my favorite songs while performing in the LED tuxedos was probably the most rewarding experience of my design career yet.”

Going to a Man Man show is a cerebral Tilt-A-Whirl without the guardrail. There will be dips, turns and spins through Man Man’s twisted, sexual and demented carnival of outcasts. It’s a ride that you can’t get off easily, not that you would want to anyway.

“It’s kind of like we are Dumbo in the Magic Circus,” Kattner says, chuckling. “We don’t need the feather to play the show. We are going to fly regardless.”

Post: http://jumpphilly.com/2014/05/09/the-man-man-experience-experience/

[JUMP PHILLY] Rainbow Destroyer: Waiting For You In The Dark

If Rainbow Destroyer had their way, every day would be Halloween, Gothic chic would be uniform and zombie movies would be as routine as brushing your teeth.

 

Mo Hayes and Foster Longo, who make up the electro-pop duo, are something out of an old-schoolRomero flick, where brain-starved zombies creep around every corner.

Rainbow Destroyer is hard to ignore — leopard print everything, sequin shorts, studded jean vests and zombie-like makeup are all a part of the band’s essence and attitude. Their music is Top 40 pop, but their lyrics are dark and asinine and their bass lines could make bones rattle six feet under.

“When I was younger and enrolled at the Paul Green School of Rock Music, the first show I did was Kiss,” Hayes recalls. “I went from being a really insecure, super low self-esteem 16-year-old girl to somebody in full Kiss makeup, wearing a mini skirt and fish nets and an underwear top with bat wings I made myself. I was spitting fake blood on strangers and having the fucking best time ever! I think that having the make up, particularly for me, has allowed me to step outside myself and do things that are more entertaining and go past what I would normally do.”

Longo and Hayes met at the School of Rock in 2005. Longo arrived with a firm grasp on classical piano but Hayes had yet to pick up a bass and sing rock ‘n’ roll to a crowd.

For both bandmates, learning to perform through the school was the greatest lesson learned.

“It was the first time I got to experience being on the stage in that context,” Longo reminisces. “It just completely changed how I felt about music and what I wanted to do with music. It really opened things up.”

Lights, glitter and smoke fill the scene when Rainbow Destroyer hits the stage — all of the right elements to create a danceable hypnotic trance over any crowd. On several occasions, at Philly spots like Tabu, The Trocadero Balcony and Voyeur (where they opened for Sharon Needles), their format resembles a cabaret show. In most cases, Rainbow Destroyer acts as a house band in a way, playing after or in between drag shows.

“There is an attitude that there is something you owe the crowd,” Longo says. “I see people who just stand there and sing and don’t do anything. It’s like, ‘I came to this show, probably spent money on it, you have my attention and you are wasting my time.’ I just consider a bad performance rude.”

Waiting In The Dark, an EP the band self-released in December, is a tantalizing fusion of catchy pop, juicy bass lines and a Tim Burton Gothic mentality.

“Midtown Village (Tonight)” contains all of this, as well as cameos from some of their friends from the LGBT community. The track includes speaking parts from The Goddess Isis, El Roy Red and Messapotamia Lefae, who all share in Rainbow Destroyer’s kitschy theatrics. The song is all about going out, getting drunk and having a big bite of “honey roasted, red pepper realness.”

“We spend a lot of time in the Gayborhood and with the drag queens there,” Hayes says. “We wanted to describe to someone who maybe doesn’t know about that culture in the city, what going out in that context is. I think we did a pretty good job.”

Rainbow Destroyer is searching for the missing piece to take their live performance to the next level. They want to turn over the computer and special effects responsibilities to someone so the duo can truly put on a show the whole way to the graveyard and back.

“In (one of our music videos) I put the raw lamb neck in my mouth,” Hayes says with a maniacal grin. “I’m going to continue to tell myself that I am really committed.”


Post: http://jumpphilly.com/2013/04/29/rainbow-destroyer-waiting-for-you-in-the-dark/

[BULLETT] 'True Blood"s Nelsan Ellis Reveals the Inspiration Behind Lafayette

The sixth season of HBO’s vampire odyssey True Blood is well underway, and Nelsan Ellis’ character Lafayette is coming to grips with all sorts of loss. But if you’re wondering where the 34-year-old actor found his sassy wit for the flamboyant, drug-dealing gay prostitute he plays on TV, well, look no further than his mother.

**Image via Google**

What is it like to work with Anna Paquin?
She is a consummate professional. You can tell she has been working since she was a child. She knows camera angles, she keeps it moving, she is constantly prepared. I mean, she knows what she is doing all the time and she keeps you on your toes. She is a great actress but watching her is wonderful, I mean the girl can cry on the dime and cry for as long as she has to.

What makes True Blood different from anything you have ever worked on?
The freedom. Alan just lets you do whatever you want and that is marvelous. In all aspects, make up, costumes, hair, you are allowed to do whatever you want to do. You can command your creative thoughts to play that part.

Which sin do you think Lafayette is most guilty of?
Gluttony. He just wants and wants and wants. Being a hustler, you have these hustles because you want stuff. You want money, you want sex, materials and you don’t want to have a regular job to be what you do to get that.  Lafayette just wants shit and he figures out ways to get it.

What about Eric, Alex Skarsgård’s character, what sin do you think his character is guilty of?
He covets. He always wants something that belongs to someone else. He is always taking someone else’s stuff.

I just caught up on the first two episodes of this season, what is it like to play a character in the grips of loss and depression? How did you prepare for the task?
When you are dealing with sadness, you are sad. Going into a sad dark place isn’t too fun for me. You have to sort of ponder up the sadness that is already lives inside yourself and no one wants to do that. Lafayette is a jovial, fun character in the beginning so having to judge up sadness is sort of on the cusp of my mother passing. You don’t really want to unearth sadness within yourself. Actually it was hard for me because I was dealing with my own stuff and not wanting to do it publicly but me trying to you know, use a little bit of it to give the character some ground. I was in the angst of emotional turmoil, so there were things that I had to deal with inside myself and yet try to use a little bit to get into character some realness. I prepared for it and tried to prepare not to do it…if that makes sense.

Has any aspect of Lafayette resonated with you personally? Has the character changed you in a way?
 Well, yeah, with actors we are the character and the character is us. We get the fathom of our characters from our soul, our being. There is a behavior fathom that you may not have for the character but when you’re playing a character your drawn straight from the heart to your behavior fathom, there is blood in it. I draw from my own life. It’s swagger and sometimes the way you walk when you don’t expect it. A friend will be like “Dude, you’re walking like Lafayette,” or it’s certain hand gestures and you’re like “Oh, that’s like my character”.

Does what you put into the character of Lafayette come from someone you know? Do you imitate someone you know personally?
 I do, I imitate my mother. My mother was a tomboy. She is strong yet feminine. Lafayette had to be feminine and masculine and all this stuff, so I sort of got most of his character from my mother.

If you could swap places with an actor on another current series, who would it be and why?
It would be Peter Dinklage on Games of Thrones. Or the chick with the blonde hair that handles the dragons.

What is in store for Lafayette for the rest of the sixth season?
You are going to see Lafayette come out of his black hole and start to be his old self again. He has some tricks up some sleeves to protect himself from another bout with the supernatural.

Post: http://bullettmedia.com/article/nelsan-ellis-promises-bullett-lafayette-cheers-up/

[JUMP PHILLY] Slutever: The Brat Pack!

Images by Marie Alyse Rodriguez. Styling by Linda Smyth. Hair by Juaquin Cameron at Richard Nicholas Salon.

Rachel Gagliardi and her Slutever bandmate Nicole Snyder squint their eyes to adjust to the late morning sun. Gagliardi adjusts her mussed red hair and straightens her oversized black T-shirt while Snyder fumbles with a VHS tape and pops it into the machine. The movie, It Takes Two, a Mary-Kate and Ashley classic, starts mid-film.

Gagliardi squeals when the tape starts at her favorite scene – the one where one Olsen twin enters the “haunted” mansion and finds her portrait hanging on the wall. Then, a ghostly figure, actress Jane Sibbett, glides down the hallway wearing a white robe and white face cream. Gagliardi and Snyder laugh hysterically as the Olsen twin runs down the stairs and out of the mansion, screaming the whole way.

The Slutever duo loves all things brat life – like the Olsen twins – looking up to them with childlike admiration. The bandmates pull off the Olsen twin vibe by frequently interrupting and finishing each other’s sentences.

“If we could shoot a video anywhere, it would probably be in the Mall of America,” Gagliardi says. “It would be us hanging out at the mall but us, like, riding the rollercoaster, going mini-golfing and doing, like, all the weird mall things.”

Snyder speaks up in her mellow and crass way, pointing out that Mary-Kate and Ashley already made that music video.

“Yeah but we would combine that with ‘Pussycat!’” Gagliardi exclaims, referring to one of Slutever’s hit songs.

Everything about Slutever reeks of the 90s teenager aesthetic; their love of bootleg Simpson’s memorabilia, the duo’s striking similarities to Beavis and Butthead, even the name of the band. Alicia Silverstone’s Clueless, a staple for all ’90s girls everywhere, represents the band’s world: annoyed by their parents and pretty much everything else, yet spoiled with an overflowing closet of clothes, shoes and accessories.

They are the perfect brats, and the sound of Slutever’s music is, well, bratty to match – loud and fast, yet irresistibly grungy.

Gagliardi and Snyder, who originally met in high school in Bucks County, both play the drums and guitar. The girls swap instruments mid-set during shows and recording depending on who wrote the majority of the lyrics and guitar parts for that song. They front their raw, aggressive sound with angst-ridden lyrics and ear-shattering bratty belting.

Formed in 2010 while the two were roommates and students at Drexel University, the band has become a staple on the local house-show scene. They have even elbowed their way into major venues around the country, into major festivals like Bitch Fest and they’ve performed exclusive recording sessions with major outlets.

They have a cult following. They roll their eyes at creeps and crave pizza on the daily. Now, both members of Slutever – still in their early 20s – operate their very own DIY record labels on top of everything else.

Snyder’s label, Mallrat Records, started as a senior thesis for her music industry major at Drexel. Mallrat’s first release was a Philly-born, melodic punk band, Cousin Brian. In June, Cousin Brian’s debut album, First, was released digitally, as well as on Coke-bottle clear 12-inch vinyl. For Snyder, working with such a band speaks volumes about the mantra of Mallrat Records.

“Nirvana? They’re dead,” she says. “But that’s like the kind of music I want to put out on my label – punk, grunge. Those are the two things I’m really into. Any bands that fall under that aesthetic.”

Slutever’s brand of shit-fi, brat punk is well suited to the slacker mentality of Mallrat. Snyder plans to put out some Slutever stuff in collaboration with Gagliardi’s label, Bratty Records, this fall.

Bratty Records seeks to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on what seemed to be a lost medium for music: cassette tapes. Gagliardi’s first choice for a release was Slutever’s very own “Pussycat.” The cassette itself is bright pink with “Pussycat” printed on the label in puffy pink bubble letters. The experience it generates is a physical one, symbolic of the strong DIY culture the girls decidedly believe in.

“When we were on tour,” Gagliardi says, “I saw so many bands with tapes and so many of them were on small labels. They are so cheap and, like, I have a cassette player in my car. If tapes are two or three dollars or something, I’ll always buy them because I like the art. I like that they’re not the best quality but they’re still the most basic – you record straight to tape.”

Gagliardi, who graduated from Drexel a few months before Snyder, notes that many of these bands they met on tour wanted to trade tapes. Also, labels like Burger Records in California have a huge army of kids who order and support the cassette revival movement. Although generally small, there are pockets of thriving DIY culture that are taking it back to the basics, and Bratty Records plans to be in the same vein.

“If you are intentionally going for a lo-fi sound, it makes sense,” Gagliardi says. “It is really affordable and I can charge $3 per tape. I would rather people spend $3 and have some physical art then just give us $3 and be like, ‘Oh, you guys can just like have it.’ I know people like to support. I do that. I like to give touring bands money. I would rather just be like, ‘Take a tape.’ I’m really into physical stuff. Tapes are so classic. If we weren’t supported by our label, Bantic Media, we wouldn’t have put out a vinyl.”

By some sheer stroke of hazy luck, Slutever caught the fancy of producer Kyle “Slick” Johnson and the duo landed studio time with him. Slick is a punk kid all grown up who has worked with numerous indie and punk high rollers – from Modest Mouse to Wavves, and many more.

“Much of what they had done previously sort of fit the ‘Brat Punk’ bill perfectly,” Slick says. “It was not recorded in a beautiful, high fidelity way. The songs were full of great moments of haphazardness and it was all quite unpolished. I think it was perfect for who they were at the time. I think they’re ready to try and see where they can go from there.”

The DIY process previously left the duo to their own devices. Recording in a monitored manner with Slick at Fancy Time, however, has changed the Slutever duo’s idea of what they can do and what they want to become. Slick’s talents pushed the band forward, especially in terms of the duo’s songwriting ability.

Gagliardi and Snyder recently wrote the song “1994” in the studio with Slick. They had never co-written a song with someone else before. The track is a likely candidate to be a single, used to tease their upcoming EP, which is due out by the end of the year. It will be the duo’s third EP.

“Change is what keep things interesting, and I mean that in a much broader sense than just in music,” Slick expounds. “Slutever has the ability to change and I saw that while we were recording ‘1994.’ They have the ability to adapt to new situations. That is something that I hope doesn’t change about them as people.”

They are fresh out of college and ready to get down with full-time Slutever wheeling and dealing. It’s time to get serious, while continuing to not give a shit about anything. It could be a challenge to many. For Snyder and Gagliardi, it’s the preferred lifestyle.

“The thing is, we are really into cartoons,” Snyder explains. “We are really into The Simpsons and Beavis and Butthead. Our songs are really personal and they’re not, like, trying to be poetry. We just tell it like it is.”

Post: http://jumpphilly.com/2012/10/05/slutever-the-brat-pack/

[JUMP PHILLY] The Brazilian Revolution (in Philly)

In the late 1960’s, Brazilian president Costa e Silva ordered the construction of a bridge connecting Rio de Janeiro with the city of Niteroi, on the other side of Guanabara Bay.


Eugene Rausa, a young civil engineer from New York, packed his bags and left for Brazil to work on this extensive project.

Rausa found himself placed in the middle of fate’s hands. He fell in love with Rio instantly. The vivacious culture ignited something in his heart that permanently bound him to the city for the rest of his life.

It was there in Brazil that Rausa met his wife. His two daughters were born there. And Rausa, who had performed as a jazz pianist in New York while in college, became completely immersed in Brazilian music.

Thirteen years later, Rausa and his family moved to the Philadelphia area. With him he brought an intense passion and love for samba, the musical genre that is the soul of Brazil.

And just like magic, a Brazilian music scene was born here in Philadelphia.

Orlando Haddad’s eyes twinkle as he gazes across the table at his wife, Patricia King, whom he met on a beach trip in 1975 while both attended the North Carolina School of the Arts. During college, they discovered they shared a love of Brazilian music. Haddad plays guitar. King plays piano.  Both sing elegantly. By the time they finished college, they formed the band Minas, named after Haddad’s home state in Brazil, Minas Gerais.

They performed up and down the East coast for a while and then went to Brazil, where they recorded their first album.

They returned to the United States in 1984, arriving in Philadelphia with only an old, lumpy mattress and an uneven card table. They looked around Philadelphia for a slice of Brazil. To their surprise, they found very little.

But they did find Rausa.

Haddad and Rausa, who studied with a cuica drum master while in Brazil,  became friendly while taking samba classes at the University of the Arts. They wound up continuing their drum practices in Haddad and King’s basement in Lansdowne. Within a short time, the basement sessions included dozens of people.

Eventually, Haddad and King launched a samba school, PhilaSamba, with the help of Rausa and the Latin American Musicians Association. Every Wednesday evening, musicians would come over and turn their family home into a mini Carnival.

“The whole house would just shake and our neighbors would dance outside,” King explains.

It was fun and educational, a cultural experience as well as a good time.

The PhilaSamba workshops launched a Brazilian music revolution in the region. While the original crew disbanded after a few years, others groups followed – Banda Bacana and Samba Nosso, for example. PhilaSamba was the predecessor of today’s local crews like Philly Bloco and Alo Brasil.

“Brazilian music is really great for education and schools and for bringing young people together in a group of percussion,” King says. “They can express themselves because it’s an instrument that kids can get their hands on.”

“It unites communities with young people who are looking for a positive outlet in their lives,” Haddad adds.

 

In several ways, Alex Shaw, of Alo Brasil, represents the old guard of the Brazilian music scene in Philadelphia as well as the new. Shaw, a drummer, truly believes in the traditions and legacy of the Afro-Brazilian musical styles that have found a home here. Alo Brasil focuses on a concoction of traditional and modern day drumming where African rhythms converse with Brazilian styles.

“As a percussionist, understanding the folk traditions behind the music and where they come from is very important,” Shaw, 34, points out.

With Alo Brasil, Shaw performed alongside Rausa, who passed away in 2006. Shaw says that Rausa was the endless reservoir of gusto that gave the band it’s prodigious flight.

Shaw isn’t shy to mention his practice of Capoeira Angola, the dance-like martial art that is put to Brazilian drums. He credits it as a major source of traditional inspiration. This practice of dance-fighting, which was originated by slaves during the transcontinental slave trade, goes hand-in-hand with Afro-Brazilian spiritual traditions that are intricately woven into the Brazilian music scene today.

“What is it about these traditions that are so powerful that it unifies communities and starts movements?” questions Alex. “It’s that the percussion traditions are so empowering. They gratify the need to be heard as well as celebrate life and culture.”

Alo Brasil’s 12 members teach the history behind the music as well as put on shows. Shaw, for instance, has run workshops at the University of the Arts.

“Bands like Alo Brasil and PhillyBloco have done a lot to shift and facilitate this interest in Brazilian music,” Shaw says. “People didn’t really have a reference for it before.”

The amazing thing is that Alo Brasil only sings in Portuguese.

“How many groups do you know of that speak another language and have hundreds of people turn out?” Shaw asks.

PhillyBloco is the new kid on the block and is making the most noise in the Brazilian music scene right now. The group, which launched in 2006,  is the brain child of the industrious Michael Stevens, a previous member of Alo Brasil.

“A bloco is two things,” he says. “It’s a big parade organization at Carnival where 200 to 300 drummers take to the streets. But there are also smaller versions that go out to shows with their best drummer and build the rest of the band around them. The core is the samba-style drums.”

Stevens, a self-taught drummer, shares Shaw’s passion for educating the masses about Brazilian music styles. He served as the musical director of the University of Pennsylvania Samba Ensemble. He founded Unidos da Filadelfia, a samba school. He teaches drumming at Circle of Hope on Frankford Avenue.

“Ultimately my goal is to bring samba to as many people as possible,” Stevens says.

The majority of the people banging and tapping  on the drums, he says, aren’t musicians at all. They are just captivated by the lure of Brazilian drumming.

 

“Brazilian music is awesome,” he adds. “It makes people feel good. It makes people happy.”

PhillyBloco performs with 23 members but the line-up changes as instruments are added.  The 12 drums are regularly joined by bellowing singers, guitars, an accordion, a full brass section and a dancer.  When operating at full force, it’s hard to find someone not dancing to the rousing melodies during a PhillyBloco performance.

“It’s a very open and appreciative community we have that turns out for our shows,” says singer Adwoa Tacheampong. “Native Brazilians and non-Brazilians love to feel good and have fun. Brazilian music gives them what they want. That’s why people keep coming back.”

The band released their first CD in March. It’s a fusion of funk, samba, reggae and other genres, all backed by frenetic drums and Stevens’ whistle-blowing.

“The Brazilian music scene in Philadelphia is exciting, appreciative and growing,” says Stevens. “Native Brazilians feel like they are experiencing a slice of home.”

The legacy of Eugene Rausa,  the local “Godfather of Brazilian Music,” is wildly living on. The Brazilian music revolution continues to force people out of their seats.

Post: http://jumpphilly.com/2011/06/05/the-brazilian-revolution-in-philly/

[JUMP PHILLY] Bill Moriarty Gets a New Home

Bill Moriarty’s new studio has the look of a college dorm room, or maybe a basement bedroom, but he calls the space “No Nostalgia.”

Littered with guitars and drum kits, mics and cables, with an old organ resting in the corner, the studio feels comfortable, like a lounge – and that produces the best music, Moriarty says.

Moriarty, the 31-year old producer who has engineered recordings for Man Man, Drink Up Buttercup and Dr. Dog among others, moved into the East Falls location in December after five years of sharing space with Dr. Dog. The Connecticut native and new father is proudly planting roots in Philadelphia.

“There’s excellence in lots of different music here,” Moriarty declares.

Shortly after moving to Philadelphia at the age of 19 in the late 1990s, Moriarty circulated through a few bands such as Friends of the Library and Everything is Fine. He interned at Indre Recording Studio and apprenticed with Larry Gold.

Moriarty privately began recording various artists. He soon found himself producing lo-fi groups like Raccoon, some of whose members went on to form Dr. Dog. In 2004, he engineered Man Man’s debut album. He’s mixed four of Dr. Dog’s records, including their 2005 breakout, Easy Beat.

Dr. Dog taught Moriarty about the art of experimentation – because they were simply so good at it. Moriarty’s role was to make it all come together.

“A great recording is a great arrangement,” Moriarty says. “Just knowing when to take out the guitar or when to bring in the drums.”

Dr. Dog and Man Man both signed to Los Angeles-based Anti Records, signaling that Philadelphia was a hotbed of creative indie music. But Moriarty, who won a prestigious Barrymore Award for his work during a Pig Iron Theatre Company production at the Wilma Theater, knew that all along.

“Everything I have wanted to try,” Moriarty says, “there has been someone here that is some sort of master at it.”

Moriarty admires the evolution of the recording art from tape to the complex technology of modern production.

“It’s much better to get some equipment of your own, even if it’s your laptop with Pro Tools or GarageBand,” Moriarty advises about starting up. ”It’s much better to practice. Just record anyone who will let you record them for free.”

From his humble beginnings, Moriarty has become a sought-after talent.

But that’s not the only reason he gets little sleep these days. In January, his wife, whom he met here in Philadelphia, gave birth to their daughter, Timbre.

Moriarty plans to enjoy every second as he takes a little time off to spend with the newest addition to the Moriarty household. But work is never far from his mind.

“It’s all about the music,” Moriarty says as he strolls around the new studio space. “If we recorded here we would do more room mics because we can, because it’s quiet. People would love that sound, hopefully.”

Post: http://jumpphilly.com/2011/03/10/bill-moriarty-gets-a-new-home/

[JUMP PHILLY] Chalk & The Beige Americans: The Fisher-Price Version of The Roots

Chalk & The Beige Americans were originally just named Chalk. But then lead vocalist David “Chalk” Mayers Jr. had a revelation.

“We are all variations on beige,” Mayers explains. “White people aren’t white. Black people aren’t black. We are all variations of the shade. The name is just funny. There really was no reason.”

The three-man group prides themselves on comical variations of their band’s name, including BeigeHeart, Beige Matthews Band, Beigetastic, Beige Jovi, and The Beige Mayers Trio, to name a few.

Mayers jokes about calling their first full-length album, which is due to be released in the fall,The Beige Album.

The two-year old bands’ laid-back style features smooth grooves and avant-garde lyrics.

“If you took a whole bunch of A Tribe Called Quest grooves, with some ‘50s fucking bass styling over that, with guitar over top, where the acoustics are very folksy and gospel,” begins bassist Dave Kasper, “that’s how we play. How do you really explain that to people?”

“We have been struggling with trying to find a phrase or a compound word for this genre,” says Mayers. “People have been calling us ‘soul hop.’ It’s just hard because I feel like we touch on a lot of genres. It’s overdone but I think our music is just a melting pot of genres. If I had to anchor it down, it would be more like funk.”

Not funk,” says drummer Rich Breazzano. “It’s a groove. It’s so simple that you could drive a truck through it. It’s like a grilled cheese sandwich. You know, it’s all the cheese and bread and then you just eat it.”

However you classify them, Chalk & The Beige Americans figure they are doing something right if they can judge by the response to their music. Their live performances showoff their eclectic freestyling and jazz-like improvisations, assuring that you’ll never see the same show twice.

On a recent summer night at The Legendary Dobbs on South Street, the doors of the bar were wide open and the band could be heard from several blocks away. Passersby stopped to listen. Cops leaned on streetlights, bobbed their heads and tapped their feet.

“We are the Fisher-Price version of The Roots in a way,” says Mayers. “We connect with hip hop heads and people who are into pocket grooves, as well as the most tattooed, angsty punks. Even the responses from 40-plus-year-olds is unbelievable because I wasn’t around for their musical heyday. If they get down with it, it says a lot too.”

Post: http://jumpphilly.com/2011/09/05/chalk-the-beige-americans-the-fisher-price-version-of-the-roots/