Philadelphia's got a lot to be proud of. According to Philly Boy Roy, well there's hoagies, Rocky, Frank's Soda, them Eagles, Dead Milkmen, them Hooters, and laser GG Allin. With Mr. Ziegler's endorsements duly noted, what follows is a sampling - by no means comprehensive - of some of the other Philadelphia artists you'll be able to hear on WFMU's Free Music Archive.
Mp3s from Bad News Bats, Boogie Witch, Clockcleaner, Fursaxa, King Kong Ding Dong, Mincemeat or Tenspeed, Mountain High, The Original Sins, Phil Moore Browne, Sonic Liberation Front, The Strapping Fieldhands and Kurt Vile after the jump. Feel free to suggest more by email or in the comments.
Bad News Bats
An all-female group putting the fun back in doom-garage-punk. Liz McDermott's single-note guitar licks hint at surf rock while Abby Heller-Burnham's warbly synth plays up the monster-mash/sci-fi/outer-space themes. Their 2006 self-titled EP was a split release between Philly labels Badmaster and Hot Dog City. According to HDC headquarters, there's a split 7'' with The Early Graves on the way this spring.
By request from Brian Turner. Boogie Witch featured members of the Strapping Fieldhands. Their lone recording is an obliterated live performance at Philadelphia's Silk City, which has since been renovated. It was released as a self-titled CD-R by the Tequila Sunrise record label, also a well-curated record store. Can't find much info about Boogie Witch anywhere, but apparently Tequila Sunrise still has a few of these cdr's in stock. Here's a couple excerpts:
With John "everyone-in-this-town-can-suck-my-ass" Sharkey at the helm, Philly's most charming 3-piece has expanded their scuzzy auditory assault into something sludgier, darker, more spread out, and effectively creepy. Their 3rd lp Babylon Rules is loaded with jams, including my favorite Cramps-inspired waterboarding tune "Caliente Queen". And for something completely different, try their Wipers-sounding cover of Remo Voor's "Frogrammer". It's available b/w "Early Man" on a 7'' from drummer Richard Charles' Richie Records // TestosterTunes, home to likeminded local skull musicians such as Homostupids, FNU Ronnies, and the late Violent Students.
live on Brian Turner's show 12.12.06:
Clockcleaner - Vomiting Mirrors / Missing Dick (mp3)
Clockcleaner - New Slow (mp3)
Clockcleaner - Deaf Man Talking (mp3)
Clockcleaner - Black Baby (mp3)
Clockcleaner - Early Man (mp3)
After playing in bands like UN with Marcia Bassett (Double Leopards), Tara Burke began her solo project Fursaxa at the turn of the century. Taking a page out of Philadelphia's Ambient Consortium and the Bardo Pond school of acid-folk space exploration, Fursaxa also brings to mind elements of religious music, from church choirs to raga drones. Burke employs guitar, casio, Farfisa organ, accordian, dulcimer, effected vocals, drums, bells, flutes, and the kitchen sink without ever losing her otherworldly focus. Fursaxa was one of the highlights of Terrastock 6, in Providence's huge reverberant Pell Chafee Performance Center, and also sound great in these fine locations:
Fursaxa - Tyranny (mp3) Recorded 3.28.02 at the Mercury Lounge, NYC, available on Amulet from Last Visible Dog
Fursaxa - Circle Moon (mp3) Recorded 3.29.02 at the Khyber Pass Phila PA, available on Cult From Moon Mountain cdr
Fursaxa live on Irene Trudel's show broadcast 4.28.03 on WFMU :
Fursaxa - Dragonflies are Blue and Silver (mp3) live on WFMU 4.28.03
Fursaxa - Moonlight Sonata (mp3) live on WFMU 4.28.03
Fursaxa - Tuvalu (mp3) live on WFMU 4.28.03
Fursaxa - Renoun (mp3) live on WFMU 4.28.03
from Kobold Moon, newly released on Burke's own Sylph label, which just arrived in this morning's mail:
Fursaxa - Kokopelli (mp3)
Fursaxa - Saxalainen (mp3)
Fursaxa - Song of The Spindle Berry (mp3)
King Kong Ding Dong
Hazy dream-world psych-jams from a Philadelphia supergroup featuring members of A Sunny Day in Glasgow. KKDD self-released their debut EP in 2006, sending it out to radio stations like WFMU and labels like Badmaster Records. Badmaster gave it a well deserved reissue, adding to a roster that also includes Philly's own Tickley Feather, Serpents of Wisdom, Pony Pants and Northern Liberties. Side note: apparently Badmaster's about to expand beyond Philly with split 7''s featuring Todd/Vaz and Night Wounds/Mutators.
Mincemeat or Tenspeed
The story goes that Davey Harms wanted to make dance music, and all he had were some guitar pedals. Not even an audio source, just pure audio processing. So he ended up making feedback noise loops that he could somehow dance to. By now he's wrestled with the circuit enough to extract some seriously delicious beats and tones -- see "Accident Prone" and "Circle Crazy" -- which add a whole new dimension to the fuzz. He's touring the coasts now through May 23.
Mincemeat or Tenspeed - Circle Crazy (mp3) from the split 12'' with Drums Like Machineguns on Philly's Badmaster Records
Mincemeat or Tenspeed - For All These Mice (mp3) from the Deathbomb Arc Tape Club Year 3 September
Mincemeat or Tenspeed - Accident Prone (mp3) from All Critters 12'' (Deathbomb Arc)
Mincemeat or Tenspeed - Big Chief Keith Jones (mp3) unreleased from the All Critters session
A large group of purportedly pizza-loving rock dudes, including Rodger of Philly's most excellent Hot Dog City label. With chunky riffs and double drums galore, Mountain High exist in the rough territory between progressive and regressive. Their self-recorded debut Wicked Wanderer was released on CD by Hot Dog City and LP from Wantage USA. Their next project? A trilogy titled Man vs. Machine vs. Nature.
The Original Sins
John "Brother JT" Terlesky has rocked WFMU's live studio many times - both solo and with the JT3. He actually hails from Easton, PA, an hour outside of Philly, but for JT, we make the exception. In 2005, he stopped by Brian Turner's show with his reunited stompin garage rock group The Original Sins. Here are a couple samples from that session, recorded 11-18-05 by Gil Shuster and broadcast 12-13-05. You can find the whole thing on JT's website.
Phil Moore Browne
Phil Moore Browne is not a person, but a group composed of vocalists/multi-instrumentalists Yung Tung and Yung Spit, bassist Yung Stroke, drummer Yung Skins, and keyboardist/programmer Yung Touch. The music's simultaneously soulful, spastic, poetic, and very hard to describe. They call it Ziggaboo. In 2005, Phil Moore Browne released their debut album, Motel Moore: The Lobbies, but they warn on their myspace that "you might need to hold a knife to their throat to get one". In 2006 Hot Dog City released the paired down, more readily available Baggage Smasher EP:
Sonic Liberation Front
Led by percussionist, composer and producer Kevin Diehl, the SLF mixes Afro-Cuban rhythm with free-jazz horns, adding other elements and electronics as necessary. After their 2001 self-released debut Water and Stone, Philadelphia's High Two Recordings released 2004's Ashe A Go-Go and 2006's Change Over Time. High Two has also released a range of material including pioneering free jazz pianist Dave Burrell, His Name Is Alive's tribute to Marion Brown, and Brian McTear's Bitter Bitter Weeks.
Sonic Liberation Front - Ashe A Go Go (mp3)
Sonic Liberation Front - The Next Thing That Happens (mp3) from Change Over Time
The main project of the aforementioned Boogie Witch. They've recorded for Shangri-La and Philly's own Siltbreeze (who released, among other things, 1994's Jersey-Devil-themed, Mike-Rep-fucked-with In The Pineys 10''). Drummer Jeff Werner runs the group's label, Omphalos Records, while Jacy Webster (vocals and guitar) owns the Philadelphia Record Exchange. The Fieldhands proper are currently on hiatus, but they do have loose plans to reform in the near future. In the meantime, they've been working on a side project called Sparrow Steeple.
Strapping Fieldhands - Slingshot Sounds (mp3) from 3rd Kingdom (Omphalos Records)
Strapping Fieldhands - In The Pineys (mp3) from In The Pineys (Siltbreeze Records)
Strapping Fieldhands - Mysterious Girl (mp3) from Gobs On The Midway: Singles 1991-1995 (Siltbreeze Records)
Strapping Fieldhands - Song of Mourning Dove (mp3) from Wattle & Daub (Shangri-La Records)
Check out the Strapping Fieldhands' mp3 page for more, including the Bob Pollard-commissioned "Ben Franklin Airbath". Sherman at Shangri-La Records still has a few Ben Franklin Airbath 7'', a split with the Simple Ones.
If you're seeing a show in Philadelphia, there's a good chance that "Philly's Constant Hitmaker" Kurt Vile will be on the bill, either playing a stripped down solo set or fronting the double-floor-tom-toting Violators. A founding guitarist in The War On Drugs, Vile's own music breathes folksy directness and classic rock sensibility into a trippy psychedelic bedroom pop environment. Like Ariel Pink with more lyrical focus and flow. After releasing a handful of homemade cd-r's, Kurt Vile's debut cd on Gulcher -- aptly titled Constant Hitmaker -- compiles home recordings from 2003-2007.
some random other Philly things...
Local Support - The Philadelphia City Paper's biweekly local music podcast, curated by WPRB's own Iron Man, Jon Solomon
Funkadelphia - Philly funk and soul reissues and more
Breakfast at Sulimay's (video) and Darren's Basement with Gang (video) from Woodshop Films
Charles Plaza - healthy vegetarian Chinese food prepared by Charles himself
WKDU - Drexel radio 91.7-FM
WPRB - Princeton radio 103.3-FM
all mp3's posted with permission of the artist and label. All under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 license, except: "Freeway", "Space Forklift", posted with permission of the artist and label, and "Tyranny" and "Ben Franklin Airbath" posted with artist's permission. Cheesesteak hat photo from costumecraze.com.
Thanks to the artists and labels for putting out the good music and letting us share it with you.