Category Archives: Music

Photo Recap: #HeinekenGreenRoom Ft. Vashtie and DJ Spinna + Gun$ Garcia

#HeinekenGreenRoom Philadelphia was back at it STRONG last Wednesday night when NYC’s Vashtie and DJ Spinna came through Silk City. Philly’s own Gun$ Garcia didn’t waste any time inviting guests to get their energy up — and it stayed that way until closing time. Check out photos below from @Amurri_Lauren.

Be sure to stay on the look out for more Heineken Green Room events coming up this summer!



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Free Tickets Contest!! Heems (of Das Racist) + The Very Best with STS

two.one.five is giving away 2 FREE tickets to Heems (of Das Racist) + The Very Best with STS at Underground Arts. Winners (chosen randomly) will be notified via email below Tuesday morning June 9th (day of show) by NOON. Submit your first and last name and email by TODAY 6/8 at 11:59pm ET. 



About the Show:

In The Black Box | Bonfire presents:

The Very Best + Heems
with special guest STS (Sugar Tongue Slim)

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 8:00 PM EDT Doors
Underground Arts, Philadelphia, PA
21 years and over



On stage:

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photo credit: The Very Best (Facebook)

The Very Best: (Dance)
It’s been a long, strange trip for Johan Hugo and Esau Mwamwaya, the Swedish-Malawian duo behind The Very Best’s exuberant global pop. One which crosses continents as well as musical genres. It’s also a trip, according to Johan, with no end in sight. “We’re constantly evolving,” he says with a laugh. “Not just in the sense that we’re trying to change our sound. But we’re constantly on a new journey which colours the music we make.”

The pair began that journey back in 2006 in Hackney, east London, where Esau was managing a junk shop. Johan, then half of club duo Radioclit with French DJ Etienne Tron, lived up the road and hearing that Esau had been a successful drummer in Malawi arranged for him to play a percussion session. But after hearing him sing it became clear there was only going to be one way forward for their creative partnership – and that was with Esau’s voice taking the lead.

“For me The Very Best is Esau’s voice,” says Johan. “Everything else is secondary, in a way. So much of his personality comes through in his singing. He’s such a positive person and I always get that feeling when I listen to him sing. It’s what I love about The Very Best and why I’ve always liked working with him so much.”

The first fruit of their collaboration was a 15-track mixtape, Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit are The Very Best (2008), swiftly followed by triumphant debut album Warm.


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photo credit: Rolling Stone

Heems: (Urban)

Punjabi-American rapper, founder of Greedhead Music, and native NewYorker, Himanshu “Heems” Suri launched his solo career while a member of alternative hip-hop group Das Racist. In 2012 under rap name Heems, he released two solo mixtapes, Nehru Jackets and Wild Water Kingdom. After Das Racist split in late 2012, Heems headed to Bombay and began work on his official debut solo effort. The album was released in in 2015 and coincided with an exhibition of the rapper’s artwork at the Aicon Gallery in New York City. Both the LP and the exhibition shared the same title, Eat Pray Thug.



For more info about the show or to buy tickets, click HERE.

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Upcoming: 40th Annual Odunde Festival – Sunday June 14th

40th Annual Odunde Festival

When: Sunday, June 14, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Where: 23rd & South Streets
Cost: FREE
For info: Click here for full festival details.

::::: via Philly360 ::::::::

Philly, It’s time to celebrate the African New Year and our city’s rich culture and heritage with the 40th Annual Odunde Festival.  Meaning “ Happy New Year” in Yoruba, Odunde was created in the likeness of African celebrations of the Yoruba people in Nigeria.

Held every second Sunday in June since 1975, this massive event brings South Street West to life, drawing thousands of visitors from around the country to shop its African marketplace, take in lively performances, and enjoy all of the other Odunde festivities.

Each year, the festival begins with a group procession from South 23rd and South Streets to the Schuylkill River to make offerings to Oshun, the Yoruba goddess of the river. Then the crowd returns to 23rd and South for the official start of the festival, which stretches over twelve city blocks. In the African marketplace, vendors from around the globe offer great food, art, clothing, jewelry, and other black and African-influenced wares.

In addition to great shopping and eats, Odunde features two stages that will explode with some of Philly and the country’s most entertaining performers. Be on the look out for great R&B, soul and gospel music, African dancing and Odunde’s signature drum circle.

This year’s performance highlights include Philadanco, Rennie Harris, Philly Youth Poetry Movement and a special throwback hip-hop concert feaeturing Kurt Blow, Special Ed, Chubb Rock and Kwame.

Click here to get the full deets on this year’s Odunde festival.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Odunde

Recap: Seinabo Sey Impresses at First US Tour Stop

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“Philly, this is the sweetest thing I’ve ever known,” said Swedish singer/songwriter Seinabo Sey to an intimate and enthusiastic crowd Tuesday night at Underground Arts on Callowhill St.

Draped elegantly in all red, Sey began her set with “Pistols at Dawn” from her 2014 EP, For Madeliene, backed by a 3 piece band with drums, keys and bass guitar. After the second song of the night, Sey humbly introduced herself as “one of the only black girls from a small town around Stockholm,” and thanked the crowd for making her “dream come true.”



Sey paid homage to Philadelphia and an artist she admittedly emulates, in Jill Scott — though it’s apparent Sey’s doing very well in her own right and stylistic approach. While the night progressed, her talent became more and more obvious as the crowd listened in awe of her gifted vocals. Like when they heard a new, unnamed song sung a capella… Or when she dedicated a sincerely soulful song to her biggest inspiration (both musical and personal), her father the late Maudo Sey, who was a famous West African musician.

This marked the beginning of the ascending singer’s For Madeleine tour, which will hit New York City, Washington DC, and Los Angeles among several other upcoming stops. During her 50 minute set, Sey performed hits from her two EP’s, including “Hard Time” and her final song — and most well known hit, “Younger.”

Lucky were those who saw her in such an intimate setting Tuesday night. There’s no doubt, as the features and shows continue to pile up, that Seinabo Sey is destined for many grander stages. Seeing her live will provide many reasons to believe her voice and talent will rise to entertain on that platform as well.



Guest Contribution – Ryan Quint // Photos – Aran Hart 



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::::::: See/Listen/Feel more from Seinabo Sey :::::::
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Grab your tix: Seinabo Sey coming to Philly 5/26

Swedish born singer/songwriter Seinabo Sey will be kicking off the U.S. leg of her For Madeleine tour in Philadelphia on Tuesday May 26th at Underground Arts [tickets here]. This marks Sey’s 2nd headlining tour in the U.S. Sey will be performing songs from her EP, For Madeleine, which was produced entirely by Magus Lidehäll. The debut EP features “Pistols at Dawn,” “Hard Time” and “Younger.”



You’ve probably heard the remix of “Younger” by Norwegian DJ Kygo. Since then, she has also released a second EP, For Maudo, this past March.



Sey’s recent accolades include Best New Artist at the 2015 GRAMMIS, the Swedish equivalent of the Grammy Awards, as well as being named one of “VEVO DSCVR’s One’s to Watch 2015” and “Rolling Stone’s Artists You Need to Know.”



The Supporting Act for the tour, is newly signed R&B group, James Davis. They released their self-titled debut via Hardcover/Motown Records last month to critical acclaim. The familial trio, fraternal twins Jess and Rey and younger brother AusTon hail from Inglewood, CA, and count artists as varied as Curtis Mayfield, Kings of Leon and Nirvana as influences.


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Called an “exhilarating, almost unclassifiable group” by Alan Light in Elle, the band “displays, like the music of sibling bands from the Beach Boys to the Jackson 5 to Haim, an unconscious and biological sense of timing and harmony that can come only from growing up in the same household and speaking with the same patterns and rhythms.” With additional praise from The Fader, Rolling Stone and Noisey, it is clear that this trio is a must-see opening act.


Seinabo Sey – “For Madeleine” U.S. Spring Tour

5/26 – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
5/27 – New York, NY @ Marlin Room @ Webster Hall
5/29 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
5/30 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
5/31 – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
6/2 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
6/5 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
6/6 – Seattle, WA @ SODO Lounge
6/8 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
6/9 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre

#HEINEKENGREENROOM ft PEEDI CRAKK: Photo RECAP

Last Friday night kicked off real nicely at Pub Webb on Cecil B Moore Ave — with DJ Ayeboogie spinning from up in the rafters. The room filled up early on in anticipation of North Philly’s own Peedi Crakk representing live on stage with the “Who Got The Jazz Band.”

Peedi immediately showed love and appreciation to the crowd saying how grateful he was to have had everyone’s support dating back to when he first smashed onto the Roc-A-Fella scene with State Property. His talented rhymes and wordplay were accented by his many fans shouting out lyrics and raising all of those green bottles in the air to the verses.

A treat wrapped up the night when Freeway came to the stage to debut a new track from his upcoming album exclusive and live for the Heineken Green Room crowd.

Needless to say, it was the place to be — don’t just take our word for it (And don’t fret if you missed it cuz #HeinekenGreenRoom has another big night coming up in June, so stay tuned!):



Photo creditsYSKSK Media | @YSKSKMedia



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Hiatus Kaiyote Exclusive Interview: Kaiyote Beautiful

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Striving as we music lovers do for a new sound that appeals to our palette, it’s not often we come across something that grabs our shortening attention spans… let alone envelops us the further we dig in. That is the bliss — free from ignorance — we hungrily look to feed upon.

When one finds Hiatus Kaiyote it may take a while to realize what is being heard. That wonder is the fuel for interest in wanting to feel and know more. Just as this Melbourne based quartet of musicians challenge themselves (and each other) in creating / performing their music, they invite others into the experience while lending time and space to learn and grow. Accept their invitation and enjoy raw appreciation for the delicately layered and well thought up lyrics which flow over an ensemble of sounds, forming Hiatus’ brand new album, “Choose Your Weapon” (Released May 4, 2015).

That’s when you’ll witness a soaking up of styles from decades past, expressed en vogue — that create an electrically current, even futuristic sound — pushing lyrical limits in an effort to understand our soulful experience in super/natural surroundings. The beauty — and the beast (that ever-present grit and funk), lies in the orchestrated push and pull of different arrangements and interludes that lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist Nai Palm fearlessly leads you through.

The album title implores you to make a wise choice, thinking ahead. A key ingredient to any act is the act-ivating. From there the belief that possibilities are endless guides a freeing of the mind — and we know what follows in time.

Below: I talked with Hiatus Kaiyote drummer Perrin Moss about their new album, the dynamic music culture of Melbourne, and more.



Philly! Check out Hiatus Kaiyote this month:
–> Friday May 8th @ Underground Arts ( Tickets )
** w/ Kate Faust and Mr. Sonny James

–> Saturday May 30th @ The Roots Picnic ( Tickets )



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Aran Hart: What do you think makes Hiatus Kaiyote and its music unique?

Perrin Moss: It’s 4 people that are very strong minded in their opinions. There’s not one person taking charge and telling everyone else what to do. Everyone brings in their own ideas. Even if it is a song that our lead singer Nai has written, we all interject and put in our own stamp on our parts. Then we workshop the fuck out of it to put it together. The input is so broad, not ever sticking too much to one thing.

We’re always challenging ourselves and the listener, but also keeping the music accessible, not going too far overboard. Even if individuals have their own point of reference for a tune, guiding the song in one direction — we’ll pick up on that vibe but not do it so obviously.

I come from a production background so I’m always thinking about how it would sound on the record. So as the drummer, with a drum fill or whatever, I’m like “Alright cool, I might sit back in the pocket a bit on this part because if I was on the record the drums wouldn’t be all in your face.” So we feel it out that way and I guess it expresses our uniqueness.

Is there a tempo or type of syncopation your band consciously creates? In particular your arrangements/pauses seem to be very complex and a trademark if you will…

I feel like that’s just what we do and maybe over time it’s become a conscious thing. I used to listen to a lot of this ‘South Asian’ music and now when I hear myself drum I can hear where it’s coming from in that sense — the spacing and phrasing. Once you start playing rhythms over and over again it starts coming out in your subconscious. Now when I hear a straight groove that is completely on time, it doesn’t seem natural to me as a drummer — for what I would play.

My natural thing is to be loose and have a few limbs hit later than the other ones, it’s ingrained in me. I keep getting influenced by other music and players, and influenced by life. So that really constantly redevelops your sound. So those time-signature changes is something now, if it wasn’t in the beginning, very natural to us. We don’t want to be known as a certain signature complex style though… or caught up trying to be any one thing, you know. We also really appreciate the simple forms and styles of music. It’s part of the process of us growing as musicians with our instruments.

You think about a lot of people who start off playing music and they wanna shred and then when they get older they chill out on that and want to hear the space in music. So I feel like we’re on our way with that, while not forgetting the feeling you first have when we started playing music — that excitement.

In the beginning it was really fucking hard to play our songs and all the ideas we came up with. But that’s why we liked it and why we came up with it. It was us developing another skill set on our instruments. Saying, “Hmm, I never felt this before… how all of us are playing this way and linking up with each other in new ways — and thinking, “hey this sounds alright!”


_MG_5818 by Wilk


Were these recording sessions long (in a good way) with a lot of improv… in essence how structured was the recording process? Because the records sound so natural and blended, while intricate and outside the box…

Our recording sessions were very structured. We tend to write a song and play it in loops for quite some time until we play it live (in concert) and then it will change from there. So we have a lot of experience with the songs before actually recording them. And then when it comes to the studio, most of the songs end up being the same length and form, pretty much. Sometimes what we play changes to achieve the sound we’re looking for, and how we want it to be perceived.

One song on the record “Swamp Thing,” we didn’t really have a form properly and we made it up in the studio as we went. That was the most free-moving kind of song that we recorded. We did three versions and did three different outros with a lot of improvisation. When we figured out the mixing of the album, and the structure of the song, the first half was pretty much how we worked out in the studio… While the last part we listened to all 3 takes and put a little bit of this outro, and a little of that one together from what we liked of each. Then we get into overdub land, so yea it gets pretty deep [laughs].

But, we’re not the type of band that just goes into the studio and starts writing songs and record them at the same time. We definitely marinate on the songs for a long time and figure out what feels right by playing them with each other and live at shows to see how people react to them.

What pieces/elements do you need to start/create a song?

It changes every time but I feel like we all like a story within a song. So lyrics have a lot to do with that and are very important. We feel it’s never a full song until there are lyrics involved. We love having that narrative. Also, I’m a drummer and it’s funny because I don’t feel like I can play any beat until I hear some chords. Even if I just hear 3 chords it gives me an emotional connection to feed off. It’s all about an emotional connection first and then whatever feels right in that context. A lot of the time we love to have these dreamy starts and ends, that draw the listener in and then things develop from there.

It’s always important to mix it up. Sometimes the songs will come from a production track I’ve done, then we’ll rework it. Other times Bender will come up with a guitar melody and Nai will write over top of that. Other times Nai will have a whole song — and you could say this was kind of “the birth” of Hiatus: Nai’s material, just acoustic guitar and vocals, with no other elements involved. I don’t know if she was thinking about a band or other elements, more just writing a beautiful song at the time. And then we developed the other elements around that emotion or feeling.

Of course, at times it’s just whatever we’re feeling. Maybe we wanna create this nasty, gritty, weird 60’s hip-hop thing that’s never been heard before, because hip-hop wasn’t around back then but it sounds like it was made in the 60’s. So then you have this weird crossover between this contemporary world and the old school way of making records. We’re always thinking about that kind of stuff.


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Talk about this new album…How did you know this was an album?What makes this collection an album?

A lot of it has to do with the time period. Also, that feeling of, “if we don’t record this song now, we might never record it…” Or we’ve been playing a song live for a while — and maybe it wasn’t quite ready when we did the first album. So, “if we don’t put it in this record, when will it come out?” We put everything in that people had heard, and that was already enough material to not really have to add in anything that new — though we have added a couple new ones too. It’s a documentation of our music and a time period. Capturing those moments and songs on this record.

And the next record will be a totally different thing, that will probably start from now. It will start when we’re on the road because we’ll come up with some random shit in soundcheck that will start developing. Then in a year’s time that will turn into a new song on a new record, just like how much the stuff on this record started before. We’re not very good at keeping secrets with our songs. We like to try them out and see how people react to them, and then we can go and record them.


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Describe something that happened to the band in the last 6 months/year and how it has played out for better or worse…

We always really wanted to work with Miguel Atwood-Ferguson — who did the Suite For Ma Dukes thing: a whole bunch of J Dilla songs that he interpreted with like a 30-piece orchestra. We were all just so amazed when we heard that in Australia.

We all love hip-hop and J Dilla, especially me, and didn’t even know for a long time that a lot of my favorite hip-hop songs were produced by Dilla. I was always after this certain characteristic or sound and then I realized that a lot of the songs were in fact done by the same person.

So, during an interview one day we were asked who in the world we wanted to work with and we all said “Miguel Atwood-Ferguson.” And thank god we got to work with him on this record. One of our only features outside of Australia, who among musicians is a big superstar. He jumped on a track of ours called “The Lung.” It was really beautiful and special for us to work with someone of that high caliber.

Also, collaborating with other musicians in Melbourne as well has allowed us to steer away from always ‘over-laying’ parts over parts for songs. We have been able to sit around in a room together with a couple mics, and do one take we could incorporate into a part of a song. This new process is something that has transformed how we are writing and recording our music and where we want to continue going as a band.

Describe the music culture in Melbourne?

It’s a very multicultural city with a lot of opportunities to see music. It’s also a small city so you get to meet a lot of people in the music community when you go to gigs. A lot of people there delve into a lot of different genres. There’s not a lot of ego there or fighting among musicians for gigs. More of a friendly competitiveness where people are giving each other support. The crew of people that I hang out with are a lot of my favorite musicians in the world and I connect with them so much. It’s not just Hiatus — I feel we could all play in each other’s bands because we come from the same place. I don’t know what is happening there but a lot of people are in the same head space about music and about pushing things — but still being true to yourself. It’s a very supportive network.

How as a band do you define progress/positive growth?

We just really take each day as it comes. Our goal is to become better musicians by continuing to push ourselves, and each other. But I guess we’ll never know if we do become great because it seems no musicians really ever feel like they’re great…ya know? And that’s the main part of what keeps pushing you forward and growing.




For more from Hiatus Kaiyote:
Website | @HiatusKaiyote | Youtube

Hiatus Kaiyote coming LIVE to Philly:

THIS Friday May 8th @ Underground Arts ( Tickets )
–> w/ Kate Faust and Mr. Sonny James

Saturday May 30th @ The Roots Picnic ( Tickets )

The Decemberists Dazzle at The Philadelphia Academy of Music | Recap

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When they play, they play for each other, and with their audience. From the onset their wry, not dry, humor was on display, toying with the contingent who were willing recipients. Satisfied knowing it was all part of the settling in and becoming comfortable with the performance at hand. Stepping calmly out onto the stage, The Decemberists, one by one or two, followed lead singer and guitarist Colin Meloy, as the Pacific North-westerners took their time to warm up and let everyone know they need not hurry in peril, this would be slow and steady. 


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photo: aranhart.tumblr.com (full album below)

Like a ring leader or MC for the evening, Meloy conducted himself respectfully onstage with fun dialogues, working first the guests up high in the rafters saying “Everyone in the top row, whoa, don’t stand up, applaud from your seats. No really. Stay, Safely. Seated. At all times, with your seatbelt fastened.” And then the box suites both stage left and right, repeatedly throughout the night checking in with who he called the Duke and Dutchess of Philadelphia and Baron and Baroness of Pittsburgh.”

The rest of the performance rolled on steadily, building up with musical prowess in full bloom — resting audibly on downtempo tunes, but maintaining the energy with powerful and well delivered lyrics narrating each story.

The topics are as detailed and thorough as the trademark enunciation. But they also take a look at the simple moments that we share in life with our families, in particular children, and appreciate that “sometimes all you can do is just sing a song to your son to make him try and eat his oatmeal.”


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photo: aranhart.tumblr.com (full album below)

Though we may not be “so starry eyed anymore,” The Decemberists provide many moments to get caught up in and newly discover our experience-ful surroundings with lines like “Condescend to calm this riot in your mind, find yourself in time… find yourself in time.” A nod to what we have all around us and ahead. An ironic ‘understanding’ one can notice as the final track of their new album [ What a Terrible World, What a Wonderful World ] is called “A Beginning Song.” 

Those that filled the Broad St. palace of a venue Tuesday night were all glad to have such engaging musical masters to guide the shared journey onward.



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photo: aranhart.tumblr.com (full album below)


To open the showcase, as the droves filed in and found their seats, Alvvays — a 5 piece Toronto indie-rock band grabbed people’s attention quickly with lofty vocals over crunchy amps. Their music (plus modest yet colorful look) blends influences of post-punk UK meets Beach House… bottom line it works. 

It’s the type of stuff you’d hear playing at a party or picking up a coffee and compel you to ask, “Hey who is this?!… Thanks” and it’s added quickly to a mobile playlist. With talent in their bloodlines and a dedicated touring regiment, Alvvays has been catching the eyes and ears of the music world. So in addition to their current tour with The Decemberists, don’t be shocked to find them on your festival line-up ticket in 2015 and headlining their own shows come next year.




Story and Photos – @aran_hart




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#HeinekenGreenRoom with Mannie Fresh: PHOTO RECAP

No April fools in The Dolphin for the first Heineken Green Room of the year. DJ Mannie Fresh dropped in and Philly welcomed him with an abundance of love — shouting out Big Tymers lyrics and heating up South Broad St. to say 400 Degreez, if you will.

EMoney sat down the Mannie pre-show for an interview airing on HipHopSince1987.com. Watch the snippet below (full interview posted soon).

DJ Lean Wit It set the party off right — and capped it too. All added up to a packed dance floor and a lot of “Hein-ees” in the party. Be sure to check back for more HGR coming your way in 2015.




Photo credits: Daniel Wooden // Jimmy Giambrone




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