The Skeleton Key: Whether you're holding on to summer or leaping into fall we've got you covered this September - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Barrett’s Birthday flyer

I feel like September is a bit neglected. It’s not summer, even if it’s still warm out, but it barely feels like fall. It’s not Halloween, even if everyone wants it to be. It’s a time of the year that comes with the caveats of what it’s not and that’s just not fair. There is so much to do this month, including a number of outdoor shows, so get while the getting is good!

Let’s start with tonight. No matter what you’re doing on First Friday you should kick your night off with the “From the Vault: Photos by Paul Havelin” retrospective happening upstairs at the Khyber chronicling all the bands that played downstairs at the Khyber throughout the 90s. Did you get that? It’s a bit meta, I know. After that I’ll be heading to the heavy metal show at PhilaMOCA with Crypt Sermon, Eternal Champion – yes, an epic metal band named after fantasy writer Michael Moorcock’s archetypal hero, it’s perfect – Sanhedrin, and Plague Dogs. Both Crypt Sermon and Eternal Champion have a habit of selling out whatever shows they play on their own and this is the former’s record release so you should probably grab tickets for this beforehand or try your best to get there on time.

Also playing a record release show tonight is Skeleton Key favorite (and formidable Words With Friends opponent) Curtis Cooper who’ll be performing tracks off their new album Gracefulat Underground Arts with support from Amanda X and Jacqueline Constance. This is Amanda X’s last show before heading off to Europe for a short tour so make sure to wish them bon voyage by buying lots of records so they can afford gas and stuff.

Tomorrow you have to make a choice. Well, actually, first you need to figure out if you have a ticket to the very sold out Ergs show in the wildly sweaty basement of the First Unitarian Church. No? Me neither. Okay, so here are your options: 1) Head out to West Philly to see two of my favorite two piece bands, Shellshag and Lung, play with actual guitar god Marissa Paternoster from Screaming Females or 2) Go see theremin wizard Mano Davina and his Divine Hand Ensemble’s 10 year anniversary show at PhilaMOCA because if it’s good enough for the Pope it’s good enough for your plebeian ass or 3) Hang out outside at the Franklin Music Hall and watch Run The Jewels absolutely tear it up. The choice is yours!

Monday it’s a lot easier: just go see Ceremony at Union Transfer. The post-punk five piece is back with a new album and while nothing will ever top Zoo and Rohnert Park – “Into the Wayside Part 1 / Sick” is one of the greatest hardcore songs of the last decade – In the Spirit World Now is not only pretty good but it’s also very Devo, which is cool.

Check out this sick shirt that Perry Shall made for them:

Speaking of cool people doing stuff there’s a ton of new local music dropping this month! We already talked about Crypt Sermon but if it’s more metal you want you should definitely check out Polemicist who recently released Zarathustrian Impressions, their ode to Nietzsche. Not only am I being completely serious but it’s also really, really good, no matter your philosophical leanings. Check out this interview with the band and soak it all in because I swear there will be a quiz about this.

Also released this month are demos from Me$h, Drill, and Signs of Aging, all in the greater synthpunk family, all excellent; a nine song EP by the always fun False Tracks; and a LP teaser in the form of a music video from heavy hitters Timelost. Bonus: Signs of Aging are playing on the 12th with new shoegazy act Rainbow Crimes – which includes Key writer Alex Smith – at Vox Populi.

On Friday the 13th come to the International to see me and Dana K from WPRB spin records during happy hour. I’m not promising anything too spooky but I’ll totally buy you a beer if you do the Crispin Glover dance! When that’s over follow us down to Kung Fu Necktie to sway softly to the sweet melancholy tunes of country gothers Wovenhand. While the band hasn’t released anything since 2016’s Star Treatment they just finished up work on a new album and if it’s like everything else they’ve done – and it will be – you know it’s going to be a doozy.

There are some bands you should just go see on principle no matter what they’ve been up to recently and no matter where they’re playing. Kayo Dot is definitely one of those bands. Over the past 15 years they Brooklyn-based outfit let by Toby Driver has released album after album of, as they put it, “endlessly eclectic” music. Some of it is metal. Most of it is metal. It’s not necessarily headbanging music, though I’m sure that’s not discouraged. It’s more something that would go well on a mixtape next to some Faith No More or Magma or Mr. Bungle. This is some cool stuff and you really shouldn’t miss out. The band, which these days includes Philadelphia resident Phillip Price on drums, will be at KFN on the 14th with Red Masque.

Also that night is Garcia Peoples, Long Hots, and Chris Forsyth at Johnny Brenda’s, Low Dose and Taiwan Housing Project outside at Pod Park in Northern Liberties, and the September Monthly Fund show at Inner Rhythms Music and Therapy Center with Sylvia Platyus, Erin Fox, and Alex Vogelsong. This month’s event will be benefiting environmental education group Forest Days.

Three days later head back to JB’s for what is sure to be a very special night of music with Peruvian chicha heavyweights Los Wembler’s de Iquitos who are touring on their 50th anniversary of being a band. This is the real deal psychedelic cumbia rock n’ roll and there’s almost certainly no chance of seeing them play again unless you plan on traveling to Lima. Highly, highly recommended.

If you didn’t manage to get tickets to that sold out Mannequin Pussy record release show at the Church on the 19th welcome to the club. But don’t fret, there’s still a ton of stuff happening that night! Over at Union Transfer you can see minimal electronic dance sensations Boy Harsher with Olivia Neutron John. Out at the Folksong Society headquarters in Roxborough it’s the fantastic klezmer tunes of Michael Winograd & the Honorable Mentshn featuring West Philly’s Dan Blacksberg on trombone. And in West Philly it’s another night of jazz and more with Brennen Ernst and Cecilia Ferneborg as part of the Warp Factor 9 series at the Suzuki Piano Academy.

As you can probably tell by now, there are a lot of shows I didn’t get tickets for that later sold out. I know, I know. I’ll plan better in the future. Speaking of which, if you’re not planning on going to Massive Attack at The Met on Friday the 20th – it’s not sold out yet but give it two weeks – you should head to Johnny Brenda’s for the Juntos benefit show with Marge, Yankee Bluff, and Blowdryer in honor of the man, the myth, the mensch Barrett Lindgren’s 30th birthday!

The next afternoon make your way down to 5th and South for the AIDS Thrift 14th Anniversary Block Party with host Robert Drake and performances from the Squidling Brothers Circus Sideshow and samba band Unidos da Filadelfia. I mean, how can you go wrong with that lineup?! That evening you should make it a point to check out the jangly rock n’ roll show at Jerry’s on Front with Melbourne’s Parsnip and local support from Honey Radar and Wild Flowers of America. While I did help out a little with putting the show together – “Who should play this?” “I don’t know, how about Honey Radar and Wild Flowers of America? I can talk to Perry if you hit up Jordan.” – you have to know that I’d be there no matter what.

The Moor Mother show that Sunday is special not just because Camae is seemingly always on tour these days and not just because she just announced her new album, Analog Fluids Of Sonic Black Holes, would be coming out in November on Don Giovanni. That’s all very exciting but what sticks out about this performance is who she’s sharing the stage with: Lonnie Holley is an Atlanta-based artist and musician whose sand and found object sculptures have been shown in galleries worldwide and whose spoken word-driven minimal electronic albums have been lauded by critics. Watch this video and then come on out to see the two perform at the Holy Apostles & the Mediator Episcopal Church in West Philly.

One of the many bands Holley has performed with over the years is the long-running Malian desert blues act Tinariwen who entirely by happenstance are playing the very next day at Union Transfer. How about that! Like the Parsnip one, that show is also being presented by WKDU. Also that night folk singer and cultural critic Billy Bragg will be speaking at the Free Library as part of their Musical Memories series that also includes talks by Debbie Harry, Patti Smith, and Booker T. Jones throughout October. Watch this space for more information about that.

If that doesn’t do it for you how about Japanese grindcore in Grays Ferry or the return of the incredible R&B supergroup Midnight Hour to Johnny Brenda’s? This is all on a Monday so remember that the next time you complain about how there’s nothing to do.

If you’re at all a jazz fan you should do yourself a favor on Tuesday and go to the show at Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Atonement in Fishtown that Fire Museum is doing. Featuring two trios – explosive saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos and two surprise guests in the one and Dan Blacksberg, Madam Data, and Leo Suarez in the other – this is surely going to be one of the best jazz shows of the month. As always make sure to check out Shaun Brady’s monthly jazz guide for everything I can’t get to over here.

Deep breath. We’re almost done with September. Thursday night I don’t have Stereolab tickets – is anyone surprised?! – so unless one of you wants to give me a belated birthday present I’ll be either at Johnny Brenda’s to see Speedy Ortiz, Remember Sports, and Sammus or over at the Pharmacy in South Philly for Queen Elephantine, Ooloi, Suuduer, Pyramid Minds. Or I might go to Vox for the debut screening of the new Shimmer ‘visual album’ And I Revel that was done by band member Anina Ivry-Block. Or one of you might come through with a Stereolab ticket! We’ll find out.

The best thing happening Friday night is … well, there are really three best things happening that night. At around dusk they’re showing the Sun Ra documentary A Joyful Noise at the Lightbox Film Center. There’s also going to be a pre-show conversation about the legacy of the Afrofuturist jazz great between filmmaker Robert Mugge and The Key’s own John Morrison. Related: the Sun Ra Arkestra will be at the World Cafe Live the next day with a million other bands as part of the Philly Music Festival happening that weekend.

The Dead Milkmen are playing their now annual show at Laurel Hill Cemetery Friday night. I just saw them at the SRA Records 10 year anniversary show – they were the surprise guest – and it was nothing short of amazing. They even started the set with “Only the Dead Get Off at Kymlinge,” my favorite track from their most recent EP. At Laurel Hill they’ll be joined by rockers Trash Knife and Sheena and Thee Nosebleeds.

My final suggestion on that final Friday of the month is local guitar wizard Nick Millevoi and his Streets of Philadelphia project at Pageant Solaveev on Bainbridge. Millevoi has been working on this series of 25 compositions for a while and is doing three concerts, all at Pageant, to launch them out into the world. Each of the concerts will include different bands playing the songs. The first will be the Streets of Philadelphia Chamber Ensemble which includes Veronica MJ on viola, Dan Blacksberg on trombone, Tom Kraines on cello, and Anthony Di Bartolo on percussion. Millevoi’s band the Desertion Trio will also perform. There will be a limited edition songbook designed by artist Erik Ruin that will be published in time for the first show.

The absolute last thing on my calendar for the month is the #Blkgrlswurld Punk Fest and Zine Fair on Saturday the 28th at the Institute of Contemporary Art. There are performances by The Ire, Material Support, Sub Space and more, a “Punks of Color” panel the night before that includes local organizing powerhouse Scout Eleana who puts together the amazing Break Free Fest every year, and so much more. Check out the #Blkgrlswurld website for more info.

That’s a wrap on a very busy September! I will see you at the show. And remember, all tips, rumors, and Stereolab tickets can be sent directly to me on Twitter at @talkofthetizzy!

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