John Morrison’s Philly Top Five: Remembering a friend and rocking with Radio Eris and Darrin Ross in July - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
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Summer 2023 has been bittersweet, to say the least. In late June the Philadelphia music community lost one of our most beautiful and sweet souls, my friend, Yehonahton Bostick-Epperson. A living, breathing vehicle for music, Yeho played with a variety of bands, Honeytron, Interminable, Darlingtyn, Eat Your Beats as well as Circadian Rhythms before they disbanded.

When I met Yeho back in the aughts, he was playing in The Green Light Society and we struck up a conversation after he saw me carrying a synthesizer on a SEPTA bus in Frankford. Over the years, it seemed like he was constantly involved in music, whether playing in bands or going to shows. Yeho was a beloved member of our community and naturally, the month of July has been full of tributes for him,f rom the July 16th celebration at Ardmore Music Hall to the Clark Park BBQ on Sunday where we gathered, played records, and shared stories and memories of our friend.

Thinking about Yeho these past weeks has reminded me that music is not an end unto itself. The thing that really makes music special is that it serves the dual function of expressing our deepest, most personal emotions and experiences while showing us that those personal emotions and experiences are shared by others. This connection is the point of all this. As a DJ, writer, and radio host, my greatest hope is that folks can hear and see something of themselves in the records that I play. We are not alone and music is our most potent reminder of that.

Radio Eris – Free Music (2006-2009)

West Philly rock legends Radio Eris have been mixing up poetry, electronics, and psychedelia since the late 90s. Free Music (2006-2009) collects a handful of material that the band recorded throughout the mid to late aughts. I’m assuming that much if not all of this was recorded in the basement of the band’s famed Eris Temple space on 52nd Street. Regardless, noisy cuts like “So How Was Your Day, Darling” and the weirdly groovy “Kraut Rock Replica” are perfect and Free Music (2006-2009) is a crucial snapshot of Philly’s strange and vital underground rock scene that was popping at the tail-end of the 2000s.

Darrin Ross – Darrin Ross Producer Series Vol 1 (Straight From Philly 1992-1995 EP)

An underrated figure in Philly hip-hop history, the producer Darrin Ross has worked with a host of legends like Bahamadia, Freeway, King Britt and more. Darrin Ross Producer Series Vol 1(Straight From Philly 1992-1995 EP) is a compilation EP released by the Chopped Harring hip-hop reissue label in 2014. Collecting tunes from EMF Underground (“Straight From Philly”) and Pooh and Kev’s “Out The Place,” the EP not only rounds out our knowledge of Philly rap in the 90s, it shows us how great of a music mind Ross is.

q no rap name – Ventures

Producer q no rap name is one of the best emerging producers on the scene, and his latest project, Ventures, more than solidifies his status as one of the best in the city. “More or Less” opens things up with a dreamy loop repeated to hypnotic effect while “BLOCKWORK” is combines a woozy sample (is that an organ? Strings?) and a swinging drum beat. The entire project is a headnodding exercise and full of texture. 

Kilamanzego – “Remember Myself”

The single from Kilamanzego’s fantastic Black Weirdo EP, “Remember Myself” is an anthem of sorts. Between the quick jungle breaks and dynamic synths, Kilamanzego gets on the mic for the self-assured chant “I remember me just fine. I’m an outsider, I…” The video is beautifully strange and quirky and I even spotted a few homies getting their act on in a few of the scenes.

Kilamanzego - Remember Myself

Crate Diggaz Philly (August 13th)

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Kool Herc’s seminal party in August of 1973, Crate Diggaz Philly record store will be hosting an event at its storefront right off South Street. In addition ro performances from The Xav, Fastlife Wully, DJ Too Tuff, and Seraiah Nicole, Crate Diggaz will album be welcoming the legendary DMC to the festivities. Free and open to the public of all ages, this party is bringing the summertime vibes that hip-hop culture was founded on.

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