Artist of the Month

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December 2015
The City & I
Colins “Bear’” Regisford’s musical talents can be found dispersed throughout the Philly music community in bands such as Mannequin Pussy, Kids, Ghost Gum, and Albondigas. And with the help of local musically-inclined friends, which also included members of The Spirit of the Beehive and Gunk, what originally started as Bear’s acoustic solo project in 2004 traverses a diverse landscape of genres on his debut EP Downer, recorded under the moniker The City & I.   
Available on cassette via Infinity Cat Recordings, Downer is a record that never settles into one place for too long, jumping from moment to moment at the speed of life. “Bored People” gradually dials you in: “I’ve got no time for excuses, I’ll invest in an illusion…” It lays the groundwork, projecting an intriguing introduction of shadowy, blunted haze.
“Divine Lorraine” shifts the tempo upward into rebellious slacker rock. Pat Conaboy’s fresh kick of percussion propels the song ahead, tying in the slight etchings of distorted guitar to provide a gritty texture, which is reinforced by the lead vocal and polished by the tempering back vocals. It’s a welcomed mesh of the raw and the refined. “Geordie” is encompassed by a calm, shoegazing cloud; however, what first appears clear gathers a turbulent air, sweeping one through a momentary buzzing cyclone before disintegrating into feeble animal whimpers.
Sounds from the city encircle “Tall Girls,” while a guitar-led, emotionally torn and conflicted serenade rings out subtly in the forefront. “Untitled” is a thirty-second noise jam that builds to the title-track through a warping sonic hole. “Downer” is anything but. The instant fervor of grungy instrumentation smacks the song into action, giving the record a spirited, momentous jolt. But “Are You Up” closes by transporting the album to another unique site. This one couples Eastern-sounding keys with an industrial-hammering rhythm and a late-night, burnt-as-fuck-yet-confident emcee delivery. Amid a noisy, chaotic perimeter, it spirals into a joyous exclamatory applause. And we are left wishing and hoping for a secret track, but none ever comes. - Michael Colavita

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Photo Recap: WHYY Connections Fest

Photo Recap: WHYY Connections Fest

Mayor Michael A. Nutter welcomed the WHYY Connections Festival as an annual occurrence midway through the event’s debut run. The festival housed a copious amount of well-respected artists, including hometown favorites Dr. Dog with their eclectic ‘60s pop-rock vibe closing out Saturday night. Other acts included Texas country rocker and son of Steve Earle, Justin Townes Earle, who supplied a suiting set of blues and country, The Baseball Project with its anecdotal rock about America’s pastime, Philly’s own Kuf Knotz providing his positive rhymes and beats with aesthetically pleasing instrumentation, easy-listening folk songstress Birdie Busch, Toy Soldiers with their vintage rock ‘n’ roll-inspired energy, and the synchronized Japanese-influenced drumming by Kyo Daiko. In-between the featured artists included special appearances by First Person Arts’ Story Slam Champion R. Eric Thomas and Community Rocks! organization leader Sara O’Brien and her girls. You can check out our photos from the WHYY Connections showcase that helped to bond Philly’s community for the day HERE.


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