Alabaster Museum Presents:


Kuschty Rye Ergot

Mark Feehan

Mitch Esparza

Tuesday, April 22nd, 8:00 PM
Pageant : Soloveev Gallery
607 Bainbridge St
Philadelphia, PA
$6-$8 sliding scale

Ignatz (Belgium):

The sounds of Ignatz come not from George Herriman's brick-hurling mouse, but from a Belgian named Bram Devens; and his take on American folk/blues drops the listener right into a churning, alien lo-fi universe of blurred echoes, distant Appalachian plucking and deep, FX-scarred soundscapes. Despite all the haze and buzz, the ghosts of Blind Willie Johnson and Mississippi John Hurt float above it all with distinct tunes and structure. - Brian Turner/WFMU

And what of Ignatz, this mysterious bedroom-folk troubadour? Record labels take note: his tunes are a deliciously subtle subversion of genre categorization. If you’re sick of being pigeonholed into any sort of arbitrary label, Bram Devens provides lonely, plaintive songs that defy labels, and are all the more expressive for it. Is it blues, is it folk, is it pop, or is it just “lo-fi”? The cloistered, crudely isolating sound of Ignatz’s guitar playing repels any generic comparisons, forcing us to think of a wider spectrum of music we could simply call “someone with a guitar.” Call it whatever you want, but this is one man’s loneliness, one man’s sound: it feels made in willful ignorance of any other artists we could dredge up as reference points.

What comparisons are possible, though? One can hear sounds as diverse as the country-blues of Skip James, the tempered pop madness of Daniel Johnston; Hell, even (the far inferior, I think) minimalism of Jandek, but Ignatz crafts songs so lonely and personal it feels as though we’re invading his privacy by listening. Sure, there’s a throbbing bass pulse in “A Hard Day” that reminds me of Saharan blues, or layers of reversed loops on “Certainty” sounding like the jangling of an out-of-tune autoharp, but there’s always a feeling that this is a cry for help, one that perhaps was not intended for us.- Diego Aguilar/Decoder.

Kuschty Rye Ergot (Washington DC/Philadelphia):

Kuschty Rye Ergot is a project from long-time DC area multi-instrumentalist/vocalist John Stanton. A collective as opposed to a fixed lineup, performances range from drifty, slowburn, Popol Vuh-ish, watercolor solo guitar/synth constructs to full blown ensemble sonic exhaust blasts, along with occasional stripped down acoustic folk musings. Elements of many of Stanton's wide-ranging previous efforts (Redeemers, Cash Slave Clique, Nik Turner/Harvey Bainbridge of Hawkwind, Spaceseed, Promise Breakers, Cotton & Billawtm) are in evidence, refracted via a prism of spatial folk, electronics, and whatever else the lineup du jour shakes loose from their collective tree. A universe where Ronnie Lane and COB channel Dome and Peter Hammill? You decide. In addition, John sometimes performs as a member of DC improv-psych band Kouhotek, playing guitar, synth, electric piano, and other instruments. Kuschty Rye Ergot has three self-released recordings and a 3" EP on Kendra Steiner Editions, and has shared stages with acts as varied as Flower Travelin' Band, Love with Johnny Echols, Bobb Trimble, Amps For Christ, Horseback and Sharon van Etten. (NOTE: KRE will perform last this evening)

Mark Feehan (Philadelphia):

While our erstwhile maestro is likely to point out personal involvement in Miami’s Broken Talent or Trash Monkeys as the apex of his twisted musical endeavors, the fact remains that Mark Feehan is most likely best remembered as the “other” cold-blooded string-mangler that shredded synapses through the Siltbreeze era of Harry Pussy two decades ago. (...) MF is a lively mix of guitar-based compositions steeped in modal harmonics that explode into miasmic, aural waves, transporting emanations of Phil Yost, Magical Power Mako, Michael Chapman and Hans Reichel into the mind stream. Swirling, spacey eddies will open like maelstroms and flood your subconscious(...) - Siltbreeze Records

Mitch Esparza (Philadelphia):

Mitch Esparaza might be better known as (((TACO))) (the ((())) being a nod to SunnO))) but now he's left that nom de plume behind. He plays the delta blues infused with Mexican and Spanish folklore, not to mention some droned out psychedelics rumbling the background. His other band The Love Club is like rolling thunder, but the work he produces in a solo context is more subtle with a focus on the finger-picking shred. (adapted from Dream Oven bio)

Fire Museum Presents:

Antti Tolvi


Friday, April 25th 8:00 PM
Brickbat Books
709 S 4th St.
Philadelphia, PA
$6-$10 sliding scale

Antti Tolvi (Finland):

Antti Tolvi is a self-taught, multi-talented musician. He has played in numerous bands including Lau Nau, Rauhan Orkesteri, and Lauhkeat Lampaat. Born in ’77 in Panelia on the west coast of Finland, he began making music with his brothers, untutored. From 2000-2001 he studied classical Indian music in Varanasi, and this marked a turning point in his perception of music. On returning to his native Finland, he became embroiled in Free Jazz for a number of years, until a recent relocation to the countryside pushed him ever more towards solo improvisation – deriving inspiration from, in Antti’s own words, “harmonies, overtones, going into sound, no ends, no starts, from nothing comes something, just perfect, peace”. - Fonal Records

"Tolvi’s fascination with harmonies creates a lush texture of gradually shifting sound portraits, like a Dali painting that comes to life and sings its own requiem. The exquisite tones are, in a sense, a happy accident—the piano hadn’t been played in 40 years and, save for a few choice keys, the piano wasn’t tuned back to a standard pitch. The microtonal irregularity creates a sense of poignant nostalgia, evoking the affective distortions of memory that comfort and torment us. Furthermore, it’s astounding to realize this was recorded live, with no overdubs or effects: Tolvi made use of an innovative recording technique by attaching microphones to his ears, creating what he calls a “flanger effect” as he moves his head around. The focal point of sonic input was constantly shifting, and the effect we hear is one of infinite loops and ebbing echoes. It’s exquisite to hear him craft this sonic space with a constantly shifting center of gravity, a swirling foray into kaleidoscopic bliss."- Diego Aguilar/Decoder

Fursaxa (Upstate PA):

"Fursaxa is Tara Burke. Formerly a member of the Silbreeze band UN, Tara started her Fursaxa project in 1999 after UN disbanded. Since then Fursaxa has released seven full length albums on the Acid Mothers Temple label, Ecstatic Peace, Time Lag, Eclipse, Last Visible Dog, and ATP. In addition there have been 3 self released CD-Rs and a CD on the her own Sylph recordings. In addition to recording, Fursaxa has played live music at venues in the US, UK, and Europe, touring with Bardo Pond, Black Forest/Black Sea, Christina Carter, Jack Rose, Spires That in The Sunset Rise, and Brightblack Morning Light, to name a few. Over the last couple of years Fursaxa has been collaborating more and more with other musicians as well. Espers member Helena Espvall and Tara have a duo called Anahita, and Sharron Kraus and Tara have the duo Tau Emerald. And in September of 2006 Fursaxa became part of "The Valerie Project", which was a live soundtrack for the 1970 Czech film "Valerie and her Week of Wonders". – ATP bio

Fire Museum Presents:

Drums Like Machine Guns

Sontag Shogun

Kate Ferencz

Aaron Martin

Sunday, April 27th, 7:30 PM
Pageant : Soloveev Gallery
607 Bainbridge St
Philadelphia, PA
$6-$8 sliding scale

Drums Like Machine Guns (Philadelphia):

Drums Like Machine Guns is an experimental noise group comprised of the Morsberger brothers. They’ve been at it in Philly for years and the spontaneity and shock of their live show is always an entertaining, welcomed wrench into expectation.

Sontag Shogun (Brooklyn):

Sontag Shogun will perform an intimate, extended durational set of mostly new material composed for piano and electronics (treated vocals, field recordings, tapes, amplified surfaces), accompanied by projections of amateur home movies from across the United States, filmed between 1936 and 1962.

Pooling their influences from modern classical, improvised and ambient musical spheres, Brooklyn-based trio Sontag Shogun creates longform shape-shifting musical narratives that are at times lush and melodic as well as textural and unpredictable. In live performance, they manifest dense, yet intricate layers of sonic sediment built from amplified Earth elements such as sand, carpet, slate and aluminum. They have improvised with artists as diverse as Matana Roberts, Tom Carter, Aki Onda as well as a collective of Japanese contemporary video artists. Sontag Shogun performs alongside black and white video-loop collages from films and archival footage, embracing the evocative and emotive nature of their melodic textures. They make music to dream away to, or from.

Kate Ferencz (Philadelphia):

"Kate Ferencz is the proof that diy is anything but the opposite of talent. With their punky voice plays she produced infectious lo-fi people on his guitar, or rather, on whatever is at hand. The floor, chairs or empty bins can be easily transformed into the central characters in Kate's musical explorations. A creative energy that make her concerts to unique events that no one should miss. Kate has grown up listening to The Cure and other Britpop but when this New Yorker himself takes tons smacks the American indie from every little pore. Kate is a little Le Tigre, and a little bit Kimya Calvin K, but above all she is herself. And no one is as Kate. Someone wrote about her that you love her so much that you please allow her to skule babysit but that the children will grow up a bit odd. This is exactly how we want it." google-translated from

Aaron Martin (Topeka, KS)

Aaron Martin began his musical life at age 11, switching between guitar and drums. At the age of 17, he decided to change paths and learn how to play the cello, which he went on to study in college. While earning his music degree, he began to experiment with recording. After creating several self-released collections of music, and graduating college, he recorded Almond, which caught the attention of the Australian label Preservation, and became his debut release. He has gone on to record two more albums for Preservation, River Water and Chautauqua as well as one album for Experimedia called Worried about the Fire. He has also collaborated with a variety of other musicians, including Machinefabriek, Part Timer, Dawn Smithson (as Winter’s Day), and Dag Rosenqvist (as From the Mouth of the Sun), with releases on Type, Dronarivm, Facture, and Under the Spire Recordings. Aaron Martin lives and records in Topeka, Kansas.

Fire Museum Presents:

Marisa Anderson

Matt Sowell

Friday, May 9th 8:00 PM
Random Tea Room
713 N 4th St
Philadelphia, PA
$6-$8 sliding scale

Marisa Anderson (Portland, OR):

Combining boundless creative imagination with a deep reverence for American folk, blues and country music, Marisa Anderson’s guitar playing is fluid, emotional, dexterous and original. National Public Radio says Anderson’s playing  ”exposes and hides the mysteries of American music”. Pitchfork calls her recent record, ‘Mercury’, ”Brilliant” and Wire Magazine says, “Her sound has strength in restless variety…Anderson’s playing is heartfelt and utterly American, free from grandstanding and steeped in respect for the old tradition.

Recording primarily on the Mississippi Records label, Anderson’s work features improvisations and compositions inspired by Delta blues, West African guitar, Appalachian mountain music, vintage country and western, gospel, noise, rhythm, cycles, mortality, and praise.  In performance, Anderson channels the history of the guitar and stretches the boundaries of tradition.

In the past two years, Anderson’s music has landed her festival appearances in Europe and the United States and opening slots for artists including Godspeed You! Black Emperor, The Devil Makes 3 and Sharon Van Etten. Her collaborations with filmmaker Jodi Darby have shown in galleries and film festivals throughout the US. Anderson can occasionally be found accompanying Beth Ditto’s acoustic performances. Anderson's music has been featured on soundtracks including ‘Smokin’ Fish’, ‘For the Love of Dolly’, ‘Girls Rock’, and ‘Gift To Winter’.– bio

Matt Sowell (Philadelphia):

Native to Philadelphia, Matt Sowell is an instrumental acoustic guitar player. Influenced by the guitar finger stylings of Jack Rose and John Fahey, Matt is constantly being challenged and evolving as a guitar player. Combining American blues, attributes of rag time with hints of Indian Ragas in his pieces, the sonic textures that Matt plays will bring you to deep introspective places. - bio

Alabaster Museum Presents:

Ava Mendoza's Unnatural Ways

Pyramid Minds

Elliot Levin/Alexi Papadopoulos/Scott Verrastro Trio

Monday, May 12th, 8:00 PM
Pageant : Soloveev Gallery
607 Bainbridge St
Philadelphia, PA
$6-$8 sliding scale

Ava Mendoza's Unnatural Ways (Brooklyn/Queens):

Unnatural Ways is the main project of Brooklyn-based guitarist Ava Mendoza. Formed in early 2012 in Oakland, CA, the band's short but eventful time on the planet has included tours of Europe and the eastern and western USA. The original lineup consisted of Mendoza on guitar and voice, Dominique Leone- keys, and Nick Tamburro (The Dead Science)- drums. After relocating to Brooklyn in fall 2013, Mendoza reformed the band with NY musicians Tim Dahl (Child Abuse, Lydia Lunch Retrovirus)- bass and Nick Podgurski (ex Extra Life, Feast of the Epiphany)- drums. The group has developed a sound marrying the intense energy of early free jazz to instantly memorable songs. Winding their way through complex heavy rock, avant jazz and warped, noisy blues, the players push the boundaries of their own vocabularies and the written music to put on powerful and unpredictable live shows. 

My name is Ava Mendoza. I play guitars and stompboxes and write music. Currently I'm based out of Brooklyn, NY, having recently relocated here from Oakland, CA. I have played guitar for most of my life and been active for the last decade playing my own music and in many different groups. In any context I try to bring expressivity, energy and a wide sonic range to the music I play. I've toured throughout the U.S. and Europe and recorded or performed with a broad spectrum of musicians including pop-folk band Tune-Yards, Fred Frith (Henry Cow, Art Bears, Massacre), singer Carla Bozulich (The Geraldine Fibbers, Evangelista), Nels Cline (guitar hero of Wilco), members of ROVA saxophone quartet, and more. I like writing for dance, theater and film. I've played on recordings released by labels Weird Forest, Tzadik, Clean Feed, NotTwo, ugEXPLODE, Resipiscent, Tompkins Square, Bridge Records, Edgetone, Table and Chairs, and others. f0 Friendly critics have called me "Oakland's avant-jazz virtuoso" (Brad Cohan, Village Voice), "a versatile and virtuosic guitarist" (The San Francisco Film Society), "a wizard on a semi-circle of effects pedals, but… equally adept with FX-less technique," (Lars Gotrich, A Blog Supreme/NPR Jazz). In 2012 I was named one of Guitar World‘s “10 Female Guitarists You Should Know”.

TIM DAHL is a composer and professional electric and double bass player, vocalist, and keyboardist living in New York City. He is best known as the frontman and bass player of the noise-rock band Child Abuse and bass player of the defunct avant-jazz group The Hub. He also writes and performs for the jazz ensemble Pulverize The Sound and the rock band Lydia Lunch's Retrovirus. Dahl has toured extensively throughout North America, Europe and Japan. He has performed with many notable musicians, composers and performers including Yusef Lateef, Archie Shepp, Eugene Chadbourne, Lydia Lunch, Tatsuya Yoshida, Von Freeman, Stanley Jordan, Mary Halvorson,  Malcolm Mooney, Marc Ribot, Hamid Drake, Elliot Sharp, Weasel Walter, Marni Nixon, Peter Evans, Kevin Shea, Mick Barr, Jan Terri etc

NICK PODGURSKI has been actively composing/performing for the past 15 years and has released over 25 recordings.  The spearhead of both FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY and the catch-all performance/collection/archive NEW FIRMAMENT.  Also the drummer for NYC experimental rock group EXTRA LIFE (until the group's 2013 dissolution.)  He has toured extensively throughout North America and Europe and currently resides in Queens, NY.

  Pyramid Minds (Philadelphia):

Travis Woodson (guitar), Jeffrey V. Daniels (drums) & Mattheweikel (sounds) are Pyramid Minds. “The particle in a one-dimensional potential energy box is the most simple example where restraints lead to the quantization of energy levels. The box is defined as having zero potential energy everywhere inside a certain region, and infinite potential energy everywhere outside that region.” -bio

Elliot Levin/Alexi Papadopoulos/Scott Verrastro Trio (Philadelphia):

With these three heavy hitters involved in a spontaneous music grouping, stand back and let the maelstrom of sound commence! Elliot is one of Philadelphia's free-jazz/improv giants, joined by Alexi (Stinking Lizaveta, et al) & Scott (Kohoutek, et al) this promises to be some heavy psych/prog take on improv!


5/17 - 75 Dollar Bill @ Random Tea Room
6/10 - Good For Cows & Wrest @ The Rotunda
6/18 - Kuupuu & Tsembla @ The Rotunda

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