Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Musical Notes: Keeping It Weird–a peculiar month ahead

October is a month for embracing the abnormal, so it’s only fitting that the musical acts this month are a bit unconventional.

Sometimes, I find it hard to narrow music down to one type or sound, and these artists are no exception. Although each fits in a different genre, they all delight in stretching their creativity. Their musical fusions and radical genre-benders are bound to grab your interest and complement your curious side this fall.

Ambient music is taking off these days, and Julianna Barwick is at the forefront of this growing genre. Hailing from Louisiana but currently calling Brooklyn home, she creates flowing, hypnotic waves of sound with voice, piano and percussion through a loop station. Barwick has had an oddly diverse musical background. She’s toured with artist Sigur Rós, as well as with children’s choirs. She’s also recorded with the Flaming Lips, performed with Yoko Ono and contributed to classical recordings for Sony Masterworks. Her unique, ethereal performance is sure to leave you entranced and bewitched. Touring with Barwick is well-known Philadelphian harpist Mary Lattimore, known for writing harp parts for artists such as Meg Bair, Thurston Moore and Kurt Vile.

If you’re into some alternative reggae, this band has what you need. Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad is best defined as reggae jam band meets psychedelic Americana. These Rochester, N.Y., natives started making music in 2001 during a time when the reggae scene was taking off. The three current songwriters, guitarist-singer Dylan Savage, bassist-singer James Searl, and multi-instrumentalist Dan Keller, blend their distinctive styles of reggae into a melting pot of mellow tunes. Their new album, “Make it Better,” was released last month and features a blend of familiar reggae with dreamy instrumentals and some funky hooks. Whether you like classic reggae, experimental reggae or somewhere in between, check these guys out for some chill vibes.

This Philadelphia art rock band throws it way back to some classic sounds with updated twists. The trio of vocalist/instrumentalist Michael James Stipe, bassist/vocalist Liam Tinney and drummer Brian Doherty pay unconventional tribute to influences like Jim Morrison, David Bowie and Alice Cooper through their dark, wailing vocals and lively, energetic instrumentals. Stipe’s solo work will be highlighted in this performance, as well, following the release of his first self-titled “Morse Coda” LP. Don’t miss the performances of opening acts Angela Stipe, with her blues-influenced acoustic works, and experimental artist Adam Stehr, who features bluesy rock ballads.

Mentionables: Makespace Music Festival, Oct. 1, HMAC; Port Ellis/LØRE, Oct. 12, Little Amps Uptown; Travelin’ McCoury’s and Jeff Austin Band, Oct. 25, Abbey Bar; Moutin Factory Quintet, Oct. 26, River City Blues Club; Blackmore’s Night, Oct. 29, Whitaker Center

Author: Kait Gibboney

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