Gone are the days when musicians could rely on a contract from a record label to help foster their careers from the early stages. Weathervane Music, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit new music incubator, lends a helping hand to independent musicians. Their flagship program, Shaking Through, has welcomed Ben Swanson (Secretly Canadian), Daniel Rossen (Grizzly Bear), Peter Silberman (The Antlers), Scott McMicken (Dr. Dog), Grayson Currin (Independent Weekly, Pitchfork), The Pelly Twins (Jenn – Pitchfork, Liz – Boston Globe), Mark Schoneveld (YVYNYL), and Sean Agnew (R5 Productions), as well as many others to curate an episode.
Weathervane’s Shaking Through has also received praise from highly-regarded media outlets like Pitchfork (“an inspired recording project”) and IFC News (“one of the best series for music on the Internet”).
Because of the music industry’s current state and the likelihood of diminishing support, it has become apparent that artists will need to tackle this critical stage on their own. However, many often fail to successfully do so, hence ending music careers that may have been prosperous. Weathervane Music’s Shaking Through, a web-based documentary music series in conjunction with WXPN, provides select emerging artists the opportunity to work in a professional studio with talented, veteran producers, engineers and filmmakers. The unique program has helped to bring more national exposure and to lay the foundation for careers in music to exceptional artists like Sharon Van Etten, Reading Rainbow/Bleeding Rainbow and Creepoid.
Like the great singer-songwriters that have chiseled their names and stories into the foundation of music history, Sharon Van Etten has the rare gift of captivating audiences simply with her genteel, mellifluous vocals and raw, bare-boned lyrics that speak purely to and from the heart. That gift is also what made TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone encourage her to pursue a career in music and why The National’s Aaron Dessner wanted to produce her latest and first album for Jagjaguwar, Tramp, after hearing the recording of her song “Love More” that she did for Weathervane Music and WXPN’s Shaking Through.
Reading Rainbow, who has since changed their name to Bleeding Rainbow, is the ever-evolving project from the low-key, husband-wife team of Rob Garcia and Sarah Everton. The lo-fi, garage-pop duo (turned trio and now quartet) has self-described their sound as “blown-out sonic love.” You may wonder, what does that sound like? From listening to Bleeding Rainbow’s recordings, the mesh of beautiful boy-girl harmonies layered under warm fuzz of guitar riffs and chords, a steady, driving backbeat, and pop hooks that burrow into your subconscious is apparent. These descriptions led them to be voted The Deli Philly’s Best Emerging Artist(s) of 2009 and The Boston Phoenix’s Pennsylvania pick for Best New Bands in America of 2011.
When it comes to the DIY ethics that most indie artists talk about these days, former hardcore kids Creepoid certainly live it. The group consisting of long-time friends Sean Miller, Pete Joe Urban, Pat Troxell and Anna Troxell has rapidly become one of the most talked about bands in the Philly area. Creepoid was recently named The Deli Philly’s Best Emerging Artist(s) of 2011 and signed to No Idea Records. Their reputation for unpredictable, explosive live performance and eerily haunting tracks that uniquely combine folk, grunge and psychedelia has fans and critics anxiously waiting to see what they’ll do next.
The aforementioned artists have been one of the many reasons why Weathervane Music was recently awarded the annual General Operating grant from the Philadelphia Cultural Fund (PCF). Being one of a limited number of music-focused cultural institutions chosen for the 2012 award, the organization joins the ranks of such esteemed past winners as the Curtis Institute of Music, the Opera Company of Philadelphia, and Temple University Music Preparatory Division, to name a few.
This really confirms our belief that the City of Philadelphia cares about music and the creative economy, and that we are in THE RIGHT CITY to do this! It’s reassuring that others see the value in what Weathervane Music provides for musicians and audiences from around the world
- Brian McTear, Weathervane Music’s Executive Director
Weathervane Music not only aims to bring exposure to their organization, but to also shine a positive light on Philadelphia by introducing talented individuals to its thriving art community and the people who are involved in making it so, thus, helping to improve society on a grander scale.
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