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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Young Statues, Minus the Bear and more…

Young Statues
Young Statues | photo by Shervin Lainez

The Key’s special feature Unlocked made a return this week with locals Young Statues and their new record The Flatlands are Your Friend.  You can get the full scoop on the Jersey natives’ record with an full interview, review and the premiere of an in-studio documentary here.  Download “Got the Knife” for free here, courtesy of Run For Cover Records.

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The Best #88Worst Countdown tweets (so far)

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So far, so good. Follow the conversation about the 88 Worst Songs as voted on by the WXPN listeners on twitter with #88worst. Here’s a sampling of some of our favorite tweets so far. You can listen to the 88 Worst Songs countdown here.

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RAC: The One-Man Remix Machine

RAC
RAC

In 2007, Andre Allen Anjos started the Remix Artist Collective, or RAC: a coalition of musicians who wanted to take the dance focus away from remixes of popular music and instead take a more creative and original approach to remix composition.

Since then, Andre is the only remaining member, but he’s not letting that stop him from doing some serious remix work. RAC is responsible for a 200+ track remix catalog that can be found here, and he is currently touring to promote his newest album, entitled Strangers, from which he’s already released two tracks: “Let Go,” featuring Kele and MNDR, and “Hollywood” featuring Penguin Prison. RAC has done either commissioned remixes or bootleg remixes of artists like U2, Lady Gaga, Bob Marley, Ella Fitzgerald, Kings of Leon, Katy Perry, The Shins, Bloc Party, Chromeo, Lana Del Rey, and Two Door Cinema Club, and Porter Robinson, to scrape the tip of the iceberg.

The RAC sound is definitely unique; as previously mentioned, the main goal when the group was formed was to create remixes that fit outside the dance-oriented remix culture. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Son Little at Dilworth Park, War on Women at First Unitarian Church, Sugar Tongue Slim at PhilaMOCA and more

Son Little | Photo by Kelsey Stanger
Son Little | Photo by Kelsey Stanger

Philly newcomers Son Little have a fantastic debut EP called Things I Forgot coming out on Anti- Records next month, and they headline a free outdoor show this evening at Dilworth Park at City Hall. Founded by Aaron Livingston, a local singer-songwriter-guitarist who has worked with The Roots and collaborated with RJD2 on the Icebird project, Son Little pushes his creative boundaries even further, dabbling in soul, hard rock, and Radiohead-esque minimal electronica. The band recorded a knockout Key Studio Session this week; download the song “Joy” below and get more information on the show here. Continue reading →

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Forget What the #885Countdown Votes Say: The greatest music of all time is happening right now

Strand of Oaks | Photo by John Vettese
Bruce Springsteen is okay and all, but I’d much rather listen to Strand of Oaks | Photo by John Vettese

One of the funnier things I saw this week while on #885countdown hashtag-watch came in the form of a joke-hashtag from Twitter user @bob_perst: #roadtothunderroad. Before we even hit the top 10, the number one was a foregone conclusion: it was going to Bruce Springsteen, it was going to be “Thunder Road.” Because of course.

This speaks to the immense, immense love of The Boss not just in general, but particularly in the Philly / South Jersey region and doubly so among XPN’s audience. It also speaks, to a (somewhat dismaying) degree, of how easy these countdowns can be to predict. It’s going to be Bruce, or Bob Dylan, or The Beatles at the top, the latter of whom racked up an unfathomable 47 songs in the countdown this year.

Predictability sort of comes with the territory, though. When thousands of people are voting on their favorite songs, can I really expect the R.E.M. deep cut from my list to actually chart in a meaningful kind of way? Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Down-to-earth songsters Kindness unleash funky jams

Photo by Brittany Salerno
Photo by Brittany Salerno

Kindness jammed out and wowed the crowd at today’s Free At Noon concert. Displaying amazing musicianship, the UK band showcased its recently released album Otherness as well as a few throwbacks like “Gee Up” and “House.” Speckled with jaw-dropping solos from collaborators on saxophone, drum, and guitar and framed with powerful backup vocals, the music was funky and fun. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Sylvan Esso bring their eclectic vibes to World Cafe Live

20141024_Kindness_FAN-5 - Brittany Salerno
Sylvan Esso | Photo by Brittany Salerno

The creative collaboration that is Sylvan Esso had today’s crowd movin’ and groovin’ to their electropop songs, kicking off today’s Free At Noon double-header with pizzazz. Playing material from their self-titled debut, producer Nick Sanborn gave us eloquent, chimey beats and wobbly synthesizer lines, singer Amelia Meath performed eclectic dance moves and delivered alluring vocals. Continue reading →

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Dancing Like A Wild Fire: Bombay Bicycle Club and more at Union Transfer

Bombay Bicycle Club / Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko
Bombay Bicycle Club / Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

“All right, let’s get this dance party going!” Bombay Bicycle Club’s Jack Steadman beckoned as he brought forward a small drumset and launched straight into “Feel” off of 2014′s So Long, See You Tomorrow.

Tuesday evening, Union Transfer filled up with a mixed crowd of older adults tapping into their youth, teens trying to amp up their cool, and every age in between fashioning beanies, boots, and military jackets. But as broad as the crowd might have been, they all gathered with one thing in common… a love for the London-based indie rock six-piece. Continue reading →

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I’m Shakin’: World Cafe Live was rocked by Shakey Graves

photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com
photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com

I’m not gonna lie: The first time I was introduced to Shakey Graves, I was more than a bit skeptical. A fellow music nerd showed me a video of Graves jangling away on his arch-top guitar, stomping like mad on a suitcase-turned-kick-drum, yowling away about God knows what, and I instantly reacted with the obligatory “UGH. Yet another Mumford-esque, insipid, nu-folkster poseur.”

In the interstitial year or so, I’ve come around to Graves. And after seeing him perform live at a very sold-out World Café on Wednesday night, I must say: If it is all just an act, then it’s a pretty damn good one. Graves—the stage name of one Alejandro Rose-Garcia—brought his deeply rooted brand of stomp-folk to Philly in support of his brilliant, just-released album, And The War Came. Continue reading →

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#885countdown Talk: What makes a song “the worst?”

Journey clowning around in the 80s. Many people think they wrote some of the worst songs ever, others stringently defend them. Or so we hear.
Journey clowning around in the 80s. Many people think they wrote some of the worst songs ever, others stringently defend them. Or so we hear.

As we’re winding down the 885 All Time Greatest Songs countdown playback, we’re also looking forward to part two of the countdown – the playback of the 88 Worst Songs. The notion of “best,” “greatest” and “worst” are, of course, quite subjective. Which will explain why (partial spoiler alert) there will be some songs on both the 885 All Time Greatest and 88 Worst Songs. As Paul Simon once said, “one man’s ceiling is another man’s floors;” or – to put it a slightly different way – “one person’s trash is another’s treasure.”

As we get ready to play the worst songs (as voted on by the WXPN community) tomorrow starting at 10 a.m., we want to know: “what exactly makes a worst song?” Continue reading →