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The Brooklyn trio Bear In Heaven played last night at the First Unitarian Church. Their excellent indie electronica pop sounding new album, I Love You, It’s Cool, is out on Dead Oceans Records. You can download the song “The Reflection of You” below.
Spiritualized and Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros will perform a Free At Noon double-header at World Cafe Live on Friday, May 11th. (Meanwhile, over at World Cafe Live At The Queen in Wilmington, Dar Williams will performa a Free At Noon concert.) Tickets become available to the general public here after tomorrow’s FAN concert featuring The Walkmen. For earlier access to Free At Noon tickets, sign up for WXPN’s weekly email newsletter—you’ll be able to RSVP on Thursday mornings, immediately after the performing act has been announced.
As always, check back with The Key on Friday afternoon after the show for additional coverage, including a recording of the full performance.
Last month, experimental electronic performer Julia Holter made her debut Philadelphia appearance at the new Underground Arts venue. Before arriving at the show, she stopped by XPN2 to record a studio session, re-imagining the heady layered tapestries of her RVNG Int’l Records debut Extasis as solitary, stunning pieces sung over a Rhodes keyboard. Now you can stream the session and hear Holter’s interview with XPN2’s John Vettese, where she talks about adapting her complex music for solo performances, gives insight into her songwriting process and shares the difficulties of gardening near her Los Angeles home.
[UPDATE 5/3/12: Click HERE to stream our session with Stevie Jackson!] A couple weeks ago, Belle and Sebastian’s Stevie Jackson brought his solo acoustic tour to Philadelphia for an intimate, sold-out performance in the Joseph Priestly Chapel at the First Unitarian Church. The next morning, he and his guitar paid a visit to WXPN studios. The resulting session and interview with Eric Schuman will air on XPN2 tomorrow, but you can get a taste now with three videos of the performance.
There’s “Try Me,” a peppy number from the recent LP I Can’t Get No Stevie Jackson; “I Follow The Moonglade,” a new song from Paper Laced With Gold, Jackson’s upcoming theatrical production written in collaboration with lyricist Maggie MacDonald of The Hidden Cameras; and a delightful rendition of the Belle and Sebastian classic “Seymour Stein.”
Watch the videos below, and tune in to XPN2 tomorrow at 3 p.m. for the entire session, and to hear Stevie and Eric discuss new and inventive approaches to songwriting, the craft behind Belle & Sebastian’s cover versions of songs, and the way Jackson felt like Elton John when writing music for MacDonald’s play.
Next week we’ll release our latest Key Studio Session video spotlighting Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter Carsie Blanton. She’s made big strides for someone whose career is still relatively young; last year she toured with Paul Simon, and recorded her latest album – Idiot Heart, released in January – with Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers fame. The video will be released on Wednesday, but for now, you can get a taste through Eric Ashleigh’s slideshow above (for more of his photography, visit lefte.co) and through the performance of “Idiot Heart,” which you can stream or download below.
Miike Snow is the ugly cute of electronic pop. It sounds great from far away; upon closer examination, there’s definitely something off—and yet, somehow that makes it more endearing. The trio’s 2009 self-titled debut referenced bestiality in “Plastic Jungle”, dispelled a common misconception in “A Horse Is Not A Home,” and the chorus of “Burial” confessed to becoming a serial killer. This year’s Happy To You has been praised for sounding excellent, as could be expected from a trio in which two members are producers. Yet, the music video series that accompanies the album could not have been expected. With two videos out and more promised, the series features sets of twin girls from outer space who kidnap people and, using chain saws, surgically transform them into clones of a dancing super-human named Jean Noel. But it’s Miike Snow, so actually, this isn’t so surprising. Miike Snow performs with Penguin Prison at 8 p.m. at Electric Factory; tickets to the all-ages show are $25. —Naomi Shavin
A lot has happened in the five years since The Shins’ last album in 2007. The indie-rock band, centered on James Mercer, changed labels, lost every founding member of the band (sans Mercer), and then took a break while Mercer worked with Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton to form Broken Bells. And just when Shins fans were wondering if they’d ever see new material, Mercer returned with a new supporting band and a new album, Port Of Morrow, released last month. Morrow has a more polished sound, showing Mercer’s influence from Broken Bells, but it’s still a Shins album at heart with the jangly pop sound the band’s known for. Mercer plans to focus back on Broken Bells after the band finishes their tour, but hopefully that won’t mean another five years for the next Shins album. The Shins perform with Real Estate at 8 PM at the Tower Theatre; tickets to the all-ages show are $27.50-$45. —Nicole Soll
Canadian rockers Metric have announced a North American tour with a stop at the Tower Theatre on Saturday, September 22nd. Metric’s new album, SYNTHETICA, is out on June 12th. Go here for tickets and more information about the show. Below, listen to the first single, Youth Without Youth,” from Metric’s forthcoming album.
Special thanks to all of the bands for coming to our studio, and to John Vettese for recording them. We’d also like to thank volunteer production assistants Fred Knittel, Madeleine Lesperance, and Dan Malloy as well as photographers Kate Bracaglia, Corey Cohen, Sarah Fry, Shamus McGroggan, Noah Gabriel Merenda, Sylvia Ramirez, and Heidi Schlenzig for sharing their work. Continue reading →