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The Key Studio Sessions: Modern Baseball

To say that Modern Baseball has transcended the punk scene would be an understatement. The band had already been solidly successful, touring tirelessly, amassing an impressive discography, cultivating a rabid fan base even before they released one of the best records of the year.

You’re Gonna Miss It All is a rare album that spans musical worlds. On the one hand, it stays absolutely true to MoBo’s trademark self-effacing, brutally honest songwriting self-portraiture of life as an awkward and uncertain twentysomething. It’s funny and its sad, it’s silly but lyrically sophisticated, and the hooks are in no shortage. On the other hand, or perhaps because songwriters Jake Ewald and Brendan Lukens come from such a sharp and smart perspective, the record is one that will appeal to listeners outside the pop-punk world. There’s a Weakerthens-ish sense of melody and wit for the bookish indie rock types, there is an unbelievable pop-rock production for people who just like good music, every single song is one you’ll sing along to. With righteous jams like “Charlie Black, “here is no reason for MoBo not to be burning up the radio waves. (In my own small way on the XPN Philly Local show, I’m doing my part.)

The record impressed the tastemaking blog world, notably Vice and Pitchfork; the band landed a massive tour with punk scene stars The Wonder Years, who headline a sold out show this Saturday night at The Electric Factory. if you have tickets, get there early – Modern Baseball is not a band whose set you want to miss. Get a taste with the six-song Key Studio Session they recorded below, and check out a video of the band playing “Your Graduation” care of photo-video crew Allison Newbold, Megan Kelly and Rachel Del Sordo.

“Your Graduation” by Modern Baseball: The Key Studio Sessions from WXPN FM on Vimeo.

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John Oates gives the gift of a Daytrotter Session two days after his birthday

Illustration by Johnnie Cluney | Courtesy of daytrotter.com
Illustration by Johnnie Cluney | Courtesy of daytrotter.com

It’s the gift that keeps on giving. John Oates of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers (as of tomorrow) Hall & Oates, recently recorded a Daytrotter Session released today as a small present to fans from Oates who turned 65 on April 7.

Typically, the Rock Island-based Daytrotter sessions series features musicians are up and coming artists, but Oates is an obvious exception. With over 18 albums during his duo days, he released Good Road to Follow this past March which features three EPs with collabos from Vince Gill, Hot Chelle Rae and Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic.

His recorded Daytrotter session features “Stone Cold Love,” “Edge of the World, ” “This Is the Life,” and “Lose It In Louisiana” off of the new release as well as a cover of John Hurt’s “Stack O Lee.”

And in case you haven’t had enough of John Oates this week, check his guest appearance with other Philly favorites The Roots on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon earlier this week. Take note of his Phillies guitar.

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Curly Castro’s latest EP spits out rhymes with heart

Photo courtesy of facebook.com/curlycastro
Photo courtesy of facebook.com/curlycastro

If you want a clear depiction of what modern hip-hop sounds like, take one listen to Curly Castro‘s EP Brody.

Castro’s got an incredible talent of espousing socially-conscious ideas while spitting out rhymes with impeccable energy. Throughout the EP, guitar samples and movie dialogue overlap powerful lyrics, making it irresistible to listen to all six head-bobbing songs.

You can catch Castro with his producer (and fellow MC in the Wrecking Crew) collective, Zilla Rocca, Saturday April 19 at The Fire. The show starts at 9 p.m. and the $10 tickets to the 21+ can be purchased here. If you want more of Castro, check out his The Key Studio Session this past September, at or his solo show a bit away on June 14 (also at The Fire).

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Jersey singer-songwriter Brooke DiCaro shines in Kettle Pot Tracks’ On The Hill Session

Photo by Mark Williams via facebook.com/brookedicaro
Photo by Mark Williams via facebook.com/brookedicaro

Newcomer Brooke DiCaro‘s heartfelt piano-driven balladry made its debut on her self-titled EP back in November and Kettle Pot Tracks recently captured her in action. A cross between Regina Spektor and Sara Bareilles, DiCaro’s storytelling is simple and emotive as her vocals soar over her piano melodies. Watch her perform “Consequences” below and get the entire session here.

Brooke DiCaro — Consequences from Michael Batchelor on Vimeo.

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Kite Party releases hazy new single, “Summery Dream”

Kite Party | courtesy of the artist
Kite Party | courtesy of the artist

 

Nah, you’re not dreaming. Kite Party really did release their latest single yesterday. The five-piece indie rock band’s second full-length album, Come on Wandering, comes out on May 6 via Animal Style Records. But until then, they’ve been giving fans some long-awaited previews. First up was ambiance-induced single “Halflife,” and now it’s “Summery Dream.”

The latter single has less of that in-your-face, twinkly but somehow gritty feel Kite Party manages to show through “Arizona” and “Spirit Gum” off of their first album, Baseball Season, but instead is rather spacey. And the new song is true to its name. Slower-paced than what Kite Party fans are used to, it does have that hazy, nearly hypnotic “summer” feel to it. And through its filtered sound, the band still keeps their signature melodies and harmonies. Think Youth Lagoon meets Real Estate. Prediction: this’ll be a “windows-down required” kind of album.

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PhOX release smooth new single ahead of Slow Motion, head to Philly this summer

Photo by Jade Ehlers via facebook.com/phoxband
Photo by Jade Ehlers via facebook.com/phoxband

Summer’s start will be sweetened by the arrival of PHOX‘s debut album Slow Motion on June 24th. The quirky pop outfit have just released the same-titled lead single that’s got a laid-back summer vibe that rests upon the soulful voice of Monica Martin. Boot and Saddle welcomes the Wisconsin natives to its stage on July 1st. Get tickets here when they go on sale this Friday at noon and groove to “Slow Motion” below.

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The Both introduce an overzealous new band member in “Milwaukee” video

Photo by Christian Lantry
Photo by Christian Lantry

With only a week until their self-titled collaborative project hits shelves, The Both (Aimee Mann and Ted Leo) have released the hilarious new video for “Milwaukee”. In the clip, shot at Boot and Saddle in South Philly, Leo portrays his own washed-up, wannabe rockstar uncle Ed Leo who joins the band. As he masks his face with black makeup, before heading on stage it’s clear that he doesn’t fit the image of the band. Do they let him go or tame his presence? Watch below and catch the band live at XPN’s NonCOMMvention on May 15th. Go here for more details and here for tickets to their Union Transfer show on May 3rd. Stream The Both early over on NPR.

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Poor murdered “Pretty Polly” and a session with Chris Kasper, who fronts a strong local crew, tonight on Folkadelphia Radio

murder-2087

Pretty Polly” is the name of a rather grim and gruesome American murder ballad based on an even older British ballad called “The Gosport Tragedy.” The biggest difference between the two is a matter of narrative darkness. In both versions, a man murders his girlfriend after he learns she is pregnant, but, whereas in “Gosport,” the murderer receives his swift comeuppance while trying to escape his fate, the perpetrator in “Pretty Polly” often leaves the scene of the crime without punishment in this world, instead deferring his “debt to the devil” until the end of his own life.

Depending on the version, things can take a cringeworthy turn involving incest, insanity, premeditation, pejorative language, obsessive behavior, and, of course, the supernatural. It’s no wonder that this story continues to be one of the most popular and widely covered in the folk music world and beyond. To put it plainly, it’s a messed-up story. We’ll hear a few of the many versions available to us on the air.

Continue reading →

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Doug Paisley returns to Boot & Saddle on 5/5 with new LP and Record Store Day single

Doug Paisley | photo by Ian Lefebvre | All Eyes Media
Doug Paisley | photo by Ian Lefebvre | All Eyes Media

Canadian singer-songwriter Doug Paisley returns to Philadelphia for a headlining slot at Boot & Saddle on May 5th.  Following up last year’s Golden Embers EP, Paisley released his Strong Feelings full-length in January to widespread acclaim due to its understated and heartbreaking songs.  Next up for the Toronto native is a Record Store Day release in the form of a 7″ single that takes “Growing Souls” off of the LP and backs it with previously unreleased track “Lies Lead to Lies.”  The delicately balanced b-side duet pulls the listener in with hushed vocals and intimate guitar, positioned in a way that makes it seem like the song is being performed right next to you and for only you.  Take a listen below and get more info about Doug Paisley’s 21+ show here.

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Trace world music influences from Spain to Cuba with jazz singer Buika at the Kimmel Center on 4/10

Buika | photo courtesy of the Kimmel Center
Buika | photo courtesy of the Kimmel Center

Born in Mallorca, Spain to jazz-loving African parents and now residing in Miami, Buika traces the full arc of her musical heritage on her latest CD, La Noche Más Larga, a path she’ll retrace at the Kimmel Center on Thursday night. The album features the husky-voiced singer’s heart-wrenching expressivity on a range of material, from Flamenco to jazz and Latin classics. She seizes absolute control of tunes by Abbey Lincoln, Jacques Brel, and Billie Holiday, and engages in a gripping symphonic duo with Pat Metheny on the aching “No Lo Se.”

Metheny is not the only impressive name that can be counted among Concha Buika’s fans. She’s worked with a stunning variety of artists, including Chick Corea, Nelly Furtado, Anoushka Shankar, and extensively with Cuban piano great Chucho Valdés as well as his late father Bebo. She reached even more ears when Spanish director Pedro Almodovar used two of her songs in his 2011 thriller The Skin I Live In. Her sound has gradually evolved to incorporate jazz and Afro-Cuban influences into her Flamenco roots, making the music that surrounds her compelling vocals equally as involving and unpredictable.