The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Woods, TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb, Jason Karaban and more

TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb | Photo by Megan Kelly |
TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb | Photo by Megan Kelly |

TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb popped into the studio to record a new Key Studio Session, three and a half years after their first one.  This session includes a special track called “Blood in the Bathtub” that was recorded at the band’s EP release show at Johnny Brenda’s.  Stream and download the full set here.

This week, we also shared the Key Studio Sessions Vol. 10 compilation, recorded over the last few in the WXPN studios.  On it, you’ll find tracks from a wide-ranging spectrum of artists including The Hundred Acre Woods, Ginger Coyle, Trophy Wife and Elegant Animals.  Check it out below.

Eric Schuman invited Brooklyn psych-folk outfit Woods in for a live session to air on last night’s Indie Rock Hit Parade.  As a preview, The Key shared a recording of “Leaves Like Glass,” which was included on the band’s recent With Light and With Love LP.  Get a copy below.

Earlier this week, Helen Leicht talked with Philadelphia native Jason Karaban about his new song “Low Road.”  Karaban told Helen that this version was recorded with a number of his musician friends, including Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek) and Garrison Starr.  You can get a free download of the song below, and be on the look out for its appearance on EP from Karaban soon.

This week’s Folkadelphia session featured a performance by Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion.  The married pair have a lot of history in their blood – Sarah Lee is the daughter of Arlo Guthrie / granddaughter of Woody, and Irion is a grandnephew of John Steinbeck.  On their latest record Wassaic Way, they were joined by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, who helped create bold power pop / Americana twang.  Stream and download the live session below.



2ManyDJs, playing the Making Time Memorial Day Rad-B-Q, release a stunning new video mashup

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

2ManyDJs are Belgian brothers David and Stephen Dewaele, who, when not DJ’ing perform as Soulwax. In 2002 the DJ’s released the now classic mashup album, As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. 2. Tracking down over one hundred samples, the duo cut & pasted together pieces of songs by Sly & the Family Stone, The Stooges, 10cc, Destiny’s Child, New Order, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and others for quite the booty shaking, dance floor rocking experience. While 2ManyDJs have mastered the art of audio manipulation, they too work with video and recently shared an extraordinary mashup video where hundred of album cover and other images collide with each other.

Writing about the video in Digital Arts, Neil Bennett says:

Set to the full hour of the album, the animators under director and producer Glyn Peppiatt have taken the album and single covers of the music included in the mix and done some silly things to them with After Effects’ Puppet tool (I’m guessing) and by cutting them up and animating the elements to the beat. There’s also some ludicrous mouth animation, and some knowing use of decidedly cheesy effects.

DJManyDJs are coming to town for a DJ set for the Making Time Memorial Day Weekend Rad-B-Q on Sunday, May 25th at the Bamboo Bar. Go here for tickets and more information. Below, watch the staggering, eye-popping video. And listen to the latest edition of XPN’s Making Time RADio with Dave P on the new Making Time Is Rad website here and tune in Friday, June 6th at 7PM for the next show.

Radio Soulwax Presents: As Heard On Radio Soulwax pt. 2 from Radio Soulwax on Vimeo.


Listen to Chris Kasper’s Daytrotter session

Singer-songwriter Chris Kasper recently stopped by the Daytrotter studios in Rock Island, Illinois, to record a four song studio session. Listen to the session here. Kasper performed four songs from his recent album, Bagabones. The studio album recordings captured a more soulful side to the singer-songwriter’s folk stylings. The Daytrotter session recordings regain some of the intimacy of the his voice and musical accompaniment, yet still showcase Kasper’s attention to story telling detail.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Thievery Corporation at the Tower Theater, Shlohmo at Johnny Brenda’s, Art Star Craft Bazaar and more

Thievery Corporation | Photo via
Thievery Corporation | iPhoto via

DC-born downbeat electronic duo Thievery Corporation is closing in on two decades of activity, and the scope of their influence is massive. Without the collaboration of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, there would be no Air, no Four Tet and no Pretty Lights. Their ninth album, Saudade, was released in the fall, and the band headlines the Tower Theater tonight with guests Polica and Break Science. Get tickets and more info at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, listen to “Depth of My Soul” from their recent album, Saudade.

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20 years of destroyed sweaters and Weezer’s Blue Album

weezer-blue-album-coverWhen their self-titled debut album arrived on May 10, 1994, Weezer did what a lot of post-Nirvana bands couldn’t: to mold a sound that was unmistakably their own. Whether you remember making the trip to Tower Records on South Street to buy a copy when it hit shelves 20 years ago or discovered it many years later as a teenager (like myself), you knew this record was special. Dubbed the “Blue Album” due to its artwork’s background, it found frontman Rivers Cuomo unabashedly nerdy and sincere in a way that only he could be through his lyrics and vocal delivery.

Insanely melodic? Yes. Era-defining? Yes. When you hear the opening chords of “My Name is Jonas”, it’s them knocking you out of your world and into theirs and your first thought is probably: “Who is Jonas?” and you come to love the guy simply because he inspired such a great song (it’s actually inspired partly by River’s brother and Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver, depending on the source). There’s a theme of abandonment and loneliness that sort of says it’s okay to be open and bluntly state your predicament without fear of judgment. It doesn’t get anymore blunt than “The World Has Turned and Left Me Here” just by the title alone, but by the end when you’re chanting “Do you believe what I sing now?” at the top of your lungs you realize it’s gotta be more than that.

In the same vein, Weezer embraces solitude and feeling safe and content in your own world when we hear Cuomo listing all things that make him content despite being unheard and unnoticed by the outside world when he’s “In the Garage” which may seem like a contradiction on the surface but it’s a clear distinction between being lonely involuntarily and being alone by choice. Singles “Buddy Holly”, “Say It Ain’t So”, and “Undone (The Sweater Song)” all stand out for different reasons. The first is super melodic Weezer, the second is semi-aggressive Weezer, and the last being super-strange-but-so-catchy-you-can’t-resist Weezer. It’s the combination of all three modes that gives the entire record such vitality that was so fresh and memorable back then and even more so now when we jam to it 20 years later.

Check out live local performances of songs from the album below and (dare I say it) pick a favorite. Some of these come from a holiday show the band did with the now defunct commercial alternative radio station WDRE.

1. “My Name is Jonas” live at The Electric Factory, 1996

2. “Buddy Holly” live at The Electric Factory, 1996

3.. “Undone (The Sweater Song)”, live at The Electric Factory, 1996

4. “Say It Ain’t So”, live at The Electric Factory, 1996

5. “In The Garage”, live at the Tweeter Center (now known as Susquehanna Bank Center), 2002