The Key Studio Sessions: Joshua Chase Miller

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“What do you think of that vocal harmonizer?” asked Joshua Chase Miller during his Key Studio Session. “I turned it down, was it too much?”

I responded that I actually liked hearing it in the mix. It took his songs, which were solid piano-driven pop songs to begin with, and added an otherworldly Bon Iver flare to them.

Miller laughed at this observation. “It’s not like I don’t have three Bon Iver tattoos or anything,” he slyly responded. “My inner fanboy comes out no matter what.”

Since emerging from the scene surrounding Drexel’s music industry program a couple years back — note that he’s rocking a Darla t-shirt during his Key Studio Sessions performance — Miller has made strides in the local singer-songwriter scene and beyond. He plays in Former Belle on occasion, he sits in with Caracara (as we see in their Key Studio Session this week) and he continually pushes his own music forward.

“Visitors,” which closed his Key Session, is probably the most evolved rendition of Joshua Chase Miller we’ve heard to date, built around a deconstructed and reconstructed percussion loop that folds in keys, sampler, and emotive vocals. The first take of the song had a guitar line in the mix as well, but Miller left it out on the final go-round; it still sounds great, as you can hear and see in the video below.

Miller’s set ranges from the heartrending solo-electric opener “Old Oak” to the aptly titled haze of “Fever Dream,” and the meditative “Mend,” where a sampled guitar harmonic is a simmering cushion for piano and six-string interplay. Miller could keep his music straightforward and coffeeshop ready, maybe get a live band to back him up, and he’d easily excel at that approach as well…but it’s good to see him trying to do a lot more with less at his disposal.

Speaking of which, Miller is pulling double duty tonight. After performing at MilkBoy for The Key’s Philly Music Showcase, he rushes across town to join Caracara for their Summer Megalith release party. Tickets and more information on both shows can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar; listen to Miller’s Key Session below.

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Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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