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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, including The Afghan Whigs, Milton and more

Photo by Rich McKie
Photo by Rich McKie

Reading, PA resident Milton stopped by for this week’s Key Studio Session.  The Maryland native surrounded himself with a full band that brought his jazzy, soulful compositions to life.  Check out “I Desire to Know” below and get the full session here.

Folkadelphia welcomed back its frequent subject Psalmships in April, recording a live session in celebration of Joshua Britton’s new LP I Sleep Alone.  Stream and download the session below, featuring guest appearances by Brad Hinton and Chelsea Sue Allen.

With the XPoNential Music Festival quickly approaching, it’s a good time to get reacquainted with some of the bands that will be performing, like Commonwealth Choir.  Originally from Doylestown but now based in Fishtown, the indie pop / rock group recorded a Key Studio Session earlier this year.  Get a free copy of their song “Palace” below.

2014 Non-COMM performers The Afghan Whigs will be back in town on October 3rd, supporting one of this year’s best records Do To the Beast.  You can get a free download of “Matamoros” below, courtesy of My Morning Download.  Tickets and information for the upcoming show can be found here.

 

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Download an ethereal, beat driven cover of “Cornflake Girl” by Lyla Foy

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

From London, singer and songwriter Lyla Foy recently released her debut album, Mirrors The Sky on Sub Pop. Stepping away from her previous performing name as WALL, Foy’s music didn’t change. Now – under her own name, as she did as WALL – Foy builds layers of beats, keyboards, and vocal melodies on her computer, creating ambient, ethereal and sometimes groove laden songs. Musically, Foy lives in a continuum of musical style and sounds that are reminiscent of Kate Bush and Tori Amos. Below, download her cover of Amos’s “Cornflake Girl.”

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Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Folkadelphia Session: Psalmships (from April 2014)

In our rather short history of Folkadelphia, the artist we’ve probably worked with the most is Psalmships. Psalmships is the ever-evolving musical project of Joshua Britton, Bucks Co. resident and all-around good guy. A guy that’s been put in a hard place and perhaps that hard place is just life, existing, and coping with the day-to-day. Human problems blown to cinematic scale by the endless black of night and the tireless workings of the imagination. At least, that’s what he sings about and why we continually gravitate towards finding new ways to bring Britton’s artistry and creativity into the fold of what we’re doing here. Britton is a restless musician, always at work on songs – he’s something like the Robert Pollard of slowcoustic music (did I really just write that phrase?) But it’s true – not even a year ago, Psalmships released the expansive EP Songs For A Red Bird and, about a year before that, Hymn of Lions, his tumbleweed country album (or at least their take on that style). His brand new full-lengthed record I Sleep Alone is the distilled essence of what Britton has been honing in on with his music and writing in recent times; it’s sparsely populated with instruments – a rough acoustic guitar generally acts as forward motion with effected lap steel guitar, keyboards, and atmospherics coloring the scenes. Often, the silence, space, and breaths between words speak as loudly as what Britton is singing. Sure, it’s a deeply emotional trip, sometimes painfully so, but in that sense, it is also cathartic to work through. Instead of giving, you gain with each listen, becoming more solid and stronger for it. Not all music is designed as diversion or cotton candy. This is an album with purpose. On the opening track “You’ll Never See The Morning,” Britton cautions “The night time is so long, it can last your whole life and you’ll never see the morning if you cannot see the light.” From the very start, as dark as I Sleep Alone becomes, it brings the listener to a place where (s)he is most able to look for the light if (s)he is willing to go there. Instead of being lost in the void without purpose or direction, Britton helps us to believe that the darkness is just another side of the light and the light is coming. It’s hopeful because while I sleep alone now, I might not forever.

On his latest session for Folkadelphia, Britton, joined by Brad Hinton and Chelsea Sue Allen, recorded a number of songs from I Sleep Alone. Psalmships, along with Nathan Edwin and Chelsea Sue Allen, will be celebrating the release with a concert at Bourbon and Branch this Friday, July 11th. For even more Folkadelphia & Psalmships collaboration, listen to My Endless Black, a previous session from October 2012.

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Download a Key Studio Session recording of “Palace” by #XPNfest artist Commonwealth Choir

Commonwealth Choir Key Studio Session | Photo by Ryan Boswell RBCameraWorks.com
Commonwealth Choir Key Studio Session | Photo by Ryan Boswell RBCameraWorks.com

One of the many local bands playing the XPoNential Music Festival presented by Subaru is Commonwealth Choir. The Doylestown indie-rockers will be opening up the day on Saturday, July 26th at 12:30. Earlier this year, the band recorded a Key Studio Session, performing songs from their recent EP and a couple of new songs. Below, download “Palace,” and make sure you watch the video of their performance of “Pacers.”

Commonwealth Choir are playing World Cafe Live at The Queen in Wilmington, tomorrow evening, Friday, July 11th at the New Sweden record release party. And you’ll be seeing them at #xpnfest on Saturday, July 25th. Go here for tickets to the fesyival.

Pacers by Commonwealth Choir from James Powers on Vimeo.

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Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Download a cover of Spoon’s “The Beast & Dragon, Adored” by Hiss Golden Messenger

Hiss Golden Messenger | photo by Harlan Campbell
Hiss Golden Messenger | photo by Harlan Campbell

Recent Merge Records signee Hiss Golden Messenger contributed a cover of Spoon’s “The Beast & Dragon, Adored” to a celebratory compilation, available now as a free download via Google Play.  The compilation accompanies a 25th anniversary retrospective documentary of the label, which is home to Superchunk, The Mountain Goats, Arcade Fire and Crooked Fingers (just to name a few).

Hiss Golden Messenger, the moniker of North Carolinian M.C. Taylor and friends, will release its Merge Records debut Lateness of Dancers this September, followed by a show at Johnny Brenda’s.  Tickets and information can be found here.  Download his cover of “The Beast & Dragon, Adored” here and check out a behind-the-scenes video of the recording below.

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S.T.S remixes #xpnfest band Marian Hill’s “One Time”

Photo courtesy of the artist.
Photo courtesy of the artist.

Rapper S.T.S (better known as Sugar Tongue Slim), has premiered a remix of Marian Hill’s “One Time”. The song is a part of S.T.S’s ongoing “In the Lab with the GoldRush” mixtape project. Last week, S.T.S released a remix Jamie xx’s “Girl”. Previously, S.T.S. released Gold Rush I and II with remixes of songs by artists like Ed Sheeran, Maroon 5, Kanye West, Fun. and Sleigh Bells.

Marian Hill is a talented, local ambient-electro duo, consisting of Jeremy Lloyd and Samantha Gogol. “One Time” is off of their debut EP Play. Read our review of the EP. The first track from Play, “One Time” has an infectious mix of brass instrumentation, rhythmic beats and sultry vocals. In late March, the duo did an energetic Key Studio Session. Last month, they released the video for “Lovit”, following the release of “One Time”.

S.T.S. takes the insanely catchy beat of “One Time” and raps some sweet lines over it, along the same themes he explored late last year in “Hell Wrong.” The video takes you behind the scenes into S.T.S’s studio, where you can watch DJ BearOne remix the beats and S.T.S. record. The malleable nature of “One Time” points to the elastic nature of Marian Hill, able to transverse between electronic, hip-hop and jazz easily.

Catch Marian Hill at the XPoNential Music Festival on Friday, July 25th. Get more details here. Watch S.T.S’s take on “One Time” below.

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Stream a new Steve Gunn song, “Milly’s Garden”

Steve Gunn | photo by Constance Mensh
Steve Gunn | photo by Constance Mensh

Steve Gunn will release the follow-up to last year’s excellent Time Off. Way Out Weather is scheduled for release on October 7th on Paradise of Bachelors.

The Philadelphia native stepped into somewhat of a new role with Time Off, becoming more of a bandleader rather than a solo artist or collaborator.  And with “Milly’s Garden” it feels like Gunn’s confidence, both in this new role and with his singing, has reached an all-time high.

It wouldn’t be a Steve Gunn jam without an impressive showing of instrumental dexterity, though, and “Milly’s Garden” has that in spades thanks to an expanded backing band that introduces Nathan Bowles (Black Twig Pickers), James Elkington (Jeff Tweedy) and Jimy SeiTang (Psychic Ills) to the already established mix of Jason Meagher, Justin Tripp and John Truscinski.  Philadelphia favorite Mary Lattimore also appears on the record to round out the crew.

Gunn will be in town on August 26th for a show at Underground Arts with Kevin Morby.  Tickets and information can be found here. Below, listen to “Milly’s Window.”

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