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Unlocked: Take a look inside the studio where Ataloft came to life

Ataloft | Courtesy of the artist
Ataloft | Courtesy of the artist

If you had to boil it down to a place, Amoeba Audio in Reading is where Ataloft came to life. As we’ll hear in tomorrow’s interview, Frog Holler members Darren Schlappich and Mike Lavdanski went into the studio owned by their friend Bruce Siekmann to mess around with recording some unreleased songs. The initial meetups went well, and the group kept returning until there was a full album and a new band in tow.

Earlier this month, the Reading Eagle met up with Ataloft to profile them upon the release of the self-titled album, and brought a video crew inside Amoeba to watch the band – now a six-piece – play live in the room where the music was born. Check out a performance of their very summery song “Old Jones” below, and get psyched to see these gents perform at Ardmore Music Hall on the 3rd of May.

Ataloft is the featured album in this week’s installment of Unlocked. Download “The End is Nearer Than We Know” in Monday’s post, read yesterday’s album review and check back later this week for an interview and more

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Philadelphia Museum of Art presents vocalist Yeahwon Shin at Art After 5 this Friday

Yeahwon Shin | photo by Woong Chul An
Yeahwon Shin | photo by Woong Chul An

Korean-born singer Yeahwon Shin’s performance at the Philadelphia Museum of Art this Friday is doubly appropriate. Most obviously, it ties in with the museum’s current marquee exhibition, “Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392-1910.” But coming just a couple of weeks prior to Mother’s Day, it’s also an early celebration; Shin’s latest CD, Lua Ya (ECM) was inspired by her newborn daughter and is dedicated “to mothers and children everywhere.”

Lua Ya consists of Korean lullabies and songs that Shin remembers learning from her own mother, along with a few originals that maintain the album’s quiet serenity. Shin’s music contains traces of jazz laced into it; there is improvisation, but it’s delicate and reserved, never threatening to dispel the music’s intimate fragility. Shin caresses these songs as she would her own child, with a gentle and nurturing touch.

The collection pairs Shin’s lovely, placid voice with Aaron Parks’ hushed, spare piano and Rob Curto’s breath-like accordion. Parks is a gifted jazz keyboardist who recently released his own ECM debut, the solo outing Arborescence. He has also worked with trumpet great Terence Blanchard, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, and as one-fourth of the collective James Farm with saxophonist Joshua Redman. Originally a pianist, Curto studied the accordion with masters in Brazil – an influence he shares with Shin, whose self-titled debut was heavily influenced by Brazilian music and earned a Latin Grammy nomination.  More information for their performance at the Philadelphia Museum of Art can be found here.

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The Only Ghost in Town release new video for “Half Speed,” playing record release show next month

The Only Ghost in Town | photo courtesy of the artist
The Only Ghost in Town | photo Joe Lamberti | jlamberti.com

South Jersey four-piece The Only Ghost in Town have released a video for “Half Speed” off of their brand new False Color Images LP, set for a physical release through Broken World Media.  The home video vibes of the clip match the equally grainy, distortion-laden recording of the song, though the sun-soaked visuals of frontman Dan Saraceni horsing around in a backyard also seep through the audio as a bright, repetitive guitar rhythm.  Throughout the thrash-worthy track is a playfulness that shows the band’s sense of humor and personality, evoking a Weezer / Sonic Youth hybrid that’s hard not to keep going back to.  Check out the video for “Half Speed” below and celebrate the release of False Color Images at Kung Fu Necktie on May 3rd; more information can be found here.

The Only Ghost In Town: “Half Speed” from colin miller on Vimeo.

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Download a World Cafe performance of “Lance Jr.” by Courtney Barnett

Photo by Lisa Sorgin
Photo by Lisa Sorgin

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Courtney Barnett was barely a blip on the American rock and roll radar when she played the College Music Journal (CMJ) conference in the Fall of 2013, but after a handful of positive reviews including this one by New York Times music critic Jon Pareles, music fans started to take notice. Barnett self-released her album, The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, to fairly glowing reviews October, 2013 and since then she’s been signed to a label deal in the States (Mom + Pop), did a tour including a sold out show in Philadelphia at Union Transfer, played at Coachella, and is playing the Firefly Music Fstival on June 19th. The Australian rocker was featured recently on World Cafe in an interview and performance on April 11, 2014. You can listen to the entire session here. Below, download her World Cafe performance of “Lance Jr.” and watch her perform “Avant Gardener” in the cafe studios.

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Abi Reimold strips down “Your Shoes” in a new live video

Abi Reimold | photo courtesy of the artist
Abi Reimold | photo courtesy of the artist

With a record release show happening at Fishtown spot Hong Kong Garden tonight, local singer-songwriter Abi Reimold (who also photographs and contributes to The Key) has shared a bare-bones live performance of “Your Shoes” this week.  The song comes from her new Forget EP and this acoustic version features Mumblr’s Nick Morrison harmonizing with Reimold in a backyard.  Check out the video below, filmed by new Denver, PA based project Communion (not to be confused with this Communion).  More information for the release show can be found here.

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Watch Boy George and Black Lips cover T. Rex’s “Bang A Gong” at Free at Noon

Boy George and Black Lips | photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com
Boy George and Black Lips | photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

Fans who made their way in to WXPN’s double-header Free at Noon concert today probably were not expecting they’d see the two artists on the bill – New Wave icon Boy George and Atlanta psych-punk four-piece Black Lips – collaborate on a song. Even if they were, they definitely weren’t expecting the song would be the proto-glam rock classic, “Bang a Gong” by T-Rex.

But there it was, one of the most unexpected and kind of surreal things we’ve seen happen in this concert series – and it sounded perfect. Check out a video of the performance below, and compare it to the original after the jump. Listen to Black Lips entire set here, and hear Boy George’s set here via the Free at Noon archives. Boy George headlines the TLA tonight, while Black Lips are at Union Transfer; get tickets and info on both shows at the XPN Concert Calendar.

Boy George and Black Lips cover T. Rex’s “Bang A Gong (Get it On)” Live at WXPN from WXPN FM on Vimeo.

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Cheerleader promises new single, and they deliver with a satisfying preview

Cheerleader | photo via www.facebook.com/cheerleadersounds
Cheerleader | photo via www.facebook.com/cheerleadersounds

Yesterday, twinkly indie rock band Cheerleader invited fans into a place they probably call home.

After returning from their stop at SXSW, frontman Joe Haller updated the band’s website and said Cheerleader was headed right to the studio to record new material and hopefully release a new single within the upcoming weeks. A few weeks later, Haller kept his promise. Yesterday, the band released a short but sweet 45-second preview of their newest single, “Perfect Vision,” along with sneak-peek footage of the studio they’ve been recording in.

The small snippet packs a punch. It’s jangly, twinkly and upbeat – true to Cheerleader’s signature sound. The studio (whose location has yet to be released) is spacious, tailored with neon green lights that illuminate the maze-like hallways that lead up to the large recording room.

The band’s debut album doesn’t have a release date, but they promised it’s coming soon. And you know how they are with promises.