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The Key Studio Sessions: Ben Arnold

Veteran Philly singer-songwriter / rock-n-roller Ben Arnold has covered a lot of ground in the two decades he’s been making music. In the mid-90s, he was signed to Ruffhouse / Columbia and released the slacker-pop nugget Almost Speechless – which is a tiny bit ironic since the man is the total opposite of a slacker.

By the early aughties, he had grown into a more nuanced singer-songwriter and received a lot of attention from WXPN for In Case I’m Gone Tomorrow, as well as his acclaimed 4-Way Street supergroup with Jim Boggia, Scott Bricklin and Joseph Parsons. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Dead Milkmen at The Trocadero, Kinski at Johnny Brenda’s, Ben Arnold at Steel City and more

The Dead Milkmen | via Facebook.com//pages/The-Dead-Milkmen
The Dead Milkmen | via Facebook.com//pages/The-Dead-Milkmen

The Dead Milkmen have a love/hate relationship with Halloween. In the band’s October “Newzletter,” guitarist/vocalist Joe Jack Talcum laments giving into the trick-or-treat system; he cannot bring himself “to fill their goodie bags with corn syrup laden chemically dyed cancer inducing confections,” but he doesn’t want to “face the not-so-idle threat of property damage and bodily harm in the form of projectiles.” On the other hand, frontman Rodney Anonymous excitedly created an “Immensely Helpful List of Movies and Songs for Halloween,” consisting of ten movies and twenty songs that don’t include “Thriller” or “Monster Mash.” The Philly punk band will be celebrating Halloween tonight at the Trocadero with special guests Ego Likeness and Fuck, Fight, or Dance. Get tickets and show info here and watch their music video for “The Sun Turns Our Patio into a Lifeless Hell.” Continue reading →

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That’s So Philly launches “Sing With A Philly Teen” featuring Ben Arnold and Arin Edelstein

Photo by Patrick Snook http://www.patricksnook.com/
Photo by Patrick Snook http://www.patricksnook.com/

That’s So Philly, a web site that showcases the musical talents of teens, has launched a new project called “Sing With A Philly Teen,” where musicians and musical adults are paired with teens to sing a cover, an original, or play a musical instrument. The first Sing With A Teen segment features long time local favorite, singer-songwriter Ben Arnold, with singer-songwriter and guitarist Arin Edelstein. According to the That’s So Philly Facebook page:

Arin Edelstein is a sophomore in high school where she performs with the Touring Ensemble (show choir), Up the Octave (girls’ a cappella group), and Select Choir. She has been playing piano since age 5, and guitar since age 8. She plays guitar and sings with the all-girl band Melrose Q. She also enjoys acting, and she currently performs with the Anne Frank Theater Project at The Holocaust Awareness Museum, where she plays Anne Frank. She is planning a career in music and the arts.

Below, listen to Arin and Ben’s original song, “Lonesome Song.”

If you are a musician or teen interested in being matched, please contact moganey@msn.com
Ben performs at the Tin Angel on Friday, November 1st. Go here for tickets and more information.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Hoots & Hellmouth at The Sellersville Theater, TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb with Supersuckers at the North Star Bar, Ben Arnold at World Cafe Live

XPN Welcomes Philly-area roots band Hoots & Hellmouth to the Sellersville Theater tonight.  The Philadelphia-based folk quartet released their latest album Salt in April and with it displayed a knack for blending sweeping sonic landscapes with their signature stomping and swinging.  Folk singer-songwriter Mason Porter opens the all-ages concert.  Tickets are $19.50 for the 8:00 p.m. show; for more information, go here.  Below, check out Hoots & Hellmouth’s video for “Why Would You Not Want to Go There.”

Continue reading →

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Listen to “Change Reaction” (Robert Hazard cover) by David Uosikkinen’s In The Pocket featuring Ben Arnold

R. Alex Lewis

Editor’s note: The stream of “Change Reaction” was only available for 24 hours.

The newest song from David Uosikkinen’s In The Pocket is a cover of the 1981 Robert Hazard And The Heroes song, “Change Reaction” featuring Ben Arnold on lead vocals. “Change Reaction” is the fifth song in the Essential Songs Of Philadelphia series. It features members of The Hooters including David Uosikkinen on drums along with Rob Hyman (keyboards and vocals) and John Lilley (guitar), Steve Butler from Smash Palace on guitar, bassist William Wittman and Ben Arnold on lead vocals. All five of the songs recorded by In The Pocket, including “Change Reaction” can be purchased here. Portions of the proceeds go to the Settlement Music School. WXPN welcomes David Uosikkinen’s In The Pocket: Essential Songs Of Philadelphia to World Cafe Live on Tuesday, March 13th. Tickets and more information here. Go here to watch a video of the making of “Change Reaction.” Below be sure you watch the video of Robert Hazard and The Heroes performing “Change Reaction” at a live show at the London Victory Club from 1981.

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The Key’s 12 Days Of Christmas: Ben Arnold’s “Reindeer Game”

Ben Arnold

It doesn’t get a whole lot more depressing than stumbling home alone through the snow after a late night at the bar, where you were just another sad-sack drunk with sob story about losing the girl he loved. Unless, of course, it’s Christmas night—in which case you probably are better off drinking yourself into oblivion. So why does Ben Arnold‘s “Reindeer Game”—which follows a nostalgic, inebriated slob through the bluest of blue Christmases—kick off with a jaunty whistle melody, and contain an almost jovial tone that belies the song’s melancholy lyrics? Maybe because the handful of happy memories he mulls over are the kind that can send a smile creeping across one’s tear-streaked face. Or, perhaps, Ben simply can’t disguise his upbeat nature (heart-crushing lyrics aside). Either way, we thank him for it. “Reindeer Game” could easily be the soundtrack to your own Christmas of alcohol-fueled misery and solitude; instead, it’s the kind of song you want to listen to while slow-dancing with the one you love across your Christmas-tree-lit living room (all the while thanking your lucky stars you’re not one of the lonely schlubs you can see slumping their way down the street from your apartment window).

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Today’s Free At Noon Concert: Ben Arnold covers John Lennon

Ben Arnold performed at XPN’s Free At Noon today, playing several songs from his new album, Simplify. Writing about it for XPN’s All About The Music blog, Rebekah Larsen said “the set was diverse, with piano ballads and bluesy riffs, all held together by Arnold’s adaptive vocals—soft and low or growly and bluesy on demand. One highlight was the shout-out and song to the late John Lennon.” You can listen to Ben’s performance here at NPR Music.

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Helen Leicht’s Philly Local Pick Of The Day: Ben Arnold’s “Simplify”

One of our favorite local singer-songwriters, Ben Arnold, has a new album out: it’s called Simplify—and, to celebrate the release of it, he’s playing Free At Noon tomorrow. (Ben will also perform at the Phoenixville Blues Festival on Saturday.)

RSVP here for tomorrow’s show; if you can’t get to the performance, you can always listen to it over the radio or online. Here’s a new song from Ben’s album, which you’ll only be able to download today—so grab it now while you can. (Thanks to Ben for letting us give some of his new music away for free.)