The Week’s Best MP3 Downloads, incl. Oldermost, Ruby the Hatchet, The Lawsuits


In advance of their upcoming debut full-length, local five-piece Oldermost dropped a download of two free tracks earlier this week. “Close to the Fire” and “Once I Left” display two distinct moods of the band, recalling dreamy Americana favorites My Morning Jacket and Lord Huron. Stream the songs below and download them on Oldermost’s Bandcamp here.

New Paradise Laboratories have announced that they will put their production of 27 back on the stage this spring.  The play takes a surreal and improvised look at music’s “27 Club” with portrayals of Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain.  Narrator / musical accompanist Alec MacLaughlin stopped in the WXPN studios for an interview and improvisation session during the play’s run last fall – download his appearance below.

Tuesday’s My Morning Download featured Philly’s The Lawsuits and their new single “Onion.”  The track, and the album it will appear on, was recorded by Bill Moriarty.  With the release of Cool Cool Cool happening this summer, the band has some free time on their hands, which they will fill with a few shows next month – catch The Lawsuits at Johnny Brenda’s on May 3rd, at The Fire on May 5th and at Hard Rock Cafe on May 10th.  Tickets and information for all shows can be found here.  Download “Onion” here and check out the Key Studio Session version below.

Ruby the Hatchet stopped by to record this week’s Key Studio Session, reprising two songs from their wild Ouroboros album that was released last fall and previewing a new one, “Paralyzed,” which you can stream and download below.  The Angry Mountain was also on hand to capture the local band’s performance of “Paralyzed” on film.  Ruby the Hatchet will be at Kung Fu Necktie on April 25th – tickets and information can be found here.  Check out the full session here.

Ruby The Hatchet “Paralyzed” from The Angry Mountain on Vimeo.

Local art rock outfit The Chairman Dances shared their new two song Michael and the Prophetess EP this week.  The free download is “a song cycle steeped in biblical language and set in a fictionalized 1950s era Brooklyn” and follows the band’s longer form concept efforts A Promise and Long Lost / A History of Iniquity.  The Chairman Dances will perform at Kung Fu Necktie on June 14th; tickets and information can be found here.


New Paradise Labs will reprise 27 next spring; download an interview and guitar improvisations by cast member Alec MacLaughlin

Last fall, Philly’s New Paradise Laboratories bridged the worlds of rock and roll icons, improvised music and experimental theater in 27, a surreal production that imagined an after-life after-party of music’s infamous “27 club.” In The Key’s review of the show at the time, we described how the alluring, thought-provoking Live Arts / Fringe production “raised questions about fame, immortality and the pressures of public scrutiny” by checking in with the spirits of Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain.

It’s not a straight linear story, it didn’t always make sense, but if you let go and went with it, it moved you. Evidently we weren’t alone in that reaction, since word just tripped down the wire of the theater company’s plans to reprise 27 next spring.

Artistic director Whit MacLaughlin called the production “a watershed moment for New Paradise Laboratories,” adding that “We got to blend amazing live music into a piece that dealt with purgatory in an almost classical Greek way.”

In planning out its spring season, NPL will stage a remount of 27 in the spring – though the venue and dates are being determined. (Last time they called the Rittenhouse Square-area Plays and Players theater home, and the set installation was remarkable and transportive.)

Another highlight of 27 was the production’s omniscient narrator / musical accompanist Alec MacLaughlin – nephew of Whit MacLaughlin – who played a whirlwind solo guitar backdrop that interwove melodies from popular rock songs with stretches of expressive drone, noise and borderline prog playing.

“I felt that Alec … brought a level of grandeur to the piece through the way he reimagined the catalogues of several 27 Club artists,” said Whit. “He can make one guitar ring out with symphonic effect.”

As the production wound down last fall, we invited Alec to WXPN studios to shred for our microphones, and then have a conversation about guitar and its influence on his life, how he approaches writing and playing music, the experience of being in his first theatrical production and how it changed his outlook on creating. Listen to that interview below, and download the three guitar improvisations you hear in the background. After the jump, watch a newly-produced trailer for 27.

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