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See Big Terrible and Ali Wadsworth celebrate Rotten City the North Star Bar tonight

BTPhilly blues-rock combo Big Terrible is gearing up to usher its third release into the world; the Rotten City EP gets its physical unveiling tonight at North Star Bar, and has been streamable at Bandcamp since the beginning of the month. The four-piece band has been around since 2009, and digs deep into a very classic rock fusion of powerful gospel vocals and raw Americana instrumentation. And on hand to sing backups is Philly’s premier gospel-Americana vocalist, Ali Wadsworth. While she’ll be releasing her own solo record later this year, her commanding voice can be heard harmonizing with onetime Toy Soldiers backup singer Vinchelle Woods on two of Rotten City‘s tracks. Tonight, Wadsworth contributes an opening set to Big Terrible’s album release show along with Satellite Hearts and Jamie Victor. Information on the show can be found here. Below, stream “Substance” and “The General,” the two of Rotten City‘s songs Wadsworth sang on.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Key Studio Sessions Live at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Morning River Band at Kung Fu Necktie, Ecomog at The Trocadero Balcony, Acid Mothers Temple at Johnny Brenda’s

SwedenExperience the Key Studio Sessions live tonight at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.  The free event will showcase three of the Philadelphia area’s top acts: folk-rockers and two-time Tri-State Indie Award winners New Sweden, vocal powerhouse and in-demand collaborator Ali Wadsworth and local man-about-town Joey Sweeney with his new band The Long Hair Arkestra.  Admission for the show is free but space is limited; RSVP on the XPN website and get more information here.  Below, watch New Sweden perform “Mama” and download their Key Studio Session from March 2012 here.

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RSVP for The Key Studio Sessions Live ft. New Sweden, Ali Wadsworth and Joey Sweeney & the Long Hair Arkestra (at PAFA on 4/18)

NewSwedenIt’s been a little while since we brought you some free live local music here at The Key, so we’re pretty psyched to announce our latest installments of The Key Studio Sessions Live, happening at Lenfest Plaza at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts on Thursday, April 18th.

On hand we’ve got Wilmington folk-rock powerhouse New Sweden (pictured), alums of the Key Studio Sessions (download their appearance here) and two-time winners of Tri-State Indie’s Delaware Indie Band of the Year award. I caught their recently revamped lineup at South by Southwest last month, and their live set is smokin’ as ever. Expect some new material, a modest amount of fiddle and ample hooting and hollering from these folks.

Also on the bill is vocal force of nature Ali Wadsworth. You’ve seen her collaborate with many players in the roots scene – her old band Unlikely Cowboy, Toy Soldiers, Good Old War, Fantasy Square Garden, Aaron & the Spell and the list goes on – but her forthcoming solo debut is something just about all of those folks are anticipating. It is being recorded with prominent Philly producer Bill Moriarty, features Wadsworth singing music written by many of her friends in the scene, and is sure to be great.

Last but certainly not least is Joey Sweeney and the Long Hair Arkestra. Aside from his day gig running the city news and culture blog Philebrity, Sweeney has made a formidable return to the stage this year – he first performed as a teenager in the 90s, and went on to front The Trouble With Sweeney and others until about 2006. After a hiatus of about a half-dozen years, he began to make moves with his rock outfit Arctic Splash (including a Christmas Key Session), threw a 40th birthday celebration that reunited all of his old bands, and now is gearing up to release Long Hair, a long-in-the-works solo album exploring the more introspective side of his songwriting. For this show, Sweeney will perform with The Long Hair Arkestra, a band about whom we don’t know a ton, but we’re psyched to hear them play all the same.

The concert takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Lenfest Plaza at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 118 North Broad Street. Admission is free, but space is limited, so RSVP now at the XPN website.

Below, watch an acoustic performance of New Sweden’s “Mama,” watch Ali Wadsworth covering Beck’s “Eyes that Say I Love You” at the Song Reader show, and watch a trailer for Sweeney’s “Long Hair”

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Download Ali Wadsworth’s Live at Johnny Brenda’s 2.21.13 album

WadsworthAli Wadsworth, the captivating vocalist you may have seen performing with any number of local acts over the years (Unlikely Cowboy, Fantasy Square Garden, Toy Soldiers), has stepped out on her own and recorded a solo collection of songs written by her Philadelphia friends.  While we wait for the release of the debut full-length, check out a live album of Wadsworth’s February 21st show at Johnny Brenda’s featuring songs written by Chris Kasper, Adrien Reju and a cover of Floating Action‘s “Say Goodbye.”  Below, stream “All Due Respect” written by Sean Hoots and get the full free live album here.  If you missed it, watch Ali Wadsworth rock Penn’s Museum of Archeology and Anthropology with a stunning performance of “Still Not Over You” here.

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Watch Ali Wadsworth belt out “Still Not Over You” in Penn Museum

AliPhilly roots scene vocal powerhouse Ali Wadsworth recently performed a soul-stirring new song, “Still Not Over You,” inside the echoey, stone-wall confines of The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. Aside from a few crypts of mummies that have been dead for eons, Wadsworth’s crowd was local videographer Mike Gallagher, who captured her performance with guitar accompanist Joe Bisirri in illuminating HD. The song was written by fellow Philadelphian Adrien Reju for the new album Wadsworth is recording with local producer Bill Moriarty at Waking Studios (other folks who wrote songs for the album include Sean Hoots of Hoots and Hellmouth and Chris Kasper). Check the video out in the player below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: DRGN King at PhilaMOCA, The Great Unknown at Johnny Brenda’s, XPN Welcomes Martin Sexton to The Landis Theater, Nightlands at Arden Gild Hall

Philly’s DRGN King are celebrating the release of Paragraph Nights tonight at PhilaMOCA.  The full-length debut from the psychedelic power pop outfit was released through Bar / None Records on January 22nd and runs the gamut of infectiously good songwriting from the slick “Holy Ghost” to the party-ready “Wild Night.”  More information for the all-ages show with Dangerous Ponies, Walking Shapes and Idle Idols can be found here.  Stream Paragraph Nights here and watch DRGN King’s Dominic Angelella perform a solo, stripped-down version of “Holy Ghost” at Sofar Sounds from last weekend below.

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Download Sounds From the West from local multi-instrumentalist KC Jones (playing Johnny Brenda’s on 2/2)

Drawing influences from Talking Heads, Spiritualized and local 20th century painter Andrew Wyeth, Philly’s KC Jones has created a body of work that continues to reveal its complex nuances many listens in.  2012 saw the release of his Reckless EP, an exploration of drifting, ambient rock with some surprising instrumentation; the title track pairs the slow drawl of a violin and a pizzicato coda with a War on Drugs-esque bass line that Dave Hartley would be proud of.  Throughout the EP, Jones’ vocals recall those of Tim Showalter (Strand of Oaks), with a weary but sturdy grasp on life and all its tribulations.

Moving forward to 2013, KC Jones released the full-length Sounds From the West just last week.  West takes Jones’ sound in a new direction, moving from the electronic pop of lead track “So Sad” to the rock-structured “Hiding Behind Glass.”  Named for Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Christina’s World,” West “follows a singular journey through the disconnect of life in a time of social and political strife.”

KC Jones will play Johnny Brenda’s on Saturday, February 2nd with The Great Unknown (celebrating the release of So Strange and Loud) and Ali Wadsworth.  Tickets and information for the 21+ show can be found here.  Stream “I.O.U.D.” from Sounds From the West below and download the name-your-price album on Bandcamp here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: In Memory of Joe Stummer at North Star Bar, World/Inferno Friendship Society at Chamelon Club, Kalob Griffin Band at World Cafe Live, The Babies at Kung Fu Necktie

To mark the anniversary of Clash guitarist Joe Strummer’s passing, the North Star Bar will be hosting In Memory of Joe Strummer: A Benefit for Strummerville. The show benefits the Strummervile charity that financially support struggling musicians who aspire to change the world through music. The charity was established by family and friends of the influential punk rocker, and a variety of acts will be performing in support of the cause including Blayer Point du Jour and the Rockers Galore, The Cold Roses, Betty Iron Thumbs, I Yahn I Arkestra, The Future Unwritten (named after the Strummer documentary), The Successful Failures and Split Red. More information on the foundation can be located here. Below, watch one of the Strummerville sessions directed by famed punk scene DJ and Clash associate Don Letts.

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Download Toy Soldiers’ entire catalog for free (playing World Cafe Live on 12/22)

It’s the season of giving, and Toy Soldiers‘ are giving you something big.  Through the holiday season, you can download their entire discography for free on their Bandcamp.  Everything from their 2010 debut sampler Whisper Down the Lane to this year’s “Been Here All My Days” single are up for grabs.  It’s an opportune time to catch up on their hard wailin’ rock music, too, as the unveiling of the rootsy Americana band’s first full-length record draws nearer.  Toy Soldiers have a huge show at World Cafe Live on December 22nd with The Kalob Griffin Band and Special Guests Hoots & Wadsworth.  Tickets and information can be found here.  If you plan on going to the WCL show, you can take advantage of The Toy Soldiers Holiday Special: $25 for a t-shirt, ticket, poster and download.  Below, listen to “Been Here All My Days.”

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ali Wadsworth at City Hall, KISS and Motley Crue at SBC, On The Water at Johnny Brenda’s, Ross Belenoit at Fergie’s

Feelin’ a little country? Catch Philly singer and songwriter Ali Wadsworth as she graces City Hall tonight with her blues-infused ensemble as they perform new music to be released on her upcoming solo album. Wadsworth, who previously sang in Goldiebox and Unlikely Cowboy, is currently competing on this season of NBC’s The Voice . Tonight’s show is free and starts at 5:30. Listen to the new singles ”Where Is Your Love?” and “All Due Respect” below.

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