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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Districts at First Unitarian Church, Swans at Union Transfer, Hoodie Allen at Underground Arts and more

The Districts | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com
The Districts | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

After a full year of festival performances and a nationwide tour with White Denim, there’s still no stopping The Districts. Yesterday, they performed at WXPN’s NonCOMM, and tonight, they’ll headline an all ages show in the First Unitarian Church basement along with Clear Plastic Masks, Pine Barons and Fly Golden Eagle. The show starts at 8 p.m. and the $12 tickets can be purchased here or at the door.

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When love is lost, drink and dance: American Babies release video for “Goddamn”

AmericanBabies6
American Babies | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

Psychedelic jam band American Babies - led by prolific guitarist and Philly native Tom Hamilton – have released a soulful (and admittedly somewhat sad) video for “Goddamn”, a track off of 2013′s Knives & Teeth. The all-too-real ode to when love goes wrong and relationships go awry is brought to life in the video by a visually distraught Hamilton, doing what we all do when doused in pain, the best we can. A cheery breakdown and sing-a-long help soothe the sting, and despite Hamilton’s honest telling of regret, one can’t help toe tapping to the tune.

With the release of Knives and Teeth last year, and an upcoming EP Stark & Red due out April 1, American Babies has hit the road on a four month tour with two stops in Philly: they’ll play Union Transfer 2/14 and 2/15 with Railroad Earth. Find tickets and info on each show here and here. Watch the video for “Goddamn” below.

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Download The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 9 (feat. Amanda X, Balance and Composure, Mean Lady and more)

The Key Studio Sessions Volume 9
Album cover photo by Tiffany Yoon | tiffanyyoon.com

Today we bring you our latest Key Studio Sessions compilation, pulling together the best of what we’ve recorded in the final four months of 2013. I’m always psyched about these comps, but The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 9 in particular presents a tremendous variety of musicians from around the Philadelphia region that I’m excited to showcase for you. Bucks County has a healthy showing, from the acoustic alt-punk swagger of Balance and Composure and the retro-grunge of Daylight to the booming Americana of Levee Drivers and the flower child folk stylings of Lily Mae. We trip away into a spacious, 12-minute jam by Chris Forsyth and his Solar Motel Band, rock out to Amanda X and get chillingly meditative with ambient musician and filmmaker Michael James Murray. A Christmas selection from Jersey’s The Classic Brown makes the cut, sultry new jammers from Delaware’s Mean Lady and Central Pa.’s Kate Faust, a fierce bass-backed rap by Curly Castro, an Afro-Cuban jazz rocker from Toy Soldiers, and more. Special thanks to guest engineers Steve Poponi and Mike Kennedy, to Tom Volpicelli at Mastering House for his post-production help, and to production assistants Dan Hutton and Dan Malloy as well as photographers Rachel Del Sordo, Megan Kelly, Laura Lynn, Caitlin McCann, Ally Newbold, Kellie O’Heron, Tony Oppenheim, Matthew Shaver, Mike Trutt and Tiffany Yoon, and videographers Bands in the Backyard and Bob Sweeney for sharing their work this fall. Listen to the 17-song set and get a free download below.

Want more? Get a roundup of our previous free-downloadable Key Studio Sessions compilations after the jump. Continue reading →

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Willy Mason, American Babies, Ben Smith

The Districts | photo via www.shakingthrough.com
The Districts | photo via www.shakingthrough.com

Closing out 2013, Weathervane Music premiered a Shaking Through session with The Districts this week.  The Lancaster natives wrote, arranged and recorded “Vermont” in two days at Miner Street Recording for the episode.  Watch the video here and stream and download the track below.

Todd Hamilton brought in his American Babies project for a Key Studio Session.  Hamilton has floated around the music scene for many years, fronting bands, collaborating with other artists and taking a seat in the producers chair.  For this session his band recorded tracks from their latest Knives and Teeth LP.  Stream and download “When I Build My Fortune” below and get the full set here.

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The Key Studio Sessions: American Babies

Let’s not mince words: Tom Hamilton is one of the best guitarists in Philadelphia today. It’s hard to imagine the jam rock scene being what it is without him, between his boundary-pushing formative band Brothers Past, to his collaborations with The Disco Biscuits, to his current main squeeze American Babies – who this week make their return visit to the Key Studio Sessions. (Check out their 2011 appearance here.)

But beyond his acrobatic solos and precision riffage as a performer within one tight-knit scene, Hamilton’s ear and knack for arrangement span other scenes, ranging from indie-psychedelic (he recorded an early Kurt Vile demo in 2002) to folk (Joe D’Amico of Mason Porter is also a Brothers Past alum, and Hamilton produced their record Thunder In The Valley).

American Babies released its third full length, Knives and Teeth, and it’s the group’s most tuneful collection to date. Hot off a three-month tour, they played a polished performance of five of its songs in their Key Session, which you can stream and download below. Check it out, and catch the Babies in concert on February 14th and 15th at Union Transfer with Railroad Earth; tickets and information on the shows can be found here and here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ali Wadsworth at Ruba Club, The Deli’s 5th Anniversary Bash at PhilaMOCA, River City Festival at Penn Treaty Park and more

Screen shot 2013-08-20 at 9.30.04 PMAli Wadsworth is not a new voice in Philly by any means, but she’ll be releasing her debut solo LP at Ruba Club tonight.  The celebration will be an incredible one: a cocktail hour, sets by Auctioneer, Thom McCarthy and Divers and a “super top secret party band” will surround the centerpiece performance by Wadsworth and her band. Before striking out on her own, Wadsworth was a member of Unlikely Cowboy with Good Old War’s Dan Schwartz, Goldiebox with her sister Claire and Philly super-group Fantasy Square Garden.  The new album, recorded by Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man), features songs written for Wadsworth by her friends and fellow musicians.  Tickets and information for the all-night party can be found on the Facebook event page.  Watch Wadsworth perform “Still Not Over You” at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology below.

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Just Announced: Vacationer, American Babies, Cheers Elephant headlining 6th annual Fishtown River City Festival

Vacationer | Photo by John Vettese
Vacationer performing at 2nd Street Fest | Photo by John Vettese

The Fishtown River City Festival just announced the lineup for its sixth annual installment, and the free concert on October 5th will be topped by electro-pop crew (and recent 2nd Street Fest headliners) Vacationer. The band – fronted by Kenny Vasoli of The Starting Line – is still riding high on its 2012 LP Gone, and earlier this summer it recorded a fantastic Key Studio Session. They’ll take the stage along with jam rock crew American Babies, psychedelic pop boys Cheers Elephant and more. More information and set times can be found at the River City Festival website. Below, watch video of Vacationer recording their Key Session, and download tracks from Cheers Elephant and American Babies from The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 1.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: David Bowie Tribute at The Blockley, Omar and Lemuria at The Barbary

Photo by Dan King
Photo by Dan King
Local bands are coming together for a David Bowie Tribute at The Blockley tonight.  Titled “Let’s Dance” and presented by Deathwaltz Media Group, the tribute show will feature a costume contest, art exhibition, and dance party.  Nicos Gun will do a rendition of Bowie’s 1983 album Let’s Dance with American Babies and more on hand to perform their own versions of Bowie’s jams.  Tickets and information for the 21+ show can be found here.  Watch the preview video below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Turning Violet Violet at Kung Fu Necktie, Bleeding Rainbow at Johnny Brenda’s, Mary Lattimore at Kung Fu Necktie, Philebrity Valentine’s Day special with Juston Stens at Underground Arts, plus more

Local indie group Turning Violet Violet play Kung Fu Necktie tonight.  The Key Studio Session alums carve out chamber alt-rock songs on the fringe of art-rock that seem bathed in a purple glow, though that might just be residual effects of their band name.  Either way, the songs on Turning Violet Violet’s debut full-length Double Cure are swathe-y, sweeping compositions that strike all the right feelings chords.   Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with TeamMate and Donora can be found here.  Revisit Turning Violet Violet’s Key Session here and watch their video for “Cold Bread” below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Wailers at World Cafe Live, American Babies at Johnny Brenda’s

Photo by William Richards

Legendary reggae group The Wailers will perform Bob Marley’s 1979 album Survival in-full at World Cafe Live tonight.  The release of Survival followed criticism of Marley’s previous record Kaya for being too easy-going and non-influential in subject, which may have played a part in Survival‘s unmistakable call-to-action message for African unity.  Since Marley’s death in 1981, The Wailers have performed with Sting, Carlos Santana, Stevie Wonder and others, with bass player Aston “Family Man” Barrett leading the group alongside singer Koolant.  Tickets and information for tonight’s all-ages show with special guest and Wailers historian Roger Steffens can be found here.  Below, watch The Wailers perform “Zimbabwe” from Survival with Bob Marley.

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