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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Petal, Aspiga and more…

petal
Petal | photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

Scranton born, Philly based outfit Petal are this week’s Key Studio Session band. Led by Kiley Lotz, the group released its debut LP Shame last October and brought some of those songs in for this live session. Check out “Sooner” below and download the full set here; Lotz and her band play The Menzingers’ annual holiday show in Scranton on the 19th, Underground Arts on the 20th with Bayside and Boot & Saddle next month.

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Ben Smith returns with Old Man Winter, Vol. 5

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Ben Smith | photo by Tricia Ebarvia

For the fifth year in a row, West Chester-based singer-songwriter Ben Smith has released a two-track EP of original holiday songs. Old Man Winter, Vol 5 pairs the surprisingly electronic “Follow Every Star” with the downtempo, classic sounding “He’s Just Me” for a contrasting look at seasonal sentiments.

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The Show Goes On: Escape the Pope weekend crowds with these awesome gigs just outside of Philly

Dr. Dog | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com
Dr. Dog | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com

Yesterday we gave those of you spending pope weekend in Philly some tips on what is going on and how exactly you should get there. But many are probably wary of what will be one of the most crowded weekends in the city’s history – and thankfully, there’s plenty of live music a short roadtrip away. Today, we bring you a roundup of concerts that are worth venturing outside of Popeville to catch. Continue reading →

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Explore the contents of an old notebook with local singer-songwriter Ben Smith

Ben Smith | via Facebook.com/bensmithsongs
Ben Smith | via Facebook.com/bensmithsongs

West Chester singer-songwriter Ben Smith has intrigued us with his latest Das Defino: a song suite.

Who was/is Das Defino? Smith asks that question on his Bandcamp page, saying he’s not even prepared to answer. The most solidified response he can give reads,

The Das Defino I know is a phantom–made up of details from a transcription of a copied, junked, apparently rain-soaked, discarded notebook somewhere near Charlottesville, Virginia.

Read the full description for yourself, and the three songs Smith has compiled speak volumes on just how grand he wished to make this chamber pop project. Continue reading →

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Download Ben Smith’s holiday ode “Feast of Steven” (with respect to The Smiths)

Ben Smith | Old Man Winter, Vol, 4 | Artwork by Kristen Soleck | http://www.kristensolecki.com/
Ben Smith | Old Man Winter, Vol, 4 | Artwork by Kristen Soleck | http://www.kristensolecki.com/

Local singer-songwriter Ben Smith has gotten in the holiday spirit and released Old Man Winter, Vol. 4. It’s part of his long standing Old Man Winter series, and this time around featured two songs: Getting Coal For Christmas,” about a boy who doesn’t seem to mind his growing stockpile of coal, and “Feast of Steven,” about a boy alone at boarding school for the holidays, with nothing but his Smiths records to keep him company. Continue reading →

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Live at 435 welcomes Ben Smith into the studio for Episode 2

Ben Smith | photo by Josh Barker
Ben Smith | photo by Josh Barker

Launched earlier this month with an appearance by Kevin Manning, Downingtown-based video series Live at 435 is back with Episode 2.  Ben Smith is a long-time friend of 435 founder / musician Matt Magarahan so it was a no brainer to welcome him into the studio for a few songs.  Smith performed two stripped-down tracks, “I Recognize Your Fist” and “Someone, Somewhere, Sometime,” keeping it simple with just vocals and piano.  Between songs Matt sat down with Ben and talked about clothing choices, reminisced about their early recording days and what’s next for Smith.  Check out the episode below and stay tuned for more from Live at 435.

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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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Ben Smith spreads holiday cheer with Old Man Winter, vol. 3

bensmith

Local singer-songwriter Ben Smith has released the third installment of his annual holiday series, Old Man Winter Vol. 3.  This year pairs the synth-rocking “Santa’s All In” with the love balladry of “Christmas Down the Shore.”  The original songs represent two different holiday-time sentiments. “Santa’s All In” is a cynical tale of a fed-up Santa who moves to the land of “ne’er-do-wells” to play poker with Lady Luck and Jack Frost.  On the other side of the holiday cheer spectrum is “Christmas Down the Shore,” which details a romantic Christmas spent in the Ghost town that is the Jersey Shore in December. Stream the songs below and grab a name-your-own price download here.

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Balance and Composure, Free Energy, Ben Smith

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Toy Soldiers celebrated the release of their full-length The Maybe Boys with a Key Studio Session. For their encore session (they first visited the WXPN studios in 2010) the rootsy blues rock band recorded a few songs from the new record, as well as an unreleased track called “Street Sweeper.” Stream and download “Heart in a Mousetrap” below and get the full set here.

West Chester’s Ben Smith has released a new EP called Ravine Road. The singer-songwriter recorded it himself in his home studio, using vintage equipment he picked up at the estate sale of his seventh-grade teacher. Listen to the title track below and get a name-your-own-price download here.

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Download “Ravine Road” from Ben Smith’s new EP

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West Chester’s Ben Smith has released a new EP called Ravine Road, following up the singer-songwriter’s 2011 debut Crooked Earth and a handful of singles.  This record was an experiment in doing it yourself – Smith played all instruments and recorded it himself, and that individualistic approach was applied to the lyrics as well.  There’s a song about poison arrows, Broadway Danny Rose and The Fonz – incongruous as a whole but relevant in and of themselves to Smith’s encounters during this specific time in his life.  From Smith:

[The songs are] a bit looser this time around—which is a nice way of saying I recorded all the parts by myself this time, in my home studio, without obsessing over every little detail. There was still a lot of obsession but I was more interested in capturing little live moments rather than fussed over ones. And so, armed with that approach, a somewhat limited understanding of proper recording technique, and some recently acquired vintage instruments—some from the auction of the estate of Josiah Hibberd, my late seventh-grade Social Studies teacher—come these five songs.

Stream and download the title track below and check out the full EP here.