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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Bilal, Nathaniel Rateliff and more

bilal
Bilal | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

Local singer-songwriter Bilal stopped by for this week’s Key Studio Session. He brought with him songs from his latest effort In Another Life, performing acoustic versions of “Satellites,” “Love Child” and more. Download the full session here and catch Bilal live at the WXPN-curated Red Bull Sound Select show at Underground Arts on August 20th.

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The Key Studio Sessions: Bilal

It’s been a long and wild trip for Philly singer-songwriter Bilal. He emerged with a knockout LP called 1st Born Second in 2001, an auspicious time in Philly’s music history. Being surrounded by an insanely talented family of artists, from Jill Scott to Music Soulchild to Floetry and King Britt, certainly gave Bilal a leg up and a platform to stand on. At the same time, it sort of painted him into a neo-soul corner when he was interested in all manners of music, from funk to folk, psychedelic rock to pop. Continue reading →

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Bilal, Son Little and Kate Faust will play WXPN’s Red Bull SoundSelect show on 8/20

Bilal | Photo by Kawai Matthews | via facebook.com/OfficialBilalPage
Bilal | Photo by Kawai Matthews | via facebook.com/OfficialBilalPage

WXPN and The Key are very excited to be curating the August edition of Red Bull’s SoundSelect show at Underground Arts, and we’re doubly psyched about the lineup we put together. Philly soul innovator Bilal joins futuristic singer-songwriter Son Little and electropop maven Kate Faust at the August 20th event. The bill is all-Philly, all-awesome and tickets are only $3 – you can RSVP here. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ingrid Michaelson at The Mann Center, Bilal at World Cafe Live, Kansas Bible Company at MilkBoy

Ingrid Michaelson | Photo by Cameron Pollack
Ingrid Michaelson | Photo by Cameron Pollack

UPDATE: Due to inclement weather, tonight’s Ingrid Michaelson show will be moved from The Mann’s skyline stage to the amphitheater. Seating for the show will be general admission.

Pop / rock fave Ingrid Michaelson released her sixth album, Lights Out, just about a year ago, and tonight she brings the latest leg of tour in support of it to The Mann Center for her biggest Philly headlining show to date. The album is full of catchy jams, from “Girls Chase Boys” and “Afterlife” to “Time Machine.” Joining her on the bill tonight is perennial piano-led power trio, Jukebox The Ghost. Tickets and information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Watch the Philly 4th of July Jam with The Roots, Aloe Blacc, Nicki Minaj and more

Photo by Mark Stehle via http://6abc.com/entertainment/photos-philly-4th-of-july-jam/157734/#gallery-8
Photo by Mark Stehle via http://6abc.com/entertainment/photos-philly-4th-of-july-jam/157734/#gallery-8

Aloe Blacc, Jennifer Hudson, Ed Sheeran, Nicki Minaj and The Roots performed at the Wawa Welcome America on July 4th, hosted by Marlon Wayans. Joining The Roots were Philly R&B singer Bilal and DJ Jazzy Jeff. Earlier last week, Aloe Blacc stopped by WXPN to record a session for an upcoming World Cafe with David Dye.

Below, watch the July 4th Jam in its entirety via VH-1.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Lee Fields & The Expressions at Union Transfer, Washed Out at the Electric Factory, Bilal at The Blockley and more

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo via www.facebook.com/leefieldsandtheexpressions

Union Transfer welcomes North Carolina soul singer Lee Fields to its stage tonight. Over his impressive 43-year career, Fields has released multiple albums and inspired generations of R&B singers. His most recent effort Faithful Man was released last year via Truth and Soul Records. Fields recorded the album with the label’s house band The Expressions who also accompany his live sets. Get tickets to the show here and watch his video for “You’re The Kind Of Girl” below.

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Bilal Live in Paris: The best iPhone concert video you’ll ever watch

Screen shot 2013-07-05 at 10.38.58 AMPhilly native Bilal (who now resides in Brooklyn) spent much of the aughts with only one album to his name, 2001′s lauded 1st Born Second. Things picked up again in 2010 with Airtight’s Revenge and last February A Love Surreal, last February, and Bilal has once again begun getting out there as both a performer with an imaginative and distinctive style (see the above artwork from Surreal).  This week Mikael Colombu, who has directed music videos for artists such as The Weeknd and Cee Lo, uploaded his own fan-made video of Bilal live in Paris.  The video features Bilal performing a ten minute long jam of “Slipping Away” off his new album.  After a few minutes of warming up, Bilal really cranks it, showing his incredible vocal range as he dashes around the stage. Below, check out what may be the best iPhone concert video you’ll ever see.

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Listen to Bilal’s A Love Surreal on NPR: First Listen

Philadelphia native Bilal will release his new album A Love Surreal on February 26th but you don’t have to wait that long to listen to the record in full – NPR is currently streaming the funky R&B effort in their First Listen feature.  Bilal, who quickly fell into the Soulquarians scene with The Roots, Erykah Badu and D’Angelo in New York City after graduating from Philadelphia’s High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, smooths his funky style with bright, psychedelic overtones on this latest effort while the lyrics explore the many facets of love.  Stream “West Side Girl” below and stream the full record here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Psychic Ills at Johnny Brenda’s, Bilal at World Cafe Live, XPN Welcomes Northern Liberties Music Fest with Ruby the Hatchet and more to The Fire

New York experimental rock band Psychic Ills headline Johnny Brenda’s tonight.  The psychedelic-infused outfit recalls the distorted and distressed, laidback sound of early Kurt Vile with lo-fi vocals and hypnotic arrangements that seem on the verge of exploding.  Psychic Ills will be releasing One Track Mind on February 19th via Sacred Bones Records, following up 2011′s Hazed Dream.  Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with Nothing and Mike Bruno & The Black Magic Family Band can be found here.  Stream “Might Take A While” from the upcoming record below.

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Stream a new song by Bilal, “West Side Girl” (playing World Cafe Live on Wednesday, February 13)


Over the course of his excellent career, musician, producer and songwriter Bilal has taken elements of R&B, funk, and hip-hop and mixed them together with fantastic results. His soon to be released new album, A Love Surreal (out on February 26th), continues to build on his career. Bilal has his record release party at World Cafe Live on Wednesday, February 13th. Go here for tickets and more information about the show. Below, listen to the ridiculously funky “West Side Girl.”