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Key Fest At-A-Glance, Part One: A high-energy indie / punk opening with Cayetana, Commonwealth Choir, Hurry and Slingshot Dakota

Slingshot Dakota | photo by Megan Kelly
Slingshot Dakota | photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

The first-ever Key Fest is nearly upon us, and anticipation around these parts is high. Three nights of music by Philadelphia artists, a spectrum of sounds and styles, and a lot to look forward to. It’s essentially the first time a local venue has turned over three nights of their calendar to us and said “here, have fun” – and we tried to do right by them in curating three unique bills of artists that we felt worked alongside one another and, more importantly, that we’d want to go see.

All this week, leading up to opening night, we’ll bring you night-by-night Key Fest At-A-Glance rundowns, telling you who these artists are we booked and why we’re pumped to have them on the show. To begin at the beginning, let’s look at opening night. Continue reading →

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Download Commonwealth Choir’s new single “Palace” see them at Key Fest on Thursday

Commonwealth Choir | Photo by
Commonwealth Choir | Photo by Hope Helmuth | hopehelmuth.com | design by January Waters

Philly power pop four-piece Commonwealth Choir hits the stage this Thursday night for opening night of MilkBoy’s Key Fest, and the boys are using the occasion to release their latest single. “Palace” was first heard in a raw live take during the Choir’s Key Studio Session last year; in its new studio rendition, recorded at the band’s Fishtown spot The Gun Shop and mixed by Dan Pawlovich at Treble Hook Music, the song’s inner Rentals sensibilities come alive. There’s a bright and poppy synthesizer lead, an infectious beat and vivid lyrics about a part of town that’s prone to floods that, for whatever reason, these kids can’t stay away from. Continue reading →

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Is that Amos Lee up there on the XPN Vinyl At Heart billboard?

Amos
Photo by Kelsey Stanger

Perhaps you’ve seen some of WXPN’s new Vinyl At Heart campaign signs around the city on billboards and on the sides of buses and trains throughout the city. There are three distinct images being used that include photos of musicians, and we’ve heard from XPN listeners asking “Who’s on that billboard?” and “Who’s on the side of that train?” Continue reading →

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Watch Commonwealth Choir’s new “Along the Peak” performed at The TLA

Commonwealth Choir onstage at The TLA
Commonwealth Choir

On Friday night, Philly rockers Commonwealth Choir performed at The TLA on South Street on the seven-artist lineup of the Bands in the Backyard Summer Sounds showcase. The band’s well-received EP Shirtless is coming up on a year old, meaning they’ve been working more and more unreleased material into their setlist of late, including from their XPoNential Music Festival set last month to their performance on Friday night. Continue reading →

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XPNFest Recap: Commonwealth Choir made an energetic River Stage debut

Commonwealth Choir | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Commonwealth Choir | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

Doylestown indie rock five-piece Commonwealth Choir brought a tremendous amount of energy to the river stage on day two of the XPoNential Music Festival. Their debut EP Shirtless was released in the fall, and the band has plowed forth with tremendous momentum since then, barnstorming the Philly rock club scene and starting a creatively-curated cassette label, Philly Tapes Philly (read more in Julie Miller’s interview with the band here).

For their XPoNential set, the band decided to roll out a healthy mix of new songs alongside its single “Rest.” Continue reading →

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XPoNential Artist Spotlight: Meet Commonwealth Choir, Fishtown’s new kids on the block

Commonwealth Choir | photo by Mike Bucher
Commonwealth Choir | photo by Mike Bucher

We’ve got a lot of great new local talent to look forward to this weekend, and Saturday will start off with one of the newer bands on the block.  Commonwealth Choir is closing out a year of “XPoNential” growth – even before the release of its debut Shirtless EP last fall, the band’s single “Rest” was placed in XPN’s rotation.  Since then, they’ve sold out shows at MilkBoy multiple times (including New Year’s Eve), opened for New Sweden’s record release show and recorded an incredibly popular Key Studio Session.  I spoke with Commonwealth Choir’s lead vocalist / guitarist Davis Jameson Howley to find out how the band got its start, what this past year has been like and what it means to them to be playing the XPoNential Music Festival. Continue reading →

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Commonwealth Choir, Pine Barons, Weekender and more to play at BITBY Summer Sounds

commonwealthchoir
Photo by Mike Bucher

Bands in the Backyard is bringing together some of Philly’s best for a one-night-only concert at the Theater of the Living Arts. BITBY will host the concert Summer Sounds on August 15. It’s a killer lineup topped by Bucks County rock band Commonwealth Choir as headliner (fresh off their slot at XPoNential Music Festival this weekend). Continue reading →

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, including The Afghan Whigs, Milton and more

Photo by Rich McKie
Photo by Rich McKie

Reading, PA resident Milton stopped by for this week’s Key Studio Session.  The Maryland native surrounded himself with a full band that brought his jazzy, soulful compositions to life.  Check out “I Desire to Know” below and get the full session here.

Folkadelphia welcomed back its frequent subject Psalmships in April, recording a live session in celebration of Joshua Britton’s new LP I Sleep Alone.  Stream and download the session below, featuring guest appearances by Brad Hinton and Chelsea Sue Allen.

With the XPoNential Music Festival quickly approaching, it’s a good time to get reacquainted with some of the bands that will be performing, like Commonwealth Choir.  Originally from Doylestown but now based in Fishtown, the indie pop / rock group recorded a Key Studio Session earlier this year.  Get a free copy of their song “Palace” below.

2014 Non-COMM performers The Afghan Whigs will be back in town on October 3rd, supporting one of this year’s best records Do To the Beast.  You can get a free download of “Matamoros” below, courtesy of My Morning Download.  Tickets and information for the upcoming show can be found here.

 

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Download a Key Studio Session recording of “Palace” by #XPNfest artist Commonwealth Choir

Commonwealth Choir Key Studio Session | Photo by Ryan Boswell RBCameraWorks.com
Commonwealth Choir Key Studio Session | Photo by Ryan Boswell RBCameraWorks.com

One of the many local bands playing the XPoNential Music Festival presented by Subaru is Commonwealth Choir. The Doylestown indie-rockers will be opening up the day on Saturday, July 26th at 12:30. Earlier this year, the band recorded a Key Studio Session, performing songs from their recent EP and a couple of new songs. Below, download “Palace,” and make sure you watch the video of their performance of “Pacers.”

Commonwealth Choir are playing World Cafe Live at The Queen in Wilmington, tomorrow evening, Friday, July 11th at the New Sweden record release party. And you’ll be seeing them at #xpnfest on Saturday, July 25th. Go here for tickets to the fesyival.

Pacers by Commonwealth Choir from James Powers on Vimeo.

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Download The Key Studio Sessions Volume 10 (feat. Modern Baseball, Elegant Animals, Marah and more)

TheKeyStudioSessionsVol10Summing up an entire region’s music scene in an hour-ish long compilation is pretty much impossible. But dangit, we try our best. I’m very psyched for the roster of artists we’ve lined up on The Key Studio Sessions Volume 10, out today as a free download you can grab below. Pop-punk wave makers Modern Baseball did a version of “The Weekend” from their 2012 debut LP Sports, and the mini XPN shoutout they deliver at the end of the first chorus might be my favorite moment of the set. The song as a whole is insanely fun and on point, and MoBo’s basement-scene brethren W.C. Lindsay (more synthpop leaning) and The Hundred Acre Woods (more folk-leaning) also make solid appearances. There are several acts on the comp who you’ll see this summer at the XPoNential Music Festival: Ginger Coyle, Commonwealth Choir, Marah and Marian Hill. I love using our studio to allow more experimental-leaning artists to blaze new paths, whether its Trophy Wife‘s expansive rager “Neil Young” (very reminiscent of the Dead Man score for sure), Tutlie‘s elegant dreamscape “Kaito” or Bleeding Rainbow‘s noise-punk jam “Time or Place.” Suave downbeat crooners Elegant Animals knock a track from their back catalogue out of the park, and though the comp is admittedly short on hip-hop, eclectic electronica soundscaper Ganou spits a fierce verse on “Detainment.” (We’ll have a lot more Philly hip-hop on volume 11 in August, don’t worry.) A summation of an entire scene? Of course not. I think of this more of an incomplete but nonetheless awesome snapshot of Philadelphia-area music circa spring 2014, one we’ll continue building on. Major thanks go to production assistants Dan Hatton and Dan Malloy; photographers Rachel Del Sordo, Megan Kelly, Allison Newbold, Dominique Montgomery and Ian Lewis; videographers Bob Sweeney, James PowersRyan Chowansky and Bands in the Backyard; and guest engineers Mattias Nilsson and Adam Staniszewski. Listen to the comp and download it for free below.