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XPN Artist to Watch Daughn Gibson plays “You Don’t Fade” for KCRW

DaughnIt’s not hard to understand how XPN artist to watch Daughn Gibson caught the ear of so many people; once you hear his voice, it makes sense. His transcendent well-deep baritone blends strikingly with his unique mashup of electronic music, 70s rock and contemporary country. Gibson and his band recently visited NPR affiliate KCRW to play “You Don’t Fade” off of his recent sophomore release of Me Moan. Now, the Carlisle, Pa. singer/songwriter is going on a short tour around the UK, finishing up in London on September 5th. Check out Gibson’s Morning Becomes Eclectic studio performance below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Daughn Gibson at Johnny Brenda’s, Kilo Kish at the Blockley, Do Good Fest at Hard Rock Café, The Mighty Paradocs at PhilaMOCA

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WXPN’s Artist To Watch Daughn Gibson is bringing his experimental tunes to Johnny Brenda’s Tonight. His second album, Me Moan, was recently released on Sub Pop Records and fuses dark country with electronic beats and orchestral instruments to create a haunting, unique sound. Opening the show are Hiss Golden Messenger and Man On. Gibson was on World Cafe with David Dye this past week; listen to the session here. Check out Gibson’s music video for “Kissin’ on the Blacktop” below, and find tickets here.

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My Morning Download: “The Sound of Law” by Daughn Gibson

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There’s no hiding our love of the new album, Me Moan, by Carlisle, PA., singer-songwriter Daughn Gibson.. Recently featured David Dye as a World Cafe: Next featured artist, and in John Vettese’s Unlocked series, the “unapologetically twangy and uncannily experimental” Gibson performs at Johnny Brenda’s on Friday, August 16. Below, download “The Sound of Law” from Me Moan.

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Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Watch Daughn Gibson’s new “Kissin On The Blacktop” video (playing Johnny Brenda’s on 8/16)

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Daughn Gibson just released his sophomore album, Me Moan, on Sub Pop.  The country-inspired experimental rock album has received high praise all over the music world, The Key being no exception – last week we featured the album in our Unlocked series.  Today, Gibson released the video for the song “Kissin On The Blacktop” off the record.  The video sets the perfect atmosphere for the song.  Gibson sits in a shady dive bar along with a slick slide guitarist and a cast that looks like they’re just waiting for an excuse to fight.  Check out the video below, and catch Daughn Gibson when he returns to Philly August 16th at Johnny Brenda’s.

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Unlocked: Getting to know Daughn Gibson’s roots in Pearls and Brass

Photo by Calli Higgins

Before Daughn Gibson was Daughn Gibson, he was Josh Martin, a hardworking musician and drummer for the Bethlehem-based prog-metal band Pearls and Brass. From roughly 2001 to 2009, they explored the expanses of bluesy proto-metal riffs and generous runtimes, often having to contend with the “stoner rock” tag but doing so with general good cheer and maximum volume. In our interview yesterday, Gibson discussed how his time in Pearls and Brass shaped him as a solo artist. To close out our Unlocked spotlight on him and his new album Me Moan today, we’ll take a look (and listen) to Daughn Gibson’s formative band.

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Unlocked: From prog-metal to funk jams, what makes Daughn Gibson tick?

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This week, Daughn Gibson released the hard-hitting, unapologetically twangy and uncannily experimental LP Me Moan on Sub Pop Records. The Carlisle, Pa. songwriter – whose roots lie in the prog-metal scene of the aughties – went into the studio with the intention of making the antithesis of a laptop record. He wanted it to pop, he wanted it to come out charging – and he wanted it to be something that would make for a compelling live show. In all those cases, it’s a winner, and chatting with Gibson, it’s quickly evident much thought and sincere appreciation of a wide spectrum of music goes into his work. You can also tell how the 32-year-old Gibson’s approach was shaped by the decade-plus he’s clocked in as a performing musician.

The Key: With solo artists, a lot of times it’s one person doing a little bit of everything. Is that how you’ve operated thus far?

Daughn Gibson: Last year, my first record All Hell came out and I quickly had to figure out how to do something live. I was living in Carlisle, and I was having a hard time finding players, so I had to pretty much do it solo. I built everything in a laptop…I built it like a hip hop record would be built. I figured, well I’m not rapping, I’m just singing over this, so I’ll try it that way and maybe have one person helping me out with piano or guitar. I grew up playing in bands and turning up to 11 and wanting to hear volume…so doing this, I was like ‘Something’s weird. This is not happening for me.’

TK: I feel like as an audience member, sometimes you can see people play to a track on a laptop and put on a good show. But sometimes you wind up with the syndrome of somebody just standing there and staring at the computer. How do you feel in instances like that, as somebody who goes to see music?

DG: I love to dance as much as the next guy, and if there’s a good DJ, my head is firmly in the front-of-house speaker and I’m watching him and thumping along. However, I suppose if someone is making their stuff on the laptop and singing on top of it, I do want to see a little more engagement with what they’re doing, if it’s on the fly or improvised. So, that’s a totally fresh and new idea for me as a performer – to try and figure out how to do that. It’s been a year, so now I can do those things I’ve learned with a band and it now feels great. It feels like it used to, except now there’s bizarre samples and laptop shit going on in the background.

TK: Me Moan definitely feels a lot bigger, a lot bolder as a record. Do you think that was a result of that progression you just described?

DG: Absolutely. When I started writing the record, I set out that I want to do this live, I want it to be loud, and I want it to feel like I’m behind chicken wire. So with just about every song I kept in mind that this is going to get played live, and certainly there were piles of songs that were very easygoing electronic songs…which didn’t make the cut for me. Continue reading →

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Unlocked: Watch Daughn Gibson and his band play “Kissin’ On the Blacktop” live

Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 4.56.30 PMOne thing you’ll notice straightaway on Daughn Gibson‘s new Me Moan, out this week on Sub Pop Records – it’s very out front. It’s very forceful. It rocks hard in a way that its predecessor, All Hell, did not quite match. Which isn’t to say that All Hell was a lesser album, as much as it had a different agenda – it documented the creative experiments of somebody making music by themselves, without much expectation of ever performing. On Me Moan, Gibson began collaborating for the first time – a result of realizing he wanted to perform his music live, and make his show lively. Joining him in the studio was guitarist Jim Elkington of Chicago acts The Horse’s Ha and The Zincs, and live the duo is further fleshed out by onetime Philadelphian Areif Sless-Kitain (of Aquila Rose, South Congress, and DC / Dischord-affiliated act Regulator Watts) on drums. The band made its live premier at Primavera Sound Festival back in June, playing a set on the Pitchfork Stage. Watch a performance of “Kissin’ on the Blacktop” from that show below.

is Me Moan is the featured album in this edition of Unlocked; hear the spotlighted track “The Sound of Law” in Monday’s post, read yesterday’s album review; and check back later this week for an interview and a exploration of Gibson’s musical past.

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Unlocked: The Key’s review of Me Moan by Daughn Gibson

a0e05edbCentral Pa.-based singer and songwriter Daughn Gibson caught the ears of a lot of unexpected folks, from Pitchfork to Sub Pop, on his 2012 release All Hell. The record was an alluring collection of home-made sonic tapestries; electronic beats, glitchy synthesizer cut-ups, a freewheeling attitude and a subtle accent. The recordings – which the former drummer with prog-metal kingpins Pearls and Brass made simply for kicks – were so impressive that Pissed Jeans frontman Matt Korvette (Gibson’s longtime friend) issued them on his own White Denim label. People tried to make sense of the music in the context of what was happening musically in 2011 / 2012 – James Blake was a frequent comparison point alongside Johnny Cash – but it was generally and enthusiastically embraced, and Gibson subsequently inked a deal to release his next album on Sub Pop Records.

Now the Carlisle-based songwriter means business. Unlike that last record – which, even with its mysterious textures and evocative tones, felt like an informal outing – the new Me Moan was recorded with a sense of purpose, and it sounds like it. It opens in a dust bowl stampede with the kick drum pulse and spaghetti western guitar of “The Sound of Law.” From there, it follows a cinematic arc, bringing things downtempo on “The Pisgee Nest,” grooving like a David Lynch set piece with an eerie sound of running water in the backdrop. It dips even further into the ominous on “You Don’t Fade,” mixing in a rattling guitar and an unearthy blend of vocal samples.

Gibson’s own vocals also feel more consciously twangy. This is an odd thing to say – on All Hell, you can hear during spoken interludes and other points that a country drawl is a natural-ish part of his voice. But the singing on that album is more akin to the vocals play out in arty ensembles like Lambchop, Tindersticks and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds; it was hushed and restrained, almost as if Gibson was trying to repress an accent. On Me Moan, not only does he embrace the accent, he pushes it almost to the point of caricature. Continue reading →

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Unlocked: Download “The Sound of Law” from Daughn Gibson’s Me Moan

DaughnWith his scruffy stubble and Stetson hat, it’s easy to equate Daughn Gibson with “cowboy.” Of course, there’s more to the adventurous Central PA songwriter than just that. On his brand new Me Moan, out this week on Sub Pop Records, Gibson works an impressive country drawl, yes, but also an incredible sense of mood and texture. Enter the pulsing electronics and mood-setting strings, the booming echo and evocative layers of voices of “The Sound Of Law” – it’s the opening track on the album and the song we’re starting the week off with. Every day, we’ll feature Me Moan on Unlocked, The Key’s regular spotlight on new and significant releases from Philadelphia-area artists. Tomorrow we’ll have a review, later in the week an interview and a look into Gibson’s metal / prog lineage – a definite source of his knack for vibe. Today, get your free download of “The Sound of Law” below, courtesy of Sub Pop, and check back for more on Daughn Gibson all week long on Unlocked.

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Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Kissin On The Blacktop” by Daughn Gibson

daughngibson Singer-songwriter Daughn Gibson releases his new album, Me Moan, on Sub Pop Records on July 9. The Central Pennsylvania songwriter (and former South Philadelphia resident) is an indie rock crooner with touchstones of Roy Orbison, Stan Ridgway (Wall of Voodoo), country music and modern day musical electronics. Gibson’s real name is Josh Martin; his musical name is a tribute to country music legend Don Gibson and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Early influences of Led Zeppelin and Robert Johnson helped form his musical vocabulary and he played drums in the stoner-metal band Pearls and Brass before pursuing his solo career. Below, listen to the quirky, engaging, slightly sinister rockabilly of “Kissin On The Blacktop,” that cuts a very striking and original sound. You can listen to Gibson’s forthcoming album in its entirety here via NPR Music’s First Listen series. Gibson performs at Johnny Brenda’s on August 6. Go here for tickets and information about the show.

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