The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. DRGN King, Roof Doctor, Lake Street Dive and more

Up The Chain | Photo by Bob Sweeney
Up The Chain | Photo by Bob Sweeney

Up the Chain stopped by for this week’s Key Studio Session.  The laidback five-piece tossed three new songs into the set list, along with tracks taken from last year’s Seeds and Thorns.  The session is a showcase of the band’s chameleon-like sound, moving from rockabilly to rootsy pop and even including a song you could tango to.  Take a listen to “Seasick Sailors” below and get the full set here.  Up the Chain play The Ardmore Music Hall on April 26th; tickets and information can be found here.

Philly outfit Roof Doctor released their sophomore effort Mobile Freedom Home this week, posting it on Bandcamp as a name-your-own-price download.  As Patricia Madej described in her review, it’s the kind of album “you’ll find yourself humming” as you “notice the small jangly, irresistible details” of each song.  Stream and download “Bulldog” below and get the full album here.  Roof Doctor plays a record release show at PhilaMOCA tonight; information can be found here.

Folkadelphia brought in Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors for a live session back in October, and fittingly chose the early days of spring to share the resulting outdoorsy recordings.  Found via word-of-mouth, the band proved why their fans are so supportive of and excited by the “honest, down-to-earth, and catchy pop & rootsy Americana music” the Tennessee natives create.  Stream and download the full session below.

Local favorites DRGN King have returned with a new single called “Solo Harp” this week.  Following last year’s Paragraph Nights full-length, the new track moves in a different direction with swirling guitars, a distorted found-audio clip and sun-bathed vocals not unlike Dr. Dog’s mellower tunes.  Stream and download the song below and stay tuned for more from the band’s forthcoming second LP.  DRGN King play Boot & Saddle on April 20th; tickets and information can be found here.

Recent World Cafe subjects Lake Street Dive performed a version of “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5 during their session with host David Dye.  Featured as a My Morning Download, the song opts for a dimly-lit jazz club vibe with heavy stand-up bass notes accompanied by soulful vocal harmonies and steamy horns.  Stream and download the song here.  Lake Street Dive returns to Philly on April 2nd for a sold out show at Union Transfer.


Folkadelphia Session: Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors

Most of the time, you find the music before you find out anything else. Usually first contact in the musician-listener relationship takes the shape of waveform to eardrum via speakers or a headphone-like device. If our interest is piqued, we look up the name, we try and learn more about the band, we ask who are they, if they on tour, and what does the rest of their music sound like. The next stage in our musician-listener relationship usually involves concert attendance. To enjoy a new discovery in their live element is to strengthen your bond to the music. The next level in the relationship involves seeking out and finding likeminded fans of the band. This is where you express your passion for the band and, every once in a while, build a lasting community where music is the cornerstone. Who knows – you might turn someone on to the band and the cycle begins again

It doesn’t always work this way. Sometimes you find the fanbase first before you hear a single song from a band. Admittedly, that’s how we discovered Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors. We kept running into people that would strongly recommend and lavishly praise the band. They were beyond passionate (and a little pushy admittedly – a good sign from a fanbase). Why would we ignore wold-of-mouth recommendations? We live for those special moments – to be let in on the (maybe) secret awesomeness of a group. We’re sure glad that these kind folks clued us in. We’re here to pay it forward to those of you who might not know about Holcomb and co. Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors write and perform some of the most refreshingly honest, down-to-earth, and catchy pop & rootsy Americana music, especially on their most recent album Good Light. I think you’ll soon agree and join the neighborhood of fans.

Drew Holcomb, Ellie Holcomb, Nathan Dugger, as well as baby Emmylou Holcomb trick-or-treated at our studio door on Halloween of last year. Clad in Star Wars costume, they stopped by with their instruments for a lovely stripped down set. A gift from them to us and now to you, dear reader.


Irish supergroup The Gloaming and a galaxy-saving session with Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, tonight on Folkadelphia

Since we’re friends, let’s be real with each other – supergroups, especially when self-proclaimed, are usually a bust. The collaboration between this highly acclaimed, highly respected group usually produces sub-par music compared to each individuals’ normal output. Every once in a while though, synergy takes hold, chemistry kicks in, and the result is something unbelievable and out of this world. The Gloaming, a collaboration between pianist Thomas Bartlett (Doveman), guitarist Dennis Cahill, fiddler Martin Hayes, hardanger Caoimhin Ó Raghallaigh, and singer Iarla Ó Lionaird, lives up to the supergroup title and then some more. On their debut eponymous album, The Gloaming create lush and extremely dynamic sonic landscapes that are rooted in the Irish folk tradition – perfect for Folkadelphia listeners. Watch this introduction to the Gloaming:

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Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors playing Electric Factory in May (download a free sampler)

Photo by J Clayton
Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors have announced a national tour with a stop in Philly at the Electric Factory on Wednesday, May 8th with NEEDTOBREATHE. Holcomb and the band are releasing its third album, Good Light, on iTunes on February 19th and February 26th elsewhere. The album was recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis. Holcomb, who grew up in Memphis and now calls Nashville his home, is a soulful and rootsy singer-songwriter deserving of a wider audience. Go here for tickets and more information about the show. Below, in exchange for your e-mail address download a sampler including the title song to the album, plus some older material.