You’re never alone with Family Band’s music video for “Lace”

Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 10.04.55 AMThe mystical psych-ambient-folk locals in Family Band released a third music video from their acclaimed 2012 LP Grace and Lies today. Directed by Sam Macon (who previously worked on the band’s great “Moonbeams” video), it is a pulsing and frenetic montage of singer Kim Krans performing under moody lights, surrounded by other hazy, indistinct visuals suggesting that even when we’re alone, we’re never truly alone. Watch the video below. UPDATE: Family Band’s Philly stay was short-lived; they moved to L.A., reportedly. Oh well. Still a lovely song and a haunting video.


Does cover art make the album? (plus 10 great album covers from the Philly scene in 2012)

Hideaway Music in Chestnut Hill uses album art as wall art

We can all agree (I hope) that the old “can’t judge a book by its cover” adage applies just as easily to albums. From Magical Mystery Tour to Rumours, The Talking Heads to The Smashing Pumpkins, and even this year’s standout Cat Power LP Sun, there’s a rich history of great music hiding behind heinous artwork. So does album art matter?

I think no and yes. “No” in that it’s about the music, not the packaging. In a world of digital listening, we interact with the songs themselves more immediately than ever before – there’s not that barrier of a bizarro / ugly sleeve to “get over,” in the event you find the sleeve bizarro and / or ugly. But also, “yes” in that cover art is still a way an musician represents themselves and their work. It may no longer be a first impression, but it is an impression, and you can almost look at it as an indicator of how much care they put into their overall project. And even on a more practical end, sure, physical releases no longer drive sales, but they are prized by collectors – the 180 gram vinyl editions and so forth are the sort of thing where people use the download card, then frame the LP cover and hang it on their wall. Would you really want to have Grimes’ frantic scribbled acid freakout hanging in your living room? (Okay, maybe you do.)

This week, UK music and culture blog The 405 listed their worst and best album covers of the year – lively reads, always – and it got me thinking about the role album art plays in 2012. Do you ignore it? Do you (like me) get antsy when your iTunes doesn’t have artwork for all its mp3s? What was the worst decade for album covers? (Hint: the 90s.) Which album covers blew you away this year? Which made you wretch? Discuss in the comments section, and check out some standout Philadelphia album covers from 2012 after the jump. Continue reading →


Watch this incredibly spooky / sweet video for Family Band’s “Moonbeams”

Photo by Sam Macon |

If recent Philadelphia transplants Family Band didn’t already win your heart with their breathtaking album Grace and Lies, the music video for “Moonbeams” that premiered today ought to do the trick. Directed by Milwaukee filmmaker Sam Macon – and featuring costume design by Family Band’s Kim Krans – the video depicts the courtship of two skeletons. They meet after rising from the grave and spend the day skateboarding and biking, swimming in suburban pools, playing on a trampoline and falling in love. With a healthy dose of humor and brilliant cinematography, it’s seriously just about the spookiest sweetest thing you’ll see this year. Check it out below, and peruse a gallery of video stills at Family Band’s Facebook page.


Download Digest: This week’s best free music, incl. Matthew E. White, Family Band, Sun Airway

Photo by Shawn Brackbill

Here at The Key, we toss a fair heaping of free downloads your way, so it’s completely understandable if you miss a few. Here are our top five bits of digital music from the past week:

Richmond, Virginia musician Matthew E. White is releasing his album Big Inner on Hometapes/Spacebomb Records on August 21st, and plays the TLA on Oct. 11 with The Mountain Goats. This week, his song “Big Love” was a My Morning Download, and you can get it below.

On the heels of making an XPoFest splash a couple weeks ago (and tearing up The Barbary last week), Work Drugs released another track for free download from their album Absolute Bearing. Download “The Art of Progress” below – the band says it was “originally written in 1994 as a response to U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signing the Kremlin accords.” You can also watch the music video here; Work Drugs next plays Philadelphia on Aug. 31 at Johnny Brenda’s.

Family Band celebrated the release of its excellent new record Grace and Lies this week by playing the First Unitarian Church’s side chapel, recording a Live at the World Cafe session and appearing live on the air for XPN2’s Folkadelphia. You can download their Folkadelphia performance of “Ride” below.

Northern Liberties’ 2nd Street Festival is going on today, and one of the great Philly bands playing the main stage at the Pizza at Schmidt’s is The Great Unknown, who were spotlighted in last week’s Key Studio Session. Download their performance of “Borrowed and Temporary” below, and catch them this afternoon at 4:15.

As anticipation for their new record Soft Fall builds, Sun Airway released a mixtape on Wednesday that blends Bartok, Boards of Canada and The Chemical Brothers.


Photo Recap: Family Band at First Unitarian Chapel

Last night, the Philadelphia-based deep folk duo Family Band played an intimate and relaxed set at the First Unitarian Church Side Chapel. The small but intrigued crowd listened closely as the troupe whispered lyrics into the microphone, creating a mysterious aura that flowed throughout the room. They played songs from their latest release Grace and Lies, check out the photo recap above and watch them play a couple tracks from the album below. Continue reading →


Download: Family Band performs “Ride” on XPN2’s Folkadelphia (playing First Unitarian Chapel tonight)

Photo by Fred Knittel

Tonight, Family Band is celebrating the release of its stunning new record Grace and Lies with an intimate performance at the side chapel of the First Unitarian Church. This past weekend the band played live on the air during XPN2’s Folkadelphia, and you’ll be able to hear the entire session rebroadcast this evening before you head out to the show. Get a taste below by downloading their performance of “Ride,” and tune in to; the Folkadelphia session airs at 6 p.m., and the First Unitarian concert begins at 8:30 p.m.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Kristin Hersh, Family Band, Dangerous Ponies, Literature

For more than 25 years, Kristin Hersh has been a steady source of stunning music, from intensely expressive art-rock with Throwing Muses, the band she founded with her cousin Tanya Donnely in 1985, to haunting songs as a solo singer-songwriter and straight-ahead thrash in 50 Foot Wave. If you’re not familiar, this great Q&A in last Wednesday’s Philadelphia Weekly oughta get you up to speed – it touches on Hersh as a songwriter, guitar wizard and author (her 2010 memoir, Rat Girl, is a fantastic read and highly recommended). Tonight’s show at World Cafe Live is billed as a solo appearance, which for Hersh can mean just about anything – songs from her mid-90s catalog, throwbacks to the early days of the Muses, new pieces she’s workshopping and posting to YouTube for her fans to weigh in on. You can watch a video of one of those below, a number called “Chipping Teeth” that’s tense on the verses, catchy on the refrain and somewhat mysterious on the outro. Kristin Hersh and James Maddock play World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street, tonight at 7 p.m. Tickets to the all ages show are $16 and available at the door.

Newly relocated to Philadelphia, Family Band – singer-guitarists Kim Krans and Jonny Ollsin, plus a sea of collaborators – is celebrating the release of their excellent new record Grace and Lies (No Quarter) with an appearance at the First Unitarian Chapel tonight. Labelmate Jennifer Castle opens, and the resonant room ought to serve both artists well, as they make use of dreamy tones and emotive sonic space. Check out an interview with Family Band in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, see a video they shot for Free People below and check back to The Key later today for a download from their Folkadelphia session this past weekend. Family Band and Jennifer Castle perform at the First Unitarian Church Chapel, 2125 Chestnut St., tonight at 8:30 p.m. Tickets to the all-ages show are $10.

Family Band “Lace,” An Exclusive Acoustic Performance from FreePeople on Vimeo.

Carnivalesque indie pop ensemble Dangerous Ponies hit up Johnny Brenda’s tonight for their last show until autumn. With a slew of new songs in their setlist, the band plans to take the rest of the summer off for recording and other summer-y things. We can’t wait to hear the new record this results in. Meanwhile, listen to their song “Bumbershoot” below. Dangerous Ponies perform with Green Paper and Ghost Light at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave, tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets to the 21+ show are $10.

And finally, tonight is the final night of Herb Shellenberger’s month curating the Tuesday Tune-Out series at PhilaMOCA. Joining him are the band Literature, who recently relocated to Philadelphia from Austin, and filmmaker Shawn Kornhauser, who will screen a series of shorts. Find out more information at Shellenberger’s guest VJ post from earlier this month. Tuesday Tune-Out happens at PhilaMOCA, 531 N. 12th St., tonight at 7:30 p.m. Admission to the all-ages show is $5.


Watch Family Band perform “Lace” in their living room (appearing on Folkadelphia this Sunday)

Kim Krans and Jonny Olsin make up Family Band (not to be confused with Family of the Year who we posted about earlier) who released their sophomore album Grace & Lies on Tuesday. They played an intimate acoustic set at Free People and you can watch the performance of “Lace” below, courtesy of Free People’s blog. Family Band will be doing a live in-studio session on XPN2’s Folkadelphia this upcoming Sunday, July 29th at 3 p.m. Their record release party is Tuesday, July 31st at First Unitarian side chapel with supporting act, Jennifer Castle. This show is all ages, doors open at 8PM and tickets are $10 and available here.


My Morning Download: “Night Song” by Family Band

Photo by Tom Hines

We were introduced to the music of Family Band when they band recorded an episode of Shaking Through in September, 2011. Curated by Daniel Rossen of Grizzly Bear, you can listen to and watch the episode here. Family Band returns with a new album called Grace And Lies on No Quarteron July 24th. Family Band is lead singer Kim Krans and her husband, guitarist Jonny Ollsin. The album includes the song they recorded for Shaking Through, “Again.” Below, download “Night Song” from Family Band’s forthcoming release.