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The Week So Far: Eight must-read stories on The Key


Lancaster’s The Stray Birds perform “Dream in Blue” for Folk Alley’s backstage sessions [link]

Sellersville progressive hip-hop group I&I record an adventurous Key Studio Session [link]

Get a free song from Florida’s rootsy Roadkill Ghost Choir in My Morning Download [link]

Philly punk four-piece The Menzingers released an acoustic version of “Casey” [link]

Meet rootsy Philly group The Naked Sun in their new Bands in the Backyard video [link]

Philly country-rockers The Lawsuits released a new EP and a new music video [link]

Quirky rockers Eels announced a fall tour with a Philly stop in March, and a new song [link]

Founding Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha played Free at Noon on Black Friday [link]

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Recap: James Iha played a poppy Black Friday Free at Noon (photos, audio, setlist)

Founding guitarist of The Smashing Pumpkins James Iha made an appearance at last Friday’s Free at Noon concert with his three-piece band. They performed songs from Iha’s latest solo outing Look to the Sky, as well as a Pumpkins throwback, a Bowie cover, and several wry cracks about Black Friday shopping. Check out a photo recap of the show in the gallery above, and see the setlist below. You can also listen to the performance in its entirety here (via the WXPN media player). Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ben Folds Five at The Tower, James Iha at World Cafe Live, Balmorhea at Johnny Brenda’s, Los Lonely Boys at the Strand, and Chuck Prophet at the Tin Angel

Ben Folds Five will be playing at the Tower tonight after releasing their brand new album The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind last week. This is the first record Ben Folds Five has released in over a decade; during the band’s hiatus, Folds enjoyed a solo career in which he produced six solo LPs. According to the band, a portion of the profits from this album’s sales will be going toward Music Education and Music Therapy. The all-ages show tonight at the Tower begins at 8 PM; ticket information can be found here. Below, watch the video for “Brick,” the from 1997′s Whatever And Ever Amen. 

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Listen to James Iha’s new album Look To The Sky in full at Team Coco (playing World Cafe Live in October)

Former Smashing Pumpkin James Iha is gearing up to release his first full-length record in since Let It Come Down came out in 1998. Look to the Sky is in stores next Tuesday the 18th, but you can hear it a week early – the album is streaming in its entirety at Team Coco. Notable guests on the record include Sara Quinn of Tegan and Sara, Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Nathan Larson from Shudder to Think. Iha’s fall tour brings him to World Cafe Live on October 7; tickets and information are available here.

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James Iha is coming to World Cafe Live in October (watch a video for “To Who Knows Where”)

Onetime guitarist in 90s alt-rock behemoths Smashing Pumpkins, James Iha always had a soulful, sensitive side that may have gotten overshadowed when he was rocking out to crushing power chords and cosmic effects pedals. His own songwriting was sometimes spotlighted in Pumpkins albums (notably on 1995′s Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness), but was more often relegated to maxi-singles and EP (though it’s worth noting that he is responsible for the best b-side in the Pumpkins canon, “The Boy”). Since releasing his wistful, romantic solo debut Let it Come Down in 1998, Iha has remained more of a collaborator – working with Isobel Campbell, Fountains of Wayne and Hanson over the years – but this year he’s returned once again to his own songwriting on Look to the Sky, and the tour in support of it brings him to World Cafe Live Upstairs on Sunday, Oct. 7. Tickets to the show go onsale this Friday, July 27, and you can watch the video for the single “To Who Knows Where” below. At first the song sounds like it might possibly be the most amped up thing in Iha’s solo catalog – it’s thumping and epic – but once the verse kicks in, you’ll hear it still showcases the poppy melodies and sentimental lyrics he does so well.