The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Girlpool, Blue Smiley and more

Girlpool | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman |

This week’s Key Studio Session features LA born, Philly based duo Girlpool. The drum-less, guitar / bass two-piece settled in Philadelphia last fall and immediately struck a chord with the house-show scene. For this session they performed tracks taken from the forthcoming Before the World Was Big LP, set for release this June. Check out “Ideal World” below and get the full set here.

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Folkadelphia Session: Jennifer Castle

Photo by Jeremy Jensen
Photo by Jeremy Jensen

Even after falling for her records, especially last year’s Pink City, and recording an in-studio session, Jennifer Castle remains just as mysterious to me. Suddenly you’re swept up by Castle’s songs, each full of magic, rich in color, timbre, and imagination. Then when it’s all over, you’re left, buzzing and tingling, remnants of songwriting stardust around, looking to start the journey anew. Continue reading →


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.