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Listen to Foxygen’s cover of Jessica Pratt’s “On Your Own Love Again”

Foxygen | photo via artist’s Facebook page

With sparse percussion, twangy guitars, and a saucy, muffled saxophone, Foxygen’s cover spins a swanky, lush alternative to the simple and sweet folk original.

The song is a part of Amazon’s latest Songs of Summer playlist, which features 10 new tracks perfect for the season’s sunny shenanigans. Also included in the mix are Twin Peaks, Temples, and Nathaniel Merriweather. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Jessica Pratt at Boot and Saddle, The Lawsuits at Pastorius Park, Blonde Redhead at Union Transfer and more

Jessica Pratt | Photo bu Colby Droscher | Courtesy of the artist
Jessica Pratt | Photo bu Colby Droscher | Courtesy of the artist

California singer-songwriter Jessica Pratt will take your breath away. Born in San Francisco, based in LA, Pratt’s minimal guitar meditations are easily comparable to Nick Drake and Karen Dalton. But even if you’re not familiar with those nuggets of 70s folk, Pratt’s music is still affecting. Her sophomore album On Your Own Love Again was released in January via Drag City Records and Pratt appears at Boot and Saddle tonight with XPN Artist to Watch Ryley Walker. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Kurt Vile, Marietta, Shawn Kilroy

 

Photo by David Kain
Photo by David Kain

This week’s Key Studio Session featured local storytellers Northern Arms.  Fittingly for the season, the ten-piece band creates dark and haunting songs in the form of narrative vignettes like “Warm Springs Georgia “below.  Stream and download the track, then check out the full session here.

Singer-songwriter Jessica Pratt stopped by recently for a Folkadelphia Session.  The San Francisco native released her debut LP earlier this year somewhat out of the blue and without much explanation, adding to the already mysterious nature of her music.  For this session, Pratt recorded songs that did not appear on the LP.  Stream and download the full set below.

Continue reading →

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The Week So Far: 10 must-read stories on The Key (incl. Jessica Pratt, Northern Arms, Gene Shay)

Father John Misty | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.tumblr.com
Father John Misty | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.tumblr.com

Get caught up on the week’s shows with reviews and photos from appearances by Miguel, Pearl Jam and more [link]

Congratulations to XPN Folk Show host Gene Shay, who will be inducted into the Philadelphia Walk of Fame today [link]

Read XPN host Mike Vasilikos’s review of Dr. Dog‘s B-Room, this week’s featured album [link]

San Francisco’s Jessica Pratt performed unreleased songs for this week’s Folkadelphia Session [link]

The Wonder Years’ Nick Steinborn will release a solo EP next month; listen to a new song now [link]

Blayer Pointdujour & The Rockers Galore are throwing a Kompa party at The TLA with T-Vice in December [link]

Delco Pacers will celebrate the release of Stereo Streets at Milkboy on 11/14 [link]

Reef the Lost Cauze has announced a free show at Hard Rock Cafe tonight and a free song called “92 Flow” [link]

Northern Arms stopped by for a mysterious and powerful Key Studio Session [link]

Local rock band Rob, Lately has released a new EP called The Liar [link]

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Folkadelphia Session: Jessica Pratt

Nearly every review, interview, article, or write-up of San Francisco singer-songwriter Jessica Pratt attempts to shed light on her music by using various comparisions to other scenes or musicians. There is the camp that places her in the style of the 1960’s California folk scene, another says she draws from the “freak-folk” characteristics that were prevalent in the early and mid aughts. Pratt is mentioned in the same breath as Tim Buckley, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, as well as cult songwriting icons, past and present, like Vashti Bunyan, Sibylle Baier, Linda Perhacs, and even Phil Elverum or other musicians from the K or Drag City record labels. This is due to the fact that Pratt’s full lengthed eponymous debut arrived suddenly in late 2012 and caused some serious waves for people that keeps tabs on this kind of stuff.

When the album debuted, and even in advance of the album with the premiere of stand-out track “Night Faces,” we (the lovers of great songwriters and/or denizens of music blogs) knew we were listening to music of a special quality – simple, introspective, unadorned, but wholly affecting and hypnotic. We thought that we were listening to a newly discovered gem from a bygone decade, like we did when we heard Bunyan’s Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind, but when it was revealed that this was a new recording (well, the songs were tracked in 2007, but were just released last year by Birth Records – the LP version is now out of print, it appears), we searched for information on Pratt. It was this mysterious quality, the lack of history, and Pratt’s cropped face in black & white, edged in darkness, staring blankly at us from her album jacket, that led us to try and fill in the blanks, and explain why (and, I suppose, how) this is an important release.

Now a year later, Pratt still feels shrouded in obscurity and monochromatic color. Sure, we’ve continued to read about her, especially as she toured with Julia Holter this past summer, but in an era of real-time life updates and social media whateverness, Pratt appears removed and distant. I can only assume and hope that Pratt will resurface with another collection of moving songs and, again, I hope this will not happen seven years after the recording session has been wrapped.

On our Folkadelphia Session, as with on her Soundcloud page, you can listen to songs not featured on her debut album. Our songs were recorded on July 13th, 2013 in advance of her concert with Julia Holter at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.

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Get theatrical with Julia Holter’s new video “In The Green Wild” (playing World Cafe Live on Saturday)

Julia HolterExperimental pop artist Julia Holter has released two albums to date and is gearing up to release her third, Loud City Song, on August 20th.  Her latest LP is a bit of a concept album, built around the adventures of a main character.  This week she released the a video for a song off the album called “In The Green Wild” which features this character leaving the big city for some nature in a sort of bizarre theater performance.  The song slowly builds from a quiet and smokey jazz number into a bright almost-pop song.  Check out the video below and be sure to catch Holter this saturday at World Cafe Live with Jessica Pratt.