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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Mean Lady, Neko Case, Katie Frank & The Pheromones

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Katie Frank & The Pheromones brought songs from their upcoming Counting Your Curses record to a Key Studio Session this week.  The Elizabethtown native and her rootsy Americana band will release the debut LP in August.  Get the full session here and catch them at MilkBoy on July 17th.

Nebraska singer-songwriter Joshua James provided this week’s Folkadelphia Session, which included songs off of his 2012 full-length From the Top of Willamette Mountain.  Folkadelphia’s Fred Knittel described James’ work as “spine-tingling” and “complex” – check it out for yourself here.

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Folkadelphia Session: Joshua James (and his miniature dramatic narratives)

Photo by Jake Buntjer
Photo by Jake Buntjer

As I’m often inundated with new album releases, admittedly a gem of an album slips through the cracks. With luck, though, I discover the music before too much time passes. Such was the case with Joshua James‘ latest record, his 2012 From the Top of Willamette Mountain. Now in 2013, this album has become something of a modern American folk-rock beacon for me and it has allowed me to dig further into James’ rich discography. I’m drawn to his form of songwriting; it’s complex and emotional, but deftly avoids histrionics or put-upon dramatics. The stories he sings seem to exist in the real world, or perhaps just slightly off from reality – in James’ mind. Songs about hard living and hard loving. His backing band perfectly sets the scene for these narratives, emphasizing the theatrics of the tales. A well-placed guitar stab, a cymbal crash, a ghostly backing vocal response – there are many spine-tingling moments with James.

Is it abnormal that when I listen to Joshua James, I think of the famous American desperado Jesse James? Same initials notwithstanding, the pieces fit – the songs seems to live in the same universe with outlaw, ride in the same gang with him even. It gives a brutish, wild character to our James’ music, but our man gives us redemptive moments, for him and for us.

Won’t you listen?

Joshua James and his band entered the XPN Performance Studio on April 6th, 2013 before their show at the Tin Angel.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: XPN Welcomes The Spinto Band with Buried Beds to the Arden Gild Hall, Joshua James at The Tin Angel, Acres of Diamonds at Ortlieb’s, St. James & The Apostles at Johnny Brenda’s

SpintoXPN welcomes The Spinto Band and Buried Beds to the Arden Gild Hall tonight.  Taking album-release celebrations back to their home state of Delaware, The Spinto Band will perform new favorites from this year’s Cool Cocoon LP.  The peppy-but-deep five-piece will be joined by Philadelphia favorites Buried Beds, a local five-piece indie pop outfit whose most recent release was a film/EP called Small Stories.  Tickets and information for the all-ages show in Arden, DE can be found here.  Watch The Spinto Band’s video for “What I Love” below.

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