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TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb, Diane Birch and more to play at September’s Communion Philly showcase

TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb | photo via www.facebook.com/tjkongandtheatomicbomb
TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb | photo via www.facebook.com/tjkongandtheatomicbomb

A stellar lineup has been announced for September’s Communion Philly with bluesy folk punk band TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb, singer-songwriter Diane BirchCrash (of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros), former Toy Soldiers frontman Ron Gallo and local roots-rock band Levee Drivers. Continue reading →

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American Diamond Recordings celebrates their first show at Boot & Saddle

The Lawsuits | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
The Lawsuits | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Togetherness and unity were certainly in the air pre-Independence Day when American Diamond Recordings hosted their first showcase at Boot & Saddle. The new Philly record label comprised of five local bands celebrated their out-coming with performances from each group, including The Levee Drivers, T.J. Kong & The Atomic Bomb, Ron Gallo, The Lawsuits, and a special set by a band who went by the moniker Eight Legged Prawn. The show was also a celebration of Marley McNamara’s birthday, and most figured out that Eight Legged Prawn was actually one of the bands she manages, The Districts.

It was easy to tell that these artists performing don’t just make music together, they are family.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Thievery Corporation at the Tower Theater, Shlohmo at Johnny Brenda’s, Art Star Craft Bazaar and more

Thievery Corporation | Photo via facebook.com/thieverycorporation
Thievery Corporation | iPhoto via facebook.com/thieverycorporation

DC-born downbeat electronic duo Thievery Corporation is closing in on two decades of activity, and the scope of their influence is massive. Without the collaboration of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, there would be no Air, no Four Tet and no Pretty Lights. Their ninth album, Saudade, was released in the fall, and the band headlines the Tower Theater tonight with guests Polica and Break Science. Get tickets and more info at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, listen to “Depth of My Soul” from their recent album, Saudade.

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Ron Gallo and friends start new label American Diamond Recordings

Photo by Ron Gallo | Instagram @rongallo
Photo by Ron Gallo | Instagram @rongallo

Ron Gallo, front man of local Americana blues band Toy Soldiers and city-wide collaborator, has announced the launch of a new local label called American Diamond Recordings.  Named for the intersection of American and Diamond Streets where the label is based (in a former studio of Dr. Dog, no less), the label brings Gallo together with a collective of friends and compatriots to put a focus on the wealth of roots and rock music being created right here in Philadelphia.  From the label:

Decades ago the industry folk fled Philly to seek prosperity in the three corners of the music business NYC, LA, and Nashville.  But American Diamond Recordings and For the Record Management are planning on changing that and making Philly a force to be reckoned with in the world of music.  We sure as hell have the goods to do so.

The initial line-up of acts on American Diamond Recordings include Gallo himself, Toy Soldiers, The Lawsuits, TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb and Levee Drivers.  The label’s first official release will be Gallo’s debut solo outing Ronny, expected June 24th.  There will be a free release show on June 26th at Spruce Street Harbor with The Lawsuits and Up the Chain to celebrate; more information can be found here.

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Oldermost, Levee Drivers, Khari Mateen, Johnny Showcase and more head up the Art Star Craft Bazaar

Khari Mateen | Photo by Abi Reimold

The annual Art Star Craft Bazaar comes to the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing on the weekend of May 10th and May 11th, and as usual, it’s chock-full of free performances from local musicians. Our friends at Philebrity curated the lineup, which features a set from editor Joey Sweeney and his band The Long Hair Arkestra; also on tap are atmosphericana rockers Oldermost, outlaw country rabble-rousers Levee Drivers, classical / jazz inspired troupe Liz and the Lost Boys, beat-driven one-man-dance-party Khari Mateen, and more. And that’s just the first day (we’re psyched to see Johnny Showcase on Sunday). Check out the full lineup and set times here, and check out music from the artists on the show below.

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Levee Drivers cover Chris Kasper’s “Walking on Water” in a new Cover Club session

Levee Drivers | photo courtesy of Root Down in the Shadow
Levee Drivers | photo courtesy of Root Down in the Shadow
Starting off the second season of Root Down in the Shadow’s Cover Club series are Levee Drivers with their version of Chris Kasper‘s “Walking on Water.”  The local roots rock band, led by August John Lutz III and featuring steel guitar by Kyle Perella and Ben Plotnick on bass, took the acoustic pop original and gave it a dreamy, Americana make-over, warmed by three-part harmonies and a soothing down-tempo shift.  On choosing this particular Philadelphia compatriot to cover, Lutz explained:

Chris Kasper is just a great singer/songwriter – period.  He’s been a personal favorite of mine for years now, whether it’s his solo work, his live shows with a full band, or his side project Foxhound.  He has a very honest voice and an amazingly polished yet rough sound, especially on his new album Bagabones.  I’m really excited to see what he comes out with next.

Watch the video below and then listen to the original.

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Download The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 9 (feat. Amanda X, Balance and Composure, Mean Lady and more)

The Key Studio Sessions Volume 9
Album cover photo by Tiffany Yoon | tiffanyyoon.com

Today we bring you our latest Key Studio Sessions compilation, pulling together the best of what we’ve recorded in the final four months of 2013. I’m always psyched about these comps, but The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 9 in particular presents a tremendous variety of musicians from around the Philadelphia region that I’m excited to showcase for you. Bucks County has a healthy showing, from the acoustic alt-punk swagger of Balance and Composure and the retro-grunge of Daylight to the booming Americana of Levee Drivers and the flower child folk stylings of Lily Mae. We trip away into a spacious, 12-minute jam by Chris Forsyth and his Solar Motel Band, rock out to Amanda X and get chillingly meditative with ambient musician and filmmaker Michael James Murray. A Christmas selection from Jersey’s The Classic Brown makes the cut, sultry new jammers from Delaware’s Mean Lady and Central Pa.’s Kate Faust, a fierce bass-backed rap by Curly Castro, an Afro-Cuban jazz rocker from Toy Soldiers, and more. Special thanks to guest engineers Steve Poponi and Mike Kennedy, to Tom Volpicelli at Mastering House for his post-production help, and to production assistants Dan Hutton and Dan Malloy as well as photographers Rachel Del Sordo, Megan Kelly, Laura Lynn, Caitlin McCann, Ally Newbold, Kellie O’Heron, Tony Oppenheim, Matthew Shaver, Mike Trutt and Tiffany Yoon, and videographers Bands in the Backyard and Bob Sweeney for sharing their work this fall. Listen to the 17-song set and get a free download below.

Want more? Get a roundup of our previous free-downloadable Key Studio Sessions compilations after the jump. Continue reading →

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Levee Drivers release new video for “Bourbon Coated” (XPN welcomes them to The Ardmore Music Hall on 12/29)

Photo by Caitlin McCann | caitlinmccann.4ormat.com
Photo by Caitlin McCann | caitlinmccann.4ormat.com

A couple of weeks ago Levee Drivers brought their Bucks County roots rock to  XPN for a Key Studio Session, recording a handful of new tracks including “Bourbon Coated” along with their essential “Tennessee Girl.”  Today the local band debuted a video for “Bourbon Coated,” which comes off of their new Speakin’ Bourbon Coated Blues EP.  The video shows the band performing the song live and messing around backstage and was filmed by local videographer Bob Sweeney.  XPN welcomes Levee Drivers to The Ardmore Music Hall on December 29th with Modern Inventors and The Doublewides; tickets and information can be found here.  Watch the video for “Bourbon Coated” via Facebook below.

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Katie Frank, The War on Drugs, City Rain

Photo by Caitlin McCann | caitlinmccann.4ormat.com
Photo by Caitlin McCann | caitlinmccann.4ormat.com

Local roots outfit Levee Drivers stopped by for this week’s Key Studio Session.  The band recorded their signature 2008 track “Tennessee Girl” that all fans know and love, but surrounded it with brand new songs from their latest Live at East Coast Recording EP.  Stream and download “Bourbon Coated” below and get the full set here.

Electro-pop duo City Rain have released a new song from their upcoming Songs From a High School Dance LP.  ”Mama I Want to Come Home” is a move in a new direction for City Rain with its slow tempo and gentle acoustic guitar base, but it still sparkles and builds in the classic City Rain style.  Stream and download the song below.
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My Morning Download: “Bourbon Coated (Key Studio Session)” by Levee Drivers (playing Kung Fu Necktie 12/6)

Photo by Caitlin McCann | caitlinmccann.4ormat.com
Photo by Caitlin McCann | caitlinmccann.4ormat.com
Today’s My Morning Download comes from this week’s Key Studio Session with Bucks Country roots-rockers Levee Drivers. This Friday night, December 6th, the band celebrate the release of its new EP, Speakin’ Bourbon Coated Blues, at Kung Fu Necktie with support from The Lawsuits and Ron Gallo of Toy Soldiers. Below, download “Bourbon Coated” from the band’s Key Studio Session, and watch a video of a new song, “There You Go,” from the session. Download the entire session for free here.

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Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company