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Just Announced: Mirah to headline ACLU Benefit Concert at Bethlehem Library

As much as I love libraries, I can admit that they’re usually not the most hip and happening places around. The Bethlehem Area Public Library and Tape Swap Radio are working to change that and this Friday, February 24th, indie folk pop phenom Mirah will headline an ACLU benefit concert amongst rows of literature in the newly renovated first floor of the Bethlehem Library. Continue reading →

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Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Mutual Benefit’s Jordan Lee on honest songwriting and unexpected success

Photo by Jessica Lehrman | via facebook.com/mutualbenefit
Photo by Jessica Lehrman | via facebook.com/mutualbenefit

Jordan Lee hopes Philadelphians aren’t big fans of fog machines.

The subject comes up almost immediately on the phone with the indie folk artist behind breakout band Mutual Benefit as he travels to St. Paul from Chicago, where he had just played a show at Lincoln Hall.

“There was a fog machine that was just going the whole time. That was a new experience for us, I think,” he says of the set, not letting on at first whether that new experience was good or bad. “Visually, it was pretty cool. I felt like a wizard of some sort. But also, it’s kind of poisonous, I think. It made my throat hurt by the end.”

Lee and the band of musicians he assembled to fill out Mutual Benefit’s live show will play a hopefully fog-less set at 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Boot & Saddle with local acts Lewis & Clarke and The Interest Group. Just like his aversion to gimmicks like this on stage, Lee’s brand of soulful, whimsical electro-tinged pop folk is also straightforward, without smoke and mirrors. It’s helped bring him acclaim for the band’s first LP, Love’s Crushing Diamond, which came out this past October.

Speaking to The Key from the tour van, Lee brings up a record review published in London that describes him as “an understated king of folk music.” New to such widespread praise for his music, he views quotes like this as more of an embarrassment than a compliment.

“It’s definitely not bad to hear that kind of stuff,” Lee says. “But I guess, if you get wrapped up too much in what you think about a thing that you made and how it’s received, then you’re kind of giving that same power to people to make you feel bad about something you made.”

Lee didn’t create Love’s Crushing Diamond with the idea that this many people would hear it. Continue reading →

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This Weekend’s Concert Picks: Brown Recluse at Kung Fu Necktie, Arborea + Lewis And Clarke at First Unitarian Church

FRIDAY, AUGUST 26
Brown Recluse is firmly grounded in Philadelphia. The band’s latest album, Evening Tapestry (released on the iconic indie-pop label Slumberland last spring) was recorded at Sound In The Round Studios in Philly. They’ve even got a song called “Conshohocken Curve.” Despite their burgeoning reputation—Brown Recluse has played with Matt and Kim and Tokyo Police Club, among others—the six-piece band remains committed to their roots. Brown Recluse performs with Arc in Round and Royal Shoals at 7:30 p.m. at Kung Fu Necktie; tickets to the 21+ show are $8.

Brown Recluse “Mirror Mansion” from Slumberland Records on Vimeo.

Also playing: Beanie Sigel + Big Ooh, Kid Boogie, Premavara, Tom Charles, Lynn Charles at The Blockley (9:30 p.m., 21+, $13–$15)

SATURDAY, AUGUST 27
Folkadelphia Presents: Arborea + Lewis And Clarke at First Unitarian Church Side Chapel (8 p.m., all ages, $10); Faux Slang + Nothing, Open Ocean, Deardarkhead (7 p.m., 21+, $10); Mantua Family Day Festival: Old School Concert featuring Naughty By Nature + Slick Rick, Chubb Rock, Kwame (noon, all ages, free); The Dude Hates Cancer Benefit featuring Orbit To Leslie + Hezekiah Jones, Chris Kasper, The Doublewides at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10)

SUNDAY, AUGUST 28
Male Bonding + Love Inks, Break It Up at Kung Fu Necktie (8 p.m., 21+, $12); Reef The Lost Cauze + Mic Stew, S.I.R., Voss, I.R.V., Teddy Bigglesworth at The Blockley (8 p.m., $7–$10)

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This Weekend’s Picks: Free Energy, Black Thought, Grimace Federation, Busses + Upholstery, Lewis And Clarke

Free Energy

Photo by Rachel Leah Woliansky

Free Energy performs 2/18 at First Unitarian Church

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18
Free Energy + The Postelles, Sweatheart at First Unitarian Church (8 p.m., all ages, $10); Black Thought + Rich Medina at The Blockley (10:30 p.m., 21+, $20-$25); Air Waves + Toddler Kat, Other Colors at The Ox (8 p.m.); Bacon Brothers at Sellersville Theater (6:30 & 9:30 p.m., SOLD OUT); Darwin Deez + Cheers Elephant, The New Connection at Kung Fu Necktie (7:30 p.m., 21+, $10-$12)

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19
There’s an impressive local lineup at The Ox tonight: Grimace Federation, Grandchildren, Power Animal, Ryat, and Circadian Rhythms. Meanwhile, over at Johnny Brenda’s Upholstery celebrates the release of its second album, Clydesdales & Tardigrades, with an opening performance for locals Busses and Royal Shoals (9 p.m., 21+, $10).

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 20
Lewis And Clarke headlines the second installment of Fred Knittel’s “Folkadelphia” concert series; if you haven’t read our interview with Knittel yet, you can find it here.

Also playing: Jon Langford And Skull Orchard + Eddie Spaghetti (of The Supersuckers), Whitey Morgan And The 78s, Lydia Loveless at North Star Bar (7 p.m., 21+, $10)