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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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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Amos Lee, Vikesh Kapoor, Mean Lady

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Buried Beds offered up a free download of “Oh Lonely Fortress!” this week for their Unlocked profile.  The song comes from the local band’s new LP In Spirit, an album that “was inspired by both fairy tales and fantastical real-life events.”  Download the track below and dig into the new album with a review, interview, new video and more here.

Mean Lady, an electro-pop band that draws from a potpourri of influences, recorded this week’s Key Studio Session.  The duo comes from Newark, DE and released their debut LP Love Now on Fat Possum earlier this year.  stream and download “One Big Family” below and check out the rest of the set, including some new songs, here.

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The Key Studio Sessions: Mean Lady

You could call Mean Lady an electronic duo, or you could call them pop, but neither of those is completely an accurate fit. The Newark, Delaware-based band casts a wide net and incorporates a variety of influences into its sound; downtempo electronic groups of the 90s (Mono, Sneaker Pimps) shine through, as does psychedelic indie rock (Animal Collective), and showtunesy moments (imaging their session opener “One Big Family” coming from a choreographed ensemble as the curtain goes up). These are just things you hear on Love Now, the album that Katie Dill and Sam Noble released on Fat Possum Records earlier this year. In this session, Mean Lady performed three new selections from their next album, and the songs’ various states of completion showcased the duo’s range. While”Little Face” takes a similar electropop approach as “Family,” there are almost no electronic components to “Could It Be The Place,” and its seven minutes of impressive singing by Dill with Noble’s mellow keyboard backing is purely jazz torch song-y. On “Darling,” the difference is split: the performers felt mid-take that the drumloop wasn’t quite clicking, so they reimagined the song with just vocals and electronics, giving it a cool R&B flare. Listen and download all of these performances below, and watch a video of Mean Lady doing “One Big Family” in our studio.

Mean Lady “One Big Family” – WXPN Key Studio Session from WXPN FM on Vimeo.

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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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Download “Lonely,” a new single from Delaware’s Mean Lady (album out 7/23)

Vibey Delaware duo Mean Lady is gearing up to release its full-length debut, Love Now, on Fat Possum Records this month. Today the band released a new single from the album, “Lonely,” as a free download via Rolling Stone.  The cut begins with ethereal chimes and a hazy ambiance a la fellow indie rock popsters Cults, but then the beat (and its attendant handclaps) kick in big time.

Singer and songwriter Katie Dill tells Rolling Stone “Lonely” is a song “about being away from the one you love, knowing you’ll see them again, but wondering if the time in between will change everything. Driving home the point that physical nearness is yearned for in every relationship.”

Stream and download the song below; you can also check out their song “Far Away” here. The band’s national album release show is set for August 9th at Joe’s Pub in New York City, though a more local date is expected to be announced shortly.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Nightlands at Johnny Brenda’s, The Sun Flights at MilkBoy Ardmore, Mean Lady at Mojo Main, In the Pocket at 23 East

nightlands

Nightlands play a hometown show at Johnny Brenda’s tonight, backed by a choir and supported by local bands Ape School and Our Griffins.  Dave Hartley’s “dream science” solo project released its latest LP Oak Island earlier this year after he closed out a multi-year tour with his main band The War on Drugs.  For tonight’s show, he’ll be performing with choral group The Sighborg Singers, who were featured on Oak Island as well.  Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show can be found here.  Below, watch Nightlands’ new video for “Born to Love.”

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Listen to “Far Away,” the new single from Delaware duo Mean Lady (album out 7/23 on Fat Possum)

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Photo by Faith Silva

Last fall we got word that Newark art-pop duo Mean Lady was picked up by Fat Possum Records (home to The Walkmen, Youth Lagoon, and host of others). A 7″ of new material came out in November, and yesterday Pitchfork trumpeted news about the band’s full-length: singer-instrumentalists Katie Dill and Sam Nobles will release their new LP Love Now on July 23rd. This is a cool band we’ve been watching for a little while now, so it’s great to see them making some nice progress in navigating the ever rockier music business. Along with the announcement, we also got a taste of the new record: “Far Away” is airy and symphonic on the one hand, but like most Mean Lady stuff, it’s got a snappy groove you can’t deny. Listen below.

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Delaware duo Mean Lady signs to Fat Possum, releasing a 7″ in November (free download)

Photo by Molly Mooney
Newark-based groove pop outfit Mean Lady are taking a big step forward. Core players Sam Nobles and Katie Dill are moving from releasing their eclectic electronic music through Bandcamp to releasing it through Fat Possum Records. Today the label announced its first single with the band, a bouncy number called “Bop Bop” that will be released as a 7″ on November 6. The track premiered today via Pitchfork; you can download it here. Below, dig into the Mean Lady back catalogue with 2010′s Kid-Friendly EP, and look for two regional appearances from them this fall: at Mojo Main in Newark on Halloween and Spaceboy Clothing in Wilmington on November 17.