Sallie Ford and The Outside Sound and Mount Moriah played the North Star Bar

ford11All photos by Chris Sikich |

Sunday night at North Star saw a paring of artists touring off of two of the year’s greatest albums: headliners Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside and openers Mount Moriah. Ford was making a return trip to Philly after their July gig at MilkBoy was truncated due to the sweat factor (see my Key photos and review here). And while autumn may have been in full swing outside, Ford and the Sound Outside still brought some heat with their blistering set of retro rock. With a voice seemingly right out of the ‘50s, Ford drove the crowd into a dance frenzy with tracks from Untamed Beast and their forthcoming Summer EP. Opening with the brilliant “Shivers,” where Ford unleashes the word shivers into the ears with a hint of seduction and the new, and taking the audience on a ride that culminated with the hip-shaking “Party Kids” and the incendiary instrumental “The Eagle Has Landed.”

Mount Moriah have a much different sound than Sallie Ford, one of a yearning and loss draped over Heather McEntire’s soulful vocals. With a precise ferocity McEntire strummed her guitar and wove the spellbinding tales of her band’s 2013 masterwork Miracle Temple, and even sandwiched in a brilliant cover of Neil Young’s “Revolution Blues” for good measure.

There may be a gulf of space (Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside hail from Portland, Ore, while Mount Moriah trekked out from the Durham and Chapel Hill area of North Carolina) and sound between these two bands, but their trajectory of greatness is highly apparent and those who witnessed the occasion on Sunday will have many fine memories to savor. And, if they saw the first band, South Jersey’s Pine Barons, they also got an eclectic mix of psychadelic, country, and even Robert Smith.

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My Morning Download: “Younger Days” by Mount Moriah

mountmoriah The North Carolina band Mount Moriah – fronted by Heather McEntire – were through town this past May to peform at WXPN’s Non-COMMVention and played a blistering set including songs from the band’s recent release Miracle Temple. When considering some of the best albums of 2013 (so far), definitely put your ears to this record. Below, download “Younger Days” from the collection.

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company

WXPN to broadcast and webcast Non-COMMvention performances featuring Tom Jones, Tom Tom Club, Foxygen, Kurt Vile, Wild Belle, Laura Mvula and more

This Wednesday, May 15 through Friday night May 17, the 13th annual Non-COMM industry and music conference is being hosted at WXPN. Many of the bands performing over the three days will be broadcast and webcast on XPN. Below is the schedule (subject to change).

Wednesday, May 15
7 – 7:25 p.m. Gabriel Kelley
7:30 – 8:10 p.m. Steve Martin & Edie Brickell (video webcast)
8:10 – 8:35 p.m. John Murry
8:40 – 9:20 p.m. Tom Tom Club (video webcast)
9:25 – 9:55 p.m. Kurt Vile
10:00 – 10 :45 p.m. Phoenix (Phoenix will NOT be broadcasted live)
10:50 – 11:20 p.m. Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside

Thursday, May 16
12:00 p.m. – A Special Mississippi Blues Project Free At Noon 12 featuring
the Homemade Jamz Blues Band and Super Chikan and The Fighting Cocks (video webcast)

7 – 7:20 p.m. Mount Moriah
7:25 – 7:55 p.m. Mavis Staples (video webcast)
8 – 8:20 p.m. Wild Belle
8:25 – 9:05 p.m. Tom Jones (video webcast)
9:10 – 9:40 p.m. The Last Bison
9:45 – 10:15 p.m. José James
10:20 – 10:55 p.m. David Wax Museum
11 – 11:45 p.m. Robert Randolph
11:50 -12:20 a.m. Foxygen

Friday, May 17
12 – 1:00 p.m. Free At Noon Concert: The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Bobby Long

7 – 7:25 p.m. Wild Feathers
7:30 -8 p.m. Laura Mvula
8:05 – 8:35 p.m. The Lone Bellow
8:40 – 9:10 p.m. Free Energy
9:15 – 9:45 p.m. Kopecky Family Band
9:50 – 10:30 p.m. The Olms featuring Pete Yorn
10:35 – 11:05 p.m. Marie Miller
11:10 – 12:00 a.m. The Relatives


The Week’s Best MP3 Downloads, incl. The Postal Service, Grandchildren, Joseph Arthur, Mount Moriah, and more

photos by Myriam Santos
Photo by Myriam Santos
XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week featured Joseph Arthur and his new song “Saint of Impossible Causes.” The track comes from Arthur’s upcoming album The Ballad of Boogie Christ. Stream and download the song below, and learn more about Ballad here.

Wednesday’s My Morning Download featured a quartet from Nashville called The Features and their song “The Disorder.”  The band is a musical chameleon, drawing their quirky sound from classic rock, indie rock, southern soul and more with ease.  They’ll be at MilkBoy Philly on Wednesday, May 8th; go here for info.

Mount Moriah delivered a stirring performance for this week’s Folkadelphia session.  The North Carolina band performed songs from their recent Miracle Temple LP – download the full set on Folkadelphia’s Bandcamp here, and listen to “White Sands” below.

We got a double dose of Key Studio Sessions this week.  Liz & the Lost Boys turned in a preview of their upcoming LP on Wednesday, with jazzy harp-playing and theatrical vocals.  Thursday saw the release of the Key Studio Sessions Vol. 7, featuring tracks from Waxahatchee, Pissed Jeans and more.  Download the compilation here, grab the full Liz & the Lost Boys appearance here and stream their song “I’ll Stay” below.

In advance of its release on May 7th, Grandchildren‘s Golden Age was the topic of this week’s Unlocked series.  The in-depth look at the local band’s new album kicked-off with a download of “End Times.”  Revisit the full feature here and download “End Times” here.

Finally, The Postal Service are celebrating the 10th anniversary release of its album, Give Up. From it, download one of the two new songs from re-release, “A Tattered Line Of String.”


The Week So Far: 9 must-read stories on The Key (incl. Kurt Vile, Grandchildren, Khari Mateen and Dave Hartley’s Top of The Key)


Grandchildren‘s Golden Age is featured in this week’s Unlocked series [link]

It’s been a big week for show announcements, with The Monkees [link], Patty Griffin [link], Pet Shop Boys [link] and The Olms [link] unveiling Philly dates

Joe Pug played a show at Johnny Brenda’s this week – check out a free download of five tracks from the Chicago singer-songwriter [link]

Khari Mateen will kick-off Brewerytown’s summer jazz concert series on May 15th [link]

Take a listen back to this year’s Key Studio Sessions with Volume 7, featuring Waxahatchee, Pissed Jeans and Ruby the Hatchet [link]

Kurt Vile shares a new video for “Never Run Away” – he’ll be at Union Transfer on May 18th [link]

Dave Hartley presents an overview of the NBA playoffs in a new edition of Top of Key [link]

Mount Moriah highlighted their sophomore album Miracle Temple during this week’s Folkadelphia session [link]

Download a compilation of music from local bands including Cheers Elephant, Roof Doctor and Norwegian Arms c/o Beat the Indie Drum [link]


Folkadelphia Session: Mount Moriah (and the energetic songs from their ‘Miracle Temple’)

On Mount Moriah‘s sophomore album Miracle Temple the band distills and expands upon the more countrified elements that made their eponymous 2011 debut such an exciting listen and that separated the group from that pleasant, but innocuous upbeat rock style that becomes a pitfall for many would-be awesome acts. It’s a credit to the Mount Moriah’s musicianship and inventive songwriting that they rise above the noise floor. A point of differentiation exists in Mount Moriah’s not-so-secret weapon, frontwoman Heather McEntire who croons, quivers, quakes, and generally does everything she can to tug and pull at your heartstrings. It’s a joy to listen to McEntire jump from brash to beautiful instantly and effortlessly. The full band experience, which translates into a powerful live show, exists at the crossroads of twangy southern rock, postpunk indie rock, and heartland americana creating a patented sound, perhaps country music for the youthful underground scene.

We captured Mount Moriah’s energetic live dynamics here at the WXPN Performance Studio before their show at Johnny Brenda’s on March 26th. Enjoy these four takes from Miracle Temple.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Mount Moriah at Johnny Brenda’s, Auctioneer and Heyward Howkins at PhilaMOCA, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell at the Academy of Music

mount_moriah_stairwell_bgThere’s a whole bunch of blissed-out folk to be heard at Johnny Brenda’s tonight as Mount Moriah (from North Carolina) and Blessed Feathers (from Wisconsin) play one of the last shows of their tour together. The two acts are an appropriate pairing; Mount Moriah plays stripped down, rootsy country/gospel that focuses on highlighting Heather McEntire’s pop croons, while Blessed Feathers play a more updated kind of indie-folk, full of ambient two-part harmonies and driving melodies. The two sounds complement each other very well, and opening act Edison is definitely in the same realm, offering ambient space rock with hints of violin. The 21+ show begins at 8 p.m., tickets and information can be found at the venue’s website. Watch Mount Moriah’s video for “Plane” below.

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Photo Recap: Mirah and Mount Moriah at Johnny Brenda’s

After her recent relocation back to the east coast, Philadelphia-born indie rock singer and songwriter Mirah performed at Johnny Brenda’s last night. Opening the show was Mount Moriah – a Durham, North Carolina band that shares its name with a cemetery in Cobb’s Creek. Check out a photo recap of the show in the gallery above.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ben Vaughn Quintet at The Tin Angel, Angel Olsen at Studio 34, The Astronauts at PhilaMOCA, Mirah at Johnny Brenda’s, The Tragically Hip at The TLA

South Jersey-bred rocker, producer and XPN host Ben Vaughn takes to the stage of The Tin Angel tonight. The venue is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month, and XPN Welcomes Ben and his quintet to rattle the walls a bit with some timeless garage rock tunes. The 21+ show begins at 8 p.m., tickets and more information can be found here. Below, watch a video of the Ben Vaughn Quintet playing “My First Band” at Maxwell’s in Hoboken last year.

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