The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Khari Mateen, Plow United, Diplo


Local musician / producer Khari Mateen tossed in a cover of George Gershwin’s “Summertime” to celebrate the season.  Mateen gives the Porgy & Bess aria a funky make-over with staccato string parts and chunky beats.  Fun fact – the lyrics to “Summertime” were written by DuBose Heyward, a relative of local singer-songwriter Heyward Howkins.  Stream and download the cover below.

Two Folkadelphia Sessions this week – first up, an endearing acoustic performance by Laura Stevenson, followed by a rocking & rolling set from Brooklyn’s Plates of Cake.  The spectrum of music represented by these two sessions is Folkadelphia’s mission in action, i.e. presenting a braod definition of what it means to be “folk music.”  Stream and download two tracks below and dig in to the rest here.

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The Key Studio Sessions: Plow United

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

For Philadelphians who grew up on the DIY punk rock scene of the mid-90s – and many more the country around – Plow United was everything. You could lose yourself thrashing at a basement show to minute-and-a-half songs like “Spindle” or “World According to Me,” or by simply sitting down and listening to singer-guitarist Brian McGee’s introspective, dare-I-say philosophical lyrics. Maybe you heard yourself reflected when he sang “I wanna cry, I wanna scream, I don’t wanna do anything”; maybe you were a way-enthusiastic listener (and Plow fans are nothing if not loyal) who drove from record store to record store around the Delaware Valley until you found a copy of that split 7″ they did with Throttle Jockey. Or maybe, like me, you came to them after the fact, discovering them in college a few years after their 1998 breakup (fun fact: bassist Joel Tannenbaum and I are both Temple News alums) and working your way through their catalog in reverse.

There are many entry points into Plow, and with their reemergence on the music scene – with a tremendous appearance at Riot Fest Philly in 2011, and the subsequent recording and release of this year’s excellent Marching Band – they prove to be as vital as ever. They are still high-energy, intense performers (watch Sean Rule destroy his drums in the videos below), and not only is the new material stronger than any other first-album-in-fifteen-years, it downright holds up to the band’s output of yore. Below, we present this week’s Key Studio Session with Plow United – their second appearance in the series, and their first as a full-band – recorded on location at Studio A in South Philadelphia. Stream and download live performances of three songs from Marching Band, watch a video of them covering “Burn-Up” by Siouxie and the Banshees, and check out the bonus video of “Coda.” To see Plow in person, you’ve got two opportunities this weekend – at The Boneyard in Atlantic City on Saturday (tickets and info here) and at Mojo Main in Newark, Delaware, on Sunday (tickets and info here). The Newark show should be a blast – it’s their first visit to their onetime stomping grounds since the late 90s.

Plow United “Burn-Up” – WXPN Key Studio Session from WXPN FM on Vimeo.

Plow United “Coda” – WXPN Key Studio Session from WXPN FM on Vimeo.


The Week So Far: 12 must-read stories on The Key (incl. Patty Griffin, Maitland and Reef The Lost Cauze) )

MIsModern Inventors performed five mostly-unreleased songs for a Key Studio Session, filmed by Out of Town Films [link]

PhilaMOCA programmer Eric Bresler previews Cinedelphia‘s Tuesday Tune-Out series for April [link]

Meet Dante Bucci, the local musician who kicked-off WXPN’s Philly Local Busker Series at The Porch at 30th Street Station this week [link]

Watch local folk duo Maitland perform “Embers” in advance of their Friday, April 5th show at The Trocadero balcony [link]

Mayer Hawthorne‘s new song “Designer Drug” was Tuesday’s My Morning Download [link]

JUMP Magazine shared their recap and photos of Plow United‘s Saturday night show at The Barbary [link]

Stream and download Burn the Wish from local duo Great Red Spots, recorded at West Philly DIY space Sprinkle Kingdom [link]

Reed The Lost Cauze is back with a debut podcast/free download called REEF RADIO, [link]

Unlocked digs into RestorationsLP2 ahead of their record release show this Friday [link]

Take a listen to Wrong World‘s “See These Streets” and see them open for Bleeding Rainbow and The Cave Singers on Thursday [link]

Patty Griffin was spotlighted on XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week with “Ohio,” featuring Robert Plant [link]

NPR Music’s First Listen is streaming Kurt Vile‘s Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze before the album’s official release next week [link]


From the Pages of JUMP: Plow United headlines a slamdancey, screamalongy show at The Barbary

03plowunitedCult favorites of the Delaware Valley punk scene Plow United headlined The Barbary on Saturday evening. It was a packed, slamdancey, screamalongy sweaty show in celebration of their brand new LP, Marching Band. The all-around bill was solid, with fellow Philadelhpians The Holy Mess, NONA and Ma Jolie on the bill. JUMP Philly’s Joseph Gallagher was in attendance, along with photogrpaher Jessica Flynn. Check out their report after the jump. Continue reading →


Listen to Plow United’s Marching Band on Brooklyn Vegan, watch their “Human 2000” video, see them thrash The Barbary on Saturday

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Man, that was a rush. I just got back to the radio station from recording a Key Studio Session with Plow United; we were on location at the gorgeous new Studio A space in South Philadelphia. The band is sounding loud, tight and tremendous, knocking out three songs from their forthcoming Marching Band and a Siouxie and the Banshees cover in just about 12 minutes. The new material is great – if you grew up listening to Plow, like many punk rock loving folks in the Delaware Valley did, you’ll feel instantly transported a V.F.W. hall off of Paoli Pike in the late 90s.

The band is in the van as we type, heading up I-95 to appear on the Chris Gethard Show in New York tonight (check out the webcast tonight at 8). They’re going to sound great on there, and they’re going to sound great at The Barbary this Saturday — and we advise you to head over to Brooklyn Vegan right now and listen to their stream of Marching Band in its entirety. Standouts include, obviously, the two singles we’ve heard already – “Falling, Deeply” and “Human 2000” (watch a video for that one below), but also “Cui Bono?” (the “we do” coda kinda sorta maybe reminds me of the Stonecutters song from The Simpsons), “The War is Over and Our Side Won,” “Get Low” (some great co-ed vocal counterpoints on that one) and, hell, the whole dang thing.

Crank it. Watch the video below. Get information on Saturday’s show at The Barbary here. Keep an eye out for audio and video from the session when we release it in a couple months – right around Plow’s next round of east coast shows. And, for a delightful bonus, look after the jump for an illustration of today’s studio session by Studio A production assistant Pema.

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Listen to “Falling Deeply,” a new song from Plow United (playing The Barbary on 3/30)

Plow“Something brings me back,” sings Brian McGee. “But I can’t count on where, or who, or why.” This line from “Falling Deeply,” a new Plow United song premiered this afternoon on The A.V. Club, seems to parallel the way that, when we least expected it, these cult favorites of the late 90s Philly hardcore scene (and beyond) reemerged. First for a one-off reunion for Riot Fest East in 2011, then for a handful of other shows, then for their new LP, Marching Band, due out on Jump Start Records in April. The mix sounds massive, but the song – like previous single “Human 2000” – sounds like good old Plow – crunching guitars, thoughtful lyrical introspection, heavy beats. Listen to “Falling Deeply” here. Get information on the band’s all-ages show at The Barbary here. And below, watch video from Riot Fest.


The Week So Far: 14 must-read stories on The Key

Download B.C. Camplight‘s BBC Radio 6 session featuring two new songs [link]

Juston Stens and the Get Real Gang bring rock and soul to their Key Session [link]

Listen to Free Energy‘s new album Love Sign at Consequence of Sound [link]

Thrash out with a new Surgeon track; they play Kung Fu Necktie next month [link]

The collaboration between Ground Up and The Lawsuits continues in a HotBox session [link]

David Bowie releases a new single for his birthday [link]

Chill Moody releases his latest album, RFM [link]

Get psyched for Zilla Rocca‘s Tuesday Tune-Out with his new Wrecking Crew video [link]

Download The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 6, our new 17-song compilation [link]

Stream the new album from The Lone Bellow, a Georgia-bred close harmony trio [link]

Stream a new EP from Philly’s Acres of Diamonds, who play PhilaMOCA next week [link]

Plow United announces the details of their all-ages album-release show at The Barbary [link]

Download Anais Mitchell‘s Folkadelphia session [link]

The WXPN Philly Local Show expands to three hours [link]


Plow United’s record release show coming to The Barbary on March 30

Here’s one we’ve been waiting to tell you about since December – reunited Philly-area punk rockers Plow United will be releasing their first LP in almost 15 years, Marching Band, on Jump Start Records this April. The all-ages release show they put together at The Barbary packs a wallop – The Holy Mess, NONA and Ma Jolie are also on the bill – and tickets go on sale this Friday January 11. We hear rumblings of a very cool 21+ afterparty that we’ll fill you in on in due time. In the meantime, check out “Human 2000,” the first single from Marching Band.


The Key’s Year-End Mania: Joel Tannenbaum’s top music news headlines of 2012

For The Key’s year-in-review, we asked our trusted sources – our writers and photographers, XPN’s on-air staff, fellow bloggers in the Philly scene and even a few musicians – to send us their Top Five Whatevers. Could be the traditional music route – albums, songs, concerts of the year – or it could be only loosely connected. We’ll be sharing these recaps every day through to the end of the year. Today, Plow United bassist, Ex-Friends singer-guitarist and occasional Key contributor Joel Tannenbaum shares his top music news headlines* of 2012.

5. Julio Iglesias releases Saludos desde Asbury Park, NJ, a song-by-song rebuttal to Bruce Springsteen’s Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ. 

4. Joey Sweeney releases digital-only retrospective spanning his 80+ year career.
Early vaudeville material largely ignored.

3. The Spin Doctors’ “Two Princes” certified top-selling mini-disc single of 2012.

2. Ben Nichols of Lucero cast as Eddie in Ang Lee’s Eddie and the Cruisers remake.
Other members of Lucero not cast as Cruisers.

1. Chris Christie realizes lifelong dream of meeting Glenn Danzig.
Meeting facilitated by President Obama during Hurricane Sandy aftermath.

*entirely fabricated

Thanks to Justin Agnew and Tom Kretchmar.


It’s the return of Plow United: Stream “Human 2000” from the new record

Plow United turned in their punk rock digs for conventional life in 1998, taking up normal jobs and watching their records go out of print.  But after filling a slot at the 2011 Riot Fest East in Philadelphia, the Wilmington-born trio seemingly picked up right where they left off.  Ok, maybe not right where they left off – a considerable following built around the enigma of the band after its break-up, elevating Plow United to a popularity they hadn’t experienced since their heyday in the mid-Atlantic punk scene of the nineties.

About a year ago, Plow United stopped by the XPN studios for a Key Studio Session where bassist Joel Tannenbaum (an occasional contributor to The Key) and guitarist Brian McGee talked about working on a new album.  That new album has now been titled Marching Band will be released in April 2013 on vinyl, CD and digitally through Jump Start Records, fifteen years after the band’s last offering.  Stream the first single, “Human 2000,” below and check out a full track-listing on Jump Start Records’ Bandcamp page.