The Key Studio Video Sessions return this Wednesday with a video of Black Landlord. Every Wednesday we offer a free Key Studio Session download with a local band, however once a month we’ve begun releasing a video session with a local band. The live concert footage was recorded at our very first Key Studio Sessions Live concert with Work Drugs, Hezekiah Jones with Andrew Lipke and the Landlord. We’ll also have free downloads of the songs from Black Landlord’s live set from The Key Studio Sessions Live at World Cafe Live. In case you missed the first two Key Studio Video Sessions, watch the videos with Sisters 3 and Blayer PointduJour and The Rockers Galore below.
The Key Studio Sessions Compilation Volume 2—which you can download for free here—features one exclusive track recorded at the WXPN studios by 17 local acts, including Arc In Round, Dutch, The National Rifle, Denison Witmer, Hop Along, Matt Duke, Catnaps, Penrose, Arches, Lantern, Nicos Gun, Restorations, Ages, Sisters 3, The War On Drugs, Sonni Shine And The Underwater Sounds, and Work Drugs.
Want to hear more? Click here to listen to the full sessions by all 17 local acts. You can also download the previous edition The Key Studio Sessions Compilation, Volume 1, in its entirety as a .zip file here.
For our inaugural Key Studio Video Session, we profiled longtime XPN favorites Sisters 3. The Sadler siblings—Annachristie, Beatrice and Cassandra—are known largely for their collaborative work among the Philadelphia folk community, backing up Hoots And Hellmouth, Hezekiah Jones, and more with their three-part harmonies. But their second full-length album, Coruscate At The Meadow Gate, showcases a range stretching from driving indie-rock to pure pop. Above, you can stream the video; below, download the full performance, recorded with the tight rhythm section of Todd Erk on bass and Mike Bardzik (formerly of Philly punks The Boils) on drums.
Earlier this week, the country/folk trio Sisters 3 dropped by the XPN studios to record a Key Studio Session. In addition to the audio, we were able to shoot a few photos and videos of the session. As a preview, you can check out the photos below; the audio and video will be posted in a few weeks.
In an attempt to fill the void left by festivals past, and offer a good alternative to flocking to the shore, many of Philadelphia’s finest local musicians will participate in the Inaugural Sundrop Music and Arts Festival. The festival includes three great nights of music at the Fire, and an all-day, two stage show and craft fair on Saturday May 28th. Stages will be located at Trios Tratorria and outside of the Fire, with vendors offering fine art, crafts, and food lining the path between the Trios Stage and Las Cazuelas.
The Fest kicks off Friday May 27th with a show headlined by local favorite Hezekiah Jones, supported by an amazing bill including Sisters 3, Up The Chain, and more. Between Saturday May 28th’s two outdoor stages, you’ll be able to catch sets from a wide spectrum of Philly talent, ranging from Circadian Rhythms to Attia Taylor, to the Spinning Leaves, and also including Yellow Humphrey and Paper Masques. Saturday night moves inside with a mega-bill, featuring Drink Up Buttercup with support from Toy Soldiers, Orbit To Leslie, Busses, and a second set from Paper Masques. On Sunday May 29th the Fest ends with a bang, as Illinois headlines a packed bill featuring US Funk Team, Arrah and the Ferns, and the first full band Philly show for Doylestown’s own Peasant.
The night shows begin at 8 p.m. and tickets are $10; the Saturday outdoor show begins at 3 p.m. and is free. Visit iourecords.com or phillyvenues.org for more info.
FRIDAY, MAY 6
Right now, it’s cool for bands to dabble in basketball, but Nat Baldwin doesn’t dabble in it. He turned down a basketball scholarship to study music, and his last record, Most Valuable Player, featured a picture of his MVP trophy from a junior-high-school basketball tournament. Baldwin is most well-known as the bassist for The Dirty Projectors, but he’s been putting out solo work since before he worked with the band. The solo effort consists of Baldwin—often without any back-up—playing the upright bass and singing. His use of melisma (several notes sung over one textual syllable) and erratic falsetto makes him sound, on first listen, strikingly like Dirty Projectors front man Dave Longstreth. But It’s a weak comparison. One obvious difference is the stripped-down acoustic feel of Baldwin’s music; another is his use of drama. Baldwin recently released a new single, “Weights”, from his forthcoming album People Changes (which features a shirtless Baldwin holding a basketball on the cover). By itself, the song might seem too slow or lacking direction. But, in the accompanying video (shot on a Brooklyn basketball court), the slow strings have a deliberate tension, as if there was a competition in Baldwin and his bass. Nat Baldwin perform with Nick Millevoi and Bronze Float at 8 p.m. at First Unitarian Church; tickets to the all-ages show are $10. —Dave Simpson
Also playing: Young Widows + My Disco, Gods And Queens at Johnny Brenda’s (8 p.m., 21+, $10); The Fiery Furnaces at World Cafe Live (8 p.m., $20); Jukebox The Ghost + Wakey Wakey, Pretty & Nice at First Unitarian Church (8 p.m., all ages, $12-$13)
SATURDAY, MAY 7
Cage The Elephant + The Shackeltons at Electric Factory (8:30 p.m., SOLD OUT); The Sisters 3 (record-release show) + Honey Watts, On The Water, DJ Slow Poke at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10); Denison Witmer + The Oxygen Ponies, Poison Tree at World Cafe Live (7 p.m., $20); D’Amore + Hot Bagels, Best Friends at Danger Danger Gallery (9 p.m., all ages, $5-$10)
SUNDAY, MAY 8
Jerry Blavat’s Mother’s Day Musical Spectacular featuring Frankie Avalon, Jay Black, Kenny Vance & The Planotones, The Tymes, The Orlons at The Kimmel Center (7:30 p.m., $41-$100); Sleigh Bells + CSS, Mr. Dream, Wet Witch at The Trocadero (8 p.m., all ages, SOLD OUT); The Growlers + Adam And Dave’s Bloodline, Uncle Bad Touch at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10)
Today at Miner Street Recordings in Fishtown, Hezekiah Jones is recording a new song for Shaking Through, WXPN and Weathervane Music’s online audio and video initiative. Brian McTear, Executive Director of Weathervane and the owner of Miner Street, is producing the session.
Each session is curated, and Hezekiah was my selection for the episode that will run in April. Raphael Cutrufello—he’s “Hezekiah”—has assembled a five-piece band (including Andrew Lipke and Sisters 3) to perform a new song, “Borrowed Heart.” The song is part of a forthcoming musical score Raphael has been writing for one of his favorite movies, The Bride Of Frankenstein. Watching the band work together on the song is a fascinating process. As I am writing this, sitting in the studio control room, Raphael is recording his vocal parts while watching a section of the movie on a monitor in the studio control room. (The timing of the Raphael’s singing needs to perfectly match the film, requiring a handful of vocal takes.) Andrew Lipke and the background singers are rehearsing the harmonies he wrote for a section of the song; McTear is talking to the band about adding a keyboard while recording engineer Jonathan Low is listening to different mixes of the song (featuring an acoustic and an electric bass).
Below, some photos from the session today which will be released in mid-April.
Love Andrew Lipke‘s “Mindgames,” but want to know how the rocking anthem would sound after being given the whimsical treatment by Hezekiah Jones‘ Raphael Cutrufello? Curious to hear how Suzie Brown‘s yearning vocals can completely change the tone of Ryan Tennis‘ road-weary “To The Moon?” Who eventually covers what is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for certain: the month-long, five-performance “Philly Sings Philly” series at The Fire features just about every acoustic-guitar-wielding singer-songwriter in town playing each others’ material. The series begins tonight, with performances by Andrew Lipke, Wissahickon Chicken Shack, Dawn Iulg, David James, Jessica McDowell, Scott Silipigni, and Susan Rosetti; notable names from later shows include the aforementioned Hezekiah Jones, Suzie Brown, and Ryan Tennis, as well as The Spinning Leaves, Sisters 3, Ross Bellenoit, Phil D’Agostino, and Joshua Park. Tonight’s performances begin at 8 p.m.; tickets to the show are $8.