Download the new Key Studio Sessions Compilation Volume One for free

The Key Studio Sessions Compilation Volume OneThe Key Studio Sessions Compilation Volume One—which you can download for free here—features one exclusive track recorded at the WXPN studios by 17 local acts, including Cheers Elephant, Grimace Federation, Summer Fiction, Moon Women, Prowler, Attia Taylor, 5 O’Clock Shadowboxers, Res, Purling Hiss, The Shackeltons, Soars, Johnny Miles And The Waywards, Creepoid, By Surprise, Lady, Slutever, and American Babies.

Want to hear more? Click here to listen to the full sessions by all 17 local acts. You can also download The Key Studio Sessions Compilation, Volume One in its entirety as a .zip file.


Tonight’s Concert Pick: Salem + Soars at Johnny Brenda’s

SalemDepending on what blog you’re reading, Salem is either a band the Internet loves to hate or a band the Internet hates to love. Maybe, somewhere out there, there are a bunch of devoted fans that straight-up love to love the controversial “witch house” trio—but who cares about them? Not the band, that’s for sure. Whether it’s on stage (during the most listless musical performance in recent history) or in interviews (including when John Holland infamously quipped, “I don’t even care. I totally don’t,” about the band’s live show), the members of Salem have no problem with letting you know how, like, they totally don’t give a rat’s ass. So, why should you care about Salem’s show at Johnny Brenda’s tonight? The best reason might be to see the opening act, Lehigh Valley’s Soars—a WXPN favorite whom we highlighted in last week’s Key Studio Session (and are definitely worth checking out). Salem performs with Soars at 9 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are $12.

Also playing: Young Galaxy + Winter Gloves at Kung Fu Necktie (8 p.m., 21+, $10)


The Key Studio Sessions: Get to know the abrasive side of Soars


The label “dream pop” came up repeatedly last fall when Lehigh Valley four-piece Soars dropped its self-titled debut on La Societe Expeditionnaire (a small but thriving label based in the Poconos). As I watched the band load in for its Key Studio Session, I knew there was more to the story than that. It might have been the huge amps and well-worn pedal boards. It might have been guitarist David Kresge’s Throbbing Gristle shirt. As Soars started playing, my suspicions were confirmed. “Figurehead” opened with a metallic, reverberating howl of synthesizer noise before pushing forward to a racing pulse and Chris Giordani’s squirming, nervous vocals. This song, I decided, was haunted. Seeing Soars performed brings out its more abrasive, experimental side more than we get from the gauzy ambience of the album—and it’s all the more compelling for it. After a short, tight set, the band and I retired to a smaller studio across the hall to talk about the drawbacks of pigeonholing, the thriving but largely hush-hush DIY scene in the Lehigh Valley, and frigid attempts at recording in a warehouse in the dead of winter. You can hear our conversation on Y-Rock on XPN this Friday, March 18, at 3 p.m. when Soars is featured as our Friday afternoon session. Then on Monday, Soars performs with an equally haunted band: Michigan witch house act Salem. Soars performs with Salem at 8 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are $12.


Tonight’s Concert Pick: Young Prisms and Soars at Kung Fu Necktie

Young PrismsSan Francisco shoegaze quintet Young Prisms has some advice for touring bands driving through Texas: “Warning: do not grow out your hair/beard before entering Texas. You will be searched and assumed guilty of drug smuggling MORE THAN ONCE.” And so it was, “less than an hour into Texas” (according to the band’s Twitter), that the members of Young Prisms found themselves sitting by the side of a dusty Texas road while local law enforcement officials (and their drug-sniffing dogs) searched through their equipment—only to be pulled over and searched again 20 miles later. (Because, after all, “long hair, beards, flannel…All of the above are signs of drug cartel smuggling.”) Other than that double-dose of unpleasantness, however, things are going just fine for the band, which is currently touring in support of its debut full-length, Friends For Now, released earlier this month on Kanine Records. Young Prisms performs with Soars and Melted Toys at 7:30 p.m. at Kung Fu Necktie; tickets to the 21+ show are $10.


Tonight’s Concert Pick: Arc In Round’s EP-release show at Johnny Brenda’s

Arc In Round

Just the other day, John Vettese was highlighting Arc In Round‘s long-in-the-making debut EP, Diagonal Fields, in his Philly Local Philes. And we see no reason not to hype tonight’s EP-release show at Johnny Brenda’s as well. After all, the noise-pop quartet has taken its sweet time in releasing its debut; as ringleader (and local producer/engineer) Jeff Zeigler mentioned in a recent interview with The Deli, he’s a pretty busy guy, after all. Thankfully, he’ll be focused less on making other bands sound great and more on Arc In Round in the next few months; the new EP comes in advance of a proper full-length scheduled for release in 2011, which will be followed by a tour with WXPN favorite SOARS. (“Spirit,” the lead track off Diagonal Fields, is posted below; you can find the other songs here.) The only bummer about tonight’s show is that local quartet Post Post—originally slated to open—recently broke up, as reported by Make Major Moves earlier this week. Arc In Round performs with Golden Ages and Tadoma at 9 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are $10.


Philly Local Philes: Hot Guts’ “Da’rat Hessla”

Hot GutsThe long Halloween weekend left me craving some noise rock nihilism this morning. Enter Philly misanthropes Hot Guts. You might have caught their intense set opening for The Breeders at the First Unitarian Church back in September. Or perhaps you just heard us spin their Bauhaus-ish doom jam “Did You Not Go To The Dance Alone?” on Y-Rock. The four-piece has a new offering out on local label Badmaster Records, a split 7” with like-minded New Yorkers Pop. 1280; the Hot Guts side is somehow punchier and more paranoid than we’ve heard from them in the past. “Da’rat Hessla” has the pulse of Suicide’s “Ghost Rider,” the sonic girt of Cabaret Voltaire, and anguished vocals that will haunt you for days. U-City’s punk fraternity Pi Lam hosts both bands for the single’s release show on Sunday, Nov. 7; Soars from the Lehigh Valley (also favorites of The Key) round out the bill.


Tonight’s Picks: Rogue Wave, Margot And The Nuclear So And Sos, Efterklang

Rogue Wave
Rogue Wave

We want to tell you that, later tonight, you should hop in your car and make the trip up to Bethlehem for Soars‘ record-release show at St. Bernard’s. After all, we’ve been hyping up the bliss-pop band the last few weeks, and we are genuinely amped for the release of their debut self-titled album next week. But, between the distance, the weather, and the band’s scheduled performance at Johnny Brenda’s in late November, we just can’t in good conscious send you out there. The fact that there are three notable touring bands stopping in Philadelphia tonight pretty much seals the deal.

Rogue Wave‘s latest album, Permalight (released back in March) is surprisingly upbeat for a band that has suffered through so much well-documented adversity. Whether or not fun-loving, hook-happy tracks such as the ones found on the new album are the band’s strong suit, however, is still up for debate. Rogue Wave performs with Midlake at at 7:30 p.m. at Theatre Of Living Arts; tickets are $25.

Indianapolis chamber-pop ensemble Margot And The Nuclear So And Sos, meanwhile, are touring in support of their brand-new album Buzzard—which, by several accounts, finally finds the band delivering on the promise of its potential. Margot And The Nuclear So And Sos performs with Lonely Forest, and Cameron McGill And What Army at 7:30 p.m. at First Unitarian Church; tickets to the all-ages show are $12-$14.

Finally, Danish indie-pop quartet Efterklang performs alongside Buke And Glass and Esben And The Witch at 9 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are $13.