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That Dream Was Our Life seizes the diem with his Youth Decays EP

That Dream Was Our Life | photo via Bandcamp

For several years now, James Cuartero has been writing gentle, mellow rock and pop under his That Dream Was Our Life moniker. After releasing a series of 12 EP’s between 2014 and 2015, he’s back with Youth Decays, a somber, five song set that sees Cuartero searching for answers and seizing the day as much as humanly possible. Continue reading →

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South Philly’s That Dream Was Our Life finds beauty in the banal

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That Dream Was Our Life | photo by RayAna Park | via facebook.com/ThatDreamWasOurLife

For years now, Philly has been a nurturing environment for DIY and bedroom musicians, from the orchestral pop of A Sunny Day in Glasgow to the GBV-inspired punk nuggets of former Temple student Alex G. On the smaller, quieter side of things is James Cuartero, who writes and performs under That Dream Was Our Life, and who for 2 years now has been self-releasing simple, lovely songs mostly drawn from his life in South Philadelphia.

In the past 20 months, Cuartero’s released 11 EPs, with a 12th due this week, all self-recorded on his iPhone from his South Philly bedroom. Each EP—whose names range from Inside Us There Is a Word We Cannot Pronounce and That Is Who We Are to We Are Very Happy Together—contains four to six songs, which run the gamut from quirky electro-pop jewels to gripping, melancholy melodies. That’s 60 songs total, in less than 2 years—although Cuartero tells me has many more ready to go. Later this fall, he hopes to collect 10 or 12 of his favorite and release them as his debut LP.

Continue reading →

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That Dream Was Our Life shares latest in monthly series of EPs

James Cuartero | via thatdreamwasourlife.tumblr.com
James Cuartero | via thatdreamwasourlife.tumblr.com

South Philly folk singer-songwriter James Cuartero, aka That Dream Was Our Life, has released the 11th of 12 releases in his monthly series of EPs.

“It’s Not Too Late” holds four new songs, as well as a bonus track (a cover of Miguel’s “Sure Thing”).

The tracks were all written after Cuartero took part in the “Adventures In Songwriting” workshop at the Kelly Writers House, led by Philly’s own Birdie Busch. Continue reading →

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A meloncholic EP for a muggy day: Listen to the latest from That Dream Was Our Life

That Dream Was Our Life | photo via facebok.com/ThatDreamWasOurLife
That Dream Was Our Life | photo via facebok.com/ThatDreamWasOurLife

Philadelphia indie singer-songwriter James Cuartero has released his latest monthly EP under the name That Dream Was Our Life. This one is called I Will Learn From the Relentless Cage of Forgiving Everything, and it has a great melancholic feel to it, perfect for this muggy and overcast weather we’ve been having this week. Check out the whole EP, which is available for download, here.

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Sun Ra, The GTVs and more

The GTVs | Photo by Eric Schuman
The GTVs | Photo by Eric Schuman

Mount Airy based outfit The GTVs stopped by for this week’s Key Studio Session.  Armed with a vintage Hammond organ and a few tracks, the band performed songs that showcased their wide-ranging sound.  Check out the instrumental Ventures-inspired number “Sleeper Agent” below and get the full session here.

Sing-along-friendly “Strangers” from The Rebel Light was Tuesday’s My Morning Download.  The upbeat power-pop song was released as a single from the L.A. band last month and is a great summer kick-start track for this Memorial Day weekend.

Local musician That Dream Was Our Life continues his monthly EP project with a collection of six new songs that cover everything from Center City traffic to friends getting married.  Check out “Early Spark” below and get the full EP here.

Folkadelphia brought Brooklyn’s Sondra Sun-Odeon in for a session to showcase her boundary-bending songs, joined by tour-mates Orion Rigel Dommisse.  Take a listen to “Paradise” below and download the full session here.

NPR celebrated what would have been jazz legend Sun Ra’s 100th birthday with an in-depth profile on Thursday.  In 1976, Sun Ra appeared on WXPN during a program called Blue Genesis, performing music and reading poetry.  You can download the two segments below.

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Download the latest monthly EP from That Dream Was Our Life

That Dream Was Our Life | photo courtesy of the artist
That Dream Was Our Life | photo courtesy of the artist

James Cuartero has released a new EP under his That Dream Was Our Life moniker, the fifth in his year-long project of recording one EP per month.  In his own words, Cuartero explains that this one is “six new songs about the apocalypse as foretold by the blood moon, explorer Mike Horn, getting stuck in Center City traffic for the umpteenth time, friends getting married, running into friends from another lifetime & email responses I never sent.”  The songs are quiet, beautiful entries in an audio-diary, with the exception of the humorously-titled “Vegans With the Need to Constantly Remind You That They Are Vegan,” which bounces along in a Weezer / Elvis Costello fashion.  Take a listen below and download the full EP here.

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Slip into someone else’s Philadelphia with a new EP from That Dream Was Our Life

That Dream Was Our Life | photo courtesy of the artist
That Dream Was Our Life | photo courtesy of the artist

Local musician James Cuartero has released a new EP called What It’s Like When You Are Desperate for a New Life.  Recording as That Dream Was Our Life, Cuartero is in the midst of a year-long project that will see him release a new EP each month.

Treating his songs as a sort of anthology for specific places and events that he encounters while living in South Philly, this third effort from Cuartero includes songs “about Laurel Hill Cemetery, car troubles, the rainbow birds at 10th & Federal and hoping that someday you’ll find what you’re looking for” (past tracks have covered nights spent in parks, the market at 6th and Washington and Britney Spears).  With subtle but sparkling piano and emotive acoustic guitars, the songs on What It’s Like… could soundtrack a a perfect, quiet Sunday afternoon at home.  Take a listen below and download the EP here.

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Listen to That Dream Was Our Life’s folksy cover of ’70s classic “Lovely Day”

That Dream Was Our Life | facebook.com/thatdreamwasourlife
That Dream Was Our Life | facebook.com/thatdreamwasourlife

That Dream Was Our Life (aka pop musician James Cuartero) has high hopes and lots of music to give in 2014. The local newcomer recently announced plans to release a monthly EP for the entire year beginning with this month’s electro-pop effort We Are Very Happy Together. To top off January’s offerings, Cuartero released a cover of Bill Withers ’70s hit “Lovely Day”. The track is barely recognizable and sounds like a new song entirely but has an innovative quality nonetheless. Get more details on his record release show this Friday, January 31st in Northern Liberties here and listen to “Lovely Day” below.