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The Key Studio VIDEO Sessions: Pink Skull on making “music for record-store nerds”

Photo by John Vettese

For this month’s Key Studio Video Session, we profiled Pink Skull, the Philladelphia indie-dance quintet that, last year, released its third album, Psychic Welfare, on RVNG Int’l Records. In our video, band leaders Julian Grefe and J.G. Geller talk about bridging the divide between hooky pop songs and expansive disco epics, the growth of the electronica scene in Philadelphia, and the origins of their “music for record-store nerds.” Watch the video below and download their performance from December’s Key Studio Sessions Live concert at Johnny Brenda’s.

Key Studio Video Session #6 – Pink Skull from WXPN FM on Vimeo.

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The Key Studio VIDEO Sessions: A decade of mewithoutYou

For this month’s Key Studio Video Session, we profiled mewithoutYou, the Upper Darby-bred experimental five-piece that bridges the divide between raw, introspective punk rock and lush, Neutral Milk Hotel-esque indie symphonies. This year, they celebrated ten years as a band, and in the spring they plan to release their as-yet untitled fifth album, recorded over the summer with Daniel Smith of Danielson – it’s their first since 2009′s It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All A Dream! It’s Allright. In our session, the bandmates reflect on their first decade together, discuss the forthcoming album and preview three new songs from it. They also played two favorites from Brother, Sister and Catch For Us the Foxes, which you can stream or download below. Catch the band on Friday Dec. 30 when they play the Theater of Living Arts for a pre-New Years’ co-headlining show with Thursday.

Key Studio Video Session #5 – Me Without You from WXPN FM on Vimeo.

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Photos: mewithoutyou’s Key Studio Video Session

Last week, the experimental quintet mewithoutyou dropped by the XPN studios to record a Key Studio Video Session. In addition to the audio and video, we were able to shoot a few photos. As a preview, you can check out the photos below; the full session will be posted in a few weeks.

For more photos by Eric Ashleigh, visit lefte.co.

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The Key Studio VIDEO Sessions: Songwriting with Ben Smith

For this month’s Key Studio Video Session, we profiled Ben Smith, a consummate songwriter and leader of the West Chester-based chamber-rock group Missing Palmer West. This fall, he digitally released his debut solo album Crooked Earth. For our session, a string trio and drummer joined Smith in the studio to perform the record’s highlights, revisit a tune from his late-’90s rock group Wise And Foolish Builders, and cover one of his all-time favorite cinematic pop songs: “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” by The Smiths. (Listen for that on The Key Studio Sessions Hour on XPN2 tomorrow night at 7 p.m.). A high-school English teacher by day and film enthusiast all-around, Smith talks in our interview about how those elements—words and scenes—converge in his music. Stream and download highlights from band’s set and watch our video below; look for his CD-release party at Milkboy in Ardmore on January 20.

The Key Studio Session #4 – Ben Smith from WXPN FM on Vimeo.

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The Key Studio VIDEO Sessions: Philly’s house band, Black Landlord

Photo by Eric Ashleigh

For this month’s Key Studio Video Session, we profiled the funk-punk-hiphop force of nature that is Black Landlord. On the heels of its fantastic new EP, What You Mean to We, the nine-piece band headlined our inaugural Key Studios Sessions Live Concert last month. In our interview, charismatic frontman Maxx Stoyanoff-Williams (formerly of Incognegro and The Goats) shares his thoughts on rocking crowds, playing party music with substance, and being viewed as Philadelphia’s house band. Stream and download highlights from band’s set and watch our video below; download the entire performance as a ZIP file here.

The Key Studio Session #3 – Black Landlord from WXPN FM on Vimeo.

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Coming this Wednesday: Black Landlord’s Key Studio Session and video


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.

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The Key Studio VIDEO Sessions: Blayer PointduJour and The Rockers Galore

Photo by Michelle Holshue

For this month’s Key Studio Video Session, we profiled Blayer PointduJour and The Rockers Galore. A musician with roots in Hatian kompa music, reggae, and punk, PointduJour has been a longtime side player in Philly acts like Miss Argentina and Phil Moore Brown. This band provides the first showcase of his own songwriting, and its Port Au Prince EP is being released on Philebrity Label. Download the full performance below and catch the band in action at its vinyl release show this Saturday, Sept. 17, at PhilaMOCA.

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Photos: Blayer Pointdujour And The Rockers Galore’s Key Studio Video Session

Recently, the reggae/dubstep band Blayer Pointdujour And The Rockers Galore dropped by the XPN studios to record this month’s installment of our new Key Studio Video Sessions. (Last month, our inaugural Key Studio Video Session featured the country/folk trio Sisters 3.) In addition to the audio and video—which we’ll post next Wednesday—we were able to shoot a few photos of the session, which we’ve posted below. Blayer Pointdujour And The Rockers Galore’s debut EP, Port Au Prince, was released by the Philebrity label last August; you can listen to it via Soundcloud below. The band’s next show, which was originally scheduled to take place at Bookspace, has been moved to The Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art at 531 N. 12th Street (9/17, 8 p.m., $10); the updated flyer is included with the photos below.

Port Au Prince EP by blayerpdj

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Register for the inaugural “Key Studio Sessions Live” concert on Sept. 12th at World Cafe Live

Black Landlord

In conjunction with our first Key Studio Video Session—featuring the Downingtown PA-based indie/folk trio Sisters 3—we’re happy to announce our inaugural “Key Studio Sessions Live” concert. The local music showcase will feature three XPN favorites: Black Landlord, Work Drugs, and Hezekiah Jones + Andrew Lipke. The performances will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, September 12th, at World Cafe Live; registration is free.

Funding for The Key Studio Sessions, The Key Studio Video Sessions, and The Key Studio Sessions Live comes from a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge, a $9 million initiative supporting innovative projects that inspire and enrich Philadelphia’s communities.

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The Key Studio VIDEO Sessions: Sisters 3

Key Studio Video Session: Sisters 3 from WXPN FM on Vimeo.

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.

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