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Make Music Philly Spotlight: The Naked Sun

Photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com
Photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com

The Naked Sun is a rock band from South Philly, whom you might remember from their Key Studio Session last year. They’re very proud of their Philadelphia Heritage, so much so that they even have a song called “Wooder.” Their EP, Place, Space, and Time, has received great reviews from outlets such as the UK’s Real Gone, The Owl Mag, and Bucket Full of Nails. Additionally, they’ll be performing four times for Make Music Philly, including a 10 a.m. show at Powers Park, an 11:30 a.m. show at Riverside Hall, a 2 p.m. show at the Hard Rock Cafe, and a 6 p.m. show at Julian Abele Park. Check out a very DIY version of “Wooder” below, which was filmed and recorded in a basement.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Macy Gray at World Cafe Live, Delco Pacers at MilkBoy, Astronauts Really Fly at The Blockley, and more

Photo by Jan Prunk
Photo by Jan Prunk

Ohio bred R&B artist and actress Macy Gray brings her unique vocals and whimsical musical sense to World Cafe Live tonight for the 14th anniversary of her 1999 release On How Life Is. Gray has released six album in the years since then, most recently appearing in 2012 with a full-album cover of Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book. Find tickets for tonight’s show here. Watch her Jay Leno performance of Stevie’s “Tuesday Heartbreak.”

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Delco Pacers release debut LP “Stereo Streets,” perform record release show at Milkboy 11/14

delco pacers

Suburban Philly natives Delco Pacers will release their debut LP Stereo Streets on Tuesday, November 19, the follow-up to last year’s acclaimed Riddlewood EP.

In celebration of the release of their full length Delco Pacers will hold a special record release show at Milkboy on November 14, with special guests Morning River Band (Philadelphia) and The Naked Sun (Philadelphia).

Delco Pacers- comprised of singer/guitarist Jonathan Pitts, bassist Evan Dick, and Philly raised drummer Pavlo Demkiv- have managed to revitalize early to mid 90′s indie pop/rock while adding millennial flare. Pitt’s uncanny vocal resemblance to early REM and Mr. Jones’ era Counting Crows, combined with catchy acoustic melodies and banging, syncopated drumming makes Stereo Streets an immediate upbeat favorite. But what really stands out on the LP are the tracks that digress from the usual, with heavier bass and electric guitar influence. On the track “Rooftops” the bass is palpable the whole way through, adding a darker undertone and balance to the more feel-good Americana style record. Take out the vocals, and you’d swear you heard some Smashing Pumpkins’ riffs.

The final track of the LP, a 6:39 number titled “Walls,” features and electric guitar/bass intro with intermittent drums that is so smooth, and so lulling, it’s like Explosions in the Sky jumped in for a quick opening before easily transitioning into quintessential Delco Pacers sound. The band has clearly grown in their last two years of touring, and it is fully audible in their debut LP Stereo Streets. You won’t want to miss the record release show at Milkboy!

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Download The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 7 (feat. Waxahatchee, Pissed Jeans, Ruby the Hatchet + more)

kss vol 7

The latest edition of our Key Studio Sessions compilations is out today – now streamable and downloadable from Soundcloud!  Check out this year’s in-studio appearances with The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 7, including the down-tempo folk stylings of Waxahatchee, the thrashing punk of Pissed Jeans and the all-out rock jams of Ruby the Hatchet.  Thanks to production assistants Fred Knittel, Madeleine Lesperance, and Dan Malloy as well as photographers Rachel Del Sordo and Kate McCann, and videographers The Angry Mountain, HotBox Studios and Out of Town Films for sharing their work.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Caitlin Rose at MilkBoy, The Virgins/ Shorty Boy Boy at Johnny Brenda’s, The Naked Sun at The Fire

CaitlinRoseCountry singer/songwriter Caitlin Rose will be playing at MilkBoy tonight. Rose hails from Nashville, Tennessee, the heart of country, and it shines through her music. To date, she has released an EP, two albums, and a seven inch record, and her latest album, The Stand-In, was released just last month. The album was released on According To Our Records (or ATO) and can be purchased via Rose’s website, or through ATO’s website. Also through Rose’s website, you can listen to “I Was Cruel” off of her new record, as well as watch a teaser video to her album. Tickets and information for 21 and up show with Andrew Combs and August John Lutz II (of Levee Drivers) can be found here. Below, check out Caitlin Rose’s teaser trailer to her new album The Stand-In.

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The Week’s Best MP3 Downloads, incl. Calexico, Quilt, The Naked Sun

Bringing their sunny psychedelic sounds to Philadelphia, Boston’s Quilt recently stopped by the Folkadelphia studios to record a live session full of warmth and color.  The 60s vibe of the band seems so natural it’s easy to slip into a dreamy daze while listening to the five tracks they recorded.  Stream and download “Arctic Shark” below and head over to Folkadelphia’s Bandcamp to get the rest of the session.  Quilt will be back in town this Saturday, February 16th for the 2013 Northern Liberties Winter Music Festival at The Fire.  Tickets and information can be found here.

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The Key Studio Sessions: The Naked Sun

Last summer, South Jersey five-piece The Naked Sun stormed the World Cafe Live stage with a rousing set of rambling rock and roll tunes at the Beta Hi-Fi Competition. Seriously; I had their song “Holdin’ Back The Heart” stuck in my head for days. Since then, the band has played a bit more to the subdued side of the musical spectrum – the show and BITBY video at the Fleisher Art Memorial is breathtaking but kinda tragically quiet – so I was quite happy when drummer Dave Gladney informed me they would be in full rock mode for the Key Studio Session they recorded last weekend. A trumpet player and saxophonist backed up the group, adding to their richly-arranged new songs. The set drew mostly from the EP they plan to release this spring: an appearance with The Lawsuits at The Field House (yep, the bar in Center City near Market East Station – they started booking shows this winter) slated for April 12th. Let the simmering build of “Debby Diest” carry you into the session.

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


Lancaster’s The Stray Birds perform “Dream in Blue” for Folk Alley’s backstage sessions [link]

Sellersville progressive hip-hop group I&I record an adventurous Key Studio Session [link]

Get a free song from Florida’s rootsy Roadkill Ghost Choir in My Morning Download [link]

Philly punk four-piece The Menzingers released an acoustic version of “Casey” [link]

Meet rootsy Philly group The Naked Sun in their new Bands in the Backyard video [link]

Philly country-rockers The Lawsuits released a new EP and a new music video [link]

Quirky rockers Eels announced a fall tour with a Philly stop in March, and a new song [link]

Founding Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha played Free at Noon on Black Friday [link]

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Step out into The Naked Sun (new BITBY video out today, playing The Balcony on 11/30)

To those familiar with this city, South Philadelphia has forever been the central hub for all things loud, fast and sonically destructive. But sometimes, from under the wreckage of broken cymbals and detuned guitars emerges something considerably more tame and distinct. The Naked Sun, a self-proclaimed “honest rock” quartet from the bottom end of the city, offer tender love songs that effectively transcend the idea of “honesty.” Their sound is nothing short of vulnerable.

The group, which opens for Man in a Crowd at The Balcony Bar at The Trocadero on November 30, was recently featured in a Bands in the Backyard BKSTG spotlight which shows them performing at Fleisher Art Memorial. Singer/songwriter Drew Harris sways and croons beneath the venue’s giant wooden crucifix, eyes closed, moving to the group’s stripped down performance.

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Beta Hi-Fi: A judge’s panel view of the World Cafe Live local band competition

Last night was my third time sitting on the judging panel of World Cafe Live‘s annual Beta Hi Fi finals, and the competition was impressive as ever. A half-dozen acts from the Philadelphia area took to the stage over the course of the night, all of whom had won their slot from audience votes earlier in the week, and the room was abuzz with fans, friends and family members rooting for their faves.

Along with my fellow judges – Pat Rapa, music editor at City Paper, and Stephanie Seiple, founder of Tri-State Indie – I had the tricky task of helping make sense of the melee, and doing so without being overly influenced by the minor cadre of intense dudes in Riley Road t-shirts who stared us down at constant intervals over the course of the evening.

As it happened, the Phoenixville trio did run away with top honors – not because any of us were worried about mob justice – but because the young band flat-out rocked. Their raw electric blues thing was tightly modeled after the Jimi Hendirx Experience, not only in structure and sound, but also spirit. Riley Road tackled Jimi’s “Red House,” for instance, taking substantial liberties as far as phrasing, pace, instrumental solos and overall duration. This wasn’t a faithful-to-the-original rendition in the least, and some might call that blasphemy. But by embellishing things and putting their own spin on the classic, they were actually more faithful to Jimi than a note-for-note cover might have been. The rest of the set was original material from their self-titled EP – power blues rock that was full of rough, rumbling bravado and intense musicianship. Occasionally a guitar solo wandered too long, or a drum fill got too complex, but as my fellow judges and I agreed, if our biggest concern is that the band is just too talented, that’s not a bad problem for them to have.

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