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Download “Gavel” by The Sun Flights from their On the Hill Series (playing Hubbub 11/10)

The Sun Flights | photo via www.kettlepottracks.com
The Sun Flights | photo via www.kettlepottracks.com

Local duo The Sun Flights will help University City’s Hubbub Coffee kick off their music showcases on November 10th alongside Boog and Dirty Dirges.  Following the release of their debut EP, the folk project of Natalie Butts and Claire Duncombe went out to Lafayette Hill in early January to record an On the Hill Series with Kettle Pot Tracks.  The session resulted in two previously unreleased songs called “Gavel” (which you can stream and download below) and “Circles.”  ”Gavel” is playful, direct track where the only flourishes are sublime harmonies and the balance between two distinct voices.  More information for their show at Hubbub can be found on the Facebook event page.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Districts at North Star Bar, Commonwealth Choir at The Fire, The Sun Flights and Maitland at Melodies Cafe

Photo by Eric Ashleigh
Photo by Eric Ashleigh

The Districts return home for a show at North Star Bar tonight.  The Lancaster outfit spent the time since their knock-out XPoNential Music Fest appearance touring from Detroit down to New Orleans, even stopping in Rock Island, IL to record a Daytrotter Session.  Tonight the young roots rock band will play alongside Rosu Lup, Coronado and Pine Barons – tickets and information for the 21+ show can be found here.  Watch The Districts’ recent Out of Town Films video below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Nightlands at Johnny Brenda’s, The Sun Flights at MilkBoy Ardmore, Mean Lady at Mojo Main, In the Pocket at 23 East

nightlands

Nightlands play a hometown show at Johnny Brenda’s tonight, backed by a choir and supported by local bands Ape School and Our Griffins.  Dave Hartley’s “dream science” solo project released its latest LP Oak Island earlier this year after he closed out a multi-year tour with his main band The War on Drugs.  For tonight’s show, he’ll be performing with choral group The Sighborg Singers, who were featured on Oak Island as well.  Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show can be found here.  Below, watch Nightlands’ new video for “Born to Love.”

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Watch Our Griffins perform “Blood on My Sleeve” in a Random Tea Room session (playing a free show at North Star Bar on 3/25)

OGTaking a quick break from recording a new LP, Our Griffins (the project of Easton, PA’s DJ Brown) performed a quietly poetic rendition of “Blood on My Sleeve” for The Random Tea Room‘s new video series.  Brown was backed by Travis Hobbie (guitar/vox), Alex Luquet (bass) and Eric Slick (drums) for the series’ tenth installment.  Watch the video below and revisit Our Griffins’ Key Studio Session from last December here.  More information for the free 21+ show at North Star Bar with Penrose and The Sun Flights on March 25th can be found here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cheap Dinosaurs at PhilaMOCA for Tuesday Tune-Out, Swift Techniqe at The Blockley, The Gallerist at Kung Fu Necktie

CheapDsContinuing their month of Tuesday Tune-Outs, 8static presents Cheap Dinosaurs tonight at PhilaMOCA.  The local chiptune / rock band will perform a set of their “wall of sound” productions before screening the 1982 independent sci-fi film Liquid Sky.  Like their Tuesday Tune-Out predecessor Chipocrite, Cheap Dinosaurs recently performed at Mag Fest in NYC where they participated in a showcase of chiptune music makers.  Admission for tonight’s all-ages event is a suggested $5 donation at the door; more information can be found here.  Watch a live video of Cheap Dinosaurs performing at PhilaMOCA from April 2011 below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: St. James & The Apostles at RUBA, Folkadelphia presents ((TACO)), Prairie Empire and The Sun Flights at Green Line Cafe, We’re About 9 at PSALM Salon, XPN Welcomes Garland Jeffreys at World Cafe Live at The Queen, Many Arms at The Rotunda

St. James & the ApostlesHardworking Philly outfit St. James & The Apostles play RUBA Club Studios tonight alongside Themuffinmanisaband.  St. James is Jamie Mahon and The Apostles are Mahon’s cousin Mike Kiker and second-cousin Jeff Castner.  Together, the trio fuses anthematic rock with moments of twang and the refreshing power of Kiker’s organ playing on their latest record Baphomet.  More information about the 21+ show can be found here.  Below, watch St. James & The Apostles’ BITBY video filmed this past October.

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: John Vettese’s top five Philly music discoveries of 2012

With just two weeks remaining in 2012, it’s come time to look back at the year that’s just passed us by, look ahead at the year just ahead of us, and generally reflect on stuff that got us excited – in music, and in general.

But if you’re like me, you find best-of lists a little boring. I mean, they’re kind of a necessary evil, in terms of the cultural community putting the past 12 months into context. That said, after the fifty-billionth iteration they can almost become a chore to read and to put together. So for The Key’s year-in-review, we asked our trusted sources – our writers and photographers, XPN’s on-air staff, fellow bloggers in the Philly scene and even a few musicians – to send us their Top Five Whatevers. Could be the traditional music route – albums, songs, concerts of the year – or it could be only loosely connected.

We’ll be sharing these recaps every day through to the end of the year. Today, I’ll get things started with my top five Philly music discoveries of 2012. Coming across an exciting emerging musician I’ve never heard before is easily a highlight of my job, and there was no shortage of that this year. (See the incomplete honorable mention section.) With this list, though, I tried to focus on the less-discussed acts, the ones you won’t find on a show every weekend. Some artists hit the ground running this year, and that’s great – these artists are ones that are worth your time to seek out. Continue reading →

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Listen to serene folksy harmonies from Philly duo The Sun Flights (playing North Star Bar tonight)

Hat-tip to the good folks at Philly Indie for this one: folksy Philly duo The Sun Flights is celebrating the release of its debut self-titled EP tonight at the North Star Bar for the venue’s Victorian Dining Room concert series. If you’ve never been, you’re in for a treat, both from the band, and the room.

To begin with the room – even though the North Star made its name as a popular down-and-dirty live music venue in the alternative rock heyday of the 90s (and continuing into the aughties), there’s actually a fancy a side to the building. Up a tucked-away flight of stairs on the bar / eatery side of the room is a hidden room with a vaulted ceiling, ornate  (but not gaudy) wooden walls, big windows and cozy seating. At one point in the building’s past it was a dining room, and now it’s the perfect environment to experience the acoustic, intimate, unamplified portion of the venue’s programming.

That’s something that The Sun Flights does particularly well – with fingerpicked guitars and delicate harmonies, they set a striking mood that something in between Azure Ray, Red House Painters, early Tegan & Sara and The Decemberists. Which is to say, a little bit esoteric and haunting, but definitely with poppy influences and aspirations. I could see this duo – Natalie Butts on vocals and guitar, Claire Duncombe on vocals – bringing in more players, exploring arrangements and layers, building into something bigger and Bon Iver-style. But they work just as well in the most basic configuration, which in some ways is even more important. Listen to their song “I Am A Robot” below, visit the venue’s website for more on the show.

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