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Bernhardt Family Band entrance with broken down cover of Toy Soldiers’ “Tomorrow to Today”

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Jerry Bernhardt and Kate Bernhardt | Photo by Bob Sweeney

Root Down in the Shadow’s Cover Club session series, which features local Philly musicians covering whoever they please, returns to Nomad Recording Studio this week and features Bernhardt Family Band covering Toy Soldiers’ “Tomorrow to Today”.

The harmonies in this cover are so poignant and beautiful, it’s no surprise the brother and sister duo have been making music together their whole lives. The arrangement allows for Kate Bernhardt to take the lead, and her voice manages to be sharp yet ethereal, controlled and still you know she could rip it like June Carter if she pleased.

Watch the video for the cover session below, and catch the Bernhardt Family Band at World Cafe Live this Wednesday, March 12. Tickets available here.

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Download The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 9 (feat. Amanda X, Balance and Composure, Mean Lady and more)

The Key Studio Sessions Volume 9
Album cover photo by Tiffany Yoon | tiffanyyoon.com

Today we bring you our latest Key Studio Sessions compilation, pulling together the best of what we’ve recorded in the final four months of 2013. I’m always psyched about these comps, but The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 9 in particular presents a tremendous variety of musicians from around the Philadelphia region that I’m excited to showcase for you. Bucks County has a healthy showing, from the acoustic alt-punk swagger of Balance and Composure and the retro-grunge of Daylight to the booming Americana of Levee Drivers and the flower child folk stylings of Lily Mae. We trip away into a spacious, 12-minute jam by Chris Forsyth and his Solar Motel Band, rock out to Amanda X and get chillingly meditative with ambient musician and filmmaker Michael James Murray. A Christmas selection from Jersey’s The Classic Brown makes the cut, sultry new jammers from Delaware’s Mean Lady and Central Pa.’s Kate Faust, a fierce bass-backed rap by Curly Castro, an Afro-Cuban jazz rocker from Toy Soldiers, and more. Special thanks to guest engineers Steve Poponi and Mike Kennedy, to Tom Volpicelli at Mastering House for his post-production help, and to production assistants Dan Hutton and Dan Malloy as well as photographers Rachel Del Sordo, Megan Kelly, Laura Lynn, Caitlin McCann, Ally Newbold, Kellie O’Heron, Tony Oppenheim, Matthew Shaver, Mike Trutt and Tiffany Yoon, and videographers Bands in the Backyard and Bob Sweeney for sharing their work this fall. Listen to the 17-song set and get a free download below.

Want more? Get a roundup of our previous free-downloadable Key Studio Sessions compilations after the jump. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Low Cut Connie at Johnny Brenda’s, Kalob Griffin Band at World Cafe Live, The Districts / Pine Barons at Chameleon Club, and more

Photo By: Charlotte Jacobson
Photo By: Charlotte Jacobson

Old school rock ‘n’ roll outfit Low Cut Connie is playing at Johnny Brenda’s tonight. With a tone like an upbeat “Piano Man” it’s no wonder that the honky tonk group’s whimsical tribute to Philadelphia “Boozophilia,” off of Call Me Sylvia, reached number 31 on Rolling Stone’s “50 Best Songs of 2012″ list. Just last month the band premiered their cover of Harry Nilsson’s “Jump Into the Fire” from their forthcoming tribute album via Rolling Stone. Get ready for their Philly show by listening a live performance of the new track below. Find details and tickets here.

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Listen to Toy Soldiers’ new Daytrotter Session (playing the Strand Capitol on 10/26)

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Toy Soldiers have always been an active band (they played a couple hundred shows in 2012 alone) so it’s no surprise the news keeps rolling out of their rootsy and rocking camp.  Today’s installment is the Philly band’s Daytrotter Session, recorded a few weeks ago in Rock Island, IL while on tour supporting their debut full-length The Maybe Boys.  The five-track live session pulls content from that LP and includes a new song called “Street Sweeper” (which Ron Gallo and his troupe also recorded for their September Key Studio Session).  Daytrotter members can listen to and download the set here.  Below, stream and download the KSS take of “Street Sweeper.”  XPN welcomes Toy Soldiers to the Strand Capitol Theater in York, PA on October 26th, and the boys will be back in town at The Ardmore Music Hall on December 14th.  Tickets and information for both events can be found here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Local Natives at Electric Factory, Anjuli Josephine at MilkBoy, Alo Brazil at Underground Arts

localnatives970600WXPN welcomes L.A. indie rock outfit Local Natives to the Electric Factory tonight. If you missed them on their summer tour, the band just released a video shot between performances completely on their phones put to the stimulating single “Ceilings” off of their latest release Hummingbird. Catch them on their Fall tour by finding tickets and information for tonight’s show here. Watch the new “Ceilings” video below.

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Toy Soldiers will perform at Out Of Town Films’ second “pop-up concert” this Wednesday

Photo by Seth Klinger
Photo by Seth Klinger

If you missed Toy Soldiers‘ epic, sold-out album-release party for The Maybe Boys this past Friday night, here’s a chance to make up for it. Our friends at Out of Town Films just sent out word that they’re hosting their second “pop-up concert” this Wednesday, September 18th, and Ron Gallo and crew are the stars.

The series is basically what it sounds like – a band performs a free concert at an undisclosed location, and the Out of Town videographers film it for a series of live shorts. Their first one happened this summer with The Districts at Girard Hall in Fishtown; to RSVP for this show, shoot an email to outoftownfilms(at)gmail(dot)com. You’ll be notified of the location the morning of the show. Below, check out The Districts performing “Long Distance” at the first pop-up concert, and download “Tomorrow to Today” from Toy Soldiers’ Key Studio Session.

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Balance and Composure, Free Energy, Ben Smith

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Toy Soldiers celebrated the release of their full-length The Maybe Boys with a Key Studio Session. For their encore session (they first visited the WXPN studios in 2010) the rootsy blues rock band recorded a few songs from the new record, as well as an unreleased track called “Street Sweeper.” Stream and download “Heart in a Mousetrap” below and get the full set here.

West Chester’s Ben Smith has released a new EP called Ravine Road. The singer-songwriter recorded it himself in his home studio, using vintage equipment he picked up at the estate sale of his seventh-grade teacher. Listen to the title track below and get a name-your-own-price download here.

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