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PREMIERE: Watch Up the Chain’s surreal “For To Give Away” video

Up the Chain
Up the Chain | photo via www.facebook.com/upthechain

This is a song for a rainy day.  ”For To Give Away,” taken from Up the Chain‘s second full-length Seeds & Thorns, represents the band’s sonically softer and more soulful side though the lyrics and the video, which we’re premiering here today, are full of inner and outer conflict. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Robbie Basho tribute ft. Daniel Bachman, Arborea at Johnny Brenda’s, Can You Canoe at World Cafe Live at the Queen, and Up the Chain at Tin Angel

arborea
Arborea | photo courtesy of the artist

Tonight, Johnny Brenda’s will help raise money for the documentary-in-progress, Voice Of The Eagle: The Enigma Of Robbie Basho, a study of the late and influential steel guitar player and composer. Performers will include Daniel Bachman, a fingerpicking folk guitar player who is a master of the six strings, along with Arborea, a husband and wife duo from Maine, Check out Daniel Bachman’s amazing NPR Tiny Desk performance below. Tickets for the show can be purchased here. Continue reading →

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Download The Key Studio Sessions Volume 10 (feat. Modern Baseball, Elegant Animals, Marah and more)

TheKeyStudioSessionsVol10Summing up an entire region’s music scene in an hour-ish long compilation is pretty much impossible. But dangit, we try our best. I’m very psyched for the roster of artists we’ve lined up on The Key Studio Sessions Volume 10, out today as a free download you can grab below. Pop-punk wave makers Modern Baseball did a version of “The Weekend” from their 2012 debut LP Sports, and the mini XPN shoutout they deliver at the end of the first chorus might be my favorite moment of the set. The song as a whole is insanely fun and on point, and MoBo’s basement-scene brethren W.C. Lindsay (more synthpop leaning) and The Hundred Acre Woods (more folk-leaning) also make solid appearances. There are several acts on the comp who you’ll see this summer at the XPoNential Music Festival: Ginger Coyle, Commonwealth Choir, Marah and Marian Hill. I love using our studio to allow more experimental-leaning artists to blaze new paths, whether its Trophy Wife‘s expansive rager “Neil Young” (very reminiscent of the Dead Man score for sure), Tutlie‘s elegant dreamscape “Kaito” or Bleeding Rainbow‘s noise-punk jam “Time or Place.” Suave downbeat crooners Elegant Animals knock a track from their back catalogue out of the park, and though the comp is admittedly short on hip-hop, eclectic electronica soundscaper Ganou spits a fierce verse on “Detainment.” (We’ll have a lot more Philly hip-hop on volume 11 in August, don’t worry.) A summation of an entire scene? Of course not. I think of this more of an incomplete but nonetheless awesome snapshot of Philadelphia-area music circa spring 2014, one we’ll continue building on. Major thanks go to production assistants Dan Hatton and Dan Malloy; photographers Rachel Del Sordo, Megan Kelly, Allison Newbold, Dominique Montgomery and Ian Lewis; videographers Bob Sweeney, James PowersRyan Chowansky and Bands in the Backyard; and guest engineers Mattias Nilsson and Adam Staniszewski. Listen to the comp and download it for free below.

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Up The Chain perfects a cover of The Lawsuits’ “You Won’t Love Me If You Don’t”

Up The Chain | Photo by Bob Sweeney
Up The Chain | Photo by Bob Sweeney

Up The Chain (aka Reed Kendall) channeled his inner balladeer in a sweet and simple rendition of The Lawsuits’ “You Won’t Love Me If You Don’t” recorded for Root Down in the Shadow‘s Cover Club series. This is just one of many forms the song has taken. Originally a solo tune written and recorded by frontman Brian Dale Strouse, it became a full band affair and was featured on the Lawsuits’ album Cool Cool Cool with Vanessa Winters on vocals. Kendall’s version resonates in a quietly somber way that’s just enough to draw you in and keep you listening. Check it out below and get tickets to Up The Chain’s April 26th show at Ardmore Music Hall here.

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. DRGN King, Roof Doctor, Lake Street Dive and more

Up The Chain | Photo by Bob Sweeney
Up The Chain | Photo by Bob Sweeney

Up the Chain stopped by for this week’s Key Studio Session.  The laidback five-piece tossed three new songs into the set list, along with tracks taken from last year’s Seeds and Thorns.  The session is a showcase of the band’s chameleon-like sound, moving from rockabilly to rootsy pop and even including a song you could tango to.  Take a listen to “Seasick Sailors” below and get the full set here.  Up the Chain play The Ardmore Music Hall on April 26th; tickets and information can be found here.

Philly outfit Roof Doctor released their sophomore effort Mobile Freedom Home this week, posting it on Bandcamp as a name-your-own-price download.  As Patricia Madej described in her review, it’s the kind of album “you’ll find yourself humming” as you “notice the small jangly, irresistible details” of each song.  Stream and download “Bulldog” below and get the full album here.  Roof Doctor plays a record release show at PhilaMOCA tonight; information can be found here.

Folkadelphia brought in Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors for a live session back in October, and fittingly chose the early days of spring to share the resulting outdoorsy recordings.  Found via word-of-mouth, the band proved why their fans are so supportive of and excited by the “honest, down-to-earth, and catchy pop & rootsy Americana music” the Tennessee natives create.  Stream and download the full session below.

Local favorites DRGN King have returned with a new single called “Solo Harp” this week.  Following last year’s Paragraph Nights full-length, the new track moves in a different direction with swirling guitars, a distorted found-audio clip and sun-bathed vocals not unlike Dr. Dog’s mellower tunes.  Stream and download the song below and stay tuned for more from the band’s forthcoming second LP.  DRGN King play Boot & Saddle on April 20th; tickets and information can be found here.

Recent World Cafe subjects Lake Street Dive performed a version of “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5 during their session with host David Dye.  Featured as a My Morning Download, the song opts for a dimly-lit jazz club vibe with heavy stand-up bass notes accompanied by soulful vocal harmonies and steamy horns.  Stream and download the song here.  Lake Street Dive returns to Philly on April 2nd for a sold out show at Union Transfer.

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The Key Studio Sessions: Up The Chain

Reed Kendall is one of those songwriters who can do just about anything. It’s easy to latch on to the breezy Americana vibes and DMB-ness of his Up the Chain – originally a solo recording project, now a full fledged band – and he does that style remarkably well. But looking at Kendall’s music through just that lens would miss the whole picture. Last year’s Seeds and Thorns had a standout late-night soul cut called “For to Give Away” that blew my mind; Up the Chain’s Key Studio session hits on raucous rockabilly ( the new “Sidecar”) as readily as sharp Randy Newman-esque pop (“Seasick Sailors”) and slinky vaudevillian jazz (“Here I Haven Meet”). The current crop of players are a knockout – recording with us in this session was Anam Owili-Eger on keys and vocals, Kevin Killen on drums, Matt Wong on bass, and Avery Coffey on guitar. They performed a total of three new songs – the others being “Hand & Gasoline” and “The Hardest Stone,” both drawing a very promising picture of the next UTC release. Listen and download below, and check out a video of “The Horse’s Course” by Bob Sweeney. Want more? You can catch Up The Chain live at Ardmore Music Hall on Saturday, April 26th, when they open for the similarly eclectic-minded David Wax Museum. Tickets and info on the show can be found here.

Up The Chain “The Horse’s Course” from Bob Sweeney on Vimeo.

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Northern Liberties Winter Music Festival happening next month at The Fire

Rosu Lup | photo by Doug Seymour Music Photography
Rosu Lup | photo by Doug Seymour Music Photography

The Northern Liberties Winter Music Festival returns to The Fire on February 11th to the 16th.  With six straight days of local music showcases, the annual event will feature over 20 acts covering every genre from hip hop, folk, indie pop and more.  The event kicks off with Grizful Dead on the 11th, a tribute to the Grateful Dead from Griz and friends.  Other bands participating this year include Family Vacation, Rosu Lup, Cee Knowledge, Adrien Reju and Up the Chain.  Tickets and information will be available here.  Check out some of the bands below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Broncho at Johnny Brenda’s, You Do You at North Star Bar, Up The Chain at Tin Angel and more

Broncho | via Facebook

Tulsa, Oklahoma garage rockers Broncho head to Johnny Brenda’s tonight, with support from Brass Bed and Haggard. Broncho recently released a jamming new EP It’s On, with two new songs that have an aggressive sound mixed with the feeling of apathy that results in a carefree energetic style. Check out “Can’t Bet Past The Lips” below, and get tickets to the 21+ show here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Hurry at Boot and Saddle, Anjuli Josephine at Tin Angel, A Fistful of Sugar at World Cafe Live and more

Hurry by Maddie
Photo by Madeleine Lesperance

Boot and Saddle welcomes local bands Hurry, Dreambook, and Mock Suns to its stage tonight. Hurry just released a new single “Oh Whitney”, which you can stream below, from their upcoming LP Everything/Nothing. The band is the solo product of Matt Scottoline of emo four-piece Everyone Everywhere. Dreambook released Only Shadows last year which features their signature distorted guitar sounds and layered drum beats. Psych-pop headliners Mock Suns released their debut album Here Nor There back in 2012. All three acts are lo-fi dream pop-oriented with a splash of something unique. Get tickets here and check out tracks from the bands below.

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Stream Up The Chain’s Daytrotter session

Courtesy of the artist
Courtesy of the artist

Philly folk artist Up The Chain (aka Reed Kendall) recently visited Illinois to play a set at Daytrotter Studio. Kendall released his sophomore album Seeds and Thorns in October and celebrated its release at Ardmore Music Hall. Citing Ryan Adams, Neil Young, and Amos Lee as influences, he maintains simplicity in his live performances to honor the original form of his songs. Listen to the set here and watch his video for “The Horse’s Course” below.