My Morning Download: White Birds’ “Floating Hands” from The Key Studio Sessions Compilation Vol. 3

Kate Bracaglia

This past summer, Drink Up Buttercup morphed into White Birds featuring three of the Buttercups; James Harvey, Farzad Houshiarnejad, and Mike Cammarata. The White Birds’ four-song debut EP on Grizzly Records is a gorgeous, Fleet-Foxes-meets-Beach-Boys’-Surf’s-Up collection of breezy pop songs. The band recorded a Key Studio Session in November, which you can listen to here. The song “Floating Hands”—recorded during that session—is also available on our new Key Studio Sessions Compilation Volume 3, which also features songs by DRGN King, Blayer Point Du Jour, Black Landlord, mewithoutYou, and others.


Matthew Borlik’s Top Five Local Albums of 2011

Psychic Teens

This week, we’ll be taking a look at several WXPN/XPN2 staff members’ Best Of 2011 lists. Today, The Key editor Matthew Borlik’s five favorite local albums of the year.

1. Psychic Teens, Teen (Golden Voyage Records) Listen to Psychic Teens’ Key Studio Session


2. Meg Baird, Seasons On Earth (Drag City)


3. Creepoid, Horse Heaven (Ian Records) Listen to Creepoid’s Key Studio Session


4. Arches and Banned Books, Split 10″ (Magic Death Records) Listen to Arches‘ Key Studio Session


5. White Birds, White Birds EP (self-released) Listen to White Birds’ Key Studio Session


Honorable Mentions:
Break It Up’s self-released single “Excavate,” which the band posted on Bandcamp earlier this year and is easily my favorite local song of 2011. Had it received an official release this year (either as a 7-inch or on a full-length), it definitely would been included on my list. Unfortunately, it looks like we’ll have to wait until next year for the band to release its debut. Listen to Break It Up’s Key Studio Session


Lantern and Dirty Beaches’ self-released live album, Live At Glasslands—because live albums don’t count. Listen to Lantern’s Key Studio Session


Download The Key Studio Sessions Compilation Vol. 3 (feat. mewithoutYou, Psychic Teens, White Birds, + more)

DRGN King” credit=”Photo by Ritz Reynolds

The Key Studio Sessions Compilation Volume 3—which you can download for free here—features one exclusive track recorded at the WXPN studios by 18 local acts, including DRGN King, Blayer Point Du Jour, Plow United, Weston, Surgeon, Break It Up, Black Landlord, Crills Wilson, Psychic Teens, The Bad Doctors, Ben Smith, The Tressels, Saturn Never Sleeps, White Birds, Andrew Lipke, Ports Of Call, mewithoutYou, and Young Statues. Continue reading →


This Weekend: XPN Welcomes Ryan Adams with Jessica Lea Mayfield, Jukebox The Ghost with The Spinto Band

XPN Welcomes Ryan Adams with Jessica Lea Mayfield at Academy Of Music (8 p.m., SOLD OUT) Click here to listen to his recent interview and performance on World Cafe with David Dye. During the episode, Adams discusses and performs tracks from his new acoustic album, Ashes & Fire, which he is currently touring in support of.

Also Playing: XPN Welcomes Sam Roberts Band + Zeus, Canadian Invasion at North Star Bar (9 p .m., 21+, $15); XPN Welcomes Marin Sexton at Sellersville Theater (8 p.m., $33–$45)


XPN Welcomes Jukebox The Ghost, The Spinto Band, and White Birds at Union Transfer (8 p.m., all ages, $12–$14) You can watch Jukebox The Ghost’s new video for the track “Half Crazy” off the band’s 2010 album, Everything Under The Sun; the video was shot in South Philly by local animation production company Juggling Wolf. You can check out White Bird’s recent Key Studio Session here.

Also Playing: XPN Welcomes The Roches: Suzy And Maggie Roche with a Holiday Twist at New Hope Winery (8 p.m., $30–$40)


XPN Welcomes the 6th Annual Lizanne Knott And Friends Philabundance Benefit at World Cafe Live (8 p.m., $10)


The Key Studio Sessions: White Birds

Listen to this week’s Key Studio Session and count the ways the guys in White Birds impressively play off one another. There’s vibey ensemble moments: Mike Cammarata’s minimal floor tom percussion provides the broken heartbeat to the tales of loss singer Jim Harvey spins thru a 60’s pop loom (“Floating Hands”). Chris Radwinski’s strolling bass line strikes a harmonic counterpoint to the scene in “Hondora.” But the breezy Bucks County psych band also works at the simplest level: “No Sun” and “Veins Lined With Rust” are carried by breathtaking harmonies between Harvey and his brother Farzad Houshiarnejad. It’s a far cry from the spastic carnival music these guys delivered as Drink Up Buttercup, but the band says you shouldn’t be fooled by the downtempo approach of its debut EP (or this session). It’s catalog runs broader, since it’s preparing to release a full length next year, and when White Birds opens for Jukebox the Ghost on Saturday, it promises energetic rock-out moments to break up the mellow mood. Get the full story when their session and interview plays back on The Key Studio Sessions Hour on XPN2 tomorrow night at 7. White Birds opens for The Spinto Band and Jukebox the Ghost Sat. Dec. 3 at Union Transfer. Tickets to the all-ages show are $14, more info at


Win a pair of tickets to see Jukebox The Ghost (+ The Spinto Band and White Birds) at Union Transfer on December 3rd

This week, we’ve got a pair of tickets for Jukebox The Ghost‘s performance at Union Transfer on Saturday, December 3rd. (The Spinto Band and White Birds will open.) For a chance to win, all you have to do is leave a comment below by 5 p.m. Wednesday, November 30th. We’ll select the winners at random that evening and notify them via email; once you’ve confirmed that you and your guest will be attending the show, your names will be added to the venue’s guest list. (Just make sure to use a valid email address when posting your comment; we promise not to sell your contact info or sign you up for anything—we just want to be able to get in touch with you if you win.) You can watch the new video for Jukebox The Ghost’s “Half Crazy” below.


Photo Preview: White Birds’ Key Studio Session

Earlier this month, the local fuzz-pop act White Birds dropped by the XPN studios to record a Key Studio Session. Kate Bracaglia (of Underwater Explosions) was able to take a few photos during the session, which you can check out above; we’ll post the session itself on Wednesday, November 30th. You can also listen to the band’s four-song EP below.


Download a new song from The Spinto Band, “The Sheriff” (playing December 3rd at Union Transfer)

The Spinto Band have released a new song that you can download for free below. The Spaghetti Western tinged indie rock instrumental is from the band’s forthcoming soundtrack to the documentary film Biba! One Island, 879 Votes. The album is being released on December 6th. They perform at Union Transfer with Jukebox The Ghost and White Birds on Saturday, December 3rd. Tickets and more information here. Download “The Sheriff” below.


Tonight’s concert picks: Hank and Cupcake with Gang and Pink Skull at Milkboy, White Birds at Johnny Brenda’s, The Zombies at the Keswick

Tonight’s concert picks:

When it comes to indie-rock bands that are composed of romantically involved couples (Mates Of State, The Rosebuds, Handsome Furs), Hank And Cupcakes offers something slightly off-kilter. For one thing, the married pair hails from Israel; for another, along with their silly adopted monikers, the two sport a cheerfully irreverent sensibility. The video for “Hit” features Hank And Cupcakes cavorting in nothing but body paint. With growing popularity and a new album in the works, Hank And Cupcakes is poised to spread its dance party aesthetic beyond the band’s Brooklyn base. Hank And Cupcakes performs with Gang and Pink Skull at 9 p.m. at Milkboy Philly; tickets to the 21+ show are $10. —Kiley Bense

Also Playing:
Blayer PointDuJour + The National Rifle, Adam And Dave’s Bloodline at The Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art (8 p.m., $10)
Purples + White Birds, Mike Quinn at Johnny Brenda’s (9:15 p.m., 21+, $10)
Mutlu + George Stanford at World Cafe Live (Downstairs) (8 p.m., $21–$31)
The Zombies + Acoustic Strawbs at Keswick (8 p.m., $29.50-$48.50)
Ian Axel, Bess Rogers and Allie Moss at World Cafe Live (Upstairs) (7:30 p.m. $10 plus $3 service charge) Download a tour sampler from Axel, Rogers and Moss right below.