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A selection of Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson songs we’d love to see The Ron Gallo Revue cover at Fergie’s Wednesday

Randy Newman (left) and Harry Nilsson

Fans of snappy piano pop would do well to head to Fergie’s Wednesday night, when Toy Soldiers frontman Ron Gallo hosts a tribute to 70s songwriters Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman. Admission to the show is free, and music gets underway starting at 9 p.m. It’s the first installment of the new weekly “Ron Gallo Revue”, and features an impressive list of local collaborators: Ali and Claire Wadsworth, Tim Arnold of Good Old War, Thom McCarthy, Ross Bellenoit, Gretchen Lohse of Yellow Humphrey, Jerry Bernhardt of The Get Real Gang, Aaron Brown, Modern Inventors and Gallo himself. With so much talent in the room, we couldn’t help offering a few suggestions / challenges from the Nilsson / Newman repertoire that we’d love to see these folks perform. For instance, Nilsson’s iconic 1971 hit “Without You” – re-popularized by Mariah Carey in the 90s – would rock so hard coming out of one or both of the powerhouse vocalist Wadsworth sisters. And Aaron Brown’s voice already has the husky smoothness of Newman’s – he’d tear up “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today.” Check out our picks below, and get more information on the tribute at its Facebook event page. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Gretchen Lohse at PhilaMOCA and New Music Series at North Star Bar

Gretchen Lohse is a local singer/songwriter and all-around folkytown gal. Her sweet voice wraps around poppy melodies to create a power-charged sound. She’s been experimenting for years writing songs, collaborating with others, and bopping around in different bands. But now she resides as the frontwoman for Yellow Humphrey, who released their album Featherweights in early 2011. Gretchen plays a solo set tonight at PhilaMOCA for August’s Tuesday Tune-Out curated by Fred Knittel of Folkadelphia. The performance starts at 8, followed by a film screening of “The Beast Pageant”. Below, watch an at-home interview with Gretchen filmed by Lady Bang Beat.

And over at North Star Bar, the weekly New Music Series is presenting new musical acts from the Philadelphia / South Jersey area. Tonight will feature performances from With Our Teeth, Lee Allen, The Cranberry Isles, and The Gazettes. All different sounds, all different styles. The 21+ showcase starts at 7 p.m., tickets are $5 in advanced, $7 at the door.

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Just Announced: Folkadelphia’s Fred Knittel curating the August Tuesday Tune-Out at PhilaMOCA

Photo by Laura Jane Brubaker
PhilaMOCA‘s music and film series, Tuesday Tune-Out, continues next month with four events curated by Fred Knittel, host of XPN2′s Folkadelphia. The lineup was just announced, and you can check it out below; all shows are all ages and begin at 7:30 with $5 admission at the door.

Aug. 7 – Brandon Morsberger and Avolcano with a screening of “a famous 1980s skateboard movie, MST3K style”
Aug. 14 – Gretchen Lohse of Yellow Humphrey with a screening of The Beast Pageant
Aug. 21 – Hezekiah Jones, film screening TBD
Aug. 28 – Emily Arin, film screening TBD

Check back to The Key later today for a Photo Recap of last night’s Tuesday Tune-Out.

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First Annual Sundrop Music And Arts Festival May 27-29 at The Fire

From the folks at The Fire:

In an attempt to fill the void left by festivals past, and offer a good alternative to flocking to the shore, many of Philadelphia’s finest local musicians will participate in the Inaugural Sundrop Music and Arts Festival. The festival includes three great nights of music at the Fire, and an all-day, two stage show and craft fair on Saturday May 28th. Stages will be located at Trios Tratorria and outside of the Fire, with vendors offering fine art, crafts, and food lining the path between the Trios Stage and Las Cazuelas.

The Fest kicks off Friday May 27th with a show headlined by local favorite Hezekiah Jones, supported by an amazing bill including Sisters 3, Up The Chain, and more. Between Saturday May 28th’s two outdoor stages, you’ll be able to catch sets from a wide spectrum of Philly talent, ranging from Circadian Rhythms to Attia Taylor, to the Spinning Leaves, and also including Yellow Humphrey and Paper Masques. Saturday night moves inside with a mega-bill, featuring Drink Up Buttercup with support from Toy Soldiers, Orbit To Leslie, Busses, and a second set from Paper Masques. On Sunday May 29th the Fest ends with a bang, as Illinois headlines a packed bill featuring US Funk Team, Arrah and the Ferns, and the first full band Philly show for Doylestown’s own Peasant.

The night shows begin at 8 p.m. and tickets are $10; the Saturday outdoor show begins at 3 p.m. and is free. Visit iourecords.com or phillyvenues.org for more info.

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Philly Local Philes: Yellow Humphrey’s “Ursa Ultra” (record-release show tonight at Johnny Brenda’s)

After watching Yellow Humphrey perform under-the-radar across Philadelphia for almost two years, it’s great to see the band come into its own. The urban-folk six-piece has released two music videos already in 2011: the haunting and heartrending “Cherry Tree” and the bright and playful “Low Roses.” Both are teasers for its debut full-length Featherweights, which gets its album release at Johnny Brenda’s tonight. With the spike in productivity comes a spike in recognition, and the show has generated a healthy amount of buzz among the city’s music heads (my favorite spot of coverage has to be the candid chat singer-songwriter Gretchen Lohse had with an enthusiastic reporter from Lady.Bang.Beat.). In today’s Philly Local Phile, we revisit the song that first caught my ear after a September 2009 show at the North Star Bar: “Ursa Ultra.” Yellow Humphrey performs with Young Nick Krill &  Magic Mike, and Eliza Hardy-Jones at 9 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are $10.

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Pay what you want for Yellow Humphrey’s new album, Featherweights (via Bandcamp)

Yellow HumphreyFor the next week, Yellow Humphrey‘s new album, Featherweights, is available on a pay-what-you-want basis via Bandcamp. The 10-track album gets its official release on Tuesday, April 26th, with a record-release show at Johnny Brenda’s on Friday, April 29th. Check out the new video for the single “Low Roses” (which is currently available as a free download) below; visit Yellow Humphrey’s Bandcamp page to preview and download album.

Yellow Humphrey’s record-release party with Young Nick Krill And Magic Mike and Eliza Hardy-Jones begins at 9 p.m. Friday, April 29, at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are $10.

Yellow Humphrey – Low Roses from Mike Spano on Vimeo.

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Watch Yellow Humphrey’s new video for “Cherry Tree”

Thanks to Gretchen Lohse for sending this our way; the video was put together by Mike Spano, and is composed of VHS footage from Lohse’s childhood. (Try not to get all weepy-eyed while watching the video; it’s more of a challenge than you’d think.) The members of Yellow Humphrey are currently putting the finishing touches on the band’s debut album and gearing up for its record-release show on Friday, April 29th, at Johnny Brenda’s.

Yellow Humphrey – Cherry Tree from Mike Spano on Vimeo.