The cover art to this latest installment of The Key Studio Sessions free download comps is brought to you by the velvety guitar case of Maitland‘s Josh Hines. He has an outstanding live band and has been performing on the regular with them this year, but his set for us this summer was recorded completely solo, just himself and an acoustic guitar, and it was a knockout. In some ways, this was indicative of the approach I took to finding artists for this current batch of recordings, and the way they were recorded. While our traditional band-playing-live-in-our-performance-space approach continued – and had tremendous results with Roof Doctor, The Sixties, Heat Thunder, The GTVs and more – we also pushed and questioned the boundaries of what our Studio Sessions could be.
When rapper Tiani Victoria came into the performance studio with DJ Nitro on the ones and twos, they took a look around the large and spacious room and decided a humble DJ booth would work better for their set. We went with it and it was fantastic. Brazillian music ensemble PhillyBloco set a new record for most musicians crammed in the XPN performance space at once – 20 – so much so that World Cafe engineer watched with an expression of concern and terror as I set up; it wound up (somehow) being recorded in less time than most bands a fifth of their size require. Speaking of efficiency, another quick set was the Hurry vs Mike Bell and the Movies Power Pop Battle, our first ever competitive Key Session, our first session that shot off from a Twitter beef (or faux-beef) – it was so lively, fun and fast, I’m thinking of having more studio sessions in battle format in the future. We had our first ever jazz session with the outstanding Chelsea Reed and the Fairweather Five. We had our first ever, uh, set piece session, with Needle Points constructing an alter of candles and crushed beer cans to accentuate their heady psych rock vibes. And for his set, rapper Verbatum Jones decided to perform seated “to get the full radio experience.” We’ve never done that before, except for piano players, and I’m not sure what “radio experience” means exactly, but yo, Verb’s set was great.
The Soundcloud download you see below is an encapsulation of all of that, and all of what makes Philly musically great – roots rock to space rock, hip-hop to global pop, punk to jazz and more. Big thanks as always go to production assistants Dan Hatton and Dan Malloy; photographers Rachel Barrish, Rachel Del Sordo, Megan Kelly, Rich McKie, Peter Murray, Allison Newbold, Cameron Pollack and Eric Schuman; videographers Bob Sweeney and Bands in the Backyard; and guest engineer Craig Kaufmann. Listen to the comp and download it for free below.
Key Studio Sessions Compilations, The Key Studio Sessions, the key studio sessions volume 11