Tonight’s Concert Picks: Strand of Oaks at Philly Music Fest, Soraia at MilkBoy, Thundercat at Union Transfer

Strand of Oaks | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN

It’s day two of the inaugural Philly Music Fest at World Cafe Live, and Strand of Oaks take the stage for a headlining set. The festival’s eclectic lineup seeks to showcase local musicians and encourage Philadelphians to support our scene. Also performing today are Steve Gunn, Deadfellow, Ivy Sole, Shannen Moser, and lots more. Check out the festival’s website for tickets, set times, and more info. We most recently saw Strand of Oaks rocking the Marina Stage at this year’s XPN Fest; read a recap of that performance here. Below, watch a video from the band’s recent World Cafe session. Continue reading →


Line Leader releases hard-hitting, sonically disorienting album wilt

Line Leader | photo by Stavi Xinou | via

Line Leader‘s debut EP wilt is a strong opening statement for the Philadelphia natives. The production on is very garage sounding, with a raw grittiness throughout the entire album. What wilt lacks in sensitivity they make up for with volume and sound instrumentation; the band rocks hard and first couple tracks are reminiscent of bands like Sonic Youth in terms of their repeated riffs and stressing of big major chords. Give the record a listen below, and give Line Leader a follow on Facebook for more about their upcoming gigs. Continue reading →


Listen to Caracara’s debut album Summer Megalith ahead of their Everybody Hits show

Caracara | photo by Emily Dubin | | courtesy of the artist

Philly indie rockers Caracara hit us with a few teasers from their debut album Summer Megalith last month, and the anticipation has been building ever since. Now, the waiting is over, release day is here, and Summer Megalith is finally out in the world. Not to be mistaken for the bird, Caracara create the kind of spirited, honest, pour-your-soul-into-it music that is so essential to the Philly scene right now. Spattered with fuzzy instrumentals and woven with dense and reflective lyrics, the 12-track album (engineered and mixed by Jake Ewald of Modern Baseball fame) is a must-listen for these early fall, weather-changing days. Continue reading →


Just Announced: Morrissey will play at The Fillmore this December for his Low in High School tour

Morrissey | Photo by Joe Del Tufo |

Morrissey has released the dates for his North American tour in support of his upcoming album release of Low in High School. The former Smiths frontman released the first single, “Spent The Day In Bed”, for the new album just three days ago. The Low in High School tour comes to Philly on December 4th at the Fillmore; tickets go on sale September 29th at 10 a.m., more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →


Easygoing Vibes, Explosive Force: The War on Drugs makes a powerful homecoming at The Dell for a good cause

The War on Drugs | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

When it was announced that Connor Barwin’s fourth annual Make The World Better Foundation fundraising concert was being held at the Dell Music Center and that The War On Drugs would headline, questions arose. For some, the question was “What the heck is The Dell?” and for those familiar with the city-run venue in Fairmount, the question was “Why The Dell?” The answer to the latter is that the venue is looking to throw in an occasional rock or country band to their normal summer mix of funk, R&B and soul music. Based on the crowd who entered The Dell “ooh”ing “ahh”ing, the venue most likely will not have trouble filling seats for these outlier acts. Continue reading →


Listen to the audio of The Clash’s 1979 show at the Walnut Street Theatre

The Clash in Philadelphia | Photo by Todd Heft

English punk rock icons The Clash rolled through Philadelphia on this day in 1979 for a show at Walnut Street Theatre. They were only a few months away from releasing the critically acclaimed London Calling, the record that boasts the legendary photo on the album cover of Paul Simonon smashing his bass guitar. This photo has been called one of the greatest in rock and roll history and is almost universally recognized. Continue reading →


Screaming Females return with new “Black Moon” single and a fall tour

Screaming Females, photo courtesy of artist

With an extensive discography under their belts already, Screaming Females add another single to the list: “Black Moon,” their first release since their 2015 album Rose Mountain. And after more than ten years of touring, they’ve just announced a fall tour as well, which kicks off on September 24th.

The band is revered for their heavy rock and roll style driven by singer-guitarist Marissa Paternoster, as well as their heart-wrenching lyrics, and describes “Black Moon” as “[a] four-minute long ripper about the earth abandoning humanity, syphoned through the near-universal experience of ending a relationship.” The single was made available only at Spina Records in New Brunswick, NJ, pressed onto a limited edition 7″. Continue reading →


PREMIERE: Secret American bring us California sunshine in “Warmth & Shelter” video

Secret American | photo by Bob Sweeney | courtesy of the artist

Secret American, the new solo project of Cheers Elephant‘s Derek Krzywicki, is back with a delightful video for their second single “Warmth & Shelter,” and we’re excited to premiere it right here on The Key. The title track from the yet-to-be-announced debut album coming our way later this fall, “Warmth & Shelter” exudes the sunshine-filled California spirit with an unmistakable gritty Philadelphia edge that makes Secret American’s sound so unique.

Krzywicki once called Philly home, but now dwells among the cacti out on the West Coast. The video shows the native East Coaster wandering through the desert and the mountains — landscapes that are unmistakably Californian but still feel so foreign to us. According to Krzywicki, Secret American observes “California country landscapes from the seat of an overhead SEPTA train.” The singer, in his 70s garb complete with sunglasses and a fake mustache, may be a bit inherently out of place out there in the sunny countryside, trying to adopt those laid-back vibes, but it makes us want to hop right on a plane and join him in the comfort of the bright UV rays. Watch the video below. Continue reading →


Still Freaky After Thirty Years: Revisiting Philly’s fearless EDO ahead of their School of Rock gig

Edo, circa 1994

Philadelphia always gets typecast as the underdog, this city of illusion-of-grandeur miscreants that drastically wants to be NYC or D.C. or whatever else but can’t. You probably know of the “6th Borough” label or the Rocky lovable loser trope or any of the articles that question why anybody would even try and find success in our wonderful city. Hell, even the Fresh Prince had to move to Bel-Air before he could make something of himself.

This is nonsense. Philly doesn’t want to be New York or anywhere else. Like we’re supposed to care about what goes on in those high-strung, obnoxiously stressful cities and somehow bend and break ourselves to fit that mold. What’s great about this city, our city, is that we’re not that. We don’t have to play by their rules. People in Philadelphia have always created their own scenes and that music, that art, is the essence of what makes us unique. It’s weird, freaky, and very much does not need to fit in.

Step into any West Philly basement and you’re almost guaranteed to see a band that sounds like nothing else out there and absolutely slays. If you were the kind of person to look for clues in history, here’s a hint: it’s been almost five decades since Sun Ra and his Arkestra landed in Germantown and rewrote the rules of jazz and really music as a whole. There is literally no end to the examples of Philly bands that have decided to do whatever it is they felt compelled to do, even if nobody else cared. Underdogs we are clearly not.

“I don’t know enough about other music scenes to know if all cities have it, but I feel like Philadelphia has such a strong undercurrent of weird shit.” That’s Eliot Duhan, lead singer of a band that’s a perfect example of all that: EDO. Since their formation at St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD back in 1987 – they moved to Philly soon after graduation – the band has continuously defied norms and expectations. Somewhere between Frank Zappa’s matter-of-fact weirdness, the Butthole Surfers’ freakout rock, and the outer space groove of Parliament Funkadelic, EDO (the meaning of the name has been lost to history) occupies a singular position in Philly punk history, even if you’ve never heard of them. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cayetana at Philly Music Fest, Jay Som at the First Unitarian Church, David Bromberg at Sherman Theater

Cayetana | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN |
Cayetana | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN |

The Philly Music Fest kicks off tonight at World Cafe Live with Cayetana headlining a night of Philly music, from Kississippi to West Philly Orchestra and more. Cayetana’s latest album, New Kind of Normal, is one of the year’s highlights, with the South Philly power trio expanding the range of its sonic palette, from slow burners to charging ragers. Watch the video for “Bus Ticket” below and get tickets and more info on the festival here. Continue reading →