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The Key Studio Sessions: Captain, We’re Sinking

A product of the remarkably fertile pop punk soil in Scranton, the gentlemen of Captain, We’re Sinking release their third LP this Friday. The King Of No Man, out on Run for Cover Records, is a reflective set of songs about mortality, loneliness and disconnection, and it finds the band’s craft in top form. Which makes sense, as they’ve been at it for a decade. Continue reading →

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Actually Maybe Do Call It A Comeback: LCD Soundsystem at Brooklyn Steel

LCD Soundsystem | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

LCD Soundsystem isn’t having a bad year for a band that’s been dead for the better part of a decade. Last night in Brooklyn, they played the 5th show of their 2nd New York residency this year. With a world tour culminating in a 3rd, 10-day stand at new venue Brooklyn Steel, they’re really laying it on thick. All told, that’s 22 shows at the venue that the christened back in April, with the original 5-night run. I have yet to meet a single person in real life who’s mad that LCD is playing so many shows — and why would they be? This is a band that was an absolute standardbearer for the oughties fledgling indie/dance/whatever-core scene that they now reign over as ensconced legends. Continue reading →

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PREMIERE: Get a taste of Noise & Silence’s Cycle Theory EP, out Friday on Exotic Fever

Noise and Silence | Photo by Camille Remeur | courtesy of the artist
Noise and Silence | Photo by Camille Remeur | courtesy of the artist
Philadelphia’s Matt Fleming and Bob Hunter bridge the worlds of aggressive rock and atmospheric soundscaping in their experimental duo Noise and Silence, which releases its debut EP Cycle Theory this Friday on Philly imprint Exotic Fever Records.

Today we’re happy to bring you a taste of that EP with a two-song preview. Opener “Vitamins” roars out the gate with expressive open chord guitar playing and soaring, reverb-tinged vocals, reminiscent at turns of Explosions In The Sky’s The Earth Is Not a Cold, Dead Place and Deftones’ White Pony. While “Vitamins” is solidly stratospheric, “Colorless” is a dynamic rumination, opening on a pensive and measured note, then launching into a cathartic refrain straight out of the early aughts post rock and emo scene. Continue reading →

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Pick up an ACLU benefit 7″ featuring Sad13, Purling Hiss, Louds, and more

Sad13 | Photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

Philly and Minneapolis-based label Dirty Pillows just released a compilation featuring local artists from both of their homes. Titled ACLU Benefit Vol. 1 Phl/Mpls, the compilation is the first in a series of benefit releases that will split its tunes between two cities, and then donate the proceeds to those local community’s ACLU chapters.

This a-side of this first installment boasts Philly artists (woo we’re #1!) including Sad13, Louds, Dulls, Harsh Vibes and Purling Hiss. Making up the b-side are Minneapolis-based artists France Camp, Sasha Conda, 3M 1995, The Cult of Lip and Fog. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Harmony Woods


Give Sofia Verbilla a chance to blow you away with her music. Verbilla leads Harmony Woods, a new Philly-area band whose debut Nothing Special is actually absolutely special for many reasons, least of which being that their talent is far beyond any member’s age. And people are listening; the excitement and enthusiasm around Harmony Woods right now is palpable: the Internet is aflutter with support, gigs are being booked, plans are being made, in-studio sessions are being recorded (after high school graduation parties, of course). John Vettese of WXPN/the Key writes that listeners might hear echoes of emo-revival acts like Sorority Noise and Modern Baseball or emotive songwriters like Mitski, I heard traces of groups like Rainer Maria and Seam too. However, any hype you feel or I create should not distract from the fact that Verbilla and Harmony Woods are just starting to scratch the surface of an immense imagination, flex a muscular gift for songcraft and storytelling, and put on display a compelling and energetic live show. You’re damn right it’s powerful stuff.
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Portugal. The Man’s new album features…Son Little?

Son Little | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN

The hype was very real when Portugal. The Man made their return after four long years without an album. Lead single “Feel It Still” has been crushing the alternative charts, and we learned why during a Free At Noon a few months back. But another single off the band’s brand new Woodstock has a familiar voice on it. Just a few seconds into track one, aptly titled “Number One,” you’ll hear Philly’s soulful Son Little. Continue reading →

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Required Reading: Half Waif’s Nandi Rose Plunkett on being “the girl in the band”

Nandi Plunkett | photo by Tonje Thilesen via https://www.facebook.com/HalfWaif/

If you haven’t noticed by now, we at The Key are big fans of Pinegrove and Half Waif, two New Jersey bands that share a common denominator in Nandi Rose Plunkett. Both groups find Plunkett as the sole woman, one in a keyboards-backing vocals situation and the other as the founding, writing, and recording frontwoman. In other words, she is a musical force to be reckoned with.

Why, then, in 2017 – especially in an industry that theoretically draws the creatives, the open minds, the dreamers – do we find Plunkett responding to slews of misogynist aggressions against her being simply because that being is female? After originally posting last month on Twitter in response to comments on her part in Pinegrove, Nandi Plunkett has penned an extraordinarily eloquent, insightful, and sharp long-form piece published by Esquire on what it means to be “the girl in the band,” what it feels like to be a woman constantly silenced and disregarded and dismissed as a girl, as a girlfriend, as a pretty face but nothing more. Continue reading →

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Meet Lancaster’s Sleepy Limbs, joining Cayetana, Worriers and Camp Cope in York next month

Sleepy Limbs | photo via sleepylimbspa.bandcamp.com

A lineup that includes the likes of Cayetana, Worriers and Camp Cope is good enough on its own. To ask for anything more than a trio of that quality would just be greedy. But when the three bands play next month at Skid Row Garage in York (the show was originally supposed to be in Lancaster at Chameleon Club’s Lizard Lounge, but has since been moved), one more newly added group of rockers will join them: Lancaster’s Sleepy Limbs. Continue reading →

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Join Katie Ellen’s “Sad Girls Club” in anthemic new single

Katie Ellen | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com
Katie Ellen | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

It took a good two seconds into Katie Ellen’s new single, “Sad Girls Club,” for me to be completely hooked. Yes, I would like to join the club, please. Is there a mailing list? I will sign now, thank you.

The personal, lyrically-driven anthem of a song mashes together any kind of insecurity one might feel for being different or straying from the collective normativity that is life (sigh), and effectively stomps it to bits with clattering cymbals and searing guitars. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Donn T at Spruce Street Harbor Park, Digable Planets at Electric Factory, Erica Corbo at Bourbon & Branch

roots picnic
Donn T | Photo by John Vettese

Continuing their stacked summer show line-up, Spruce Street Harbor Park welcomes soulful singer/songwriter Donn T to the waterfront tonight. The local musician released her sophomore effort Flight of the Donn T in 2015, the first entry on her own D Tone Victorious label and a great display of electro-R&B. More information for the free concert with Little Strike can be found here. Watch the “Last Breath” Questlove Remix (Donn’s brother) below.

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