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PREMIERE: Jared Selby keeps dancing amid the struggle in the “Reflections” video

Jared Selby | photo courtesy of the artist
Jared Selby | photo courtesy of the artist

North Philadelphia born and raised musician Jared Selby has been building his resume as a producer in the Soundcloud zone for a few years now, but his skills stretch beyond beat tapes. He’s been developing his lyrical craft and dabbling in video production, and all of those worlds collide in the new visual for “Reflections,” which we’re happy to premiere for you today. Continue reading →

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Preview Littler’s Bad Hand EP with “Running Hot”

Littler | photo by Emily Burtner | via The A.V. Club

All hail Philly-born indie rockers Littler. So far, they’re succeeding where so many others have not — they went bicoastal and have managed to continue as a band. Not long after recording a Key Studio Session and going on a U.S. tour in support of their debut LP Of Wandering, Littler’s two singer-guitarist-songwriters Madeline Meyer and Dan Colanduno packed up and relocated to the left coast.

With them came a set of songs recorded with Kyle Gilbride of Wherever Audio, and today word has surfaced that the band is releasing them via Yellow K records — the Maryland imprint that’s released music by Japanese Breakfast, Eskimeaux, Shelf Life and more. The collection will be called the Bad Hand EP, and you can get a taste of it over at The A.V. Club, where the song “Running Hot” is streaming. It’s got wonderful Lemonheads vibes for the olds, Colleen Green vibes for the youngs, Pains of Being Pure at Heart vibes for the mids. Which is to say bright guitars, soaring vocal melodies and hooks galore. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Eight

Has there ever been a scientific study on levels of happiness, productivity and general life-fulfillment in multiple-band musicians versus single-band musicians? My hypothesis is the more outlets an artist has, the merrier, and I’d offer Philly’s Eight as a case study.

The indie rock power trio is led by the immediately recognizable voice of guitarist Mimi Gallagher, who just came off a couple super fun years with Year of Glad and NONA. On bass and backing vocals is Cat Park, who also devotes a lot of waking hours to co-fronting Amanda X. Possibly the busiest of the bunch is Pat Brier on drums, who concurrently keeps the beat in Three Man Cannon and writes the songs in Queen Jesus. They’re mad busy people, but they were an absolute joy to work with for their Key Studio Session. Continue reading →

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Listen to Spoon’s new song “Can I Sit Next To You”

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Spoon | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com

Austin rock and rollers Spoon have a new record due out on March 17th called Hot Thoughts. Today, we got a taste of the album via the new song “Can I Sit Next To You.” It’s suave and sexy, with a funky back beat and unexpectedly trippy synthesizer arrangements at the halfway mark. And at 3 minutes 54, it doesn’t overstay its welcome — quite the opposite, rather, beckoning you to hit play again once its over. Take it for a spin or ten below, and check out Spoon’s 2017 tour dates below.
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Just Announced: Juliana Hatfield will bring new Pussycat LP Boot and Saddle in April

Juliana Hatfield at Boot and Saddle | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Juliana Hatfield at Boot and Saddle | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Veteran singer-songwriter Juliana Hatfield will return to the Boot and Saddle stage this April, bringing with her a new LP called Pussycat — her first solo album since 2013’s Wild Animals.

In the time since, she reunited her old band The Juliana Hatfield 3 — which played B&S in March of 2015 — and collaborated with Paul Westerberg on a project called The I Don’t Cares. According to a statementPussycat was inspired by the presidential election. “All of these songs just started pouring out of me. And I felt an urgency to record them, to get them down, and get them out there.” Continue reading →

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Modern Baseball cancel U.S. tour, taking “a break for a little while”

Modern Baseball | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Really, I cannot begin to imagine the intense pressure and stress and emotional drain of being an artist that hundreds of thousands of people adore. Your fans look up to you, they rely on you for an escape from or a catharsis of the negative energy in their lives. They rely on you for guidance and strength. But you’re human too, and you’re grappling with the same issues.

Philly indie rock four-piece Modern Baseball has always been up front and heart-on-their-sleeve about their feelings — it’s what sparked that connection with a massively devoted fan base in the first place, and what keeps it going. When the band launched their album Holy Ghost last year, they were very open about its true-to-life content: struggles with depression and mental health, for singer-guitarists Brendan Lukens and Jake Ewald alike.

When Lukens decided to sit out of the band’s European tour this winter to focus on his mental well-being, it was the right decision — not just because we care about Bren and want him to the best care of himself possible, but because it was a good lead-by-example moment. Acknowledge when you need to step away, acknowledge when you need help and accept it.

In that sense, it’s bittersweet news today that MoBo as a whole made a decision to cancel their entire U.S. tour, again, for the sake of their own mental health. Continue reading →

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Wilco, Conor Oberst and Hop Along will headline night one of XPoNential Music Festival 2017

Wilco| Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

The 2017 edition of WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival takes place July 28th through July 30th at Wiggins Park and BB&T Pavillion in Camden, and we are thrilled to bring you the first wave of artist announcements today.

Kicking off the weekend at BB&T on Friday, July 28th will be a set from Wilco, who previously played XPoNential in 2013 and 2012. In the time since, they’ve released two albums — 2015’s left-of-center rock set Star Wars and 2016’s contemplative collection Schmilco — and performed a dazzling set in Philly last summer.

Also headlining on Friday are Conor Oberst, the acclaimed singer-songwriter behind Bright Eyes who releases his new Salutations LP on March 17th via Nonesuch Records, and Hop Along, the killer Philadelphia rock and roll four-piece who wowed us in 2015 with Painted Shut and who we generally love around these parts. Continue reading →

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Watch Jesse Hale Moore play “Leave You Lonely” on a Steinway for Random Tea Sessions

Jesse Hale Moore | still from video
Jesse Hale Moore | still from video

Philly singer and songwriter Jesse Hale Moore has been enchanting us for the past couple years with his moving R&B ballads that fit nicely in the universe of James Blake, How To Dress Well and Autre Ne Veut. His debut album Green End is out on April 7th, he is featured in NPR’s World Cafe: Next podcast today and he just released a Random Tea Session video — a stripped down rendition of his single “Leave You Lonely,” which we premiered earlier this month, performed on a Steinway grand piano. Continue reading →

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The 10th annual Roots Picnic features Pharrell, Solange, Noname, Michael Kiwanuka and more

Pharrell Williams | Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images

The annual Roots Picnic has been setting up shop along Penn’s Landing for a solid ten years now, and to celebrate the decade mile-marker, the lineup just announced by Black Thought, Questlove and company is indeed a massive throwdown, set to touch down at The Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing on Saturday, June 3rd.

For starters, the coveted headlining slot — a classic artist performing a set with The Roots as their backing band — goes to suave hitmaker Pharrell. Dude has no shortage of jams to incorporate, from his production days in The Neptunes and bandleading days in N.E.R.D., to chart-toping collabs with Daft Punk (“Get Lucky”) and solo jams that’ll have the entire family clapping along (“Happy”).

Also towards the top of the bill is Solange, making her second Roots Picnic appearance; she first played in 2013, with the fantastic True EP recently under her belt, and this year she has the massively acclaimed A Seat At The Table — our number two album of 2016Lil Wayne also tops the bill, and will no doubt throw down in a massive way. Continue reading →

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Items Tagged Philadelphia: On the proverbial hits, and how they just keep on coming

Child Savage | via childsavage.bandcamp.com

Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time each week digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. At the end of each week, we present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.

I don’t know what it is, honestly. Is it that I’m becoming less discerning the more music I listen to for this project? It’s possible, but I doubt it — I feel just as psyched about music as I’ve always been, and typically that sort of thing moves in an inverse direction: like the more music you consume, the more you reach burnout levels and the less stuff stands out. Is it that the quality of stuff showing up under the Philadelphia tag on Bandcamp is increasing as this project goes on? Also possible, but the one certainly doesn’t have anything to do with the other.

All’s I know is that in the first installment of Items Tagged Philadelphia, I picked out four standout releases to spotlight with relative ease, and this week — seven weeks in — I had a tough time winnowing it down to ten. Maybe I started the project on a slow week?

Whatever the case, this current batch of recordings has intertwined in positive ways with my vinyl listening over the weekend. Continue reading →