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Kurt Vile performs “Yeah Bones” on Late Night With Seth Meyers

Kurt Vile on Seth Meyers | photo by Lloyd Bishop | via Matador Records

Philly’s Kurt Vile returned to late-night television this week for a performance on Late Night with Seth Meyers. The band rocked a speedy and skittish version of “Yeah Bones,” a song from last year’s Bottle It In that is instrumentally complex (the closest Vile has gotten to math rock, perhaps) but is melodically incredibly poppy. Which is trademark KV: mixing the weird with the widely accessible.  Continue reading →

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Black Thought teams up with Adrian Younge for new single “Noir”

Black Thought | photo courtesy of the artist

Philly rapper Black Thought stepped into the spotlight in a big way in 2018. After 25 years at the front of local hip-hop icons The Roots, Thought released his long-awaited solo debut in two parts: Streams of Thought was split up into two EP releases, with Volume 1 dropping in the spring just ahead of the Roots Picnic, and Volume 2 hitting later in the fall.

Now we’ve got a even newer track from him: “Noir” was released today as an Amazon Music exclusive for the Produced By series, which paris artists with prominent producers to work on a new exclusive cut. “Noir” finds Thought teamed up with Los Angeles composer Adrian Younge, who has worked on tracks for Wu-Tang Clan, Common, Gallant, Kendrick Lamar…but not with Thought or The Roots prior to this.

Based in Cali, Younge’s style is very classic and cinematic, and we hear that in the song, which is built around sweeping string arrangements, complex rhythms, and atmospheric woodwind harmonies…with an appropriate amount of scratching. Continue reading →

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Aspect Ratio fuses lo-fi rock and cult cinema in its debut “Davenport” single

Aspect Ratio | photo by James Gross | via facebook.com/aspectratiophilly

Philly indie scene vets Carly Marcoux and Joshua Alvarez have teamed up in a new lo-fi pop project called Aspect Ratio, and the band’s first digital single hit the internet yesterday. The project fuses not only the bandmates’ love of homemade independent music, but also classic cult cinema.

Continue reading →

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M Is For Musician: Watch Questlove and Grover have a drum-off on Sesame Street

Questlove on Sesame Street | still from video

It’s not like we needed any proof that Questlove could drum better than a Muppet (much, much better), but on a recent episode of Sesame Street called “The Big Pretend Band”, he proved it. Paired off against Grover, the “M is for Musician” sketch finds The Roots’ percussionist getting a drum lesson frim the fuzzy blue monster — while also color-coordinating his own attire with a blue hoodie and dapper blue-framed glasses — only to show him up with a sick solo after swapping a few basic beats, and a drum-off ensues. Continue reading →

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The Essential Love Songs of Philadelphia: “Love Train” by The O’Jays

The O’Jays single for Love Train

Every day leading up to Valentine’s Day this year, The Key is recapping 14 songs that scream “love” just as strongly as they scream “Philly.” The Essential Love Songs of Philadelphia continues with “Love Train” from The O’Jays’ 1972 album Back Stabbers.

In some ways, we’ve saved the best for last. The most unifying, the most uplifting, the most iconic.

“Love Train” is also the only Essential Love Song of Philadelphia that was not made by a Philadelphia band. Canton, Ohio pop vocal ensemble The O’Jays spent the 60s kicking around as a five-piece with single releases here and there that occasionally gained some notoriety on the R&B charts (“Lipstick Traces” being the most notable) but never broke through to the top, nor to the overall Billboard Top 40. By 1972, the band was at a crossroads that saw founding members Bill Isles and Bobby Massey part ways with their bandmates Walter Williams, Eric Grant, and Eddie Levert. Ironically, this was where The O’Jays’ fortunes began to change, with the newly-minted trio coming under the wings of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Jenny Lewis will headline The Met Philly in October

Jenny Lewis | photo by Autumn DeWilde | courtesy of the artist

Singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis returns this spring with On The Line, her much-anticipated first album in five years. Her first single from it, “Red Bull & Hennessy,” was revealed last month, along with an initial offering of tour dates. Today, Lewis returns with the smoking rock and roll ballad “Heads Gonna Roll,” as well as an additional run of east coast performances that finds her coming to The Met Philly on Saturday, October 26th.  Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Kayleigh Goldsworthy

We were fortunate enough this week to catch Kayleigh Goldsworthy in a rare moment of respite.

Whether residing or just passing through, the singer-songwriter and guitarist has been all around these United States — many of the places that pop up in her songs, like Portland and Nashville and New York — and for the past year and change, she’s called Philadelphia home. The concept of “home” in some ways is a bit nebulous, though, since Goldsworthy is always on the go. Continue reading →

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Keeping warm with Daddy Issues, Leggy, and Tate at PhilaMOCA

Daddy Issues | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | senialopez.photography

Bundled up music fans made their way into PhilaMOCA late last month to see a gig headlined by Nashville-based grunge pop trio Daddy Issues. The band was recently in Philadelphia supporting The Menzingers this past November. Apparently there was a man in that crowd who yelled “Mind your business” to drummer Emily Maxwell after she spoke to the audience about being kind to each other. Come on Philly, let’s be better! I am glad that Daddy Issues had a much better experience in the city this time around. I can totally say that seeing them live turned this casual listener into a full blown fan, and I look forward to hearing more from them…as well as their openers. Continue reading →

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Lizdelize will celebrate their album release with Strawberry Runners and Snake Boy Gang at the next House Key Philly music showcase at Underground Arts

photo by Max Kulicke | flyer by Matt Poirier

After an incredibly fun inaugural gig in November, the HOUSE KEY SHOWCASE returns to Underground Arts on March 23rd for another night of spotlighting Philadelphia musicians and artists. Curated by House Cat Presents along with The Key, and sponsored by Founders Brewing, the gig will be headlined by Lizdelise, the boundary-pushing Philly rock trio fronted by songwriter and guitarist Elizabeth De Lise. They just released their third LP, Holy Matrimony, and it’s their first written and recorded as a collective. Continue reading →

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Watch The Cactus Blossoms serenade the polar vortex in their “Got A Lotta Love” video

The Cactus Blossoms
The Cactus Blossoms | photo by Nate Ryan | courtesy of the artist

Winter storms shut down the midwest last week, but for Minneapolis natives The Cactus Blossoms, a bit of snow and ice is par for the course. With their second studio LP Easy Way on the way on March 1st via Walkie Talkie Records, the band set out into last week’s polar vortex to shoot a music video for “Got A Lotta Love” in central Minneapolis’ Bockley Gallery, not far from Lake of the Isles.

“A good friend of ours was kind enough to let us use his gallery space to shoot this video,” says the band’s Page Burkum. “When we heard a blizzard was headed way we thought we might have to call the whole thing off but everyone showed up and the snow made a beautiful backdrop.” Continue reading →