Hemming’s Candice Martello (and friends!) walk the music industry’s rocky road in the latest Shaking Through

Hemming’s Candice Martello and Cayetana’s Augusta Koch with Three Man Cannon’s Matt Schimelfenig in Miner Street Recording | photo by Gabriel Greenberg | courtesy of the artist

Philly’s Hemming has become a force of nature on the Philly show scene over the past year. Whether she’s performing with a band or playing solo, in a quiet living room or a loud bar, frontwoman Candice Martello’s cathartic delivery and deep ruminations have an uncanny ability to make a crowd stop and listen.

But she’s also present on the scene in another way: you’re just as apt to see Martello in the audience, cheering for her friends on stage, as you are on a lineup. There’s a real sense of camaraderie and real emotional connectivity to what Hemming does, and those things converge massively on the opening episode of the new season of Shaking Through. Continue reading →


The Key Studio Sessions: Laser Background

When we last heard from them, Philly’s Laser Background was feeling a lot more confrontational. The project of songwriter-composer Andy Molholt led its psychedelic pop tunes down dark and abrasive corners, exploring harsh realities of life in a candy-coated sheen that was equal parts hooky and demented.

In our interview from 2013, Molholt talked about that process of drawing his listeners in, pushing them over the edge and then pulling them back from the abyss. A few years time has passed, and on the new LP Correct – out on May 13th via La Société Expéditionnaire & Endless Daze – Molholt feels less angry and more focused. The project is still unconventional, to be sure. It might still pose a challenge to listeners who, when they think psychedelic, they think The Monkees.

But it also finds Molholt keeping his pop craft front and center as it assembles lucid lyrical puzzles evoking the clash between nostalgic memory and alternate reality. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head

Beyonce adds a second date at The Linc, which is awesome since I can’t stop listening to Lemonade

Beyonce | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Since the visual album dropped two weeks ago, and the album-album followed in short order, pop icon Beyonce‘s latest opus Lemonade has quickly ascended to the top of my regular music listening.

Its twelve tracks cover a remarkable amount of territory, from gospel to country to badass rock and roll to experimental electronic, and fitting them into my day somewhere has become something of a ritual. And it’s looking like the binge won’t stop any time soon – Bey just added a second Philly date to her Formation World Tour. She’ll be at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday, September 29th, according to Brooklyn Vegan. Tickets are on sale Friday, May 13th at 10 a.m. Continue reading →


HAIM covering Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” will knock you out

HAIM | photo courtesy of the artist

This is so awesome that we dearly, dearly wish that there were more than 30-second Instagram clips to share with you. As Pitchfork reports, SoCal rockers HAIM over the weekend performed at the Girls to the Front gala in LA – a benefit for the Girls Rock Camp Foundation – and they did a knockout cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” in their stripped-down performance. Continue reading →


Just Announced: Garbage will headline The Fillmore in July

Garbage | photo courtesy of the artist

In the past six months, modern rock icons Garbage celebrated the 20th anniversary of their iconic self-titled debut album and wrapped up recording of their sixth LP, Strange Little Birds. Today, the band announced a string of summer tour dates, including a stop at The Fillmore in Philadelphia on Saturday, July 30th. Continue reading →


Watch an eight-piece Tutlie dazzle the crowd at NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Road Show

Tutlie | photos by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | <a href= target="_blank"></a>
Tutlie | photos by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN |

After vibrant sets from Joy Ike (watch it here) and The Bul Bey (watch here), the NPR Music Tiny Desk Road Show came to a close with the atmospheric, art-pop outfit Tutlie – a runner up in this year’s NPR Music Tiny Desk contest.

Normally a six-piece band, Tutlie expanded to a nine-piece for this performance, including harp and vibraphones to capture the beautifully arranged nuances of “Bison,” the band’s entry in the Tiny Desk Contest. Continue reading →


Download The Key Studio Sessions Volume 16 (featuring Queen of Jeans, Hardwork Movement, Abi Reimold and more)

The Key Studio Sessions Volume 16
The Key Studio Sessions Volume 16

Four months can be a long time, but it totally flies by — it seems like only yesterday that we were coming at you with our last free-downloadable compilation of songs by regional artists recorded for us live in the studio for The Key Studio Sessions. And here we are, 94 days and 20 songs later. Continue reading →


The Electric Factory is the 16th best venue in the U.S., according to Consequence of Sound

The Electric Factory
The Districts on stage at The Electric Factory | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

After culling opinions from readers and artists, music blog Consequence of Sound today published its list of the 100 greatest venues in the United States – and Philly made the cut in a few ways.

The First Unitarian Church came in at #63, and Union Transfer made it to #34 – both venues cited in CoS’s poll of musicians earlier in the week. But coming in all the way up at #16 in the list is Callowhill’s long standing, 3000-cap Electric Factory – which is notably celebrating its 20th anniversary season this year. Continue reading →


Watch The Bul Bey throw down in a high-energy set for NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Road Show

The Bul Bey performs at World Cafe Live for NPR Music's Tiny Desk Road Show | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | <a href= target="_blank"></a>
The Bul Bey performs at World Cafe Live for NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Road Show | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN |

Philly rapper The Bul Bey had a busy couple days last week. After kicking off the Beyond the Bars benefit concert at World Cafe Live, Bey returned to the venue’s upstairs stage on Tuesday April 19th to throw down at NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Road Show.

Bob Boilen and his team brought their popular video contest on the road this spring, and threw a party for a sold-out crowd upstairs at World Cafe Live that featured three standouts from the crop of 131 Philly submissions. Bey took the stage in the middle and immediately got the crowd moving with a high-energy performance backed by DJ John Morrison (a contributor to The Key), delving into his 2015 project Shaking Hands and Kissing Babies and telling the stories behind them. Continue reading →


Watch singer-songwriter Joy Ike serenade the NPR Music Tiny Desk Road Show

Joy Ike performs at World Cafe Live for NPR Music's Tiny Desk Road Show | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | <a href= target="_blank"></a>
Joy Ike performs at World Cafe Live for NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Road Show | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN |

Back on Tuesday the 19th of April, Bob Boilen and his team at NPR Music made a visit to Philadelphia for the first stop of their Tiny Desk Contest Road Show. The popular video / performance series opened itself up to submissions from across the country this winter, drawing in 131 entries from the Philadelphia music community.

Three of the standout submissions from Philly – as chosen by WXPN, NPR Music and Lagunitas – performed for a sold-out crowd at World Cafe Live upstairs on the 19th, beginning with singer-songwriter Joy Ike. Accompanied on percussion by her sister Peace – yes, their names are actually Peace and Joy – the duo played moving and catchy, piano-driven pop songs. Moments of the set recalled Fiona Apple and Leonard Cohen, and the mood ranged from contemplative to celebratory. Continue reading →