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PREMIERE: The Spring Standards celebrate Boxing Day at Arden Hall with a live “Nightmare” video

The Spring Standards | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com
The Spring Standards | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com

For the past seven years, infectious New York folk / pop trio The Spring Standards have headed to Delaware over the holidays to headline packed houses at Arden Gild Hall. It’s a sort of homecoming for them – even though their career has been based in NYC, the bandmates grew up in Delaware and Southeastern PA, and each year they spend Boxing Day on the stage playing with their family and old friends in the crowd.

“It’s a great time to reconnect with our roots,” says singer and multi-instrumentalist Heather Robb. “That area will always be our true home.”

Last year, The Spring Standards released Live from Delaware – an album documenting their 2012 shows at Arden, and this year they’re releasing a companion concert film – with animated vignettes and other flourishes – at the Boxing Day Spectacular. Continue reading →

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Listen to Philadelphia Girls Choir sing Christmas carols on WXPN’s Leicht Lunch

As their busy season draws to a close tomorrow night with a sold-out performance at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion in Center City, members of Philadelphia Girls Choir stopped by WXPN studios yesterday to sing Christmas carols for host Helen Leicht. The seven-member concerto group sang “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “The Wexford Carol,” and chatted with Leicht along with director Nathan Wadley. If you missed it, you can listen to the performance below and download it here via Soundcloud.   Continue reading →

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Music Video: El Malito has some tips for dealing with intolerant jackasses at the holidays

El Malito and 33rd Century
El Malito and 33rd Century

Okay, so we all know the holidays are stressful. Tensions are high, regularly-calm people can easily snap at family, friends and strangers. That’s normal. But then there are people who take it to a whole other level of bigotry. Philly rapper El Malito had a bad experience along those lines last December, and turned it into an empowering anthem this holiday. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Nicole Atkins at World Cafe Live, The Guild’s Holiday Show at Kung Fu Necktie, Alright Junior at MilkBoy

Nicole Atkins | Photo by Cameron Pollack
Nicole Atkins | Photo by Cameron Pollack

Jersey singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins brings her holiday throwdown to World Cafe Live tonight. Though she’s never released a Christmas album proper over the course of her 12-year career, she frequently mixes in seasonal favorites during her December sets. With music from this year’s acclaimed Slow Phaser in the mix, its sure to be a particularly festive night. Get tickets and information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Thin Lips

Before Thin Lips, there was Dangerous Ponies. Frontwoman and songwriter Chrissy Tashjian, her brother Mikey on the drums and bassist Kyle Pulley were all part of Philly’s premiere indie rock carnival from 2008 till about 2013. That band was a total blast and a spectacle; glitter, brightly colored costumes, singalong hooks, big arrangements. When that crew split, Tashjian refocused her energy into a more simplified, straightforward punk rock direction. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Red Fang at the Electric Factory, Justin Timberlake at Wells Fargo Center

Red Fang | Photo by Matthew Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com
Red Fang | Photo by Matthew Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com

Portland metallurgists Red Fang play first at the Opeth / In Flames show tonight at the Electric Factory tonight, but they’re easily the most exciting part of the bill. The band does crushing, riff-oriented progressive metal, and does it right. Their third release, Whales and Leeches, got a deluxe edition released this year via Relapse Records, and our Matthew Shaver recently featured them in The Key’s occasional Load in to Load Out series. Tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, watch the adventurous animated video for “Crows in Swine.” Continue reading →

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Some band called Thy Foes Profanely Rage is playing the Church basement and we have no idea who they are (maybe)

So this is a mondo bizarro concert announcement on the R5 Productions website, for sure. A three-band bill headed up by two question mark bands on December 30th. I mean, we know who Lithuania is – it’s the long-running experimental rock duo of Dominic Angelella (of DRGN King) and Eric Slick (of Dr. Dog). Then there’s Eight Legged Prawn; their bio says “We’re from a little town called Lititz. We write honest music and are passionate about doing so.” HMM, I WONDER WHO THAT MIGHT BE.

The kicker is the headliner, Thy Foes Profanely Rage, which is simply listed as “Long time band from Philly” with no other supporting clues. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Chris Pureka at Boot and Saddle, Chalk and the Beige Americans at The Fire

Chris Pureka | Photo via facebook.com/ChrisPureka
Chris Pureka | Photo via facebook.com/ChrisPureka

Emerging from the musically fertile Northampton singer-songwriter scene, Chris Pureka comes to Philly tonight to headline Boot and Saddle. Following her critically acclaimed 2010 album How I Learned to See In The Dark - co-produced by Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs – Pureka released the moving Chimera II EP in last year, a collection of covers, live performances and originals. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: John Vettese’s Top 5 Philly music discoveries of 2014

Vita and the Woolf | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo |racheldelsordophotography.com
Vita and the Woolf | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

Let’s not understate the point here: 2014 was an incredible year for music.

Every year when I kick off Year-End Mania, our annual rundown of random and various things The Key staff loved over the past 12 months, I write a lead-in that cynically cuts down the monotony of Best-Of List culture. This year, the crew and I have been so inspired by records that have come out on the local and national level, we’re breaking a cardinal rule of the series – we’re actually going to bring you a ranked list of The Key’s Best Albums of 2014.

We’ll get to that, though. The point of Year-End Mania, after all, is digging below the surface, thinking and talking about things a little bit more deeply than the aggregator blogs that just echo whatever’s trending. (The new D’Angelo record is boss, though.) In particular, the point is shining a light on the thriving Philly music scene. Leading up to Thanksgiving last month, I made a mixtape of 20 Philly bands that we’re thankful for this year and it didn’t even scratch the surface of the great artists I’ve heard emerge from our city in 2014. Here are five more artists that, in one way or another, have knocked me sideways this year. Continue reading →

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Watch a new live video for Dr. Dog’s “Heart It Races”

Dr. Dog at The Electric Factory | Photo by Caitlin McCann | caitlinmccannphoto.com
Dr. Dog at The Electric Factory | Photo by Caitlin McCann | caitlinmccannphoto.com

Okay, okay, technically “Heart It Races” is not Dr. Dog‘s song. It’s a cover of a single from the aughties Australian indie pop band Architecture in Helsinki. When AiH released a 2007 remix single for the song, they included a couple covers of the song – including one by our Philly boys, who at that point were best known for their We All Belong album and touring with My Morning Jacket. Continue reading →