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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Milton at Bourbon and Branch, Dan Wilson at World Cafe Live, Bondage and Discipline at Boot and Saddle and more

Milton | Photo by John Vettese
Milton | Photo by John Vettese

It’s a night showcasing the new sound of Philly soul tomorrow at Bourbon and Branch with a performance by Milton, who just a year ago released an impressive, eclectic record called Simple Pleasures. Jacqueline Conatance opens the show, and we’re hoping she does her knockout Sylvan Esso cover. Tickets and more information can be found here. Continue reading →

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Watch the winning videos from PhilaMOCA’s first-ever Philly Music Video Showcase

The inaugural Philadelphia Video Music Festival kicked off last night at PhilaMOCA with a massively fun night of local music and filmmaking. Songs spotlighted in the Philly Music Video Showcase came in hip-hop, punk, avant garde or electronic; videos were animated and comic, experimental and surreal, narrative and cinematic; both were all-around impressive. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: July Talk at Boot and Saddle, Something Like A Monument at Ortlieb’s, Leon Chavis and Koray Broussard at World Cafe Live and more

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Canadian art-rockers July Talk will make a return visit to Philly tonight, headlining a show Boot and Saddle. An acclaimed band in the Toronto scene since they formed in 2012, the band released its self-titled debut LP in 2013, which is finally getting its U.S. release this March via Island Records. The meeting of co-frontpersons Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay blend the aggressive and the ethereal into catchy rock and roll, a catchy blend that cuts through particularly strongly on “Guns and Ammunition.” Check out the music video for that song below and get tickets and information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Paul Gless Group at Ortlieb’s, JD McPherson at World Cafe Live, Up the Chain at MilkBoy and more

Paul Gless | via paulgiessmusic.com
Paul Gless | via paulgiessmusic.com

Bringing back some of the jazz history of the newly-remodeled Ortlieb’s, evocative Philly trumpet player Paul Gless plays a set tonight with his eight-piece band. His music ranges from interpretations of songs he heard growing up in a Unitarian Universalist church and emotive, introspective compositions. Outside of this group, Gless’ work has pushed the boundaries of what jazz can be, incorporating electronic textures and synthesizer sounds, and his trumpet playing has scored independent short films – including the surreal Des Images Clairesby Tailor Wilcox, where the score has a sultry Hollywood jazz vibe. Joining the Paul Gless Group tonight is Tom Moon’s Ensemble Novo. Tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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This dude from Princeton really wants Blur to play the states and I totally agree

Damon Albarn eating pizza circa 1995 | Photo by Kevin Cummins | Getty Images
Damon Albarn eating pizza circa 1995 | Photo by Kevin Cummins | Getty Images

Earlier today, I got a very earnest voicemail from a Princeton man named Bennett John Kelly. He’d heard Blur’s new single “Go Out” in the mix on WXPN – it’s our Gotta Hear Song this week – and promptly called to excitedly outline his plan for getting the Britpop icons to play the states. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Agudos Clef

Back in the fall, I was a presenting host in the city’s PHL Live music competition, and it led me one October night to Hard Rock Cafe where the finalists World Music category were set to take the stage. Admittedly, I wasn’t sure how this was going to go: “world music” is a broad term that can include anything from African highlife to Indian raga, eastern European klezmer to Jamacian reggae. I was nervous that my frame of musical reference (centered largely around Western pop/rock) was too narrow to do a good job at this gig.

Thankfully, my fears were for nothing. All the artists on the bill blew me away in one way or another, and though The Underwater Sounds (who we’ve been longtime fans of here at The Key) took home top honors, for me the standout set came from a new Latin hip-hop group called Agudos Clef. Based out of Trenton, this six-piece brought an unbelievable energy to the room – driving beats, a fierce delivery, undeniable charisma. They played an explosive 20-minute set that left me immediately wanting more, so in the days that followed, I tracked down their Bandcamp single “Monotonia” and invited them to our studio to record. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Farah Siraj at World Cafe Live, Superheaven at Voltage Lounge, PRhyme at Underground Arts and more

Farah Siraj | Photo by Ann Blake | www.annblakephotography.com
Farah Siraj | Photo by Ann Blake | www.annblakephotography.com

Farah Siraj grew up in Amman, Jordan, and though her music is rooted in the traditional sounds of her home country, she takes an expansive approach to songwriting. Incorporating bits of jazz, flamenco and folk, Siraj breaks down traditional barriers, and also uses her songs as a means for humanitarian advocacy. Tonight she headlines World Cafe Live; tickets and information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Brielle

Photos by Reji B. | rejibphotography.com

Singer, songwriter, composer, flautist: Philadelphia’s Brielle has a lot going on. In the same way that she plays a multifaceted role in making music, her sound is equally tricky to pin down. It’s got roots in R&B, but there is an undeniable experimental / psychedelic sheen on her 2014 EP The Rough Break-up. She raps verses and brings in guest MCs like fellow Philadelphian Thelonius, but calling it hip-hop isn’t entirely correct. When she plays live, her backing band – which, for this week’s Key Studio Session, was nine pieces – moves deftly between slick and smooth soul to amped-up funk rock. And then there are the bits of jazz that get folded in: trippy Bitches Brew-esque sax, emphatic trumpet and Brielle’s own breathtaking flute melodies.

In short: her’s is a heady, engrossing sonic blend, and hearing its growth from her initial recordings has been a treat.  Continue reading →