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Just Announced: Sam Smith will headline Wells Fargo Center next summer

Sam Smith | Courtesy of Capitol Records

While you were sleeping, Sam Smith was making moves. After re-emerging last month with “Too Good At Goodbyes,” his first new music in two years, the multi-award winning UK singer-songwriter announced details on The Thrill of It All, his sophomore album, due out November 3rd via Capitol Records. Pre-orders are available here, and Smith’s too-perfect vinyl selfie with the album cover is below.
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The Key Studio Sessions: Bahamadia

You can’t talk about Philly hip-hop in the 90s without talking about the queen: the most awesome Bahamadia, who first stepped to the mic in ’93 and has been active at it in some form ever since.
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Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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R.I.P. Heartland rock icon Tom Petty, gone at 66

Tom Petty | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

(UPDATE, 12:13 a.m. — Los Angeles Times confirmed Petty has passed away in a statement from publicist Carla Sacks: “On behalf of the Tom Petty family, we are devastated to announce the untimely death of of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend Tom Petty. He suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu in the early hours of this morning and was taken to UCLA Medical Center but could not be revived. He died peacefully at 8:40 p.m. PT surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends.— Tony Dimitriades, longtime manager of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers on behalf of the family.” Dimitriades also confirmed Petty’s death with the New York Times.)

(UPDATE, 5:40 p.m. — Rolling Stone has clarified that Petty was rushed to the hospital and taken off life support following cardiac arrest; the initial report of his death, which came from CBS News, has been redacted, as it was based on a confirmation from the Los Angeles Police Department, which has since clarified that it has no investigative role in the matter. According to TMZ, where initial reports appeared this afternoon, “Monday morning a chaplain was called to Tom’s hospital room. … The singer is not expected to live throughout the day, but he’s still clinging to life.”)

American rocker Tom Petty — whose four-decade career involves band-leading, collaborating, solo excursions, production, and some of the most memorable, unifying songs in recent memory — passed away tonight following a cardiac arrest at his Malibu, California home.  He was 66 years old.

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Slomo Sapiens to Skull Eclipses, Shannen Moser to Strand of Oaks: Scenes from the inaugural Philly Music Fest

Ceramic Animal | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

This past weekend, the inaugural Philly Music Fest touched down at World Cafe Live, filling the venue’s upstairs and downstairs stages with two nights of performances by local artists. Highlights included dazzling late-night performances by headliners Cayetana and Strand of Oaks, packed-floor upstairs sets by Harmony Woods and Ivy Sole, the live debut of Skull Eclipses — the experimental hiphop project of Lushlife and Botany — and much more.

In the mix were foodies, artists and crafters, musicians in the audience watching the musicians onstage, and a couple top-secret stripped down performances for VIP ticket holders. 26 artists performed in total, money was raised for LiveConnections, and you can take a look at scenes from the weekend care of ace Key photographer Rachel Del Sordo.To see more of her work, check out her website, and give her Instagram a follow.  Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Joshua Chase Miller

“What do you think of that vocal harmonizer?” asked Joshua Chase Miller during his Key Studio Session. “I turned it down, was it too much?”

I responded that I actually liked hearing it in the mix. It took his songs, which were solid piano-driven pop songs to begin with, and added an otherworldly Bon Iver flare to them.

Miller laughed at this observation. “It’s not like I don’t have three Bon Iver tattoos or anything,” he slyly responded. “My inner fanboy comes out no matter what.”
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Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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The Key Studio Sessions: Caracara

In a previous life, Will Lindsay and George Legatos played electropop for the basement show punk kids in W.C. Lindsay, a group we dug a lot around here at The Key. In a concurrent life, Carlos Pacheco-Perez and Sean Gill are two-thirds of Square Peg Round Hole, the progressive, percussion-driven instrumental ensemble that we also enjoy, whether they’re onstage or in the studio.

This would lead us to reason that we’d be all about Caracara, the new collaborative project of those various musicians. But we were nevertheless surprised how epic their debut record wound up being.
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Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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PREMIERE: Friendship looks to the high road on the new song “Sal”

Friendship | photo by Abi Reimold | courtesy of the artist
Friendship | photo by Abi Reimold | courtesy of the artist

Philly collective Friendship continues to find new angles and approaches into the songwriting of band leader Dan Wriggins.

While their 2015 debut You’re Going To Have To Trust Me was built largely around minimal folk in the vein of Songs Ohia and David Bazan, the new song”Sal” — the latest from the band’s sophomore album Shock Out Of Season, out next month on Orindal Records — opens on trap beats and nervey, reverberating guitar.

Once things kicks into full swing and Wriggins’ familiar deadpan vocals enter, it’s clear this is still the Friendship we know — his words take on a sense of dejected anxiety, something he notes is both personal and cynical: “Sal, how are you doing? It’s easy to tell you’re doing right if it feels like losing.” Continue reading →

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PREMIERE: Cherry breaks down the myth of maturity on the Dumbness LP

Cherry | photo courtesy of the artist
Cherry | photo courtesy of the artist

A couple weeks ago, Russell Edling spent a weekend on the coast of Maine, camping with his girlfriend Gabby in Acadia National Park. After spending the daylight hours hiking miles up rocky cliffs and across mountain trails, they returned to their campsite – where their neighbors were, eh, not exactly chill.

“It was a bunch of dudes drinking and smoking and giggling until really late at night,” he recalls. “They could be 14, but I bet when Monday rolls around they’re going to tie their Windsor knots and get back to the office. It’s an escape. I see that person, and I think they’re a serous professional person. Then I hear them at midnight cooking hot dogs and I’m like ‘what the hell is going on?’”

There’s an odd and seemingly infinite chasm between careless youth and adult responsibility – one Edling, having just turned 29, is acutely aware of. It’s a central theme of Dumbness, the debut full-length from his band Cherry, which we’re happy to give you a first listen to today. The idea of maturity, he muses, is a myth; “I feel like people just get to a point when they stop caring.” Continue reading →