The Kominas’ “Freedom” video is a hysterical takedown of racial profiling

The Kominas
The Kominas | Photo by Eddie Austin

There was a groundswell of opposition this winter in the wake of President Trump’s proposed travel ban targeting a number of majority-Muslim countries. But for many of our fellow citizens, discrimination while traveling is nothing new. Boston / Philly punk four-piece The Kominas remind us of this in their new video for “Freedom,” another brilliantly satirical clip from the band that previously addressed racial profiling in their “See Something, Say Something” video.

In this video, directed by Omar Majeed, live footage is intercut with a re-staging of the bandmates enduring asinine questions from an offscreen source — which could be a TSA agent, sure, but could also be a journalist or a clueless dude at a show.

“Why’d you guys come to America?” we hear the offscreen voice say at one point. Singer-guitarist Shahjehan Khan pauses, perplexed, and responds “I was born here.” Continue reading →


Get ready, because Harmony Woods’ Nothing Special might be the best indie rock record you’re going to hear this spring

Harmony Woods | photo by Emily Dubin | | via

It’s hard to believe that Harmony Woods hasn’t even been a going concern for a year, and yet they’re ready to make a huge impact on the Philly music community. The project of singer-guitarist Sofia Verbilla went from knocking us out at basement shows in the fall to the announcement this spring of Nothing Special, the band’s debut long-player set for release on May 5th via Honest Face Records.

In addition to possessing a classically awesome voice that totally slays in an indie rock setting but could also slay in a pop sense given the chance, Verbilla is a gifted scene-setter and storyteller, and the attention to narrative detail all across the record reminds me a lot of Death Cab For Cutie’s The Photo Album — particularly on “Jenkintown-Wyncote,” Nothing Special‘s first single, which made its way into the world back on April 1st. Continue reading →


Download Susie Derkins’ latest demo, it’s all downhill from here

Susie Derkins | via

Gotta love how Boston native / Philly resident singer and songwriter Samantha Stoakes uses what I assume are her childhood photos as the public face of Susie Derkins, an emerging indie rock project. Or if they’re not Stoakes’ own photos, they’re at least of one super ready-for-rock-and-roll kid. Susie Derkins first caught my attention back in January with a short collection of songs and a terrific bio: “ps eliot’s little sister who doesn’t read enough.” As a definite appreciator of P.S. Eliot, that sold me in itself, but Stoakes has great songs that grab your attention in their own right. Continue reading →


Curtis Cooper covers Willie Nelson, Witch H(c)unt covers The Moldy Peaches for new West Philly-centric comp

Curtis Cooper | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN
Curtis Cooper | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

In my regular digging around on Bandcamp last week, I came across a terrific collection of cover songs that seems like it was released apropos of nothing. Which, sometimes, is the best way to release music.

Recorded by local musician Georgey V over the winter on a Fostex 160 multitracker, COOL PHILLY BANDS RECORD COOL SONGS pretty much delivers what its title promises, hovering in the vicinity of the West Philadelphia basement show scene. Of note is Doriana Thornton’s Witch H(c)unt project covering one of my favorites from The Moldy Peaches, “Lucky Number Nine.” Curtis Cooper brings jazzy strums and a lo-fi crackle to their version of Willie Nelson’s “Crazy” (popularized by the great Patsy Cline, of course). And Georgey V pops up in the mix as well to close the set with the Dr. Dog deep cut “Adeline.” Continue reading →


Watch the video for Waxahatchee’s glorious new song “Silver”

Waxahatchee | photo courtesy of the artist
Waxahatchee | photo courtesy of the artist

Word got out a little early yesterday, but today we have official confirmation: the new album from Waxahatchee is indeed called Out in the Storm, it is indeed coming out July 14th on Merge Records, and the first single is a glorious rocker called “Sliver.”

Built around arcs of guitar riffs and layers of vocal harmonies set to a racing beat, it’s an anthem that is powerful in its abstraction. Says frontwoman Katie Crutchfield in a press statement: “It’s about self-examination and the different shapes that takes, good and bad. I wanted it to be abstract and poetic, but I also wanted to align it with the other songs on the album, since they’re all so connected lyrically.” Continue reading →


It looks like Waxahatchee will release its fourth LP, Out In The Storm, on July 14th

Waxahatchee | photo by Michelle Goodwin for WXPN

Something is afoot in camp Waxahatchee. The long-running project of singer and songwriter Katie Crutchfield has been working on the followup to 2015’s Ivy Tripp for the past year, and today Brooklyn Vegan reports the first details of the record. The band’s fourth LP will be called Out in the Storm, and it’s due out on Merge Records on Friday, July 14th. There’s nothing on Merge’s site about this yet, but there is a pre-order with full tracklisting on Australia online retailer Z Digital.

In addition, the six-minute lead single, “Sliver,” is up on Spotify but greyed out and unplayable — which, as Brooklyn Vegan suggests, indicates it’s not streamable in the U.S. yet. So if you’re reading The Key from outside our borders (perhaps from Australia), please give the new jam a listen and tell us what it sounds like. In the meantime, we’ll update you with Waxahatchee news as it hits our radar. Continue reading →


Items Tagged Philadelphia: Irreverence and solitude on a Sunday afternoon

Mary Graham | via

Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time each week digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. At the end of each week, we present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.

One of the best thing about growing up Catholic and then growing out of it is that realization that Sunday is a normal day, just like any other day of the week. People go to work, or go to the store, or go on a morning run — as I did this morning, on a decently crowded Wissahickon Trail.

It was my first run since the autumn; it was five miles long. It didn’t hurt too too badly but it didn’t feel great either. Gotta run more often. But again, it was not just a Sunday, but Easter Sunday, which when you’re a kid in the Catholic church is impressed upon you as like the most important Sunday of all time and all the world should stop to rotate around its glory — and maybe there was a time, 60 or 70 years ago, when America actually did function that way. Thankfully, Easter today is able to exist as a normal day, just like any other, at least in Philly. Continue reading →


Commence freaking out, Tool will play Hershey’s GIANT Center next month

Tool | via Consequence of Sound

Prog metal titans Tool have been teasing, uh, something all year. Maybe their first album in a decade will see the light of day; maybe it was a bunch of hype for the mini-festival they’re playing at Glen Helen Amphitheater in Cali with The Melvins, Primus and The Crystal Method. Whatever the case, they’ll play a handful of other dates around the U.S. leading up to the festival, including a gig at the GIANT Center in Hershey on Thursday, May 25th. Tickets to the show go on sale tomorrow — Saturday, April 15th — at 10 a.m., and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, revisit their ominous music video for “Schism.” Continue reading →


An army of Hedwigs will wash cars in front of the Forrest Theater tomorrow and I can barely contain my excitement

Hedwig in Philly | via

Next week, the best rock and roll musical of the 90s — John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch — is coming to Philadelphia’s Forrest Theater for a week-long engagement. This is exciting in and of itself; the musical follows the sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, endlessly compelling story of the titular trans rocker from Eastern Germany, who migrates to the states after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Continue reading →