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Race through a saturated cityscape in Nilüfer Yanya’s “Baby Blu” video

Nilüfer Yanya | photo by Molly Daniel | courtesy of the artist
Nilüfer Yanya | photo by Molly Daniel | courtesy of the artist

After a year of attention-getting buzz, London singer-songwriter Nilüfer Yanya debuted last month with her Miss Universe album, a set blending emotionally gripping songwriting with massively accessible pop. Those worlds collide in a big way on the new video for “Baby Blu”; filmed by Molly Daniel on New Year’s day in Tokyo, it finds Yanya racing through the bright lights, saturated neon tones, and frantic energy of the city as she sings the song, which builds from piano-driven tension to electropop euphoria. Continue reading →

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Charly Bliss confronts their fears in the “Hard To Believe” video

Charly Bliss | photo by Ebru Yildiz | courtesy of the artist

NYC indie rock band Charly Bliss is readying the release of their second album, Young Enough, and its already sounding like a big step ahead from the infectious indie pop of their 2017 debut Guppy. As the release and its adjacent spring tour nears, the band just dropped a music video for the ear candy single “Hard to Believe” that is equal parts paranoid and hysterical. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: PUP will headline Franklin Music Hall this September

PUP | photo by Vanessa Heins | courtesy of the artist
PUP | photo by Vanessa Heins | courtesy of the artist

By the looks of it, Toronto punk four-piece PUP is about to spend most of the next year of their life on tour around the world. And deservedly so — their new Morbid Stuff record is their strongest work to date, amplifying and expanding their trademark gang vocal ragers about mental health into sonic territory reminiscent of R.E.M. (the opening title track) and The Hold Steady (listen to frontperson Stefan Babcock get his Craig Finn on during the spoken-sung “Kids”). Continue reading →

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Lancaster’s Lyncs finds herself in an emotional “Black Hole”

Lyncs | photo by Quinn Staley | courtesy of the artist
Lyncs | photo by Quinn Staley | courtesy of the artist

Over the past year, Lancaster musician Jacqueline Hynes has taken her project Lyncs from easygoing acoustic tuneage to ethereal electro-pop singer-songwriting. And as it happens, her latest release features a jam that aligns perfectly with the cosmic event that took over our collective social media feeds yesterday.

Though we should note that, no, Lyncs did not write, produce, and release the song “Black Hole” in the wake of the first-ever photograph taken of a supermassive black hole large enough to swallow our entire solar system and then some. That would be some impressive trend-hopping, but the song actually dropped two weeks prior, on March 29th, and just hit our inbox at The Key yesterday.

What timing. But also: what a song. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Full Bush

There are various reasons we’ve been losing our minds over Philly rock four-piece Full Bush these past couple years, but honestly, the biggest one might be how real they are.

Sure, they’ve got awesome moments of cheeky and clever commentary. They deservedly take down busted dudes in “Ill Tempered,” with indomitable vocalist Kate Breish hysterically running down a litany of shortcomings (“your mom still pays for your phone, you’re a virgin, and you can’t drive”) over wiry punk arrangements from guitarist Jayne Rutter, bassist Cassie O’Leary, and drummer Adesola Ogunleye. Meanwhile, the amazing garage rocker “Ray’s” looks to the famed South Philly dive for cathartic release from work-life ennui and toxic people in a gang-vocal shoutalong: “I! JUST! WANNA! GET! FUCKED UP!”

It’s catchy, it’s fun, it’s funny. But Full Bush are so much more than a funny band. Continue reading →

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Watch Amos Lee collaborate with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia at The Met

Amos Lee and Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia at The Met Philly | photo by Helen Leicht for WXPN

On Saturday night, singer-songwriter Amos Lee headlined The Met for his Philly show in support of last year’s My New Moon album, and it was full of hometown collaborations, including one with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.

Under the direction of singer-songwriter Andrew Lipke, the 9-piece string section added an elegant and emotional accompaniment to much of the night’s setlist, particularly “Violin” from 2011’s Mission Bell, a song that’s a huge tear-jerker to begin with. Continue reading →

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Argyle delivers potent minimalism and magnetic lyricism on im up!!

Argyle | photo via yoshisworld.bandcamp.com

The first time we wrote about Philly wordsmith Argyle in late 2017, we noted that “this dose of hip-hop philosophizing is especially cosmic.” We obviously did not know how much further out the MC would be traveling a little further down the road. Though Argyle’s Stage 4 project caught our ear with jazz-tinged songs engaging videos, the new four-song EP im up!! ventures into more expansive and expressionistic atmospheres. Over five songs, minimal beats work like light brushstrokes over a colorfield canvas, setting a backdrop to Argyle’s poetic proclamations in the forefront. Continue reading →

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#XPN5050: 2014

For fifty weeks this year, we’re celebrating the music of a specific year every Saturday on WXPN. We’ll be choosing the years randomly; for this week’s #XPN5050, Mike Vasilikos is putting the musical spotlight on the year 2014.

It was the year that The War on Drugs got Lost in the Dream, Lana Del Rey lit our way with Ultraviolence, Beck revisited his introspective side on Morning Phase, Taylor Swift broke records with 1989, St. Vincent’s self-titled record blessed us with “Digital Witness,” and Sam Herring of Future Islands danced our way into our hearts. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Archpalatine

This winter, Kevin McCall of Philly modern rock band Andorra emailed The Key to tip us off about a new artist called Archpalatine who he’d caught at Manayunk’s Grape Room…but his recommendation came with a caveat. “It is definitely an odd one,” he said, and a quick glance over photos of a singer with regal robes and a broadsword confirmed his take long before I listened. And when I hit play? Woah. The first thing that greets you is a staccato harpsichord synth sound and a breathy voice dancing nimbly across notes, stretching the song title out to practically twelve syllables: “Tuh-huh-huh-huh-HUH-huh-hur-urb-u-oo-LENCE.”

My initial “what in the hell is this” gave way to “this is so catchy,” and after a few repeat listens and the song “Turbulence” getting stuck in my head for the afternoon, it’d shifted to “I love this.” In a music world concerned so heavily with “cool,” it’s a bold choice for and artist to be this theatrical, this expressive, this unafraid to be odd in 2019.

Archpalatine is the project of Derek Anthony Wilson, and has been kicking around Philly for the past few years, dealing in a variety of sounds: funk and reggae, pop and classical, hitting operatic Queen heights and brooding Hozier depths, with style and panache. Wilson hosts the Grape Room open mic series, which is where McCall (who works at the venue as well) connected with him, and used it as a proving grounds of sorts for the eclectic ideas that would go one to make up his debut record AmalgamContinue reading →

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Dave Hause wants you to hold on to the things you love in “Fireflies”

Dave Hause | photo by Kyle London | courtesy of the artist

Tonight, Philly son Dave Hause kicks off a sold-out two-night stand at South Philly rock club Boot and Saddle, but if you missed out on tickets, your next chance to see him is right around the corner. Hause plays the 2019 edition of the XPoNential Music Festival in July, his fifth appearance at the fest, and by then, his fourth solo album Kick will be released on Rise Records — so fans will have ample time to absorb the lyrics for maximum shouting-back-at-Dave potential.

Ahead of the album’s April 12th release, Hause shared one final teaser single from Kick with us today. Where “The Ditch” was a driving punk anthem, and “Saboteurs” is a simmering midtempo burner, the new “Fireflies” finds Hause in introspective balladeer mode, thinking about his life and his hometown. He’s a person who’s been constantly uprooted — whether it be on tour with punk bands like Kid Dynamite (as a roadie) or The Loved Ones (as a front man), or criss-crossing the country and globe as a solo artist. Over the past five years, he moved to Los Angeles, sobered up, got married, welcomed twins into the world with his wife Natasha, and just last month celebrated his 41st birthday. Continue reading →