Musical Collage: Little Strike soaks up influence in the sounds of her surroundings

Little Strike | photo by Natalie Piserchio | <a href="" target="_blank"></a>
Little Strike | photo by Natalie Piserchio for WXPN |

When you’re first presented with the idea of electronic world folk music, it may be an odd concept to wrap your head around. But once you hear the music of Middle Eastern born, Philly-based singer and songwriter Little Strike, the genre makes a lot more sense.

Tamar Dart, the force behind Little Strike, has been popping up on concert bills over the past few years – last year included a performance Pub Webb and a set at Apiary Magazine Issue 9 launch party. Her sound mixes charming, unhurried guitar melodies, beats made from found sounds, and cutting, introspective lyrics that relate to themes of travel, and world strife.

“I sort of approach that (music) kind of how I approach my visual art – it is a collage,” said Dart. “The collage will change depending on what’s around.” Continue reading →


Philly friends STS and Khari Mateen have a song for everyone on their duo album Better on a Sunday

S.T.S. and Khari Mateen | still from video
S.T.S. and Khari Mateen | still from video

This past Friday, rapper STS (aks Sugar Tongue Slim) and singer / producer Khari Mateen released their new duo album, Better on a Sunday, and it is an easy listen. The beats are mellow and laid back, the content is relatable. It honestly has a song for everyone – your little brother, your mom, your best friend, your girl, your girl’s friends, and your own various personalities. Continue reading →


The Key’s Year-End Mania: Lissa Alicia’s top five moody jams of 2017

Kelela | photo courtesy of the artist

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Key contributing writer Lissa Alicia shares her favorite introspective music of the year.

We all love a feel-good tune, but for me there is nothing better than wallowing in self-doubt and pity while listening to someone who totally gets your soul. Maybe this sentiment stems from my angsty early childhood obsessions with Linkin Park and the entire Fueled By Ramen record label circa 2007. Ten years later, I have been able to resonate with a few deep (debatable) tunes that don’t fall under the pop punk / emo banner. Continue reading →


Stay Positive: Chill Moody on building his very own nice year

Chill Moody | photo courtesy of the artist

Going by social media, the year of 2016 was a difficult year for all of us. We lost both Prince and Muhammad Ali. While some of us were still recovering in 2017, West Philly rapper Chill Moody knew that he was going to have a nice year.

And a good year it was. In addition to releasing music and performing at packed venues, like Union Transfer this fall with Low Cut Connie, he was able to release his first beer in collaboration with Dock Street Brewery, as well as become the face of Honda’s latest ad campaign – Power Your Dreams.

“The start of this year, I set out with the positive mindset like ‘it’s going to be a nice year not just for me but everyone I’m involved with,” says Chill. “I have just been putting out positive energy all year – It’s been worth it, it’s been reciprocated.” Continue reading →


Joy in Gloom: King Krule shows different sides to his persona at Union Transfer

King Krule | photo by Natalie Piserchio for WXPN |

Last night, a mild Sunday evening in October, UK sensation King Krule brought his gloomy patchwork of punk, hip-hop, and jazz musical stylings to play a sold-out show at Union Transfer.

The show kicked off with a high-energy performance from New York punk trio, Show Me The Body. The collective did not hold back when executing punchy drums and strong, clean riffs. Having them as an opener proved to be a lively choice and the crowd, most if not all of which came to see King Krule, moshed about without much cohesion.

Following an intermission, King Krule and his five-piece band took to the stage and opened with the heady “Has it Hit.” It was pleasing to find that Krule’s guttural moans sounded exactly the same as they did on his Friday the 13th release The OOZ (read my review of the record here). When simply listening to King Krule’s music, it can be easy to forget that he is a lanky chap all of 23 years old. His voice paired with such wise and jaded lyrics that listeners can pretend that he is well into his 40’s.

King Krule followed up with “Ceiling,” and song where he played guitar and bobbed around on stage. A few times throughout his performance he walked over to the drummer as if to have some sort of secreted conversion through instruments. During a performance of “Dumb Surfer,” a single from The OOZ, Krule continued to wander the stage and delve into a punky physicality with his guitar, as if the instrument was playing him. Continue reading →


Mood and Mystique: Digging into King Krule’s THE OOZ ahead of his Union Transfer gig this weekend

King Krule | via

October is already a spooky month. One that is shrouded in fear, and mystery thanks to holidays like Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos. Naturally, this would be the time for us to reflect on mortality and sorrow, and it makes sense that U.K. artist King Krule released his second studio album The Ooz on October’s Friday the 13th.

In a recent interview with the Pitchfork, Krule describes The Ooz as a sort of human substance that is made up of all the lackluster things in life. “It’s all about the gunk.”

And it is just that. Throughout the 19 track album, Krule mumbles and groans about the unfulfillingness of life. Although this attitude has the potential to come off as self-absorbed, there is something in Krule’s deep guttural tone that makes him an every-person for all the moody people who listen to him. Hearing the OOZ gives listeners the same “he can read my soul” relatable feeling that many of us have felt with the angsty music of our youth. Continue reading →


From Noname to Pharrell, the 10th Annual Roots Picnic brings a star studded day to Festival Pier

The Roots and Pharrell at The Roots Picnic | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

This past weekend marked the 10th Anniversary of The Roots Picnic. Over the past decade, Black Thought, Questlove and the rest of the legendary Roots Crew have been curating one of the city’s biggest concerts which, since 2007, has featured acts such as A$AP Rocky, Erykah Badu, Santigold, DMX, and Anderson Paak just to name a few.

This year’s line up brought out Michael Kiwanuka, Thundercat, Kimbra, and PnB Rock for excellent performances with headlining sets from Solange and Pharrell, the latter of whom was backed by The Roots. Earlier in the day, Black Thought collaborated with DJ/producer J Period on a live mixtape, during which he brought out original Roots keyboard player Scott Storch, as well as Queensbridge hip-hop legends Mobb Deep. Rapper Lil Wayne was slated to play the festival but was removed from the lineup due to an undisclosed medical emergency. Despite that being a bit of a damper, an estimated crowd of 10,000 festivalgoers enjoyed the day-long show. Continue reading →


Noname shines in her Philly debut at World Cafe Live

Noname | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Noname | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

A week before the show, tickets to see Noname at World Cafe Live were being sold online for up to six times their original $15 asking price — the show had sold out months prior, and the Chicago rapper’s profile had only grown through an appearance on SNL with Chance the Rapper and acclaim for her Telefone project. To say the least, the show this Wednesday, March 1st was in demand.

Doors were at 7 p.m. and by the the time 7:15 rolled around the first four rows were spoken for. By the time that the opener, Ravyn Lenae, graced the stage 45 minutes later, the entire downstairs of World Cafe Live was abuzz with energy. Continue reading →


From Black Lily to Ladies Night, S.T.S.’ Philly roots run deep

STS | Photo by Josh Pelta Heller for WXPN
STS | Photo by Josh Pelta Heller for WXPN

Whether you’re calling him STS or Sugar Tongue Slim, this rapper been a mainstay in the Philadelphia scene for over a decade — so much so that it can be easy to forget that he was born and bred in Atlanta.  He even names the Philadelphia Eagles as his favorite football team.

When it comes to hip-hop in Philly, you often hear artist tout how the City of Brotherly Love holds them back — that living here is like being a crab in a barrel. Typically our artists can be found taking up new residence in places like LA and New York, and very seldom do you come across an out-of-town rapper that has made Philadelphia his permanent residence with no plans to relocate. STS tells us that it’s all because of a little thing called Black Lily.

If you are 30 or over and know even an ounce about the neo soul scene that was developing in Philly during the late 90’s to early 2000’s, then you know what he’s talking about. Black Lily was a weekly woman-centric open mic that took place at The 5 Spot — and if you were a regular, it was nothing to catch an intimate set from the likes of Jill Scott, Jazmine Sullivan, or The Roots. Black Lily was where STS fell in love with the city.

“That place was magic,” said STS. “The first night I went there, was supposed to be my last night in Philly. I never left.” Continue reading →