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Tank and the Bangas and Big Freedia bring NOLA to the TLA

Tank and the Bangas | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

Even without the beignets, po’boys, or steaming pots of gumbo, Philadelphia was able to taste the full-flavored robustness of New Orleans on Saturday evening thanks to The Head Banga Tour that made its way to the TLA. The show featuring all NOLA acts was headlined by Tank and The Bangas and included performances from Big Freedia and Naughty Professor. Continue reading →

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Junglepussy, Queen Jo and Rayana Jay play a commanding, empowering set at The Foundry

Junglepussy | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

When one consumes a curated collection of art, regardless of the medium, there is more often than not a blatant artist statement or verbal declaration of intent. On rare occasions, one may come across an assemblage so carefully put together that even the slightest explanation would do it absolutely no justice. This was the case at The Foundry’s Wednesday night show that included Queen Jo, Rayana Jay, and headling act Junglepussy. Three women at the mic, backed by two women at the DJ decks, delivered seemingly endless prideful, raunchy and unapologetic lyrics for an empowering set that commanded the audience to take charge of their sexuality, identities, lives. Continue reading →

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N2N Festival pays homage to the Queen of Soul with Kathy Sledge, Kindred, Monica and more

N2N Festival | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

Baltimore Avenue’s first Neighborhood to Neighborhood Festival happened 23 years ago, and though it’s been on and off over the years, it came back to the bustling intersection in a big way in 2016. Since then, N2N has hosted performances from Music Soulchild, Common, and Robin Thicke; last year’s festival served as a tribute to Prince with Morris Day and the Time as well as Sheila E.

This year, the N2N Festival decide to honor the late Aretha Franklin, who passed away on August 16th. In order to appropriately pay homage to the powerhouse soul singer, the N2N team curated a show with some of the best vocal talent in R&B, includingPhiladelphia natives Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge and Kindred the Family Soul, as well as Jean Carne, Kelly Price, Keke Wyatt, and Monica. Continue reading →

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R.I.P. Rich Quick, a unifying voice on the Philly hip-hop scene

Rich Quick
Rich Quick | still from video

At around 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon, rest in peace shoutouts began pouring into Richard Strey’s social media accounts. As it appeared, the Woodbury, NJ underground rapper, better known as Rich Quick, had passed away.

His passing came as a shock to many. On his Facebook page, numerous heartfelt eulogies, memories, and mentions of disbelief flooded the page of the late MC who had strong ties to the Philadelphia hip-hop scene. Continue reading →

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Strange Parts reaches across years and time zones to create its debut LP

Strange Parts | photo by Emily Carris | instagram.com/carrisbears | via facebook.com/strangeparts

“I want to be in that band.” That was the shared sentiment between Attia Taylor and Corey Duncan when they first met and heard each other play back in 2012. At the time, Duncan had close ties to Girls Rock Philly where Taylor was participating as a camper; he was also releasing music in the Oh! Pears project, while Taylor dropped a series of solo EPs on Bandcamp. Fast forward six years later, Taylor and Duncan combined forces to release their first full length project under the name Strange PartsOh God, What a Beautiful Time I Spent In The Wild.

The album, which was released on June 8, includes 12 tracks of what Duncan describes as psychedelic art pop. The debut track “Treasures”  offers listeners a folky yet dreamy vibe that is accompanied by languorous vocal pairings of both Duncan and Taylor. The closing track “Glorious Things” is a free spirited song that makes one reminisce on listless summer days with minimal responsibilities. The entire project is simply, effortlessly cool. Continue reading →

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The Bul Bey shows off no-holds-barred lyricism in a listening party for his new EP

The Bul Bey listening party at Watts Studio | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

Short and sweet. That’s what Philly rapper The Bul Bey thought when putting together his upcoming project, The Bul Bey EP. After releasing the 15-track Shaking Hands and Kissing Babies LP, Bey, who is known as Amir Richardson offstage, decided that he wanted to offer his fans something punchier, with a clearer and stronger impact.

On May 11, The Bul Bey hosted a listening party at a nondescript recording studio at Warehouse on Watts. The setting, simply dubbed Watts Studio, was very intimate, with no more than 30 people in the audience. Friends, fellow Philadelphia musicians such as Chill Moody and Dilemma were in attendance to hear the latest music from their peer.

Throughout the evening, Richardson welcomed all criticism and critique.“I believe that I have a lot of versatility as an artist,” he said. “I believe that I rap very well, but I also believe that I write very well, I also think that I present and perform very well. These are areas that I want to make sure are polished and presented properly.” Continue reading →

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Pull Up: Joey Bada$$ and friends shake the TLA to its foundation

Joey Bada$$ | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

Just one day after 4/20, plumes of weed smoke blanketed the Theater of Living Arts on South Street, as fans anticipated the performance of Brooklyn native Joey Bada$$. The Amerikkkan Tour, which kicked off on April 17th in Boston Massachusetts, featured Boogie, Buddy, and Bada$$’ fellow Pro Era labelmate, Dessy Hinds.

For Bada$$ to be notorious for his spitfire rhymes and “real hip-hop” backpacker aesthetics, it is no surprise that the openers were also highly talent and highly lyrical rappers. Continue reading →

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

Little Strike | photo by Natalie Piserchio | <a href="http://nataliepiserchio.com" target="_blank">nataliepiserchio.com</a>
Little Strike | photo by Natalie Piserchio for WXPN | nataliepiserchio.com

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 →

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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 →

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

Kelea
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 →