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Chronic Anxiety takes down 9-to-5 power dynamics in “Cat Piss Wars”

Chronic Anxiety | photo by Quinton Maldonado

After releasing their debut LP last year, noise rock trio Chronic Anxiety are back with a split with scenemates Dialer. We recently heard a single from Dialer off the new release, which’ll be out March 8 on Bunny Cat Records and SRA Records, and now Chronic Anxiety has shared the first of their five tracks on the split, “Cat Piss Wars.” Continue reading →

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The Essential Love Songs of Philadelphia: “Lucy Stone” by Katie Ellen

katie ellen
Katie Ellen | photo courtesy of the artist

Every day leading up to Valentine’s Day this year, The Key is recapping 14 songs that scream “love” just as strongly as they scream “Philly.” The Essential Love Songs of Philadelphia continues with “Lucy Stone” from Katie Ellen’s 2017 album Cowgirl Blues.

Though she was born 200 years ago, it’s still possible to find heaps of inspiration in a historical figure like Lucy Stone. The 19th century activist was among the early feminists, fighting first for the abolition of slavery and later for women’s rights and suffrage. She was also one of the first high-profile women to keep her last name when she married — a bold move in 1855. In Lucy Stone’s story, Katie Ellen found the name for a song, and it’s the modern day feminist anthem we didn’t know we needed.

With “Lucy Stone,” songwriter Anika Pyle digs into the sexist social expectations that have stuck around even as times have changed. Even with a society that’s moved further toward equality, there’s a gray area when it comes to personal relationships — plenty of people are happy to conform to patriarchal social norms without question, but what are the folks who view marriage as a “social economic prison” to do? As Katie Ellen reveals, traditional parameters are not so easily shed. Continue reading →

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Charly Bliss’ heist adventure in the Michelle Zauner-directed “Capacity” video is a cautionary tale about being a people-pleaser

Charly Bliss | still from video

In between releases with her Japanese Breakfast project, the multi-talented Michelle Zauner has become indie music’s most sought-after video director. Zauner first made the leap behind the camera to direct some of her own music videos, and she’s since branched out into creating visuals for other artists — and now she’s back with a new one for “Capacity” by power-pop faves Charly Bliss.

“Capacity” is the lead single off the Brooklyn band’s just-announced new album Young Enough, which will be out May 10. The 70s-styled video follows the aftermath of a not-so-well-thought-out bank heist, of which Charly Bliss frontwoman Eva Hendricks finds herself an unwilling participant who reaps the benefits nonetheless. While Hendricks tosses hundred dollar bills like confetti, Zauner makes a cameo as a wacky news broadcaster named Shelly Breakfast. Continue reading →

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Lizzo takes “Juice” to late night with Tonight Show performance

Lizzo | still from video

Remember when Lizzo released her single “Juice” with a video that shows the singer/rapper as a guest on a talk  showwhile she sings “I’m out here makin’ news”? Turns out that wasn’t too far from the truth. Just a week after announcing her forthcoming album Cuz I Love You, Lizzo has already performed the hit single on both daytime and late night TV. Continue reading →

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Kurt Vile is characteristically laid back in his first solo Tiny Desk Concert

Kurt Vile | photo by Cameron Pollack for NPR

Kurt Vile‘s familiar chilled-out tunes sound great in any setting, but his laid back vibe makes him an outlier at NPR’s Tiny Desk, where most artists experience some degree of nervousness. Vile recently visited NPR headquarters to record his first solo Tiny Desk Concert; he previously appeared behind the desk with Courtney Barnett while promoting their 2017 Lotta Sea Lice collaboration. Continue reading →

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Encounters at The Mothership brings expansive improv to West Philly

Dan Blacksberg | photo via Bandcamp

This month, local trombonist Dan Blacksberg is hosting Encounters at The Mothership, a four-day jazz event that runs February 7 through the 10th at West Philly venue The Mothership. Each evening’s lineup will feature a combination solo compositions, and ensemble-like groups that will play both original and improvised music. Continue reading →

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The Essential Love Songs of Philadelphia: “Easier to Love” by Kississippi

Kississippi | photo by Megan Thompson | courtesy of the artist

Every day leading up to Valentine’s Day this year, The Key is recapping 14 songs that scream “love” just as strongly as they scream “Philly.” The Essential Love Songs of Philadelphia continues with “Easier to Love” from Kississippi’s 2018 album Sunset Blush.

Kississippi cycles through almost countless emotions over the course of the stark and vulnerable “Easier to Love.” Coated in a synthy sheen, the song takes a careful look emotionally draining aspects of a not-quite-right relationship as the narrator reflects on what happens when you change yourself to make things easier for someone else, and how trying to “exist better for two” can make you forget who you are. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Brandi Carlile will headline The Mann in September

Brandi Carlile | photo by Alysse Gafkjenh | courtesy of the artist
Brandi Carlile | photo by Alysse Gafkjenh | courtesy of the artist

Brandi Carlile has announced an extended run of tour dates behind her recent album By The Way, I Forgive You that will bring her back to Philly for a show at The Mann on September 6. This will be Carlile’s first local appearance since she headlined the Merriam Theater and played Free at Noon last May. Continue reading →

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KDU and Philly AIDS Thrift want to take you dancing at Thrifty Disco benefit

Rana Ransom | photo by Lauren Freney | courtesy of the artist // DEL | photo by Tim Blackwell | courtesy of the artist // MANIK | photo courtesy of the artist

The Thrifty Disco will return to Philly AIDS Thrift later this month. Hosted in conjunction with Drexel’s freeform student-run station WKDU, the event will begin the evening of Saturday, February 16 and go all night long, with several electronic artists providing the tunes.

At the top of the lineup is California-via-NYC electronic house/techno DJ MANIK, who has put together an exclusively disco set for the occasion. Also on the bill are Philly soul/funk producer and DJ DEL, and Philly’s Rana Ransom, who combines retro disco with Middle Eastern elements. Continue reading →