Katie Ellen introduces themselves to a psyched PhilaMOCA audience for Cowgirl Blues record release show

Katie Ellen | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN

Meet Philadelphia’s most exciting new band: Katie Ellen. You’ve seen them around, opening for Cayetana and various other bands over the past year or so. You also might know frontwoman Anika Pyle from her previous, Brooklyn-based band called Chumped. But without a true, full-length LP, you likely never put a name to the face. But that changes today. Continue reading →


Chaos, Unity and Rock n’ Roll: In deep with Low Cut Connie

Low Cut Connie | courtesy of the artist
Low Cut Connie | courtesy of the artist

Sitting across from me at an uncomfortable metal table outside of Anthony’s Italian Coffee House in the Italian Market, Low Cut Connie’s flamboyant front man Adam Weiner swipes through cheeky black and white pictures of scantily-clad, partying people on his phone. He holds his phone towards me so I can see the pictures too. Pretty closely. In perfect detail. Maybe too much detail.

As he flips through the pictures, he cracks an impish smile and lets off a nostalgic sigh, as if he’d been describing his first kiss or senior year prom date. In front of him sits a large disposable cup of coffee he bought for $3 and change at Anthony’s, which is surely empty by now. It’s approaching 6 p.m. as Weiner and I near the end of a long two-hour interview, which has had its ups and downs. You could say it’s ending on a high note.

“You look at these pictures and you say, what a fucking great mix of people, you know? It’s all just a few hours with Low Cut Connie,” he emotes as the mid-November wind tussles with his stark black wavy hair. Continue reading →


Strand of Oaks spaces out Hard Love, rocks out with Baroness at Union Transfer

Strand of Oaks | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN

Almost ten hours after walking offstage at the World Cafe Live, Strand of Oaks walked onstage at Union Transfer to play their second show of the day. Donned in all black attire and carrying a Goldtop Les Paul, Tim Showalter and co. blasted out the first chords of “Taking Acid and Talking to My Brother,” the psychedelic closer off the band’s latest album, Hard Love. Continue reading →


Hamilton Leithauser induces goosebumps at Johnny Brenda’s

Hamilton Leithauser | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN

“You guys should be more quiet,” Hamilton Leithauser sarcastically told the silent audience at Johnny Brenda’s as they scrambled to pick their jaws up off the floor.

Leithauser had just belted out the last chorus of “Sick As a Dog,” in which the singer had crooned the words “I use the saaaame voice I alwaaaaays haaaaaaave” to an awestruck crowd of lucky bastards who managed to procure a ticket to one of the most highly coveted shows you’re ever going to see at JB’s. It was only the second song of the night (Leithauser opened the show with “You Ain’t That Young Kid,” another off of his album with Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij entitled I Had a Dream That You Were Mine), and the patrons on the floor and in the balcony had already gotten their money’s worth. What could possibly come next? Continue reading →


They Came. They Saw. They Conquered: The Orwells at Underground Arts

The Orwells | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN
The Orwells | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN

BuzzFeed can suck it. Punk rock is alive and well in the Millenial generation, and if you need proof look no further than The Orwells. The group of early-twenty-somethings who hail from the rural outskirts of Chicago grew up with a punk rock education that’s become increasingly prevalent among today’s college-aged kids. The group’s new album set to come out this February, Terrible Human Beings, will likely be the latest addition to a flurry of great garage-punk albums to come out in recent years.

It’s a list of bands that’s becoming ever more impressive, featuring acts like FIDLAR, Twin Peaks, Speedy Ortiz, Bully, Tacocat, Downtown Boys, The Summer Cannibals, and Philly’s own Sheer Mag. But without a doubt, chief among them is The Orwells. The Orwells have a more melodic take on punk than most other punk bands; it’s a sound not unlike that of The Replacements or The Clash. The band’s two albums to date are brilliant, but the band’s live show is what makes them stand out.

That show was on full display Friday night at Underground Arts. The Orwells kicked things off with the latest single from the new album called “They Put a Body in the Bayou,” sending the overwhelmingly under-25 crowd into a moshing frenzy. Continue reading →


The Key’s Ultimate Guide to Summer Music Festivals 2016 – Part Two

made in america
Made in America crowd | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN |

A few months ago, we gave you The Key’s Guide to Summer Music Festivals Part One, and we promised to follow up later in the summer with Part Two. Well, that time is now! We’ve compiled everything you need to know about all the music festivals for the second half of summer, including dates, locations and who’s playing what — with a focus on Philadelphia artists on the various lineups — all presented in chronological order. Don’t worry, you can thank us later. On with the festivals! Continue reading →


XPNFest Preview: From the White House to Wiggins Park, Low Cut Connie unites the people

Low Cut Connie
Low Cut Connie | photo by Kirby Sybert | courtesy of the artist |

Every American president since Herbert Hoover has gotten a Presidential Library named in his honor, located in a town in or near where each president has grown up. In each library, it’s common to find artifacts of the corresponding presidency, many of which offer a chilling look into the president’s personal life.

For instance, in George W. Bush’s library, you can find letters written to him by U2’s Bono praising him for his humanitarian work in Africa; at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, there are copies of President Clinton’s daily schedules from the White House’s Office of Scheduling and Advance; and at the Presidential Library for John F. Kennedy, you can see a picture of JFK with his future wife, Jackie Bouvier, playing tennis at Joseph Kennedy Sr.’s residence in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.

President Obama’s presidential library won’t open for a few years after he leaves office, but one thing’s for certain: Inside, the library will contain a letter written to him by none other than Philadelphia’s own Adam Weiner of boozy rock and roll band Low Cut Connie. Talk about being the cool president*. Continue reading →


The Key’s Ultimate Guide to Summer Music Festivals 2016 – Part One

Photo by Joe Del Tufo |

Over the past few years, the United States and Canada have finally made their mark in a tradition that’s been a longstanding one in Europe: Music festivals. This is happened to such a degree that it’s nearly impossible to keep track of them all. Wouldn’t it be great if someone singled out all your favorite XPN artists and which festivals they’re playing in one spot on the internet?!?!?!

Guess what! That’s exactly what we did here. But there’s a catch: There’s a lot of festivals that haven’t revealed lineups yet, so were only going to give you festivals for the first half of summer for now. A little later on we’ll give you the second half. (Okay, I guess that means the list is in two spots on the internet, but still. You get the point.) Without further adieu, here’s the first part of The Key’s 2016 Guide to Summer Music Festivals. Continue reading →


The 16 weirdest things we found at this summer’s Punk Rock Flea Market

#punkrockfleamarket #philadelphia been a few years since i got to come through… lotta wares!

A photo posted by rubberhorses (@rubberhorses) on

Every summer and every winter, R5’s Punk Rock Flea Market on 9th and Spring Garden some of the coolest band shirts and old records Philadelphians have to offer — but also some of the weirdest crap in the city. Here at The Key, we like to showcase some of that weird crap. Here’s this summer’s 16 weirdest things we found at the Punk Rock Flea Market! Enjoy. Continue reading →


The 16 weirdest things we found at the Punk Rock Flea Market


The Punk Rock Flea Market | Photo by Tom Beck
The Punk Rock Flea Market | Photo by Tom Beck

R5 Production’s semi-annual Punk Rock Flea Market brings out some of the best action figures, clothing and vinyl Philadelphians have to offer — but also some of the weirdest things you’ll ever see. After looking at what Philly had to sell this past summer, we headed back to the “Punk Rock Flea Market Dome” to check out what new crazy stuff is for sale this time. Continue reading →