You know what you’re in for when the pink drunk bunny walks on stage. Anybody who’s seen Green Day before knows the tradition; some dude dressed in a pink bunny costume walks on stage before the East Bay punk faves’ set to rile up the crowd in a drunken fashion, sending a message to the audience that this isn’t going to be like any other rock show. There will be antics. There will be tutus. And there will be rock. Continue reading →
Look, there’s no arguing the fact that rock and roll is alive and well, OK? Only a fool would say it’s dying. But here me out: if you tried to sell me on the idea of riff rock being a lost art, perhaps I could be persuaded. There’s a flurry of great rock and roll bands out in today’s scene — many, like Strand of Oaks, the War on Drugs and The Districts are from Philadelphia — but how many truly fit within the realm of shredding, riff-oriented rock and roll? I could be wrong, but it seems as if it’s a declining amount. Ever since the early 2000s, successful bands like the Foo Fighters, The Strokes, Spoon and Wilco have written songs around hooky lyrics and melodies pounded through loads of distortion. It’s a formula that’s been proven successful. All of those bands are tremendous, some of them legends, even. But you know what? Sometimes I just want to hear a freakin’ guitar solo. Not just guitar solos either, but songs based around riffy and flashy guitars in the realm of Led Zeppelin or AC/DC.
Punk rooted Philly faves Sheer Mag, who often gets compared to Thin Lizzy, is just that. Saturday night at Union Transfer, Shredder-in-Chief Kyle Seely provided riff-oriented rock at its finest, oozing every note from his Marshall amp with the prowess of an inebriated early-70s Jimmy Page. Frontwoman Tina Halladay added to the aesthetic, as she strutted her stuff and sang about left-leaning politics with the pissed off sneer of John Lydon in his heyday. The band opened the show with the same song they open their latest album, Need to Feel Your Love, “Meet Me in the Street.” The gritty straight-up rocker eventually gave way to the more disco-oriented (yes, disco, you read that right) “Fan the Flames,” making the first two songs of the show a better one-two punch than any you would have seen thrown in the Mayweather-McGregor fight that night. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
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 →
“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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →