Getting out of town, even if it’s still technically for work, can be good for the creative process. Earlier this month local electro-pop outfit Vita and the Woolf took a weeklong break from putting the finishing touches on their forthcoming Tunnels LP, hitting the road for the second time this summer. Joining Jennifer Pague & co was photographer and Key contributor Rachel Del Sordo, who just posted a great photo tour diary on her website.
The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir recently announced a new solo album, Blue Mountain, recorded with Aaron & Bryce Dessner and Scott Devendorf of The National, and producer Josh Kaufman. While he’s released albums with his band Ratdog, several live recordings of performances with Kingfish and Rob Wasserman, and a collection of live/studio compilation in 2004, Weir Here, Blue Mountain is his first collection of new studio recordings in almost 40 years, when he released Heaven Help The Fool.
On his website, Blue Mountain is called “a deeply personal collection of music inspired by the ranch stories and fireside songs of Bob’s youth.” Continue reading →
Southern rock band Drive-By Truckers released a song earlier this month titled “What It Means.” The second single off their forthcoming LP American Band, the new tune is a politically-charged one that immediately caught the ear of music listeners around the country. Among those listeners are WXPN Music Director Dan Reed and The Philadelphia Inquirer Music Columnist Dan DeLuca, hosts of the Dan and Dan Music Podcast. On last week’s of the show, Reed had DBT frontman Patterson Hood on the phone to discuss the new song’s origins, how people have reacted to it, and the nation’s current political climate. Continue reading →
“And I feel it….I’m still shaking…..The weapons are drawn against me…I can’t take it.”
“Weapons,” the opening track from Philly-based ElectroPop duo Camp Candle’s debut ERE, delivers these words on top of a bed of sweet, dreamy synth chords. Heavy programmed beats, handclaps and tambourine bring the song into the realm of traditional black sacred music, a 21st century gospel spiritual of survival and self-awareness.
Dynamically shifting between loud and quiet sections, the brief, two-minute piece alternately flirts with light and darkness, capturing tense and fearful but resolute spirit of the day. Singer / guitarist Hetepsa describes the song as the hymn of a heart and mind heavy with disappointing revelations about our world. “’Weapons’ represents an awakening to the lies we are surrounded by and fed. The song sounds so happy because although the truth can be hard, it’s still beautiful to be in the know,” Hetespa says. Continue reading →
1955 – Elvis Presley signs a contract that names Colonel Tom Parker his “special advisor” with control over virtually every aspect of Elvis’ career. Parker is not really a Colonel at all, but a Dutch immigrant named Andreas Cornelius van Kujik, whose honorary title was given to him in 1948 by Governor Jimmie Davis of Louisiana. Parker’s pre-Elvis experience includes promoting carnival and medicine shows such as The Great Parker Pony Circus and Tom Parker And His Dancing Turkeys. His management of Presley becomes the defining role of masterminding talent management, which involves every facet of the client’s life and is seen as central to the success of Presley’s career.
On an MTV set in 1993, Tanya Donelly was interviewed in support of Star, the debut record she’d just released with her new band Belly. She exchanged several minutes-worth of witty banter with Kennedy, the mononymous veejay who always seemed to face the challenge of having to concurrently contain her effusive enthusiasm and her runaway ADHD. By contrast, the singer shows a unique guile and sly introspection, an unassuming administrator of a remarkably sharp tongue. Dressed in dark clothing and smoking a cigarette, Donelly is clearly a little uneasy in the spotlight, as she humors the host’s exuberant if erratic interrogation. Prompted early in the interview to address her place as a frontwoman in a predominantly male industry, Donelly responds almost immediately, as though she’d already given it plenty of thought, “Kurt Cobain’s allowed to be Kurt Cobain, and Michael Stipe’s allowed to be Michael Stipe, but it’s really hard to find a niche as a female. They have to put you somewhere.”
When asked about that quote during a recent interview with us, she debriefs about the industry’s evolution over the last two decades, in that regard. “I do think that’s updatable now, happily.” Twenty-three years on, the singer has rallied her seminal ‘90s dream pop band Belly for a new record and a reunion tour – which makes a much anticipated stop in Philadelphia this Sunday at Union Transfer – and when asked to reflect again on the role she played in several ways as pioneering female voice in a generally male-dominated industry, she seems glad to revisit. “I don’t think that the glass ceiling is totally smashed, but I do think that women in music are sort of taken much more individually now than back then. And I also think it comes in cycles, you know, that that waxes and wanes for women. And so there will be spaces sort of where everything feels like it’s moving forward, and then there’ll be a step back. But I would say for the most part I think that the playing field is much more level now than it was in the ‘80s.” Continue reading →
It seems like just yesterday Mitski was wowing fans with her tremendous new album Puberty 2. In late June, she came through Philly for a Free at Noon while in town for two sold out shows at Boot and Saddle and PhilaMOCA. Now, just weeks after her summer tour has come to an end, the singer-songwriter has added a string of fall dates that includes another stop here in Philly at the First Unitarian Church on Saturday, November 19th. Continue reading →
“It is an album about people with real and unrealized dreams. I know that sounds a little pompous but it is true.” From anyone else this may indeed sound pompous, but from Ryan Kattner – better known as Honus Honus of band Man Man – it could not be more intriguing.
Kattner never planned on making a solo record, but when Man Man took a break after their rocking 2013 outing On Oni Pond, he didn’t want to stop writing — so Use Your Delusion was born. It marks the first solo effort for Honus Honus – keeping the stage name established through Man Man – and it gives the dynamic frontman a chance to explore plenty of new opportunities and take some exciting creative chances, while still maintaining the eclectic nature that has made Man Man one of our favorites here at The Key.
While Man Man has released most of their work via indie-rock mainstay ANTI-, Honus Honus decided to take a more DIY approach to his first solo effort. I recently spoke with Kattner over the phone about, among other things, the choice to self-release, the wide variety of collaborators, the solo-record writing process and how he should have become a venture capitalist. Continue reading →
Eric Slick (Dr. Dog, Lithuania) has shared a new song, “No,” that is instantly memorable. With a classic pop chord progression and Wall of Sound-style drum beat, the song could have been ripped from classic “Girl Group” song playbook. Continue reading →