Woah, Styx and Foreigner’s tour buses caught on fire in Philly

Tour bus damage after fire was put out | photo courtesy of TMZ
Tour bus damage after fire was put out | photo via TMZ

It’s been sort of a quiet day here at The Key today, with much of the world in pre-holiday weekend mode. That is, until we got word of this: A tour bus traveling as a part of Styx’s and Foreigner’s The Soundtrack of Summer co-headlining tour, which is scheduled to continue tomorrow night at Camden’s Susquehanna Bank Center, caught on fire this afternoon according to TMZ.

The fire occurred while the bus was parked, and quickly spread to the other bus parked right beside it. Nobody knows exactly how the fire started just yet. Luckily, no one was hurt, and both buses were unoccupied at the time of the fire.

So, I guess this gives me reason to plug the concert: Tickets for the show are available here, and all revenue accrued will likely be put toward new tour buses.

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Toy Soldiers entering “deep, dark hibernation” following upcoming Union Transfer show

Photo by Caitlin McCann
Photo by Caitlin McCann

Philly Americana rock crew Toy Soldiers announced today that they are entering a period of “deep, dark hibernation” following their upcoming Union Transfer show with Cheers Elephant on July 18th.

From the band’s blog post announcing the news:

After 7 years, 20+ musicians, 3.4 million highway miles, 9 thousand rest-stops and a lifetimes worth of experience, knowledge and a half-witted tango with the drunkest most unpredictable woman ever known as the music industry…Toy Soldiers, the band, will be entering into a deep, dark hibernation from now until ___.

We are endlessly grateful for the amazing people we’ve met, the times we had and the situations we sometimes found ourselves in both ugly and beautiful. At the end of the day they have contributed to our individual skins.

That said, there’s a noticeable lack of finality in this bow out. Four question marks in the headline, tentative phrasing like “hibernation” and “final hurrah for now.” Nobody is calling it a break-up because, let’s face it, rock and roll breakups are passé, and this crew clearly harbors no ill will towards one another (check the post for a breakdown of what the various members are up to – including front-dude Ron Gallo, who last week released his proper solo debut Ronny).

You might also say that Toy Soldiers have broken up twice before, anyway; the Black Keys-y duo of Gallo and drummer Michael Baurer (2007-2009); the sprawling 11-piece (or so) Band-esque band co-fronted by Kate Faust (2009-2011). The current lineup of drummer Dom Billett, guitarist Matt Kelly, bassist Bill McCloskey and keyboardist Luke Leidy has by far taken the band the furthest and garnered it the most exposure and opportunities, from writeups in Paste to gigs backing Wanda Jackson. But the one constant has been Gallo, and it seems natural for him to step into a new role as a solo artist as his bandmates chase other opportunities.

Get tickets and info on Toy Soldiers’ farewell show, July 18th at Union Transfer, at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, watch the trailer for The Maybe Trails, the 2013 independent documentary on Toy Soldiers detailing the grind of being a touring band.

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Why the heck did somebody think it was okay to deface the Kurt Vile mural?

For an update on this story, see below.

An unknown man took it upon himself to roll cover-up paint overtop of Fishtown’s Kurt Vile mural this morning. Located at Front and Master streets, the mural, painted by Steve Powers, provided the iconic cover art for Vile’s 2013 tour de force LP Wakin on a Pretty Daze

In the above photo posted to Philly photographer Conrad Benner’s Instagram (known on the local internet as @streetsdept), we see that much of the lower half of the mural – graphical interpretations of many of the albums lyrics – is now covered in a dreary white-grey paint. Benner said the photo was shot by fellow local artist Najeeb Sheikh this morning.

According to @dasheikee, the man said he was not connected to the city or the building’s owner and that he was buffing the mural because it was attracting graffiti to the neighborhood.

On the one hand, muralist Powers – who is also known for Mural Arts’ Love Letter along the Market-Frankford el – does indeed have roots in the graffiti scene. But where does graffiti end and art begin? Or, more simply, is all graffiti art? It’s a philosophical debate that stretches back to the 70s and before – a debate that Benner actively engages in. But let’s assume for a moment that this person defines graffiti as any unwanted writing or illustration painted on a building. Wouldn’t a stucco wall covered in empty white paint be more likely to attract that than a wall covered in a bright, colorful and lively work of art?

It boggles the mind. Let us know your thoughts in the comments and, if you haven’t yet seen it, watch the below video of the mural’s birth.

Update (6/29/14, 3:15PM) – The person responsible for painting over portions of the Kurt Vile mural is DJ Lee Mayjahs.

At 10:14 AM this morning, someone commented as “Dumb Buffer” on a story about this on Philadelphia Magazine.

The offender posted:

Hello everyone, I am the idiot in the picture. Let me start off by saying I Love Philadelphia, I love my neighborhood and I love Art. I am completely committed to supporting legal street art, publicly funded art and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. But what I did yesterday was the most stupid and selfish thing I have ever done. I think I literally had a mental breakdown and lost my mind there.

At 1:28 PM, Leah Kauffman, a Philadelphia based journalist posted an interview on her Facebook page with the mural buffer. During Kauffman’s interview with Mayjahs he admitted he was responsible for painting over the mural and putting the comment on the Philadelphia Magazine story.

Below is a portion of Kauffman’s interview: (read the full interview here.

I just spoke with DJ/kurt vile x espo mural buffer Lee Mayjahs on the phone. Turns out that he is not well. He is offering to pay espo to come down and restore the mural. I hope he gets the help he needs. I also hope espo takes him up on his offer.

Lee Mayjahs: I got home and started doing research on my computer. I can’t believe what I had done ad I wrote a letter to Kurt Vile apologizing. And I wrote a letter to the artist Espo apologizing, telling them that I would pay Espo to come down and repaint it. I also wrote a letter to the mural arts apologizing. Apparently it wasn’t official. Even though it wasn’t official I’m sorry for everything I did. I would do whatever I could do to make it right. I really am sorry. I don’t know what I was doing. I literally lost my mind and took it out which was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.

Leah Kauffman: Was it premeditated? Did you just have white paint laying around? It’s 9 am on a Saturday. What was going through your head?

LM: I live in that neighborhood. I’ve lived there for 15 years. I’m always cleaning up the streets and alleyways. I don’t know…for some reason I feel like ever since that piece has been there it’s attracted more and more graffiti to that neighborhood. Every time I paint over illegal graffiti I was blaming it on it (the mural) and I didn’t realize the people in the neighborhood love it, I’ve never really sat and looked at it. I never did any research on it and then I just snapped.

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Listen to a new song from Brooklyn electro-pop group, Little Daylight

Little Daylight | Photo by John Vettese
Little Daylight | Photo by John Vettese

Little Daylight is an electro-pop group out of Brooklyn. In the past year, they have released an album called Tunnel Vision, toured with Bastille and have had singles remixed by artists like Future Islands.  They recently played two huge festivals, Governor’s Ball and Firefly, and received high praise for each performance.  Their new album, Hello Memory, is set to be released July 15th.

This week, the group posted a new song, “My Life”, to their SoundCloud page.  It’s a big song that needs to be played loudly.  Just shy of three minutes long, the catchy percussion and synthy back-beats keep us wanting more.  It’s loud, but not TOO loud.

You can bet Little Daylight’s live performance is a guaranteed good time.  Make sure you catch them when they perform at MilkBoy on September 20th.

Listen to “My Life” below:

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Watch the rambunctious “Let’s Get Drunk and Get It On” video from #xpnfest artist Old 97′s

Photo by Allison Smith
Photo by Allison Smith

XPoNential Music Festival artists Old 97′s recently released a video for the song “Let’s Get Drunk and Get it On” from their latest album, Most Messed Up. The first video made by the 97′s since 2010, it uses four simultaneous cameras to follows the four bandmates going through their daily routine before their first 2014 show in Dallas. In an interview with Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy, singer Rhett Miller commented that the video portrays the lives of the 97s pretty accurately. The highlights include bassist Murry Hammond’s extensive napping and Miller’s wig removal at the end. It’s a clever video from a catchy new album, where the band reasserts its place as rowdy alt-country rockers. The group recently did a session with the World Cafe, and will perform on Sunday year’s XPoNential Festival. Get more details here. Watch the video below.




XPoNential Update: Schedule released, Strand of Oaks added, plus a video trip down memory lane of past festivals

Ingrid Michaelson | Photo by Cameron Pollack
Ingrid Michaelson | Photo by Cameron Pollack

WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival is just one month away. And I’m sure by now you’re familiar with who’s playing this year: we have amazing artists like Beck, Ingrid Michaelson, The Hold Steady, Dawes, Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis, The Districts, Rodrigo y Gabriela and more on the bill.

What you don’t already know is the daily lineup schedule – and we’ve heard a lot of you asking when it would be released. This morning, we’ll answer your questions, because it’s right here.

Also, we’re happy to announce a new addition to the lineup: XPN Artist to Watch Strand Of Oaks. The Philly quartet rocked hard at this year’s Non-Comm Festival, and impressed us so much with the brand new album HEAL (released this past Tuesday on Dead Oceans), that we decided to add them to #XPNFest, upping the rock and roll quotient.  Here’s a very fun interview The Key’s Elliott Sharp did with Strand Of Oaks front man Tim Showalter the day the record came out: don’t forget to see them this Friday afternoon for a Free At Noon Performance too.

Speaking of things that are awesome, we’ve collected some videos of past XPoNential Festival performances to get you psyched for a great weekend of live music on the Camden waterfront a month from now. Check them out after the jump. Go here to XPN’s Youtube channel to watch more videos from past #XPNfest’s.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros performing “Janglin” last year:

Here’s “4 & 4″ by The Districts:

The Lumineers playing “Flowers in Your Hair” and “Hey Ho” from our 2012 event:

Continue reading →

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Citizen Cope brings tenth anniversary Clarence Greenwood Recordings tour to TLA in October

Photo by Danny Clinch
Photo by Danny Clinch

XPN favorite Citizen Cope just announced a fall tour celebrating the tenth anniversary of his second LP, The Clarence Greenwood Recordings, and he will headline The TLA on Tuesday, October 14th. Tickets go on sale this Friday, June 27th at 10 a.m. via LiveNation. Below, watch Cope perform “Son’s Gonna Rise” from the album at the 2011 XPoNential Music Festival with Gary Clark Jr. backing him up.

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