PREMIERE: Soft Idiot’s new Rain Wins Another Year! LP contains deep, quiet multitudes

Soft Idiot | photo courtesy of the artist
Soft Idiot | photo by Steph Sottolano | courtesy of the artist

Prolific Philadelphia musician Justin Roth makes music under the name Soft Idiot, and his latest release is one of the project’s most ambitious yet. Rain Wins Another Year! is the new full-length from Soft Idiot, and you can hear it first right here. The new album follows stillborn, released in March, as well as a recent split with Lonely Ghost. Continue reading →


Watch Hiss Golden Messenger perform “Domino (Time Will Tell)” on Late Night with Seth Meyers ahead of their Philly show

Hiss Golden Messenger | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

XPN favorite Hiss Golden Messenger made a recent television appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers to perform “Domino (Time Will Tell),” from their new album Hallelujah Anyhow. The North Carolina band appears in rare 10-piece form for this rendition, packing the late night stage with their magnetic presence. Hiss Golden Messenger is fronted by vocalist and songwriter M.C. Taylor, who says that the new album is intended to combat the darkness in the world with messages of hope and positivity. Watch the video below. Continue reading →


DIY scene underdogs Greg Mendez and Sleepy Freak join forces for a digital split

Sleepy Freak | photo by Emily Dubin |

There have been more than a few great splits from Philly musicians this year, and the latest, from Greg Mendez and Sleepy Freak, is really something special. Both artists are remarkably talented on their own, yet relatively quiet forces within the scene — they’ll pop up for sets at shows around town pretty often, but outside of the DIY community, they aren’t being talked about nearly as much as they should be. But the new split certainly gives us reason to talk about them. The six-track EP accomplishes what the best splits do, capturing both artists at their best and weaving their combined efforts into a powerhouse recording that’s impossible to ignore. Continue reading →


Danimakesmusic meditates on seasonal solitude with the new song “Street Signs”

Danimakesmusic | via the artist’s Facebook page

As much joy as the holiday season can bring, there’s something about those certain quiet, melancholy songs that somehow fit the mood just right. And while Danimakesmusic‘s new track “Street Signs” isn’t a holiday song, per se, it’s hauntingly sad and reflective in a way that perfectly captures the loneliness that can creep in even during the happiest of times, a soundtrack for that almost indescribable feeling of the weather getting colder and the world becoming decked in twinkling lights. Continue reading →


Grace Vonderkuhn shares new track “Worry” ahead of new LP

Grace Vonderkuhn | photo courtesy of the artist
Grace Vonderkuhn | photo courtesy of the artist

Wilmington, Delaware’s Grace Vonderkuhn transcends genre. The musician is inspired by everything from garage and psych rock to dreampop, and does it (mostly) by herself — drummer Dave Mcgrory and bassist Brian Bartling collab with her onstage and instudio to capture on record the wildly energetic essence of her favorite genres with pointed determination.

Vonderkuhn has been releasing a steady stream of songs for the past few years, and now we have a new track to soak in — “Worry” is the first single from Vonderkuhn’s forthcoming LP, due out February 23. It’ll be the artist’s first full-length, but you can find her previous releases on Bandcamp. Continue reading →


Harmony Woods debuts new song “Best Laid Plans II” live at the batting cages

Harmony Woods | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN |

Chances are you haven’t gotten tired of Nothing Special, the debut album from Philadelphia’s Harmony Woods, quite yet — there’s a reason why it was included in The Key’s Top 15 Albums of 2017. Still, it’s always nice to hear new music from our favorite artists, and this weekend Harmony Woods brought us just that, sharing “Best Laid Plans II” during their set at the Philly Gets Alternative showcase at Everybody Hits on Sunday. Continue reading →


Teenage Bigfoot covers Pulp’s “Common People” on new EP

Teenage Bigfoot | photo courtesy of the artist
Teenage Bigfoot | photo by Jaime Parker of Alpha Rabbit | courtesy of the artist

Teenage Bigfoot has been a defining member of the Philly pop-punk scene for the past several years, so it’s only fitting that the band would cover a song from a defining member of the Britpop movement of the 90s, Pulp. “Common People” is the lead single off Pulp’s 1995 album Different Class, and the Philly trio’s cover appears on their new EP the buck stops here, out now. Continue reading →


Items Tagged Philadelphia: And so it goes, some things are meant to be

Overwinter | photo by

Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time each week digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. At the end of each week, we present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.

Oh my. Has it really been… *gulp* …43 days since our last edition of Items Tagged Philadelphia? Kindly disregard the word “weekly” in that intro blurb up there, and trust me when I say that I never stopped listening to all the amazing Philadelphia music making its way on to Bandcamp this autumn, even if I fell short on time to tell y’all about it.

Hopefully today’s installment, which rounds up some 24 releases that I dug in recent weeks, will make up for it. Continue reading →


The Key Studio Sessions: Ryan Tennis

Somewhere, somehow, Ryan Tennis is probably playing music right now. The Philly singer-songwriter has logged quite a few frequent flyer miles this year, between his summer tour in Colombia and the autumn European run he just completed with percussionist Joseph Keim. Both excursions mixed up busking shows and venue performances, and we caught up with Tennis and his band in the between-time this fall when he and his full band were home in Philly. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head

Lose yourself in psychedelic tones and abstract collage on Olden Yolk’s “Takes One To Know One” video

Olden Yolk | courtesy of the artist

The soft psychedelic sounds of Olden Yolk come through in full force on the first new song the band has shared in quite a few years. “Takes One To Know One” is the lead single from the group’s forthcoming self-titled LP, and at nearly eight minutes long, it’s a thorough, winding exploration of humanity through differing perspectives.

Olden Yolk is the collective new project of a group multi-talented musicians — and though they don’t all call Philly home, they’re inextricably tied to our city in one way or another. Co-songwriters and vocalists Shane Butler and Caity Shaffer both came of age in the Philly scene, guitarist Jesse DeFrancesco lives in Kensington, and XPN listeners may be familiar with Butler’s other band, psych-folk outfit Quilt. Continue reading →