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Listen to Buddie’s social anxiety anthem “Sink”

Buddie | courtesy of the artist

It’s been some time since we’ve heard from Philly punk rock 4-piece Buddie. After their debut in 2016, the band was put on hold as frontperson Daniel Forrest left to work as a conservation biologist in Bioko, Central Africa. Now, reunited with a new lineup, the band is gearing up to release a new EP via Super Wimpy Punch. Continue reading →

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Dulls masters minimal-yet-catchy dream pop on Probably Never EP

Dulls | photo by Emilia Randler | courtesy of the artist

Philly shoegazers Dulls are back with a new EP, called Probably Never. At four tracks, it’s the band’s longest release yet, and includes the single “Meander,” which was released earlier this year. The EP starts off slow, with the fuzzy, instrumental  “Another Kind,” and ends with another instrumental track, the delicate, appropriately-named “Drift.” Two noisier, more uptempo tracks can be found in the middle; with lyrics that allow for easy singing along, they showcase minimalist-yet-catchy dream pop that Dulls have been mastering since they came onto the scene in 2016. Continue reading →

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Listen to two unreleased Algernon Cadwallader cuts from their vinyl reissue series

Algernon Cadwallader | circa 2014 | via facebook.com

You thought emo was over, didn’t you? Think again. In honor of the ten-year anniversary of their debut album, Algernon Cadwallader recently announced the reissue of almost their entire discography. The band broke up in 2012, the members going on to contribute to other projects like Hop Along and Yankee Bluff. Continue reading →

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Eric Slick reflects on identity and vulnerability in “Nothing Is Real” video from Bullfighter EP

Eric Slick | photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist

If you’ve seen Eric Slick play a show recently, he was probably behind a drum kit — the ever-busy musician has spent the better part of 2018 touring with his band Dr. Dog and playing in Natalie Prass’s backing band. But Slick is ready to jump back into the spotlight as a solo artist. He’ll release a four-track EP called Bullfighter in January, and the first track, “Nothing Real,” is out now.

The haunting, orchestral song is paired with a video that interprets the EP’s title with a video game-esque bullfight that slowly unfolds with heightened creepiness and suspense as the animated bull and matador face off. Continue reading →

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Noname takes down racism and Chicago politics with her satirical “Blaxploitation” video

Noname | photo by Koof Ibi Umoren for WXPN

It’s been a busy and successful year for Chicago rapper Noname, and to close it out she’s released her first-ever music video. The Alex Lill-directed video brings her song “Blaxploitation” to life, referencing Godzilla while addressing racial politics in her home city. In it, we watch the unfolding narrative of a black child in giant form, exploring the city streets as the headline “Chicago Under Siege: Monster Baby Must Be Stopped” flashes across the screen. Continue reading →

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Listen as Petunia tries to run from a really “Bad Date”

Petunia | photo by Veronica Zin | courtesy of the artist

Philly rock four-piece Petunia have dropped a brand new track, “Bad Date,” the latest follow up to last year’s EP Dailies. The song is teeming with urgency, propelled by a jittery bass and pinball synths. The lyrics barely mask strung out nerves and pent-up frustration, vocalist John Ryan breaking into a wordless howl.

Despite the pessimistic tone of a song, in a statement the band remained hopeful. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Top 15 Albums of 2018

This is the music that moved us in 2018

In her review of Lucy Dacus’ Historian, Key writer Sarah Hojsak uses a vivid phrase that sums up both the record, as well as the emotional landscape of 2018: “desperately sad but never hopeless.”

Oh, wait, I’m sorry…would you describe your year as happy? That must be nice, good on you. For many of us, it’s not as straightforward: the toxicity of the country at this moment in history, and the various players that fuel that toxicity, has a draining effect, whether you’re a marginalized person who is in the line of fire or an empathetic soul who is distressed from afar. There’s also the let-down: the pouring of our energies into something to watch it fail, whether personal or public.

And yet we experience moments of joy throughout it all: weddings are had, families are started, a breathtaking sunset is observed from the westbound platform of the Berks Avenue el stop. And there’s music, a constant source of joy and comfort that centers our lives. Continue reading →

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Listen to Julia Rainer’s satirical, socially aware “I’m Not Like You”

Julia Rainer | photo via juliarainermusic.bandcamp.com

“Fear is a powerful enemy — it put a bigot in the White House,” warns Julia Rainer. Her new track “I’m Not Like You” was born out of anger, frustration and fear. “I’m afraid all the time,” she repeats, describing and in some ways satirizing the hatred and intolerance between clashing belief systems. Continue reading →