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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Sameer Rao’s Top 5 Musical Gut-Punches of 2014 (Philly edition)

Brielle | Photo via twitter.com/aprilfoolchild

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, contributing writer Sameer Rao talks about songs that make you feel.

In case you didn’t read and feel what I wrote and felt last year, let it be known far and wide that 2014 was yet another hell of a year for nerve-poking chords, chill-inducing croons, and all manner of music that brought on heavy cases of the feels. And since this was a banner year for local artists of all stripes, we’re making this one Philly-exclusive. Get your tissues out for this list. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: John Vettese’s 12 favorite Key Studio Session performances

Philly Bloco's Key Studio Session | Photo by John Vettese
Philly Bloco’s Key Studio Session | Photo by John Vettese

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, editor John Vettese shares his favorite performances recorded in our studio.

There’s no question: the best part about running The Key is producing our weekly Key Studio Sessions series and getting a different Philly-area band to play live for us each week. 2014 was a remarkable year in that regard: we covered more genres than ever before, from hip-hop to Brazilian dance to country and jazz, along with a strong showing from our indie rock, punk and Americana communities. And the performances were all knockouts in their own way, so much so that narrowing it down to merely a top five would have been impossible. So I didn’t. Here are a dozen awesome moments from the Key Studio Sessions this year, presented in chronological order. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Bruce Warren’s favorite reissues of 2014

The Allman Brothers | Photo by Jim Marshall
The Allman Brothers | Photo by Jim Marshall

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, XPN Program Director Bruce Warren shares his favorite reissues of the year.

Some of the best “new” music I heard this year was old music. Led Zeppelin, The Velvet Underground, Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Tears For Fears all got the reissue/remaster/bonus track treatment in 2014. Dylan released The Basement Tapes Complete, and Miles Davis completists must put their hands on every second of his 1970 Fillmore concerts. Personally I think 2014 was better in the reissue department than the new music department. Here’s a list of some of the best reissues of 2014. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: David Dye’s five favorite live music moments in and out of the World Cafe studio

World Cafe's David Dye and Spoon's Jim Eno | Photo by John Vettese
World Cafe’s David Dye and Spoon’s Jim Eno | Photo by John Vettese

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, World Cafe host David Dye shares his favorite music moments of the year.

1. Punk Cajun band The Lost Bayou Ramblers, featuring the Michot Brothers, recorded a session live during our Sense of Place Visit to Lafayette. Loved it when Andre switched out his accordion for the key modulation in their version of “My Generation.” Maybe in Philly this summer…? Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Maureen Walsh’s Top 5 EPs of 2014

Charlotte Church | via facebook.com/charlottechurchofficial
Charlotte Church | via facebook.com/charlottechurchofficial

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, Key contributor Maureen Walsh shares her favorite EPs of the year.

Within the past few years, artists have gotten more creative with how they release their music. One trend that is resurging is the EP. The EP used to be an extra set of songs that was released between albums. Lately, however, EPs are a way for artists to put out material and not be constricted to having an entire album’s worth of songs. This frees them to create short experiments and release material more frequently. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Kate Bracaglia’s top 5 post-show brunch spots in Philly

Brunch at South Philly's Cantina Los Caballitos (photo via the author's Instagram: @BookishKate)
Brunch at South Philly’s Cantina Los Caballitos (photo via the author’s Instagram: @BookishKate)

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, Key contributor Kate Bracaglia shares her favorite post-concert eateries of the year.

 Live music and brunch are two things I take very seriously (as anyone stalking my Instagram might discover). There are few things I love less than being front and center at a show, feeling the vibrations wash over my entire body…except for perhaps a perfect omelet and a Bloody Mary.

On weekends when I’m NOT recovering from a post-show hangover (I swear there are some!) I’m flexible about my brunch options. Need me to wake up early to beat the crowds at Sabrina’s or Green Eggs? I’m down. Want to soak up rays while waiting for our table in Morning Glory’s “spillover” garden? Hand me my shades. Feel like classing it up for the Center City crowd at Parc or Kanella? I have just the sundress in mind.

But for the morning after a show, when your head is a little fuzzy and you need coffee, stat, I have a different game plan in mind. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Five Scenes Nikki Volpicelli Saw in 2014

Nikki Volpicelle in front of the Figure 8 wall in L.A.

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, Key contributor Nikki Volpicelli shares her favorite travel excursions of the year.

 As a music writer based out of Philly, I spend a lot of time in the backyard digging up new music to listen to, watch and write about. This year, I had the opportunity to see what other cities and there scenes had to offer, from Los Angeles to San Francisco to Portland to New York City. I ate tacos, saw some punk shows, saw some scientologists, and jumped off of a bar with an 80-year-old man who’s been playing blues covers at the oldest bar in SF every Sunday for 17 years. It all made me realize: the grass is no greener here, there, anywhere. It’s just a different shade.

Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: John Vettese’s Top 5 Philly music discoveries of 2014

Vita and the Woolf | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo |racheldelsordophotography.com
Vita and the Woolf | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

Let’s not understate the point here: 2014 was an incredible year for music.

Every year when I kick off Year-End Mania, our annual rundown of random and various things The Key staff loved over the past 12 months, I write a lead-in that cynically cuts down the monotony of Best-Of List culture. This year, the crew and I have been so inspired by records that have come out on the local and national level, we’re breaking a cardinal rule of the series – we’re actually going to bring you a ranked list of The Key’s Best Albums of 2014.

We’ll get to that, though. The point of Year-End Mania, after all, is digging below the surface, thinking and talking about things a little bit more deeply than the aggregator blogs that just echo whatever’s trending. (The new D’Angelo record is boss, though.) In particular, the point is shining a light on the thriving Philly music scene. Leading up to Thanksgiving last month, I made a mixtape of 20 Philly bands that we’re thankful for this year and it didn’t even scratch the surface of the great artists I’ve heard emerge from our city in 2014. Here are five more artists that, in one way or another, have knocked me sideways this year. Continue reading →

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Watch Bob Dylan perform a concert for one lucky fan at the Academy of Music

Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan

When Bob Dylan was in town last month to play three concerts at the Academy of Music, we told you about a concert he performed for one fan, Fredrik Wikingsson. The concert was part of an ongoing Swedish film series entitled “Experiment Ensam” or (Experiment Alone), where people experience things completely alone that are usually reserved for large crowds. The director, Anders Helgeson, set-up the private show, and paid Dylan an undisclosed amount of money. Helgeson then asked his friend and TV personality, Fredrik Wikingsson to take part in the experiment. Continue reading →

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WXPN Weekend Arts Crawl…Holiday events and a full cultural calendar!

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Saturday’s 5th annual Seaport Parade of Lights at The Independence Seaport Museum and Penn’s Landing offers a unique take on the holiday season.  There’s Santa’s Workshop on the Water with hands on ornament making, a replica of the ship Olympia in ice, carols and madrigals, and much more.  The day ends at 5:00 with the Parade of LIghts of boats on the Delaware lit for the holidays and led by the Jupiter, a 1902 tug maintained by the Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild. Continue reading →