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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Allie Volpe’s five songs that made me cry in 2015

Father John Misty | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Father John Misty | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2015 incredible. Today, Key contributor Allie Volpe shares the year’s most devastating songs.

There is a line in the cinematic classic Precious (based on the 1996 novel Push) where the film’s titular character expresses in voiceover, “The other day I cried. I felt stupid. You know what? Fuck that day.” Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Maureen Walsh’s top five life-affirming songs of 2015

Kendrick Lamar in the "Alright" video
Kendrick Lamar in the “Alright” video

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2015 incredible. Today, Key contributor Maureen Walsh shares the year’s most life-affirming songs.

2015 has been the year of battling injustices, terrorism, and Trump.  Sometimes you need someone to sing you a song that will get you through the insanity.  Luckily, a group of artists delivered. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Kate Bracaglia’s top 5 Spotify discoveries of 2015

Clockwise from left: WIN WIN (photo by Alice Proujansky, via the band's Facebook page); Letissier (center, via the band's Instagram); exmagician (via the band's Facebook page); Dirty Ghosts (photo by Liz Caruana, via the band's website); and Screaming Peaches (photo by Ann Beasley, via the band's Facebook page)
Clockwise from left: WIN WIN (photo by Alice Proujansky, via the band’s Facebook page); Héloïse Letissier (center, via the band’s Instagram); exmagician (via the band’s Facebook page); Dirty Ghosts (photo by Liz Caruana, via the band’s website); and Screaming Peaches (photo by Ann Beasley, via the band’s Facebook page)

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2015 incredible. Today, Key contributor Kate Bracaglia shares five musicians she found on Spotify in 2015.

2015 was all about discoveries. This year, I discovered the best way to cook Brussels sprouts (with ginger and soy); the best spot in South Philly for Manhattans (the revamped Triangle Tavern); and re-discovered 9 years of That 70s Show re-runs on Netflix (remember this episode?) I also became a Spotify subscriber, and through the streaming service discovered dozens of bands that I probably wouldn’t have stumbled upon otherwise, who helped soundtrack my year. Here are five of my faves from 2015. Continue reading →

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Year-End Mania: Maura Filoromo’s 5 Philly music organizations making a difference in 2015

Matt Kerr of Beyond the Bars at Philadelphia Industrial Correction Center | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com
Matt Kerr of Beyond the Bars at Philadelphia Industrial Correction Center | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2015 incredible. Today, Key writer Maura Filoromo recaps five music nonprofits that stood out year.

Our city’s music scene is growing. The quality of Philly music is great, but so are the people in the scene. Philadelphia has many caring individuals dedicated to the music community here and building it up.  From music education programs to volunteer-run music organizations to benefit shows, Philly is a city filled with a lot of hearts that want to help! Below are five organizations in Philadelphia that are using music to make a difference.  Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Chris Sikich’s top five Philly concerts of 2015

hopalong
Hop Along | Photo by Chris Sikich | sikichphotography.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2015 incredible. Today, Key photographer Chris SIkich recaps his five favorite concert photos of the year.

Sleater-Kinney, Union Transfer, February 28

From the first notes of “Price Tag” from their masterful 2015 No Cities to Love to the electrifying finish of “Dig Me Out,” Sleater-Kinney proved once and for all that they are the current greatest rock band on the planet. Carrie Brownstein shredded and pivoted on more axes than humanly possible while Corin Tucker was the electrifying counterpoint and complement. And all the while they were directed by drumming mastermind Janet Weiss. The sheer power of their live music rattled me for days, even weeks afterwards.

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The High Key Portrait Series: Zeek Burse and Paralee Knight

Zeek Burse and Paralee Knight | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller | koalafoto.com
Zeek Burse and Paralee Knight | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller | koalafoto.com

High Key” is a series of profiles conceived with the intent to tell the story of Philly’s diverse musical legacy by spotlighting individual artists in portrait photography, as well as with an interview focusing on the artist’s experience living, creating, and performing in this city. “High Key” will be featured in biweekly installments, as the series seeks to spotlight artists both individually and within the context of his or her respective group or artistic collective.

Singer, songwriter and music producer Zeek Burse has been on a musical sojourn for the past three years in Philly. When a chance meeting with one of Philly’s greatest R&B vocalists got Burse involved with The Boom Room Studio’s “Music Church,” Burse had an opportunity with drummer and producer Gary Dann’s music collective Worldtown Soundsystem to show off the talent that he’d developed from a young age almost exclusively under the influence of American Deep South gospel — most recently resulting in WorldTown’s electric debut single “Testify,” featuring Burse on lead vocals.

Since then, however, and along with songwriting companion Paralee Knight, Burse’s influences have diversified and evolved. At the top of 2016, expect to find the charismatic soul singer playing dates around Philly with Worldtown, at his new music residency at Relish, and dropping a new EP on February 22nd. The recording project — titled 22 – seeks to focus on and specifically feature the various musical styles that Burse has developed, the eclectic influences with which some time spent evolving as a Philadelphia artist have informed his style. Continue reading →

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The Key Year-End Mania: Sarah Hughes’ top 5 artists that make me miss Philly

 

The author in L.A. | illustration by Sarah Hughes
The author in L.A. | illustration by Sarah Hughes

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2015 incredible. Today, Key columnist Sarah Hughes recaps five bands that make her miss Philly.

As I traipse around the magical world of La La Land (that’s Los Angeles, people) it goes without saying that my heart still lies in the good ol’ City of Brotherly Love. I made the move to LA around six months ago and it’s been long enough now that I’m realizing all of the things that I genuinely miss about our kickass music scene. When I sit nearly 3,000 miles across the country aching for the familiarity of Philly, there are artists that stand in as my emotional crutch and help me feel at home in this strange, new place. This is a list of five artists that make me miss my wonderful city (in no particular order).

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: John Vettese’s Top 5 Philly music discoveries of 2015

Chelsea Sue Allen | via chelseasueallen.bandcamp.com
Chelsea Sue Allen | photo by Jason Stewart | photo courtesy of the artist

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2015 incredible. To kick off the series, Key editor John Vettese recaps five of his favorite Philadelphia music discoveries from the past 12 months.

You know it’s been a solid year of Philly music when squeezing it into a list of five feels like an injustice. True, I review the scene every year at the start of our #YearEndMania series, and yes, it’s almost always an “incomplete” list. But this year in particular, it could have handily been fifteen or twenty discoveries instead of merely five, and reeling the number in today was totally a challenge.

Some general observations: Philadelphia had a higher-profile musical year than ever before. A slate of solid releases emerged from the 215, from the amazing Painted Shut from Hop Along, which topped our critics’ poll yesterday, to Kurt Vile’s dreamy latest b’lieve i’m goin’ down; heavy rock and roll by The Districts and an ace live album from Dr. Dog; a hotly anticipated return from Meek Mill (hopefully that Drake beef didn’t do too much damage to his rep); timeless offerings from Jazmine Sullivan and Jill Scott; and so much more. Then there was the amount of attention Philly recieved from the outside world, including Stereogum’s scene report in June – it got a mixed reception in musician circles, but it was nonetheless cool to see those guys watching us from afar. We also saw increased coverage of Philly musicians in Impose, Noisey and Brooklyn Vegan, all the way up to Rolling Stone (which freakin’ loves them some Alex G.).

It’s all exciting stuff, but those artists I mentioned are doubtless very familiar to our regular readers at this point. With this in mind, I set my sights back to January to remember the names and faces that were pretty much new to me over the course of the year, or new-ish but making a big impression. Looking over the five, my listening habits were clearly eclectic but notably on the downbeat side. But don’t cast this crop of emerging musicians as mellowed-out, maaan – they may be quiet on the surface, but each works on a very nuanced level, delivering intoxicating tones and intricate textures that teeter on the verge of exploding. In many cases, that’s what they ultimately do, in a sonic sense, and next year I’m hoping to see some of these artists explode in that other cool kinda musical way: their profile. Let’s dig in. Continue reading →

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The 16 weirdest things we found at the Punk Rock Flea Market

 

The Punk Rock Flea Market | Photo by Tom Beck
The Punk Rock Flea Market | Photo by Tom Beck

R5 Production’s semi-annual Punk Rock Flea Market brings out some of the best action figures, clothing and vinyl Philadelphians have to offer — but also some of the weirdest things you’ll ever see. After looking at what Philly had to sell this past summer, we headed back to the ”Punk Rock Flea Market Dome” to check out what new crazy stuff is for sale this time. Continue reading →