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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Maura Filoromo’s Five Favorite Philly Releases of 2014

Tutlie | Photo by Debbie Zak Cohen | dkzak.com
Tutlie | Photo by Debbie Zak Cohen | dkzak.com

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

This has been a great year in Philly music and for so many genres! Bad Canoes and Allison Crutchfield’s solo album are among the best Philly debut releases this year. It’s amazing how much the scene has grown. So much music was cranked out locally in this year alone and Philly is showing the country what we’ve always been: a major hub of talented bands and artists. While the scene doesn’t get the national notoriety of say New York or Austin, we’re getting there. Just like our bud SEPTA! These are my Top 5 Philly releases of 2014 that are poised to get the attention of the nation’s ear. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Helen Leicht’s Favorite Albums of 2014

via Rubyworks Records
via Rubyworks Records

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, XPN’midday host Helen Leicht shares her favorite records of the year.

How can I possibly pick only five favorite albums of 2014?? But I must, so if you or your friends are looking to explore some new music from this past year, here is what I would suggest…. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Julian Booker’s Standout Singer-Songwriter albums of 2014

Album Art for Dawn Landes' Bluebird
Album Art for Dawn Landes’ Bluebird

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, XPN’s Sleepy Hollow host Julian Booker shares singer-songwriter records that impressed him this year.

5. Diane Cluck – Boneset (Important Records)

Anti-folk, freak-folk..these terms seem to come up constantly when discussing the work of Diane Cluck, finding comparisons with the early work of fellow singer/songwriters like Joanna Newsom and Alela Diane. But in a year that saw excellent new releases from folk-tinged pioneers Linda Perhacs and Vashti Bunyan, it is best to consider Cluck in company with this class of artists who can’t be categorized–a solitary songwriter completely in control of her artistic destiny. Don’t miss her “Why Feel Alone?” Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Rachel Barrish’s Favorite Crowd Shots of 2014

Pissed Jeans | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Pissed Jeans | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, contributing photographer Rachel Barrish shares her favorite crowd shots of the year.

So, before I decided I wanted to work in music, I wanted to study people. Their quirks, their wants and desires, why they do the things they do and where those actions come from. Psychology, ya know? Photographing a concert is way more than just getting the perfect angle of the vocalist at the mic, it’s also about the crowd. Concert-goers and festival attendees are what make these events so memorable. How people react to a certain band is super interesting, whether it’s a pop punk band and people are screaming their lungs out, crowd surfing and stage diving, or a favorite singer/songwriter belting out those meaningful, soothing lyrics, feeling like you’re “one with the music” is part of the experience. People are priceless, fans are priceless. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Chris Sikich’s Top Live Experiences Outside of Philadelphia

Jack White | Photo by Chris SIkich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Jack White | Photo by Chris SIkich | countfeed.tumblr.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, contributing photographer Chris Sikich shares five outstanding concerts he saw out of town.

I love seeing shows in Philly, but many opportunities are taken to see music outside of the city. Below are five of my top live experiences outside of the confines of Philadelphia. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Bryne Yancey’s Top Five Shows in Non-Traditional Venues

photo by Rachel Del Sordo
photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, contributing writer Bryne Yancey shares five amazing shows from the Philly DIY underground.

Talk to just about any out-of-towner at a show in Philadelphia, and the topic of this city’s music scene, venue quality, and sheer frequency of things happening will likely arise. We’re pretty lucky here and it’s easy to take that for granted. Philly’s scene is so well-guided and expertly cultivated and curated, thanks in large part to the steady hands of promoters like R5 Productions, but also the tightly-knit DIY community who put on shows in kitchens, basements, lofts and art galleries all over town. Maybe it’s Philadelphia’s inherent blue-collared ingenuity seeping through the fuck-you-do-it-yourself punk sphere. Maybe it’s Pennsylvania’s draconian liquor laws that have inadvertently created a need for these all-age spaces. Maybe Philly is just more punk than other cities. Whatever the cause, it’s telling that many touring bands would prefer playing these unconventional spaces here over another bar, and the health of these spaces affords us fans a lot of cool opportunities to experience live music on a very intimate level. I saw a lot of DIY shows in 2014, but these were the five best ones I saw, in no particular order. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Marc Snitzer’s Top Five Things I Did Not Understand Until 2014

Lorde | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Lorde | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, contributing writer Marc Snitzer shares five things he didn’t get till this year.

I like to believe that, for the most part, I have my finger on the pulse popular culture and #trendingtopics. I spend a lot of time looking at the Internet and all sorts of blogs and websites that can be found on it. It’s great. I think I was able to talk about Black Mirror like five times at a party last weekend. But I am also stubborn and sometimes it takes a while for my eyes to open up, like dewy flower petals on the first day of spring, to cool-ass shit. Here are five times this has happened to me this year. Sorry in advance that this list is so me-centric, but Time Magazine once named me 2006’s Person of the Year. Continue reading →

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XPN Weekend Arts Crawl…Celebrating Kwanzaa, All Star natural history, and Stomp-ing!

Kwanzaa-kids-candles[1]

The African American Museum in Philadelphia celebrates Kwanzaa with traditional candle lighting, discussion of the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa, and music, dance, storytelling and crafts.  Kwanzaa, which means First Fruits of the Harvest, is a seven-day celebration starting December 26th of the culture and heritage of the African Diaspora around the world. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Bruce Warren’s 5 favorite albums of the year

Field Report | Photo by Brittany Salerno
Field Report | Photo by Brittany Salerno

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 albums of the year.

There’s always this internal debate I have with myself about year-end lists, and it’s always this battle between whether I should go with “best” or “favorite.” “Best” is usually saved for the “critics;” which is not to say I am one or not. I’ll leave it to the Pitchforks, the New York Times and the Robert Christgaus of the world to attach some higher level of artistic and cultural significance and importance to records.

But in so many ways, I am a critic. I just don’t use big words. Music is “best” when it has singular appeal to anyone who wants to say “this is the best album of the year,” or “this album is one of the top five albums of the year.” You see, everyone’s right and everyone’s wrong when it comes to what “the best” is. When it comes to my albums of the year, I typically list the records that are my favorite. Are they the best? Sure they are; to me anyway. And if for some reason some of my favorites hit the critics year end polls as “the best” (in a music critic kind of way) then I guess I get bonus points. So here they are: My favorite five albums that entered into my musical universe in 2014. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Skye Leppo’s most heavily rotated albums of 2014

photo courtesy of jessieware.tumblr.com
photo courtesy of jessieware.tumblr.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, contributing writer Skye Leppo shares her most heavily-rotated albums of the year.

While I maintain that my first love is pop music, I was very surprised—and delighted—by a lot of new projects and genres new to me this year. There’s a few albums I would have loved to include (Chet Faker’s electronic Built on Glass was THISCLOSE to making my list, as was LDR’s Ultraviolence). I tried to find common themes in my favorite 2014 releases, but as I sought guidance from my “Year In Music” charts on Spotify I realized this year’s releases pulled me in a lot of different directions without traipsing into too much common territory (although pop music did take the lead of my 39,000 listening minutes at 29%, or approximately 11,310 minutes of pop music). In no particular order, here are my most heavily-rotated albums. Continue reading →