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Mixtape Master: Get to know Philly’s F. Woods before he opens for Dead Milkmen at Laurel Hill

F. Woods | photo courtesy of the artist
F. Woods | photo courtesy of the artist

Make sure you arrive early to the sold-out Dead Milkmen show at Laurel Hill Cemetery this Friday night, because you’ll see a mixtape master at work. F. Woods is known around the Philly scene for being a founding member of Mercury Radio Theater, the zany and subversive troupe informed by eastern European folk sounds and early 20th century radio plays.

Woods also played in Farquar Muckenfuss, a comical and surf-rooted band that made the rounds in in the late 90s Philly punk scene.

As Woods said when I caught up with him by phone earlier this month, it’s pretty simple – he likes a lot of music, and he wants to play it all. His first-ever solo album, Found On Road Dead, came out via Bandcamp last November, and it’s a varied and eclectic set. There’s a bit of surf, a bit of math rock complexity, some tunes reminiscent of the airy pop production of the pre-rock-and-roll 40s and 50s.

It’s basically a collection of stuff that together feels very unified, even though the songs are individually distinct. In that sense, it reminds me a lot of a Tarantino soundtrack, or a really good compilation. Below, read my interview with Woods about his musical origins and outlook. Continue reading →

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Download The Key Studio Sessions Volume 17 (featuring Aaron West, Mercury Girls, The Dove and The Wolf and more)

The Key Studio Sessions Volume 17
The Key Studio Sessions Volume 17

The Philly music community is our first love around here at The Key HQ, it’s something we’ll always rep loudly and proudly. But on the latest installment of our Key Studio Sessions compilation series, we allowed ourselves to get a bit more geographically relaxed.

There are still Philly ties across its 19 tracks, make no mistake. But many of the artists on this set are ones who started locally and moved away, or recently arrived on the scene from other places on the map. Or, in some cases, both. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Bronx / Mariachi El Bronx at The Fillmore, Kula Shaker at World Cafe Live, and Bryant Eugene Vazquez at Bourbon and Branch

Mariachi El Bronx
Mariachi El Bronx | Photo courtesy of the artist

Tonight at the Fillmore in Fishtown, Los Angeles hardcore band The Bronx performs both as themselves and as their alter ego Mariachi El Bronx. In the latter, the band performs (you guessed it) mariachi music, an idea was born out of the band’s desire to challenge themselves musically. The Bronx will be supported by Dead Heavens, a four-piece group with roots in hard rock and New York City. Check out what Mariachi El Bronx is all about below. Continue reading →

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Very Bad Vibes Releases Deceptively Introspective Debut LP, Toothpaste

Very Bad Vibes | via verybadvibes.bandcamp.com

Don’t be fooled by the ice cream cone in front of a hot pink backdrop gracing the cover of  Very Bad Vibes‘ debut LP, Toothpaste. Don’t be fooled, either, by the tremendously upbeat songs. If you listen, you can see that the Philly electronic pop artist creates a strikingly relatable narrative detailing his experience with many sobering topics that most people face at some point in their lives.

Sam Huntington, formerly of The Original Crooks and Nannies, is re-branding himself under the new persona, Very Bad Vibes. His  album, Toothpaste, showed up on Bandcamp on August 6. The ten-track LP is comparable to something that the modern rock band Miike Snow would release. Continue reading →

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Get ready for Hello Shark’s forthcoming Delicate LP with “Alligator”

hello shark
Hello Shark | photo by Abi Reimold

Lincoln Halloran, also known as Hello Shark, releases his LP Delicate this Friday, September 30. He originally hails from Vermont, but Delicate will be Hello Shark’s first full-length release as a Philadelphia resident.

Halloran recently released the single “Alligator” as another teaser of the forthcoming album. The ballad is carried by a combination of gentle guitar notes and slow-tempoed percussions which are paired with Halloran’s (fittingly) delicate vocals. Continue reading →

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Rock and Roll Animals: Listen to The Rolling Stones at JFK Stadium, September 25, 1981

Cover art for a bootleg of the Rolling Stones’ Philadelphia date in 1981

Thirty-five years ago today, The Rolling Stones kicked off their massive tour in support of 1981’s Tattoo You with a two-night stand at South Philly’s iconic JFK Stadium. Reportedly, both nights drew a ridiculous attendance of 90,000 spectators — it was not only the highest grossing tour of the year, per Wikipedia, but for several years to come. Continue reading →

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The Chairman Dances ponders its influence’s influences on “Augustine”

The Chairman Dances | via the band's Facebook page
The Chairman Dances | via the band’s Facebook page

In a 2013 interview with The Key, Ben Rosen of The Chairman Dances wryly admitted that they’re “sort of a library band.” Three years later, that quote still rings true with “Augustine”, the second cut from Time Without Measure and the first to receive the music video treatment. The clip was directed by Tom Contarino and features the band performing in and around a dark house as they spout one literary reference after another. Continue reading →

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An Experimental Musical Dreamscape: Listen to Lushlife’s “The League of Frightened Men”

Lushlife | Credit: Megan Matuzak
Lushlife | Photo by Megan Matuzak

Late last week, Philadelphia rapper Lushlife released the intro track to his forthcoming EP No Dead Languages, which will be made available on October 7 via Bandcamp. The song, “The League of Frightened Men,” spans an impressive and immersive eight minutes. The length sounds intimidating, but Lushlife takes listeners on an ambient journey that doesn’t appear to include any of his own vocals.

The song begins with the introduction of archival audio of a man speaking about the anti-anxiety properties of certain drugs that are never explicitly named. The track is carried by speedy percussion played on loop that gives the track a nineties kickback feel, an energy that isn’t an unusual find in Haldar’s music. Continue reading →