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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Upholstery at Johnny Brenda’s, Musiq Soulchild at Electric Factory, Joan Osborne at Appell Center

Upholstery | photo courtesy of artist

This month, local experimental rock ensemble Upholstery is celebrating ten years of bringing left-of-center sounds to the Philadelphia stage. Yesterday saw the release A Decade of Decadence — not the Motley Crue box set, but rather an anthology of the Upholstery’s sounds and styles, from its post-Man Man beginnings in 2007 to its more recent oddball outings. Proceeds from the record will benefit Musicopia, and tonight the band headlines an anniversary extravaganza at Johnny Brenda’s. Tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.
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Bruce Klauber on life, love, Frank, Buddy, Gene and the swing of big band jazz

Bruce Klauber | photo by Jim Dofton | courtesy of the artist

Along with being the principle literary and video biographer of big band rhythmatists Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, Philadelphia’s Bruce Klauber holds his own legend – local and beyond – as a jazz drummer and vocalist.

As a young man, Klauber played with top-tier instrumentalists such as Al Grey, Charlie Ventura and Milt Buckner. For the better part of this decade, he’s been the drumming part of the All-Star Jazz Trio, an inventive outfit whose weekly gigs as a threesome are often highlighted by dynamic local vocalist, Peggy King.

After having recently acted as a technical advisor on the Academy Award-winning film Whiplash, Klauber just released his new book, Reminiscing in Tempo: Farewells and Recollections of Showbiz, Jazz and Drums and, on October 15 at 3 p.m., leads the All Star Trio, the 15-piece Monday Blues/Jazz Orchestra, and vocalist extraordinaire Mary Ellen Desmond through an afternoon of swing at World Cafe Live Upstairs and “A Big Band Salute to The Legends of Jazz Drumming.” Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Zeek Burse

We first met charismatic Philly crooner Zeek Burse a couple years back when he lent his vocal talents to a Key Studio Session by transglobal house music outfit Worldtown Soundsystem. That crew, as we observed at the time, very much operates like a family, and Burse carries the same spirit over to his own ensemble — a seven-piece rock band that brings a bounty of energy to its monthly engagements at South Philly rhythm and blues institution Warmdaddy’s, as well as to Zeek’s 2017 record XXII…and this week’s Key Studio Session.

Burse is a engaging performer, a dynamic singer and a gifted interpreter of songs; a recent gig saw him tackling songs by Prince (his self-professed number-one influence), Gnarls Barley and Imagine Dragons. Those Warmdaddy’s shows mix in a fair amount of covers, but his own material is impeccably strong. XXII is funky and fun, filled with hooks, grooves, and unexpected sonic turns — there’s room to dance and room to meditate.

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Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Philly Jazz Guide: Top picks for live music around town in October

Trombone Shorty | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com

Though it doesn’t have the reputation of landmark rock festivals like Woodstock or Monterey Pop, the October Revolution in Jazz was at least as monumental for the free jazz scene. Organized by trumpeter/composer Bill Dixon in 1964, the four-day event was the first of its kind and included pioneering figures in the music like Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Steve Lacy and Andrew Hill. Continue reading →

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Princess Nokia provides a vivid glimpse into the life of an NYC teenager in video double feature “Bart Simpson / Green Line”

Princess Nokia | photo by Milah Libin | courtesy of the artist

New York City native Princess Nokia has dropped a double feature video for “Bart Simpson” and “Green Line”, both from her recent release 1992 Deluxe, which is out now via Rough Trade Records. The record is an expanded edition of her mixtape release from last year, named after the year of her birth. Continue reading →

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Listen to The Weather Station’s new self-titled record ahead of their Boot & Saddle show

the weather station
The Weather Station | photo by Yuula Benivolski | courtesy of the artist

Toronto singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman’s newest self-titled release with her band The Weather Station takes a change of pace when compared to previous outings. The lyrics give the word “thoughtful” a whole new meaning. While it’s no question that Lindeman is truly a gifted songwriter, the themes of The Weather Station come across in such a realistic and understandable way because her word choices are so relatable. The every-day situations she writes about are so simple and elegant and not overthought at all, something that most musicians struggle with. Continue reading →

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Ever-Evolving: In conversation with Rainer Maria about time apart, the new album S/T, and Philly memories

Rainer Maria | photo by Shawn Brackbill | courtesy of the artist

Rainer Maria recently released their first album of new material in over a decade, the propulsive, powerful S/T. Short, sharp, and intense, it finds the trio simultaneously evolving from their signature emo roots while seeming to actively dialogue with them in real time.

They will be bringing those songs, past and present, to Underground Arts in Philly this Friday. Ahead of the show, I got to have a chat with Kaia Fischer, Caithlin De Marrais, and William Kuehn about what it’s like to be back together, how much has changed, and how those changes inform their music and approach to life now… Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Joshua Chase Miller

“What do you think of that vocal harmonizer?” asked Joshua Chase Miller during his Key Studio Session. “I turned it down, was it too much?”

I responded that I actually liked hearing it in the mix. It took his songs, which were solid piano-driven pop songs to begin with, and added an otherworldly Bon Iver flare to them.

Miller laughed at this observation. “It’s not like I don’t have three Bon Iver tattoos or anything,” he slyly responded. “My inner fanboy comes out no matter what.”
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Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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The Key Studio Sessions: Caracara

In a previous life, Will Lindsay and George Legatos played electropop for the basement show punk kids in W.C. Lindsay, a group we dug a lot around here at The Key. In a concurrent life, Carlos Pacheco-Perez and Sean Gill are two-thirds of Square Peg Round Hole, the progressive, percussion-driven instrumental ensemble that we also enjoy, whether they’re onstage or in the studio.

This would lead us to reason that we’d be all about Caracara, the new collaborative project of those various musicians. But we were nevertheless surprised how epic their debut record wound up being.
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Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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PREMIERE: Cherry breaks down the myth of maturity on the Dumbness LP

Cherry | photo courtesy of the artist
Cherry | photo courtesy of the artist

A couple weeks ago, Russell Edling spent a weekend on the coast of Maine, camping with his girlfriend Gabby in Acadia National Park. After spending the daylight hours hiking miles up rocky cliffs and across mountain trails, they returned to their campsite – where their neighbors were, eh, not exactly chill.

“It was a bunch of dudes drinking and smoking and giggling until really late at night,” he recalls. “They could be 14, but I bet when Monday rolls around they’re going to tie their Windsor knots and get back to the office. It’s an escape. I see that person, and I think they’re a serous professional person. Then I hear them at midnight cooking hot dogs and I’m like ‘what the hell is going on?’”

There’s an odd and seemingly infinite chasm between careless youth and adult responsibility – one Edling, having just turned 29, is acutely aware of. It’s a central theme of Dumbness, the debut full-length from his band Cherry, which we’re happy to give you a first listen to today. The idea of maturity, he muses, is a myth; “I feel like people just get to a point when they stop caring.” Continue reading →