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The Week Ahead: Abi Reimold, Center City Jazz Fest, Joy Ike, Deer Tick and more

Abi Reimold | photo by Bob Sweeney | courtesy of the artist

Tonight, Philly staple Bitter Bitter Weeks plays its first gig in what seems like an eternity; this weekend, Center City Jazz Fest touches down on the Sansom Street Corridor; and next Monday, it’s a road-trip worthy gig from Deer Tick in State College. Here are 15 concerts to see in and around Philly this week. Continue reading →

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Dominy wants to spend “Sunday Morning” outdoors with you

Dominy
Dominy | photo by Bob Sweeney | courtesy of the artist

You can’t blame Philly rockers Dominy for being not quite sure how to dress for the weather anymore. Between dreary rain, invigorating sun, random-ass snow, and more rain, and a tiny bit of sun for a minute before yet more rain, climate confusion this spring is high.

So when the Philly four-piece went to film another playful, Bob Sweeney-directed music video to add to its catalogue — check the very fun “Leather Jacket Song,” released earlier this year — and the setting is out of doors, you can tell that these gents are as uncertain as anyone what that means. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Beth Orton will play World Cafe Live this June

beth orton
Beth Orton | photo by Tierney Gearon

UK Folktronica act and XPN-favorite Beth Orton announced her return to Philadelphia along with the tease of new music this year. In an interview with Headliner Magazine, Orton said she has “some releases this year of unheard collaborations with some pretty special people.” Considering Orton’s track record of collaborators (seminal electronic big beat pioneers The Chemical Brothers and Grammy-award winning composer William Orbit, most notably), this is shaping up to be a promising project. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: The Voidz will play residency at Boot & Saddle this June

The Voidz | photo by Jeramy Gritter | courtesy of the artist

The Voidz (formerly Julian Casablancas+The Voidz) just announced a month long Philly residency for this June. The string of weekly shows will be held at Boot & Saddle every Monday night in June in support of the band’s latest album. The Voidz, formed by The Strokes‘ frontman Julian Casablancas, released their second album (first under the new name), titled Virtue, this past March. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Deb Callahan Band

Philly vocalist Deb Callahan has been singing the blues for 20 years, and plans to do a lot of celebrating to mark the milestone. The festivities kicked off back in March with a headlining anniversary showcase back in March; from there, Callahan and her three bandmates — bassist Garry Lee, guitarist Allen James and drummer Tom Walling — have a calendar of shows plotted out through June, showcasing their recent fifth album Sweet Soul and digging back through their back catalog.

We got to see some of what they can do in this week’s Key Studio Session, and for a four-piece without much in the way of fanfare or instrumental excess, their sound is remarkably full. James’ guitar emulates a Rhodes keyboard tone on the swinging “Seven States Away,” a Florida-to-Pennsylvania travelogue Callahan wrote about wanting to return home and see her son; on “Carry Me,” his playing resonates its way down a dusky delta swamp, while the set-closing “I Keep Things Running” has a jagged rock edge. Lee’s bass is warm and enveloping, filling in sonic nooks and crannies in subtle but important ways, and Walling’s drums are precision-tight, with loud accents aplenty but just as much studious simplicity.

The glue holding it all together, the reason we’re here in the first place, is Callahan’s voice, an instrument in itself that is dynamic in range and full of emotion, from determination to frustration to humor and more. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Waxahatchee will open for Courtney Barnett this October

Waxahatchee at Union Transfer | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Just announced as opening support for Courtney Barnett’s Fall run of U.S. shows is local-favorite Waxahatchee, which includes a stop at Fishtown’s Fillmore on October 23. The announcement comes the day after Waxahatchee rocked Union Transfer, and we couldn’t be more excited for the pair of rockers’ show in October. Check back in to The Key later this afternoon for our recap of Waxahatchee’s set at last night’s co-headlining gig alongside Hurray For The Riff Raff. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Guided By Voices, Julien Baker, Bilal, Los Lobos and more

Guided by Voices | photo by Scott Troyan | courtesy of the artist

Get things started tonight with prolific indie rockers Guided By Voices; keep it running throughout the week with soul master Bilal, or heartrending songwriter Julien Baker; get lost in the tones of etheral soundscaper Madam Data, then wrap up with The Mountain Goats in Ardmore. Here are 16 shows you can see in and around Philly over the next seven days. Continue reading →

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Celebrate (?) tax day with Taxes’ heavy new single “Fractions” from forthcoming EP Don’t Get Caught

Taxes
Taxes | photo by Daniel Nydick | courtesy of the artist

Local indie rock four-piece Taxes is gearing up for the release of their new EP Don’t Get Caught, due out on April 20th, and this tax day we suggest you give a listen to their new single “Fractions.”

The song goes from smooth and subtle to shredding in the first 47 seconds, with fuzzy electric guitar, pounding drums and pronounced bass. All this is contrasted by mostly subdued vocals from singer and songwriter Sameer Rao (an occasional contributor to The Key), who presents a cryptic sense of melancholy and frustration with lyrics like “Waste all my time and energy / to find out what you needed me to be.” Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Summer Block Party brings Jill Scott, Boyz II Men and DJ Jazzy Jeff to the Mann

Jill Scott | photo via the artist’s Facebook page

A Block Party…at the Mann Center? Well, with a lineup like this, count us in. This June, Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and poet Jill Scott will headline the first annual WDAS Summer Block Party, along with long-running Philly R&B faves Boyz II Men and DJ Jazzy Jeff, plus special guests still TBA.

It’ll be something of a hometown celebration for all performers. Scott got her start in Philly’s Black Lily open mic scene in the 90s, and still calls the city home, and Jazzy Jeff lives in the Philly region as well. Boyz II Men got its start when its members were students at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Though they no longer reside in Philadelphia, their legacy lives on — a section of South Broad Street was recently designated “Boyz II Men Boulevard.” Continue reading →

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Wynonna Judd and the Big Noise, Patty Griffin, Valerie June, Shovels and Rope top Philadelphia Folk Fest’s 2018 lineup

Wynonna Judd and the Big Noise at NonCOMM 2018 | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

The annual Philadelphia Folk Festival returns for its 57th year this August, and just announced its initial lineup, led by famed country singer-songwriter Wynonna Judd and her current band The Big Noise.

After appearing at the 2015 NonCOMM-vention, Judd and the band released their self-titled debut, Wynonna and the Big Noise, in 2016; the album featured collaborations with Derek Trucks, Sudan Tedeschi, Rapheal Saadiq and more.

Also high up in the festival billing are veteran Austin singer-songwriter Patty Griffin, emerging Memphis artist Valerie June, and the high-energy Charleston duo Shovels and Rope. Festival regulars David Bromberg QuintetChris SmitherJohn GorkaBeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet also perform. Continue reading →