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Get to know Inner Temple on their newest LP Captivity

Inner Temple | photo via https://www.facebook.co/innertemplepa
Inner Temple | photo via facebook.co/innertemplepa

Inner Temple is a band based in northeastern Pennsylvania that is brand new to The Key’s radar. Aside from the fact that it was released in 2016, the group’s most LP Captivity is a quintessential late ’90s / early 00s alt-rock record: heavily distorted guitars, driving percussion and coarse vocals that were popularized by powerhouses like System of a Down and Bayside. The record, which was worked on with Citizen’s Matt Kerekes, came out in October and you can listen to them below. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: December’s Artist to Watch Dawg Yawp mesmerizes with their unique brand of sitar-heavy rock

Dawg Yawp | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Dawg Yawp | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

WXPN’s December Artist to Watch Dawg Yawp certainly did not disappoint today at their Free at Noon show.

Helen Leicht said it best, “They had me at sitar.” The duo from Cincinnati consisted of Tyler Randall, Rob Keenan, a sitar, an acoustic guitar and an array of homemade productions that  created the illusion of a much larger band than stood before the crowd that day. I typically try to draw comparisons between the band I’m writing about and another well-known artist so that readers can get a better grasp on the sound of the group set before them. I say this with the utmost sincerity, Dawg Yawp’s sound can be categorized as nothing except completely original. A feat very difficult to achieve in today’s scene that is so densely saturated in guitar rock. Continue reading →

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Strand of Oaks rise with new material, message at Arden Gild Hall

Strand of Oaks | photo by Joe del Tufo | www.moonloopphoto.com
Strand of Oaks | photo by Joe del Tufo | www.moonloopphoto.com

Well Philly, you are in for a treat. But it happened in Delaware first.

The debut of Strand of Oaks‘ new material from the forthcoming Hard Love album happened in a barn in Delaware in front of a crowd that ranged in age from 10 to 70. “This music is for everyone who needs it right now,” frontman Timothy Showalter mentioned before the show. “As much as Heal was pointing inward, Hard Love [points straight out]. It’s an important time for that, we’re not playing around anymore.”

Continue reading →

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Slow Burner: Creepoid entrances Kung Fu Necktie in celebration of its new EP

Creepoid Record Release Show | Photography by: Ellen Miller | www.ellencm.com
Creepoid Record Release Show | Photography by: Ellen Miller | www.ellencm.com

Last Friday night, psychedelic Philly punk band Creepoid had Kung Fu Necktie packed with friends and fans who were awaiting the release of their new EP Burner. On the bill for the night, in addition to Creepoid, included with three local openers: Birthworms, Body Spray, and Dark Web. Continue reading →

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Pop / rock faves The Fray dazzle The Fillmore

The Fray | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
The Fray | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

Denver rock outfit The Fray graced The Fillmore on Wednesday, November 16, bringing Boston’s American Authors along with them. While fans are anxiously awaiting a new album from The Fray, the recent singles “Corners” and “Changing Tides” were present on both their recent Best Of album and their setlist.

This tour cut down on the typical number of openers, allowing American Authors to play a slightly longer set. Lead singer Zac Barnett raved about how much he loves “the food, the scenery & the people…. the people!” that greet them when they come through Philly. He shared that, come January, the band will have been together for ten years and he’s been “trying to get rid of them for the last nine.” This sort of light-hearted energy was present throughout the entirety of their 45-minute set.

They opened with the wonderfully upbeat “Go Big or Go Home,” seasoned with rich harmonies and percussion. The inclusion of slightly less typical instruments like banjo and large drums played by Barnett and bassist Dave Rublin added a lot of depth to their set. Barnett’s powerful and emotive vocals really shined through live, leaving behind the slight vocal processing typically present in their recordings. American Authors ended their set by playing their wildly popular song “Best Day of My Life” to a room full of people singing it back. This band is seriously underrated and has more than enough talent and passion to be one of the biggest in their genre.

The Fray came out to a stage lit by soft blue lights that matched the feel of the song, “Singing Low,” perfectly. Continue reading →

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The Dudes Abide: The Districts shine at Johnny Brenda’s residency

The Districts | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com
The Districts | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

Well, well, well. If the gosh darn boys aren’t back in town. After what felt like almost whole year, our hometown heroes The Districts returned to a Philadelphia stage for three proper headlining shows at Johnny Brenda’s. And while 2016 wasn’t necessarily a quiet year for them — touring with both Modest Mouse and Dr. Dog is nothing to sneeze at — it definitely felt like a bit of a building year for a band that otherwise seems to have unlimited amounts of energy. It makes sense, with hints of LP3 trickling out at shows, and word coming that the band spent almost a month in LA over the summer, demoing and recording new material. But as summer faded, and the memories of The Districts’ slamming XPNFest set weren’t keeping my heart as warm as they once had, this three-night stand at JB’s came just in the nick of time. Continue reading →

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The Districts and The Dove and the Wolf covered Leonard Cohen, Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra

The Districts and The Dove and the Wolf | still from video
The Districts and The Dove and the Wolf | still from video

Philly rockers The Districts settled in for the weekend at Johnny Brenda’s to kick off a late fall tour of intimate venues. The whole run of shows sold out very quickly, and last night’s gig in particular was filled with immense amounts of awesome. Not the least of which were six songs from the new record we’re hoping to hear from The Districts in 2017.

Song titles included “Violet,” “Rattling of the Heart,” “Night Time Girls,” “Point,” “Ordinary Day” and “If Before I Wake,” and we’ll have more on them when our Jeremy Zimmerman reviews night one of the series later this week. Suffice it to say, the songs are varied, big and bold, and frontman Rob Grote’s voice soars in a way we haven’t heard from him before…very exciting stuff.

For today, we’ll focus on another bit of awesome from the weekend: collabs and covers. Continue reading →

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The Wonder Years came out swinging with a confetti-filled hometown gig

The Wonder Years | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com
The Wonder Years | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

The Wonder Years, Philly natives, and proud as f*ck of it, have been playing some of our favorite pop-punk anthems for more than 10 years now. The six-piece has been getting bigger and bigger, which is well deserved, over the course of those 10 years — starting out in basements and bars, to now, ending their biggest tour yet, playing in front of a sold out, hometown crowd at The Fillmore, right here in Philly on Wednesday night. Continue reading →