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The Key Studio Sessions: Vince Tampio Quintet

Philly trumpeter Vince Tampio made a funny observation while we were setting up for his Quintet’s Key session: he’s recorded at WXPN studios so many times that his phone automatically connects to our wifi.

It’s true. In recent years alone, Tampio has sat in on sessions with Johnny Showcase, You Do You, Heyward Howkins and York Street Hustle. Outside of our walls, Tampio has performed onstage or on record with Allison Polans, OhBree, Impressionist, Red 40 and the Last Groovement and John Byrne Band. Basically he’s the go-to cross-genre horn-blowing utility man of the Philly scene, but this year he’s been revisiting his jazz roots.

In January, Tampio released a new album with his Quintet, Live at PAFA — an improvised concert recorded in October of 2016 in the rotunda of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The resonant walls of the room gave the performance an atmospheric tinge as sounds and styles collided from the jazz world and beyond. I was so impressed by the record, I invited Tampio and the group in our studio to record. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Listen to the warped psyche of Pissed Jeans’ Sean McGuiness on his debut tape Ready To Be Rich

Sean McGuinness | via seanonthedrums.bandcamp.com
Sean McGuinness | via seanonthedrums.bandcamp.com

Sean McGuinness, known for his drum work with Pissed Jeans, Utensil and more, just put out his first solo tape EP, Ready To Be Rich. Being as unconventional as a record can get, the 17+ minute release (streaming as a single track, I might add) is split into 7 intertwined tunes, a Side A and Side B consisting of mostly instrumental sounds infused with otherworldly noises and aggressive punk vibes.

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The Key Studio Sessions: Pinkwash

While we were setting up microphones and amplifiers in the XPN studio, I chatted with Pinkwash singer-guitarist Joey Doubek about shooting video of the band’s performance. “Oh, that’d be great!” he said. “Because y’know, I think our uncompromising live show is where we really shine.” We laughed — his statement was certainly tongue-in-cheek, a bit of fun poked at some music writing phraseology that gets applied to the heavy Philly duo again and again.

But there’s repetition for a reason. D.C. natives and longtime friends Doubek and drummer Ashley Arnwine are indeed a force when they perform at shows. The power of complex rhythms and intricate riffs, performed at a racing sprint at the nexus of prog and punk; Doubek yelling into the mic in a Robert Plant falsetto before switching gears into headbanging, Arwine franticly darting her head in every which direction depending on which part of the kit she’s laying into…between all of that, it’s virtually impossible to watch Pinkwash play and feel unmoved.
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Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Watch Tremellow’s VHS lightshow in video for “Plastic Impulse”

Tremellow | via tremellowbaron.bandcamp.com
Tremellow | via tremellowbaron.bandcamp.com

Keith Abrams, outside from his band Pine Barons, has a side project Tremellow. Its lo-fi pop stylings allow Abrams to let his weird out a little bit, and it can’t be better exemplified than in the video for his newest song “Plastic Impulse,” released on DOOM PASTE, a split with Haggert Mctaggert (the weird side project of The Districts’ Braden Lawrence).

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Listen to locals Ju-Taun talk deep Philly roots on an episode of 25 O’Clock

Ju-Taun | photo by Stan Golden for WXPN
Ju-Taun | photo by Stan Golden for WXPN

Dan Drago’s 25 O’Clock podcast has nabbed many of Philadelphia’s key players over the past few years, and the most recent episode featuring James, Jake, and Samoeun of Jersey’s Ju-Taun is no exception. The massive hour and a half talk goes into James and Jake’s upbringing with their promoter and producer father and Samoeun’s coming to America, capped off with a performance from the genre-bending three piece.

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The Key Studio Sessions: Resilient

Philly rock outfit Resilient hit The Key’s radar this winter with a powerful and superfun music video about problematic creeper dudebos, and it was definitely a moment of realization. A moment, more bluntly, of “Good lord, how the heck have I slept on this band??” So apologies to Erin Fox on vocals and guitar, Katie Fox on drums and Alicia Dickerson on bass for being late to the party. That said, the part of me that grew up on rugged minor key riffs and distortion pedal rock of Jane’s Addiction and Babes in Toyland is super pumped that I made the discovery all the same.
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Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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The Key Studio Sessions: Ill Doots

Philly collective ILL DOOTS has got to be one of the most creative forces at work on the local hip-hop scene right now.

Picture, if you will, a meeting ground between Hardwork Movement’s expansive big band arrangements (ten multi-instrumental members!) and non-stop hustle (ILL DOOTS’ Fourth Fridays at their Tasker House home base are always poppin’) with the ambitious, interdisciplinary performing arts outlook of musicians like Kate Faust (the band notably soundtracked a production of An Octoroon at the Wilma Theater last year) and you’re well on your way there. It’s no coincidence, in that sense, that ILL DOOTS were featured alongside both those artists on the sold-out opening lineup of Key Fest 2016, and we’re psyched to bring their vibes in the studio today.
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Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head