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Catching up with Alex G at Rough Trade East in London

Alex G performing at Rough Trade East record store in London | photo by Tom Beck
Alex G performing at Rough Trade East record store in London | photo by Tom Beck

From bedroom recordings to all ages stages, Alex G has become somewhat of a popular name in Philadelphia music community. Since we’ve first written about the breezy lo-fi one-mand band, he’s gotten signed, gotten a few fellow musicians to help him play shows and even had an article written about him in Rolling Stone. What’s next on his list? Apparently he’s set out to conquer Europe.

Monday night, Alex G played a free show at Rough Trade East, a popular chain of record stores in the UK, to promote his new album DSU.  He’ll be in the UK until Sunday, playing a handful of shows in London and one in Manchester before he heads back to Philly. Being the cool guy Alex is, he was more than willing to chill with me backstage after the show to answer a few questions for The Key. Read the Q&A below where we talk about London, the Rolling Stone story and James Joyce. Continue reading →

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Talking touring and traveling with St. Lucia

st. lucia
Photo via stlucianewyork.com

The other day I had the chance to chat via phone with Williamsburg-based artist Jean-Philip Grobler, known better by his stage name St. Lucia. For those unfamiliar with his work, St. Lucia’s tropical 80s pop has this exotic quality of joy riding under every note, and the best way to experience its infectious effect (other than seeing the band perform live), is listening to the band’s debut, When The Night (2013). While the project remains entirely Grobler’s, the live band is rounded out with the talents of Nick Brown (drums) , Ross Clark (bass, guitar, keys, vocals), Nicky Paul (keys) and Grobler’s wife, Patricia “Patti” Beranek (keyboards, vocals).  St. Lucia, who hails from South Africa, has been been on a whirlwind of touring through the U.S. and other continents since early last January (they’ve already hit Philly twice this year!). Read on to check out our conversation. Continue reading →

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Listen to Lucinda Williams chat with WXPN’s Michaela Majoun

Lucinda Williams | photo via Facebook.com/lucindawilliams
Lucinda Williams | photo via Facebook.com/lucindawilliams

This fall, singer-songwriter icon Lucinda Williams released her eleventh studio album, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, and yesterday she joined XPN Morning Show host Michaela Majoun on the air to talk about the album and her upcoming local show. She plays the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, NJ, tomorrow; tickets and information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Listen to Williams’ interview with Majoun after the jump. Continue reading →

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MusicNotes from the XPN Morning Show: Documentary on Joe Strummer of the Clash, David Byrne reviews Barry Manilow’s album of duets with “Dead Singers”, and U2 will perform a whole week on The Tonight Show

Joe Strummer in Spain-1984
Joe Strummer in Spain-1984

In the mid 1980′s Joe Strummer of The Clash managed to lose his car somewhere in Madrid. The experience is part of a new documentary that follows Strummer during his time in Spain. Continue reading →

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Unlocked: Hey, Punks of Baltimore, this one’s for you; DRGN KING’s Dom Angelella shares his Baltimore Crush

Photo by Blake Gumprecht
Christine Cunnif, Lucy Stone, Ricardo Lagomasinos, Dominic Angelella | Photo by Blake Gumprecht

 

The sophomore album from DRGN KING, Baltimore Crush, feels personal. As an outsider, you’re immediately invited into this fuzzy psychedelic reality where suddenly there’s places and people who feel important. You know their behaviors, dreams, flaws and fears. That’s personal. This world comes from the strength of songwriting from frontman Dom Angelella, whose upbringing among the Baltimore DIY crowd comes out in this love letter of sorts to the scene. As a place where his self-discovery started to take shape, listeners gain a very real picture of what this scene means to those who were, are, and will be influencing/influenced by such a hotbed of creativity. This album thrashes in that convergence of ideas.  I hung out with Dom recently to ask him about the album, and he shared some insight into Moments Where Things Changed for him as well as fears and goals cultivated from the environment around him. Continue reading →

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MusicNotes from the XPN Morning Show: Allman Brothers Band plays final show at Beacon Theater, New film-doc shows how music helps dementia patients, & Watch Ingrid Michaelson’s video for “Afterlife”

Karsten Moran for The New York Times
Karsten Moran for The New York Times

The Allman Brothers Band concert, this past Tuesday night at the Beacon Theater in New York City, was most likely the last in the band’s remarkable 45 year history. Continue reading →

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Philly Local artist Cole Redding covers “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys for a good cause

Cole Redding
Cole Redding | photo courtesy of the artist

A few weeks ago, Philly Local artist Cole Redding joined us for our Musicians on Call afternoon of music. He’s been in the studio recording and shared with me his cover of The Beach Boys’ song “God Only Knows.” This Beach Boys song came in at #22 in our 885 Greatest Songs Countdown that was voted on by our listeners, so I thought I’d talk with Cole about his cover of the song and his forthcoming album. Cole will also be one of the Philly Local artists joining me for the 6th Annual Philly Local Home for the Holidays show to be aired on XPN in December.

Continue reading →

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Unlocked: Why Jersey’s Young Statues took measures to make “Flatlands” feel like a home away from home

Young Statues _Shervin Lainez (LoRes_WEB)
Young Statues | Photo by Shervin Lainez

Carmen Cirignano hopes putting on his band’s new record can provide a very certain kind of feeling.

He relates it to taking a trip to his grandmother’s house. Whenever he visited her, he’d feel a certain way and have very distinct memories. It’s an idea of being somewhere familiar that’s not exactly home.

“I wanted a cohesive, kind of flowing record that made sense from the beginning to the end and felt like a tangible thing, in a way,” Cirignano says. “I wanted people, when they listened to it or put it on, to be able to go somewhere, go to a place, wherever that place is to whoever listens to it. It could be different for everybody. I wanted it to have that feeling, like it was something as a whole rather than just a collection of songs.”

Cirignano, frontman for Young Statues, is sitting at an outside table at Old City’s Ole Café, having just driven downtown from his home in Prospect Park. He’s joined by bassist Tom Ryan, who has just driven in from across the bridge in New Jersey. They’re both joined by Ryan’s sister’s small dog, who remains mostly quiet as the two discuss the past and present history of the band. Continue reading →