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Go back to nature with Under the Oak’s new music video for “Beyond the Physical”

Under the Oak | photo byEllen Miller | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia folk band Under the Oak recently released a music video of their song, “Beyond the Physical,” off their latest album, Big Sky. While the album was released last spring on the Winding Way Records label, the stunning video is brand new and provides listeners with a meditation on what lies our mortal world. In the song’s premiere with Bluegrass Situation, singer-mandolinist Adam Monaco said that “Beyond the Physical” was a “‘gift song’ that came fast and furious.” The lyrics came to him on a beach in Pensacola when his father was sick, but before Monaco knew that his father would soon be brought to hospice care. This song wrestles with grief in a way that feels humble and authentic. Under the Oak doesn’t provide any answers in regards to what happens after our loved ones die, but they do provide a space to come together in meditation and community. Continue reading →

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Lizzo breaks hearts with commanding new single “Cuz I Love You”

Lizzo | still from video

In case you’ve been living under a rock this past month, Lizzo has taken the pop world by storm and her new single, “Cuz I Love You,” is no exception. The single is the title track off her upcoming album, which drops on April 19, and is a dramatic turn from the unstoppable “Juice.” By contrast, “Cuz I Love You” features a crying Lizzo who belts about how much she loves you.

The music video was directed by Quinn Wilson and was shot in black and white. The overall effect is a sweeping, nearly film noir look of Lizzo in a confessional and at the head of the alter table in a church as she sings to an audience of men in tank tops. The song’s chorus , “I’m crying /  Cuz I love you,” is sung alternately by Lizzo and by the men, which creates an interesting narrative twist that is only evident in the video. Continue reading →

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Slow down time with Strand of Oaks’ heartwarming home movie music video for “Ruby”

Strand of Oaks | photo by Alysse Gafkajen | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia’s Strand of Oaks is readying the spring release of its sixth LP, Eraserland, and today frontman Tim Showalter brings us another taste of the record. Following the pensive build-and-burn of album opener “Weird Ways,” this teaser is a joyous pop anthem called “Ruby,” built around a ringing chord progression, snappy staccato keys, and a hooky refrain about not losing sight of the joy in life as time marches on: “Ruby, won’t you slow it down, this is happening so fast.”

“Ruby is by far one of the happiest songs I’ve ever written, unabashedly so,” Showalter writes on Twitter. “I know this seems like strange, uncharted waters for the Oaks catalog and especially Eraserland, but even the darkest night has a dawn. This is a song about the time and how with each year passing it feels like a dream.” Continue reading →

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Watch Gary Clark Jr. play “Pearl Cadillac” and “This Land” on SNL

Gary Clark Jr. on SNL | still from video

Saturday Night Live has had a fairly strong roster of musical guests this season — this past weekend, we got to see XPN favorite Gary Clark Jr. make his debut on the stage of Studio 8H. The Texas blues rocker appeared on the Don Cheadle-hosted episode to perform two songs off his forthcoming album This Land, starting off with the falsetto-heavy “Pearl Cadillac” followed by the powerful title track. It’s always surreal to see a familiar artist on the iconic stage, and at four and a half minutes each, Clark’s performances got quite a bit of screen time. Continue reading →

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Yarrow showcases its live energy and heavy pop chops in the new “Tambourine” video

Yarrow | photo by Meghann Altomare | courtesy of the artist

If you haven’t yet had a chance to catch Philly three-piece Yarrow live, you can get an idea of what the band is all about thanks to their new video. Yarrow first came onto the scene last year and just released their debut EP, A Mild Circus, on local label Get Better Records. Shot in West Philly in the eerie setting of an empty light-filled warehouse, the new video for “Tambourine” gives us a glimpse at how the band combines their different influences and styles into their unique sound, which lends itself to a dynamic performance. Continue reading →

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Kurt Vile performs “Yeah Bones” on Late Night With Seth Meyers

Kurt Vile on Seth Meyers | photo by Lloyd Bishop | via Matador Records

Philly’s Kurt Vile returned to late-night television this week for a performance on Late Night with Seth Meyers. The band rocked a speedy and skittish version of “Yeah Bones,” a song from last year’s Bottle It In that is instrumentally complex (the closest Vile has gotten to math rock, perhaps) but is melodically incredibly poppy. Which is trademark KV: mixing the weird with the widely accessible.  Continue reading →

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Mal Blum needs to be heard on “Things Still Left To Say”

Mal Blum | photo by Emma Mead

Before they head out on tour next month, Mal Blum has shared some new music — their first in three years. Out now via Don Giovanni Records, “Things Still Left To Say” is a deceptively upbeat song that tackles themes of loneliness and vulnerability as Blum realizes that too many things have been left unsaid. The New York singer-songwriter, who’s spent the better part of the last few years on the road, is joined by friends and fans in the accompanying video to share the sentiment of the song while making sure their own voice is finally heard. Continue reading →

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M Is For Musician: Watch Questlove and Grover have a drum-off on Sesame Street

Questlove on Sesame Street | still from video

It’s not like we needed any proof that Questlove could drum better than a Muppet (much, much better), but on a recent episode of Sesame Street called “The Big Pretend Band”, he proved it. Paired off against Grover, the “M is for Musician” sketch finds The Roots’ percussionist getting a drum lesson frim the fuzzy blue monster — while also color-coordinating his own attire with a blue hoodie and dapper blue-framed glasses — only to show him up with a sick solo after swapping a few basic beats, and a drum-off ensues. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Kayleigh Goldsworthy

We were fortunate enough this week to catch Kayleigh Goldsworthy in a rare moment of respite.

Whether residing or just passing through, the singer-songwriter and guitarist has been all around these United States — many of the places that pop up in her songs, like Portland and Nashville and New York — and for the past year and change, she’s called Philadelphia home. The concept of “home” in some ways is a bit nebulous, though, since Goldsworthy is always on the go. Continue reading →

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Watch The Cactus Blossoms serenade the polar vortex in their “Got A Lotta Love” video

The Cactus Blossoms
The Cactus Blossoms | photo by Nate Ryan | courtesy of the artist

Winter storms shut down the midwest last week, but for Minneapolis natives The Cactus Blossoms, a bit of snow and ice is par for the course. With their second studio LP Easy Way on the way on March 1st via Walkie Talkie Records, the band set out into last week’s polar vortex to shoot a music video for “Got A Lotta Love” in central Minneapolis’ Bockley Gallery, not far from Lake of the Isles.

“A good friend of ours was kind enough to let us use his gallery space to shoot this video,” says the band’s Page Burkum. “When we heard a blizzard was headed way we thought we might have to call the whole thing off but everyone showed up and the snow made a beautiful backdrop.” Continue reading →