Watch The Bul Bey throw down in a high-energy set for NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Road Show

The Bul Bey performs at World Cafe Live for NPR Music's Tiny Desk Road Show | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | <a href= target="_blank"></a>
The Bul Bey performs at World Cafe Live for NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Road Show | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN |

Philly rapper The Bul Bey had a busy couple days last week. After kicking off the Beyond the Bars benefit concert at World Cafe Live, Bey returned to the venue’s upstairs stage on Tuesday April 19th to throw down at NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Road Show.

Bob Boilen and his team brought their popular video contest on the road this spring, and threw a party for a sold-out crowd upstairs at World Cafe Live that featured three standouts from the crop of 131 Philly submissions. Bey took the stage in the middle and immediately got the crowd moving with a high-energy performance backed by DJ John Morrison (a contributor to The Key), delving into his 2015 project Shaking Hands and Kissing Babies and telling the stories behind them. Continue reading →


Watch singer-songwriter Joy Ike serenade the NPR Music Tiny Desk Road Show

Joy Ike performs at World Cafe Live for NPR Music's Tiny Desk Road Show | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | <a href= target="_blank"></a>
Joy Ike performs at World Cafe Live for NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Road Show | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN |

Back on Tuesday the 19th of April, Bob Boilen and his team at NPR Music made a visit to Philadelphia for the first stop of their Tiny Desk Contest Road Show. The popular video / performance series opened itself up to submissions from across the country this winter, drawing in 131 entries from the Philadelphia music community.

Three of the standout submissions from Philly – as chosen by WXPN, NPR Music and Lagunitas – performed for a sold-out crowd at World Cafe Live upstairs on the 19th, beginning with singer-songwriter Joy Ike. Accompanied on percussion by her sister Peace – yes, their names are actually Peace and Joy – the duo played moving and catchy, piano-driven pop songs. Moments of the set recalled Fiona Apple and Leonard Cohen, and the mood ranged from contemplative to celebratory. Continue reading →


The Key Presents: Saintseneca

Saintseneca's Zac Little | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman |
Saintseneca’s Zac Little | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman |

“I write all the songs that I want to write,” says Saintseneca‘s Zac Little as we’re walking around on the Reading Viaduct, “so why would I need another band?” While many of his bandmates moonlight in other projects — All Dogs, Yowler, The Sidekicks, to name a few, these are not unknown bands in the slightest — Zac feels fulfilled in one sphere. One whole cloth.

It’s a philosophy that Zac takes into his songwriting, as well. Anything can be profound, everything is valuable in the right light. A question like “How Many Blankets Are In The World?” might seem inane, but in Little’s hands it finds meaning beyond measure. Continue reading →


PREMIERE: Party with HOUND, disturbingly, in the “Emotional Collapse” video

HOUND | Photo courtesy of the artist

If you’re not already tuned in to rifftastic Philly trio HOUND, here are a few things you should know: they’re incredibly loud. They’re incredibly fun. And they’re unapologetic weirdos. Those three things collide in the best way on the new video for “Emotional Collapse,” a song from their LP Out of Space – released last winter on SRA Records.

The theme is a bright and boisterous birthday party for singer / guitarist / frontman Perry Shall, and a ton of his friends are in attendance: Jake from Golden Tea House, Carolyn Haynes from Ghost Gum, Jarrett Dougherty from Screaming Females, Emily Burtner from Marge. Plus his own bandmates Chris Wilson (drums) and Pat Hickey (bass).

It’s super colorful, everybody’s having a great time and singing along – even when Perry starts opening gifts that run the gamut from a dead fish to a severed hand flipping the bird to used cat litter.  Continue reading →


Watch a new Brooklyn Vegan acoustic session featuring ROMP

Romp | Photo by Emily Dubin |

NJ pop-punk band ROMP released their well-lauded debut Departure From Venus back in March, and this week Brooklyn Vegan shared the acoustic session they recorded of the band playing their song “Come Undone.”

This is the third acoustic session that BV has recorded in Philadelphia: the first two being with Pinegrove and Abi Reimold. For the session, ROMP strips down to a duo of Madison Klarer and guitarist Lucas Dalakian and performs next to an air hockey table. According to BV, “All sessions so far were actually co-produced with the help of Madison from ROMP whose band we already liked before we met her, but who now also helps us with video projects on the side.” Continue reading →