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The Key Presents: Secret American

Secret American | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

Secret American is a project of two coasts. A couple years back, frontman Derek Krzywicki found himself living in Southern California, where he moved with his old band Cheers Elephant. After parting ways with those guys, he began melding a retro-rock songwriting style with his unstoppable charisma onstage and at the microphone. But Krzywicki is a Philadelphia-area native, and some of his favorite folks to record with were located back in Philly. So he grabbed cheap airfares when they popped up and bounced back and forth across the U.S. to record his debut album, due out early next year. The result is pretty nicely aligned with the band’s jovial tagline: “California country landscapes from the seat of an overhead SEPTA train.”

Secret American found itself convened back in Philadelphia on a sunny day in early September of 2017. And so Krzywicki and his bandmates — Kevin Killen on drums; Todd Mecaughey on bass; Rory Geoghegan and Alex Baranowski on guitars, Katie Frank on keys and Tony Unander on percussion — met up at Fergie’s Pub in Center City. It’s an incredibly musician-friendly establishment, between weekly open mics, residencies from Philadelphia vets like John Train, a regular traditional Irish music session, the musicians slinging drinks from behind the bar, and more. So the seven bandmates gathered together on the tiny second floor stage of the pub for an afternoon jam out.

This is The Key Presents: Secret American. Continue reading →

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song(s) of the Week: A split single from Ron Gallo and Naked Giants

Ron Gallo | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

While he’ll always be a Philadelphian to us, the singer, guitarist, songwriter and rocker Ron Gallo is now based in Nashville, and has gotten together with the Seattle indie rock trio Naked Giants to release a split 7-inch via New West Records. The single features his new song, “Sorry Not Everybody Is You,” backed with Naked Giants’ “The Age Of Information.” Continue reading →

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XPN MusicNotes: Neil Young is gonna blow your mind on Dec. 1st

Neil Young | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | www.joedeltufo.com

“The timeline is a living document with information still being added and the site was created for myself as much as for everyone else.” -Neil Young

On December 1st, Neil Young will release his new album: The Visitor, and on the same day he’ll open up a full archive of all of his music for free. Continue reading →

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Listen to Chris Forsyth bring maximum jams to his World Cafe session

Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band | photo by Liz Waldie for WXPN

The ultimate Philly jam band, Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band, played World Cafe on November 9th, and did they leave the audience speechless or what? Playing a 20-minute rendition of “Dreaming in the Non-Dream,” these guys tirelessly delivered an epic performance that I’m sure could have lasted an hour. Comparable to big names like The Grateful Dead, Television, and Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Forsyth’s band is nothing shy of crazily energetic. Continue reading →

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “I Was A Fool” by Sunflower Bean

Sunflower Bean
Sunflower Bean | photo by Andy DeLuca | courtesy of the artist

You might remember New York City psych rock power trio Sunflower Bean from a killer performance at Non-COMM 2016, delivered on the heels of their Fat Possum Records debut Human Ceremony. The band drew on Sabbath and the Stooges, Brian Jonestown Massacre and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and had a formidable live presence to boot; not only did bassist / vocalist Julia Cumming, drummer Jacob Faber, and guitarist Nick Kivlen get lost in the proverbial zone, they took the eager audience along for the ride.

Flash forward a year and a half, and the band is resurfacing from a seemingly constant tour schedule to deliver the first taste of their next phase. The song “I Was A Fool” premiered on NPR Music last week, and with it came the announcement that Sunflower Bean has joined the Mom + Pop Records family — home to Courtney Barnett, Tash Sultana, DMAs and more. The new song shows a progression in their sound — the sound eases up on heavy drone, making room for ethereal pop. Jangling guitars and trade-off vocals from Cumming and Kivlen are reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac and Todd Rundgren, as filtered through Kurt Vile and Rilo Kiley. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Dhani Harrison’s guitar doesn’t weep, it wails

Dhani Harrison | photo by Liz Waldie for WXPN

A slice (of a slice) of Beatlemania descended upon 31st and Walnut on this pleasantly frigid Friday as the crowd that had lined the street shed their layers and traded in coffees for beers, fortunate to be among the few to have secured a spot at a show that had sold out days before. Nothing less could be expected for Dhani Harrison, and this boundless enthusiasm never wavered during his Free At Noon set – the applause heard after each song was near equivalent to what another band might expect to earn after their final bows. Continue reading →

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XPN MusicNotes: Watch St. Vincent perform “Los Ageless” live on Ellen

 

St. Vincent | photo by Nedda Afsari

Did you catch St. Vincent on Ellen? No worries — you can check out video below of Annie Clark performing “Los Ageless” from her new album Masseduction, copies of which Ellen gave away to her studio audience. Read more on St. Vincent’s new album Masseduction here and get information on her upcoming Electric Factory appearance at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Elvis Costello releases symphonic new single for Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Elvis Costello | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

Elvis Costello‘s new song “You Shouldn’t Look at Me That Way” was written for Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, a movie following the life of Peter Turner and his relationship with actress Gloria Grahame. The song swells with the slow crooning of Costello’s vocals, lazy piano riffs, and dynamic builds of the strings. It’s beautiful, and I can already sense the vibe of the movie, even though this song could absolutely stand alone. Stream it below and watch a trailer for the film. Continue reading →

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XPN MusicNotes: Watch Lana Del Rey join Leonard Cohen’s son for cover of his dad’s “Chelsea Hotel #2” at Tower of Song Tribute

Tower of Song flyer

Musicians from around the world gathered in Montreal last night for the Tower of Song Tribute to celebrate the life & music of Leonard Cohen on the eve of the 1st anniversary of his death. Watch Lana Del Rey and Cohen’s son Adam perform a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel #2. Continue reading →