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XPN MusicNotes: See Dave Grohl’s daughter play drums with Foo Fighters, read lyrics to George Harrison’s “Hey Ringo”

Foo Fighters | Firefly | Photo by Joe del Tufo | http://www.joedeltufo.com/

How about this for a rock-n-roll “Father’s Day Special” this weekend: Dave Grohl brought his 8-year-old daughter Harper onstage to play drums with the Foo Fighters at their show at Iceland’s Secret Solstice Festival. Watch some great fan videos below. Continue reading →

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Work Drugs revisit 2016 in new single “For The Year”

Work Drugs — covered in trademark haze

Had enough of 2016? Work Drugs sure did. The Philadelphia-based indie soft pop (self-stylized “sedative wave/smooth-fi”) duo has released a new single “For The Year” ahead of their upcoming record Flaunt the Imperfection, set for release on August 11th and currently available for preorder.

“For The Year” is a slower, more somber track that is accompanied by a video featuring a compilation of the worst and most memorable moments that made it into the media in 2016, a year that seemed relentless in tragedy and scandal. Continue reading →

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Watch Palm perform “Walkie Talkie” on the Indie Rock Hit Parade

Palm | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Palm | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Fearless, wild, weird and wonderful, Philly four-piece Palm has a new record out today called Shadow Expert. It’s a collection of candy-coated dissonance, six songs of mind-bendy arrangements and interlocking instrumental complexity that stand alongside inviting tones and playful melodies, the sweetest shreddery you’ll ever hear.

As a live band, Palm is no joke — of course they’re not, being able to make records like this means being actually able to play music like this — and we heard that firsthand a couple weeks ago when it performed in XPN studios for a joint session with The Key and the Indie Rock Hit Parade.  Continue reading →

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The Key Presents: Half Waif

Half Waif | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

The weather’s bad, but it holds. Between setting up and short takes while the rain isn’t too hard, Nandi Plunkett throws an industrial trash bag over her keyboard as a makeshift cover, but even the intermittent April showers can’t get her spirits down too much. Resiliency is a big theme of Half Waif‘s music, and in Plunkett’s life, as well. Between passing clouds, Nandi and guitarist Adan Carlo play completely new arrangements of two Half Waif tracks from the recently released form/a EP. In the secluded side yard of the MAAS Building, the intimate strength of Half Waif springs to resounding life. This is The Key Presents: Half Waif. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Kominas at Johnny Brenda’s, Shannen Moser at Union Transfer, Brackish at Kung Fu Necktie and more…

The Kominas
The Kominas | Photo by Eddie Austin

Philly / Boston punk outfit The Kominas are charged-up social critics wrapped in catchy hooks and high energy. Their most recent full length, 2015’s Stereotype, is essential listening; in the years since, they’ve released a string of thought provoking and funny music videos tackling institutional racism and xenophobia. Tonight, they headline Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown; watch the “See Something Say Something” video below and get tickets and more info at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Become The Gatekeeper: Ramona Córdova reflects on a decade of pushing boundaries and arriving at the new ON PAPER

Ramona Cordova | photo by Inma Varandela | courtesy of the artist
Ramona Córdova | photo by Inma Varandela | courtesy of the artist

Ramona Córdova‘s video for “Decision” opens with Angela Davis’s sultry, portentous voice lamenting the state of racial relations in 1960’s America, particularly police violence and housing discrimination against black people. Her words and Ramona’s use of them are portentous. As the video lurches through footage of hippies protesting it bleeds into stark bleached out film images of key moments in black history. “Decision” is a song about using your intuition to make loving choices– to stay, to go, and to live with these choices long after you’ve left the corporeal world. The songs contemplative nature is underscored by a marching, casio-fueled back beat that seems to hold together the wistful pop-folk. Despite a stark intrusion from a racist Willie Lynch quote, the video ends hopefully, awash in color, the people having made their choice to abandon the parts of them that are uninterested in liberation.

This kind of witchy imbalance and playful questioning has informed Ramona Córdova for the past decade they’ve been creating music. A multi-instrumentalist whose cultural background is a wonderful mosaic (Haitian, Filipino, Puerto Rican), Ramona embraces a nostalgiac sense of liberation through the dreaminess of the new album On Paper. The record is a buzzy, brilliant fever infecting listeners with its Flaming Lips-but-really good song writing. Ramona peeks through the lazy clouds of the act’s past efforts for a taste of modernity, albeit replete with a lo-fi orchestral scratch. A true angel with a voice to match, you can find Ramona Córdova on the one couch at your local community center, drifting through the dream state and the real world, at once absorbing the sight and sounds of west Philly’s queer bent indie scene and projecting an aura so vibrant genre can not contain.

We talked to Ramona about On Paper, the sometimes rough terrain of the larger indie landscape, and about the power in witchy energy. Join us! Continue reading →