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XPN Weekend Arts Crawl…Running in the Philadelphia Marathon and running to holiday shows and sales

A scene from Instantly Bound... courtesy of http://www.criticaldance.org/
A scene from Instantly Bound.  Courtesy of http://www.criticaldance.org/

BalletX opens its Fall Series at the Wilma Theater with two premieres.  One is the world premier of Jorma Elo’s interpretation of the film noir classic Touch of Evil as a hip-hop ballet.  The other is the East Coast premier of Increasing set to Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major, and BAlletX also reprises its 2013 piece Instantly Bound about gun violence. Continue reading →

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Download a World Cafe performance of “Blood On Your Bootheels” by Caroline Rose

Caroline Rose | Photo courtesy of the artist.
Caroline Rose | Photo courtesy of the artist.

This past summer, singer-songwriter Caroline Rose performed at the Philadelphia Folk Festival and it was captured by the World Cafe. During her set, she performed songs from her recent album, I Will Not Be Afraid. Continue reading →

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Three Man Cannon had thousands of dollars of gear stolen and they weren’t even on tour, WTF

Three Man Cannon |photo by Rachel Del Sordo
Three Man Cannon | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Soon a day will come when I no longer have to write “band got all their gear stolen” but, alas, today is not that day. Word has been making the rounds this evening (first via a heartfelt Tumblr post by Cayetana’s Augusta Koch, and next by a report on Property of Zack) that Philly-via-Scranton punk four-piece Three Man Cannon had a massive amount of instruments, pedals and hardware stolen tonight.

The worst part about it is that they weren’t on tour. Not that being on tour would have made it okay, but still, you expect to some degree that your stuff is safe and secure when you’re at home. While the particulars of how it happened are not yet clear, what exactly is missing can be found in the list below. Continue reading →

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You’re invited to Helen Leicht’s Home For The Holidays holiday party

Photo by Lisa Schaffer | skylerbug.com
Photo by Lisa Schaffer | skylerbug.com

XPN’s Helen Leicht is celebrating the holidays with a special free Philly Local Home For The Holidays show on Saturday, December 14th at The Flash in Kennett Square. The show will include performances by Lizanne Knott, Dan May, Jen Creed, and Cole Redding. Doors open at 12:30PM; the show starts at 1PM. Continue reading →

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From pensive ballads to punk blasts, Ryan Adams shines at the Tower

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Ryan Adams | photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

When Ryan Adams took the stage last night at the Tower Theater, many fans in the area around me stood up ready for some rock n roll and dancing. The crowd immediately behind them began shouting “Sit down! Sit down!” For once in my life, I think the those sitting down may have had a point: this was not going to be a raucous night, but something a little more mellow.

Many songs of the set were from Adams’ latest, eponymous album: a work that not only demonstrates his assuredness as a musician and songwriter but also indicted to me that he’s been listening to a lot of Tom Petty lately. Tom Petty’s got some barn burners, for sure, but it’s not what I put on when I want to rock the hell out.

That is not to say the show was not impressive: Adams’ opening song “Give Me Something Good,” gave me goosebumps and his voice sounded incredible. He and his band then tore into some tunes from his days with the Cardinals, among them “Let it Ride,” a Dead-esque “Magnolia Mountain, ” and “A Kiss Before I Go.” Continue reading →

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Artistic Random Thoughts from DBNR

A.R.T. | via twitter.com/Art_x_DBNR
A.R.T. | via twitter.com/Art_x_DBNR

For the past four years, hip hop group DBNR have been building a buzz in the tri-state underground hip hop scene. Together South Jersey natives  A.R.T., P-90Ruger, DreMurf, & PHITTED showcase their addiction to music by using a plethora of interesting beats and laid back flows. A perfect example of this would be the new solo track from A.R.T. called “Play 4 Keeps.” To understand the song is to understand the acronym of the MC’s name, which is Artistic Random Thoughts. The slow beat and heavy bass gives you an eerie feeling, as if you’re walking around A.R.T.’s mind when he’s intoxicated and seeing the random ideas that inspire him creatively. His mellow flow creates a new image of cool, so hearing “Play 4 Keeps” is somewhat like seeing the introduction of the new mysterious cool kid on the block. Below, watch a surreal new music video for the track. Continue reading →

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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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Check out an easygoing new Dewey Decibel jam featuring Rone

Photo via Dewey Decibel Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/deweysdope)
Photo via Facebook facebook.com/deweysdope

Philly-based rapper / producer Dewey Decibel released a new track this week featuring fellow local rapper Rone titled “Never Gave A Shit.” The song is smooth and engaging, throwing some oddball synths your way and blending them with Dewey and Rone’s easygoing flow. Holding your attention throughout, the track’s different timbres of voice and synth juxtapose comfortably and bounce around the room, with the MCs spitting their lines with confidence. Check out the new song below.

“Never Give A Shit” comes from Sub Cult, the new EP Dewey Decibel is releasing in early 2015. He will be playing at MilkBoy this Friday, November 21st, opening for Red Martina; for tickets and more information, visit the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Andrew Jackson Jihad

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In my mind and for at least a good chunk of years now, Andrew Jackson Jihad have occupied a musical sector between sweaty basement punk rock and outspoken brash folk (I picture Billy Bragg or even Woody Guthrie) and I guess, the two are not so very different after all. Lyrically driven, songs with meaning, songs with humor, songs with a message, songs about life and living it and being a part of the world. They can be action oriented, acidic in delivery, absurd and totally irreverent in narrative, and sometimes very sweet. Many have done it before AJJ and many will do it after – to speak openly, to sing loudly, to share widely, but AJJ does it with a certain style unique to them. I became a fan late in the game and it’s with their new record, Christmas Island, that the band has totally made me a through and through devotee (I’m having a blast digging into the back catalogue), but even before this point, the band held a weighty stature for me in my imagined hierarcy of music. I always pictured AJJ live performances to be on par with religious congregations, with people chanting, waving their hands and moving wildly, maybe even violently. I see the room as blur of bodies and raw sensory stimuli where my own senses can’t quite get a solid read on anything. But it’s the unknowingness, the uncertainty, the fever pitch of it all, that makes the performance relevatory. I think folks would agree with that scene and I know I’ve heard many dazzled accounts by attendees of AJJ concerts.
Continue reading →