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Dawn Richard brings Redemption and radiance to Club Coda

young killa

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“Y’all want me to keep going?”

This was the question that alt-R&B amazon Dawn Richard (aka D∆WN) posed again and again to an absolutely rapt audience last Friday night in Philadelphia. It was equal parts invitation and threat, hinting at a sense of giddy validation even when asked with “Are you not entertained?” steeliness. Richard was as enticingly elusive onstage as she is on record, and after every permutation of the phrase across an exhaustive, exhilarating 90-plus minute set, the answer from the crowd was an obvious, resounding “yes.” Continue reading →

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Get lost in a spectral haze with Waxahatchee’s new “Recite Remorse” music video, made with Klip Collective

Waxahatchee | from “Recite Remorse” music video

Waxahatchee released their fourth full length album Out in the Storm on July 14th (when the band also celebrated the release with a Free at Noon show and opened her tour with a hometown show at Union Transfer), and in the short time since, frontwoman Katie Crutchfield has received endless deserved praise and critical acclaim both of the record and her live interpretations of the powerful tracks. Continue reading →

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Conor Oberst, Hop Along, and Big Thief cut to the feeling at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn

Conor Oberst performing
Conor Oberst at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn | photo by Scott Troyan for WXPN | scotttroyan.com

Before bringing the show to XPoNential Music Fest on Friday, Conor Oberst kicked off a weeklong tour with Philly’s Hop Along last Thursday in Brooklyn,playing the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn Festival. The outdoor show took place at the Prospect Park Bandshell on a hot July night. Continue reading →

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Listen to King Britt’s Fhloston Paradigm remix singles; see them at Johnny Brenda’s

King Britt | photo via fhlostonparadigm.bandcamp.com

This summer, Philadelphia DJ / producer / multimedia artist King Britt revisited his experimental space music project Fhloston Paradigm with the new record AFTER…

King released the album last month, and appeared on WXPN to discuss the project’s creative genesis in sci-fi soundtracks and collaborations with a roster of vocalists from Kate Faust to Jacqueline Constance and Pia Ercole. Tomorrow night, he celebrates the release in true showcase fashion at Johnny Brenda’s, recreating the album with many of the featured vocalists joining him onstage.

But first — new music.
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Live from The Cave with Second Womb

Second Womb | photo courtesy of the artist
Second Womb | photo courtesy of the artist

One of the most important things to do as an upcoming artist is to stay consistent no matter what. There will be trials and tribulations that make some feel alone at times, and feel like praying for the perseverance to not quit, but one’s self-confidence makes them refute the idea of giving up. That type of consistency allows the craft to be perfected, more work to be displayed and a hunger for success to constantly expands. This type of consistency can be seen by Jersey’s duo Dookie Brown, an MC, and Father Earth, a producer, collectively known as Second Womb. I recently got the opportunity to speak with Dookie Brown about the Garden State hip hop duo’s beginning, work ethic and their latest EP Live From The Cave Vol: 19.    Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: John Legend at BB&T Pavilion, Graham Nash at Ocean City Music Pier

John Legend | Photo by Cameron Pollack

Although he may now be just as famous for his relationship with model Chrissy Teigen as he is for his insanely good voice, soul singer John Legend continues to put out hit after hit. The 10-time Grammy Award winner released his fifth studio album Darkness and Light last year, and he is currently touring in support. Catch the crooner tonight at BB&T Pavilion. For tickets and more information, see the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Ivy Sole gets honest on socially-conscious, self-aware track “Rooftop”

Ivy Sole | photo by Araba Ankuma | courtesy of the artist
Ivy Sole | photo by Araba Ankuma | courtesy of the artist

Ivy Sole, friends. If you have not yet become acquainted with this Philly rapper’s beautiful, conscious lyricism and easy-going yet meticulous beats, you’ve got some required listening to do. Especially her single, “Rooftop,” which is a new track off her upcoming EP, WEST, out on July 26th. Continue reading →

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Watch Kurt Vile cover John Prine for Beyond Words

Kurt Vile | still from video

In the grand scheme of American music, of influential musicians and genre-leaders, John Prine is undeniably one of the greats. The living legend recently published an autobiography titled Beyond Words: John Prine’s American Songbook on his Oh Boy Records label that is filled with memorabilia and stories from his childhood to the beginnings of his prolific career as a singer-songwriter, as well as original handwritten lyrics of some of his most famous songs.

The magnitude of the Americana-folk-country singer’s influence is clear, as next-gen (or much-later-gen) musicians come forward to celebrate John Prine. At this year’s Eaux-Claires Festival, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) put together a big-name collaborative set titled “Bon Iver presents John Prine and the American Songbook,” featuring Vernon, Jenny Lewis, Spank Rock, Jeff Tweedy, and Prine himself among others.

Musicians are also celebrating the release of Beyond Words. Watch below as Kurt Vile sings a snippet of the Prine 1978 classic “That’s the Way the World Goes Round,” although his young daughter is much more impressed with the magic of her slinky toy. Continue reading →

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Items Tagged Philadelphia: Rain falls on everyone

Chris Stevens | photo via thecsq.bandcamp.com

Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time each week digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. At the end of each week, we present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.

It rained inside XPN HQ yesterday. I mean, it also rained outside the station — boy did it rain, sideways rain, sheets of whiteish grey, torrents of liquid pellets, visibility so low that center city was only semi-discernible in the soggy haze, pedestrians running for cover in parking garages and under overhangs.

Such was the afternoon storm that a leak busted directly on top of one of my coworker’s computer, the downpour working its way through the floor to the lower levels and a steady stream of precipitation just beyond our studio walls, where we’d just wrapped up with a Folkadelphia / Key session with SΔMMUS, an Ithaca rapper recently relocated to West Philadelphia. She opted to brave the conditions to head home, and not unwisely so; as quickly as the rain hit, it stopped, reduced to fading blackish clouds in the distance as the sun broke back through to continue heating the July afternoon.
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Study up on the XPNFest lineup with these ten World Cafe interviews

Clockwise, from left: Strand of Oaks | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN // Angel Olsen | photo by Kate McCann for WXPN // Hurray for the Riff Raff | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN // Foxygen | photo courtesy of the artist

NPR’s World Cafe and XPN Fest are two peas in a pod. They’re great pals, they are. They even share some mutual best buds, who all coincidentally happen to be wildly amazing artists. These musical friends stopped by to hang at World Cafe with hosts Talia Schlager, David Dye and Ann Powers over the past year, and are now gearing up to pay XPN Fest a visit. Brush up on your XPoNential Fest artist knowledge and get psyched for next weekend by checking out a list of XPN Fest artist World Cafe sessions below. Continue reading →