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Free at Noon Flashback: Stereo League brings shimmering rock to World Cafe Live

Stereo League | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Stereo League is XPN’s Artist to Watch this month, and many eager new fans got a live introduction to the up-and-coming local band at today’s Free at Noon. After forming in 2016, the Philly natives who describe themselves as a “musical collective” have often been found playing shows around town, but usually as the openers. Now, Stereo League is beginning to gain more traction, and after the release of their debut full-length album A Light on Each Side this summer, it seems inevitable that everyone in Philly and beyond will soon know their name. Continue reading →

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Commonwealth Choir use Philly as their set in nostalgic “Palm Reader” music video

Commonwealth Choir | photo by Ryan Boswell | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia rock four-piece Commonwealth Choir was on an extened hiatus before releasing “Palm Reader” in December of last year. Six months later, the group has paired it with a cinematic music video using locations around Philly as their backdrop.

The single is about how dreams change as you grow up, the band tells us, and the video reflects this by beginning with a young version of lead singer and guitarist Davis Jameson Howley day-dreaming about rockstardom in his childhood bedroom. Howley “grows up” to work in an office doing what he seemingly never wanted to do, and visits a palm reader on his way home from work. The video concludes with a party thrown by Commonwealth Choir where they’re performing the song “Palm Reader” on stage as the crowd goes nuts. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Rickie Lee Jones, Sunflower Bean, Citizen Cope, The Beths and more

The Beths | photo by Mason Fairey | courtesy of the artist

Starting tomorrow night with a performance by Latin Grammy Winner and continuing through Sunday with a gig from a New Zealand pop-punk outfit, there’s lots of variety — geographic and otherwise — in this week’s gig roundup. Here are 16 concerts to see in the next seven days in and around Philly. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Grandchildren

“All right, are y’all ready to rock?” I asked the members of Grandchildren as we finished setup and soundcheck in WXPN studios last month…and drummer Roman Salcic had the perfect response: “We are ready to art-pop!”

Truly I love the idea of “art-pop” as a verb. It’s an active phrase, definitely more active than the word “rock” — which, if it wasn’t the name of a legacy music genre named after a colloquialism for sex, would be a simple and unimpressive noun, a word for a heavy and blunt geological material. By comparison, the activity implied by “art-pop” feels vivid and full of imagination. Which is a perfect description of the consistent trait that has defined this adventurous Philadelphia band for the past decade. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Mike Vasilikos’ all-Philly best of 2018

Orion Sun | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com
Orion Sun | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2018 incredible. Today, XPN’s Mike Vasilikos recaps the best music he’s heard come out of the Philly scene this year.

More lists! Yes, it’s almost time to flip over the calendar but not before everyone gets a chance to reflect on their favorite music of the past 12 months.  I guess it’s my turn!  Last year, I altered my approach to year-end reflections.  The idea being: focus on what’s happening locally, because in all honesty Philadelphia is a special place for music.  Across all musical landscapes, the artistry in our community rivals anywhere in the country.  So that said, here’s what I was listening to in 2018. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Mike Vasilikos’ All-Philly best of 2017

Max Swan
Max Swan | photo courtesy of the artist

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, XPN on-air host and assistant music director Mike Vasilikos shares his favorite Philly music of the year.

Around this time each year I start the daunting task of trying to prioritize my favorites songs and albums of the year.  It’s a task that has become more arduous year after year.  Nonetheless, as I began to sift through my iTunes library I noticed that much of music had something in common … Philly music was dominating.

2017 was a tremendous year for bands like The War on Drugs who continued their ascent as a modern day rock and roll pillar with A Deeper Understanding.  Tim Showalter of Strand of Oaks dominated my stereo early in the year with the muscular, yet emotionally charged Hard LoveSheer Mag’s Need To Feel Your Love is as brazen a debut as we’ve heard in years.  And Waxahatchee’s Out of the Storm tops my overall Album of the Year list.  Katie Crutchfield produced a flawless collection of indie rock that see’s her making good on her massive potential. Continue reading →