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The Week Ahead: Letters to Cleo, Caroline Rose, Keyon Harrold, (Sandy) Alex G and more

Keyon Harrold
Keyon Harrold | photo by Deneka Peniston | courtesy of the artist

It’s starting to get cold out, friends. And before you find yourself faced with the prospect of bundling up in heavy winter attire to get groceries, much less to get to the gig, we recommend you fit in many shows this week as possible this moth. Here are 25 concerts to see in the next seven days all around Philadelphia: free shows, jazz gigs, folk and funk, and one of the most jam-packed Fridays we’ve seen in a while.    Continue reading →

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Catch Kuf Knotz’s new collaborative project with Christine Elise at Johnny Brenda’s later this month

Kuf Knotz & Christine Elise | photo via kufknotz.com

Philly native Kuf Knotz has a new project in the works. Paired with classically trained harpist Christine Elise and backed by the Trap Rabbit band, it may seem like an unlikely combination, but their music — right now all we have are some live concert videos, but there’s an album on the way — proves that the joined musical forces are onto something good. Currently on tour, they’ll play Johnny Brenda’s for the first time on August 28, opening for Liniker e os Caramelows. Continue reading →

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Sonni Shine strikes out on her on on the solo single “Someone Like You”

Sonni Shine | photo via sonnishine.bandcamp.com

Philly singer-songwriter Sonni Shine got her start in the breezy reggae-tinged band The Underwater Sounds, but in more recent years she’s branched out in a variety of directions. She’s collaborated with trancey electronic music producer goldenSpiral, she’s played guitar in Zeek Burse’s funk-soul band, and next month she releases her first solo album.

Reconcile is out September 7th via Bandcamp, and if you’re a fan of any nook of the past four decades of singer-songwriter-dom, there’s something in here for you. You’ll hear spoken word verses set to drum circle percussion, you’ll hear Ani DiFranco-ian turns of phrase, you’ll hear touches of Fiona Apple-esque introspection, and you’ll hear soul grooves that glide like Janis Ian.

The lead single, “Someone like You,” definitely feels like the latter as it slinks along for four minutes and change of contemplative keys, smooth bass, and a voice pining for a sort of companionship that might be unattainable.  Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Harmony Woods, Kendrick Lamar, Nnamdi Ogbonnaya, The Wonder Years and more

Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar in the “Alright” video | still from video

Between the ridiculous rain and the Ticketfly “cyber incident” shutdown, it’s been a weird week to be a concertgoing Philadelphian. Don’t let that stop you from getting out and getting to the gig, though. Here are 22 concerts you can see in and around town in the next week, from indie folk true believers The Decemberists to reigning rap king Kendrick Lamar and his Top Dawg Entertainment showcase tour. Continue reading →

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Start your week off by watching every Philly entry to NPR Music’s #TinyDeskContest

Gracie and the So Beautifuls’ Tiny Desk Contest entry | still from video

The annual NPR Music #TinyDeskContest revealed its 2018 winner last month: Naia Izumi, a Georgia-born, Los Angeles-based busker who excels at swift guitar licks, live looping and fervent rock and soul vocals. While we’re certain to hear more from Izumi and team Tiny Desk in the coming weeks and months, let’s not get too far from this year’s competition without celebrating the plethora of impressive Philadelphia-based entries. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Queen of Jeans, The Diplomats, Drive-By Truckers, Lorde and more

Queen of Jeans | photo by Jessica Lim | courtesy of the artist
Queen of Jeans | photo by Jessica Lim | courtesy of the artist

Your choices are many; your excuses are few. Here are 25 concerts you could see in Philadelphia this week; enough for you to catch one per day, or for the more enterprising of you Key readers, several per day. Starting with folksinger Sam Amidon, and going up to arena pop rocker Lorde, here are our picks for the week ahead. Continue reading →

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Watch MH The Verb and Arthouse 95’s sci-fi visual for “Traffic,” see them at South Bowl

MH the Verb | via facebook.com/mhtheverbmusic

Rapper Marcus Harris, aka MH the Verb, relocated from Philly to the west coast earlier this year — but he returns east this spring, with a sci-fi tinged new project in tow.

Afronaut is LP made in collaboration with the electronic music ensemble Buscrates that, through sounds and visuals, will dissect the consumerism of 21st century American society through the eyes of a traveler from another time. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Stef Chura at Boot & Saddle, Femina-X at Kung Fu Necktie, Allah-Las at Union Transfer

Stef Chura | photo via stefchura.bandcamp.com

Though Stef Chura just recently released her debut studio album, Messes, with Urinal-Cake Records, Chura has been creating fun, ironic gritty-twang music as an active member of the underground Detroit DIY scene for some time now. Be sure to catch her tonight when she stops by Boot and Saddle. Find more concert info here, and watch the colorfully morbid video for “Spotted Gold” below. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: MH the Verb x ArtHouse95

Marcus Harris has bounced around the east coast quite a bit over the past few years, absorbing a tapestry of sounds and ideas. A hip-hop kid from Florida, he got his start mixing live instrumentation with DJ-based rap while going to college in Pittsburgh, performing in the band Beatz ‘n’ Verbz. When that crew split and he moved to Philly, his new persona MH the Verb was in full effect. He dropped a bunch of funky Bandcamp mixtapes and gigged at spots like World Cafe Live while holding down a day job at a boutique record label.

Later, a stint in New York inspired him to stretch the project further into the multimedia realm. The long MTA rides from his place in The Bronx to the gallery and studio community in Brooklyn gave him a lot of time to think and plan. The song “Melly’s Walls,” which he performed in this week’s Key Studio Session, was inspired by arriving at a gallery gig early and watching as the artists hung their work on the walls; lyrics were written on the spot, and the song was recorded the next day and released on 2014’s The Balloon Guide.

These days, MH is back in Philly, and has been doing some great stuff with the production collective ArtHouse95. Continue reading →