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Watch (Sandy) Alex G perform a stripped version of “Poison Root” in a creepy puppet house

Alex G | Photo by: Ellen Miller | ellencm.com
Alex G | Photo by Ellen Miller | ellencm.com

Though (Sandy) Alex G grew a cult-like following through online presence, it wasn’t of his own doing; it was the fans grassroots approach to his Bandcamp tunes. In reality, it seems that Alex Giannascoli tries to remain pretty absent from the interwebs — whether it be on social media or in his various music videos.

So when I saw that there was a video via Fader (in high definition quality and beautifully filmed, might I add) featuring exclusively him and violinist, Molly Germer, I was a tad surprised at this uncharacteristic move. But then I learned that the one-shot video was filmed at a creepy puppet palace, and all was right with the world once more. Continue reading →

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(Sandy) Alex G announces new headlining tour dates and an opening spot with Fleet Foxes

(Sandy) Alex G | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist
Alex G | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist

On July 17th, the Fleet Foxes Instagram account posted an announcement that they had added several artists to their upcoming US tour(Sandy) Alex G in the Northeast, Natalie Prass in the Northwest, Bedouine in the Southwest, and Nap Eyes in the Midwest in addition to the already-billed Animal Collective and Beach House.

For a good 24 hours, information on this news was nowhere else to be found, save the account (likely run by frontman Robin Pecknold) answering direct fan inquiries in the comments section. Either way, I naively thought that it was safe to assume the addition of Philly’s own Alex G to the upcoming July 31st show at The Mann Center was a given, as he had no other scheduled shows that day and Philadelphia is a Northeast location. Continue reading →

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(Sandy) Alex G ends tour with an epic, sold out night at Union Transfer

Alex G | Photo by: Ellen Miller | ellencm.com
(Sandy) Alex G | Photo by Ellen Miller | ellencm.com

On Saturday night, (Sandy) Alex G ended a string of tour dates back home by selling out Union Transfer. After five weeks on the road with Cende and Japanese Breakfast opening for him, the bands were in top form and you could feel the excitement as fans crowded the room. Throughout all three sets it was a fun, laid back gig, complete with Tom Cochrane’s “Life is the Highway” serving as entrance and exit music. Continue reading →

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Hear Porches’ auto-tune stripped remix of (Sandy) Alex G’s “Sportstar”

(Sandy) Alex G | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist
Alex G | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist

(Sandy) Alex G’s Rocket is a mighty fine, complex collection of some of his most eclectic, genre-crashing gems to date. One of these standout beauties is the dreamlike ballad “Sportstar,” in which frontman Giannascoli warps his voice with otherworldly auto-tune amidst a thick atmospheric soundscape of gauzy guitars and echoing piano. Aaron Maine’s NY-based synth-pop project, Porches, recently remixed the surreal tune, providing a clarified, breezy companion

Stripping away layers of vocal processing, Porches’ remix of the song summons the deeper and tad demonic Alex G monotone that we all know and love, while spicing it up with a hint of electro-steel drum, island music vibes. Continue reading →

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(Sandy) Alex G further challenges the idea of what “an Alex G song” sounds like on two new jams

(Sandy) Alex G | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist
Alex G | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist

When Philly’s (Sandy) Alex G announced their new LP ROCKET earlier this year, two new songs came with it, and they were very different from one another. The consensus was around here at Key HQ was that “Witch” sounded “pretty much like an Alex G song” — languid, melancholic, sorta Pavement-y — while the beautiful “Bobby” and its elegant infusion of folk arrangements and vocal harmonies was an exciting new direction for the Havertown-bred artist.

Evidently, frontman Alex Giannascoli is not trying to be typecast, as two additional new jams from ROCKET made their way into the world today, and each presents another layer of redefining that notion of “an Alex G song” is. Continue reading →

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(Sandy) Alex G amends name, shares new Rocket single “Proud”

(Sandy) Alex G | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist
Alex G | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist

Two new updates from Alex G: the local musician has now adopted his social media handle (Sandy) Alex G as his official moniker, most likely in an effort to further differentiate his bedroom indie rock from the YouTube-famous pop covers of a different Alex G; and he’s shared a new track from the forthcoming Rocket LP due out on May 19th.

Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Japanese Breakfast continues their Philly takeover with a headlining gig at Union Transfer

Japanese Breakfast | photo by Galea McGregor for WXPN

It’s been quite a year for indie darling Japanese Breakfast. But, I mean, when you release a record as amazing as Soft Sounds from Another Planet, it only makes sense that everyone everywhere’s going to want a chance to see a live performance of said record.

So although Michelle Zauner’s earnest, electro-ambient pop tunes have been sounding off at all corners of the earth for a while now (she and the crew are currently sharing her songs with the Eastern side of the planet with an Asia / Australia tour) Japanese Breakfast has just announced another ring of shows back in the States after just a tiny — but much deserved — winter break.

Starting February in Zauner’s early hometown of Seattle, the tour will conclude with a massive (current) hometown celebration at Union Transfer on June 3rd. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Top 15 Albums of 2017

This is the music that moved us this year

As far as years go, 2017 was…complicated. And so it stands to reason that The Key’s annual go at determining the top 15 albums of the year — the records that resonated the most with us, the collections of songs that best captured the spirit of the past twelve months — was no straightforward affair.

In 2017, we thrilled to the reflective psych-rock sprawl of Philly’s The War on Drugs, a seasoned band delivering its most confident and refined artistic statement to date. We also heard the hushed introspection of Big Thief‘s sophomore album, which transformed trauma and pain into beautiful atmospheric folk. Artists looked deeply inward to discover raw personal truths, whether we’re talking about U.K. singer-songwriter Sampha, Philly newcomers Katie Ellen or hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, sounding more down to earth and honest than he has in years (decades?). They refused, as Lorde and (Sandy) Alex G did, to be confined by boxed-in preconceptions of their work, and pushed their chops into new territories, whether they be on album three (The Districts) or nine (Spoon).

A common thread was embracing vulnerability, practicing self-reflection and finding inner strength. That’s the story of albums by Waxahatchee and Harmony Woods, Cayetana and Kelela. It’s also an undercurrent to Kendrick Lamar‘s remarkable DAMN., which The Key’s contributors rallied around to vote it number one album of the year. Our John Morrison does a deep dive on the record, dissecting its nuanced pairing of hard-hitting hip-hop production with complex themes about fear and internal conflict, virtue and vice, weakness and wickedness and whether those traits make us flawed.

Last year, you’ll recall, was also a complicated year. It left many in artistic circles revving up to fight and affect change…and some, like Hurray for the Riff Raff, chased that impulse with thrilling results. But it seems that the records that stuck with us the most at year’s end are all saying, in one way or another, that before we go out to better the world, we need to look within and (to borrow a phrase from Adam Granduciel and co.) gain a deeper understanding of ourselves. – John Vettese Continue reading →

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Tyler Burkhart’s two new tracks mirror the changing of seasons and mindsets

Tyler Burkhart | photo via tylerburkhart.bandcamp.com

Lancaster’s Tyler Burkhart has been steadily self-releasing lo-fi Bandcamp gems for a few years now. Adding to this collection of chill bedroom pop, Burkhart recently released two new tracks, “When you go wrong,” and “New start (The secret)” ahead of his upcoming album Lost days, which is set for a December 1st release date. Continue reading →