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Aphra talks algorithm-frustration, Ableton, anxiety and more on the Oh Word podcast

Aphra | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com
Aphra | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

It’s easy to mistake Aphra‘s Rebecca Waychunas as an intensely somber, serious individual. Her 2017 debut, Sadness Is a Gesture, navigated waters of emotional catharsis overtop evocative soundscapes and moody melodies. Hearing her talk about losing both of her parents in 2017 adds an additional weight to the music.

If you’ve ever met the Philadelphia singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist in person, you’ll know something else about her: she’s hilarious. She’s full of joy and optimism, drive and determination to make art that reflects the experiences she’s been through.

That’s the side of Aphra we get to hear on the latest installment of Philly’s Oh Word?! podcast. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Daedelus at Johnny Brenda’s, Aphra DJ set at Da Vinci Art Alliance, Cam’ron at Voltage Lounge

Daedelus | photo by Shubostar | via the artist’s Facebook page

Daedelus, the prolific Los Angeles-based project of Alfred Darlington, brings his Antidote Tour to Johnny Brenda’s tonight. The experimental electronic project has a few dozen releases from over the years, the most recent being this year’s Wears House. Mono/Poly and Free The Robots will also play tonight’s show, and DJ Phonographiq will be spinning tunes throughout the night. Find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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PREMIERE: Aphra navigates the complexities of grief in the new video for “Honey”

Aphra
Aphra’s Honey | still from video

Rebecca Waychunas, the woman behind Philadelphia emotive etherial pop outfit Aphra, has had a heavy year. On the one end, she released her moving debut, Sadness is a Gesture, on west coast label Inherent Sounds back in February. On the other end, she faced a series of personal tragedies these past twelve months, including the passing of her mother, Annunziata (Nancy) Geraldine D’Orazio. “She was an internationally well known progressive house DJ in the late 80s to early 2000s,” Waychunas remembers over email. “She was a good mom.”

But the grieving process is never a straightforward thing, and Aphra’s new music video for “Honey” — a song we first heard in her Key Studio Session a year ago — navigates its tensions and complexities, its feelings of anger and resentment, as we see Waychunas performing a gripping modern dance in a dimly lit room, where two characters reach various points of personal conflict. The video was choreographed by Megan Matuzak and filmed by Ella Miller and Tim O’Donnell at Underground Arts.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Aphra at MilkBoy, Callowhill at Boot and Saddle, Interminable at Dahlak and more

Aphra | photo by Ella Louise | via facebook.com/aphraphra

The Key’s Philly Music Showcase returns to MilkBoy for our second installment, this month bringing together luminaries from the city’s electronic pop and hip-hop scene. We’ll hear from headliner Ivy Sole in our latest Key Studio Session a little later this morning, but right now we’d like to remind you how much Aphra rules. The project of singer-songwriter-producer Rebecca Way released its dazzling debut Sadness Is A Gesture earlier this year; it’s a set packed with beautiful arrangements and heartrending emotion, which you can see on display in the brilliant “Geronimo” video below. Also in the mix is Cheeky, the like-minded project of local composer and writer Kaylee Sabatino. Tickets for the show are only $5, so it’s a solid deal all around; more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.
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Just Announced: Aphra, Ivy Sole and Cheeky will play The Key’s Philly Showcase at MilkBoy in August

Aphra | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com
Aphra | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

This summer, we’re bringing some of our favorite local artists to the stage of MilkBoy in Center City for The Key’s Philly Music Showcase. Last month, we announced the inaugural gig on July 26th — a rock-forward lineup featuring Resilient, Honeytiger and The Vernes. Today, we bring you the lineup for show number two, which veers in an electropop / R&B / hip-hop direction.
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PHOTOS: Hardwork Movement, Aphra, ILL Doots and Maitland threw down at NPR’s Tiny Desk Philly concert

Hardwork Movement | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | <a href="http://racheldelsordophotography.com" target="_blank">racheldelsordophotography.com</a>
Hardwork Movement | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

To kick off the month of May, the folks at NPR Music brought their #TinyDeskContest tour to Philadelphia for a terrific night of music for a sold out crowd at World Cafe Live upstairs featuring some of our favorite artists from the city: high-energy hip-hop bands Hardwork Movement and ILL DOOTS, ethereal electronic singer and songwriter Aphra and expressive rockers Maitland. Check out scenes from the night below, care of our photographer Rachel Del Sordo.
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Aphra, Maitland added to NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Philly concert

Aphra | photo by John Groome for WXPN
Aphra | photo by John Groome for WXPN

Earlier this month, the team at NPR Music announced the return of its Tiny Desk Concert to Philadelphia. Set for Tuesday, May 2nd at World Cafe Live upstairs, it showcases standout local participants in the 2017 contest: hip hop big band Hardwork Movement as well as the like-minded ILL DOOTS, and today we bring you news of two additional artists.

Joining the bill is Aphra, the emotive electropop project of singer/songwriter/producer Rebecca Way, which released its debut LP Sadness is a Gesture this winter via startup Bay Area label Inherent Sounds. Also performing is Maitland, the anthemic rock outfit of singer and songwriter Josh Hines; they have a new album en route this summer, and just recorded an impressive Key Studio Session.
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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Aphra at The Barbary, Louie Louie at Underground Arts, The Ok-Oks at Chameleon Club

Aphra | photo by John Groome for WXPN
Aphra | photo by John Groome for WXPN

We’re super thrilled with Sadness is a Gesture, the debut record from Philly electropop artist Aphra, which came out last week via Bay Area upstart label Inherent Sounds. There’s a limited edition clear vinyl version on the way, but tonight Aphra celebrates the moving collection of songs about heartache, addiction and finding inner strength tonight at The Barbary. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.
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Listen to three songs from Aphra’s debut LP Sadness Is A Gesture

Aphra | via aphra.bandcamp.com

Philadelphia’s Rebecca Way writes songs about heartbreak in her electropop project Aphra — but not that kind of heartbreak.

“Most people would listen to my songs and assume it’s about boy meets girl, boy breaks girl’s heart, girl cries,” she writes on her Bandcamp page of Aphra’s long-awaited new record Sadness Is A Gesture. “But these songs are actually about my family and the crippling confusion and heartbreak addiction causes.”

This is a pain that runs deeper and isn’t as easily cured; this is a pain that all the cheery well wishes in the world don’t do a thing to soothe; this is cutting, existential and scary, and these are the feelings Aphra is turning into compelling art.

We’ve been following Way since her time in the indie ensemble Tutlie and watched her transformation into a captivating R&B / pop persona; ever since premiering her “Geronimo” video a year ago, we’ve been itchy to hear more of her work-in-progress. When she recorded a Key Studio Session back in the fall, we were graciously treated to three songs from the record, and today we’ve got the final studio version of one of them — along with a bevy of album details. Continue reading →