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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Lone Bellow at Union Transfer, Friendship at Everybody Hits, AllegrA at Planet Phitness, and more

The Lone Bellow
The Lone Bellow | Photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN | hopehelmuth.com

The wait is almost over for The Lone Bellow‘s long-anticipated Union Transfer appearance, the band’s first Philly show in two years. If you missed out on today’s sold out Free at Noon, you can still catch the folk rockers tonight, along with openers The Wild Reeds. The Lone Bellow released their third studio album Walk Into A Storm in September. Find tickets and more information on tonight’s show on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Harmony Woods at Everybody Hits, Curtis Harding at World Cafe Live, Aster More at Boot & Saddle

Harmony Woods | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

If you missed Harmony Woods on the big stage opening for Modern Baseball a few weeks ago, you can still catch them tonight at Everybody Hits. The project of Philadelphia’s Sofia Verbilla, Harmony Woods has been making strides this year following the release of Nothing Special. Verbilla and band joined us for a Folkadelphia + Key Studio session a few months ago, listen below and read The Key’s feature on Harmony Woods hereSave Face, Secret Stuff and Brackish also play tonight; find more information on the Home Outgrown Presents gig here. Continue reading →

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Items Tagged Philadelphia: Weather changes moods

Hannah Frances | via hannahfrances.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.

I will never not tell you to go see live music in some way or another. It’s part of my role here at The Key — shining a light on the artists that dwell in Philadelphia, as well as the spaces where their art comes to life. It’s just that, often, there’s so much of both of those things.

Friday night, I had a ridiculous amount of gigs to choose between. Two record release parties were on the calendar — one for Radiator Hospital, who headlined the church in support of the awesome and uplifting Play The Songs You Like, and one for Hound, who played Space 1026 to celebrate the asskicking Born Under 76. Technically, there were three, if you consider that The Lame-Os’ opening slot on the Preen / Pears gig at Everybody Hits was in celebration of their new self-titled jawn; and on the non-yay-new-album front, Vita and the Woolf headlined Johnny Brenda’s and The Overcoats played Arden. (To say nothing of huger shows like Ben Folds at The Fillmore, Brand New at the Tower, etc.)

Sometimes we have an embarrassment of riches. Sometimes it’s fine (and necessary) to step away from it all and collect your head. I ultimately chose the Vita show on Friday night — and I’m totally glad I did, it was a thrill to see a band I’d first seen perform to maybe a dozen people at Ortlieb’s a few years back galvanize a sold-out crowd at one of Philly’s most popular venues — but I also haven’t left my house since, pretty much.

And it’s been wonderful. I’ve gotten a lot of reading done, I’ve watched a couple movies, and I’ve listened to a lot of music — stuff that’s been accumulating in my New Music playlist on iTunes as well as new finds on the Philadelphia Bandcamp tag. We are now solidly, seriously in the autumn weather zone, and I’m all-around loving it: the temperature stability after all the seasonal elongation and upheaval we experienced earlier this year, the emergence of playfully macabre decor ahead of Halloween, and the way the turning of the leaves and the cooling of the air guides artists inward to a more reflective headspace.

If that’s the place you’re in as well, you’ll probably find a thing or two to love in the fifteen releases below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Herbie Hancock at the Kimmel Center, Pouty at Everybody Hits, Daniel Johnston at the Tower Theater

Herbie Hancock | via The Kimmel Center

Jazz legend Herbie Hancock takes the stage at the Kimmel Center tonight for what’s sure to be a sweeping musical journey — the pianist and composer has 41 studio albums to pull from, after all. The groundbreaking musician got his start back in the 50s and 60s and is known for his ever-changing innovative style. Hancock is currently in the midst of an extensive world tour and reportedly prepping for a new album. Get a taste of Hancock’s current touring tunes via the NPR video below, and find tickets and more information on tonight’s show on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Long Hots at Eastern State Penitentiary, Dirty Dollhouse at MilkBoy, Caracara at Everybody Hits

Long Hots | photo by Scott Troyan | courtesy of the artist
Long Hots | photo by Scott Troyan | courtesy of the artist

Eastern State Penitentiary would be a powerful backdrop for a concert any day, but tonight’s show has a special reason for being there. It’s Justice Fest LIVE!, a concert in support of criminal justice reform — hence the historic prison yard setting — and Philly rockers Long Hots are one of the featured performers. The event will also include several guest speakers, including D.A. candidate Larry Krasner, plus more entertainment from DJ Cosmo Baker and a Songs from the Inside performance (music composed at Graterford prison). Revolution Taco and Foolish Waffle will provide the food, Yards will provide the beer. Find tickets and more information on JusticeFest here. Watch a video of Long Hots’ recent Boot & Saddle performance below.

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Items Tagged Philadelphia: Don’t hate, meditate

Iron Gump | via irongump.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’s been two weeks since Charlottesville, and writing about music still feels kind of frivolous.

I mean, yes, music is what we do here at The Key. But when we’re living in a country where a sniveling torch-bearing Nazi mob gangs up on a southern college town that wants to remove monuments celebrating confederate Civil War leaders — not a terrible idea in 20-freaking-17, honestly — and when you’ve got some of that mob veering into acts of terrorism, shooting guns and driving cars into crowds of counterprotesters…I mean, being all “yeah, but you should totally listen to this band” seems insensitive and irrelevant at best.

I was at Union Transfer when the news broke two Fridays ago, watching The Districts wrap up their celebratory album release gig for Popular Manipulations. I pulled out my phone and opened Twitter to post a picture of the stage-diving frenzy. Instead, I found myself frozen, met with a stream of horrifying photographs from the white supremacist march. I looked back up — an obliterated fan just crowd surfed onstage and sloppily attempted to sing into Robby Grote’s mic, then stumbled to the side and cracked open a beer. Did nobody know what was going on just a few hours south? What would they feel if they did? Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Harmony Woods at Everybody Hits, Driftwood Soldier at Bond Villain, Ride at TLA and more

Harmony Woods | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Sofia Verbilla is at the songwriting helm of Harmony Woods, a relatively new installment to Philly’s rock scene. They just released their first record, Nothing Special, which, contrary to what its title might suggest, is quite lovely. Verbilla has put together a very genuine, sophisticated set of sometimes folky, sometimes punky songs. In the studio, she is joined by Brendan Lukens on lead guitar, Sophy Kelsall on bass and  Jeremy Berkin on drums; the live lineup varies from gig to gig. The current Harmony Woods configuration is wrapping up its summer tour, and plays a homecoming gig at Everybody Hits tonight. Listen to “Renovations” and check out details on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Amanda X at Boot and Saddle, Madalean Gauze at Johnny Brenda’s, R. Ring at Everybody Hits and more

Amanda X | photo courtesy of the artist
Amanda X | photo courtesy of the artist

Kensington power punk trio Amanda X will bring their high-energy tunes to Boot and Saddle tonight. Comprised of Cat Park on lead guitar, Melissa Brain on drums and Kat Bean on bass, the group doles out hooky guitar riffs, bumping drum grooves and memorable melody lines. This summer, they will release their second full album later this summer, Giant, and based on opening track “Exquisite,” they keep up with their tendency toward dance-able guitar licks, passionate vocal work and well-crafted melodies. Check out the song below and show details at the XPN Concert Calendar.
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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Mal Blum and the Blums at Everybody Hits, Jaheim at the Dell Music Center

Mal Blum and the Blums | photo by Chris Sikich via artist’s facebook

Singer-songwriter Mal Blum along with her band (the Blums) are coming through Philadelphia for the second show of their three-city July mini-tour, their last time in Philly being a sold out night at PhilaMOCA. Mal’s last album You Look A Lot Like Me was released in 2015 via Don Giovanni Records and balances exploration of periods of depression with well-placed humor. Catch the show tonight at Everybody Hits. Click here for more information. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Hound at Everybody Hits, Steve Miller Band at The Mann Center, Megadeth at The Fillmore

HOUND | photo by Dawn Riddle | courtesy of the artist
HOUND | photo by Dawn Riddle | courtesy of the artist

Sometimes you need to headbang on a Tuesday. Philly’s own hard rockers HOUND will be raging at Everybody Hits tonight along with White Rope and local act Mint. HOUND is set to release their third LP in the fall, so the trio will be sure to include new tracks in the setlist that you will not want to miss. For more information on the show, click here. Check out the band’s performance at the dearly departed Golden Tea House, recorded in 2015 but only discovered this year. Continue reading →