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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Grayling at The Fire, The Faint at The Trocadero, Crystal Castles at TLA and more

grayling
Grayling | photo by Kim Woodcock | courtesy of the artist

Tonight, The Fire in Northern Liberties hosts emo-pop outfit Grayling. What started out as the independent project of frontwoman Lexi Campion has now turned into a four-person full time band. Grayling’s recent debut EP, Everything That Burns, dropped back in April. Tonight they play with Honeytiger, Zack Daniel, The Disgruntled Sherpa Project, and Foxster. If your music taste lies anywhere along the super versatile spectrum of indie/alternative music then be sure to get a ticket for this 21+ show that will have something for everyone. Check out Grayling’s studio session with The Key from earlier this week here. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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The Key Studio Sessions: Grayling

While Philly alt-punk upstarts Grayling packed up after its Key Studio Session this week, frontwoman Lexi Campion told us a story about an old drum teacher.

It was back when she was ten years old, early on in her percussive education. She went in for a lesson, and to her dismay at the time, her teacher said they were going to spend a day learning how to take the drumkit apart and put it back together, to screw and unscrew all its miscellaneous hardware components, to tune and retune the snare and toms. “You need to know how to do this stuff,” she was told.

To reiterate: Campion was ten. And getting such a diligent education early on shaped who she is as a musician today, it instilled a work ethic that carried into her two bands — the math-pop outfit Edelweiss (where she spent a year and change killing it on drums) and the more recently formed Grayling, where she runs the show. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Listen to Grayling’s debut EP Everything That Burns

grayling
Grayling | photo by Kim Woodcock | courtesy of the artist

Lexi Campion’s Grayling released her debut EP with NDE Records Everything That Burns this week, and you can listen to a stream of the entire thing via The Fader.

The first taste we got from Grayling was “Bidding War”, a slice of emo-pop that channeled St. Vincent as well as Circa Survive. Campion, who used to drum for indie rockers Edelweiss, takes powerful/experimental guitar music and gives it an extremely personal edge. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: John Vettese’s Top Six Philly Music Discoveries of 2017

Aleana | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Aleana | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. To kick off the series, Key editor John Vettese recaps six of his favorite Philadelphia music discoveries from the past 12 months.

Earlier today, I was listening to a conversation with Johnny Brenda’s talent buyer Chris Ward on the 25 O’Clock podcast, and he made a very interesting point. The bumper crop of musical talent in Philadelphia, or what is often perceived as such, is no sudden phenomenon. It’s not as though, pre-2006, the city was in some dire straits or a lesser creative state, and has subsequently grown and evolved to the present-day bursting of the proverbial seams.

The truth is that amazing music — rap music, rock music, pop music, soul music — has always existed in the 215; in many cases (the Gamble & Huff era), it’s downright thrived. But as Ward pointed out, a more recent confluence of factors and persons and places and institutions over the past decade (like him and JBs, I might add, or like our friends at The Deli and Jump, or like countless others) have helped amplify the scene tremendously.

Every year around this time, as we launch into The Key’s annual year-in-review extravaganza, I begin by sitting down and reflecting on the new artists and new-to-me artists who, over the past twelve months, have knocked me sideways. There have always be artists like this, whether or not the outside world is paying attention. And there always will be; even if, at some point, the zeitgeist declares Philly to be “over,” if you look and listen, you’ll find them continually creating, somehow, somewhere.

Continue reading →

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Philly Gets Alternative brings Oso Oso, Harmony Woods, Weller and more to Everybody Hits for a two-night fest

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

A double header at the batting cages might conjure up some sports-related imagery in any other city, but here in Philly, that’s code for two nights of live music. Philly show bookers Home Outgrown Presents have teamed up with New York-based music blog The Alternative to put together a showcase of acts from both regions over two consecutive nights — a mini festival of sorts, Philly Gets Alternative is happening December 2 and 3 at Everybody Hits. Continue reading →

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PREMIERE: Church Girls give us a glimpse of tour life with “Glass” video

Church Girls | photo by Charlie W. | courtesy of the artist

Philly indie rockers Church Girls have had a busy fall. After releasing their debut LP Hidalgo in September, the four-piece headed out on a tour that took them from their East Coast home out into the Midwest. Lucky for us, they gathered enough footage along the way to give us a behind-the-scenes look at touring life in the form of a video for Hidalgo track “Glass.” Continue reading →

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Home Outgrown Presents: Some Shows, a 3-day DIY fest next week

Three Man Cannon | Photo by Jessica Flynn

Home Outgrown Presents is a Philly DIY promotions group that books some pretty spicy shows. Their latest concoction? A three-day festival packed to the brim with beautifully crunchy basement tunes.

Honestly and descriptively dubbed as “Some Shows: A Fest We Didn’t Know What to Name,” the three-day event gets even better when you take in the stellar fourteen-artist lineup. Three Man Cannon, The Superweaks, and Curtis Cooper headline each night, while Coping Skills, Caracara, Grayling, Major Pursuit and more fill out the bill. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Talib Kweli at The Foundry, Petal at Everybody Hits, Levee Drivers at Johnny Brenda’s and more…

Talib Kweli| Photo by Joe del Tufo | Moonloop Photography

Rapper Talib Kweli headlines at The Foundry tonight. He’s fresh off the April release of The Seven, a collab EP with Styles P, of which you can hear the single “Last Ones” below. Vikter Duplaix will also perform. For more information on the all ages show, visit the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Who is Harmony Woods? Getting to know the most exciting new artist in Philly DIY

Harmony Woods | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Harmony Woods | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

If you ask Sofia Verbilla, she’ll tell you she’s no good at onstage banter.

It gives her a not super comfortable feeling, a sentiment shared by just about any honest musician you’ll talk to. Her nerves are already frazzled enough getting up there with her guitar and performing; add in expectations for public speaking that’s witty, chill and conversational but also profesh enough to keep the show moving and remind you that, oh by the way, there’s merch in the back…it’s just daunting. Awkward. Verbilla is not the sort to toss around the word “hate,” so let’s just say the closest form of active dislike you can get.

I would argue that the frontwoman of Philadelphia basement scene favorites Harmony Woods is fantastic at banter, and here’s an illustration. It’s March, her band is playing Underground Arts for an International Women’s Day benefit; a tuning break is needed, and the slight silence that descended during the last song lingers. (Verbilla has that effect on crowds.) As bartenders dump ice buckets in the wings, she asks, “So, does anybody have any jokes?” A pause. “I know one. THE PATRIARCHY.” She blows a raspberry into the mic and gives a thumbs-down; the audience gathered round the stage laughs, and the band launches into another song.

Really, everything about it was perfect. The right thing to say for this crowd, at this event. (Or, let’s face it, in general.) The timing was spot-on. It was funny. And it got the gig from point A to point B. When it comes to banter, as with most things music-related, Verbilla is a natural. Continue reading →