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Celebrate the life and music of Philly rapper Rich Quick at a memorial show and benefit next month

Rich Quick
Rich Quick | still from video

Following the passing of Rich Quick earlier this month, friends of the local rapper have scheduled a memorial show in his honor; it will take place October 12 at Voltage Lounge. The event was organized in part by Philly rapper Voss and will be hosted by local hip-hop artist Chris Vance. Performers will include Reef the Lost Cause, Corfu, Skrewtape, Marrissa Joy and more. All proceeds from the show will benefit the Rich Quick scholarship fund. Continue reading →

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R.I.P. Rich Quick, a unifying voice on the Philly hip-hop scene

Rich Quick
Rich Quick | still from video

At around 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon, rest in peace shoutouts began pouring into Richard Strey’s social media accounts. As it appeared, the Woodbury, NJ underground rapper, better known as Rich Quick, had passed away.

His passing came as a shock to many. On his Facebook page, numerous heartfelt eulogies, memories, and mentions of disbelief flooded the page of the late MC who had strong ties to the Philadelphia hip-hop scene. Continue reading →

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Listen to two new Gorillaz songs, “Humility” and “Lake Zurich,” see them at Wells Fargo Center in October

Gorillaz | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

Good news in the Gorillaz-verse! Earlier this week, Gorillaz announced new album The Now Now, the quick follow up to 2017’s Humanz. Today, the virtual band released two new tracks off their 6th studio LP, groovy bop “Lake Zurich” and album opener “Humility,” which features George Benson on guitar and vocals. Along with the two new tracks, the band provided more details on their upcoming album, which is set to release on June 29th. View the full tracklist and album artwork below. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia with Andrew Lipke at World Cafe Live, CRUISR at The Fillmore and Jonathan Richman at The Chameleon Club

Andrew Lipke
Andrew Lipke performs 11/2 at The Fire

South African multi-instrumentalist Andrew Lipke will be performing with The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia tonight at World Café Live. This exciting collaboration is part of the Intersect event which aims to celebrate the combination of genres by bringing together the chamber orchestra with some of the most gifted musical talents in the Philadelphia area. Tonight they will be with Andrew Lipke, who has made a name for himself as a critically-acclaimed arranger, producer, composer and performer. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Week of Folk: Richard Thompson, Ursula Rucker, The Lawsuits are Friday’s highlights

Richard Thompson | Photo by John Vettese
Richard Thompson | Photo by John Vettese

The Friday lineup at the 52nd Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival was eclectic and exciting, beginning with a cluster of Philadelphia music scene staples and wrapping up with electrifying and impressive performance from folk scene mainstay Richard Thompson.

The Lawsuits kicked off the day on the main stage with an assortment of songs from their forthcoming LP Cool Cool Cool; they were poppy, they were country, they were classic rock, with songwriter Brian Dale Allen Strouse stepping behind the Steinway for a snappy take on “Onion” and singer Vanessa Winters owning “Long Drive Home” with a twangy vocal.

Lancaster trio The Stray Birds performed an assortment of songs from the as-yet-untitled album they just finished recording last week, Marc Silver rocked out some songs from his new story-centered album A Miner’s Tale, andToy Soldiers tore across a lively set of bluesy rockabilly from their forthcoming sophomore LP The Maybe Boys, due out September 10th.

Poet Ursula Rucker’s collaborative set with Philly guitar wizard Tim Motzer was easily the day’s highlight. While she read (and occasionally sang) pieces addressing social justice, racial prejudice,. gender and identity (among other topics), Motzer played a hypnotic guitar backing. Her performance of “Philadelphia Child” was particularly moving, as was the concluding call-and-response of “Super Sista.”

After an enjoyable performance from Philly-area celtic crew Runa, Richard Thompson took the stage to a thinning (but devoted) crowd. Thompson has played the fest several times as a solo artist; this time he was with his electric trio, which began on a jarringly funky note, but quickly settled into a groove that let Thompson’s guitar skills shine through. His nimble guitar shredding was impressive, “Shoot Out The Lights” backed by the band packed a punch that the song lacks when Thompson plays it solo. And his solo stab at “1952 Vincent Black Lightning,” while not unexpected, didn’t disappoint either. Check out photos from the day in the gallery below.

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SXSW Dispatch: Reppin’ Philly with RECPhilly, What Scene, Freeway, Moosh and Twist, Ground Up, Chill Moody and more

Moosh and Twist  at the RECPhilly showcase | Photo by John Vettese
Moosh and Twist at the RECPhilly showcase | Photo by John Vettese

It was a rainy night in Austin on Friday, making it the perfect time to stay indoors, off of the 6th Street melee and hang with a stacked lineup of Philly hip-hop and R&B musicians. The party at Old School Bar – thrown by promoters What Scene? and record label / artist development upstart RECPhilly – mixed up-and-comers with established names, and kept the room packed with an enthusiastic crowd across the night. Continue reading →

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Listen to “Sacred Papercuts,” the first single from Dumhi’s Soft Pretzel Power Ballads

Dumhi | via facebook.com/dumhi
Dumhi onstage in 2011 | via facebook.com/dumhi

Philly hiphop collective Dumhi returns this month with the latest installment of its Loosies series, amusingly titled Soft Pretzel Power Ballads. It’s a funny title, but these dudes are for serious – producer Haj at the helm and his regular bevy of collaborators, including Reef the Lost Cauze (his January single “Early on my Born Day“), Random, Murs, Burke the Jurke and more. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Top 15 Albums of 2018

This is the music that moved us in 2018

In her review of Lucy Dacus’ Historian, Key writer Sarah Hojsak uses a vivid phrase that sums up both the record, as well as the emotional landscape of 2018: “desperately sad but never hopeless.”

Oh, wait, I’m sorry…would you describe your year as happy? That must be nice, good on you. For many of us, it’s not as straightforward: the toxicity of the country at this moment in history, and the various players that fuel that toxicity, has a draining effect, whether you’re a marginalized person who is in the line of fire or an empathetic soul who is distressed from afar. There’s also the let-down: the pouring of our energies into something to watch it fail, whether personal or public.

And yet we experience moments of joy throughout it all: weddings are had, families are started, a breathtaking sunset is observed from the westbound platform of the Berks Avenue el stop. And there’s music, a constant source of joy and comfort that centers our lives. Continue reading →

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The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s 15th anniversary Christmas Rocks! tour did just that

The Brian Setzer Orchestra Christmas show | photo by Andrzej Liguz | courtesy of the artist

Though regarded far-and-wide as the well-coiffed guitarist who ushered in the 1950s-stylized rockabilly revival (with Stray Cats), the big band swing thing (with his self-named Orchestra) and all of its sartorial and tonsorial splendor, Brian Setzer will always be adored by Philly’s old-head punks for his time in Bloodless Pharaohs. At the tail end of the 70s, a pre-Cats Setzer (with his brother Gary) held sway over the Pharaohs, a Talking Heads-y house band, at 21st & South’s Hot Club before turning to rockabilly, heading to the UK (with a crew of locals including then-tour manager-turned-DJ legend, Bobby Startup), and finding fortune and fame.

Knowing that, it was no surprise to see that Setzer’s 15th Anniversary Christmas showcase with a rich 19-piece ensemble at the grand Academy of Music found its crowd with as many families looking for a good, clean night out, as it did many a spikey, grey haired sort. And the fact is, those crowds — and anyone in-between — got a damned good, entertaining time. Continue reading →

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Later Fortune is a lush, lucid collab between local indie singer-songwriter vets Chet Del Campo and Heyward Howkins

Later Fortune is Chet Del Campo (left) and Heyward Howkins | photos courtesy of the artists

Heyward Howkins and Chris Madl (who records under the name Chet DelCampo) have been making their individual marks on the Philly music scene over the last few years, but recently the two local songwriters took a quick break from their respective solo material to team up as Later Fortune, with a new release out now via Bandcamp. The musicians have been frequent players in each other’s solo work, but this is the first time they’ve joined together for a truly collaborative effort. Continue reading →