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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 ethic of taking care of ourselves” fuels new benefit comp with tracks from Void Vision, Plastic Ivy, and more

Casey Grabowski performs as Secret Societies | still from video

Cancer is a cruel disease. It kills slowly, sometimes over the course of years, and even when it’s been cut and irradiated out of the body there’s still always that worry it may come back. Likewise, there is no quick solution, no easy fix. Treating cancer can take years and is incredibly taxing on the body, mind, and last but not least the wallet.

Local musician and artist Casey Grabowski has been living with stage four pancreatic cancer since 2017. Known both in electronic music circles – he played as Nearest, Obligate Surrogate, and Secret Societies and booked events for years – and as the founder of the Philadelphia Zine Fest, Grabowski, a civil engineer by trade, has been unable to work during that time. His wife and main caretaker Michelle Dewey set up an ongoing digital fundraiser that has allowed the couple to tread water while he receives medical care.

Still, even with the help of friends and strangers, they are seriously struggling to get by. Continue reading →

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Alternative Routes: Roger Harvey goes it alone on the new Gold EP with some of his poppiest material to date

Roger Harvey | photo by Cassie Lopez | courtesy of the artist

In the early morning hours last Saturday, singer-songwriter Roger Harvey announced his latest project: the Gold EP, a quick and lively collection of three new roots-tinged indie rock songs, plus a re-recorded version of the song “Gold” from his 2017 album Two Coyotes.

The late night timing of the news was very intentional — Harvey tells us it was “to remind myself that I can create something and put it into the world at any time. I feel that sometimes as artists we lose sight of how easy that is to do on our own as we try to seek approval from others and conform to antiquated systems of marketing. Many of which don’t seem to really hold up any longer.”

And now here we are, 168 hours (or exactly seven days) later, and we have more from Harvey: an exclusive early listen to the EP. Continue reading →

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Belly helps the Union Transfer crowd find release in a maddening week

Belly | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

Toward the end of a first set at Union Transfer on Friday night, Belly singer Tanya Donelly seemed to sum up what was on the audience’s collective minds, lobbing this succinct lamentation: “What a shit week!”

The Rhode-Island rockers are maybe best known for a 1993 debut record of mind-bending, often dark songs that conjure imagery around funerals under trees, stolen children, melancholy breakups and blood moons — richly textured dream-pop landscapes forged with twisted takes on nursery rhyme cadences that you could call anything from mystical to macabre.

One thing they’ve never been, though, is overtly political, and even here Donelly seemed reluctant to really go into it further. But people knew. Continue reading →