On a Thursday night in the summer, there’s no better place to be than Spruce Street Harbor Park. The park’s annual Waterfront Sessions encourage you to “tap your toes and groove to jams by some of Philly’s finest artists,” with a free concert each week throughout the season. The sessions kicked off last week, and the July lineup has just been announced, bringing us four more weeks of music to look forward to. Continue reading →
Picture this — it’s a warm, sunny spring day and you’re walking through a garden filled with flowers, probably tulips. There’s a soft breeze blowing. A song plays. It’s A.M. Mills‘ new track, “Ain’t Life Grand,” and it makes you instantly agree with the songwriter and answer into the blue sky, “Yes, life is grand.”
Who knows if that’s what Mills was envisioning when he made the new song, but the scenario certainly fits. “Ain’t Life Grand” is four and a half minutes of soft, lilting musical goodness. Like all of Mills’ songs, it sounds entirely timeless — not like a 21st century artist copying a retro sound, but like it actually could have been made decades ago. At the same time, it’s not old fashioned — like the title suggests, the song is sunny and upbeat, focused on calm pleasantries and filled with delicate harmonies. It’s like the 1950s, minus the bad parts. Continue reading →
Window Box, the latest EP from Philly’s own A.M. Mills, has been a long time in the making. The retro songwriter has kept a fairly low profile since his former project Blood Feathers disbanded a few years ago (If your memory stretches back far enough, you may recall seeing the band play both Free at Noon and XPoNential Festival in 2010). Mills released a few songs online over the last couple of years, “Wreckin’ My World” and “Window Box,” which now appear on the new EP, along with four new tracks.
The songs on Window Box were recorded in San Francisco in 2013 but the full collection wasn’t released until this past November, when Mills surprise-released the EP on a Tuesday. Now, the EP has received a ringing endorsement from Joey Sweeney (yes, that Joey Sweeney), who shared “Wreckin’ My World” on his long-running blog Philebrity. Continue reading →
You may have caught Petal in stunning solo form recently at that fantastic show with Julien Baker and Half Waif, and now the Scranton-based project of Kiley Lotz returns to Philly for another solo performance — this time on a smaller-scale, at Everybody Hits, but the show is sure to be no less beautiful and even more intimate than it was on the big stage. Born Without Bones, Super American and Tombo Crush will also play the Home Outgrown Presents gig. Petal’s latest release is the Comfort EP, which includes a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Silver Springs.” Listen below and find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →
Philadelphia jazz-inspired hip-hop artist MH The Verb plays tonight at Silk City. The rapper recently released a video for his song “Last Dance” commemorating the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut in collaboration with his production collective ArtHouse95. Check out the video for “Last Dance” below and click here for more information and tickets. Continue reading →
Dan Campbell brings his Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties project to The Foundry tonight. The Wonder Years’ frontman by day, Campbell started this conceptual folk-rock band as “a character study conducted through music” last year. His first release under the moniker was We Don’t Have Each Other, which will be performed in its entirety tonight. Tickets and information for the show can be found here; watch “Our Apartment” below.
Philly singer-songwriter A.M. Mills celebrated Record Store Day at AKA Music and tonight he plays at Ortlieb’s. Last month, he released a stellar track titled “Wreckin’ My World” which has a ’70s California-rock ballad feel to it (think Tom Petty). It’s simple, melodic and feels good all around. Check it out below and get tickets here.
If the name Mark Lanky sparks any kind of association for you, dear Key-reading Philadelphia music scenester, it is probably with the historic North 3rd Street music venue Ortlieb’s, formerly a jazz house, now a home for indie artists of all sorts. Lanky seems to always pop up as an opener on its various bills — and if he’s not opening, he might be checking your ID and taking your cash at the door.
This month, Lanky is wholly embracing his home-away-from-home with a Thursday night residency at Ortlieb’s, beginning tomorrow. All of it circles around the release of Another Night, the album Lanky recorded with Jamie Mahon and Mike Kiker of fellow Northern Liberties stalwarts St. James and the Apostles, at their Green Rock Studio.
To tease the album release, Lanky this week released a stylishly retro video for “Slowly Fading Away,” shot in the autumnal twilight on a NoLibs rooftop by Kurt Fowles and Sirius Cinema. As a suit-clad Lanky sings a 50s-style croon into a vintage ribbon mic and strums an acoustic guitar, the sun dips gradually below the western skyline. (Unless I have my geography all mixed up, in which case it was actually shot in the breathtaking pre-dawn as the sun slowly ascends from the east…but I’m pretty sure we’re looking west.) Continue reading →
What’s that you say? It’s a holiday week, it’s a heat wave, everybody’s going down the shore or hiding out in A.C.? Guess what, friends: the music doesn’t stop for any of that, and this week we bring you 14 shows to see in the next seven days — from the all-local Chill Moody stage at Wawa Welcome America to a heavy dose of punk to close your weekend at West Philly’s Lava Space. Continue reading →
No excuses this week — especially if you have a day off work for Memorial Day. From The Sidekicks to St. Vincent to Ellen Siberian Tiger, from rock to blues to pop, here are nine shows to see in and around Philadelphia this week. Continue reading →