Free at Noon Flashback: Albert Hammond Jr. mixes emotional complexity, upbeat energy, and a shimmering disco ball

Albert Hammond Jr. | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN |

The World Cafe Live disco ball was put to good use this afternoon during a Free at Noon appearance by the one and only Albert Hammond Jr. Even the warming weather couldn’t keep the eager audience away from Hammond’s performance, and it quickly turned into a big ol’ noontime party.

Though he’s best known as the guitarist of the Strokes, Hammond didn’t hold onto his own guitar for too long during today’s set, instead putting it down to roam — and dance — around the stage. Hammond is currently on tour behind his fourth solo album, Francis Trouble, released earlier this month, and shared several dynamic new songs today. Continue reading →


Just Announced: Albert Hammond Jr. of The Strokes will play the First Unitarian Church

Albert Hammond Jr. | Photo by Jason McDonald |

The Strokes’ guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. just made a bunch of announcements — first, he has a new solo album coming out in March called Francis Trouble. Second, he’s shared the first song from the album, “Muted Beatings.” Third, and most importantly, if you ask us, he’s heading out on an extensive tour that includes a stop right here in Philly. Hammond will appear at the First Unitarian Church on March 30. Continue reading →


Albert Hammond Jr. debuts new video for “Carnal Cruise” (playing Johnny Brenda’s on 11/06)

Albert Hammond Jr. | Photo by Jason McDonald |
Albert Hammond Jr. | Photo by Jason McDonald |
The woods are certainly alive as Albert Hammond Jr. wanders through them in his new video for “Carnal Cruise”. In the clip, The Strokes guitarist finds himself eclipsed by hazy smoke that changes color and clouds his vision as he sings “there was something on my mind that I can’t explain.” The track is from his latest EP AHJ that was released last month on his bandmate Julian Casablancas’ Cult Records. Albert Hammond Jr. performs this Wednesday night, November 6th at Johnny Brenda’s. Tickets are available here. Watch the video below (via ).


Now Hear This: New songs by Kacey Musgraves, Alexis Taylor, Gwenno, Baloji, Young Fathers, Mount Eerie and more.

Young Fathers
Young Fathers | photo by Julia Noni | courtesy of the artist

Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.

Last month I was seeing double; this month I’m going solo.

I spent a probably unreasonable amount of time in the last couple weeks compiling a list of my personal top 25 albums of the past 25 years – a time period which happens to correspond, more or less, with my lifespan as an active, conscious listener to contemporary music – and then discussing/dissecting said list in detail via Facebook comments, which turned out to be a surprisingly emotional process.  (The whole undertaking was inspired by a prompt commemorating the 25th anniversary of Philly-based staple Magnet Magazine, wherein the list will eventually be published.)

One thing that struck me along the way was how astonishingly many acts from this time-frame – even the earliest years of it – remain (or have again become) relatively musically active.  Now, maybe it’s just a factor of my age, but I don’t really remember the musical landscape of the ‘90s, for instance, being quite so well populated by artists who’d been around since the ’70s.  Of the twenty-five artists who made my list, all but four are either still at it or at it again: two have died (Elliott Smith and Aaliyah; three if you count Stereolab’s Mary Hansen), but only two – Rachel Stevens and Aberfeldy – have, to my knowledge, simply stopped making music.   Continue reading →


The Week Ahead: Queen of Jeans, The Diplomats, Drive-By Truckers, Lorde and more

Queen of Jeans | photo by Jessica Lim | courtesy of the artist
Queen of Jeans | photo by Jessica Lim | courtesy of the artist

Your choices are many; your excuses are few. Here are 25 concerts you could see in Philadelphia this week; enough for you to catch one per day, or for the more enterprising of you Key readers, several per day. Starting with folksinger Sam Amidon, and going up to arena pop rocker Lorde, here are our picks for the week ahead. Continue reading →


Best Coast brings their own jolly dose of surf rock to the Beach Boys’ “Little Saint Nick”

Best Coast
Best Coast | Photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN |

Thanksgiving’s over, so you know what that means: time for bounties of the corniest, jolliest fa la la holiday cheer. While Christmas classics still run the show, it’s always fun to hear new takes on nostalgia-ridden tunes. Amazon agrees, as they’ve compiled a playlist called “Indie for the Holidays,” which includes a gleeful cover of the Beach Boys’ “Little Saint Nick,” by surf rockers, Best Coast. Continue reading →


The Key’s Ultimate Guide to Summer Music Festivals 2016 – Part One

Photo by Joe Del Tufo |

Over the past few years, the United States and Canada have finally made their mark in a tradition that’s been a longstanding one in Europe: Music festivals. This is happened to such a degree that it’s nearly impossible to keep track of them all. Wouldn’t it be great if someone singled out all your favorite XPN artists and which festivals they’re playing in one spot on the internet?!?!?!

Guess what! That’s exactly what we did here. But there’s a catch: There’s a lot of festivals that haven’t revealed lineups yet, so were only going to give you festivals for the first half of summer for now. A little later on we’ll give you the second half. (Okay, I guess that means the list is in two spots on the internet, but still. You get the point.) Without further adieu, here’s the first part of The Key’s 2016 Guide to Summer Music Festivals. Continue reading →


Record Store Day 2016: What’s Coming, What’s New, & What’s Up


It’s almost that time of year again. Spring has (almost) sprung and Record Store Day is just around the corner. Whether or not you are a fan of RSD, it’s still an exciting time and a perfect excuse to go support your local record stores and while there, pick up something new to play on your turntable for the hell of it.

The official date this year for Record Store Day is Saturday, April 16th. Metallica have been announced as the ambassadors for RSD 2016 (the past three were Dave Grohl, Jack White, and Chuck D). Creep Records, Long In The Tooth, Main Street Music, Sit & Spin, and so many other Philly record stores will be participating. To see if your local record store is participating, check out the RSD website here.

A full list for Record Store Day releases can also be found on the website, but here are a couple key releases that we have our eyes out for: Continue reading →