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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Joey Sweeney at Maas Building, AllegrA at All Night Diner, Muscle Tough at Johnny Brenda’s, and more

Joey Sweeney & The Neon Grease | photo courtesy of the artist

Philly songwriter Joey Sweeney and his band The Neon Grease lead the lineup at Jojo’s Holiday Variety Show tonight at the Maas Building. The pay-what-you-will event benefits Rock to the Future and is also a release party for Sweeney’s new holiday EP, Smilin’ Through. The event will also feature some other musical acts, including Beat Jams, Hi Soft, Settled Arrows and the Birdsall Band, plus comedy from Doogie Horner and Jaime Fountaine. Listen to Sweeney original song “Don’t Kill Yourself This Christmas,” off the new EP, below and find more information on tonight’s show here. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Lone Bellow at Union Transfer, Friendship at Everybody Hits, AllegrA at Planet Phitness, and more

The Lone Bellow
The Lone Bellow | Photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN | hopehelmuth.com

The wait is almost over for The Lone Bellow‘s long-anticipated Union Transfer appearance, the band’s first Philly show in two years. If you missed out on today’s sold out Free at Noon, you can still catch the folk rockers tonight, along with openers The Wild Reeds. The Lone Bellow released their third studio album Walk Into A Storm in September. Find tickets and more information on tonight’s show on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Listen to AllegrA’s self-titled debut ahead of their record release show

AllegrA | photo by A.W. Klass | via facebook.com/allegrabandmusic

AllegrA announced their new LP just a few weeks ago, but with enough time for quite a bit of excitement to build. The solo project of former Yes Yes A Thousand Times Yes bassist Allegra Eidinger, AllegrA released their first EP a year ago and returned recently with a few singles from the new album, “My Pillow is My Punching Bag” and “I’m An Introvert” (which has a delightful video to go along with it). After moving back to their native Philly after a few years in Pittsburgh, they’ve been previewing the new tunes at shows around town — including an appearance at Weller’s record release gig last weekend — and now we can treat our ears to the LP in full. Continue reading →

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Listen to AllegrA’s hesitant but assured “My Pillow is My Punching Bag”

AllegrA | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Before AllegrA releases their self-titled debut LP next week, they’ve shared a second single from the album. “My Pillow is My Punching Bag” is full of the soft energy AllegrA expertly weaves into their songs — from the project’s first release My Legs are Growing to the recent “I’m An Introvert” single, AllegrA’s distinctive sound is filled with blunt expression, vivid imagery, and bright and steady melodies. Continue reading →

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AllegrA unpacks social anxiety in their new “I’m An Introvert” video

AllegrA | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

We first met Philly native Allegra Eidinger when they were living in Pittsburgh, playing bass in Yes Yes A Thousand Times Yes and just starting their solo project, AllegrA with an antifolk-tinged offering called My Legs Are Growing. Flash forward twelve months and Eidinger has moved back to Philly, started playing lead guitar in Kississippi and prepped an LP’s worth of new material, a self-titled outing that will see its release on November 10th via Sad Cactus Records.

To announce the record this week, AllegrA released a cosmically colorful video for “I’m An Introvert,” a song that honestly addresses the social anxiety all of us encounter on the regular. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: AllegrA at Kung Fu Necktie and Chelsea Wolfe at TLA

 

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AllegrA | photo by Rose Savage | courtesy of the artist

Philly via Pittsburgh artist, AllegrA merges somber lo-fi bedroom pop with sunny licks and personal, charmingly quirky lyrics (i.e. the adorable “cuties”). They’ll be bringing this shining combination to Kung Fu Necktie tonight alongside Dog Tears, Mean Sider, and Susie Derkins. Bonus, not long after, prep to see them again at JJ’s Diner along with Weller and Three Man Cannon on November 4th, not to mention their album release party at Planet Phitness on November 17. Listen to the beachy dream tune “42nd St” below. Continue reading →

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Skate Jawn benefit comp feat. live recordings from Curtis Cooper, AllegrA, and Doggo

Curtis Cooper | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN
Curtis Cooper | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Over the summer, West Philly’s Grays Ferry Skatepark was once again transformed into the DIY tune-fest: the Skate JawnWhile raising money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the jawn boasted a rad local lineup including Abi Reimold, Stippling, Doggo, AllegrACurtis Cooper, and Coping Skills.

Now, with the help of the new local non-profit media collective, Dissenter Works, the gig’s philanthropic good-naturedness is being resurrected by ways of a benefit compilation of a few live recordings from the night. Continue reading →

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PREMIERE: AllegrA makes solo debut with My Legs Are Growing EP

allegra
AllegrA | photo by Rose Savage | courtesy of the artist

Stepping out from her role as bassist in Pittsburgh’s Yes Yes A Thousand Times Yes, Philadelphia native Allegra Eidinger is prepping to debut her new solo project AllegrA. Her first EP My Legs Are Growing follows up a pair of demos from the spring and will be digitally released on September 25th, showcasing the multi-instrumentalist’s intimate style of no frills pop.

Continue reading →

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Harmony Woods debuts new song “Best Laid Plans II” live at the batting cages

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

Chances are you haven’t gotten tired of Nothing Special, the debut album from Philadelphia’s Harmony Woods, quite yet — there’s a reason why it was included in The Key’s Top 15 Albums of 2017. Still, it’s always nice to hear new music from our favorite artists, and this weekend Harmony Woods brought us just that, sharing “Best Laid Plans II” during their set at the Philly Gets Alternative showcase at Everybody Hits on Sunday. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Top 15 Albums of 2017

This is the music that moved us this year

As far as years go, 2017 was…complicated. And so it stands to reason that The Key’s annual go at determining the top 15 albums of the year — the records that resonated the most with us, the collections of songs that best captured the spirit of the past twelve months — was no straightforward affair.

In 2017, we thrilled to the reflective psych-rock sprawl of Philly’s The War on Drugs, a seasoned band delivering its most confident and refined artistic statement to date. We also heard the hushed introspection of Big Thief‘s sophomore album, which transformed trauma and pain into beautiful atmospheric folk. Artists looked deeply inward to discover raw personal truths, whether we’re talking about U.K. singer-songwriter Sampha, Philly newcomers Katie Ellen or hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, sounding more down to earth and honest than he has in years (decades?). They refused, as Lorde and (Sandy) Alex G did, to be confined by boxed-in preconceptions of their work, and pushed their chops into new territories, whether they be on album three (The Districts) or nine (Spoon).

A common thread was embracing vulnerability, practicing self-reflection and finding inner strength. That’s the story of albums by Waxahatchee and Harmony Woods, Cayetana and Kelela. It’s also an undercurrent to Kendrick Lamar‘s remarkable DAMN., which The Key’s contributors rallied around to vote it number one album of the year. Our John Morrison does a deep dive on the record, dissecting its nuanced pairing of hard-hitting hip-hop production with complex themes about fear and internal conflict, virtue and vice, weakness and wickedness and whether those traits make us flawed.

Last year, you’ll recall, was also a complicated year. It left many in artistic circles revving up to fight and affect change…and some, like Hurray for the Riff Raff, chased that impulse with thrilling results. But it seems that the records that stuck with us the most at year’s end are all saying, in one way or another, that before we go out to better the world, we need to look within and (to borrow a phrase from Adam Granduciel and co.) gain a deeper understanding of ourselves. – John Vettese Continue reading →