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Just Announced: Andy Shauf adds a PhilaMOCA show to his fall solo tour

Andy Shauf
Andy Shauf | photo by Chris Graham

Canadian singer-songwriter Andy Shauf‘s upcoming solo tour doesn’t begin until November, but tickets are already selling out left and right — which makes sense, because who wouldn’t want to see Shauf, who usually commands stages the size of Union Transfer, play a tiny show at a space like PhilaMOCA with only an acoustic guitar and the promise of new songs? Lucky for us, that dream is about to come true this fall. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Andy Shauf at Union Transfer, Ill Fated Natives at The Fire, Harmony Woods at JJ’s Diner

Andy Shauf | photo by Geoff Fitzgerald | courtesy of the artist
Andy Shauf | photo by Geoff Fitzgerald | courtesy of the artist

Is it an album or a collection of short stories? It’s hard to say, but Andy Shauf‘s 2016 album The Party captured the imagination of listeners last year. Lyrically, each song is a vignette of a different guest at a house party, and musically it collects lush orchestrations in the vein of Jon Brion, Elliott Smith and, naturally, The Beatles. After packing the house at Boot and Saddle in the fall, Shauf headlines Union Transfer tonight. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, watch his appearance on NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert series.
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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Directors’ Cut — The XPN video team picks its favorite performances of the year

Tank and the Bangas | photo by Galea McGregor for WXPN
Tank and the Bangas | photo by Galea McGregor for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, we combed through the XPN video archives to find the year’s best performances.

Here at WXPN, our video team — headed up by Galea McGregor and John Groome — keeps incredibly busy. Between weekly World Cafe sessions, Free at Noon concerts, XPoNential Music Festival performances, Key Studio Session and more, they’ve produced over 300 videos in 2017…and there’s still another couple weeks to go. I grabbed some time with Galea and John in between their busy shooting and editing schedule to reflect on their favorite videos from over the past 12 months, and what made them unique. here’s what they had to say. Continue reading →

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Listen to Abi Reimold and Rob Grote of The Districts Guest DJ on WXPN Local

Abi Reimold | photo by Bob Sweeney | courtesy of the artist // Rob Grote | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN

Tonight, Philly rockers The Districts celebrate their brand new, just-released-today record Popular Manipulations with a headlining show at Union Transfer that is, as of this writing, mega sold out. Opening are fellow Philly indie favorites The Spirit of the Beehive and Abi Reimold. If you don’t have tickets to the gig, fear not; you’ll be able to see The Districts next Friday at WXPN’s Free at Noon concert (RSVP here), you’ll be able to catch Abi at the PHL Music Fest in September (more info here) and Spirit is on a stacked bill with Japanese Breakfast at the Church in October (deets here).

You can also see / hear a different side of both Reimold and The Districts’ Rob Grote by listening to a joint guest DJ set both artists hosted a couple weeks back on the WXPN Local Show. Continue reading →

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Items Tagged Philadelphia: On the proverbial hits, and how they just keep on coming

Child Savage | via childsavage.bandcamp.com

Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time each week digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. At the end of each week, we present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.

I don’t know what it is, honestly. Is it that I’m becoming less discerning the more music I listen to for this project? It’s possible, but I doubt it — I feel just as psyched about music as I’ve always been, and typically that sort of thing moves in an inverse direction: like the more music you consume, the more you reach burnout levels and the less stuff stands out. Is it that the quality of stuff showing up under the Philadelphia tag on Bandcamp is increasing as this project goes on? Also possible, but the one certainly doesn’t have anything to do with the other.

All’s I know is that in the first installment of Items Tagged Philadelphia, I picked out four standout releases to spotlight with relative ease, and this week — seven weeks in — I had a tough time winnowing it down to ten. Maybe I started the project on a slow week?

Whatever the case, this current batch of recordings has intertwined in positive ways with my vinyl listening over the weekend. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Sleepy Hollow’s favorite songs of 2016

Angel Olsen | Photo by Amanda Marsallis
Angel Olsen | Photo by Amanda Marsallis

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2016 incredible. Today, the hosts of WXPN’s Sleepy Hollow – Julian Booker, Keith Kelleher and Chuck Elliot – share their favorite quiet songs of 2016

We all know that 2016 was a difficult year for music fans. It will forever be remembered as the year we lost David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen, among many others. But we can be thankful that it also yielded a surplus of excellent recordings (two of which were released by Bowie and Cohen themselves). From Allen Toussaint’s somber swan song American Tunes and undeniably consistent releases from David Crosby and Brian Eno to unexpected collaborations between Neko Case, k.d. Lang and Laura Veirs, Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop, and Billy Bragg and Joe Henry to potentially career-defining albums from young artists like Angel Olsen and Michael Kiwanuka, this year had a lot for which to be thankful. Take a listen to this Spotify playlist featuring all three of our hosts’ favorite songs of the year, and check out our take on a few of the releases that we thought deserved particular attention below. Enjoy! -JB. Continue reading →

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Summertime Sips and Summertime Sounds: Mercury Girls

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It’s been a brutal summer this year, the type of brutal that makes me wanna curl up on the couch in the air conditioning with my cat and watch re-runs while sipping a (whiskey) lemonade. (Some call it the dog days of summer, I call it the cat days). One thing that’s been helping me survive? Making playlists of my favorite songs, just like I did back in high school, when summers were alll about cruising through in town my ‘93 Taurus, windows down and cool jams on the tape deck. (Some of my friends had CD players, but I kept it old skool).

Philly five piece Mercury Girls are essential mix-tape material. The band burst onto the scene just 2 years ago, but has already morphed into one of the city’s brightest up-and-comers, thanks to a sparkling mix of warm vocals, playful guitars, and plenty of fuzz—earning props from everyone from Brooklyn Vegan to The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s Kip Berman, and sharing stages with Fear of Men, Beverly, and Allo Darlin’ (during Pop Fest ‘16). Earlier this year, their 7” “Ariana”/”All That Heaven Allows” dropped on Slumberland Records; later this fall, they will hit the road with Balance and Composure for a North American tour. Continue reading →

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Sleepy Hollow’s Top 10 of 2015 (So Far…)

Jessica Pratt | Photo by Colby Droscher
Jessica Pratt | Photo by Colby Droscher

It’s that time of year when album releases temporarily slow down and those of us who think about music just a little too much put together our favorite albums from the first half of the year. Here is our top 10 of 2015; a selection of releases that we REALLY think you ought to hear! Continue reading →