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Stream a webcast of the VuHaus Radio Day Stage at SXSW this March

Lizzo | photo by Garrett Born | courtesy of the artist
Lizzo | photo by Garrett Born | courtesy of the artist

On Friday, March 17th, WXPN and four other public radio stations across the country — WFUV in New York, The Current in Minneapolis, KUTX in Austin and KXT in Dallas —  will present the VuHaus Radio Day Stage at SXSW. The stage will host performances by Spoon, Hippo Campus, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, and more. If you’re like me and don’t have the opportunity to attend the festival this year, you’re in luck, because you can still stream it via VuHaus webcast. Find a full lineup and set times below. Continue reading →

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Philly Jazz Guide: Top picks for live music around town in December

Laurin Talese | photo courtesy of the artist

Another hectic year is coming to a close, which for those of us who spend our time ingesting music and trying to string words together in response means that it’s list-making time. You can seek out my Top 5, and expanded / slightly different lists elsewhere, a little later this month. But a few quick mentions of some albums that shouldn’t go unnoticed this year: the ambitious trumpeter/composer Ambrose Akinmusire has crafted an utterly singular hybrid of diverse influences on his staggering Origami Harvet (Blue Note), while the great guitarist Bill Frisell released a heartrendingly gorgeous career highlight with Music IS. If I can stray from the jazz fold for a moment, I also spent a lot of time this year with Philly choir The Crossing’s monumental new album If There Were Water (Innova), highlighted by Stratis Minakakais’ ancient-meets-unexplored “Crossings Cycle,” with Ryley Walker’s mesmerizing Deafman Glance (Dead Oceans), and with Revocation’s blistering The Outer Ones (Metal Blade), which unleashed my inner Beavis with each listen. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Letters to Cleo, Caroline Rose, Keyon Harrold, (Sandy) Alex G and more

Keyon Harrold
Keyon Harrold | photo by Deneka Peniston | courtesy of the artist

It’s starting to get cold out, friends. And before you find yourself faced with the prospect of bundling up in heavy winter attire to get groceries, much less to get to the gig, we recommend you fit in many shows this week as possible this moth. Here are 25 concerts to see in the next seven days all around Philadelphia: free shows, jazz gigs, folk and funk, and one of the most jam-packed Fridays we’ve seen in a while.    Continue reading →

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This Day in Music History: The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan is released, Red Hot Chili Peppers get their first #1 album 22 years into their career

The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan

1957 – Buddy Holly and the Crickets release their first record, “That’ll Be The Day,” which goes to #1 in the UK and #3 in the US. The song is inspired by John Wayne’s frequently-used, world-weary catchphrase, “That’ll be the day,” in his movie The Searchers, which Holly, Jerry Allison, and Sonny Curtis had seen in June 1956. It is also the first song to be recorded by The Quarrymen, the skiffle group that subsequently becomes The Beatles.

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The Key’s ultimate guide to 2015 North American summer music festivals – Part One!

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

In the past several years, destination festivals have changed the live music landscape in the U.S. and Canada. The core summer music festivals always used to be ones with the seemingly made-up words – Lollapalooza, Bonaroo and Coachella – but in the past five years alone, great new gatherings like Firefly, Hangout Fest, Made in America, Governor’s Ball, and Shaky Knees have sprung up. As a result, the festival scene is getting harder to keep track of, which if you think about it, is a pretty great problem to have.

To help you keep tabs on all the major music festivals going on this summer, we’ve compiled a list of some of the biggest ones, which Philly bands are playing which, other notable bands, and any other additional festival facts you might want to know. Stay tuned for a second list to be released during the second half of summer, which will include late summer festivals like Made in America, Osheaga, and Bumbershoot. On to the list! Continue reading →

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WXPN’s Top 200 Songs of the Year

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It’s a wrap: Here are the Top 200 Songs of the Year as voted on by the XPN community. Hozier placed six songs in the countdown; The War On Drugs and Spoon each placed five songs. Petty, Strand Of Oaks, Ryan Adams, Sam Smith, Courtney Barnett, and St. Vincent each had four songs in the countdown. These were the albums that you were clearly captivated by. Some of you have noted that a few of these songs came out in 2013; we debated long and hard about whether to include them in this year’s countdown and we decided to leave them in for the fact while Hozier and Courtney were introduced to our listeners at the end of 2013, they had their most reach and impact in 2014. Sometimes you gotta let the people decide. Thanks for voting, and listening and your support. Here’s to a rockin’ 2015. Continue reading →

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Ruffhouse Records founder Chris Schwartz on relaunching his revered label in a new era

Ruffhouse Records CEO Chris Schwartz

Beanie Sigel dropped his much-anticipated sixth album today, and it’s a boisterous return to form for the South Philly-bred rapper and actor – and another Philadelphia hip-hop institution as well.

This Time is the first release on a newly-relaunched Ruffhouse Records, the locally-based / Columbia-distributed label that put out an impressive string of albums between 1989 and 1999 – The Goats’ Tricks of the Shade, Cypress Hill’s Black Sunday, both Fugees full-lengths as well as and the modern soul classic The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. It also ventured into the local alternative rock scene, releasing records by popsters Trip 66 and the still-active Ben Arnold.

Label founder Chris Schwartz says he didn’t think twice when deciding would usher in the new era of Ruffhouse – Sigel is, in his words, “a cornerstone artist.”

“At the end of the day, the guy made an incredible record. It’s unfortunate he won’t be here to do some of the things he needs to do behind it,” Schwartz says, referencing Beanie’s looming two-year prison sentence for tax evasion. “But in our humble estimation, it’s the best record he’s made since The Truth. We have an artist – we have a credible, real artist – and making records is what we do.” Continue reading →