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Field Report’s new song dedicated to a child with sickle cell anemia is totally sweet

Field Report | Photo by Brittany Salerno
Field Report | Photo by Brittany Salerno for WXPN

The folks in Milwaukee Americana outfit Field Report have a rep for being some of the nicest dudes in music, and their new single serves to reinforce that.

Self-released on Bandcamp, “Your Friend Tia” is a jaunty pop number reminiscent of the more upbeat moments of Juliana Hatfield and Matthew Sweet, and it’s dedicated to a young girl growing up in the band’s neighborhood. Continue reading →

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Philly Music 101: The basics everyone needs to know about the Philadelphia scene right now

Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com
The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com

Philadelphia is a city of many wonders: a buzzing food scene, an established craft beer culture, and a parade of historical landmarks. But one aspect of our city that we are particularly passionate about is our magnificent local music community and all that is has to offer. Here at The Key, we often focus on the particulars of our scene – where artists will be playing each night, brand new local releases, etc. – so much so that we can forget how overwhelming it can be for newcomers to get their bearings.

So for those of you having trouble finding where to start, we are introducing this new Philly Music 101 series as your guide through the wonderful world of the Philadelphia music scene: all of its passionate, loving members, from artists to venues to studios and more. It’s meant to help new fans navigate the scene as much as emerging musicians looking to break in and behind-the-scenes folks trying to get their start. We hope it will illuminate just what makes it so damn exciting for music lovers to live here. To kick it off, here is a by-no-means-complete overview of the different pieces of the Philadelphia music scene that have come together to make up its sturdy foundation. Continue reading →

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Download 65 free World Cafe performances

Field Report | Photo by Brittany Salerno
Field Report | Photo by Brittany Salerno

As we wind down the year on World Cafe with David Dye, we continue to share some of the studio performances as free downloads. Some of the highlights include songs by Field Report, Old 97’s, Jonathan Wilson, Sharon Van Etten, Justin Townes Earle, Chuck Prophet, Hiss Golden Messenger, Sylvan Esso, Parquet Courts, and others. Below, download 65 free World Cafe performances. Catch up World Cafe performances and interviews here. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Bruce Warren’s 5 favorite albums of the year

Field Report | Photo by Brittany Salerno
Field Report | Photo by Brittany Salerno

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, XPN program director Bruce Warren shares his favorite albums of the year.

There’s always this internal debate I have with myself about year-end lists, and it’s always this battle between whether I should go with “best” or “favorite.” “Best” is usually saved for the “critics;” which is not to say I am one or not. I’ll leave it to the Pitchforks, the New York Times and the Robert Christgaus of the world to attach some higher level of artistic and cultural significance and importance to records.

But in so many ways, I am a critic. I just don’t use big words. Music is “best” when it has singular appeal to anyone who wants to say “this is the best album of the year,” or “this album is one of the top five albums of the year.” You see, everyone’s right and everyone’s wrong when it comes to what “the best” is. When it comes to my albums of the year, I typically list the records that are my favorite. Are they the best? Sure they are; to me anyway. And if for some reason some of my favorites hit the critics year end polls as “the best” (in a music critic kind of way) then I guess I get bonus points. So here they are: My favorite five albums that entered into my musical universe in 2014. Continue reading →

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Download a live World Cafe performance by Sylvan Esso of “Play It Right”

Sylvan Esso | Photo by Brittany Salerno
Sylvan Esso | Photo by Brittany Salerno

Durham, North Carolina electronic pop duo Sylvan Esso put out one of our favorite records of the year. Their self-titled debut, released in May, is a textured, lively electronic pop outing that, like tUnE-yArDs, is catchy and poppy, but with innovative arrangements and an eclectic sensibility that fuses bits of dance music, hip-hop and jazz. Singer Amelia Meath (of Mountain Man) and producer Nick Sanborn (of Megafaun) recently appeared on World Cafe (listen here) with an interview and live session recorded at the duo’s Free at Noon concert (listen here). Below, download their World Cafe performance of “Play It Right.” Continue reading →

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Sonny Landreth, Busses and more…

Sonny Landreth
Sonny Landreth | Photo by Brittany Salerno for WXPN

Monday kicked off with a My Morning Download from Sonny Landreth.  The Legendary guitarist was on World Cafe for the show’s Sense of Place: Lafayette special recently and he performed a rocking version of his song “Native Son.” Get a free download of the song below and listen back to the full interview and performance here.

Continue reading →

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Download a blistering live World Cafe version of “Native Stepson” by Sonny Landreth

Sonny Landreth | Photo by Brittany Salerno for WXPN
Sonny Landreth | Photo by Brittany Salerno for WXPN

Born Clyde Vernon Landreth, guitarist Sonny Landreth is a guitarist’s guitarist. Born in Mississippi, his family settled in Lafayette, Louisiana. His first professional gig was as a guitarist with the legendary Clifton Chenier in the Red Beans and Rice Revue in the Seventies, before he stepped out on his own as a solo artist. Landreth released two albums in the Eighties which led to his being called upon by John Hiatt who enlisted his services on Hiatt’s classic 1988 Slow Turning album. A pair of excellent albums in the Nineties, 1992’s Outward Bound, and 1995’s South Of I-10, garnered Landreth even more praise and notoriety, and he went on to collaborate with Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Jimmy Buffett. Continue reading →

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Free At Noon Flashback: Shark Tape fill the room with energy upstairs at World Cafe Live

Shark Tape | Photo by Kelsey Stanger
Shark Tape | Photo by Brittany Salerno

Philly-based rock trio Shark Tape played a lively set and kept the crowd moving upstairs at today’s Free At Noon. After they launched into their set, the room quickly filled with their sound; guitarist / vocalist Niles Weiss laid into soaring guitar solos, lead vocalist and bassist Stephen Lorek kept the low end thumping and howled to the crowd; drummer Dylan Mulcahly kept a tight beat and embellished with his own vocals. Continue reading →