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Listen to Buddie’s social anxiety anthem “Sink”

Buddie | courtesy of the artist

It’s been some time since we’ve heard from Philly punk rock 4-piece Buddie. After their debut in 2016, the band was put on hold as frontperson Daniel Forrest left to work as a conservation biologist in Bioko, Central Africa. Now, reunited with a new lineup, the band is gearing up to release a new EP via Super Wimpy Punch. Continue reading →

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Listen to Entitled, the debut album from Philly fuzz-punks Buddie

Buddie | photo via Bandcamp

The meaning of “alternative” music is not one easily attained. To some, it’s an umbrella term used to describe a multitude of sub-genres. Or, it’s a prefix often applied to anything that deviates from the typical sound of a song’s genre. But when the term “alternative” was first applied to music, it was just as much about the music’s message as it was its sound. And while that meaning has certainly been diluted, it hasn’t been erased. For proof, just look at Philly fuzz-punks Buddie and their new LP Entitled, which the band tagged on Bandcamp as “alternative.” Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Mariah Hall’s Top 7 TV Soundtracks of 2018

The cast of GLOW season 2 | via YouTube

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2018 incredible. Today, Key contributor Mariah Hall recaps seven of her favorite television soundtracks from 2018.

I don’t watch movies anymore. I can’t remember the last time I went to a movie theater, and there’s something about a two hour running time that makes me want to scroll past— maybe it’s an underlying fear of commitment, or the fact that my iPhone has destroyed my attention span. TV shows are so much easier to invest in, and Netflix has made them abundantly accessible. Click on a promising pilot and six hours later you’ve finished an entire season and all of the munchies in your kitchen cabinet. The only way to escape that nagging hole in your chest is to start the next show, and one session of binge watching has turned into a full-blown addiction. Welcome to the Golden Age of Television. Here is my roundup of best binge-worthy shows with killer soundtracks of 2018. Continue reading →

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Now Hear This: New songs from Andy Jenkins, Gang Gang Dance, Gorillaz, Arp, LUMP, Wilder Maker, and more

Orquesta Akokán | via orquestaakokan.bandcamp.com

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

Aw yeah, summer. The entropy, the lethargy, the visceral extremes.  Now, summer makes all sorts of things weird anyway, but I feel like summertime in music-land has gotten especially wonky in recent years. Basically, my take is that the focus on large-scale music festivals which has ballooned over the past decade or so has taken a palpable bite out of non-festival-centric touring itineraries, and thus summer concert calendars, and even, indirectly, album release schedules. (Aside from the overwhelming hype cavalcade of Drake, Jay-Zeyonce and Kanye and Co. all dropping within a matter of weeks, the last few weeks have felt a bit thin for noteworthy new releases, and the rest of July and August, peering ahead, are looking even sparser.) Maybe I’d be less sore about all this if I felt closer to the target audience for either Firefly or Made in America, but as it stands those festivals’ biggest impact on me, personally, has been (presumably) shutting Philly out of proper local headline dates for the makers of some of my favorite music of the year: Janelle Monáe, for instance, and Amen Dunes.

Still, there’s plenty that’s worth seeing, concert-wise, in the coming weeks – it just feels like (even) more of an unpredictable hodge-podge than usual. Some of it is coming in the form of smaller, locally-targeted festivals: there’s XPN’s own XPoNential Festival, of course, and the decidedly weirder and more DIY All Mutable Summer Jam which is running the same weekend (July 27th-28th); I’m also pretty hyped about the free, Latin Roots-affiliated Nuevofest which is coming up this Sunday (read on for more about that.)

Anyhow, this being summertime, what do you say we all take a trip? Just a little musical vacation around the globe and beyond, to points both familiar and strange; real, imaginary and somewhere in between. I can’t say that it will all be straightforward or entirely uncomplicated – what is nowadays, after all – but I do promise we’ll have some fun along the way. And it’ll feel oh so nice to arrive back home at the end.

Continue reading →

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Eternal Summers talks owning your weaknesses in the new single “Contenders”

Eternal Summers
Eternal Summers | photo by Tom Daly | courtesy of the artist

How does a band return to indie pop when the world is crumbling around them? How does a lyricist who previously related their thoughts in abstract, poetic observations turn to addressing urgent issues and emotions that are impossible to cloud in mystery?

That was the challenge for Roanoke, Virginia power trio Eternal Summers when working on their new album, Every Day It Feels Like I’m Dying…, which comes out May 4th on Nevado Music. The band’s new single, “Contenders” — which we’re thrilled to give you a first listen to today — addresses feelings of power versus powerlessness through searing guitar tones and urgent rhythms, with frontwoman Nicole Yun crafting lyrical images of competitions and precipices that leave no doubt where the anxiety is coming from.

In a wide-ranging conversation, Yun delves into the importance of embracing your vulnerabilities; shares the outside-the-box influences seeping into Eternal Summers’ music as she approaches her second decade working with bandmates Daniel Cundiff (drums) and Jonathan Woods (bass); ponders the role music should play in confronting societal troubles; and discusses the solo album she hopes to release later this year.

Read on for more, and give a listen to “Contenders” while you’re at it.
Continue reading →

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Two to Tango: Inara George and Matt Whyte (Rupe Shearns)

Inara George | photo by Alexa Nikol Curran | courtesy of the artist
Rupe Shearns | still from video // Inara George | photo by Alexa Nikol Curran | courtesy of the artist

Inara George and Matt Whyte are going through some changes as late. The chanteuse from the bird and the bee and the one-time Earl Greyhound are moving beyond the celestial pop we identify them with into something heartier and more holistic, a la Whyte’s Rupe Shearns’ alter ego and his To A Deer Outside Ithaca release to say nothing of George’s gorgeous aptly titled Dearest Everybody. Plus the headliner George and the opening act Shearns are old buddies. So we got them to play Two to Tango before their Boot & Saddle date tonight. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Vacationer headlines Peace + Noise at Boot & Saddle on 1/24 (the latest in the venue’s month of benefit gigs)

vacationer
Vacationer | photo by Matt Schwartz

After ringing in 2018 at Fishtown’s Frankford Hall with local buddies Commonwealth Choir, Philly’s Vacationer — the electronic pop project of bassist and songwriter Kenny Vasoli — just announced that they will headline Boot & Saddle’s Peace and Noise benefit series on Wednesday, January 24th. They’ll join opening acts Palmas and Younger me on a show that will raise money for Project H.O.M.E., an outreach and advocacy nonprofit that helps Philadelphia’s homeless. Tickets for the 21+ show are $15 and on sale now; more information can be found here. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Kristen Kurtis’ Most Memorable Music Moments of 2017

Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, XPN Morning Show host Kristen Kurtis shares her most memorable musical moments of 2017.

5. DREAMCAR @ TLA, May 22

No Doubt has been my favorite band since I first heard “Just a Girl” in 1995. As inspiring as Gwen Stefani was to my 10-year-old self, my fandom also runs deep for guitarist Tom Dumont, bass player Tony Kanal, and drummer Adrian Young, who cowrote the discography that is core to the soundtrack of my life. It’s a bummer that they’re on a bit of a hiatus while she focuses on her solo career, so I was thrilled when the guys announced their side project, DREAMCAR, fronted by AFI’s Davey Havoc. After seeing No Doubt a dozen times in stadium & arena settings, it was a treat to experience this supergroup in a much smaller space. It did my heart good to see them having fun with each other and the new wave sound at the heart of what they do. Bonus points for the “Moonage Daydream” Bowie cover. Continue reading →