cheeky goes from heady to clubby and back on her new ep, flora

Cheeky | photo via

Philadelphia electronic artist cheeky released her second EP, titled flora, this past weekend. Solo project of Kaylee Sabatino, cheeky draws influence from the likes of Grimes, Animal Collective, and Beach House. The convergence of these genre-blending electronic acts is apparent in cheeky’s work while adding an experimental twist of her own. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cheeky at Johnny Brenda’s, Brutal Measures at PhilaMOCA

Cheeky | photo via

After slaying The Key’s Philly Music Showcase with Ivy Sole and APHRA a couple months back, ambient electro-pop artist Cheeky will be wrapping her gauzy sounds around Johnny Brenda’s tonight. Listen to her ethereal new track, “mon cheri” below, then check out more details on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →


Just Announced: Aphra, Ivy Sole and Cheeky will play The Key’s Philly Showcase at MilkBoy in August

Aphra | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN |
Aphra | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN |

This summer, we’re bringing some of our favorite local artists to the stage of MilkBoy in Center City for The Key’s Philly Music Showcase. Last month, we announced the inaugural gig on July 26th — a rock-forward lineup featuring Resilient, Honeytiger and The Vernes. Today, we bring you the lineup for show number two, which veers in an electropop / R&B / hip-hop direction.
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A cheeky Beak> electrified Underground Arts (photos, review)

Experimental electronic fans got a beat-heavy workout (and a bit of ribbing) when Beak> made its Philadelphia debut at Underground Arts this weekend. Comprised of drummer Geoff Barrow (the multi-instrumentalist in Portishead), Billy Fuller of Fuzz Against Junk and Matt Williams of Team Brick, the band took the stage to a couple hundred fans who ventured out during the snow on Friday night. Barrow make cheeky remarks between songs about the crowd’s size and its chattiness – and to his point, some segments of folks in the room were kind of overly conversational – but when the trio launched into songs from their self-titled debut, it was focused and electrifying.

“Yatton” had a sinewy pulse, all nerves and wires and tension akin to krautrock forefathers Neu!. “Eggdog” was more of a midtempo mood piece, swelling and phasing in warm ambient synthesizer tones and mumbled echo-delay, while “Liar” had a 90s arty-eletro feel to it, akin to the way Orbital blended poppy synth patches with tonal dissonence. “Elevator” brought the psych-kraut vibes back up to the level of a Can-style freakout, at which point one dude watching from stage right was quite literally freaking out, jumping up and down, dancing and waving his arms at Williams. Maybe the crowd seemed small compared to whatever concert halls Beak> is used to playing back home in Bristol, but hopefully it was clear by night’s end how appreciative the bunch was. Check out scenes from the show in the photo gallery above.


Listen to The Bul Bey’s summertime jam about embracing adulthood

The Bul Bey
The Bul Bey | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman |

“I’m an adult now…..I listen to podcasts…..I don’t go out much….I’m stacking up my cash, cuz I got shit to doooooo…..”

 This lighthearted and cheeky chorus animates West Philly MC The Bul Bey’s newest single “Alignment” with a palpable sense of purpose, optimism and personal growth. An elegant summer anthem that is lighthearted and self-assured. Over a swinging drum groove and dreamily modulating keys produced by DJ Miflyn, Bey rides the rhythm with skill and presence, switching flows and bouncing in and out of double-time patterns. The track’s Sing-songy delivery and fun spirit contrasts beautifully with Bey’s lyrical meditations on self-actualization and personal maturity. Continue reading →

The Week Ahead: Field Report, Caroline Rose, Cub Sport, Ja Rule and more

Cub Sport | photo by by Sean Pyke | via

Okay, so you slept on tickets for Hop Along at Johnny Brenda’s, and Yo La Tengo at Union Transfer, and Khruangbin at Underground Arts, and now all those shows are sold out. It’s tough, we feel that. But thankfully there are no shortage of gigs this week, starting tonight with Supercunk and Swearin’ art Union Transfer and Mirah at JBs and going all the way through the road-trip-worthy Broken Social Scene show Sunday at Montclair, NJ’s Wellmont Theater. Read on for our picks of 19 concerts to see in and around Philly this week. Continue reading →


The Week Ahead: Kelela, Matt Cappy, Combo Chimbita, Diet Cig and more

combo chimbita
Combo Chimbita | photo by Itzel Alejandra Martinez | courtesy of the artist

Even on a slow week, you’ve still got fourteen amazing concerts to choose from — that’s how you know you’re living in a great music city. From Kelela at the TLA tonight to Greg Sover at the Sellersville on Sunday, here’s what’s going on in and around Philly over the next seven days. Continue reading →


Music critic Rob Sheffield will discuss why The Beatles are still a thing at Kelly Writers House this Thursday

The Beatles | photo via
UPDATE: Due to the Eagles Parade, this event has been re-scheduled to Thursday, February 15th at 5:00 p.m. Location and panelists remain the same.

Ah, The Beatles. When you have a mania named after you, it’s safe to say you’re kind of a big deal — and probably will be for a while. So it makes sense that these cheeky, brilliant Brits are still regarded with accolades and reverence. Right?

But then again, it has been fifty years since John, Paul, George and Ringo split, and yet Beatlemania still rocks and rolls on; albeit with a few modern updates. “Hey Jude” is still playing — just now it’s streaming on Spotify. Beatles’ merch is still selling like hot cakes — just now from Forever 21 stores. And their presence is still felt on college campuses — just now in the classroom with uber-specific courses rather than blaring from record players in the dorms. Continue reading →


Very Bad Vibes is colorfully excessive in video for “Call Me Cool”

Very Bad Vibes | photo Annabella Mull | via artist’s Facebook

Sam Huntington makes up one part of The Original Crooks and Nannies (with snake boy gang’s Madeline Rafter), another part of AllegrA (watch their Key Session here) and the whole part of his new solo project, Very Bad Vibes. Contrary to what the self-effacing name suggests, Huntington’s first single “Call Me Cool,” rather sends out some Very Particularly Weird Addicting Vibes. Continue reading →


Join in The Hold Steady’s welcome-back bash with energized tracks, “Entitlement Crew” and “A Snake In The Shower”

Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman |

One of XPN’s favorite live-wire rock ‘n’ roll goofballs, The Hold Steady, are back with two new tracks: “Entitlement Crew” and “A Snake In The Shower.” Released through Frenchkiss Records, these songs mark the return from a four year absence since The Hold Steady’s last album, Teeth Dreams, and a decade since longtime keyboard player Franz Nicolay, has been included on the lineup. Now, with Nicolay back, The Hold Steady are ready for further cheeky shenanigans. Continue reading →