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.


Need A Little Time: Courtney Barnett slays at The Fillmore

Courtney Barnett | photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN

When Courtney Barnett first barged into the scene back in 2013 with The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, I was floored. I couldn’t get enough. The Modern Lovers-derived, cheeky lyric-infused catchy songs were addictive. Literally. For, like, two years straight I listened to Barnett’s music multiple times a week. It wasn’t healthy. I’d listen to the songs before I’d go to sleep because they were stuck in my head, but the infectious melodies would energize me to the point of not being able to fall asleep. I was not a morning person.

But it was too much. I got burned out. Too much of the same music can do that to you, and if you really overdo it, it will ruin the music for you permanently. This happened to me with Billy Joel. It’s not that Billy Joel writes bad music, it’s just that I heard it too much. Nowadays, whenever the sound of Billy Joel is emitted from the intercom of a CVS I happen to be shopping in, I have to quell my oncoming apoplexy and refocus my attention on which overpriced toothpaste I’ll buy this time.

I started to feel this condition setting in with Courtney Barnett. As a result, I effectively went on a Courtney Barnett hiatus. When she came to Union Transfer last time around, I didn’t even go. I could sense myself getting worn out.

Fast forward to this year’s NonCOMM. Courtney Barnett was on the bill, and I wasn’t even excited about it. I was stoked to see Starcrawler and Jeff Rosenstock, but Courtney Barnett was an afterthought. I went to Barnett’s performance anyway, figuring I had nothing better to do. The energy in her set was palpable. The new songs were still catchy and witty, but a bit more structured that the stuff from the Split Peas era. Instantly, the hiatus had ended. I was re-obsessed and committed myself to seeing her upcoming show at the Fillmore in October. Continue reading →


Grace Vonderkhun unveils Audiotree Session

Grace Vonderkuhn at Audiotree | still from video

A month after recording, Grace Vonderkhun has unveiled her Audiotree Session, recorded as the Delaware indie rocker and her band were wrapping up their east coast tour. The set featured songs from their latest album Reveries, released in February.

Grace clutched a paisley patterned Fender hung with a pink Hello Kitty strap, a comically cheeky contrast to the band’s harsh-edged, grunge sound; she was joined by bassist Brian Bartling and drummer Dave Mcgrory. In between songs, the band discussed an upcoming music video, their sold out record release show in a Wilmington arcade bar, and recording their record on analog in a log cabin. Check out the full session below. Continue reading →


Fairy Godmother finds herself on new EP

Alyssa Thomas | photo courtesy of the artist

Alyssa Thomas records as Fairy Godmother, a name that embodies the tone of her music: at once full of maternal wisdom and a childlike faith in magic and mysticism. The first EP from Fairy Godmother, Attic Space, was released with Fox Food Records last spring. Even in that brief interlude of time, her latest effort, Spit It Out marks a budding transformation. This time around, Thomas collaborated with friends Nick Tate, Conor Ryan and John Heywood of (Sandy) Alex G. The 5-track EP presents an aesthetically pleasing symmetry, following typical story structure complete with exposition, climax and denouement. Continue reading →


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 →