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The Key Studio Sessions: Coping Skills

Philly’s Coping Skills need to start a podcast. Sure, Rachel Dispenza and Lauren DeLucca write fantastic punk / indiepop songs that are witty, catchy, humorous-yet-poignant, addressing issues that range from the college industrial complex and the mid-20s crash to gender roles and sexism; their self-released Relatable Web Content was a brilliant debut that not enough people talked about last year.

But the incredible chemistry heard on their songs carries over to Coping Skills as people. Being in the studio with them for a few hours earlier this month was wildly fun; even when they’re not technically “on,” Dispenza and DeLucca have a remarkable conversational rhythm, fast-paced and funny, building on one another’s thoughts, making cutting observations about gigs and touring and working in the service industry.

I mention how I almost wish the chatter was being recorded in addition to the songs; I said I could totally hang with an hour of Coping Skills in podcast form. They nodded, seemingly digging the suggestion. “That would be the longest con!” Dispenza shouts, grinning widely. “‘You thought you liked us for this music thing, but what about this…'” I’m not sure if a seed was actually successfully planted here, but if Coping Skills: The Podcast does emerge, we will be the first to let you know. Meantime, their music alone is stellar, and we’re glad to showcase a couple new songs for you in the band’s Key Studio Session. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Support the Attic Youth Center with Colleen Green, Mannequin Pussy, and Coping Skills this April

Mannequin Pussy | photo by Scott Troyan | scotttroyan.com
Mannequin Pussy | photo by Scott Troyan | scotttroyan.com

On Thursday, April 13th, LA songwriter Colleen Green and Philly’s Mannequin Pussy and Coping Skills will play a benefit show at Everybody Hits. The gig will benefit the Attic Youth Center, Philadelphia’s only independent LGBTQ youth center. With Green performing full band and this being Mannequin Pussy’s last Philly show until the fall, it’s an event that’s not to be missed. For tickets and more information, head over to XPN’s Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Local acts Coping Skills, Tombo Crush and more support the Trevor Project on benefit Heart Hitter comp

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Coping Skills | photo by Julia Leiby | courtesy of the band

Heart Hitter: Vol 1 is a new compilation of cover songs organized by local artist JL Simonson and featuring a handful Philly bands in support of The Trevor Project, a national suicide prevention organization that offers crisis intervention, mental health education, and other critical services for young LGBTQ people. The comp is available on Bandcamp now, with 100% of the proceeds being donated to the organization.

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Listen to Coping Skills cover DCFC for their Ben Gibbard-themed tour

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Coping Skills | photo by Julia Leiby | courtesy of the band

Last April, Coping Skills shared their sophomore release, Relatable Web Content. It featured a track called “Fuck Me Up, Ben Gibbard“, and now the song has inspired US Tour of the same name. Supposedly, the dates are a pilgrimage of sorts, culminating in Chicago where the duo will attend Gibbard’s January 20th performance at Thalia Hall with Julian Baker. In anticipation, they’ve shared a cover of Death Cab For Cutie’s “A Lack of Color” from Transatlanticism. Check out the track as well as a full interview with the band over at The Grey Estates. Find the tour’s humorous poster by Michael Smaczylo below. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Coping Skills at Trash House, Brain Candle at Kung Fu Necktie

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Coping Skills | photo by Julia Leiby | courtesy of the band

Bummer pop duo Coping Skills will play DIY space Trash House tonight  along with Central PA faves The Mellowells. Coping Skills released the excellent LP Relatable Web Content earlier this year; watch the “Drop Out of College” video below. The Mellowells latest, Head Space, came out this past September, but check out a live rendition of past single “Alexander Supertramp” below. In addition, the show will also features performances by Harmony Woods and Bloom, so head over to the Facebook event and get to the gig. Continue reading →

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PREMIERE: Coping Skills clock in at Boot & Saddle in new “Drop Out Of College” video

coping skills
Coping Skills | photo by Julia Leiby | courtesy of the band

Local duo Coping Skills released their sophomore effort Relatable Web Content earlier this year, striking a goldmine of “bummer pop” feelings and fun. The record, which is now in it’s second cassette pressing over on Bandcamp, has several standout tracks: the atmospheric “We Bury Our Dead Alive,” the bouncy “4 Days with Me Will Change Your Life (Cool Girl),” and “Drop Out of College,” whose accompanying video we’re premiering today.

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: John Vettese’s Top Six Philly Music Discoveries of 2017

Aleana | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Aleana | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. To kick off the series, Key editor John Vettese recaps six of his favorite Philadelphia music discoveries from the past 12 months.

Earlier today, I was listening to a conversation with Johnny Brenda’s talent buyer Chris Ward on the 25 O’Clock podcast, and he made a very interesting point. The bumper crop of musical talent in Philadelphia, or what is often perceived as such, is no sudden phenomenon. It’s not as though, pre-2006, the city was in some dire straits or a lesser creative state, and has subsequently grown and evolved to the present-day bursting of the proverbial seams.

The truth is that amazing music — rap music, rock music, pop music, soul music — has always existed in the 215; in many cases (the Gamble & Huff era), it’s downright thrived. But as Ward pointed out, a more recent confluence of factors and persons and places and institutions over the past decade (like him and JBs, I might add, or like our friends at The Deli and Jump, or like countless others) have helped amplify the scene tremendously.

Every year around this time, as we launch into The Key’s annual year-in-review extravaganza, I begin by sitting down and reflecting on the new artists and new-to-me artists who, over the past twelve months, have knocked me sideways. There have always be artists like this, whether or not the outside world is paying attention. And there always will be; even if, at some point, the zeitgeist declares Philly to be “over,” if you look and listen, you’ll find them continually creating, somehow, somewhere.

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PREMIERE: Soft Idiot’s new Rain Wins Another Year! LP contains deep, quiet multitudes

Soft Idiot | photo courtesy of the artist
Soft Idiot | photo by Steph Sottolano | courtesy of the artist

Prolific Philadelphia musician Justin Roth makes music under the name Soft Idiot, and his latest release is one of the project’s most ambitious yet. Rain Wins Another Year! is the new full-length from Soft Idiot, and you can hear it first right here. The new album follows stillborn, released in March, as well as a recent split with Lonely Ghost. Continue reading →

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Curtis Cooper colorfully copes with somber themes in the “Percs of Life” video

Curtis Cooper | photo by Bob Sweeney | via Cereal and Sounds

Curtis Cooper has made their way around the Philly DIY scene over the past couple years, and  recently shared news of a forthcoming second album, the follow-up to last year’s debut Laughing In Lane. We don’t have a release date for the LP, but we do have a new video for the lead single “Percs of Life,” a song we first heard when Cooper played it during their Key Studio Session last year. Continue reading →

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Skate Jawn benefit comp feat. live recordings from Curtis Cooper, AllegrA, and Doggo

Curtis Cooper | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN
Curtis Cooper | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Over the summer, West Philly’s Grays Ferry Skatepark was once again transformed into the DIY tune-fest: the Skate JawnWhile raising money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the jawn boasted a rad local lineup including Abi Reimold, Stippling, Doggo, AllegrACurtis Cooper, and Coping Skills.

Now, with the help of the new local non-profit media collective, Dissenter Works, the gig’s philanthropic good-naturedness is being resurrected by ways of a benefit compilation of a few live recordings from the night. Continue reading →