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Philly’s Dear Friend will celebrate their new album at Ortlieb’s on Saturday

Dear Friend | via Bandcamp

Saturday night in Northern Liberties, Philly indie four-piece Dear Friend celebrates its album release at Ortlieb’s. The self-titled album is the band’s first record since 2014, and in the time since, the band has been an active part of the Philly music scene, playing gigs at Philly venues like Boot and Saddle, MilkBoy and Bourbon and Branch. Music from the new album hasn’t made its way online yet, but in the meantime, check out the audio from the band’s 2014 release (also self-titled). Saturday’s show is 21+, tickets start at $10 and can be found here. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Dear Friend at Boot and Saddle, Weezer at BB&T Pavillion, Valley Exit at Kung Fu Necktie

Dear Friend | via Bandcamp

Fuzzed-out Philly riff rockers Dear Friend are at Boot and Saddle tonight, opening the show for Straw Hats and Prism Tatts. The project of singer-guitarist Kenny Luu (and featuring Julia Rainer, a great singer-songwriter in her own right) released its self-titled LP in 2014, and it’s the perfect soundtrack for a long summer weekend. Having just come off a long weekend, we think this will still sound pretty right-on tonight. Listen below and get tickets and more information at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Old Crow Medicine Show paint a picture of friendship and loss in “Dearly Departed Friend”

Photo by Andrea Behrends
Photo by Andrea Behrends

Old Crow Medicine Show frontman Ketch Secor copes with friendship and loss in “Dearly Departed Friend,” a song from the band’s new album Remedy, on July 1st. A chorus of “21 guns for 21 years and American flags in the wind,” paints the picture that the friend lost his life in war, and the tender, mid-tempo country song illustrates the narrator’s grave-site reminiscences at the funeral and his attempts to deal with his friend’s death. Remedy, Old Crow’s fourth album, was recorded at Sound Emporoum studios in Nashville. The band is playing the Philadelphia Folk Festival on August 15th; tickets and information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.

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Birdie Busch celebrates life and friendship on new Thunder Bridge LP

Birdie Busch
Birdie Busch | photo courtesy of the artist

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Birdie Busch over the years, it’s that she cherishes friendships and community and actively works to turn one into the other, often through music. From curating her annual Philly Opry showcase to writing an ode for a close friend who passed away to being involved in neighborhood meetings, the West Philly-turned-Germantown musician has an uncanny ability of bringing people together – so it’s no surprise that her newest album was inspired by a friend as well.

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Ain’t No Party Like a Hemming Party: Watch the new “Some of my Friends” video

From Hemming's "Some of my Friends" video
Candice Martello ducks to avoid a living room crowd surfer in Hemming’s “Some of my Friends” video

We’re super psyched for the release of Hemming‘s self-titled debut here at The Key – it’s in stores both digital and physical this Friday – and we’re doubly psyched to find that the Philly rock project fronted by Candice Martello just released an incredibly fun music video for the best song on the album.  Continue reading →

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RX Bandits, The Dear Hunter and From Indian Lakes put on killer triple bill at Union Transfer

Photo by Cameron Pollock
Photo by Cameron Pollock

Part of why I sought out a position as a writer and photographer at XPN is so I could constantly be exposed to new artists and new musical directions. I’ve found so far that my favorite method of discovery since hopping onboard XPN’s contributor list is by discovering bands at concerts. I’ve learned of myriad artists in this manner, including Strand of Oaks, Parquet Courts, and The 1975. On a warm summer night at Union Transfer, I had the pleasure of discovering and subsequently falling in love with three mind-blowingly fantastic acts: From Indian Lakes, The Dear Hunter, and Rx Bandits.

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Stream “Forget Me” and “Satan Is Your Master” from Pill Friends’ new LP

pill friends

Endearing bummer-pop outfit Pill Friends have set the stage for their second studio release of the year with two new singles, “Forget Me” and “Satan Is Your Master.”  Both tracks appear on the local four-piece’s Blessed Suffering, a full-length coming out soon via Brooklyn/Philly microlabel Birdtapes.  Despite the painfully catchy melodies and pop stylistics of the two tracks, the lyrics tell a different tale entirely with phrases like “I’ll wipe the blood from your tears” and  “devour me” worming around.  This juxtaposition of sentiments is represented in the opening lines of “Forget Me,” during which a young girl’s voice recites an excerpt  from Sören Kierkegaard’s The Sickness Unto Death.  While you’re waiting for Blessed Suffering to be released, download a free recording of Pill Friends’ June 8th show at local show space The Soup Kitchen here.

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Pill Friends release free EP of acoustic Soup Kitchen show

a0851006741_10_0Local group Pill Friends have just released a recording of a show they did at DIY space The Soup Kitchen this past June, and made it available for free via Bandcamp. The recording features six tracks, all performed entirely acoustically – some old and some new, which will be featured on Pill Friends’ proper forthcoming full-length. The recording quality holds up quite nicely, and never fails to remind you that it’s live, featuring the always-endearing noises of the those in the audience. Stream and download it in full, below.

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Allman Brothers Band founding member Gregg Allman dies at 69, a backstage view at his last concert.

Gregg Allman passed away at the age of 69 | Courtesy of the artist

A sad day for Southern rock and roll. Yesterday the news broke that one of the genre’s most influential artists, Gregg Allman, has passed away. NPR reported, “Allman’s manager, Michael Lehman, told NPR News Allman had suffered a recurrence of liver cancer five years ago, and died from complications of the disease.”

Allman passed peacefully, surrounded by loved ones at his home near Savannah, Georgia. An official statement on the southern rocker’s website included:

“Gregg struggled with many health issues over the past several years. During that time, Gregg considered being on the road playing music with his brothers and solo band for his beloved fans, essential medicine for his soul. Playing music lifted him up and kept him going during the toughest of times.

“Gregg’s long time manager and close friend, Michael Lehman said, ‘I have lost a dear friend and the world has lost a brilliant pioneer in music. He was a kind and gentle soul with the best laugh I ever heard. His love for his family and bandmates was passionate as was the love he had for his extraordinary fans. Gregg was an incredible partner and an even better friend. We will all miss him.’

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XPN MusicNotes: Hear Sean Ono Lennon’s Carrie Fisher homage, read about Jack White’s new music plans

Found this old picture of my mother and I taking Carrie out in NY. Just want to mention because I forgot to say earlier that regarding the trials and tribulations of being a son or daughter of celebrities, no one helped or inspired me more than Carrie Fisher. She was a super nova of talent and good character. She made the impossible seem effortless–of course thinking twice as fast as everyone else didn't hurt. One of my favorite things she used to say is, 'Resentment is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die.' Carrie and I even wrote a song or two together. I'm going to find them and put them out if it makes sense. I'm still shattered, can't think clearly. I'll just say please send all your love and light energy to Billie and Debbie, for they are suffering the most. I know what it's like to have your world torn apart by a loved one taken before their time. It never gets easy, although one learns to live through the pain. Please let's just get to 2017 without losing anymore geniuses.

A post shared by Sean Ono Lennon (@sean_ono_lennon) on

Sean Ono Lennon has released a song that he wrote with, and has dedicated to, his very dear friend; the late Carrie Fisher. Continue reading →