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#NowPlaying at The Key: Eight must-hear songs by James Blake, Palberta, Mykki Blanco and more

James Blake | photo by Brianna Kehone for WXPN // Palberta | photo courtesy of the artist // Kanye West | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

This week’s song selections from Team Key include music that reminds us of a low-budget indie rom com, possibly one involving robots, a minute-long blast of unconventional energy, a sensitive offering from a complicated and confrontational artist, and more.
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#NowPlaying at The Key: Eight must-hear songs by illuminati hotties, Parquet Courts, Mykki Blanco and more

Illuminati Hotties | photo by Kristy Benjamin | courtesy of the artist // Parquet Courts | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN // Mykki Blanco | photo by Bruno Staub | courtesy of the artist

Pop stars expanding into reggaeton, indie rockers dabbling in pop, relatable summer jams and more — this is what we’ve had in heavy rotation at Key HQ this week. Continue reading →

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On Philly’s Great Weights and the future of hardcore

Great Weights
Great Weights | photo by Carolyn Haynes | courtesy of the artist

In the early 90s, the hardcore scene pretty much meant slight variations on a single thing: angry dudes being loud and screaming on stage in front of angry dudes being violent and shoving each other around in the crowd. In some circles, it still means exactly that. Elsewhere, things have grown more nuanced.

Twenty five years ago, Riot Grrrl was a feminist response to the cishetero white male dominance of 90s punk; emo embraced a sensitive, introspective outlook to counter all that rage-for-rage’s-sake. Both subgenres and their offshoots brought us brilliant records, though neither was without its faults — from internal division rooted in scene politics to predatory sad boys using the relatability of their feelings to take advantage of their fan base.

Which brings us to 2018. Is there still something that gives punk a purpose? Or is it just basement shows, ten-year-anniversary full-album tours (or fifteen, or twenty) and little bigger-picture momentum? As somebody who has been a mere observer on the periphery of the scene for my entire life, I’m sure my answer is different than somebody else in the thick of things. But I see the future of punk and hardcore in inclusive labels like Get Better Records and their “QUEER AS IN FUCK YOU” mantra; in events like Break Free Fest, which puts artists of color and other marginalized voices front and center (which, isn’t that act of uplifting kinda the point of a counter-culture?); and in bands like Great Weights. Continue reading →

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Nervous Dater and Eight will open for Hop Along at Union Transfer this May; Hop Along will play Free at Noon next week

Hop Along
Hop Along | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist

Anticipation for Hop Along‘s triumphant return is building quickly. The band has now shared three singles from their forthcoming album Bark Your Head Off, Dog — if you haven’t already been listening to “How Simple,” “Not Abel,” and “Prior Things,” I kindly suggest that you do that right now. The full album comes out next Friday, April 6. Continue reading →

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Great Weights overcomes self-destructive habits on “After The Drive-In”

Great Weights | photo via greatweights.bandcamp.com

Great Weights have such a necessary, important message that they don’t need to shout to get it across, but it sure is great when they do. The songs on the band’s self-titled EP, which will be released April 13 via Bunny Cat Records, are fueled by a deep anger at the state of the world and an unwavering urgency to change it. Continue reading →

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The anger that fuels Great Weights’ “Morning Sickness” is both personal and universal

Great Weights | photo via greatweights.bandcamp.com

Great Weights call themselves “a band born out of anger and neglect.” More specifically, the band formed out of a collective frustration with underrepresentation in the music scene and a strong pull toward trying to end it. As the story goes, band members Meri Haines, James De La Vega, Al San Valentin, Pat Higgins took time away from their respective projects, coming together to record what would become Great Weights’ first EP.  Continue reading →

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Flawless, Fuzzy Punk: Listen to Eight’s self-titled EP

Eight | photo by Scott Troyan | courtesy of the artist
Eight | photo by Scott Troyan | courtesy of the artist

After sharing a video for the sunny and anthemic “839” a few weeks ago, Eight are back with a new release — the five-track EP, called Eight, is out now via Dead Broke Rekerds. The Philly power trio released their first EP, EIGHT, in 2015 and joined us for a Key Studio Session early this year to play some of their new songs. Continue reading →

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Watch Eight’s new video for “839,” catch them at the church this Friday

Eight | photo by Scott Troyan | courtesy of the artist
Eight | photo by Scott Troyan | courtesy of the artist

Since the release of their debut EP EIGHT almost two years ago, Philly power trio Eight have been lying pretty low. They’ll pop up at shows around town every now and then, and joined us for a Key Studio Session earlier this year. Now the band — whose supergroup lineup includes Mimi Gallagher (Year of Glad), Cat Park (Amanda X) and Pat Brier (Queen Jesus, Three Man Cannon) — are back with a spirited video for “839” and news of 7″ to be released on Dead Broke Rekerds. Continue reading →

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The Afghan Whigs tease more new material with the boomer “Arabian Heights”

The Afghan Whigs | Courtesy of Sub Pop Records

Alt rock vets The Afghan Whigs are teasing more material from their new record In Spades (out May 5th on Sub Pop), this time with the driven “Arabian Heights.” Frontman Greg Dulli’s fervent vocals are in full force, floating in front of a blasting back section of speedy drum work and jamming guitars. Growing with each bar, the Cincinnati boys express the alternative energy they’ve boasted since debuting in ’91, and found within modern pop bands like Portugal. The Man and Imagine Dragons. I’m sure while some will throw the track on their running playlist, I’ll do my part and put it on my “Best New Tracks of 2017” list. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Kississippi at Everybody Hits, EIGHT at PhilaMOCA, Maitland at The Pharmacy, and more

Kississippi | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

Philly fave Kississippi brings dreamy indie-pop to Everybody Hits tonight. Fresh off a tour supporting Young and Heartless, tonight’s show will kick off Kississippi’s headlining tour with Fern Mayo. Don’t miss Zoe Reynolds’ folky vocals layered with shoegazey, bedroom pop vibes before they set out. More info can be found here; watch Kississippi wow the crowd with their performance of “Indigo” at last year’s XPoNential Fest below. Continue reading →