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The Key Studio Sessions: Grace Vonderkuhn

Singer-guitarist Grace Vonderkuhn has been making weird and wild rock music out of her home city of Wilmington for a hot minute, and 2018 is poised to be a breakout year for her.

Her latest full-length, Reveries, is on the way via EggHunt Records, and it’s already attracted attention from tastemakers at GoldFlakePaint (which premiered the undeniable rager “Worry” back in December), NPR Music (which recently included “Bad Habits” on their All Songs Considered podcast) and The Grey Estates (which just yesterday unleashed the cosmic “Cellophane” into the world).

So, what’s different this time around that Vonderkuhn is getting all this love? Continue reading →

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Grace Vonderkuhn shares new track “Worry” ahead of new LP

Grace Vonderkuhn | photo courtesy of the artist
Grace Vonderkuhn | photo courtesy of the artist

Wilmington, Delaware’s Grace Vonderkuhn transcends genre. The musician is inspired by everything from garage and psych rock to dreampop, and does it (mostly) by herself — drummer Dave Mcgrory and bassist Brian Bartling collab with her onstage and instudio to capture on record the wildly energetic essence of her favorite genres with pointed determination.

Vonderkuhn has been releasing a steady stream of songs for the past few years, and now we have a new track to soak in — “Worry” is the first single from Vonderkuhn’s forthcoming LP, due out February 23. It’ll be the artist’s first full-length, but you can find her previous releases on Bandcamp. Continue reading →

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Treat Y’rself Fest II rounds up Swanning, King Azaz, Dreambook, Grace Vonderkuhn and more to benefit March to End Rape Culture

Swanning
Swanning | Photo by Jeff Bolt | courtesy of the artist

Treat Y’rself Fest returns to PhilaMOCA for a second year of music, activism and empowerment on Saturday, August 20th. Organizied by Carly Green of The Pretty Greens (who will play a set at the event), the day brings together musicians, visual artists, speakers, vendors and this year a documentary film screening, all to benefit the annual March to End Rape Culture. Continue reading →

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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 →

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20 albums you shouldn’t overlook in 2018

Some of our unsung favorite albums of 2018

Fun fact: in a total coincidence of timing, The Key released our best albums of the year list on the same morning that NPR Music, The Guardian, and Paste rolled out their respective lists. Most other major and minor music publications followed suit in the week that followed, social media was aflurry with immense list excitement as much as total list fatigue.

The best hot take I saw in the fray came from Boston journalist Nina Corcoran (a writer for NPR Music, and Pitchfork, among others), who simply Tweeted: “The 50 Best Albums of 2018 That Didn’t Have a PR Machine Churning Behind Them.”

It’s frustrating, but true. It’s daunting when you’re reading about mostly the same albums in a slightly different order, and it begs some consideration. Like I’ve said in the past: while there is power in consensus, how does that consensus get there? Through mass recognition, through large teams of music journalists with widely eclectic tastes finding 15 or 50 or 500 albums (seriously tho, I’d love to see a top 500 list in haiku form) that they can all agree are great. And that happens when artists and their labels have the resources to seriously and steadily push those records to said journalists.

So what’s to become of a release by Philly rapper Ivy Sole, who self-released and self-promoted her outstanding 2018 outing Overgrown? Or one by Columbus psych/folk/punk collective Saintseneca, which did have label support on their beautiful Pillar of Na, easily the best record of their career, but the “campaign” behind it was limited?

My favorite lists, by comparison, are like the one you’re about to read — not driven by consensus, not presented in a ranked order. Not fostering a frustrating sense of competitiveness in an already-frustrating music scene. One that merely collects records that our team is tremendously excited about, and thinks you should make a point to spend some time with. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Strand of Oaks, Ivy Sole, Mavis Staples, Swearin’ and more

Ivy Sole at SXSW | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

From alt rock heros to rising stars in hip-hop, a Philly favorite taking over three nights at Boot and Saddle in South Philly, while a soul queen posts up for two nights at World Cafe Live in University City. And the time of year being what it is, there are not one, not two, but three holiday shows on the calendar this week. Here are 16 concerts to see in the next seven days all around Philadelphia.  Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Thin Lips at Boot & Saddle

Thin Lips
Thin Lips | photo by Scott Troyan | photo courtesy of the artist

Following the release of their fantastic new album Chosen Family this summer, Philly scene faves Thin Lips have announced their first proper headlining tour behind the record, which will take them up and down the East Coast this winter. The band has also added a new member to their chosen family: Delaware-based rocker Grace Vonderkuhn will open for them on the tour, which wraps up with a hometown show on February 2 at Boot & Saddle. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Childish Gambino, David Byrne, Thin Lips, The McCrary Sisters and more

Childish Gambino’s This Is America | still from video

We hope you’ve got your schedule cleared, because the next seven days are seriously busy on the live music front. Kicking off tonight with Childish Gambino’s long-awaited headliner at Wells Fargo Center, and running through the return of punk legends The Vibrators on Monday, here are 23 concerts you can see in and around Philly over the next seven days. Continue reading →