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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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19 Philly concerts we’re looking forward to in 2019

Kacey Musgraves | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN // Anderson .Paak | photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN // Steve Gunn | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

After the excitement of ushering in the New Year, sometimes the winter months can become a bit bleak. The holiday season is over, but the freezing cold temperatures remain, and it can be tempting to stay indoors as much is possible. But we all know that the best way to keep the doldrums away is by catching some live music, and lucky for us there are a lot of great shows coming our way this winter. Here’s what The Key recommends. – Sarah Hojsak Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Mike Vasilikos’ all-Philly best of 2018

Orion Sun | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com
Orion Sun | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2018 incredible. Today, XPN’s Mike Vasilikos recaps the best music he’s heard come out of the Philly scene this year.

More lists! Yes, it’s almost time to flip over the calendar but not before everyone gets a chance to reflect on their favorite music of the past 12 months.  I guess it’s my turn!  Last year, I altered my approach to year-end reflections.  The idea being: focus on what’s happening locally, because in all honesty Philadelphia is a special place for music.  Across all musical landscapes, the artistry in our community rivals anywhere in the country.  So that said, here’s what I was listening to in 2018. 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 →