If you were to take a quick gander across the crowd at today’s Free At Noon, you might be confused as to what artist could possibly appeal to such a wide array of folks. That artist is 90’s indie outfit, Grandaddy.
Completely packed in the World Cafe Live upstairs stage, fans young and old and in-between jammed along to Grandaddy’s afternoon set, which included a mix of past favorites and new tracks off their album released today, Last Place.
Wearing a neon orange flat rim hat and plaid shirt, frontman, Jason Lytle looked just as much as the prolific skater as he did twenty years ago. Opening song “Hewlett’s Daughter” immediately drew excitement and yelps from the crowd–at once commencing a sea of head nodding. This sea later grew into full out head-bang fest the moment “A.M. 180’s” familiar techno beats began. Continue reading →
Just in time for a Friday night, the Indie Rock Hit Parade returns to you tonight at 11pm ET on WXPN. Stay tuned shortly after Making Time RADio with Dave P for a full two-hour show that, among other things, will feature a spotlight on the newly released album from this week’s Free at Noon guests, Grandaddy! The California band just put out Last Place, a terrific new album that happens to be their first in a decade. We’ll dig into that plus hear new tracks from dream-pop prodigy Jay Som, a surprisingly gothic Mountain Goats and more! Check out a few of the new tracks below…
Indie rock veterans Grandaddy are back, and it sounds like they never left. It’s been more than ten years since Just Like the Fambly Cat, but on new record Last Place, the fuzz guitar and analog synthesizer remains gloriously intact over a forty four minute, twelve track set. It’s out this Friday, March 3rd, but you can stream it now via NPR First Listen. Continue reading →
We’ve got some catching up to do this week on our New Music Show. We were off last week for Labor Day, and the new tunes are piling up. Some big names headline the show tonight like The Pretenders, Sting and Kaiser Chiefs. We’ve also got full-length albums from Wilco and The Head & The Heart to sample, plus …
Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. Periodically, we’ll check in to present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.
Getting out of the space you’re used to, day-in-day-out, is important — whether that be a geographical space or a headspace. It’s a big country, a big world, and most of us occupy one small corner of a slightly larger corner of it. I don’t necessarily consider Philadelphia part of “the bubble“; yeah, we might have a higher concentration of vegan restaurants and locally-sourced grocery co-ops and a more robust creative community than other places around the state, but we are also not lacking in the proudly traditional opposite end of the spectrum. Often those segments of the Philly population disagree, sometimes those disagreements escalate to toxic hostility, and sometimes an event (like, I don’t know, a Super Bowl victory) will bring practically everyone together in celebration and harmony regardless of how different they are as people the rest of the year.
Even with the range of views and voices under the Philly umbrella, it still gives me pause when I find myself in another city or state — or hear stories from musicians who tour through other cities or states — and am reminded of how drastically different America can be from one region to the next. Continue reading →
Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time each week digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. At the end of each week, we present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.
I will never not tell you to go see live music in some way or another. It’s part of my role here at The Key — shining a light on the artists that dwell in Philadelphia, as well as the spaces where their art comes to life. It’s just that, often, there’s so much of both of those things.
Friday night, I had a ridiculous amount of gigs to choose between. Two record release parties were on the calendar — one for Radiator Hospital, who headlined the church in support of the awesome and uplifting Play The Songs You Like, and one for Hound, who played Space 1026 to celebrate the asskicking Born Under 76. Technically, there were three, if you consider that The Lame-Os’ opening slot on the Preen / Pears gig at Everybody Hits was in celebration of their new self-titled jawn; and on the non-yay-new-album front, Vita and the Woolf headlined Johnny Brenda’s and The Overcoats played Arden. (To say nothing of huger shows like Ben Folds at The Fillmore, Brand New at the Tower, etc.)
And it’s been wonderful. I’ve gotten a lot of reading done, I’ve watched a couple movies, and I’ve listened to a lot of music — stuff that’s been accumulating in my New Music playlist on iTunes as well as new finds on the Philadelphia Bandcamp tag. We are now solidly, seriously in the autumn weather zone, and I’m all-around loving it: the temperature stability after all the seasonal elongation and upheaval we experienced earlier this year, the emergence of playfully macabre decor ahead of Halloween, and the way the turning of the leaves and the cooling of the air guides artists inward to a more reflective headspace.
If that’s the place you’re in as well, you’ll probably find a thing or two to love in the fifteen releases below.
A couple weeks ago, Russell Edling spent a weekend on the coast of Maine, camping with his girlfriend Gabby in Acadia National Park. After spending the daylight hours hiking miles up rocky cliffs and across mountain trails, they returned to their campsite – where their neighbors were, eh, not exactly chill.
“It was a bunch of dudes drinking and smoking and giggling until really late at night,” he recalls. “They could be 14, but I bet when Monday rolls around they’re going to tie their Windsor knots and get back to the office. It’s an escape. I see that person, and I think they’re a serous professional person. Then I hear them at midnight cooking hot dogs and I’m like ‘what the hell is going on?’”
There’s an odd and seemingly infinite chasm between careless youth and adult responsibility – one Edling, having just turned 29, is acutely aware of. It’s a central theme of Dumbness, the debut full-length from his band Cherry, which we’re happy to give you a first listen to today. The idea of maturity, he muses, is a myth; “I feel like people just get to a point when they stop caring.” Continue reading →
Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.
The calendar still says it’s spring, but that’s purely a technicality. It is summertime, buddypals, and with the year we’ve been having, it’s about dang time. So where are the jams? Doesn’t quite seem like Katy Perry’s coming through for us this time around – the Teenage Dream summer of 2010, it turns out, was a long seven years ago. I’m personally getting major mileage out of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Cut To The Feeling,” a soundtrack loosie packing as potent a dose of fizz-pop headrush euphoria as anything on E*MO*TION, let alone last year’s B-Sides (Man, was 2015 only two years ago?) Keep a lookout for Lorde’s new LP this Friday (and Haim a bit down the line), but in the meantime I’ll share some other prospects with you below.
On the live show front, it’s been a busy month what with another fabulous NonCOMMvention here at WXPN, last weekend’s dueling cross-town polarities of the Roots Picnic and West Philly Porchfest, and an action-packed concert calendar across the board – my personal highlight being the first of Sylvan Esso’s two-nighter at Union Transfer, featuring the most fervently enthusiastic audience I’ve been a part of in ages (no wonder, considering the show sold out in a matter of hours.) Things are looking strangely sparse for the remainder of June, at least from my vantage point (U2 who?), which I blame on the increasing dominance of the summer music festival circuit, infiltrating nearly every level of the industry as opportunities for the sweaty intimacy of those AC-free mid-summer Unitarian basement gigs steadily dwindles. Perhaps. Still, there are a handful of bright spots, particularly on the rootsy/folky end of things, which I’ll get to a bit further on. Continue reading →
Dover’s annual Firefly Music Festival is just about the friendliest mega-festival you’ll ever go to.
I say this, worth noting, not having been to Bonnaroo, or Coachella. Nor am I old enough to have experienced the grandaddy of all festivals, Woodstock — though I’m sure there’s a lot fiction and myth and revisionist history surrounding that concert’s supposed transcendence.
Compared to the current circuit of gigs in brutal-summer-sun-on-asphalt settings, however, the ones taking the let’s-cram-everybody-in-a-municipal-park approach, the ones making even the strongest lineup more daunting than it needs to be — Firefly is clearly a festival designed with the fans in mind. This is my third year covering it, and each year, incremental improvements are made, reacting to the previous year’s challenges while keeping an eye towards growth. In 2016, spending a long weekend in the Woodlands amidst a throng of 100,000 fans felt remarkably…comfortable. Water stations were plentiful, opportunities for cooler air and shade were at (most) every turn, music was never far – nor was it in your face either. Getting from the Lawn Stage at the festival’s south gate to the main Firefly Stage on the north side took maybe 20 minutes in the rockiest of conditions; in the past, it required over a half hour to traverse the festival grounds.
In any number of ways — the forest setting and ubiquity of nature surrounding the show, the super upbeat signage, the way corporate branding was (for the most part) downplayed — Firefly shared experiential commonalities with homespun, hyper-local hippie-oriented musical gatherings dotting the map. The differences being, of course, the colossal pop stars (The 1975, Mumford and Sons, Ludacris, CHVRCHES) and soon-to-be pop stars (Pell, Kaneholler, Quilt, Son Little, Civil Twilight) filling out the lineup. This is, after all, an event where music industry mechanizations move the gears. It’s just refreshing to see that this can be done while still providing a positive experience for the fans.
It’s been a couple years since Band of Horses released a studio album. Four years to be exact, but the band has been busy since 2012 and they proved it on the NonCOMM stage by mixing old songs and new and, please pardon my French, rocking our asses off.
To prepare for the release of their new album Why Are You OK on June 10th, the band used the convention to test out new material but also threw the crowd some favorites such as set opener “Laredo” and tear-jerker classic “No Ones Gonna Love You.” Continue reading →