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PREMIERE: “Mischief Night” gets ghoulish in Haunted Homes’ spooky vintage film video

Haunted Homes | photo by Bob Sweeney | courtesy of artist

‘Tis Mischief Night, my good fellows. You know what that means — cue lightning strike, thunder clash, echoing deep-throated cackles — time for some ghoulish shenanigans. And Philly’s resident retro spooksters, Haunted Homes, are here to get you in the wholesomely eerie mood with a new video for their aptly titled track, “Mischief Night.” Continue reading →

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Haunted Homes rise from the dead to bring you “The Rattlesnake King”

Haunted Homes | via hauntedhomes.bandcamp.com

Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if the ghost of Jesse James came back from the dead to front an ass-kicking rock band? If you’re anything like me, questions like that keep you up at night, but toss and turn no more–the new single from Haunted Homes is here. Old West cowboys may never have had access to iPods, but if they had, they would have loved to listen to “The Rattlesnake King” as they rode off into the sunset. Continue reading →

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The Skeleton Key: October is haunted with thrift store discos, horror flicks in cemeteries, and gigs from Swearin’ to Sun Ra Arkestra

Sun Ra Arkestra | photo by Koof Ibi Umoren for WXPN

“This year Halloween fell on a weekend and me and the Geto Boys were …” Wait a minute! Halloween isn’t on a weekend this year! But even when it falls on a Wednesday I’m still more excited for Halloween than just about any other day out of the year. It’s not just the special, yearly concerts – Dead Milkmen, Sun Ra Arkestra, all the cover shows happening around town – though that’s a huge part of it. Halloween is this huge celebration of the weird and the wonderful, an excuse to dress up and have fun and get real obsessed with ghosts. And there’s really no better city for Halloween than Philadelphia, which embraces the holiday the second the clock turns midnight on October 1st.

Welcome to the Skeleton Key, your monthly DIY calendar and column here in The Key. Let’s get spooky! Continue reading →

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Listen to Dreamswell’s new EP Act 2, catch them at Boot & Saddle this weekend

Dreamswell | photo via the artist’s Facebook page

Dreamswell is still a fairly new project, but they’re already back with their second EP — fittingly titled Act 2. And if you’re familiar with some of the band members’ other projects — like Hemming and Madalean Gauze — Dreamswell’s deep and haunting sound may take you by surprise (in a good way). Continue reading →

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Just Released: Listen to Madalean Gauze’s New EP Cool and Fun, Watch “Poison Pill” Music Video

Madalean Gauze | from “Poison Pill” music video

Following 2015’s debut LP Sing, Madalean Gauze‘s next project is here at last. On July 1st the Philadelphia singer-songwriter released her new EP Cool and Fun, and that’s definitely what it is: cool, fun, intense, and all-around awesome. From the beginning everything-goes title track to the beautiful slow burner “Too Hard” to the building, rocking album closer, the indie artist once again realizes a record that was long in the making but worth the wait. Continue reading →

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Now Hear This: New songs from Cat Power, Elvis Costello, Matthew Dear, Half Waif, Richard Swift, Spiritualized and more

Half Waif | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist
Half Waif | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist

Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.

This past Saturday was my 36th birthday, and, as it happens, this is my 36th Now Hear This column.  (I’ve been secretly keeping track: the first fifteen installments ran weekly over at Philly Voice during the fall of 2016; the monthly columns for The Key started in February 2017).  Thirty-six feels like a significant year – more so than 35 in many ways (especially considering what’s been happening to the institution of the presidency).  It’s divisible by more numbers, even if five isn’t one of them.  As one friend pointed out, it means I’m now old enough to vote twice! And, more notably, it means that I’ve been a quote-unquote “adult” for fully half of my life; that the time since I left my parents’ house now equals the time that I lived there.

So it’s afforded a nice opportunity to reflect back on the time around my 18th year – an age perhaps less overtly mythologized in song than sixteen or seventeen, but probably even more transformative in real (contemporary) life – which in my case was also the era of Y2K.  I’d reckon that nobody felt the cultural and historical shift from the 20th to the 21st century, from the 1990s to the still-nameless-after-all-these-years 2000s, more acutely than those of us for whom it paralleled the end of high school and the start of what-comes-next; i.e. me and my fellow circa-1982 babies: the oldest, truest millennials.  Conveniently, just two days before my birthday, September Now Hear This boy-toy Troye Sivan joined up with plasticwave popgenius (and certified ‘90s bitchCharli XCX to drop a video memorializing and celebrating the pop culture of that period – specifically 1999, although the references span roughly 1997-2000 – when, as many have mentioned, its creators were still in single digits, if not diapers.  It represents exactly, and in exquisitely realized detail, the “borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered (late) ‘90s” that I have been ambivalently anticipating for quite some time now.

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Sing along with Grease, cry with Big Star, in XPN’s Second Annual Music Film Festival (tickets on sale Monday)

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Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me is one of the featured films in the Second Annual XPN Music Film Festival

The WXPN Music Film Festival returns for a second year this spring, April 12th-14th, and its lineup once again covers the musical and cinematic gamut. Blues fans can experience the southern juke joint circuit with We Juke Up In Here; b-movie lovers can nerd out to The History of Future Folk; 70s music buffs and present day indie heads can bond over the heartbreaking story of rock’s greatest unknown band in Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me; and just about anybody over the age of 25 will have a blast singing along to Grease. Also in the mix are a screening of The Flaming Lips’ 2012 Halloween concert film Freak Night, a documentary on archetypal riot grrl Kathleen Hannah, the heartwarming Once in a Lullaby: The P.S. 22 Chorus Story, and many more. Check out the full lineup below; tickets and all-access passes are on sale to the general public on Monday, March 25th through the XPN website.

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