Tonight’s Concert Picks: Barns Courtney at The Foundry, Janet Jackson at Wells Fargo Center

Barns Courtney | Firefly Music Festival 2017 | Photo by John Vettese

Barns Courtney returns to Philly tonight at The Foundry at The Fillmore to promote his September LP release, The Attractions of Youth. The British folk pop rocker was seen on the small stages at Firefly Music Festival this past summer, and hasn’t played Philly since 2016, so this show has been a much-anticipated return. Get details on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar and watch the video for “Fire” below. Continue reading →


Just Announced: Janet Jackson’s massive North American tour stops in Philly and Bethlehem in November

Janet Jackson| via
Janet Jackson | via

Our girl Janet Jackson is back after postponing her ‘Unbreakable’ tour multiple times, announcing the ‘State of the World’ tour. This 56-date run kicks off in September before heading up Sands Bethlehem Events and the Wells Fargo Center on November 11th and 13th, respectively. She wants this to be a celebration, saying “It’s [the tour] not about politics. It’s about people, the world, relationships, and just love.”

Continue reading →


Link Roundup: Q&A w/The Dismemberment Plan’s Travis Morrison, Janet Jackson plays the hits in AC

The Dismemberment Plan’s Travis Morrison “’Here’s to another goddamn new year,’ Travis Morrison speak-sings on Dismemberment Plan live staple and crowd-favorite ‘The Ice of Boston.’ Here’s to it, indeed. On Jan. 20, The Plan will perform on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon before embarking on a short tour—its first in more than seven years—that will include a series of shows on the East Coast, two in Chicago, and a week in Japan. The trek begins shortly after Barsuk’s deluxe reissue of the Plan’s Emergency & I, which gets vinyl treatment for the first time, complete with a handful of bonus tracks and extensive liner notes that include an oral history of the band compiled by The A.V. Club’s own Josh Modell.” (The A.V. Club)

Janet Jackson’s Coming To AC To Play ONLY The Hits! “You can watch the video above to hear Janet herself talk about her upcoming tour, but all you really need to know is that she’s coming to the Borgata in Atlantic City on March 25th and 26th (it’s the closest she’ll come to Philly); tickets are $95-$135 and go on sale this Friday morning; and she’ll only be playing songs from her new 34-track compilation album Number Ones, which means you won’t have to sit through any crappy new stuff. Win!” (Make Major Moves)

Senate to try again on controversial antipiracy bill | Media Maverick – CNET News “The U.S. Senate judiciary committee will take another crack at arming the government with broad antipiracy powers. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the judiciary committee’s chairman, said today that the government must take action against ‘online criminals’ who harm American jobs by obtaining the nation’s intellectual property without paying for it.” (CNet)

Sign of the Times: Sony Closes Major CD-Manufacturing Plant in New Jersey “After 50 years in operation, Sony is closing a major CD-manufacturing plant in New Jersey. The killer: the shift to digital music downloads and a soft economy. Surprise. Once the Sony DADC plant in Pitman ceases manufacturing operations, about 300 workers will lose their jobs. Sorry guys.” (Hypebot)


Christine and the Queens hold court at Union Transfer

Christine and the Queens | photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN

Héloïse Letissier is a star. That may not be news to you if you’ve been following her work as Christine and the Queens since her 2014 debut Chaleur Humaine, or even its English 2015 translation simply titled Christine and the Queens. It might not even be a surprise if you’re just getting acquainted with her via this year’s commanding, life-affirming sophomore album Chris. There is a difference, however, between recognizing stardom and witnessing stardom, in real time, on stage. Letissier’s performance at Union Transfer last Friday was a showcase of stardom at its best. Equal parts vivacious, vulnerable, and virtuosic, it saw the radiant French popstart bring the kind of spectacle usually reserved for big arenas and amphitheaters to an indie club without losing any of its grandeur. Continue reading →


The Key Studio Sessions: Matt Cappy

Local trumpeter Matt Cappy is full of loving references to his native New Jersey. Just look at the song titles that he and his band played for their Key Studio Session: “856,” for the area code. “Rose Lane,” for a street he grew up on in Berlin, NJ. “East Philly,” regional slang for Camden County.

But as much as Cappy makes it clear where his roots run, he’s Philly through and through. The University of the Arts-schooled jazz player gigged at the now-defunt Wilamena’s back in the day, blew horns in late 90s ska staples The Freakin’ Cads and has played on and off with Jill Scott since her band went by the name Fatback Taffy.

Last year, Cappy released his long-in-the-works debut solo album, Church and State, and it sees him flexing his sound and style both inside and outside the jazz spectrum. Continue reading →


The Key’s Top 15 Albums of 2016

“Can 2016 just stop already?” You’ve probably said that, or read that somewhere on your social media timeline. Typically I see it in reference to the heartbreaking celebrity deaths of 2016, from David Bowie to Prince, Sharon Jones to Leonard Cohen. But this year has also contained the most divisive political season in generations. There have been tragedies at home – mass shootings like the one at Pulse Orlando, floods in Louisiana, the fire at Oakland’s Ghost Ship arts community – and abroad – the conflict in Syria being a major one that not enough Americans are talking about.

But framing it all up as the unhappiness in the world ending along with the year, unfortunately, misses the point. Beloved celebrities are going to die in 2017. The political tone of the country is, in all likelihood, not going to improve. Catastrophic things will happen all around us, and all around the world, and there’s little we can do to stand in the way.

I don’t say all this to be a massive bummer this holiday season (honestly, though, parties and presents do feel more trivial than ever). Rather, it’s to underscore the importance of music in or lives. Continue reading →