Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ellen Siberian Tiger at Kung Fu Necktie, Vince Staples at Union Transfer, and King Azaz at Bourbon and Branch

Ellen Siberian Tiger | photo courtesy of the artist
Ellen Siberian Tiger | photo courtesy of the artist

Ellen Siberian Tiger impressed us with her recent EP,  Red-Blooded Woman, in which singer Ellen Tiberio-Schultz takes a more stripped-down, vulnerable and introspective approach. The three bluesy-folk tracks showcase Tiberio-Schultz skills in crafting acoustic, confessional songs along with noisey wonder punk. Don’t miss seeing Ellen Siberian Tiger tonight at Kung Fu Necktie, along with a lineup of Ian Fitzgerald, Driftwood Soldier, and Cult Class. More info can be found on the XPN Concert Calendar. Listen to the beautiful tune, “Grinding My Teeth,” below. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: King Azaz at Haus of Yarga, Slaughter Beach, Dog at Boot and Saddle, Whaler at Kung Fu Necktie

King Azaz | via

Drummer Sarah Schardt and singer-guitarist Christo Johnson met in North Carolina eight years ago, transplanted more recently to Philadelphia and are currently destroying in the punk two-piece King Azaz. Their record Spiritus Mundii was a quiet standout in 2016, filled with grungy riffs, hammering drums and minor key aggression – but there’s also a level of Fugazi / Dischord style socially charged catharsis. Tonight they’re on a pretty stacked lineup at West Philly staple Haus of Yarga, along with Thin Lips, Tombo Crush and more. Info on the show can be found at Facebook. Continue reading →


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

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 →


Phonographic Arts Philadelphia booking collective to leave Little Bar, move to The Level Room in Center City

Pat Troxell of the Phonographic Arts Philadelphia booking collective (and drummer of Creepoid) just dropped us a line to let us know that Phonographic Arts’ time at Little Bar has come to an end, and they’ll immediately be moving over to The Level Room in Center City. According to Phonographic Arts’ website, all shows previously scheduled to take place at Little Bar (beginning with Thursday’s performance by Boogiewitch and Spacin, as well as the New Year’s Eve showcase featuring Bleeding Rainbow, Eternal Summers, Creepoid, Slutever, Fire In The Hearts And Minds, Pink Skull, and Exploding World) will now be held at The Level Room. From Pat:

The Level Room  will provide Philadelphia with three floors of live entertainment. This will feature DJ events, and performing arts. The much anticipated New Years Eve’s performances by Bleeding Rainbow, Eternal Summers, Creepoid and many more through the Jan 20th Art Exhibit opening from Philadelphia Photographer Matthew Gallagher

We would like to express our out most appreciation for all the support which we have received and look forward to the future.

See ya in 2012 on the up and up.

It’s definitely an interesting (and sudden) development, given that Little Bar has been hosting Phonographic Arts shows—including last Saturday night’s Bands In The Backyard Episode 5 party (featuring Break It Up and Psychic Teens)—until, well, just now. It’s made even more interesting by the opening lines in the email (which has since been posted to Phonographic Arts Facebook page), in which Troxell states, “On Tuesday, Dec. 20th, 2011, with the intention of pursuing to become a dance club, the owner of Little Bar terminated all management. This also included Phonographic Arts Booking. In turn, Phonographic Arts and the entire Little Bar Staff have lifted their roots to plant them firmly in Center City Philadelphia.”

More details to come soon. You can listen to our Key Studio Session with Creepoid here; our interview with Troxell can be found here. Phonographic Arts Philadelphia’s upcoming schedule is posted below.

Dec 30th Silvox #2 with Mark Lord, Coppertone + DJs Matt Korvete and Robert Francisco @ LEVEL ROOM 21st & Market
Dec 31st Bleeding Rainbow, Eternal Summers, Creepoid, Slutever, Fire in the hearts and minds, Pink Skull, Exploding World @ LEVEL ROOM 21st & Market 8PM 21+
Jan 5th Weekends(Baltimore), Sweet Tooth(NYC), Death Rattle, Beef@ LEVEL ROOM 21st & Market 9PM $7 21+
Jan 6th Grey March(Baltimore), Auctioneer @ LEVEL ROOM 21st & Market 9PM $7 21+
Jan 8th Sat. Nite Duets, Sharkula, ghost ship @ LEVEL ROOM 21st & Market 9PM $7 21+
Jan 11th Little Big League, Cozy Galaxies, Porches @ LEVEL ROOM 21st & Market 9PM $7 21+
Jan 11th Acid Kicks, Leather, Harsh Vibes, Wild Child @ Silk City $7 9PM 21+
Jan 12th Cult of Youth, Anazazi, SGNLS @ LEVEL ROOM 21st & Market 9PM $8 21+
Jan 13th Slowdance(NYC), Mike Viser @ LEVEL ROOM 21st & Market 9PM $8 21+
Jan 14th Negative Department, The only ghost in town, Pray for Polankski, Sure juror @ LEVEL ROOM 21st & Market $7 8PM
Jan 21st SILVOX #3 @ LEVEL ROOM 21st & Market
Jan 22nd Heavy Medical, L.U.N.A.R. Revolt, Dong Johnson, DBRC(NYC)@ LEVEL ROOM 21st & Market 9PM $7 21+
Jan 24th Brain Slug, Heathen Reign, This is Jazz @ Silk City $6 8PM 21+
Jan 27th Haldol, Biblethumper, We are all savages @ Emoda Gallery 8PM $5 All Ages
Jan 29th VYGR, Summer Love, Quiet Arcs, fire in the hearts and minds @ LEVEL ROOM 21st & Market 8PM $7 21+
Feb 8th True Gold, The Sea around us, Store Cats @ Silk City $6 9PM 21+

—Matthew Borlik


The Key Studio Sessions: Yarrow

With all due respect to the bassists of the world, I respect the hell out of artists that don’t buy into rock and roll convention, that firmly jettison the four-stringed low end from their instrumental setup. When they do that and sound as thrilling as Philly’s Yarrow, all the better.

Fronted by some familiar punk scene faces — Christo Johnson of King Azaz, Meri Haines of Great Weights — the band takes the Sleater-Kinney guitar-guitar-drums power trio approach, but with the density and catharsis of Drive Like Jehu’s “Luau.” Or, as our Yoni Kroll put it when he named Yarrow one of his favorite new Philly bands last year, Yarrow feels like it’s “channeling Slint and Unwound but in a perfectly pissed off kind of way.” In short: it’s heavy stuff.

Ahead of their appearance this Saturday, May 25th at Break Free Fest — the third annual edition of the festival centering black and brown artists in punk and hardcore — Yarrow (rounded out by drummer Dani Elephant) came by WXPN studios to play an explosive set of songs from A Mild Circus, their February release on Get Better Records. Continue reading →


The Key’s Year-End Mania: Yoni Kroll’s best new bands of 2018

Yarrow | photo via

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2018 incredible. Today, Key contributor Yoni Kroll recaps his favorite bands that started in 2018.

What we want from bands is at times a very amusing catch 22: they need to be perfect but not polished, experienced but with a youthful electric energy permeating everything. It’s why you hear people talk crap on new bands. They’re young, they’re inexperienced, they’re doing something new or different or maybe not different at all. It’s why my roommate when I was 20 couldn’t stop talking about how every band I was getting into wasn’t as good as NOFX. True story.

But you know what? I’d rather see a bunch of new bands trying to figure it out than a bunch of old people going through the motions. It’s generally more fun and more interesting. Sure, you might not be able to sing along, but is that really your only criteria for enjoying a band? This year I got to see a bunch of bands that were either just starting or recently coalesced from ‘project’ to actual performance. That includes groups formed for the First Time’s the Charm 2018, a biennial concert held last July “made up of entirely new bands that must include women, people of color, queer, trans and gender non-conforming people, and those with disabilities” all playing their first sets ever.

The goal for the event, which I helped organize, was to create a space for those who have been marginalized in our music communities. It was a resounding success, we donated $1500 to music education non-profit Beyond the Bars, and most importantly eight brand new bands were unleashed on Philadelphia. While continuing past that initial performance is not necessarily a goal of the event, a number of bands from this year and past First Time’s the Charm concerts are still playing out regularly. That includes Teenage Bigfoot and Marge from the 2013 edition, Aster More, Taxes, and Full Bush from 2016, and Babe Grenade, Pritty Gritty, and GRIT from this past year. And yes, those are two bands with ‘Gritty’ in their names well before it was cool to do so. That’s how awesome First Time’s the Charm really is.

Without further ado, here’s some of the best new bands that I saw in the past year. Most of them don’t have any recordings yet, so keep an ear to the ground for that. Think of this also as a list of bands to look for in the coming year because I’m sure they’ll all be doing cool stuff. Continue reading →


The Skeleton Key: Pilam is dead, long live Pilam

A flyer for Pi Lam’s notorious Human BBQ, circa 1987

Starting off August’s edition of the Skeleton Key with some breaking news, which for the record is a strange thing when it comes to a column that comes out once a month. Pilam, the venerated “freak frat” at the University of Pennsylvania, is closed, at least temporarily. After more than four decades of being a space for DIY music in Philadelphia, the organization has lost its home. Details are still emerging as to what’s going on but for the time being I’d much rather just focus on the positive. Which, to repeat what I just said, is more than four decades of serving as a home for music in our city. That’s just incredible.

If you were to compile a list of every band that ever played Pilam we’d be here for a very long time. Hell, just looking at the listings of who performed at Human BBQ, the annual all-day concert at the house, is wildly impressive in both quality and quantity. This past year was the 40th BBQ with bands including Old Maybe, Norwegian Arms, Slingshot Dakota, and EDO. Screaming Females and Sadie from Speedy Ortiz played last year, along with a ton of other great bands. Two years ago it was Moor Mother, HIRS, and Japanese Breakfast. We could seriously go on like this forever.

The first time I specifically remember being at the festival was way back in 2001 to see An Albatross, Stinking Lizaveta, and … EDO. Some things never change. Also, I somehow missed Wesley Willis. Maybe I was getting pizza? Continue reading →