Watch Mark Lanky’s retro rooftop video for “Slowly Fading Away,” see him at his February Ortlieb’s residency

Mark Lanky | still from video

If the name Mark Lanky sparks any kind of association for you, dear Key-reading Philadelphia music scenester, it is probably with the historic North 3rd Street music venue Ortlieb’s, formerly a jazz house, now a home for indie artists of all sorts. Lanky seems to always pop up as an opener on its various bills — and if he’s not opening, he might be checking your ID and taking your cash at the door.

This month, Lanky is wholly embracing his home-away-from-home with a Thursday night residency at Ortlieb’s, beginning tomorrow. All of it circles around the release of Another Night, the album Lanky recorded with Jamie Mahon and Mike Kiker of fellow Northern Liberties stalwarts St. James and the Apostles, at their Green Rock Studio.

To tease the album release, Lanky this week released a stylishly retro video for “Slowly Fading Away,” shot in the autumnal twilight on a NoLibs rooftop by Kurt Fowles and Sirius Cinema. As a suit-clad Lanky sings a 50s-style croon into a vintage ribbon mic and strums an acoustic guitar, the sun dips gradually below the western skyline. (Unless I have my geography all mixed up, in which case it was actually shot in the breathtaking pre-dawn as the sun slowly ascends from the east…but I’m pretty sure we’re looking west.)  Continue reading →


Going through a breakup? Philly’s Mark Lanky is here to help

Mark Lanky/ courtesy of the artist
Mark Lanky/ courtesy of the artist

Philly singer-songwriter Mark Lanky is the definition of dark and brooding. With a guitar in hand and a deep baritone voice (reminiscent of The National’s Matt Berninger), Lanky embodies a world of melancholy and anguish. It’s the simplicity of his music that is his overall appeal. He doesn’t need much to pull the listener in — a natural talent, if you will. Although the music is simple, Lanky’s lyricism isn’t. His words are deep and complex while capturing the emotional roller coaster of heartbreak and despair, especially in his song, “That Morning Sun.” Written about a breakup, Lanky’s echoey voice and the dreamy melody characterize a life that was as they fade away with the relationship. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Petal at Everybody Hits, The Districts at Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center, A.M. Mills at Ortlieb’s, and more

Petal | Photo by: Ellen Miller |
Petal | Photo by Ellen Miller for WXPN |

You may have caught Petal in stunning solo form recently at that fantastic show with Julien Baker and Half Waif, and now the Scranton-based project of Kiley Lotz returns to Philly for another solo performance — this time on a smaller-scale, at Everybody Hits, but the show is sure to be no less beautiful and even more intimate than it was on the big stage. Born Without Bones, Super American and Tombo Crush will also play the Home Outgrown Presents gig. Petal’s latest release is the Comfort EP, which includes a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Silver Springs.” Listen below and find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →


Nothing release video for acoustic “B&E,” announce show at Ortlieb’s

Nothing | Photo by Megan Kelly |

Local shoegazers Nothing have released a new video for an acoustic version of their song “B&E,” taken from the band’s 2013 effort Guilty of Everything.  The video comes in tandem with a reissue of the band’s 2011 LP Downward Years to Come, which includes new additions like this acoustic cut.   Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cheerleader and The Ataris at MilkBoy, Sturgill Simpson at the Ardmore Music Hall, BITBY Summer Sounds Showcase at The TLA and more…

Cheerleader | photo courtesy of artist.
Local haze-pop group Cheerleader join Kristopher Roe of alt-rock stalwarts The Ataris at MilkBoy tonight for the venue’s 15th anniversary.  Cheerleader released a new video for its crystalline pop single “Perfect Vision” earlier this month, a track that will be on the full-length follow-up to this year’s self-titled debut EP.  The song moves away from the pure haziness of the EP and pulls production influences from radio pop songs, making it a perfect summer anthem alternative.  Meanwhile, Kristopher Roe of The Ataris has embarked on a solo acoustic tour of the States, performing fan favorites and requests in intimate settings.  Watch Cheerleader’s video for “Perfect Vision” below and get more information about the free show here.

Commonwealth Choir, Pine Barons, Weekender and more to play at BITBY Summer Sounds

Photo by Mike Bucher

Bands in the Backyard is bringing together some of Philly’s best for a one-night-only concert at the Theater of the Living Arts. BITBY will host the concert Summer Sounds on August 15. It’s a killer lineup topped by Bucks County rock band Commonwealth Choir as headliner (fresh off their slot at XPoNential Music Festival this weekend). Continue reading →


Show Alert: BITBY presents Jeff Zeigler at Ortlieb’s Lounge tomorrow night

jeff zeigler

Arc in Round / Uniform Recording mastermind Jeff Zeigler will perform a solo set at Ortlieb’s Lounge tomorrow, May 4th.  The local producer / multi-instrumentalist has recently dipped his hand into a few new projects, having teamed up with harpist Mary Lattimore as a live duo, enlisting friends to remix Arc in Round’s self-titled album, and recording his own solo spacey / synth tracks like the one below.  The show, presented by Bands in the Backyard, features Zeigler with supporting sets from Mark Lanky and DJs Mikele Edwards (who appears on “Saw the Life”) and Team Krause.  More information for the 21+ show can be found on the Facebook event page here.  Stream “Saw of Life” below and get a name-your-own-price download here.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cloud Control at Boot and Saddle, Sad Actor at Silk City, St. Lucia at World Cafe Live

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist
Australian retro alt-rockers Cloud Control will play at Boot and Saddle tonight. The band released its second album Dream Cave last August. With a sound heavily influenced by the Beatles and Motown harmonies, Cloud Control are a fresh take on what you love about pop and early soul music mixed with rock. Watch them play “Dream Cave” below and get tickets here.

Continue reading →


Indie-folk eccentric Devendra Banhart charms Union Transfer (photos, review)

Indie-folk luminary Devendra Banhart played a wonderfully fun and slightly kooky show at Union Transfer Monday night to a packed crowd, despite the rescheduled date. The show was part of Banhart’s tour promoting his new album, Mala, which was released in March.

Opener Rodrigo Amarante took the stage shortly after 9, jjokingly apologizing that no, he was not Devendra, and thanked the audience “for facing this way.” Amarante, a Brazilian musician of Los Hermanos and Little Joy, proved to be a great warm-up and was very well-received by the audience in the front; his first few tunes were pretty quiet, and his soothing voice (singing both in English and Portuguese) complemented the low hum of the crowd back at the bar. When joined by Banhart’s band, Amarante blasted into some funkier, Latin-infused tunes before closing off the set alone with a beautiful song entitled “The Ribbon.”

Banhart waltzed onstage soon after Amarante left, and started off with the older tune “The Body Breaks.”  Although he sported his new, more clean-cut look, Banhart was nonetheless eccentric. Continue reading →