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Watch Max Swan perform an eight-minute version of “The Waters” live in WXPN studios

Max Swan | photo by Senia Lopez | senialopez.photography

Philly sax player and singer-songwriter Max Swan recently released a new EP called The Fisherman and last week recorded a Key Studio Session last week with his eight piece band.

Tonight, we present you with a bonus video from that session; an expansive performance of “The Waters” that opens on a freeflowing atmospheric jam before launching into the central portion of Swan’s lead single from the new project.
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The Week Ahead: Jessie Reyez, Max Swan, Pusha T, Killiam Shakespeare and more

Killiam Shakespeare | photo via killiamseason.bandcamp.com

Think a holiday week means there’s no live music to keep you entertained? Think again. Starting tonight with rising R&B star Jessie Reyez, carrying through an album release from Killiam Shakespeare this weekend, and a Green Room showcase with DaniLeigh on Monday, here are twelve concerts you can see in the next seven days all around Philadelphia. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Max Swan

The past few years have been a process of growth for Philadelphia sax player, composer, and producer Max Swan.

In the early 2010s, he was a recent graduate of UArts with a jazz saxophone performance degree, gigging around town. We first encountered him at Philadelphia’s Center City Jazz Fest in 2015, playing a set at Time that mixed soaring instrumental leads with electronic and hip-hop synthesizer textures. We heard more of it that autumn in his elegant single “So Much Chime,” a song driven by Swan’s R&B style vocals. As is happened, this was just the early stages of his dabbling in genre fusion; the beginning of his push to do more with his schooling than the humdrum traditional route.

This year, Swan released an album called The Fisherman, and it finds him stepping further away from jazz and into suave singer-songwriter multi-instrumentalist mode.  Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Max Swan at MilkBoy, Rosemary Fiki Band at Bourbon and Branch, The Bul Bey at Kung Fu Necktie

Photo Courtesy of the Artist
Photo Courtesy of the Artist

Up-and-coming Philly jazz artist, Max Swan will be hitting the stage at MilkBoy tonight alongside Ill Fated Natives and The Hollander-Crouse Duo. If you missed it, we premiered his latest single, “So Much Chime,” last month. Check him out tonight at Milkboy. Get tickets and more info on the 21+ show over at the XPN Concert Calendar, and listen to “So Much Chime” after the jump. Continue reading →

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PREMIERE: Listen to producer and saxophonist Max Swan’s newest jam, “So Much Chime”

Photo Courtesy of the Artist
Photo Courtesy of the Artist

Philly’s Max Swan is slowly building himself an impressive resume when it comes to Philly’s local jazz scene. A graduate of the University of the Arts, Swan was a featured performer in this year’s Center City Jazz Festival. Today, he is giving us a taste of what we can expect to hear in the future from the up-and-coming saxophonist and producer. Continue reading →

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How Queens-born Aime aimed for Philly’s hip-hop scene

Aime | photo by Mike Ryan | courtesy of the artist

It’s easy to fall in love with the city of Philadelphia. I moved to Upper Darby when I was 13 years old, and for the past 16 years I’ve grown to cherish this gritty cultured city as my own, the same way Queens-born rapper Aime has.

Since coming to the north side of Philadelphia while attending Temple University ten years ago, the aspiring hip hop artist admired the how the city shared his appreciation for creating quality content with lyrical ability. That love is what got him into Philly’s hip hop scene allowing to meet known local acts (like Chill Moody) as well as his mentor (producer Dameadelphia who has worked with Philadelphia’s own the Grammy award winning hip hop band legendary The Roots ).

Projects like Aime for the Sky, Class Act, When It’s Cold Outside and Perfect Aime have helped the MC earn his stripes, while Book of David and The David EP aided him into getting recognized by the city he calls home. However, his recent project Flowers Started Dying Yesterday shows a more polished and confident Aime, telling the beautiful yet sad tale of the cycles of life.

While Aime prepares for performing at Dayne Jordan‘s annual No Place Like Home party this weekend, I got a chance to sit with him to discuss his journey in the Philly hip-hop scene, how the city became his second home, and the backstory to the musical drama Flowers Started Dying Yesterday. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Perry Farrell, Kikagaku Moyo, Jawbox, Sheer Mag and more

Perry Farrell | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

The big gig this week, of course, is two hours south of Philadelphia in Dover, Delaware. But if you’re not going to Firefly, fear not — there’s no shortage of shows to keep you on your feet and entertained back home. (And if you are going to Firefly, check out our festival guide here.) From 90s American alternative heroes to present day psychedelic mindbenders from Tokyo, local rock and roll on the waterfront and some hip-hop theatre on North Broad Street, here are 15 concerts to see in the next seven days, all around Philadelphia. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Radiator Hospital, Anderson .Paak, Jonatha Brooke, Native Harrow and more

Radiator Hospital | courtesy of the artist

Start the week out with hooky power-pop from Worriers. Wrap it up with dreamy folk by Native Harrow, or the propulsive Break Free Fest, centering marginalized artists in punk. In the middle, catch psych, funk, one timeless singer-songwriter, and so much more. Here are fourteen concerts to see in the next seven days all around Philly. Continue reading →

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Ali Awan, Strand of Oaks, Rachel Andie and more rocked #AmplifyPhilly at SXSW

Ali Awan at #AmplifyPhilly | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN | dylaneddinger.com

Last month at SXSW in Austin, Texas, Amplify Philly convened during SXSW Interactive for three days of networking, cheerleading, panels, and partying from members of Philly’s tech, startup, business, music, and cultural communities. The Amplify Philly “house” took over the Pour Choices Bar and Restaurant in Downtown Austin for three days and nights. During the day, the programming featured panels and discussions, and the evenings were filled with some incredible Philly grown talent. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Mike Vasilikos’ all-Philly best of 2018

Orion Sun | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com
Orion Sun | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2018 incredible. Today, XPN’s Mike Vasilikos recaps the best music he’s heard come out of the Philly scene this year.

More lists! Yes, it’s almost time to flip over the calendar but not before everyone gets a chance to reflect on their favorite music of the past 12 months.  I guess it’s my turn!  Last year, I altered my approach to year-end reflections.  The idea being: focus on what’s happening locally, because in all honesty Philadelphia is a special place for music.  Across all musical landscapes, the artistry in our community rivals anywhere in the country.  So that said, here’s what I was listening to in 2018. Continue reading →