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Moses Sumney brings beautifully resonating set to The Church

Moses Sumney | photo by Natalie Piserchio for WXPN | nataliepiserchio.com

There’s something heavenly entrancing about the work of Moses Sumney. It’s a quality that seems to connect his listeners with more than just music — his choir-like vocals juxtaposed with his interactive, experimental loops and multi-instrumental tracks, along with his emotional and intimate lyrics, lead to an all-encompassing, physical, and seemingly spiritual experience.

Sumney is on the tail end of his US Tour, headlining for the first time, and debuting his new album Aromanticism. Fans jam-packed the basement in First Unitarian Church last night in anticipation of his set. He played a myriad of songs off the album such as “Doomed,” “Quarrel,” and “Make Out in My Car,” as well as a cover of Bjork’s 1994 song “Come to Me.” Continue reading →

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Now Hear This: New Songs from Cold Specks, Moses Sumney, Cults, Susanne Sundfør, Laura Baird, Eamon and Mavis Staples

Moses Sumney | photo via facebook.com/mosessumney

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

October is the coolest month – musically speaking.  There are more (and, pound for pound, bigger) new releases flying around these days than any other time of year.  It’s dizzying.  And correspondingly, of course, there are also many many artists touring through town, now and in the coming weeks.  It’s left me with little choice but to offer an, umm, especially generous baker’s dozen by way of my monthly recap below.  So come feast your ears! 

Among other things, last month saw a considerable number of comebacks, of varying magnitudes – returns to action, artistic reinvigorations, etc – from artists all across the spectrum.  I’ve highlighted a good number of them below, along with a smaller, select handful of shining newcomer – most of whom turn out to be not entirely that new, after all.

The biggest (unintentional) theme for this month, a through-line linking all of these widely ranging selections, is the power of the voice.  The playlist below features a striking array of voices – extraordinary voices and commonplace voices, singly or in multiple, highly processed or unadorned.  And whether or not I call attention to to it in my write-up, each and every cut here offers something memorable in terms of its vocal dimension; a certain quality of the voice (or voices) at hand, or of the way that voice are used.  Let it be a reminder for us all, to keep on using our voices. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Against Me! at Union Transfer, Dar Williams at Arden Gild Hall, Moses Sumney at First Unitarian Church, and more

Against Me! | photo via facebook.com/AgainstMe

Against Me! released their latest LP Shape Shift With Me a year ago, and tonight their tour makes a stop at Union Transfer with support from Bleached and The Dirty Nil. The gritty folk-punk band are known for emotional, personal tunes penned by frontwoman Laura Jane Grace; their last two albums reflect on her experiences navigating relationships and life as a transgender woman. Listen below, and find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Listen to Moses Sumney’s heavenly new track, “Quarrel,” see him at the Church

Moses Sumney | photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN
Moses Sumney | photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN

If there is a heaven, or any kind of future otherworld, I’m pretty sure Moses Sumney’s gorgeous and comforting voice is what carries you into this next life. Particularly his new track, “Quarrel,” which you can listen to below.

Every little bit of this song’s epic, lush soundscape is fluid — as a myriad of sounds and textures meld and flow into one another with unbelievable ease. It’s a beautiful sonic journey that embarks with Sumney’s ethereal falsettos as your peaceful guide. Then before you know it, you’re traveling to different musical dimensions at a warp speed that also somehow feels like forever. Just trust me — I have not a clue how — but it does. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Nick Hakim, soul machine, introduces himself to World Cafe Live

Nick Hakim | photo by Liz Waldie for WXPN

Sensual funkiness: a combination of words I’d never expect to throw together but that fully encapsulates the sound of Nick Hakim and his four-piece backing band during today’s Free At Noon performance. The New York-based artist released his debut full-length Green Twins in May and wrapped up a US headlining tour in Seattle on Tuesday, and beginning next week he can be found opening for Fleet Foxes during the European leg of their Crack-Up tour. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Julie Miller’s top five concert snacks of 2016

Carnegie Deli’s knish | photo via Carnegie Deli

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2016 incredible. Today, Julie Miller shares the best snacks she ate before, during, or after a concert over the past twelve months.

I like food even more than I like music. I daydream about what I want to cook up for my next meal, I read the menus of restaurants I want to try, and the only type of Instagram accounts I follow that might (but probably don’t) eclipse the number of dogs accounts are food accounts. So as I read through my Excel doc of concerts I’d been to in 2016 (50 or so, plus one opera), I started thinking about where I’d had dinner beforehand or a midnight snack afterwards. The following five concerts were great nights of music and even greater nights of food.

Continue reading →

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Your Firefly Guide: 20 artists to discover in the Woodlands this week

firefly
Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com

Tomorrow afternoon, the first carloads of campers will make their way up Delaware’s DuPont Highway for the 2016 edition of the Firefly Music Festival.

Held in the Woodlands of Dover, the festival has skyrocketed since its inaugural outing in 2012, this year featuring seven stages and sure-to-be massive headlining sets from pop/rock megastars Florence and the MachineM83Mumford and Sons and Kings of Leon. You’ll also find no shortage of can’t-miss performances on the second tier, this year including sets by emo titans Death Cab for Cutie, LA-based epic poet Vince Staples, Glaswegian electrorock trio CHVRCHES, psychedelic Australian vibe-wranglers Tame Impala and more.

But you’re already familiar with those names, more likely than not. Part of the fun of the whole megafestival experience (unless you truly enjoy roasting in the sun in a jam-packed field of 80,000 for days on end waiting for the big names) is wandering away from the crowd and finding something new, something unexpected, something incredible. In that spirit, The Key staff has surveyed the entire 120+ band lineup and brings you our picks of artists you may not have heard of but who are absolutley worth discovering in the Woodlands this weekend. Read on, and rock out. Continue reading →

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Love of My Life: The 8th Annual Roots Picnic celebrates a generation of innovative music

The Roots | Photo by John Vettese
The Roots | Photo by John Vettese

Every year, the Roots Picnic inches closer to Philly musical utopia. The pre-summer day fest is curated by local hip-hop heroes The Roots, the self-proclaimed hardest working band in America. True to their own innovative and barrier-breaking approach, the lineup is always a unique, eclectic and interesting trip. The setting and its vibe has historically been a bit rockier, beset by exponentially swelling crowds and typically sweltering heat beating down on the minimally shaded asphalt of Festival Pier.

But the eighth annual installment of the Picnic yesterday, while not perfect, was a tremendously positive event, with major improvements in the layout and organization of the festival and a trimming of the musical fat (for the most part). Continue reading →