Two seated shows on a snowy night at Johnny Brenda’s last Wednesday night had the audience holding their breath in fear of interrupting these intimate solo performers. If you closed your eyes you, couldn’t tell that anyone was in the room beside the person onstage. Performing for sold out crowds at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., Adrianne Lenker (co-frontperson of acclaimed indie folk act Big Thief) and Nick Hakim had the room’s complete attention. Continue reading →
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 →
Nick Hakim grew up in Washington, D.C. surrounded by all sorts of music styles and cultures. The sound he has cultivated on his own releases, like last year’s Where Will We Go Pt. 1 & 2, is a reflection of a life spent listening to blues, soul and folk music while living in a mecca of diversity.
Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2018 incredible. To kick off the series, Key editor John Vettese recaps six of his favorite Philadelphia music finds from the past 12 months.
This page of the calendar is always a blur for me. Thinking back over the 300-some previous days of listening to records from Philly musicians, getting to their gigs, recording them in the WXPN studio, and spinning their music on the air is a lot to take stock of. Putting together my annual rundown of jaw-dropping artists that were new to me in 2018 quickly went from “hmm, I know I was stoked about these three” to “OMG I already have 20, I need to narrow this down.”
But that’s the blessing of living in Philly, as I say every year. We have amazing musicians operating on all tiers — the broadly-reaching Meek Mills releasing the best and most poignant records of their career, the War on Drugs-es returning home this week for a sold-out run of underplay shows, the Hop Alongs garnering widespread acclaim for their own masterpieces — but we also have musicians who are still sweating it out on basement show bills, touring in battered vans, hustling across the bar scene, and grinding to make it all work for them.
Finding the most exciting musicians in that latter space, and watching them make their way to the former, is easily my favorite part of my job. Here are a handful of artists I hope to see make that journey this year.
If you couldn’t attend the Project Pabst fest this past September — and if, like I, you were distraught at missing Big Thief performing in the general vicinity without your presence to soak in the immense beautifulness of it — don’t you fret. You can still experience the soft, lulling magnificence of front woman Adrianne Lenker’s project this March at Johnny Brenda’s. Continue reading →
Okay, yes, obviously with our week full of coverage of Hop Along’s new album Painted Shut, we think you should go to the Hop Along show tonight. But you know what? The first Love on the Streets Festival to benefit the Paine’s Skate Park Funk is a daytime concert, and the music is just as great, making it the perfect pre-party. West Philly folky punk faves Radiator Hospital headline, along with pop anthem machine W.C. Lindsay, buzzing emo four-piece Clique (who open for Hop Along later tonight) and the hard-hitting Dogs On Acid (featuring Joe Reinhart of Hop Along). Earlier in the day there are performances by EDM-leaning artists Moon Bounce, Jack Deezl and Mister Sampson, plus skate and circus arts demos. It’s gonna be a great time; more information here. Continue reading →
Brooklyn-based indie rock band Big Thief announced their fall tour and are set to appear at Philly’s First Unitarian Church in October. The tour announcement comes on the heels of Big Thief’s recently-released experimental EP, Wide Winged Bird. The EP was made while on tour from summer 2015 to spring 2017, and contains ambient background sounds, field recordings, poems, and songs intertwined through out the 30-minute experience. Continue reading →