It hasn’t been long since Screaming Females released their new record, All At Once, and it’s been an even shorter time since they tore up Union Transfer in support of it. Still, if you’ve been longing for more Screamales in your life lately, then the band’s latest news should do the trick. Thanks to a collaboration with Philly experimental artist Moor Mother and rapper Sammus — both labelmates on Don Giovanni Records — one of the tracks off All At Once now has a totally different sound. Continue reading →
To say that local indie rapper Sammus is inspiring doesn’t begin to do her justice. In between making and producing music, touring, and pursuing a Ph.D., Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo, the artist behind Sammus, is working on making a documentary to share her stories and experiences.
Called Enongo, the finished product will be a feature-length documentary about Sammus’ life and music. The project is still in its beginning stages, and Sammus is running a crowdfunding campaign to make sure her story gets to be heard (as she points out on the Indegogo page, making a film is very expensive and a TON of work).
Sammus has faced a bit of bad luck lately that makes gathering support for the documentary all the more necessary. Continue reading →
Though the inherent weary restlessness of folk music can never truly be contained, local folk organization, Folkadelphia, has a home here at WXPN on the air and at The Key through Fred Knittel’s studio sessions. This past year hosted a particularly gem-filled handful of folk discoveries, which is documented in the fifth installment of the Folkadelphia Sessions compilation featured below. Continue reading →
Just in time for your Labor Day weekend rotation, we present you with 16 standout artists from all corners of the Philadelphia music community, performing live at WXPN Studios and recorded for The Key Studio Sessions.
In this, the 20th edition of our regular scene-surveying compilations, we hear veterans — the breezy psychedelic pop of Circadian Rhythms, the pensive and Pink Floydian neuroses of Queen Jesus — and we meet relative newcomers — like atmospheric emo four-piece Small Circle and driving riff rockers Honeytiger. As always, there’s stylistic variety: rapper Ivy Sole lowkey rocks the mic and experimental instrumentalists Palm get weird with interlocking licks and askew rhythms; Katie Frank brings some heartland-y country torch and twang and Ellen Siberian Tiger dials up the studied musical theatrics.
We teamed up with the folks at Folkadelphia to co-present sessions with SΔMMUS and Harmony Woods, captured a beautiful solo electric performance by Sorority Noise‘s Cameron Boucher, mellowed out to windswept Bossa Nova-flavored jazz by Ensemble Novo, and cheered Jake Ewald on as Slaughter Beach, Dog jammed on “104 Degrees” for a roaring six minutes. And, as always, there’s more still, in great performances from basement show staples coping skills and ominous electronic soundscaper Harrowgrove. Continue reading →
Earlier this summer, Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo — known to underground rap fans as SΔMMUS — wrapped up her grad school studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and relocated to West Philly, setting up a new base for her multi-pronged career as an artist, activist and educator.
SΔMMUS has been cultivating a following in the Bandcamp universe for several years now, going back to 2010’s Fly Nerd EP. Her 2016 full-length project, Pieces in Space, was picked up by the venerable New Jersey indie label Don Giovanni Records, where it caught the ears of Folkadelphia host Fred Knittel, who then passed it along to me. Continue reading →
At its most basic, the website Bandcamp is a publishing platform for artists, another site to share work. But in this age of micropayments-per-play on the streaming service juggernauts like Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music, with either a shield around those tech companies’ editorial and curatorial staff, or curation via computer algorithms and trends (lame!), it’s tough to be a self-sustaining musician on the web. Bandcamp offers a different experience for both creator and fan. The platform has evolved into a streaming service, merch store, social site, expertly selected radio station, a zine, and beyond. Best of all, the artist has much more freedom and control over their presence on the site. In many instances, Bandcamp has created the opportunity for niche, independent, and DIY musicians to find their people, their fans, and truly connect. We at Folkadelphia have had success using Bandcamp as our in-studio session archive. Now Philadelphian, former Ithacan producer and rapper Sammus also connected to a huge and hugely supportive community on the site, which is where we first discovered her music. Continue reading →
Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo is Sammus, and she’s pretty much the coolest, newest talent to hit Philadelphia this summer. Lumumba-Kasongo recently moved from Ithaca, NY to West Philly after completing her PhD at Cornell University (where she also completed her undergraduate degree) in Science and Computer Studies; her brother is Disashi of Gym Class Heroes, she previously taught youth through Teach for America, and in this part of her life she is a rapper and record producer known as Sammus. Basically, she is the mythical role model for whom we’ve been looking far too long. Continue reading →
Your choices are many; your excuses are few. Here are 25 concerts you could see in Philadelphia this week; enough for you to catch one per day, or for the more enterprising of you Key readers, several per day. Starting with folksinger Sam Amidon, and going up to arena pop rocker Lorde, here are our picks for the week ahead. Continue reading →
Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Key contributing writer Maureen Walsh reflects on songs that echoed the complicated feelings of the year.
Last year, I was hoping that 2017 would be a time for healing. Welp, that didn’t go as planned. This year, we learned a lot hard truths. Some of these truths made a lot of us anxious and angry. Artists were anxious and angry too and used their art to reach out to us so we could all feel together. Continue reading →