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Listen to Small Circle’s debut Cyclical, see them tonight at PhilaMOCA

Small Circle | photo via Upset Magazine

Earlier this year, we introduced you to Small Circle, the collaboration of singer and songwriter Marissa D’ella and members of the emo band Sorority Noise. Their music is hushed and haunting, but also expansive — as we heard in their performance for The Key Studio Sessions.

Today, the band’s album is streaming in its entirety, care of a premiere on DIY Magazine that also includes an illuminating interview with D’Ella where she talked about the origins of the collaboration. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions Doubleheader: Small Circle / Sorority Noise

Really, it’s all rooted in friendship. When Hartford, CT founded emo four-piece Sorority Noise began touring on the regular a few years back, they connected with new people in each city they hit; it’s something all touring bands do to some extent, it builds out out a support network of familiar faces in the crowd and couches to crash on after the gig. As singer-guitarist Cameron Boucher tells it, Marissa D’Elia was “our Philly friend” from early on — watching from the front row, chatting them up at merch as the show was letting out.

Flash forward a few years, when Boucher and a couple of his bandmates relocated to Philly — he and D’Elia would get together when he wasn’t on the road and casually collaborate, fleshing out some of the first songs she’d ever written. By 2016, enough music was amassed that the for-fun project was now a band called Small Circle.
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Small Circle shares soaring and sporadic single, “Spinning;” announces September LP release

Small Circle | via twitter.com/smallcirclephl

Philly outfit Small Circle is the awesome indie result you get when combining songwriter and frontwoman Marissa D’elia’s dreamy vocals and melodies with members of emo-punk faves Sorority Noise. After releasing their debut EP melatonin in the spring, the four-piece have now shared a new single and announced an upcoming album, Cyclical, which will be out on September 8th via Flower Girl Records. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Resilient at MilkBoy, Small Circle at The Balcony, Mark McGuire at PhilaMOCA and more

Resilient | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com
Resilient | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

Philly hard rockers Resilient hit the MilkBoy stage tonight alongside Honeytiger and The Vernes for The Key’s Philly music showcase. It’s been just about a year since their last EP, Imagining Things, and the band is readying a new collection of songs for release this summer. Meanwhile, Honeytiger just recorded an ace Key Studio Session and The Vernes continue to dish out dreamy summertime indie pop. Tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar; watch Resilient rock “Medication” in the XPN Studio below, via VuHaus.
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Small Circle announces remastered edition of melatonin out on Flower Girl Records

Small Circle | via twitter.com/smallcirclephl

Chill Philadelphia four-piece Small Circle (populated by vocalist Marissa D’Elia along with Sorority Noise’s Cam Boucher and Adam Ackerman, Rozwell Kid’s Sean Hallock) released a reissued version of their 2016 EP melatonin on Boucher’s new label Flower Girl Records. Mastered by Boucher as well, the four-track EP includes new track “sameness”, along with crisper versions of past relaxed tunes.

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Chris Porterfield comes full circle with Field Report (playing World Cafe Live on 11/9)

Standing out among this year’s breakout acts is Field Report, the new folk project from Minnesota native Chris Porterfield. Formerly a member of the Eau Claire band DeYarmond Edison (which also featured Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and members of Megafaun), Porterfield relocated to Milwaukee where he rekindled his love for music . When its eponymous debut was released in September, critics hailed Field Report as an artist to watch for its rich, poetic lyrics and quiet-yet-powerful sound. Adam Duritz of Counting Crows, who Field Report supported on tour this summer, said “There’s such a perfection in the songs that I wonder how long Chris spent.” This week we caught up with Porterfield over the phone about his experience working with a new group of musicians, his surprise at the success of album, and the band’s resolve to remain true to their Wisconsin roots. Continue reading →

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Items Tagged Philadelphia: It’s always something

Downtrodder | via facebook.com/downtrodder

Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time each week digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. At the end of each week, we present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.

Question: do you ever feel like you’re caught up on the great to-do list that is life? Follow up question: how? I finally finished watching Twin Peaks: The Return today — no spoilers, just WOW — but I’ve still got a seemingly endless litany of things to cross off.

Some examples: Mix and edit audio, cut video of my backlog of Key Studio Sessions (even though new ones keep being recorded). Wrap up the massive undertaking of combing through and trimming down fifteen years worth of digital concert photos (even though I keep shooting more all the time). Buy ingredients to make cauliflower tikki masala for dinner (now I’m just procrastinating). Make art (“Get outta town, I didn’t know you did anything creative!”).

A big one: finish articulating my unfinished thoughts about the recent New York Times‘ Arts & Leisure section last week namechecking 25 women and non-binary artists making some of the best music out there today, as well as the NPR Music’s Turning the Tables series of 100 great albums made by women (quick takes: great to see so many bands with Philly ties in the mix, yes it feels antiquated to have “Women In Music” spotlights in 2017, possibly a bit pageview-grabby exploitative as well, but as evidenced by big fall tour announcements like Joyce Manor / Wavves / whatever-other-all-male-all-white-band, it is still a necessary conversation, and the result is two pieces of music journalism you should totally read, so read them y’all).

Oh, and listen to new music for Items Tagged Philadelphia.
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Download The Key Studio Sessions Volume 20 (featuring Palm, Sammus, Sorority Noise, Slaughter Beach, Dog and more)

The Key Studio Sessions Volume 20 | cover photo by Rachel Del Sordo

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 →

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PREMIERE: Dave Hause reflects on his rock and roll journey in “The Flinch”

Dave Hause and The Mermaid | photo by Tara Redavid | courtesy of the artist

When I caught up with Philly born rocker Dave Hause by phone a couple days ago, he was enjoying a quiet day off at home, still basking in the afteglow of his recent wedding. Looking ahead at the calendar, he was stoked to connect with his band The Mermaid this weekend for the XPoNential Music Festival. Their Saturday appearance warms up for a modest run of August dates, launching into full-blown road warrior mode in September as Hause and the Mermaid share stages across the country with (at various turns) Tiger Army, Gogol Bordello and Beach Slang.

It’s a heavy haul, but Hause is up for it. “I’ve kind of shifted the focus of how to work,” he says. “Having toured as a duo with select band stuff to augment it, you’re really lean and mean. You can eke out a nice living when its just two of you. You can work a little less and make a lot more. With this band, though, I’m trying to establish my own E Street or Heartbreakers vibe. And to do that, you have to play a lot.”

Going all-in like that is part of the reason Hause left his home Philadelphia, where he was born and creatively based for over a decade, and relocated to Santa Barbara, California a few years back. As evident from his 2017 album Bury Me in Philly, though, his hometown loyalties lie very much on the east coast — he even rings me up via a 215 cell phone number.

Hause’s new music video for “The Flinch,” which we’re excited to premiere for you today, is a testament to that journey.  Continue reading →

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Calling You In: How Solarized is challenging the status quo and diversifying the the punk scene

Solarized performs at Break Free Fest | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Throughout history, the potent dynamics of race, gender, economic class and sexuality have shaped every aspect of human social activity. Politics, love, war, art, all of it has been invariably touched by these social forces, and music is no different. The realities of racism and the complexity of identity play themselves out nationally, internationally and in our local music scenes. For all its historical emphasis on rebellion, freedom and challenging of the status quo, punk as a subculture has not avoided the oppressive aspects of these social dynamics.

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