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PREMIERE: Soft Idiot’s new Rain Wins Another Year! LP contains deep, quiet multitudes

Soft Idiot | photo courtesy of the artist
Soft Idiot | photo by Steph Sottolano | courtesy of the artist

Prolific Philadelphia musician Justin Roth makes music under the name Soft Idiot, and his latest release is one of the project’s most ambitious yet. Rain Wins Another Year! is the new full-length from Soft Idiot, and you can hear it first right here. The new album follows stillborn, released in March, as well as a recent split with Lonely Ghost. Continue reading →

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DIY locals Soft Idiot and Lonely Ghost team up for a split

Soft Idiot | photo by Anaje Brinkley | via facebook.com/softidiot1

It’s a great thing when two lo-fi DIY artists bring their solo projects together for a collaborative release. Philly bedroom pop outfits Soft Idiot and Lonely Ghost recently teamed up to release a 4-song split EP, available now on Bandcamp. We last heard from Soft Idiot, the project of Justin Roth, with the release of stillborn in March; and this marks Lonely Ghost’s first release since Funereal in May 2016. Continue reading →

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Watch Soft Idiot perform tiny-desk-esque show at Temple News office

Soft Idiot | photo by Anaje Brinkley | via the band’s Facebook page

I absolutely love NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts. There’s something about the intimate, stripped-down, super out-of-place setup that never fails to bring about the best performances from artists. The staff at The Temple News takes cues from this type of gig by hosting a web series that showcases local bands performing in their student news office. The recent feature of local indie-outfit, Soft Idiot, reaffirms this belief that packing musicians into a tiny office and making them play tunes is a vital necessity in life. Continue reading →

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Jam to Soft Idiot’s genre-mashing track, “Love Like”

Soft Idiot | via softidiot.bandcamp.com

Philly four-piece Soft Idiot released a teaser for their new album, stillborn, and let me tell ya, I’m hooked. The impeccably-named band’s teaser includes two tracks, including “Brother Part I” and “Love Like.”

The latter is the newest release from the album, and is an amalgamation of all kinds of awesome.  I love when songs surprise me, and oh boy did this song surprise me. The track begins in folk punk, singer-songwriter fashion, but then quickly builds into a wopping smorgasbord of different genres. A sweet banjo riff incites a bluegrass feel, only then to be matched by the addition of some psych synth. Then, about half-way through, searing amps and layers of guttural shouts take over, which abruptly fade into a spooky 80s synth send off.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: that’s a lot of different things going on right there. But trust me, all of this actually works together so well. It makes you question why punk-folk-screamo-Americana-synth isn’t already an established genre.  By the end of the song, you’ll be left blinking “what kind of strange beauty did I just stumble upon?” And you will never see the world the same again. Continue reading →

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Items Tagged Philadelphia: I turned the pages solemnly, and then

Bumsweat | via bumsweat.bandcamp.com

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

Looking back, I totally would have done a few things differently. I would not have set an arbitrary “weekly” benchmark to report back to you on the weird, wild and wonderfully ear-catching Philly artists I find in my Bandcamp digging. My weeks are unpredictable at WXPN HQ; the only constant is an already high volume of listening, reading, writing, recording and editing, before this project even comes into play. I also would have made a more valiant effort to keep up with these artists I uncovered throughout the year; some were easy to follow (shoutouts Sea-Offs, MHYSA, S-21, Erica Gibson) and some I haven’t checked in on since initially spotlighting them.

I might have tried to be more discerning, choosing fewer releases each week so I’d have space and time to reflect and write more about the ones I was highlighting. I would have found better things to say to introduce each column; I should have STFU about the weather, which seems to be a de facto entry point to many of them. Get it together, man.

But for something that started as a New Years’ Resolution whim twelve months ago — ie. give a listen to every single release posted to Bandcamp with a Philadelphia tag in 2017, report back on the good stuff — I’m decently pleased with how it played out. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Aleana at Breedlove Poetry Night, Coping Skills at Lava Space, Vince Tampio at World Cafe Live

Aleana | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Aleana | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Singer and songwriter Aleana checks in with the good folks at Pecola Breedlove and The Freedom Party tonight at APoetArtGallery on West Girard Avenue. After releasing her XXI EP a couple years back, Aleana re-emerged this past year with an alluring single called “S.O.S.,” as well as gigs singing backup in Mars Parker’s band and opening for Hardwork Movement at Underground Arts. Get tickets and more information on tonight’s apperance at Breedlove Poetry Night here. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cayetana at WXVU’s Fall Gig, Dreamswell at Underground Arts, Rickie Lee Jones at World Cafe Live

Cayetana | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

If you missed out on getting tickets to Japanese Breakfast’s sold-out headlining show in the basement of the First Unitarian Church tonight, fear not — there’s plenty of live and local music to take in tonight. A short SEPTA ride in to the west of the city will land you at WXVU’s Fall Gig at Villanova University, and it’s a stacked show. We are, of course, biased in saying this — Key staffer Megan Cooper organized the gig, and picked some of our fave Philadelphians to play — but, I mean, look at that lineup! Punk rock awesome ladies Cayetana in the headlining slot, alongside pysch-blues ripper dudes Ill Fated Natives, rapper Ivy Sole, electropop visionary Aphra and basement scene faves Soft Idiot. The gig is free, information can be found here and you can get ready to sing along to Cayetana’s “Mesa” below.
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Cayetana, Ivy Sole and more to play a free fall gig at Villanova’s WXVU

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

There’s a gig happening at Villanova later this month that’s well worth a Thursday night trek out to the suburbs. The folks at the university’s radio station, WXVU, along with the Campus Activities Team, have put together a college show cooler than most college shows with a super-stacked lineup of Philly favorites.

The free gig features a real variety of Philly artists, from DIY four-piece Soft Idiot to psych-blues power trio Ill Fated Natives, singer / songwriter-meets-electropop outfit Aphra to rapper Ivy Sole. Stepping into the headlining slot are punk faves Cayetana, who self-released their incredible sophomore album New Kind of Normal earlier this year and recently tore up the stage at Philly Music Fest. Continue reading →

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Make Music Philly Day returns tomorrow with Sonni Shine, Lazy Eye and more

sonni shine
Sonni Shine | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller | koalafoto.com

June 21st, the longest day of the year makes for a great opportunity to open your porches, sidewalks, storefronts and yards for local musicians to perform in on and around them. Founded in France back in 1982, the fête is an opportunity to put on free shows by both seasoned and new artists testing their craft. If you’re into checking out what Philly has to offer but don’t know where to start, read through the neighborhood offerings below. And don’t be that guy running around screaming “Freebird” at every musician you see, please. Let’s keep it classy.

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