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Spirit of the Beehive and Amanda X return from tour for a gritty gig with Pile and Big Ups

Pile | Photos by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com
Pile | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

Four young and talented post-punk bands brought their peculiar musical stylings to First Unitarian Church on Wednesday. This show marked the first stop of tour for Boston’s Pile and New York’s Big Ups, and served as a solid homecoming for Amanda X and Spirit of the Beehive, who recently returned home from a month-long tour across the US. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Howlish at Boot & Saddle, Spirit of the Beehive and Amanda X at First Unitarian Church, Dengue Fever at Johnny Brenda’s and more…

Howlish
Howlish | photo by Jackie Papanier

After premiering “Black Ice” with us last week, Howlish bring their new music to Boot & Saddle tonight. The local indie rockers will release ()uter later this fall via Sniffling Indie Kids, following up last year’s Open Bones EP debut with a new collection of atmoshperic songs. Check out “Black Ice” below and pick up tickets for the 21+ with A Valley Son and Owl and Wolf here.

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Breaking the Barrier: The Lehigh Valley’s Chris Reject talks punk, wrestling, and tonight’s Let’s Hang Out festival in Bethlehem

Dasher Hatfield vs Juan Francisco | photo by Zia Hitley | courtesy of the artist

Wrestling and punk go together like, well, wrestling and punk. They’re both aggressive, weird, fun, and straddling that line between the mainstream – WWE, Warped Tour, that recent Misfits reunion show where the tickets were like $500 each – and various levels of the DIY underground. Two sides of the same twisted coin. Just like in punk, the atmosphere of a wrestling match is dictated not just by what’s going on in the ring (or out of it!) but by how the crowd is reacting to it all. That’s why one of the most exciting moments in a match or at a show is when that barrier between performer and crowd is literally broken down and the two briefly become one.

It should be no surprise then that there’s been a lot of crossover between wrestling and punk over the years. This is both in the more metaphoric sense, with wrestlers being identified in some way as fans of the music, or quite literally with wrestling-themed bands. Scratch the surface of any self-professed punk and you’ll find someone who, even if they aren’t a wrestling fan, will at the very least admit to enjoying the chaos of it all. And the opposite is certainly true.

To that end, Chris Reject, very much a huge lover of DIY music and wrestling and the head honcho at Lehigh Valley Apparel Creations and Square of Opposition Records, has helped put together an event this Friday in Bethlehem that is all those things and more.

Called Let’s Hang Out! – named after the album by the classic Bethlehem hardcore band The Russian Meatsquats and using the album art as inspiration for the flyer – the night is divided into wrestling matches with the BWA followed by performances by Cheap Pop, Mannequin Pussy, and Spirit of the Beehive.

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The Skeleton Key: Multitudes of new music for July, a First Time’s The Charm recap, and gigs from black metal to beatmakers to punk wrestlers

First Time’s The Charm | photo by Yoni Kroll for WXPN

This is a special Skeleton Key and not just because I’m checking in with you a bit later than usual. Don’t worry, my neighbors are still shooting off fireworks all day every day so it’s basically still the 4th and will probably stay that way at least until August. For this column I want to talk about all the new music coming out this month because there’s seriously just so much of it. And check this out: last weekend was First Time’s the Charm which was the debut of eight bands playing their very first sets ever. So much new music! Let’s start with a list because you should always start with a list: Dark Thoughts, Smarthearts, Rosali, Lester, Dark Web, Rabbits to Riches, Empath, and Fleabite. Oh, and a just-announced split between Jenna & The Pups – the solo pop punk band from HIRS frontwoman Jenna Pup – and, well, herself. The PUP/HIRS album will be out in August. Continue reading →

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Items Tagged Philadelphia: Coming soon to a basement near you

My Name Is Tom | via mynameistom.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.

Somewhere in the push-pull between blue skies and grey hearts, the thing we like to think of as summertime 2018 is finally, for the most part, here. There will be gigs on porches and gigs in basements, there will be packed nights in clubs and rainy days in fields. And that’s just this weekend! For real though, as our musical agenda starts to fill up here in Philly, heading into the equinox and beyond, let’s not forget about the unknown. The songs and sounds we haven’t heard yet that may occupy a big portion of our listening in the coming months.

Here are six standout Philly releases I found on Bandcamp this month — some are out in full already, some are just teasers for projects that drop in June — and they run the range from blown out head trips for stormy afternoons to sidewalk chalk speckled romance in the form of classic soul connecting with retro-futuristic rock. Dig in below, and always remember to keep extra space on your playlist.  Continue reading →

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The High Key Portrait Series: Shannen Moser and Julia Peters

Shannen Moser and Julia Peters | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

High Key” is a series of profiles conceived with the intent to tell the story of Philly’s diverse musical legacy by spotlighting individual artists in portrait photography, as well as with an interview focusing on the artist’s experience living, creating, and performing in this city. “High Key” will be featured in biweekly installments, as the series seeks to spotlight artists both individually and within the context of his or her respective group or artistic collective.

A little over a year ago, Philly folk singer Shannen Moser released a debut studio full-length, Oh My Heart, on Philly-based indie record label Lame-O.

Moser is open about how emotional attachment  affected everything from the approach to recording it to stagecraft. While her first tour in support of the material last summer was with a full band, her set at last fall’s Philly Music Fest — where we conducted this interview — was stripped down to herself and cellist Julia Peters, who’s worked closely with Moser since Peters moved to the area a few years ago. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Miguel, Gepe, Deb Callahan, CRUISR, Palm and more

Miguel | Photo by Rachel Barrish for WXPN

As I type this, people around me are fretting about snowfall predictions and travel routes home; kind of unusual for a spring equinox. At the same time, we’ve got the first weekend of the new season ahead of us, and a whopping six concerts to choose from this Friday to kick it off, so things are looking up. From a couple shows from country icon k.d. lang to expansive experimental sounds from Philly’s Palm, punk rock from Yankee Bluff and hip-hop from Tiani Victoria, here are 18 concerts you can’t miss this week. Continue reading →