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Remember Sports as they vanquish confusion from their so-simple-its-confusing-as-heck name

Remember Sports | photo via twitter.com/remembersportsb

Attention all Sports fans: ehr no — I mean, not like the “football” kind of sports. No, not basketball either, or any other form of recreational sporting team activity. Sports, like the band. But not that band, the other one. You know, the Philly one.

My goodness, who could’ve known how exhausting an uberly simple band name could be. Probably not Sports, the four-piece band of Kenyon College pals. Or maybe they did, and these wholesome punks wanted to be ironic like me with my beloved, context-less COLLEGE tee I found at a thrift store (no, middle-aged frat dad, this is not a nod to John Belushi in Animal House, I’m trying to be ~ironic~ here.)

A google search to find the band’s crunchy tunes or social media sites more often that not quickly free-falls into an enigmatic online quest, where you must pass through a forest of sweat arm bands and athletic watches before dueling a “band of wizards from Oklahoma” — eventually feeling small and confused as you find yourself shouting “no you’re not!” at your inanimate laptop while “You Are the Right One” streams in blissful ignorance at your weird and unexpected journey.

Well, friends, please stop screaming. First, because that song is a jam. Second, because Sports hears your calls for help and is taking action. This valiant move comes in the form of smacking on a permanent qualifier to their name. Without further ado, world, meet the new and improved, Remember Sports. Continue reading →

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Philly meets San Francisco on SPORTS / Plush split

SPORTS | photo via therealsports.bandcamp.com

We never had any doubt that Philly-via-Ohio punks SPORTS are, as their Twitter handle indicates, the best band called Sports, and their latest release only makes us more thankful to have them as a part of the Philly scene.

SPORTS teamed up with San Francisco’s Plush for a 7″ split, out now via Father/Daughter Records, and it flawlessly accomplishes what the best splits set out to do — bringing together two bands that pair comfortably but are sonically different enough to make a well-balanced sampling of really great tunes. And while SPORTS are pretty familiar around these parts by now, having recently joined us for a Key Studio Session, the split provides a welcome introduction to West-Coasters Plush, whose measured and melodic tones round out the split with the 6-minute track “50/50 20/20.” Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: SPORTS

Reasons to love SPORTS: to begin with, their mantra, “friends FIRST, band SECOND.” You can’t miss that contagious camaraderie when seeing them onstage or in the studio — free of ego, free of pretense, free of the B.S. that ultimately divides artists who are motivated by forces other than playing music they love. There’s ample laughter and supportive sentiments from bandmate to bandmate, intermixed with sick riffs and catchy melodies. It’s refreshing to see: despite their tongue-in-cheekily competitive name, SPORTS is just a group of upbeat pals who moved from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio to Philadelphia to write songs and rock shows.
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Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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SPORTS returns with a raging, live-wire party in new track, “Making It Right”

Sports | photo via artist’s Facebook page

As my self-sabotaging, Cleveland Browns fans of a family gear up for another depressing football season, I’ll be over here taking part in a much more delightful and spunky kind of sports. I’m talking about the simply-named-yet-also-confusing-because-of-the-simplicity-of-the-naming band: the Philly DIY four-piece, SPORTS. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Offa Rex transports the BB&T to the Olde English isles

Offa Rex | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

Offa Rex is the new collaboration between The Decemberists and English folk singer-songwriter Olivia Chaney, and if the crowd was expecting to hear a Decemberists-heavy set geared towards fans of the beloved indie rock band they were in for a surprise. The set focused on Offa Rex’s debut album The Queen of Hearts, released July 14th on Nonesuch, but did include one cover of a Decemberists song, “Rox in the Box.” The billing that always seems to accompany Offa Rex is the parenthetical “(The Decemberists + Olivia Chaney),” but it is now clear that this is more informative than descriptive.

The collaboration was brought to life out of Decemberists’ Colin Meloy desire to create an Albion Band-backing-Shirley Collins-type project, and that’s exactly what was realized as the Decemberists act as the backing band for Chaney’s clear, haunting vocals. The Queen of Hearts reimagines classic folk songs found in the British Isles, and the role of 60’s folk hero troubadours appears to be a natural one for The Decemberists to step into, simply eliminating the “alternative” from their “alt-folk” classification.

I half expected them to walk on stage wearing period costumes, but there was no such luck. Continue reading →

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Hear Porches’ auto-tune stripped remix of (Sandy) Alex G’s “Sportstar”

(Sandy) Alex G | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist
Alex G | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist

(Sandy) Alex G’s Rocket is a mighty fine, complex collection of some of his most eclectic, genre-crashing gems to date. One of these standout beauties is the dreamlike ballad “Sportstar,” in which frontman Giannascoli warps his voice with otherworldly auto-tune amidst a thick atmospheric soundscape of gauzy guitars and echoing piano. Aaron Maine’s NY-based synth-pop project, Porches, recently remixed the surreal tune, providing a clarified, breezy companion

Stripping away layers of vocal processing, Porches’ remix of the song summons the deeper and tad demonic Alex G monotone that we all know and love, while spicing it up with a hint of electro-steel drum, island music vibes. Continue reading →

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Support Girls Rock Philly by catching Diet Cig, SPORTS, and GRP alums, Wolf Pack at PhilaMOCA

Diet Cig | photo via Facebook

What do Girls Rock Philly and Diet Cig have in common? They both awesomely empower girls, young women, and trans youth by showing them that they can unleash their inner confidence and self reliance through the power of music. So it makes perfect sense that Diet Cig will be headlining the GRP benefit show at PhilaMOCA on May 25th, which also features a lineup of local indie pop outfit, SPORTS, and the young talent of GRP grads, Wolf Pack. Continue reading →

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Cinematic duo The Wind + The Wave transports World Cafe Live into a western

The Wind + The Wave | Photo by Hope Helmuth | hopehelmuth.com
The Wind + The Wave | Photo by Hope Helmuth | hopehelmuth.com

Like a storm, The Wind + The Wave rolled in to World Cafe Tuesday day night. The Austin duo is on tour with by singer/songwriter Jessie Ruben, whose set was full of rawness and honesty that were evident in his banter between and though out his songs. The cinematic headliners took the stage for a performance unique to the upstairs room. They created a mood and sound scape that left me looking for Clint Eastwood at the bar stool to my right. The trio played “With Your Two Hands,” to grasp the seated crowd and hold them until the end of their performance. Looking forward to next year’s album release and a future tour. Check out photos from the show in the gallery below. Continue reading →

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When Worlds Collide: Comcast SportsNet reporters Reuben Frank and Sarah Baicker talk about new music and Free at Noon

Reuben Frank and Sarah Baicker in the CSN Studio | Photo courtesy of  Sarah Baicker
Reuben Frank and Sarah Baicker in the CSN Studio | Photo courtesy of Sarah Baicker

XPN’s Free at Noon series has become a hot commodity since its inception ten years ago, and in that time, the free weekly music series has developed many regulars – two of whom you might already be familiar with if your TV is regularly tuned to the Eagles and Flyers on Comcast SportsNet.

Philadelphia Eagles beat writer Reuben Frank and Philadelphia Flyers Beat Writer Sarah Baicker are frequently in the house at World Cafe Live, catching each week’s performance and sharing their reaction – positive and negative – on social media. They sat down to talk with The Key about the music they’ve been listening to lately, who has the best and worst music taste in the Comcast SportsNet Newsroom and their all-time favorite Free at Noons. Continue reading →