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PREMIERE: Soraia reflects on the late Jeff Buckley in “Wandering Star”

Soraia | photo by Mark Weiss | courtesy of the artist
Soraia | photo by Mark Weiss | courtesy of the artist

Philly hard rock force of nature Soraia is readying its latest project, Dead Reckoning, due out October 13th on Little Steven Van Zandt’s label Wicked Cool Records.

The band’s past releases have focused on high-octane garage rock — overdriven guitars dishing speedy riffage, racing to keep pace with frontwoman ZouZou Mansour’s dynamic vocals — and this record has no shortage of that, right from the opening punch of “Quicksand.” But Soraia also takes advantage of the vinyl LP format to stretch out into the realm of different sounds and styles like glossy 80s pop (“Why?”), arena-ready slow burn anthems (“Come Down, Angel”) and glimmering retro rock, best exemplified in the song we’re premiering for you today, “Wandering Star.”

The penultimate song of the record incorporates classic 50s guitar arpeggios and a tremolo effect in the vein of Santo & Johnny’s “Sleep Walk,” and when the lyrics kick in, Mansour reflects on love and mortality as it relates to one wandering star in particular. Continue reading →

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April 6 in Music History: Carly Simon and James Taylor meet, Bruce Hornsby releases his first solo album

Bruce Hornsby Harbor Lights

1956 – Capitol Tower, the home of Capitol Records in Hollywood, CA, is dedicated. Resembling a stack of records, it is the first circular office tower designed in America. It is 13 stories tall and 92 feet in diameter, housing three new recording studios where Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Linda Ronstadt, and many other stars will lay down tracks. The building becomes an LA landmark, with the red light at the top flashing “HOLLYWOOD” in Morse Code.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Rick Astley at Electric Factory, Soraia at Milkboy, Erykah Badu at Boardwalk Hall and more…

rick astley
Rick Astley, circa 1987

Rick Astley rolls into town tonight for a show at the Electric Factory. The 80s popstar is touring in support of 50, his 2016 return to recording and first number-one album since the release of his 1987 debut. The Key’s Maureen Walsh previewed Astley’s visit earlier this week, highlighting a few songs she hope’s the “Never Gonna Give You Up” singer will play. Check that out here, pick up tickets here, and watch “Angels On My Side” from 50 below.

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Spirit in the Night: Bruce Springsteen takes on Citizens Bank Park for night two

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN | deltufophotography.com
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN | deltufophotography.com

Philly has always been close to Bruce Springsteen’s heart. It was one of the cities that first supported him when he was a young performer, and that has enjoyed his return countless times. In fact, it was early support and interviews by WXPN’s David Dye (himself a young man at WMMR at the time) that helped bring interest in Bruce to the area. Last night at Citizen’s Bank Park, the same venue where just two nights ago he broke his US set length by playing a 34 song set that lasted an astounding 4 hours and 3 minutes. For a performer in his late 60s, over 5 decades into live performance, this is unprecedented. Continue reading →

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The Key’s review of 1989 by Ryan Adams

Not really the cover of Ryan Adams' 1989, alas.
Not really the cover of Ryan Adams’ 1989, alas. | via the internet

Let’s face it, covers are rarely good. They normally begin with the best of intentions – take a song you admire, and put your own personal touch on it. However, even with the best intentions, they often come off uninspired and uninteresting.

When Ryan Adams announced he was covering pop superstar Taylor Swift’s album 1989, it was certainly possible to imagine the worst: that it would be some sort of half-hearted attempt at pop chart relevance or ironic clickbaity attention-grabbing. But if you thought that, you’d be wrong; it’s much more than that. This week that album was released, praised and mocked – most amusingly by none other than Father John Misty – and here is how we at The Key feel about it. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Juliana Hatfield at Boot & Saddle, Justin Townes Earle at Sellersville Theater, Mitski at Union Transfer

Juliana Hatfield
Juliana Hatfield Three | photo by Johnny Anguish

The Juliana Hatfield Three headline the first of two nights at Boot & Saddle tonight. Returning to the original line-up from the early nineties, the band released its first record in over two decades with this year’s Whatever, My Love. The current tour, though, is billed as a celebration of the 21st anniversary of Become What You Are and has the group performing their seminal debut in its entirety. Pick up tickets for tonight’s 21+ show here (tomorrow night is already sold-out) and watch their video for the classic “Spin the Bottle” below.

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Sleepy Hollow’s Shows to See: Justin Townes Earle, Kat Edmonson and more

Justin Townes Earle | Photo courtesy of the artist
Justin Townes Earle | Photo courtesy of the artist

There is nothing better to keep your spirits up during this relentless onslaught of cold air than to take some time to go see live music. For those of you looking to extend your Sleepy Hollow experience beyond the confines of Saturday and Sunday mornings, here is a rundown of some upcoming concerts we think you ought to check out. Continue reading →

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Esmé Patterson’s perspective shifting EP and an intimate recording session with Dension Witmer, tonight on Folkadelphia

esmepatterson01-540x340

Esmé Patterson cut her teeth playing with the sprawling indie folk-pop 7-piece Paper Bird. She’s currently prepping the release of Woman to Woman, a brand new solo EP that takes the point of view of many titular women characters in classic love songs like Townes Van Zandt’s “Loretta,” the Beach Boys’ “Caroline No,” and Elvis Costello’s “Alison.” By turning the perspective around, Patterson sheds new light on songs we’ve heard a million times and probably never truly absorbed their meaning. For deeper investigation, read Jon Solomon’s interview with Patterson. Look for the release of this great set of songs in mid-April.

Watch a video for “Swimmer,” a song from her 2012 release:

Esmé Patterson – Swimmer from Isaac Ravishankara on Vimeo.

On this episode of Folkadelphia, we invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the intimate songs of Philadelphia’s Denison Witmer, performing as a duo with local guitarhand Ross Bellenoit, and sharing a number of songs from his latest eponymous album, released last year via Sufjan Steven’s Asthmatic Kitty label. On a personal note, Denison has been one of my favorite songwriters for a decade and it has long been a dream to host him for a session. In October of 2013, we made it happen.

Watch a live video of Witmer performing “Hold On”