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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Strand of Oaks at Philly Music Fest, Soraia at MilkBoy, Thundercat at Union Transfer

Strand of Oaks | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN

It’s day two of the inaugural Philly Music Fest at World Cafe Live, and Strand of Oaks take the stage for a headlining set. The festival’s eclectic lineup seeks to showcase local musicians and encourage Philadelphians to support our scene. Also performing today are Steve Gunn, Deadfellow, Ivy Sole, Shannen Moser, and lots more. Check out the festival’s website for tickets, set times, and more info. We most recently saw Strand of Oaks rocking the Marina Stage at this year’s XPN Fest; read a recap of that performance here. Below, watch a video from the band’s recent World Cafe session. Continue reading →

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Now Hear This: New songs by Thundercat, Alex Lahey, Justin Carter, Dirty Projectors, Spoon and more

Thundercat | photo by Eddie Alcazar | courtesy of the artist
Thundercat | photo by Eddie Alcazar | courtesy of the artist

Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.

Mmmm…You can just feel it in the air, wafting in on the alt-Spring breeze and/or bluster: South by Southwest season is upon us.  Like a gulf coast hurricane spinning off a series of storm fronts, the mid-March musical mega-marathon stirs up tour schedules all across the country ‘round about now (and again toward the end of the month) as countless up-and-comers begin plotting their way down to Texas and/or their triumphant return therefrom.  Early Spring is a time for new life and, especially, new music: bigger, better-established artists tend to take a backseat at SXSW (and to some extent, perhaps accordingly, in March release schedules), although there are always a couple notable exceptions, including, this time around, Austin’s favorite indie-rocking sons… Continue reading →

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Thundercat shares latest Drunk single “Friend Zone”

Thundercat | photo by Eddie Alcazar | courtesy of the artist
Thundercat | photo by Eddie Alcazar | courtesy of the artist

California artist/producer Thundercat is laying out the roller skating disco vibes on his latest single. The prolific Stephen Bruner dropped “Friend Zone” earlier today, side-eyeing the Hallmark holiday with more of the “70s glitz and 21st century humor” that we heard on “Show You The Way” back in January. Both tracks are from the forthcoming Drunk LP, a 23-song follow-up to 2015’s The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam.

Continue reading →

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Show You The Way” by Thundercat

Thundercat | photo by Eddie Alcazar | courtesy of the artist
Thundercat | photo by Eddie Alcazar | courtesy of the artist

Last week California bassist Thundercat announced his new album Drunk, the followup to 2015’s The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam. The 20 song collection includes contributions from Pharrell and Kendrick Lamar, and on “Show You the Way,” Thundercat invited Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins in on the soulful, smooth rock song. Continue reading →

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Thundercat teams up with Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins on “Show You the Way”, announces new album

Thundercat | photo by Eddie Alcazar | courtesy of the artist
Thundercat | photo by Eddie Alcazar | courtesy of the artist

California basslord Thundercat has finally announced the followup to 2015’s The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam, and he’s calling it Drunk. Where its predecessor came in at a criminally-short six tracks, this one makes up for lost time with a whopping twenty three. You can expect a variety of exciting collaborations from the likes of Pharrell and Kendrick Lamar, but the team-up that’s perhaps the most exciting is the one that dropped today. “Show You the Way” features both Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, and it’s everything you would want it to be. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Thundercat plots 2017 world tour, will hit Union Transfer in March

Thundercat | photo by Eddie Alcazar | courtesy of the artist
Thundercat | photo by Eddie Alcazar | courtesy of the artist

Los Angeles bass virtuoso Thundercat has just announced an extensive world tour. It kicks off this Feburary, and on March 4th, he’ll roll through Union Transfer with longtime bandmates Dennis Hamm (keys) and Justin Brown (drums). This is his first Philly date since playing Johnny Brenda’s in October of 2015. Continue reading →

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Watch Thundercat perform on VuHaus, see him live at Johnny Brenda’s in October

You may have heard the name Thundercat, however if you’re unfamiliar with the work of Stephen Bruner, he’s an accomplished and talented bassist, producer and singer-songwriter. He’s worked with Flying Lotus, played bass with Erykah Badu, Wiz Khalifa, and Snoop Dogg, was a member of the Los Angeles thrash band Suicidal Tendencies, and has released several solo albums. He’s made incredible contributions to two of the best albums of 2015 – To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar, and The Epic by Kamasi Washington. Continue reading →

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Why the Herbie Hancock and Kamasi Washington tour matters

Herbie Hancock and Kamasi Washington are teaming up on tour this summer, and the two generations of jazz boundary-pushers will come to Philly on August 4th at the Met.

Hancock a legendary pianist who has been able to move his music with the times and change the standards of jazz with his style. Washington, a tenor sax player who merges classical arrangement with jazz, has emerged as a leader of the new guard.

These are two examples of what jazz is meant to be: that is a sonic spectrum, and a method of portraying feeling by any means. Continue reading →

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19 Philly concerts we’re looking forward to in summer of 2019

Tame Impala | photo by Doug Interrante for WXPN // Kamasi Washington | photo by Koof Ibi Umoren for WXPN // Kacey Musgraves | photo by Heji Shin | courtesy of the artist

Summer concert season is upon us, and once again, the Philadelphia region did not disappoint. We have so many options on the calendar over the next three months that whittling it down to 19 was an incredible difficult task — and we here at The Key wholeheartedly encourage you to peruse the extensive listings in the XPN Concert Calendar for details on the shows that didn’t fit — including Nuevofest at World Cafe Live, Cayetana’s swan song at Union Transfer, Brandi Carlile and Mavis Staples at the Mann Center, and of course our own XPoNential Music Festival.

But those are all gigs you probably could have guessed we were excited about. For this list, we’ve dug a little bit deeper and gathered that aren’t as obvious at first glance. From classic Philly soul to soaring international pop, tripped-out psychedelia and forward-looking jazz, here are 19 concerts we can’t wait to see in summer of 2019. Continue reading →