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The Key Studio Sessions: Trap Rabbit

A couple years back, renowned jazz trumpeter Christian Scott introduced the concept of “stretch music” in his album of the same name. The idea was one not of total re-invention or boundary-smashing, but rather of taking one’s creative vocabulary and stretching it to include as much style and range as possible, incorporating uncommon influences while remaining true to one’s musical roots.

Philly duo Trap Rabbit could easily qualify as stretch music for the local scene…though they might prefer their own category of “weirdo beat rock.” Indeed, Arjun Dube’s complex drumbeats are prominently present in the band’s work, propping up and goading on Logan Roth’s expressionistic keyboard playing. Continue reading →

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Watch Trap Rabbit take it to the streets on their new music video for “Empress”

Trap Rabbit
Trap Rabbit | photo courtesy of the artist

Unlike their name may lead you to believe, Trap Rabbit does not make trap music. Rather, the instrumental key/drum duo from Philly creates a dynamic mixture of progressive jazz, rock and hip-hop beats in their live shows and on their most recent project, 2018’s Empress EP.

Late last week, music blog OkayPlayer debuted the music video for title track, “Empress,” following the duo of drummer Arjun Dube and keyboardist Logan Roth in what seems like a normal get together. The Bob Sweeney-directed video starts off with the duo hanging out in the band’s Fishtown studio, but slowly devolves into a full-blown fistfight out on the street. Continue reading →

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Listen to Trap Rabbit’s new EP Empress ahead of their Bourbon & Branch release show

Trap Rabbit | photo by Rachel Andie | via the band’s Facebook page

If you’re into trap music, don’t get your hopes up when you see the name of the band Trap Rabbit. They make it perfectly clear on their Bandcamp page that, despite the moniker, they don’t make trap music — they fall more along the lines of instrumental hip-hop meets prog rock with some soul and jazz influences. But their music defies easy categorization, so perhaps it’s best to just call Trap Rabbit what it is at its core — a keys and drums duo that makes some really cool tunes. Continue reading →

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Melbourne indie rockers The Temper Trap electrified Union Transfer (photos, recap, setlist)

The stage at Union Transfer was dark Sunday night until a booming news broadcaster announced, “Another night of rioting in England.” And then an orange light flashed. Everywhere.

Melbourne indie pop-rockers The Temper Trap electrified the crowd at Union Transfer as they opened with the lively “London’s Burning (Repeater).” The band played through the evening with an unwavering energy that surged through the crowd, keeping fans dancing the entire show. Dougy Mandagi boogied around the stage, seeming to effortlessly transition melodic tenor vocals to the sweet falsetto that has become part of the band’s signature sound.

Critics who call The Temper Trap “soft” has probably never seen the group connect with a crowd as enthusiastic as this one. Mandagi’s voice soared through his smile, which was nearly as wide as the stage when he addressed the “city of brotherly love, and sisterly love,” mirroring the faces of the other band members. The happiness onstage transcended into the crowd through Mandagi’s heartfelt vocals and bassist Jonathon Aherne’s animated dance moves. Continue reading →

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Catch Kuf Knotz’s new collaborative project with Christine Elise at Johnny Brenda’s later this month

Kuf Knotz & Christine Elise | photo via kufknotz.com

Philly native Kuf Knotz has a new project in the works. Paired with classically trained harpist Christine Elise and backed by the Trap Rabbit band, it may seem like an unlikely combination, but their music — right now all we have are some live concert videos, but there’s an album on the way — proves that the joined musical forces are onto something good. Currently on tour, they’ll play Johnny Brenda’s for the first time on August 28, opening for Liniker e os Caramelows. Continue reading →

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Sonni Shine strikes out on her on on the solo single “Someone Like You”

Sonni Shine | photo via sonnishine.bandcamp.com

Philly singer-songwriter Sonni Shine got her start in the breezy reggae-tinged band The Underwater Sounds, but in more recent years she’s branched out in a variety of directions. She’s collaborated with trancey electronic music producer goldenSpiral, she’s played guitar in Zeek Burse’s funk-soul band, and next month she releases her first solo album.

Reconcile is out September 7th via Bandcamp, and if you’re a fan of any nook of the past four decades of singer-songwriter-dom, there’s something in here for you. You’ll hear spoken word verses set to drum circle percussion, you’ll hear Ani DiFranco-ian turns of phrase, you’ll hear touches of Fiona Apple-esque introspection, and you’ll hear soul grooves that glide like Janis Ian.

The lead single, “Someone like You,” definitely feels like the latter as it slinks along for four minutes and change of contemplative keys, smooth bass, and a voice pining for a sort of companionship that might be unattainable.  Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Harmony Woods, Kendrick Lamar, Nnamdi Ogbonnaya, The Wonder Years and more

Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar in the “Alright” video | still from video

Between the ridiculous rain and the Ticketfly “cyber incident” shutdown, it’s been a weird week to be a concertgoing Philadelphian. Don’t let that stop you from getting out and getting to the gig, though. Here are 22 concerts you can see in and around town in the next week, from indie folk true believers The Decemberists to reigning rap king Kendrick Lamar and his Top Dawg Entertainment showcase tour. Continue reading →

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Start your week off by watching every Philly entry to NPR Music’s #TinyDeskContest

Gracie and the So Beautifuls’ Tiny Desk Contest entry | still from video

The annual NPR Music #TinyDeskContest revealed its 2018 winner last month: Naia Izumi, a Georgia-born, Los Angeles-based busker who excels at swift guitar licks, live looping and fervent rock and soul vocals. While we’re certain to hear more from Izumi and team Tiny Desk in the coming weeks and months, let’s not get too far from this year’s competition without celebrating the plethora of impressive Philadelphia-based entries. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Queen of Jeans, The Diplomats, Drive-By Truckers, Lorde and more

Queen of Jeans | photo by Jessica Lim | courtesy of the artist
Queen of Jeans | photo by Jessica Lim | courtesy of the artist

Your choices are many; your excuses are few. Here are 25 concerts you could see in Philadelphia this week; enough for you to catch one per day, or for the more enterprising of you Key readers, several per day. Starting with folksinger Sam Amidon, and going up to arena pop rocker Lorde, here are our picks for the week ahead. Continue reading →