Just Announced: Wavves and Beach Fossils co-headline Union Transfer in November

Wavves | Photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN |

West Coast rockers Wavves team up with Brooklyn boys Beach Fossils to embark on one of the best indie rock tours of the fall season. I, for one, am a fan of stacked bills, and it seems like the bands are too. Previously, Wavves shared a bill with Post Animal at The Foundry, Best Coast and Cherry Glazerr at the Electric Factory, and even FIDLAR at Johnny Brenda’s way back in 2013. Beach Fossils don’t mess around either, playing the Church with Snail Mail last year and Union Transfer with Kurt Vile in 2013. The two heavyweights now join forces (and bring along Hoops’ Kevin Krauter) to tour the country. Continue reading →


Best Coast and Wavves light up the Electric Factory

Best Coast | Photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN |
Best Coast | Photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN |

Indie-rock duo Best Coast and pop-punk rockers Wavves brought the sounds of California to the Electric Factory on Wednesday night with their “Summer is Forever II” tour. 

Best Coast played a set of their easygoing surf-punk tunes in support of their most recent album, California Nights, which came out last year. The band also pulled from their back catalog to play a well-balanced set of their newest music along with older favorites. Touring bandmates on drums, bass, and guitar backed vocalist and guitarist Bethany Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno throughout a sweet set that ranged from the energetic riffs in “When Will I Change” to the mellowness of “Our Deal.” 

Throughout the set, fans were engrossed in the music; at one point, a dedicated fan in the front row wearing a Garfield costume took to crowd surfing. Towards the end of the show, the band played their hit song “Boyfriend” while Cosentino sang to the Garfield head and wore it for a portion of the song. They closed up their set with an impressive performance of “When Will I Change,” leaving the crowd wanting more. Once Best Coast returned on stage for the encore, they wrapped up the show with a lively performance of “Bratty B.” Continue reading →


With two albums out this summer, Wavves will visit the TLA in September

Wavves | Photo by John Vettese
Wavves | Photo by John Vettese

San Diego punk rockers Wavves have announced a fall tour, which includes a stop at the TLA on September 30th. The tour is in support of two albums the Nathan Williams-led four piece plan to release this summer: one an untitled fifth studio album, and the other a collaboration album with Cleveland punk band Cloud Nothings titled No Life for Me. The show at the TLA will feature supporting acts Twin Peaks and Steep Leans. Continue reading →


A kinetic blitzkreig from King Tuff, Jacuzzi Boys and Wavves at the First Unitarian Church

King Tuff | Photo by Laura Jane Brubaker | King Tuff | Photo by Laura Jane Brubaker |

Wednesday night the basement of First Unitarian transformed into a pit of sweat, punks, and straight-up killer rock. The heat was on from the first fuzzed-out notes of Jacuzzi Boys‘ set through the roiling energy of King Tuff, peaking searingly with WAVVES‘ kinetic blitz. As the mercury rose, kids started thrashing and diving off the stage like atoms following the gas laws. And for some reason there was a merch guy dresses as a Telletubby. Thank the Great Spirit for that.


Exploring the animated side of garage-psych royalty King Tuff (playing the First Unitarian Church tomorrow with WAVVES and Jacuzzi Boys)

TuffThere’s something cartoonish about King Tuff. Most of his album art portrays hand-scratched drawings of large-nosed longhairs and magic bats. In his music videos, a paint stick follows him around to shimmer the scene neon every once in awhile. His band could also emanate this kiddishness, with make-believe aliases like Magic Jake (his bassist), and Captain Cox (his engineer). But there’s something about his sound, too, that illustrates him. It’s this rabbit-from-a-hat sonic madness of hard drum patterns and fuzzed-out electric guitars. It’s also his voice, which until you see him live doesn’t quite make sense — like a hoarse Alvin the Chipmunk might sound when you slow down the recording just enough so that it could be considered human.

This year, his 2008 record, Was Dead, was reissued and released on Burger Records — for which anyone with footing in the sounds of all of those fuzzed-out garbage pail kids coming in from the West Coast (Ty Segall, No Bunny, WAVVES, the Memories, et al.) should be eternally grateful. It is a record filled with a series of hooks strung together in one cleverly-crafted album. There’s nothing to skip, it’s all here re-packaged in a vibrant blue sleeve with the hot pink scribble-scrabbled face of King Tuff himself.

“I recorded Was Dead with my friend in a giant ballroom, this was was in Vermont,” Kyle “King Tuff” Thomas explains over the phone last month. The longtime guitarist and songwriter moved from Vermont to Los Angeles a little over two years ago and jokes “I haven’t done shit since I got to LA… just frying my mind in the rays.”

Continue reading →


This Weekend’s Concert Picks: Allo Darlin’, Yeasayer, Guided By Voices + Wavves, Architecture In Helsinki

Allo Darlin'

Allo Darlin’ are the perfect summer band. With a charming name and a cheery, youthful sensibility, the London-based four-piece crafts twee gems well-suited to sun-soaked days and balmy evenings. Lead singer Elizabeth Morris coos sweetly about Annie Hall, trips to the coast of Sweden, and jumpers, sounding like a fourth Pipette. The songs reference The Chiffons (the chorus of “If Loneliness Was Art” is a dead ringer for “One Fine Day”), and feature bouncy irresistible beats, echoing the great, Phil Spector-produced girl groups of the 1960s. Allo, Darlin’s latest album, 2009’s self-titled Fortuna Pop! release, is packed with enough doo-wop harmonies to keep any Shangri Las fan happy. Allo Darlin performs with Pet Milk at 7:30 p.m. at Kung Fu Necktie; tickets to the 21+ show are $10. —Kiley Bense

Also playing: Yeasayer + Smith Westerns, Hush Hush at The Trocadero (8 p.m., all ages, SOLD OUT); Guided By Voices + Wavves at River Stage At Great Plaza (6:30 p.m., $39.70); Junior Boys + Miracle Fortress at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, SOLD OUT); The Feelies at World Cafe Live (8 p.m., all ages, $20); Pharmacy Spirits + Dangerous Ponies at Danger Danger Gallery (9 p.m., all ages, $5-$10)

The best way to describe Architecture In Helsinki’s sound is joyful chaos. The Australian twee outfit—which once had eight members, and has since shrunk to five—plays with an enthusiasm that borders on manic. They specialize in genre-hopping, even in the space of one track, bouncing from dance-pop to marching band and back again. The songs end up being a mishmash of various (if nearly always sweet) elements: children’s whispers, glockenspiel, clapping, clarinet. Their shows tend to be equally jumbled and ecstatic. Usually this indie-pop at a kiddie carnival approach works, but it can be overwhelming, as it sometimes feels like Architecture In Helsinki is attempting to cram every musical idea they’ve ever had into a two minute joyride. If you’re willing to go along for the trip, you’ll be glad that you did. Architecture In Helsinki performs with Hooray For Earth and Norwegian Arms at 7 p.m. at World Cafe Live; tickets to the all-ages show are $15. —Kiley Bense

Also playing: The US Air Guitar Championships Philadelphia Regional at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10); Deb Callahan at World Cafe Live (9 p.m., $14)

Gypsy Death And You + Sleepy Vikings, Eat Your Birthday Cake at Kung Fu Necktie (8 p.m., 21+, $8)


Tonight’s Concert Pick: Best Coast + Wavves, No Joy at Starlight Ballroom

Best Coast and Wavves: two lo-fi, beach-party-revival rock bands whose upbeat vibes would would be the perfect antidote to this dreary winter weather—if only said weather didn’t threaten the likelihood of tonight’s show occurring in the first place. Thankfully, according to R5 Productions Twitter, the show is “100% happening,” despite whatever new threats of inclement weather Old Man Winter is throwing at Philadelphia tonight. On the off chance that the show does get canceled at the last minute, however, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to get your Best Coast fix online, including audio of last night’s performance at 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. (from NPR), Best Coast’s live appearance on World Cafe at the WXPN studio (from back in October), or this video of Best Coast’s performance on Letterman last night (originally posted by theaudioperv):

Best Coast performs with Wavves and No Joy at 7:30 p.m. at Starlight Ballroom; tickets to the all-ages show are $15-$17.


Meet Well Room: Three Philly friends making “ear-bleeding indie pop”

Well Room | photo by Alana Gardner | via

Philadelphia is undeniably a hotbed for innovative music, and the underground scene presents a vital opportunity for new artists to gain traction and popularity. The indie scene around the region has churned out gems of bands such as The Districts, Hop Along, Radiator Hospital, and (Sandy) Alex G, just to name a handful. A new group to keep on your radar is the garage rock three-piece, Well Room, composed of singer/guitarist Aidan Williams, bassist Grant Pavol and drummer Harry Freed. They dropped their new single, “Eyes Wide” in early May, as a preview to their upcoming album. Continue reading →


Items Tagged Philadelphia: It’s always something

Downtrodder | via

Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time each week digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. At the end of each week, we present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.

Question: do you ever feel like you’re caught up on the great to-do list that is life? Follow up question: how? I finally finished watching Twin Peaks: The Return today — no spoilers, just WOW — but I’ve still got a seemingly endless litany of things to cross off.

Some examples: Mix and edit audio, cut video of my backlog of Key Studio Sessions (even though new ones keep being recorded). Wrap up the massive undertaking of combing through and trimming down fifteen years worth of digital concert photos (even though I keep shooting more all the time). Buy ingredients to make cauliflower tikki masala for dinner (now I’m just procrastinating). Make art (“Get outta town, I didn’t know you did anything creative!”).

A big one: finish articulating my unfinished thoughts about the recent New York Times‘ Arts & Leisure section last week namechecking 25 women and non-binary artists making some of the best music out there today, as well as the NPR Music’s Turning the Tables series of 100 great albums made by women (quick takes: great to see so many bands with Philly ties in the mix, yes it feels antiquated to have “Women In Music” spotlights in 2017, possibly a bit pageview-grabby exploitative as well, but as evidenced by big fall tour announcements like Joyce Manor / Wavves / whatever-other-all-male-all-white-band, it is still a necessary conversation, and the result is two pieces of music journalism you should totally read, so read them y’all).

Oh, and listen to new music for Items Tagged Philadelphia.
Continue reading →