Tonight’s concert picks: HAIM at Tower Theater, Hoots and Hellmouth at Boot & Saddle, The Interest Group at Underground Arts and more

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese
Sister rock trio HAIM (a former XPN artist to watch) are putting a big year behind them. After their debut album, Days Are Gone, was released this past September, they’ve gotten a deal with Target to have their song “Forever” appear in the store’s commercials, and have planned out their first nationwide and European tour. Tonight, they’ll stop by Tower Theater. The show will start at 8 p.m. and the $32 tickets can be purchased here.

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Angel Olsen’s enchanting mix of folk, country and psychedelia

Photo by Zia Anger
Singer-songwriter Angel Olsen recently released Burn Your Fire For No Witness, her debut on Jagjaguwar records. The Missouri born musician released her first full length album, Half Way Home, in 2012 to critical acclaim, and first garnered attention as a back up singer with Bonnie “Prince” Billy. Where Olsen’s Half Way Home was marked by indie-folk, a little bit of twang and acoustic guitars, Burn Your Fire has a much fuller sound and yet her enchanting vocals and stories remain up front in the mix, with a mix of folk, country and psychedelia swirling throughout the songs. Below, via NPR Music’s Heavy Rotation download “High & Wild” from Angel’s new album.

Olsen plays Johnny Brenda’s on Wednesday, May 14th.

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company

Just Announced: Angel Olsen will return to Johnny Brenda’s on 5/14

Angel OlsenSinger-songwriter Angel Olsen just will return to Johnny Brenda’s this spring with a new album in tow. Her new Burn Your Fire for No Witness is out February 18th on Jagjaguwar Records, and she headlines the Fishtown venue on May 15th. Tickets will be available on Friday February 7th at noon via the venue’s website.

(See More – Angel Olsen, Pillars & Tongues and Bad Braids at Johnny Brenda’s)

Today Olsen premiered a new music video for “Hi-Five” with surreal theatrics sort of reminiscent of David Lynch. Check it out below.


Photos: Angel Olsen, Pillars and Tongues and Bad Braids at Johnny Brenda’s

Angel Olsen | Photo by Abi Reimold | All photos by Abi Reimold |

Last night Chicago-based singer-songwriter Angel Olsen headlined Johnny Brenda’s, still on tour in support of her 2012 release Half Way Home. Joining her were avant-pop outfit Pillars and Tongues and Philly’s Bad Braids. Check out a gallery of photos from the show below.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Angel Olsen at Johnny Brenda’s, Nat Baldwin at the First Unitarian Chapel, King Tuff at the First Unitarian Church

Angel Olsen
Photo by Abi Reimold

Singer / songwriter Angel Olsen plays on all manner of moods and emotions in her music, and she’s an intense live performer to boot. Tonight the Chicago-based musician returns to Philadelphia for her biggest headlining show to date, following a Folkadelphia presents appearance at Studio 34 last fall and an opening slot for Kurt Vile at Union Transfer in May. Her music is infused with a jazz, country and Americana heritage – think Patsy Cline and Nina Simone – and though she often gets perceived as an uber-serious person, she has a playful side too, as we saw in this interview with Elliott Sharp back in the spring. Her album Half Way Home is coming up on a year old, so perhaps we’ll hear some new material at tonight’s 21+ show at Johnny Brenda’s. Tickets an information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, get a free download of Olsen’s Folkadelphia session from last fall.

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Just Announced: Angel Olsen will play Johnny Brenda’s on 10/2

angel olsen

Chicago-based musician Angel Olsen has announced a show at Johnny Brenda’s on October 2nd in support of last year’s Half Way Home.  Often compared to Roy Orbison and Karen Dalton because of her striking and captivating vocal style, Olsen is a singer-songwriter who sings from her soul and is not afraid to show her vulnerabilities.  Before releasing her debut full-length last year Olsen was a touring member of Bonnie “Prince” Billie’s Cairo Gang backing band where she earned a reputation for being unpredictable and enthralling on stage, her voice sometimes barely a whisper and other times reaching operatic proportions.  Tickets and information for the 21+ show with Pillars and Tongues go on sale this Friday, July 5th.  More information can be found here.  Read in interview Olsen did with The Key here, listen back to her Folkadelphia session here and watch her perform “If It’s Alive, It Will” below.


Happy to be home, Kurt Vile brought Wakin On A Pretty Daze to life in front of a sold-out Union Transfer crowd (photos, review, setlist)

Kurt VilePhotos by Abi Reimold |

It was a full house at Union Transfer on Saturday night as Philadelphia welcomed home Kurt Vile & The Violators for the last show of their U.S. tour.  With strong openers and a career-spanning set list from the hometown hero, the night was jam-packed with stellar performances and a lot of love.

There’s an image of a couch and a heart on Vile’s now infamous Fishtown mural that reprises the line “There’s a place in my heart for all of my friends” from Wakin On A Pretty Daze’s “Goldtones” and that seemed to be the sentiment the Lansdowne native was going for during his set.  An intangible sense of community could be felt between the crowd and the frontman, despite minimal verbal interaction.  It was the clear the audience was well-versed in Kurt’s discography as they welcomed each eclectic twist and turn of the set list with claps and cheers.  As Vile stood on the stage dressed in all white, surrounded by a hazy fog with a scaled-down version of the mural behind him and Technicolor lights bouncing around, the effect was similar to that of flying through the clouds during a sunset when the light cuts through just right – transcendent, magical and rare. Continue reading →


A conversation about books and television with Angel Olsen (playing Union Transfer with Kurt Vile on May 18)

ANGELOLSEN-1Angel Olsen, the Chicago-based singer-songwriter, released a gorgeous and haunted and joyous album last year titled Half Way Home (Bathetic). And when she was in Philly last winter, she stopped by the WXPN studio to record a Folkadelphia Session, where she performed three songs from it. One of them was an extended version of “Lonely Universe,” where Olsen tries to make sense of a tragic world where the source of life has just died. It’ll bring you to your knees, and then lift you back up on your feet. “You won’t always be walking the safest streets,” she sings. “But you can find your way home.”

Olsen has since signed with the Jagjaguwar label. A release date for her upcoming album has not yet been announced. But, she says, “I’m working on some new things. I don’t want to force them, though. I have some vague idea of when I might record, but we’ll see. It will be sooner than later because I don’t want to wait too long. It has to come naturally.”

In the meantime, you can catch Olsen live in Philadelphia as she performs an opening set for Kurt Vile on May 18 at Union Transfer. We recently caught up with Olsen while she was touring the West Coast, and we spoke to her about television shows, books, painters, movies, and some other stuff. Here’s what she said.

The Key: Hi Angel. What’s up?

Angel Olsen: Not much. I just played Phoenix. It was really fun. Now we’re in Tempe, Arizona. We’re looking for a swimming hole. We’re going to a place called Kenyon Lake. And now I’m drinking some coffee. I just woke up like 30 minutes ago, so I feel like I’m going to be very experimental with answering these questions.

TK: Good. It’s Friday, and everyone’s over everything. So I won’t ask you all the dumb questions interviewers usually ask like, “How did you get the name Angel Olsen?” I’ll just ask you some random questions like this one: Do you watch television?

AO: Not really. But I got really into Downton Abbey over the winter. Me and my friends did. It was pretty ridiculous. I don’t know what’s so good about it—I couldn’t tell you. I’ve never been a television person, but I watched a lot of that. And I always go back to Freaks & Geeks. Every episode is so perfect. But I only really watch television in the winter because there’s nothing to do in Chicago and I get tired of going out and forcing myself to do things. But, in the summer, I’m normally out riding my bike, or getting some tacos, or running around outside. You know, living. Continue reading →


Steve Gunn announces details for Time Off release (playing AKA Music tonight, Union Transfer on 5/18)

Steve-in-studioSteve Gunn, the Lansdowne, PA native who has since become a mainstay of the Brooklyn experimental / singer-songwriter scene, will release his Paradise of Bachelors debut on June 18th.  Titled Time Off the album follows-up Gunn’s 2009 solo full-length Boerum Palace (Three Lobed Recordings) and joins the musician with longtime collaborators and friends John Truscinski (drums) and Justin Tripp (bass, formerly of local indie rock band Aspera).  From PoB:

Time Off deploys Gunn’s signature virtuosic guitar style, framed by the most commanding vocal performances he has yet committed to tape. These six songs showcase his oblique character sketches and story-songs about friends, acquaintances, and denizens of his Brooklyn neighborhood.

In addition to the impending release, PoB has announced Gunn’s new role as a Violator for the upcoming Kurt Vile & The Violators tour, for which Gunn will also be an opener.  Tickets and information for that May 18th show at Union Transfer with Angel Olsen can be found here.  Tonight, Steve Gunn will play a set at AKA Music in Old City for the record store’s First Friday event, presented by Philebrity.  More information for the free show can be found on the Facebook event page here.  Below, watch Steve Gunn perform “Old Strange” at the Kensington Picnic and then check out Time Off‘s track list.

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Just Announced: Kurt Vile playing Union Transfer on 5/18, plus free download from new LP

Huge news out of Kurt Vile‘s camp: the local rocker will be playing Union Transfer on May 18th with Steve Gunn and Angel Olsen.  The date follows the release of Vile’s upcoming album Wakin On A Pretty Daze on April 9th, which Matador Records has announced will be a 69-minute double LP.  In addition to a full tracklist and U.S. tour dates, Matador has also shared a free download of lead track “”Wakin On A Pretty Day” here.  On first listen it’s clear Vile has stayed true to what he does best, namely playing warpy, bright guitar riffs and singing poetic lyrics with strong imagery.  Check out the track below. After the jump, watch last week’s documentary on the album’s cover art below, featuring appearances by local street artist Steve Powers and Mr. Vile himself.  Tracklist follows.  Tickets and information for the all-ages hometown show will be available here.

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