Tonight’s Concert Picks: Mount Moriah at Johnny Brenda’s, Auctioneer and Heyward Howkins at PhilaMOCA, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell at the Academy of Music

mount_moriah_stairwell_bgThere’s a whole bunch of blissed-out folk to be heard at Johnny Brenda’s tonight as Mount Moriah (from North Carolina) and Blessed Feathers (from Wisconsin) play one of the last shows of their tour together. The two acts are an appropriate pairing; Mount Moriah plays stripped down, rootsy country/gospel that focuses on highlighting Heather McEntire’s pop croons, while Blessed Feathers play a more updated kind of indie-folk, full of ambient two-part harmonies and driving melodies. The two sounds complement each other very well, and opening act Edison is definitely in the same realm, offering ambient space rock with hints of violin. The 21+ show begins at 8 p.m., tickets and information can be found at the venue’s website. Watch Mount Moriah’s video for “Plane” below.

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Download a demo of “Flimsy” from Heyward Howkins (playing Old City Coffee on 3/21 and PhilaMOCA on 3/26)

HeywardI like this new iPhone demo thing Heyward Howkins has been doing.  It started back in December with a late-night recording of “Be Frank Furness” posted to the local singer-songwriter’s Soundcloud, and now we get another sneak peek of his upcoming LP with “Flimsy.”  Howkins tells us the song is “about Seattle dispensaries, nomads and the rest of the us” and will be on Cut & Corral, his 2013 full-length that follows last year’s The Hale & Hearty debut.  Howkins will perform at Old City Coffee for Heyward & JoJo: Alone & Together Again with high school buddy / former bandmate Joey Sweeney on March 21st.  He will also play March 26th’s Tuesday Tune-Out at PhilaMOCA for Philadelphia Area Music Showcase with Auctioneer (information here).  Stream and download the iPhone demo of “Flimsy” below.


Guest VJ Nikki Volpicelli previews Philadelphia Area Music Showcase’s Tuesday Tune-Out (kicks off tonight at PhilaMOCA)

NikkiThis month heralds either PhilaMOCA‘s final Tuesday Tune-Out of the winter or the first of the spring, and the lineup that local writer Nikki Volpicelli pulled together has a similar season-melding element to it.

You’ve seen Nikki’s byline here on The Key somewhat regularly; she also an editor for JUMP Philly, and runs her own music blog, Philadelphia Area Music Showcase, which is curating this month at the ‘MOCA. I’m pleased to welcome Nikki to this space (as an interviewee, rather than an interviewer) to tell us what’s in store. All events are at PhilaMOCA (531 N. 12th Street), start at 7:30pm and are $5.

From Nikki:

Coming into the whole Tuesday Tune-Out, I had two goals. One, I wanted to make sure I highlighted bands that weren’t playing out as much, but should – bands that people should know about and be able to hear. And two, I wanted to make sure every single night was compact. If you’re going, you’re going because you like this specific sound, and you’re not going to be let down by either of these bands. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Divers at Kung Fu Necktie, Chipocrite at PhilaMOCA for Tuesday Tune-Out, XPN Welcomes Northern Liberties Music Fest’s Van Morrison Tribute Night at The Fire

Divers open for Auctioneer at Kung Fu Necktie tonight.  The brainchild of local musicians Emily Ann Zeitlyn and Ross Bellenoit, Divers are a new quartet filled out by Tom Bendel (Buried Beds) and Todd Erk (The Weeds).  Alternating between wailing, dynamic flourishes and upbeat rock-outs, the Philly band’s still-growing discography of three tracks is an enticing preview of what’s to come.  Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with Auctioneer and Anna Vogelzang can be found at the WXPN Concert Calendar.  Stream “Wild Things” below and right-click here to download it for free.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ellie Goulding at The Electric Factory, Auctioneer with Ross Bellenoit at Puck, Leather at Kung Fu Necktie, Dope Body at The Depot, Riley Road at World Cafe Live at The Queen, XPN Welcomes Tommy Conwell to The Blockley

Following up her Free at Noon performance today, Ellie Goulding headlines the Electric Factory tonight.  The British electronic / pop musician released her LP Halcyon late last year after topping both BBC’s The Sound Of 2010 poll and the Critic’s Choice Award at The Brit Awards that same year. Blending infectious synth hooks and soulful singer-songwriter lyrics, Goulding has placed herself in the center of a resurging musical venn diagram that includes Lykke Li, Jesse Ware and Emeli Sande.  Tickets and information for tonight’s all-ages show can be found here.  Below, watch the video for Halcyon single “Anything Could Happen.”

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The Week So Far: 12 must-read stories on The Key

Photo by Dominic Digiorno |

Explore the roots of The Roots with a 1996 audio documentary and vintage photos [link]

Philadelphia art-pop act Auctioneer premiered a new song called “Swim” [link]

We review the major label debut from Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill, Dreams and Nightmares [link]

Philly thrashers Ruby the Hatchet is streaming its entire new album from Bandcamp [link]

Twang out with indie-country guy Daniel Romano and his song “Middle Child” [link]

Remembering the late Terry Callier with performances from World Cafe [link]

Get details on The Lumineers return to Philadelphia in February [link]

Download Memory Tapes‘ second Halloween minimix, Walk Me Home 2 [link]

Philly Americana rockers The Bailey Hounds put a piano-ballad spin on Danzig’s “Mother” [link]

Dan Matz of Windsor for the Derby mixed classic rock and drone rock in an eclectic playlist [link]


Listen to “Swim,” a new track from Auctioneer

Photo by Emily "Birdie" Busch
On the tail of its Shaking Through Session with Weathervane Music, Auctioneer slips us a new track fresh from its upcoming release. “Swim” is a slow incline of chords that builds with waking keys, a lyrical journey, a watery travelogue of what-if’s and what-will-be’s. Be on the lookout for a slow leak of songs in preparation of the folk-tinged art outfit’s newest release, due out this winter.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Misfits at The Trocadero, OFF! at First Unitarian Church, Cuddle Magic With Jesse Sparhawk at Tin Angel, Auctioneer at Kung Fu Necktie, We Juke Up In Here Film Screening

Just in time for Halloween, the Misfits will be continuing their Devil’s Rain tour tonight at The Trocadero. The aggressive New Jersey punk legends released their seventh album Devil’s Rain in 2011. Tickets for the all-ages 8 o’clock show are available here. Watch the video for “Dig Up Her Bones” from the Misfits’ 1997 record American Psycho below.

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The Week So Far: 14 must-read stories on The Key

Photo by Eric Ashleigh |

Interview: Talking wood nymphs and a show at Ortlieb’s with Brooklyn’s Savoir Adore. [link]

Hear a new song from Nothing, sign up to be in their Key Studio Sessions audience. [link]

Interview: Craig Hendrix of Philly’s Auctioneer on songwriting and Shaking Through. [link]

Lehigh Valley jazz-psych duo XVSK stop by to record a Key Studio Session. [link]

Photos of a spellbinding night at Union Transfer with Beach House. [link]

Breaking down the numbers of WXPN’s 885 Songs that Rock countdown. [link]

Watch a jangling new music video from Low Cut Connie, filmed at the North Star Bar. [link]

Get a taste of the new record from Freeway with his Freedom of Speech mixtape. [link]

Listen to The Dead Milkmen recorded live on WXPN…25 years ago. [link]

Download a free mixtape from Black Dub’s Trixie Whitley. [link]

Watch Rap City, the WHYY documentary on Philly’s hip-hop scene circa 1988. [link]

Couldn’t make it to Austin City Limits? Neil Young and Crazy Horse‘s entire set is streaming. [link]

Also in Austin, Philly sons The War on Drugs played a killer “Arms Like Boulders.” [link]

Jack White dances and beatboxes in his music video for “I’m Shakin’.” [link]


Interview: In the studio with Auctioneer’s Craig Hendrix (playing Kung Fu Necktie 10/19)

Actiioneer | Photo by Peter English

As seasons change so does the soundtrack, and Auctioneer’s low-lit guitar riffs, cavernous vocals and daze-dream drums are a blistering replacement for the surf rock sounds of summer. Today we’re in the studio with frontman Craig Hendrix (who has played with Aderbat, Mammals of Paradise, Birdie Busch, John Francis and more),  and we’re talking about the birth of his four-piece art-rock outfit, its October Shaking Through episode and the sophomore album we’ll be wrapping our mittens around come winter.

The Key: First, can you give me some background on Auctioneer?

Craig Hendrix: Auctioneer started performing a little over a year ago, but I’ve been playing with Todd Erk [bass] since high school. Our high school band was called Tub, it was a pretty bad jam band. Todd Schied [drums] and I played in Aderbat together, which turned into Mammal of Paradise. I think it’s mostly because of Doylestown that we all knew each other and saw each other play. Jesse Moore [keys/ vocals] I met in 2008. He used to work at Rocket Cat Cafe and one day he was playing some music from his high school band and I heard his voice, it was amazing.

TK: What made you decide to move to Philly from Doylestown?

CH: I went to school in Boston and I lived in New York for a while. I moved back to Doylestown kind of waiting for a place like this where I could have a studio in my house and be able to play music where I lived and also to be more involved in a music scene and an arts culture. Doylestown is great but it’s limited.

TK: What was your first thought when you were approached to do this month’s Shaking Through episode?

CH: I was pumped because Miner Street is an amazing studio and we had carte blanche pretty much for this tune. The song (called “Future Faces”) is a larger scale piece, kind of like a production number, so I was excited that we had the facility to do it. Continue reading →