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Beirut’s global pop shines at The Tower Theater

Beirut | Photo by Matthew Shaver | brightloud.com
Beirut | Photo by Matthew Shaver | brightloud.com

On paper, Beirut is the most hipster band ever. A dude from Santa Fe names a band after a city in Lebanon cause it’s a bummer, and goes off on world tours fusing pop rock sensibilities with a flair for world music.

In real life, Beirut is a band full of talented musicians that mix and match genres that you wouldn’t think would work, but heck yeah they do. First of all, brass is massively under utilized in popular music. Period. Beirut makes it happen, though. It adds a somber layer to their sound, for sure. Something that is as equally inspired by funeral processions as it is mariachi bands. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Districts at Electric Factory, Beirut at the Tower, Cold Fronts at Johnny Brenda’s and more

The Districts | Photo by Ryan Farber | via http://www.villagevoice.com/music/fucked-up-and-dirty-the-districts-look-back-on-their-big-league-year-7861965
The Districts | Photo by Ryan Farber | via http://www.villagevoice.com/music/fucked-up-and-dirty-the-districts-look-back-on-their-big-league-year-7861965

We have been big fans of Philly indie rockers The Districts for some time now. Since their formation in 2009 the band has quickly ascended the ranks of Philly indie rock, rapidly becoming the unequivocal “band to watch”. Recently we here The Key got a chance to talk to the band about this journey, which continues with what is arguably their biggest Philly show to date tonight at the Electric Factory with Lady Lamb and fellow Philadelphians Purples. You can click here to get more information on tonight’s show. Continue reading →

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20 must see shows in November

Jim James | My Morning Jacket | XPoNential Music Festival 2015 | Photo by Rachel DelSordo | http://www.racheldelsordophotography.com/
Jim James | My Morning Jacket | XPoNential Music Festival 2015 | Photo by Rachel DelSordo | http://www.racheldelsordophotography.com/

As we enter November, there’s a month filled with excellent shows coming into Philly. Here’s 20 must see shows that we suggest you choose from to put on your social calendar. Continue reading →

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Come Alive: Eternal Summers LIVE, Nick Diamonds and Jamie xx on tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Eternal Summers | Photo by Brett Winter Lemon
Eternal Summers | Photo by Brett Winter Lemon

It’s been about a year since our friends Eternal Summers released an album, so that must mean it’s time for them to release another album! We’ll be joined yet again by the Roanoke trio on tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade, as they play songs from their newly released LP, Gold And Stone, live in our studio. Tonight’s full two-hour show also features a spotlight on City Of Quartz, the new solo album from Nick “Diamonds” Thorburn (Islands, The Unicorns). Plus a few of these selections in the mix:

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Watch the new music video for Beirut single “No No No”

Beirut | Zach Condon | Photo by Shawn Brackbill
Beirut | Zach Condon | Photo by Shawn Brackbill

Beirut have released a music video for new single “No No No”. The song itself is classic Beirut, with a gentle, steady rhythm and crooning horn section, but the video changes things up a bit. Bandmates play loaves of bread, outdoor grills, and stuffed skunks. It all gets a little surreal, as plenty of strange happenings occur during the video, and the word “NO” pops up in boldface font throughout. Continue reading →

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Download the title track from Yellow Ostrich’s new album (playing Kung Fu Necktie 10/26)

New York indie trio Yellow Ostrich is offering a free download for the title track of their forthcoming album, Ghost, which is set for release October 22nd. Yellow Ostrich, originally a solo project by Alex Schaaf, morphed into a duo before the release of its debut record, The Mistress. By the time their sophomore album, Strange Land, came out in May, Schaaf and drummer Michael Tapper picked up Jon Natchez of The Antlers and Beirut as well. Yellow Ostrich will be playing at Kung Fu Necktie on October 26th; tickets for the 21+ show can be found here. Grab your download in exchange for your email address in the player below.

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Recap: Beirut at Electric Factory

The members of Beirut had enough instruments on stage last night for a high-school marching band. If an inattentive concert goer wasn’t watching the band on stage, it would have been easy to mistake the folky, world-pop sextet for a monstrous 10-piece ensemble with an endlessly revolving set of members. That wouldn’t be too surprising, either, considering how the group started as the offspring of only one person—front man Zach Condon—who just needed some other guys to play what he told them to play. To everyone paying attention, though, it was clear that Beirut is a stable, satiated six-piece band, with the supporting cast acting as artistic foils to Condon himself.

This feeling of collaboration was only intensified by the night’s varied song selection, the set-list turning into a quintessential survey course of Beirut’s discography. Though the band’s current tour is to promote their latest album, The Rip Tide, the group began with “Scenic World,” a track off its 2006 debut, Gulag Orkestar, and then straight into “The Shrew,” from 2009’s March of the Zapotec. These two tracks alone offer a unique juxtaposition within Beirut’s genre, the first heavy on accordion and the latter sounding like the brassy soundtrack for a bull fight. By the time the group got around to playing material from The Rip Tide, first playing the woozy “Vagabond” and then “Santa Fe,” the group had already hinted at all the musical phases it has undergone since its conception. First inspired by travels throughout Europe and then travels to Oaxaca, Mexico and later to Brazil, Condon’s past songwriting always had a thematic element to it, central to his recent travels. With The Rip Tide, though, and especially with last night’s performance, it is clear that Condon—and, more than ever, his band—are melding everything from the past five years in order to create a well-rounded, complete sound.

As Beirut continued its set, receiving great cheers for the ukulele and accordion-centric “East Harlem,” the setting of the stage helped perpetuate Beirut’s worldly influences. Though adorned simplistically, with strings of red and gold blinking lights, the decoration nonetheless gave the entire evening an undeniable carnival feeling, as if little samba school kids were waiting to join the group on stage. Instead, though, the lights just kept the atmosphere feeling festive, even during the group’s more languid, silky songs, like the piano-based “Goshen,” when all other lighting was stripped away to darken the stage.

After a lengthy wait for an encore, Condon returned to the stage alone with a ukulele to perform “The Penalty” from The Flying Club Cup. The solo performance was a brief reminder of Condon’s role in acting as the band’s center, as its true creator. The encore bloomed into a nearly 30-minute, four-song affair, with the rest of the band (and Mishka the dog) joining him; the set dissolved into a bending, continuous melding of instruments that outshone the rest of the show as each band member showed off in their respective tuba/bass/whatever solos. The final songs performed were the title track of 2006’s Gulag Orkestar and then an impressive version of “Serbian Cocek,” where the focus of the performance was not on the front man but on the collection of musicians on stage. When the group left stage for the final time and the crowd’s couples stopped dancing, even the greenest of listeners could walk away knowing that they had heard music that relies not on Zach Condon, but on Beirut. —Marielle Mondon

For more photos by Eric Ashleigh, visit lefte.co.