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Key Fest At-A-Glance, Part One: A high-energy indie / punk opening with Cayetana, Commonwealth Choir, Hurry and Slingshot Dakota

Slingshot Dakota | photo by Megan Kelly
Slingshot Dakota | photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

The first-ever Key Fest is nearly upon us, and anticipation around these parts is high. Three nights of music by Philadelphia artists, a spectrum of sounds and styles, and a lot to look forward to. It’s essentially the first time a local venue has turned over three nights of their calendar to us and said “here, have fun” – and we tried to do right by them in curating three unique bills of artists that we felt worked alongside one another and, more importantly, that we’d want to go see.

All this week, leading up to opening night, we’ll bring you night-by-night Key Fest At-A-Glance rundowns, telling you who these artists are we booked and why we’re pumped to have them on the show. To begin at the beginning, let’s look at opening night. Continue reading →

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Philly Music 101: The basics everyone needs to know about the Philadelphia scene right now

Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com
The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com

Philadelphia is a city of many wonders: a buzzing food scene, an established craft beer culture, and a parade of historical landmarks. But one aspect of our city that we are particularly passionate about is our magnificent local music community and all that is has to offer. Here at The Key, we often focus on the particulars of our scene – where artists will be playing each night, brand new local releases, etc. - so much so that we can forget how overwhelming it can be for newcomers to get their bearings.

So for those of you having trouble finding where to start, we are introducing this new Philly Music 101 series as your guide through the wonderful world of the Philadelphia music scene: all of its passionate, loving members, from artists to venues to studios and more. It’s meant to help new fans navigate the scene as much as emerging musicians looking to break in and behind-the-scenes folks trying to get their start. We hope it will illuminate just what makes it so damn exciting for music lovers to live here. To kick it off, here is a by-no-means-complete overview of the different pieces of the Philadelphia music scene that have come together to make up its sturdy foundation. Continue reading →

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Cayetana release glass-smashing video for “Scott get the Van, I’m Moving”

A still from Cayetana's video for "Scott Get The Van I'm Moving"
A still from Cayetana’s video for “Scott Get The Van I’m Moving”

For the full-throttle punk track “Scott get the Van, I’m Moving,” Philly punk trio Cayetana got to run around an abandoned warehouse smashing glass, vases, or anything they could get their hands on with a baseball bat.

The video, which was directed by Adam Peditto, features tantalizing sunlit reflections on an old-fashioned van and slo-mo shots of the destruction during the chorus. The video is far from missing any symbolic anecdotes like a snapshot of a sign on a brick building that states “The Future is Unwritten.” Dark shadows on the trio are fitting in times of lyrics like “We find solace in the moment.” A strange, dark silhouette at the end leaves the viewer in the unknown and makes this video more than just a recording of the girls rocking out in a basement (which is still pretty cool). Continue reading →

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Philly bands featured on compilation for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

To Show That You're Still Here | Album art by JP Flexner
To Show That You’re Still Here | Album art by JP Flexner

Eighteen bands from the DIY punk scene have come together to create To Show That You’re Still Here, a benefit compilation for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Catch some new and exclusive tracks on the compilation, where a handful of Philly bands are featured, such as Beach Slang, By SurpriseLeaky Soups, Cayetana, free cake for every creature, Secret Plot to Destroy the Entire Universe and No Summer. Continue reading →

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Ten summery songs to kick the winter blues

summer
Cayetana | photo via Facebook

There’s nothing worse than the discerning sense that winter is a timeless black hole and that you will never feel the sun’s warmth again in your life. The best way to pretend that the winter isn’t sucking the life out of you is to channel any summer vibes that you can get your hands on. One way to do that is to listen to some songs that remind you of sunny days and overall happiness. These ten songs are here to remind you that some day (not soon enough) it will be summer again.

Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Bruce Warren’s Best of Philly Music 2014

Amanda X: Tiff Yoon, Cat Park, Kat Bean | Photo by Peter Murray | petermurrayphotography.com
Amanda X: Tiff Yoon, Cat Park, Kat Bean | Photo by Peter Murray | petermurrayphotography.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, XPN Program Director Bruce Warren weighs in on the 2014 Philly music scene.

We thought 2013 was a fantastic year for the Philly music scene, however 2014 proved to be even better. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Top 15 Albums of 2014

top 15 albums of 2014
This is the music that moved us this year.

Here at The Key, we’ve gone through four year-end best-of seasons since launching in August of 2010 without weighing in on top albums. Why did we change that this year? Simply put: music in 2014 was outstanding. On the local front, on the national front, from pop to rock to experimental and hip-hop, there was a tremendous offering of front-to-back solid records. Annie Clark got mind-bendy on St. Vincent; Tim Showalter got emotional on HEAL; Sylvan Esso caught us by surprise on their self-titled debut; Cayetana blew up in a big way on their debut Nervous Like Me, voted the best record of the year by our staff of contributors. To narrow it down to the top 15 albums of 2014 is to exclude hundreds of other worthy inclusion, so you can read our contributors’ individual top fives here. Then again, there is power in consensus, and these are the albums we collectively agreed were the best. Continue reading →

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Restorations throw a wild hometown party for the release of LP3

Restorations | photo by Rachel Del Sordo
Restorations | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

On Saturday night, hard-hitting Philadelphia rock band Restorations throw an enormous party at the First Unitarian Church to celebrate the release of their third full-length album, appropriately titled LP3.  Friends, family and local fans poured into the Church to share in the celebration. Restorations also brought with them some fellow Philadelphia bands to share the stage with them. Continue reading →

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The Ultimate Basement Show: Why Gainesville’s FEST is so important to the Philly DIY scene

Philly's Restorations is headed to Gainesville's FEST for the fifth time, and timed it's new album release around it | photo via restorations.tumblr.com
Philly’s Restorations is headed to Gainesville’s FEST for the fifth time, and timed it’s new album release around it | photo via restorations.tumblr.com

Some musicians route their tours around it. Others plan major releases to coincide with it. Others still will travel thousands of miles to play a one-off show at it, turn right around and head home.

The annual FEST in Gainesville, Florida, has become something of a DIY scene mecca over its 13-year existence. A series of punk concerts housed in a handful of venues over the course of a weekend where, as legend has it, the University of Florida’s football team is always out on an away game, THE FEST – usually written in all-caps, but not for any particular reason – is a huge draw, especially for artists from the Philadelphia region. Continue reading →