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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Megan Cooper’s top ten train tracks (a commute playlist for 2017)

Chastity Belt | photo via chastity-belt.bandcamp.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Megan Cooper shares the soundtrack that kept her sane on SEPTA.

This past year, I’ve spent a quite a bit of time on public transport. Not having a car, while splitting my life between the ‘burbs as I finished up school (woo I’m done!) and the city as I worked and went to many a gig, you could say the R5 Regional Rail line was —  for better or for worse — sort of like a second home to me.

Because although SEPTA often left me shaking my fists towards the sky at impossibly excessive delays, my feelings of seething hatred would immediately melt into warmth and contentment as soon as I’d slump into my window seat — eager for the twenty or so minutes of peace to come. Devoid of road rage and panic that parking spot quests bring, train commutes are a unique kind of solitary experience where the world seems to slow down and stand still as it ironically whirs right past you. So unless you’re on your way to some event you need to get mega hyped for, abrasive and loud tracks don’t really have a place here — at least for me. Though I love me a good ole punk jam, this quiet setting is reserved for reflective mindfulness where chill, soft and introspective songs reign supreme.

So, in no particular order, here’s a list of ten songs that served as my trusty train companions this year. Ranging from laid-back and soothing, to somber and melancholic, to atmospheric and poppy, these songs will get you in your head, make you feel many a feeling, and maybe even give your brain a comforting little hug of solidarity. Continue reading →

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Shadow Experts: Palm play LIVE plus new Big Thief, Superchunk and Alvvays on the Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Palm | Photo courtesy of the artist

Tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade is packed to the gills with brand new tracks from beloved bands and up-and-comers alike! Tune in to XPN at 11pm ET for a full two-hour show that’ll also serve as the chaser for this month’s What’s The Frequency??? with John Vettese. In the hopper, we’ve got a live session that John and I recorded together with the now-Philly based experimental pop band Palm. The quartet has a new EP, Shadow Expert, coming this month, and we’ll hear them perform tracks from it live in the studio. Also, since it was just released this week, we’ll spotlight the new full-length from Big Thief, Capacity. Be on the lookout for new singles from Superchunk, Alvvays and Ariel Pink, too!

Check out some of the new things below:
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Over Easy: Diet Cig play LIVE, new Chastity Belt on the Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Diet Cig | Photo by Shervin Lainez, courtesy of the artist

Tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade features the first in a multi-week series of new live sessions, direct from our studio! Listen starting at 11pm ET on WXPN for a full two-hour show that’ll kick off with a lively performance from Diet Cig. The New York duo released their debut album, Swear I’m Good At This, earlier this year, and they’ll play some of the album’s instantly-likable songs live. You can check out a sneak preview of their set on Vuhaus now, and listen for the full session tonight! Today also marks the release of Seattle quartet Chastity Belt‘s new album, I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone. We’ll dig into that on our IRHP Album Spotlight in the midnight hour. Be on the lookout for new tracks from Daddy Issues, White Reaper and Perfume Genius, too!

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IDC: New Chastity Belt, Jay Som & Girlpool on the Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Chastity Belt | Photo by Conner Lyons, courtesy of the artist

Here in Philadelphia, it’s super weird and wintry outside. I don’t like it one bit. But that mess isn’t about to affect the swift delivery of the Indie Rock Hit Parade to your headspace at 11pm ET on WXPN. Be sure to stay tuned after What’s The Frequency??? with John Vettese for a full two-hour IRHP that’ll feature some of today’s new album releases, including Jay Som‘s debut album and the fourth full-length from Tennis. Also in the mix are new tracks from Philly duo Girlpool, Seattle’s Chastity Belt and outer space’s The Juan Maclean. Check out a few of the new tracks below…

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