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XPNFest recap: Cheerleader fills the Marina Stage with lustrous indie pop

20150726_Cheerleader_Xpo-190
Cheerleader | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com

The sweet indie pop of Philadelphia’s own Cheerleader helped kick off day three of XPN Fest. The five-piece band complimented the sunny afternoon perfectly, with shimmering guitars and catchy keyboard melodies.

Their debut record, Sunshine of Your Youth, helped them gain momentum quickly this year and carried them to places far from Philly. They’ve been featured at numerous festivals, including CMJ, The Great Escape, and SXSW. Their album release was supported by a nationwide tour with The Wombats. Continue reading →

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Philly Music 101: The wild world of Philly’s modern rock scene

A few of the talented artists that make up Philadelphia's alternative rock scene
A few of the talented artists that make up Philadelphia’s alternative rock scene (Clockwise from top left: Hop Along, Cruisr, DRGN KING, Tutlie, and Vita and the Woolf)

Philly Music 101 is our regular series guiding you through the wonderful world of the Philadelphia music scene: all of its passionate, loving participants, from artists to venues to studios and more.

The complex web of artist that make up Philadelphia’s amazing music scene can be difficult to categorize. Ask any musician, and they probably won’t want to be pigeonholed as purveyors of any single type of music, but sometimes genre communities are an easy step towards understanding and digging deeper into the well-rounded scene that we have today. With that in mind, Philly Music 101 is going to occasionally bring you genre spotlights – with the understanding that labels are of course limiting, and most of our fave musicians work outside the box.

The first segment of our genre spotlight will focus on Philly’s flourishing modern and alternative rock scene that has seen musicians advance their way from rock bar stages to major venues to the pages of Rolling Stone. Continue reading →

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Summertime Sips and Summertime Sounds: Cheerleader

Cheerleader
Cheerleader

Summertime Sips and Summertime Sounds is our occasional, seasonal foray into summer vibes with our fave local “summertime” bands, in which we meet up, share a drink, and revel in the sunny weather (check out past editions here). Today we catch up with indie pop group Cheerleader; read on for our adventure.

I have very fond memories of summers circa 5th or 6th grade, hanging with my best friend Katie N., pouring over the class yearbook and selecting summer crushes, then planning to casually bump into them at the pool—and taking quizzes in Seventeen magazine with titles like “What kind of a flirt are you?” (not an answer: an awkward one).

Our favorite music back then was Madonna, Celine Dion, and The Crystals, and the soundtrack to Grease—songs about romance and young love, which seemed like the Most Important Thing Ever at the time. Cheerleader weren’t a band yet back then—but if they were, I imagine we would have adored them, their airy melodies and yearning choruses an elegant reinterpretation of our own tween angst. (Also we would have thought they were dreamy).

Cheerleader first caught our attention a little over a year back with carefree single “Perfect Vision” (read our 2014 interview with them here), then proceeded to hold us captive with a burgeoning collection of perfect pop gems. Their new record The Sunshine of Your Youth is a breezy collection of tunes inspired by “the nostalgic gloss you put on the past”; it’s also essential listening for Sunday drives and sunny mornings and anytime you need a pick-me-up. Continue reading →

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10 artists playing Firefly you shouldn’t miss

Zella Day | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com
Zella Day | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com

The Firefly Music Festival starts this Thursday and goes through Sunday. Over 100 bands spread out on six stages will seek love and admiration from audiences crammed into Dover, Delaware. We’re psyched for the headliners – Sir Paul McCartney, The Killers, Morrissey, The Killers, and Snoop (as long as he brings the hits and stays clear of that new album). We’re equally excited to see Run The Jewels, Hozier, DJ Mustard, Sylvan Esso, Citizen Cope, and Spoon. The bill is stacked with the requisite one hit alt-rock newbies (um…) that the crowds likely won’t pay attention to until the band plays “the hit.” But below the headliners and mid-level artists playing, there’s a lot of gems.

Here are ten artists playing Firefly that you shouldn’t miss. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s (Non-#KeyFest) Concert Picks: Creepoid at Underground Arts, Cheerleader at Union Transfer, The Burgeoning at Bourbon and Branch

Creepoid | Photo by John Vettese

Okay, so Key Fest kicks off tonight, and that’s obviously the concert we’re most pumped about and think you should all go to. But we’ve been telling you about that all week – here are a few other live music options worth your attention, beginning with Creepoid‘s homecoming at Underground Arts. The band is moving back to Philly after spending the past year or so living in Savannah and writing their new record. Their new Cemetery Highrise Slum, is out on June 23rd via Collect Records, and the songs we’ve heard from it slay. Listen to “American Smile” below and get tickets and more info on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Plastic Plates gives the remix treatment to #xpnfest artist Cheerleader

Plastic Plates | via Facebook.com/plasticplatesmusic
Plastic Plates | via Facebook.com/plasticplatesmusic

As we anxiously await the debut album release from Philly haze-pop quintet Cheerleader, we’ve got our hands on a remix of the album’s title-track, released over on Noisey.

The remix comes from NYC producer Felix Bloxsom, known as Plastic Plates, and it subtracts the original track’s guitars and mellows out the vocals, producing a tasty club-friendly rendition. 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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Cheerleader’s debut LP is coming out on May 19th and we’re psyched

Cheerleader | Via facebook.com/cheerleadersounds
Cheerleader | Via facebook.com/cheerleadersounds

Following some recent releases (including their new single “The Sunshine of Your Youth,” a stripped-down version for Paste Magazine and the official video for the track), Philly five-piece Cheerleader has announced their upcoming LP, of the same name, is set for release on May 19 via Bright Antenna Records. Continue reading →

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Watch Cheerleader play “Sunshine of Your Youth” for Paste, see them on tour with The Wombats

Cheerleader | via facebook.com/cheerleadersounds
Cheerleader | via facebook.com/cheerleadersounds

With opening lines like “It’s a Hallmark family photo, circa 1995 but you can’t imagine why,” it’s clear that Cheerleader‘s latest single, “Sunshine of Your Youth” is another emotionally-driven, wistfully nostalgic track jangle pop from Philly jangle-pop band. The five-piece power pop group just released this new track last week, and recently recorded a stripped-down version for Paste Magazine. Continue reading →