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Courtney Barnett made a playlist for The Guardian, calls Kurt Vile “life-changing”

Courtney Barnett | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Courtney Barnett | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

Melbourne rocker Courtney Barnett just shared her five songs of the moment with The Guardian, and it just goes to show that the woman’s got incredible taste in music. In the mix with a buzzsaw jam from Bully and an indie classic from The Vaselines are tunes from fellow Australian singer-songwriter Sarah Mary Chadwick and English rocker Bill Ryder Jones. Oh, and Philadelphia’s Kurt Vile, who Barnett positively gushes about. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Courtney Barnett will headline the Electric Factory in May

Courtney Barnett | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Courtney Barnett | Photo By Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

I think we’re all excited for this one – Melbourne rocker Courtney Barnett and her band The Courtney Barnetts, on another leg of touring in support of last year’s phenomenal Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit, will headline the Electric Factory in Philly on Thursday, May 26th. Tickets for the show go on sale Friday, January 15th at noon.  Continue reading →

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Listen to Courtney Barnett talk about the making of “Depreston” on Song Exploder

Courtney Barnett | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Courtney Barnett | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

Courtney Barnett’s melancholic pop tune “Depreston” works in levels. The quiet standout on last year’s Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit, set in the Melbourne suburb of Preston, was inspired by a house-hunting trip  with her partner Jen Cloher. It’s also about mortality.

On the latest episode of the Song Exploder podcast, Barnett breaks down the song, which she says came to her in the car ride home. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Maureen Walsh’s top five life-affirming songs of 2015

Kendrick Lamar in the "Alright" video
Kendrick Lamar in the “Alright” video

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2015 incredible. Today, Key contributor Maureen Walsh shares the year’s most life-affirming songs.

2015 has been the year of battling injustices, terrorism, and Trump.  Sometimes you need someone to sing you a song that will get you through the insanity.  Luckily, a group of artists delivered. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year End-Mania: Ten videos not to miss on VuHaus

Kamasi Washington | Photo by John Vettese
Kamasi Washington | Photo by John Vettese

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2015 incredible. Today, XPN Program director Bruce Warren recaps ten favorite WXPN videos from VuHaus.

We’ve put together a playlist of some of the best performances on VuHaus, a new music video website featuring videos from public radio stations around the country. Alongside XPN, contributors include WFUV in New York, KCRW in Los Angeles, KUTX in Austin, Oregon Public Radio, Mountain Stage, World Cafe and others.

Continue reading →

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The Key’s Top 15 Albums of 2015

The albums that moved us in 2015
This is the music that moved us in 2015

It was a year of powerful records. Of loud guitars and brazen beats, of electronic tapestries and vocal abandon. It was a year of personal introspection and rallying cries for social change. It was a year when music felt inextricably tied to the world around us. When it felt more important than it had in a long time. Like we’ve said before, to narrow 12 months of incredible music down to a “top 15 albums of 2015” list is to exclude dozens of other worthy releases. This year, we had 26 writers and photographers cite a collective 82 albums as their favorites – you can view everybody’s top fives here, and I know fully well that had I asked The Key crew to give me top tens, I’d be easily looking at quadruple the titles. But we’ll go deep when our annual Year-End Mania roundup launches tomorrow. Today we take the long view and explore what rose to the surface of consensus in 2015, from the expressive moments of Kamasi Washington, Joanna Newsom and Jamie xx, to the pop permutations of Carly Rae Jepsen and Grimes , rock and/or roll from Courtney Barnett and Alabama Shakes, Philly representation from The Districts, Waxahatchee and of course, Hop Along‘s incredible breakout LP Painted Shut, which alongside the great Kendrick Lamar rose right to the top of our voting. Let’s recap the year. 
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XPN Fest: Courtney Barnett leaves the River Stage audience a group of happy campers

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Courtney Barnett | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

Australian phenom Courtney Barnett had the crowd in the palm of her hand after her performance on the River Stage. She and her bandmates, Bones Sloane (bass) and Dave Mudie (drums), played a combination of new tracks off 2015 release Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit and older favorites. 

The set began with single “Elevator Operator”, at which point the whole lawn was already awash with happy, happy concertgoers. After a strong rendition of “Lance Jr.” (off 2014’s The Double Ep: A Sea of Split Peas), Barnett continued on with a string of tunes from Sometimes, including an intimate performance of “Depreston” (“As close to Paul Kelly as we get,” she joked). Continue reading →