By

The Key’s Year-End Mania: 2017’s ten best Philly artist portraits

Cayetana | photos by Mary Ferrigno | courtesy of the artist

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Sarah Hojsak takes a look at some of the best artist portraits of 2017.

During last year’s end-of-the-year rush, The Key took a brief step away from music itself and instead started digging through the images surrounding it. The result was 2016’s ten best Philly artist portraits — a collection of some of the most visually stunning, ridiculously outlandish or otherwise eye-catching promotional photos from our beloved local musicians.

As you well know, we have no shortage of great music happening here in Philly, and lucky for us so, so many of our favorite artists released new music this year. With those new tunes came a whole new batch of images to take in — they range from the standard artsy but professional press photo to the quirky personality pic and everything in between, and they come from some of music’s best photographers. The best ones, regardless of the forms they take or the themes they use, caught our attention and didn’t let go. Here’s a far from thorough but nonetheless delightful selection of some of 2017’s standouts. Continue reading →

By

PREMIERE: Curtis Cooper’s Messy is a visceral work of compelling catharsis

Curtis Cooper | photo by Abigail Townsend Photography | courtesy of the artist

“I feel like all my closest friends are damaged,” says Philly’s Curtis Cooper. “And I don’t mean damaged in a bad way. I mean they have been beat down in one way or another and they’ve come back, and now they know the difference between having a good life and having a bad life, and they really appreciate what’s going on in their lives now. Those are the kind of people I want to spend time with.”

We’re talking one evening last week over falafel at Mama’s Vegetarian in Center City; “I love coming here,” Cooper comments, “there’s always somebody behind the counter wearing a Clique shirt.” And indeed, we’re handed our pita sandwiches from somebody wearing a jet black LIZARED tee. We grab a table and proceed to discussing Cooper’s personal and creative journey – through drugs, depression, and breakdowns – to their new album Messy, released this week. Continue reading →

By

Curtis Cooper colorfully copes with somber themes in the “Percs of Life” video

Curtis Cooper | photo by Bob Sweeney | via Cereal and Sounds

Curtis Cooper has made their way around the Philly DIY scene over the past couple years, and  recently shared news of a forthcoming second album, the follow-up to last year’s debut Laughing In Lane. We don’t have a release date for the LP, but we do have a new video for the lead single “Percs of Life,” a song we first heard when Cooper played it during their Key Studio Session last year. Continue reading →

By

Skate Jawn benefit comp feat. live recordings from Curtis Cooper, AllegrA, and Doggo

Curtis Cooper | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN
Curtis Cooper | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Over the summer, West Philly’s Grays Ferry Skatepark was once again transformed into the DIY tune-fest: the Skate JawnWhile raising money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the jawn boasted a rad local lineup including Abi Reimold, Stippling, Doggo, AllegrACurtis Cooper, and Coping Skills.

Now, with the help of the new local non-profit media collective, Dissenter Works, the gig’s philanthropic good-naturedness is being resurrected by ways of a benefit compilation of a few live recordings from the night. Continue reading →

By

Home Outgrown Presents: Some Shows, a 3-day DIY fest next week

Three Man Cannon | Photo by Jessica Flynn

Home Outgrown Presents is a Philly DIY promotions group that books some pretty spicy shows. Their latest concoction? A three-day festival packed to the brim with beautifully crunchy basement tunes.

Honestly and descriptively dubbed as “Some Shows: A Fest We Didn’t Know What to Name,” the three-day event gets even better when you take in the stellar fourteen-artist lineup. Three Man Cannon, The Superweaks, and Curtis Cooper headline each night, while Coping Skills, Caracara, Grayling, Major Pursuit and more fill out the bill. Continue reading →

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: Three Man Cannon at Boot and Saddle, Kississippi at Chameleon Club, Cuddle Magic at World Cafe Live and more

Three Man Cannon
Three Man Cannon | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Lame-O Record’s annual residency at Boot and Saddle ends with a bang, leaving with a headlining set by Three Man Cannon. Their relaxed indie rock is quintessential to Lame-O’s roster, and Katie Ellen and The Afterglows as support makes this a stacked local bill not to be missed. The gig is 21+, and all proceeds will be donated to the Philly ACLU; more information and tickets can be found here. Continue reading →

By

Alex G, Abi Reimold and more lined up for Philly Underground Fest at Villanova

Alex G. | Photo by Josh Pelta Heller for WXPN | hellerhound.com
Alex G. | Photo by Josh Pelta Heller for WXPN | hellerhound.com

As an end-of-semester-send off, Villanova University’s student-run radio station WXVU and the Campus Activities Team have announced the line-up for their Philly Underground Music Festival. Open to all ID-carrying college students in the Philadelphia area, the December 8th event will take place on Villanova’s campus and feature a solo headlining slot by Alex G, supported by Weekender, Abi Reimold, and Curtis Cooper.

Continue reading →

By

Local bands team up for holiday benefit show at Everybody Hits

grayling
Grayling | photo by Kim Woodcock | courtesy of the artist

This holiday season will bring together several local musicians for a good cause. The Holiday Benefit Show at Everybody Hits, which features emo/pop artist Grayling, fun punk duo Coping Skills, folk/punk songwriter Curtis Cooper (with a full band), and Zoe Allaire of DIY darlings Kississippi on the bill, will take place at Girard Avenue space on Wednesday, December 28th with proceeds going to Punk Talks.

Continue reading →

By

The Key Studio Sessions: Curtis Cooper

Philadelphia’s Curtis Cooper laughs when asked about his the next shows he’s playing in town. He quickly rattles off some playful names of places that sound semi-familiar — All Night Diner, Overlook Hotel — then clarifies: “they’re all basements. All house shows.”

It’s true: Cooper has hit the DIY scene hard lately, particularly since the March release of his debut LP Laughing In Line. And it suits him well, between his explosive energy as a performer, his fuzzed-out guitar tones and his skateboarder’s demeanor, mellowed out and amped up all at the same time.

He’s a punk rock dude at heart, make no mistake. But there’s more to him than punk. His songwriting betrays a fondness for The Beatles and their descendants (Elliott Smith in particular) and if you see him with an acoustic guitar and no other accompaniment (check his Random Tea Session), he’s directly in singer-songwriter / busker / Avett Brothers territory. Continue reading →

By

Curtis Cooper delivers an emotionally-charged music video for “2016”

Curtis Cooper | photo by Michelle Goodwin | courtesy of the artist
Curtis Cooper | photo by Michelle Goodwin | courtesy of the artist

Stripped down and strikingly human, Philadelphia singer-songwriter Curtis Cooper recounts the tragedies of the past year in his latest music video for “2016.” The simple, darkened bedroom setup features Cooper at its center, electric guitar in hand and pedals at his feet. His face and shirtless body cast in shadows bear witness to his absolute vulnerability in this moment. The lyric “everyday I feel alive / until I breathe,” echoes throughout most of the five minute piece, becoming layered atop other lines and eventually distorted to an incoherent, reduced speed moan that fades out the track. Continue reading →