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PREMIERE: Get to know singer-songwriter Sophie Coran in her new single “Jimmy”

Sophie Coran | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | courtesy of the artist

Newly returned from London where she released her debut EP Better, singer-songwriter Sophie Coran has traded scenes and returned to her Philadelphia roots.  After spending the past year recording her tracks backed by Darla, the eight-piece instrumental funk band based in Philly, Coran is now preparing for the release of her second EP All That Matters. The combination of Coran’s intimate, smooth vocals with the full-band makes for a powerful combination that will certainly give the new EP a very different feel from the keyboard-driven debut EP. Continue reading →

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New Year’s Eve is a month away. What concert are you going to?

Kurt Vile at #XPNFest | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN

We’re drawing to the close of 2016, and as always, we here at The Key recommend you give 2016 the boot with live music. Spending that special moment that brings us into our annual chance for a new start at a concert with hundreds or even thousands of people who are all on the same page as you — for those few hours, the feeling is exhilarating and even a little magical. Compare this to the cycle of looking at your phone, standing in circles trying to connect with people that you know primarily through Facebook and most times drinking way too much in your quest to achieve that perfect New Year’s Eve moment that movies like When Harry Met Sally have elevated just out of reality’s reach.

Given, I’ve been going the latter route for the majority of my adult life and some of my fondest memories are searching for lost phones or helping my friend figure out the name of the cute guy with the green hat the morning after. BUT I knew that after happening upon a house show on New Year’s Eve a few years back, no party could ever fill me with the same ecstasy as the music and all the people in that basement did in 2013. So, if you’re looking to try something new, check out your Philly-area options for musical New Year’s celebrations. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Darla at Boot and Saddle, Katie Ellen at First Unitarian Church, Hawkwind at Kung Fu Necktie and more

Darla | photo by Karl McWerter | courtesy of the band
Darla | photo by Karl McWerter | courtesy of the band

Boot and Saddle gets one hell of show as fusion jazz hounds Darla take the stage, celebrating the release of their newest record Darla Rolls the Dice! with Nik Greely & the Operators, as well as Roz and the rice cakes. The octet keeps it upbeat by blending their smooth brass instrumentation with grooving back beats, staging a great night of good times and great tunes. More information can be found on the WXPN Concert Calender, and also check out Darla’s visit to The Key for a intimate Studio Session here (and listen to the audio below!) Continue reading →

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PREMIERE: Darla flex their big-band skills on “These Few Years”

Darla | photo by Magdalena Papaioanno | courtesy of the artist
Darla | photo by Magdalena Papaioanno | courtesy of the artist

Darla have a lot going on: a new record called Darla Rolls the Dice! will be out in a couple of weeks, a new website was unveiled yesterday, and, after sharing an album trailer last week, the Philly instrumental party rockers are back with a new song called “These Few Years,” which we’re happy to premiere for you today today.

Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Jacob Snider at World Cafe Live, The Lighthouse and the Whaler at Johnny Brenda’s, Communion Philly with Darla at MilkBoy and more

Photo by Doug Seymour via facebook.com
Photo by Doug Seymour via facebook.com

XPN favorite Jacob Snider is a singer-songwriter whose music is both rich and full while remaining uniquely intimate. Tonight Jacob will be at World Café Live in support of Brooklyn-based Jean Rohe beginning at 8 p.m. For more information on the show head over the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Darla

The more musicians there are in a band, the more unwieldy it can get. Such is conventional wisdom, anyway; I’ve often heard the leaders of sextet-and-up acts describe organizing gigs and practice sessions with the “herding cats” trope. That’s not the case with Darla, though – quite the opposite. The seven-piece has its game remarkably together, bucking the trend and making a noticeable impression on the local live music scene over the past year and change with fierce tracks and tireless gigs.

Formed in the music community surrounding Drexel University, Darla is an ultimate party band: an instantly likeable combination of funk, jazz and expansive jams. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Listen to From Within, the new EP from Josh Miller

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Josh Miller released his new EP, From Within, this week. Recorded with Darla Hood Productions in Germantown, the songs on this four-track EP are soft, calm, and serve as reminders of the silver linings in every cloudy day. The musicianship from Darla make Miller’s record stand out from other R&B singer/songwriters. The dynamic and instrumental intricacies are at their peak with the closing track, “A Line, A Loop, A Tangle of Threads.” Josh Miller and Darla played last night at Bourbon and Branch to celebrate the new EP; Darla also plays this Thursday at Communion Philly. Listen to From Within below. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Woven In at Kung Fu Necktie, Diana Ross at The Mann, Darla at Ardmore Music Hall and more

Woven In | Photo  by Matthew Moyer
Woven In | Photo by Matthew Moyer | via facebook.com/wovenin

Philly’s Mariah Johnson makes moody, jagged lo-fi pop under the name Woven In, and tonight she’s on a gig upstairs at Fishtown’s Kung Fu Necktie. Earlier this year, Woven In released the Feel LP, which you can listen to below; get more information on tonight’s show with Coin Purse and Straw Hats at its Facebook event page. Continue reading →