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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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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Florist at Boot & Saddle, Baby and Shylow at Kung Fu Necktie, Philly Loves Animals at World Cafe Live

Florist | photo via florist.bandcamp.com

Synth-folk outfit Florist released their soft and beautiful LP If Blue Could Be Happiness last month, and its intricate and gentle songs are the perfect soundtrack for a cozy fall night at Boot & Saddle. With Philly locals Hello Shark and Yowler (who are playing their first-ever full band set) opening the show, it’s a full lineup of introspective and contemplative sounds. Listen to the delicate “Blue Mountain Road” below, and find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Listen to an early stream of Florist’s If Blue Could Be Happiness ahead of their Boot & Saddle show

Florist | photo via florist.bandcamp.com

Florist‘s soft synth-folk has a distinct air of rural familiarity and loneliness that sounds like it could only come from a picturesque mountain locale. The project of songwriter Emily Sprague and friends, Florist first crossed the airwaves from the Catskill Mountains with 2013 EP Living Alone, and they’ve woven themselves deeply into our hearts ever since. If Blue Could Be Happiness, the band’s second full-length, releases Friday via Double Double Whammy, but an early stream is available for us to listen to right now. Florist, currently on the road in the midst of an extensive US tour, will make a stop at Boot & Saddle on Oct. 25 with Hello Shark. Continue reading →

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Get emotionally sucker-punched by Florist’s new track, “What I Wanted To Hold,” see them at Boot and Saddle

Florist | photo via florist.bandcamp.com

You know those songs that just kind of sucker punch you with all of the feels? Indie folk / soft synth outfit Florist’s song “What I Wanted to Hold” is one of them. The NY band just shared the heartbreaking single in anticipation of their upcoming sophomore album If Blue Could Be Happiness, which is out on September 29th.

Opening with floaty acoustic strums and the sounds of a life in rewind, the song immediately conjures an intense nostalgia that rivals the likes of Bon Iver’s “Re: Stacks” or “Towers.” Its gentle, sweet chords grab your heart — piercing it with an ache that was nonexistent just moments ago.

And this is all before frontwoman Emily Sprague even opens her mouth. Continue reading →