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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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Before the Rain: Made In America day two grooves with Grimes, Danny Brown, Vacationer (and two songs from Spoon)

Grimes | Photo by John Vettese
Grimes at Made in America | Photo by John Vettese

Let’s go back for a moment. Before the torrential downpour, before the lightning and thunder, before Spoon got cut off after a rousing “Don’t You Evah” two songs into their first time on the Made In America stage. The second day of Jay Z’s Philly megafestival (now in its third year and first time with a bicoastal setup) offered a lively assortment of groovy summertime pop, roof-raising EDM, badass rap and solid rock and roll. Continue reading →

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Watch Grimes’ highly-anticipated video for “Go”

grimes-3
Grimes | Photo by Michelle Ford via thepopmanifesto.com

Back in the beginning of summer, Canadian no-fi pop star/producer Claire Elise Boucher, a.k.a. Grimes, collaborated with Blood Diamonds to write this intense, synth-driven track…for Rihanna. In a surprising turn of events RiRi decided not to take the track, so Grimes pocketed it for herself and premiered it during her set at Governors’ Ball in June. In a new video premiered today, the clubby beats and trippy sounds come to life. Continue reading →

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Five must-see artists at Made In America

Photo via facebook.com/actuallygrimes
Photo via facebook.com/actuallygrimes

As the Made In America fast approaches this weekend, one might feel a bit overwhelmed with the enormous amount of musical options to check out. Don’t feel stressed – we’re here to help! Here are our pics for five must-see performances this weekend, whether you’re catching the festival in person or streaming it on the MIA website. These artists are sure to keep the crowd buzzing well after their set ends. Continue reading →

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Bleachers and Grimes (both playing MIA Festival 8/30 & 8/31) collaborate on new track, “Take Me Away”

Photo via teco apple
Photo via teco apple

Bleachers, the solo project of fun.’s Jack Antonoff, has been attracting attention with poppy hooks and ’80s-injected melodies on his 11-track debut LP, Strange Desire. One track in particular, “Take Me Away,” stands apart as a dreamy cyber-hop tune that definitely channels the influence of his collaborator, Grimes.

The Canadian producer/singer’s ethereal vocals offer a delicate contrast to Antonoff’s beats, stark screams, and dramatic build-up towards the end of the song. The song’s brevity keeps it tight, but you may find yourself hitting “repeat” at least twice. Bleachers is scheduled to play the Made In America Festival on August 30, while Grimes is slated to perform on August 31st. You can find information about MIA on our concert calendar here. You can listen to the track on Pitchfork here.

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Written for and turned down by Rihanna, Grimes shares a new song, “Go”

Photo courtesy of the artist via Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/actuallygrimes
Photo by Mac Boucher courtesy of the artist via Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/actuallygrimes

Canadian musician and producer Claire Elise Boucher, known as Grimes, recently announced that a song she wrote with Blood Diamonds was turned down by Rihanna. Yesterday, Grimes shared her studio recording of the sultry, electro influenced R&B song, “Go,” that you can download below. Grimes debuted the new song when she played at Governors Ball several weeks ago. “Go” pulsates with stuttering electronics and beats, has a lush, ethereal chorus and has her moving in a more accessible pop direction. She plays Made In America in Philly over Labor Day weekend.

Below, download “Go.”

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Funky Friday: Roots Picnic edition

RootsPicnic_2013_Schedule_WEB Tomorrow is the Roots Picnic at the Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing with a stellar lineup including Naughty By Nature, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Grimes, Joey Bada$$, Trinidad James, Gary Clark, Jr., Solange, Grimes, Robert Glasper, How To Dress Well, Philly’s Lushlife, DJ Premiere and others. The music starts at Noon; schedule is above. Being that’s it’s Funky Friday today, we bring you the Roots Picnic edition of Funky Friday with some of our favorite jams below. See you at the picnic!


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