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Here’s what Alexander Charles – fka Azar from Ground Up – has been up to lately

Alexander Charles | photo via alexandercharles.com

After spending the better part of a decade building a grassroots following across the country on the strength of free mixtapes produced at their Temple apartment, Philly hip-hop trio Ground Up ended their run as a collective earlier this year in a heartwarming and humble announcement on Facebook. But this set everybody in the crew in a good position for launching solo careers, and first up is Azar – going now by his first and middle names instead of his last.

Alexander Charles began dropping tracks on Soundcloud about a month ago, and it finds him in reflective, introspective mode over backings that range from haunting ambient soundscapes to muted trap tones and atmospheric funk-soul. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Beach Slang at Union Transfer, Ground Up at Bourbon and Branch, Live From The Lot at Electric Factory, and more…

Beach Slang
Beach Slang at Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company | photo by James Breslin for WXPN

There might have been some rumors that punk rockers Beach Slang were going to break up recently, but their response? “If you’re still in, we are.” Well so are we. The band returns to Union Transfer tonight to light the venue on fire with blood, sweat, and rock and roll. Opening the show will be Potty Mouth, Dyke Drama, and Positive No. For tickets and more information, check out the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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20 must see shows in November

Jim James | My Morning Jacket | XPoNential Music Festival 2015 | Photo by Rachel DelSordo | http://www.racheldelsordophotography.com/
Jim James | My Morning Jacket | XPoNential Music Festival 2015 | Photo by Rachel DelSordo | http://www.racheldelsordophotography.com/

As we enter November, there’s a month filled with excellent shows coming into Philly. Here’s 20 must see shows that we suggest you choose from to put on your social calendar. Continue reading →

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Ground Up strike hard with their new single “Right Now”

Ground Up | via facebook.com/skilloverswag
Ground Up | Photo via facebook.com/skilloverswag

The first single off their much anticipated Seventeen Eleven project, “Right Now” lays out every aspiration of Philly hip-hop group Ground Up. “All I wanna do is get lit right now,” goes the hook. “All I wanna do is get rich right now.” The vibey delivery of MCs Azar and Malakai is matched by a brilliant, bass-knocking, trippy backing only producer Bij Lincs can provide.  In the video, we see open farm fields and anarchy, where painted faces and fires just seem to erupt as quickly as the raging party that surrounds them. Seventeen Eleven won’t be available until early fall, but we’re sure fans of the group will be hitting playback on this song for a while. Take a peek at the video below. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Creepoid at Johnny Brenda’s, Ground Up at Underground Arts, Olds Sleeper at Re:Create Arts Initiative and more

Creepoid plays The Atlantic for FEST 13 | Photo by John Vettese
Creepoid plays The Atlantic for FEST 13 | Photo by John Vettese

Psychedelic Philly doomsayers Creepoid celebrate the release of their new LP Cemetery Highrise Slum tonight at Johnny Brenda’s. The album is heavy and expansive, the strongest distillation to date of the hard-touring band’s live energy. Tickets and more information on the show can be foudn at the XPN Concert Calendar.
Continue reading →

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Ground Up release a humbling and insightful project trailer for 1711

Ground Up | Photo via facebook.com/skilloverswag
Ground Up | Photo via facebook.com/skilloverswag

Philly hip-hop collective Ground Up have been on their grind ever since their first mixtape dropped six years ago.  With a just-released trailer for their latest project 1711 showcasing the city they call home and a voice-over narrating the group’s journey, all fans can be left with is just chills and anticipation. Continue reading →

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SXSW Dispatch: Reppin’ Philly with RECPhilly, What Scene, Freeway, Moosh and Twist, Ground Up, Chill Moody and more

Moosh and Twist  at the RECPhilly showcase | Photo by John Vettese
Moosh and Twist at the RECPhilly showcase | Photo by John Vettese

It was a rainy night in Austin on Friday, making it the perfect time to stay indoors, off of the 6th Street melee and hang with a stacked lineup of Philly hip-hop and R&B musicians. The party at Old School Bar – thrown by promoters What Scene? and record label / artist development upstart RECPhilly – mixed up-and-comers with established names, and kept the room packed with an enthusiastic crowd across the night. Continue reading →

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Ground Up discuss organic beginnings, songwriting and tour with OCD

Ground Up at Union Transfer | via facebook.com/skilloverswag
Ground Up at Union Transfer | via facebook.com/skilloverswag

Philly’s Ground Up may have jumped into the realm of major exposure in recent years with songs like “Got Damn” and “Daps,” whose video views boast over 200,000 views. But it’s their summer smash “Lets Ride” that has captivated audiences and the those of us at The Key’s office. Bij Lincs, the mastermind and the creator of the group’s sound, is matched perfectly by MCs Malakai and Azar, whose lyrical prowess is both intuitive and witty. The guys are currently on tour but I caught up with them to ask where the inspiration on their newest songs came from and what they’re looking forward to about their upcoming hometown show. Continue reading →

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Hometown Throwdown: Moosh and Twist and Ground Up will tear down The TLA

OCD: Moosh & Twist | Photo by Kelsey Stanger
OCD: Moosh & Twist | Photo by Kelsey Stanger

In three weeks, a pair of Philadelphia hip hop groups will bring their tour back for a hometown blowout. On Friday, February 27th, OCD: Moosh and Twist and Ground Up will tear the house down at the Theater of Living Arts. Moosh & Twist’s enthusiasm blended with Azar & Malakai’s (Ground Up) laid-back demeanor not only gives Philly a great mixture of sounds during the show but it also displays the variety that the Philadelphia hip hop scene has to offer. Continue reading →