Watch Ground Up backed by The Lawsuits performing a HotBox Session (The Lawsuits are on the Beck Song Reader bill tonight)

If you caught Philadelphia Weekly‘s Concerts in the Park show with Ground Up backed by The Lawsuits last August, you know the unexpected pairing of a hip-hop duo and roots-informed rockers worked in a big way. Today, we have further evidence for those who could not attend the show (or were unsatiated by the shaky YouTube documentation of the night). The band recorded a HotBox Session at Sigma Sound Entertainment, playing the riffy and rollicking “Late Night Special,” which you can watch in the YouTube video below. Crank your headphones, check the video out and keep your fingers crossed that this pairing plays for the public again soon. In the meantime, The Lawsuits are one of a bazillion awesome Philadelphia acts on the World Cafe Live bill tonight to perform Beck’s Song Reader. Tickets and more information on that show can be found here.


Scope Rare Chandeliers with Action Bronson (performing at The Blockley on 12/28)

On Friday, December 28th, Queens hip-hop artist Action Bronson will be performing at West Philadelphia’s The Blockley. Bronson, a respected chef turned rapper, has released a string of critically acclaimed mixtapes and albums since 2011 and has collaborated with Ghostface Killah (from Wu-Tang fame) and Earl (from the controversial hip-hop collective Odd Future). On his most recent release, a 2012 mixtape called Rare Chandeliers, he was able to work with legendary producer, The Alchemist — who produced tracks featuring the likes of Schoolboy Q and Styles P. Also performing on the bill is Ground Up, Meyhem Lauren, Guy Harrison and Pooda Dappa. For more information and tickets visit the Blockley’s website located here. Bronson’s new mixtape Rare Chandelier can be found here. Below is the video for his latest video “The Symbol.”


Cheif Keef to headline eight artist blowout at TLA tonight

The TLA will host a massive lineup headlined by Chicago rapper Cheif Keef as well as seven other performers tonight. The 17 year old hip-hop artist, who is the CEO and founder of the Chicago label Glory Boys Entertainment, released his highly anticipated debut Finally Rich this past Tuesday through Interscope Records and GBE. Cheif Keef rocketed to fame earlier this year with his viral hit, “I Don’t Like,” and the subsequent remix on G.O.O.D. music’s Cruel Summer. The guest line-up, consisting of exclusively Philadelphia hip-hop artists, includes Blonde Gang (recently featured in JUMP Magazine), Lee Mazin, Ar-AB, Young Savage, Ground Up and Tiana Victoria. For tickets and more information you can visit the event page located here. Below is a video from Keef’s new album for the track “Love Sosa.”


The Week’s Best MP3 Downloads, incl. Secret Mountains, Grizzly Bear and Tamarin

Baltimore band Secret Mountains were the subject of Weathervane Music’s latest Shaking Through episode.  Tasked with writing a complete song in two days, the dreamy folk six-piece came up with the beautifully meaningful “High Horses”.  You can download it for free below, and watch the episode here.

Local emcee Ethel Cee was featured in this week’s Key Studio Session. The deftly talented rapper has a background in slam poetry performance but latched onto hip-hop after experimenting with adding music to her spoken word pieces.  Head here to watch the video of Ethel Cee’s performance and download “End It On This” below.

Witty hip-hop group Ground Up dropped their new mixtape on Tuesday over at  The Philly trio will be playing a record release party at The TLA on September 29th but before then, get yourself a download of the album below.


Brooklyn indie band Grizzly Bear had a smash with 2009’s Veckatimest.  Now they’re back with a new collection of songs featured on the just-released album Shields.  “Yet Again” is one of those tracks that hooks right into your brain, in a good way.  You can get a free download of the track below in exchange for your email.

Tamarin is a local folky band with some real country twang.  They are releasing a new album on October 9th called Shake the Ghost and to get you ready, they’ve posted the song “Seems a Laugh” as a free download on their Soundcloud.  Take a listen below.


Download Ground Up’s new mixtape Supernatural (release party at The TLA on 9/29)

The long-awaited new mixtape from fast-moving Philly hip-hop trio Ground Up dropped today at Supernatural features collaborations from West Philly rapper Chill Moody, pop singer Patty Crash, and long-standing South Philly MC Reef the Lost Cauze – who’s been something of a mentor to the Ground Up guys over the years. You can listen to it in the player below, or download yourself a copy here. The release party for the record is set for The TLA on Saturday, September 29; get tickets and more information here.


Watch a Tarantino-style video for Ground Up’s new single “Whenever” (playing The TLA on Sept. 29)

With their latest mixtape, Supernatural, getting ready to drop on September 18, Philly hip-hop three-piece Ground Up released a new music video today for its first single, “Whenever.” The clip, directed by Joe Nolan, is a darkly comedic romp – part Tarantino, part Foxy Brown – where two record store clerks are kidnapped by a group of balaclava-clad femme fatales. They are bound, gagged, and forced to watch Ground Up videos while the kidnappers / DJs spin records in the background. Check it out below, and catch the group at one of their upcoming tour dates; they play Estetiks in Doylestown this Friday, September 14, and The TLA on September 29 for the Supernatural release party.


Download The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 5 (feat. The Spinto Band, Turning Violet Violet, Heyward Howkins + more)

The latest edition of our Key Studio Sessions compilations is out today – now streamable and downloadable from Soundcloud! Dig into the best of what we’ve been doing since May with The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 5, including some sprightly indie pop from The Spinto Band, driving country-folk from Carsie Blanton, funk jams by Swift Technique and hip-hop from Ground Up. Special thanks to guest engineer Jeff White and production assistants Fred Knittel, Madeleine Lesperance, and Dan Malloy as well as photographers Kate Bracaglia, Eric Ashleigh, David Kain, Michael Passanante, Kevin Kennedy, Rachel Barrish and Bryan Shreck for sharing their work.

Looking for more? Visit WXPN’s Soundcloud page to download The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 1 through Vol. 4.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Lawsuits and Ground Up at Rittenhouse Square and Jonatha Brooke at Haddon Lake Park

Tonight is all about listening to music in the great outdoors. Our first pick for this evening is a free show in Rittenhouse Square featuring Philly country rock band The Lawsuits and local hip-hop group Ground Up. The show is part of the 22nd annual Concerts in the Park series that runs from 7 to 9 p.m. The Lawsuits will be playing all night, kicking the show off with their rollicking country-infused rock sound and then providing back up for Ground Up’s headlining set. Bring a blanket and a picnic dinner and hang out with some friends in the park listening to some good local music. Ground Up recently stopped by out studio at World Cafe Live to record a Key Studio Session. Listen to the Key Session here.

Folk singer-songwriter Jonatha Brooke is also playing a free outdoor show tonight. The concert takes place at Haddon Lake Park in Haddon Heights, New Jersey and kicks off at 7:30PM with a performance by Philly singer-songwriter Ryan Tennis. Listen to Ryan Tennis’ album Goodbye to the Ground in the player below.


The Key Studio Sessions: Ground Up

On a visit to New York City earlier this year, I ran into Ground Up while walking down a flight of stairs to catch the MTA. Not literally, you know, but visually. The hallway to my stop was lined with stickers bearing a haunting photograph of a weathered angel statue; cover art for excellent mixtape the Philly hip-hop trio had just dropped, The Get Up. Being so focused on the Philly scene, you get used to thinking about musicians in a purely local context, and this sticker gallery was a great reminder that for many of the musicians near and dear to home, their impact is much broader. The train is moving fast for Ground Up – the trio of MCs Azar and Malakai, with producer Bij Lincs. The Get Up was their ninth release in the past two years, and they’re getting ready to come out with their tenth – Supernatural, out on September 18th. They’re also not afraid of outside-the-box collaboration, since their free concert in Rittenhouse Square for Philadelphia Weekly’s Concerts in the Park series will reportedly feature alt-country combo The Lawsuits (old buddies of the band) as their backing band. Below, dig into a couple tracks the DJ-and-MC edition of Ground Up recorded for the Key Studio Sessions. Tonight, get a taste of Ground Up gone rock; the show begins at 17th and Walnut at 7 p.m.