Preview tonight’s XPN Halloween Spooktacular with these essential musical tricks!


Tonight is the night, my unconventional conventionists! It’s time once again for the XPN Halloween Spooktacular. As your host, I’ll dig up an evening’s worth of creepy-crawly selections from my personal music crypt starting at 7pm! Plus, new for this year, the 10pm Indie Rock Hit Parade becomes the Indie Rock HAUNT Parade! Don’t miss two additional hours of bone-rattling sounds from the mortal indie realm.

Since you’re no doubt curious as to the nature of tonight’s horrific entertainment, allow me to share a few uncommonly essential tracks that you can add to your own Halloween playlist:
Continue reading →


Halloween Weekend: a spooky poster guide for cover sets, tribute shows and more


Bands and venues all over the city are dusting off the cobwebs and getting into the Halloween spirit for cover sets, tribute sets and all-out, mischief-inducing fun.  Below (and above) you’ll find a round-up of flyers for some of the weekend’s best holiday offerings, which include appearances by “The Rolling Stones,” “The Cure” and “Hall & Oates.”  Click the posters for more information on each show and for a full line-up of weekend concerts visit the XPN Concert Calendar here.

Continue reading →


Soundtrack your party with The Key’s three-hour, 100% “Monster Mash”-free Halloween Spotify playlist!

With the weekend of Halloween festivities upon us in force, you’ve doubtless got lots to think about. How elaborate should you make your costume, what’s your way-cool jack-o-lantern design going to be, what parties will you attend and how will you squeeze them all in? And if you’re hosting, what music should you play? Thankfully, we here at The Key have  that last item taken care of for you. To your left you’ll find our Halloween-centric Spotify playlist, and we are elated to report that it is 100% “Monster Mash”-free. It collects the stone-cold seasonal pop/rock classics (“Thriller,” “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” “Werewolves of London”), plus some nuggets for the folks who like surprises (R.E.M.’s goofy “I Walked With a Zombie,” the Bonzo Dog Band’s “Look Out, There’s A Monster Coming”).

And to set chilling moods and creepy vibes, we’ve even included a couple expansive pieces -like all 25 minutes of Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells,” later appropriated as the theme from The Exorcist. Listen to it above, use it as the soundtrack to your party, or borrow liberally from it to make your own killer Halloween playlist. And for expanded Halloween music coverage, tune in to WXPN on Halloween night when your host Eric “The Schumanator” Schuman will go even deeper into the soundtrack of the season.


Phish: Waiting For Atlantic City

This year’s Phish Halloween extravaganza was held in Atlantic City, NJ just a couple of stones throw away from Philly. The shows that Phish play on Halloween have become legendary for their covering of a full album. It all started in 1994 when they played The Beatles’ White Album; in 1995 they played The Who’s Quadrophenia. With records including Talking Head’s Remain In Light, The Velvet Underground’s Loaded, and The Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street, one of eight records they played in its entirety in 2009 over the course of several Halloween weekend concerts.

Last night the band ended their three night stand at Boardwalk Hall by playing Little Feat’s 1979 classic double live album Waiting For Columbus. The performance of the album was a bittersweet affair given Little Feat’s drummer Richie Hayward’s recent passing from his battle with lung cancer. reported on the show:

“We may have learned more from Little Feat than any other band,” Trey Anastasio says. Mike Gordon adds of the band’s early days, “I liked that Trey’s originals were getting strange, but I said I wanted to balance it with some gutsy bluesy music. And the example I gave was, ‘I’d like to play a Little Feat song from time to time.” Phish regularly covered Little Feat’s “Skin it Back,” “Time Loves a Hero” and the group’s arrangement of Allen Toussaint’s “On Your Way Down” during its early years. The members of Phish revived both “Time Loves a Hero” and “On Your Way Down” in the late ‘90s.

Throughout most of the set, the members of Phish were backed by percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo. The noted Latin jazz musicians has performed with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Paul Simon, Sammy Hagar and Mickey Hart, among many others. A five-person horn section featuring members of the interconnected collectives Antibalas (Aaron Johnson, Stuart Bogie, Eric Biondo) and the Dap-Kings (Michael Leonhart, Ian Hendrickson) also augmented the band at various points throughout the night. Phish also utilized members of the Dap-Kings on Halloween last October.

In addition to covering the Feats’s Columbus, the band covered the Edgar Winter Band’s “Frankenstein,” “Spooky” by either Classics IV or the Atlanta Rhythm Section (depending on whose version of it you like that best) and Stevie Wonder’s “Boogie On Reggae Woman.”
The biggest highlight of the night though was the Little Feat album with MP3′s you can listen to at


Memory Tapes Has A Spooky Halloween Musical Treat For You

Dayve Hawk, former frontman of the Philly band Hail Social, who does his musical of late as Memory Tapes has posted up a new song today over at Arawa fm. The almost 4 minute slice of Halloweentronica creeps slowly into play in a Tubular Bells kind of way before a crackling of exotic percussion leads you into a spellbound ride of haunting grooves. Happy Halloween.


Hey Philly, it’s October 1st. Which means… (do-do do-do do-do do-do) 30 more days ’till Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. SILVER SHAMROCK!

Halloween III: Season Of The WitchFor us here at The Key, October as a very special month. Not only because October brings with it crisp fall weather, West Philly’s annual Dumpster Derby, and trips to Eastern State Penitentiary for its “Terror Behind The Walls” haunted house tour—but because it means it is time for us to start mentally and emotionally preparing for our annual viewing of Tommy Lee Wallace’s cinematic masterpiece, Halloween III: Season Of The Witch. (Honestly, it’s one of our favorite movie-watching traditions, second only to our annual viewing of Die Hard during Christmas.)

Co-produced by Hollywood greats John Carpenter and Debra Hill—the latter of which, in addition to being one of the film industry’s first female producers (and an all-around badass), grew up right here in Philly—Halloween III is not your typical entry in the horror-flick franchise. In fact, outside of a quick shot of knife-wielding psycho-killer Michael Myers on a television screen in one of the opening scenes, it has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the Halloween films. Instead, the film follows an alcoholic doctor’s investigation into the mysterious death of a patient, during which he uncovers a sinister plot by Halloween-mask manufacturing mogul Dan O’Herlihy to murder children. His motive? Why, to play the ultimate prank—the PRANK OF DEATH—on the youth of America. (Joke’s on you, kiddies!) His brilliant-but-nefarious scheme? Put chips of Stonehenge into his company’s masks—which will turn into bug-infested death helmets upon being activated by a secret signal embedded in a mesmerizing television commercial!

There are many wondrous scenes to behold in this feature film—including, but not limited to: Dr. Daniel “Dan” Challis (Tom Atkins) hanging up on his nagging wife inside of a pay-phone booth and then pulling a six-pack out of nowhere, the good doctor declaring that “It’s getting late” and he “could use a drink” when it is clearly mid-afternoon, and our friend, Doctor Dan, responding to the nearby death rattle of his motel-room neighbor with a breathy “Who cares?” while having sex with a doe-eyed beauty who turns out to be a robot. However, it is in the aforementioned television clip—the BIG GIVEAWAY AT NINE, DON’T FORGET TO WEAR YOUR MASKS!—that the real beauty of Halloween III: Season Of The Witch shines through. What child wouldn’t want to plop down in front of the TV, gaze upon this spellbinding clip, and remain transfixed by its hypnotic flashes of light—even as the mask on their head turned into a squirming mass of insects that chewed through their brain?

Not only is it the pinnacle of filmmaking, but one of the best jingles we’ve ever heard.