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The War on Drugs and Hop Along will tour together this spring

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The War on Drugs photo by Mark Schaffer | Hop Along photo by Rachel Barrish

We love seeing our favorite Philly musicians come together. This afternoon, The War on Drugs announced a stretch of spring U.S. tour dates in support of its universally acclaimed 2014 LP Lost in the Dream, and joining them for a two-week run is Hop Along, who’s poised to release its latest record via Saddle Creek this spring. Continue reading →

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Hop Along, Thin Lips and Roses rang in 2015 in a big way at Johnny Brenda’s

Hop Along | Photo by John Vettese
Hop Along | Photo by John Vettese

To say that Johnny Brenda’s has been crushing its New Year’s Eve game in recent years would be an understatement. After an epic 2012 with War on Drugs and a blazing 2013 with Screaming Females, last night the Fishtown venue had Hop Along bid farewell to 2014 with an explosive performance for a sold-out crowd. There was champagne, a 50s pop cover, an onstage engagement ceremony, the debut of two new songs and a whole lot of cathartic singing along.  Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Bruce Warren’s Best of Philly Music 2014

Amanda X: Tiff Yoon, Cat Park, Kat Bean | Photo by Peter Murray | petermurrayphotography.com
Amanda X: Tiff Yoon, Cat Park, Kat Bean | Photo by Peter Murray | petermurrayphotography.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, XPN Program Director Bruce Warren weighs in on the 2014 Philly music scene.

We thought 2013 was a fantastic year for the Philly music scene, however 2014 proved to be even better. Continue reading →

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Hop Along signs to Saddle Creek Records; new album due in spring 2015

Hop Along | Photo by Shervin Lainez
Hop Along | Photo by Shervin Lainez

It’s always exciting to find out good news about our favorite Philly music folks, and today we’re positively stoked to report that Hop Along has inked a deal with venerable indie rock label Saddle Creek Records. The band’s follow up to the outstanding 2012 release Get Disowned – which will be either its second or fourth full-length, depending on whether you count the self-released albums Freshman Year (2005) or Is Something Wrong? (2008) – comes out on the Omaha-based label in spring of 2015. Continue reading →

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Hop Along announces New Year’s Eve bash at Johnny Brenda’s

photo by Rachel Del Sordo
Hop Along | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

On Sunday we shared news of Hop Along lead singer Frances Quinlan making a surprise appearance during Weezer’s sold-out show at The Trocadero. The Philly singer hopped on stage midway through the second set to share the mic with Rivers Cuomo on Weezer’s song “Go Away.” Following the exciting cameo, the band announced today that they will be hosting a New Year’s Eve bash at Johnny Brenda’s, even mentioning that there may be new tunage in store for the crowd as they are “fresh out of the studio.” What a way to kick off 2015! Continue reading →

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Dr. Dog’s Lawn of Mann brings eclectic excitement to the Skyline Stage

Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

On Saturday night, Dr. Dog treated us to an all-night party at the Mann Skyline Stage sharing the spotlight with Hop Along, The Front Bottoms, and Mac Demarco.  At first glance, this line-up sounds like it might not work but as proven by the end of the night, Dr. Dog is open to many sonic adventures, so it only makes sense that in their hometown, they took a chance and exposed their fan base to some music that may go against your average tour promoter’s instincts. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Owls and Hop Along at Union Transfer, The GTVs at Ardmore Music Hall

owls
Owls | photo via facebook.com/owlsbandchicago

Indie four-piece Owls are hitting Union Transfer tonight in support of their long-awaited second album, Two. The band, who gained popularity in the early aughts with the release of their eponymous debut album, overcame two different break-ups, but the group’s reunion in 2012 brought forth a full-scale rework of the band’s best qualities. With no disregard to the musicianship that won fans over from the band’s first album, Two brings out an easier listening component but asks for a more dedicated listener lyrically. The band’s growth is sure to bring delight to old fans and new listeners alike, and with a dynamite opener like Philly’s Hop Along this’ll be a show you’ll hear friends raving about the rest of the week. Find ticket information here and check out “I’m Surprised…” from Two.

Continue reading →

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Joyce Manor’s newest album cover is the sweetest thing you’ll see all day

Courtesy of Noisey

This summer’s gonna be a good one for punk. So many great new albums are coming out (ie. Kite Party, Tigers Jaw, etc.), and you can add Joyce Manor‘s newest, Never Hungover Again, to that list. However, I have to stress that this album – out July 22 – isn’t likely to be buried. (None of them will be, quite frankly.) The California band recently released the first single from the LP, “Catalina Fight Song,” and it’s hard not to press repeat at least three times. It has a fun video, too, showing the four-piece band trying their hands at jiu jitsu while thrashy guitars chime in the background and heavy drums add to the welcomed chaos.

Is it likely that any local martial arts studio will be using the new album as a warm up? Probably not, but that’s besides the point. The small little preview into the album shows the true character of the band – the fun, and friendship. Speaking on which, that whole friendship aspect can be seen in its cover as well, which will make any Philly punker / house show die-hard / Bandcamp fiend’s heart swoon. Pictured on the front is bassist and vocalist Matt Ebert arm-in-arm with Hop Along frontwoman Frances Quinlan.

Talk about DIY community. It’s hard not to gush.

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A night of vocal powerhouses at Golden Tea House featuring Frances Quinlan, Emperor X, Abi Reimold

Frances Quinlan | photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com
Frances Quinlan | photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com

Frances Quinlan has a voice that can fill a room, and on Wednesday night, it did just that. The Hop Along frontwoman’s evocative singing carries a compelling range of emotion, from playfulness to sorrow to anger and frustration, and its dynamic rise and fall cuts powerfully through the heavy and ambitious art-punk of her bandmates.

But at Golden Tea House, there was no need for it to cut through anything. Quinlan played solo, without loud amplifiers or heavy drums; just a clean electric Gibson and her singing resonating off the tall brick walls, an experience all the more affecting for the listeners. The crowd was exceptionally attentive – it was one of those “you could hear a pin drop” nights, which is rare at house shows, or rock shows of any sort for that matter, and especially so considering Quinlan’s set was mostly made up of unfamiliar material. Aside from two selections from 2012′s Get Disowned (“Some Grace,” “Trouble Found Me”) and a couple covers (a spot-on “Carry the Zero” by Built to Spill into “Barstool Blues” by Neil Young), the songs she played were all works in progress – hopefully to see the light of day on the next Hop Along album.

It’s probably premature to really evaluate the music at this stage – it sounded great, but was definitely in a skeletal state compared to how it will sound in a full band context – but suffice it to say, Quinlan nicely mixed up moody slow burns with riffy uptempo moments, and there’s an absolutely awesome song about the disappearing grave of jazz musician Buddy Bolden.

Joining Quinlan on the bill were two other vocal powerhouses: Abi Reimold (a former Key intern and occasional Key photographer), who performed a stunning and totally PJ Harvey-ish set backed by guitarist Nick Morrison of Mumblr, bassist Zach Kuntz and drummer Alex Giannascoli (of Alex G). Her new EP Forget is a knockout, but most of the songs she played weren’t on it, showing great promise for things to come. Emperor X from Jacksonville has a delivery in the vein of John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats – sorta nasal but supremely confident – and come to think of it, his clever and erudite songwriting was sort of Mountain Goats-esque too, as was his lively banter and command of the crowd. Switching between guitar and keyboard, he sang into a echo-filtered vocal mic on the quiet parts and stepped back to project to the entire room the rest of the time. “At A Rave With Nicolas Sarkozy” was a winning number; I knew nothing about this dude at the beginning of the night, and left a converted fan.

On the opposite extreme was Foot, the solo project of Pat Conaboy of Kite Party. It had a distinctively slowcore sad-rock vibe a la Red House Painters and Low; a lot of minor key progressions interlocking with somber and withdrawn vocals. While some points in Foot’s set were a bit too wandering and introverted to really connect with, its best points were chilling in their own sort of way. Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.