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Items Tagged Philadelphia: Weather changes moods

Hannah Frances | via hannahfrances.bandcamp.com

Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time each week digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. At the end of each week, we present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.

I will never not tell you to go see live music in some way or another. It’s part of my role here at The Key — shining a light on the artists that dwell in Philadelphia, as well as the spaces where their art comes to life. It’s just that, often, there’s so much of both of those things.

Friday night, I had a ridiculous amount of gigs to choose between. Two record release parties were on the calendar — one for Radiator Hospital, who headlined the church in support of the awesome and uplifting Play The Songs You Like, and one for Hound, who played Space 1026 to celebrate the asskicking Born Under 76. Technically, there were three, if you consider that The Lame-Os’ opening slot on the Preen / Pears gig at Everybody Hits was in celebration of their new self-titled jawn; and on the non-yay-new-album front, Vita and the Woolf headlined Johnny Brenda’s and The Overcoats played Arden. (To say nothing of huger shows like Ben Folds at The Fillmore, Brand New at the Tower, etc.)

Sometimes we have an embarrassment of riches. Sometimes it’s fine (and necessary) to step away from it all and collect your head. I ultimately chose the Vita show on Friday night — and I’m totally glad I did, it was a thrill to see a band I’d first seen perform to maybe a dozen people at Ortlieb’s a few years back galvanize a sold-out crowd at one of Philly’s most popular venues — but I also haven’t left my house since, pretty much.

And it’s been wonderful. I’ve gotten a lot of reading done, I’ve watched a couple movies, and I’ve listened to a lot of music — stuff that’s been accumulating in my New Music playlist on iTunes as well as new finds on the Philadelphia Bandcamp tag. We are now solidly, seriously in the autumn weather zone, and I’m all-around loving it: the temperature stability after all the seasonal elongation and upheaval we experienced earlier this year, the emergence of playfully macabre decor ahead of Halloween, and the way the turning of the leaves and the cooling of the air guides artists inward to a more reflective headspace.

If that’s the place you’re in as well, you’ll probably find a thing or two to love in the fifteen releases below.

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Items Tagged Philadelphia: The last good day of the year

via robndelaine.bandcamp.com

Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time each week digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. At the end of each week, we present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.

It’s the final weekend of summer, and folks all around me are taking full advantage. WXPN HQ was pretty much a ghost town by 4:00 on Friday afternoon, with most of my coworkers peacing out for long weekends at the shore or in the Poconos or wherever they may roam. Once I exited for the day, I spotted courtyard dining in full effect from Fishtown to NoLibs to Callowhill. Later on, I caught a sweaty, late-night, high-octane set from Philly hip-hop crew Hardwork Movement at Underground Arts, and it was a thing of beauty; as often as music that extols the virtues of party rocking can get blunted down to a businesslike live set, this gig actually felt like a literal party, and the packed house responded in kind. Continue reading →

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Items Tagged Philadelphia: It’s always something

Downtrodder | via facebook.com/downtrodder

Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time each week digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. At the end of each week, we present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.

Question: do you ever feel like you’re caught up on the great to-do list that is life? Follow up question: how? I finally finished watching Twin Peaks: The Return today — no spoilers, just WOW — but I’ve still got a seemingly endless litany of things to cross off.

Some examples: Mix and edit audio, cut video of my backlog of Key Studio Sessions (even though new ones keep being recorded). Wrap up the massive undertaking of combing through and trimming down fifteen years worth of digital concert photos (even though I keep shooting more all the time). Buy ingredients to make cauliflower tikki masala for dinner (now I’m just procrastinating). Make art (“Get outta town, I didn’t know you did anything creative!”).

A big one: finish articulating my unfinished thoughts about the recent New York Times‘ Arts & Leisure section last week namechecking 25 women and non-binary artists making some of the best music out there today, as well as the NPR Music’s Turning the Tables series of 100 great albums made by women (quick takes: great to see so many bands with Philly ties in the mix, yes it feels antiquated to have “Women In Music” spotlights in 2017, possibly a bit pageview-grabby exploitative as well, but as evidenced by big fall tour announcements like Joyce Manor / Wavves / whatever-other-all-male-all-white-band, it is still a necessary conversation, and the result is two pieces of music journalism you should totally read, so read them y’all).

Oh, and listen to new music for Items Tagged Philadelphia.
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Items Tagged Philadelphia: Don’t hate, meditate

Iron Gump | via irongump.bandcamp.com

Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time each week digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. At the end of each week, we present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.

It’s been two weeks since Charlottesville, and writing about music still feels kind of frivolous.

I mean, yes, music is what we do here at The Key. But when we’re living in a country where a sniveling torch-bearing Nazi mob gangs up on a southern college town that wants to remove monuments celebrating confederate Civil War leaders — not a terrible idea in 20-freaking-17, honestly — and when you’ve got some of that mob veering into acts of terrorism, shooting guns and driving cars into crowds of counterprotesters…I mean, being all “yeah, but you should totally listen to this band” seems insensitive and irrelevant at best.

I was at Union Transfer when the news broke two Fridays ago, watching The Districts wrap up their celebratory album release gig for Popular Manipulations. I pulled out my phone and opened Twitter to post a picture of the stage-diving frenzy. Instead, I found myself frozen, met with a stream of horrifying photographs from the white supremacist march. I looked back up — an obliterated fan just crowd surfed onstage and sloppily attempted to sing into Robby Grote’s mic, then stumbled to the side and cracked open a beer. Did nobody know what was going on just a few hours south? What would they feel if they did? Continue reading →

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Items Tagged Philadelphia: Now is the time

MHYSA | via mhysa301.bandcamp.com

Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time each week digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. At the end of each week, we present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.

It’s not a pretty world out there right now, friends. I mean, take a step back — for many, it’s never been a pretty world, and as much as past leaders have given lip service to inclusivity and equality, the reality of the situation for those most affected by discrimination and targeted by hate shakes out differently.

But now, though? Inequality is not just institutional, but overtly so. Continue reading →

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Items Tagged Philadelphia: Rain falls on everyone

Chris Stevens | photo via thecsq.bandcamp.com

Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time each week digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. At the end of each week, we present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.

It rained inside XPN HQ yesterday. I mean, it also rained outside the station — boy did it rain, sideways rain, sheets of whiteish grey, torrents of liquid pellets, visibility so low that center city was only semi-discernible in the soggy haze, pedestrians running for cover in parking garages and under overhangs.

Such was the afternoon storm that a leak busted directly on top of one of my coworker’s computer, the downpour working its way through the floor to the lower levels and a steady stream of precipitation just beyond our studio walls, where we’d just wrapped up with a Folkadelphia / Key session with SΔMMUS, an Ithaca rapper recently relocated to West Philadelphia. She opted to brave the conditions to head home, and not unwisely so; as quickly as the rain hit, it stopped, reduced to fading blackish clouds in the distance as the sun broke back through to continue heating the July afternoon.
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Items Tagged Philadelphia: Back to life, back to reality

Saint Anytime | via facebook.com/saintanytime

Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time each week digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. At the end of each week, we present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.

I have been out of practice, friends. First it was a week behind, coming off the Roots Picnic rush. Then it was a week and a half behind, caught up in the Firefly Music Festival. And then I was on a plane, flying across the Atlantic for two weeks’ vacation in England, and I hadn’t yet dove back into the fray of the Philadelphia tag on Bandcamp.

Like the well-behaved lot of creative folks that Philly musicians are, y’all kept creating. And when I arrived back at work last Monday, there were hundreds upon hundreds of new Bandcamp releases for me to dig through. I paged backwards through the feed to find the last block of releases I remember hearing — and paged and paged and paged — and once I got there, I hit play and began to move forward.
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Items Tagged Philadelphia: Requiem for the springtime

Enamel | via enamelphl.bandcamp.com

Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time each week digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. At the end of each week, we present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.

Oh my, we’re running behind this week, aren’t we? Very behind. Or we’re very early for next week, depending on your point of view. I blame the heat; the stuffy, sluggish days where the atmosphere feels like its literally dragging you down. That’s sort of behind us, for the moment — we’re in the temporary reprieve zone, it was just a preview of what we’re going to get in August, you know? — and now we’re in the heating up of the summer concert itinerary.
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Items Tagged Philadelphia: I don’t ask for much these days

MC Knowledge | via mcknowledge.bandcamp.com

Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time each week digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. At the end of each week, we present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.

Gonna be honest here: I’m 100% still in Roots Picnic recovery mode. Twelve hours, fourteen sets, more guests appearances than I could keep track of. And that’s in addition to being up and out at 8 a.m. for the Roots Rock Run, an annual charity 5K in my neighborhood that benefits Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter’s GrassROOTS Community Foundation nonprofit.

Of course, I can’t talk like that’s any kind of impressive endurance level, as the real MVP of the past 24 hours, aside from The Roots themselves, is their guest Pharrell Williams. He was onstage last night in Philly, rocking with the band for almost two hours, bringing out various collaborators and heroes from his musical past and present — it was like “Pharrell, this is your life” or something — and even inviting a young fan onstage, introduced only as “Reef,” to clap along to über-hit “Happy.” Somewhere in the aftermath, Williams promptly jetted across the Atlantic Ocean to appear onstage this afternoon in Manchester, England (evening, their time) at Ariana Grande’s benefit for the recent bombing victims. Sure, the dude is somewhat responsible for the skeezy “Blurred Lines” (which he did perform last night), but clearly his heart is in a good, positive and compassionate place. Continue reading →

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Items Tagged Philadelphia: Don’t hold the wall

Erotic Novels | via eroticnovelsnbnj.bandcamp.com

Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time each week digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. At the end of each week, we present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.

There’s a great line in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, one that plays in to the film’s recontextual use of corny 70s / 80s pop nuggets in a deep space universe, and also resonates with audiences on a universal level. To paraphrase: there are two types of people / robots / sentient beings out there, those who dance and those who don’t.

I am, most decidedly, one who does not. Continue reading →