The Key’s Year-End Mania: Skye Leppo’s most heavily rotated albums of 2014

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photo courtesy of

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, contributing writer Skye Leppo shares her most heavily-rotated albums of the year.

While I maintain that my first love is pop music, I was very surprised—and delighted—by a lot of new projects and genres new to me this year. There’s a few albums I would have loved to include (Chet Faker’s electronic Built on Glass was THISCLOSE to making my list, as was LDR’s Ultraviolence). I tried to find common themes in my favorite 2014 releases, but as I sought guidance from my “Year In Music” charts on Spotify I realized this year’s releases pulled me in a lot of different directions without traipsing into too much common territory (although pop music did take the lead of my 39,000 listening minutes at 29%, or approximately 11,310 minutes of pop music). In no particular order, here are my most heavily-rotated albums. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Up The Chain at Ardmore Music Hall, Weird Hot at Johnny Brenda’s, August Burns Red at Union Transfer, and more…

UPTHECHAIN-roof-792x528Philly acoustic folk soul project Up The Chain is celebrating the release of their anticipated new album Seeds & Thorns with a party at Ardmore Music Hall tonight. Produced by Bill Moriarty (who has recently worked with The Lawsuits and Toy Soldiers) and inspired by some of front man’s Reed Kendall’s musical heroes, such as Neil Young, Paul Simon, and Amos Lee, the sophomore release is expected to be simply intimate with an energized Americana swing. Check out the details and tickets for tonight’s show here. Get ready for the show by listening to what the whole band has to say about the new release below.

Continue reading →


Jessie Ware’s North American tour brings her to The TLA on 11/1

jessie wareModern R&B sensation Jessie Ware released her beautiful debut Devotion last summer.  This summer, she’s been on a spattering of tour dates around Europe, and just announced a full North American Tour this fall, including a stop at the TLA on November 1st.  Tickets go on sale tomorrow, click here for concert information and check out the video for her song “Wildest Moments” below.


The Week So Far: 12 must-read stories on The Key (incl. Roots Picnic, ONUINU and #LetBonnerShoot)

Photo by Pete Troshak | |

The lineup for the 6th Annual Roots Picnic includes Gary Clark Jr., Lushlife and more [link]

Dave Hartley‘s Top of the Key returns to tell you why the NBA should #LetBonnerShoot [link]

Folk-inspired Philly songwriter Gretchen Lohse records a stunning Key Studio Session [link]

The latest album from Joe D’Amico gets the Unlocked treatment [link]

Portland dance-rock artist ONUINU chats about his upcoming show at Kung Fu Necktie [link]

Get your vote on in The Deli and Tri-State Indie‘s year-in-review polls [link]

Pitchfork gave Bleeding Rainbow‘s new LP a bad review, then premiered it anyway [link]

UK pop singer Jessie Ware played Union Transfer, reminisced about World Cafe [link]

Listen to Simian Mobie Disco recorded live on Making Time RADio [link]

Elder grunge statesmen Soundgarden brought their reunion tour to The Tower Theater [link]

Listen to Yo La Tengo cover The Spinners’ classic “I’ll Be There” from Free at Noon [link]

Ohio singer-songwriter Dolfish is spotlighted in this week’s Folkadelphia session [link]


From the Pages of JUMP: Jessie Ware brings back World Cafe memories at Union Transfer

JessieWare01Emerging UK pop singer Jessie Ware made her Philadelphia debut at Union Transfer Friday night. Writer and photographer Grace Dickinson of JUMP Philly was there covering the scene, which included Ware taking a moment during the show to reminisce about her first visit to Philly – singing backup for Jack Penate during his World Cafe session. Grace reports:

JessieWare03JessieWare02JessieWare04JessieWare05After playing with The Roots earlier in the week on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, soul-singer Jessie Ware hopped from NYC to Philadelphia for a performance at Union Transfer. Opening with Devotion, Ware sang nearly her entire EP, If You’re Never Gonna Move, along with a few other tracks from her UK released album, also titled Devotion, to be released in the states this April.

The Friday night show drew a fairly packed crowd, though was the only one not to sell out on her U.S. tour. It was the South Londoner’s first time headlining as a solo artist here but Ware let the audience know it wasn’t her first Philadelphia performance.

“When I decided to be a singer, I quit my 9-5 job and became a back-up singer,” explained Ware, referencing her former days touring with English musician Jack Peñate. “My first stop was Philadelphia and we did World Café. It’s been very romantic for me to be back here tonight.”

Ware made a visit back to World Café earlier in the afternoon for a session with David Dye, this time performing songs off of her own record.

Prior to her solo debut, Ware also acted as a back-up singer for Joker, along with SBTRKT (Aaron Jerome). For SBTRKT, Ware eventually ended up singing lead on the British producer’s 2010 single “Nervous,” a single that led Ware to her own label deal with PMR.

The 28-year-old is frequently compared to the likes of other powerful, female UK soloists popular in the states, like Adele and Sade. She definitely has that same soulful feel, akin also to English vocalist Joss Stone, though with a dubstep influence likely linked to her days with SBTRKT. Continue reading →


Jessie Ware’s “Sweet Talk” might be the cutest video of 2012 (Playing Union Transfer 1/18)

Jessie Ware, the UK pop/soul artist who delighted audiences with her debut album Devotion, shows love through the eyes of two children in the charming new video for “Sweet Talk.” The quirky flirtation between two teenie-boppers trying to get their start as performers makes a play for one of the most endearing videos released this year. Ware’s U.S. winter tour includes a performance at Union Transfer January 18th; go here for tickets and information. Below, watch the video for “Sweet Talk.”


Grab free Katy B EP with tracks featuring Diplo, Jessie Ware (playing Union Transfer on 1/18) and Iggy Azalea (playing The Troc 12/20)

Budding UK pop darling Katy B has plans to follow up her 2011 debut, On a Mission, with a second full-length record sometime in 2013. But in the meantime, the singer released Danger, an EP with four brand new tracks partially produced by Philly mixmaster Diplo. It also features vocals from Jessie Ware (playing at Union Transfer January 18th) and Iggy Azalea (playing at The Trocadero December 20th); go here for more information. You can hear the EP below and download it for free here.


Listen to new Jessie Ware collaboration with BenZel, “If You Love Me” (playing Union Transfer on 1/18)

British songbird Jessie Ware‘s deep vocals resonate perfectly with Japanese R&B duo BenZel in a soulful new cover, “If You Love Me.” The song was originally recorded by the 90s female R&B group Brownstone, and can listen to their version here. Ware recently announced a U.S. tour in 2013, which includes a stop at Union Transfer January 18; for tickets and information go here. “If You Love Me” can be heard below.


Jessie Ware announces U.S. tour dates (playing Union Transfer on 1/18)

Breakout English pop-soul artist Jessie Ware last week announced plans to tour in the United States, including a January 18th show at Union Transfer. Ware’s debut album, Devotion, was released in August to critical acclaim: Stereogum called it “an announcement of a major talent arriving; Pitchfork said Ware’s debut effort was a “uniquely soulful masterclass.” Ware’s b-sides and remix EP, 110%, is scheduled to be released in December. Order tickets for Ware’s show at Union Transfer here, and below you can watch the video for “110%.”