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Listen to the new album from Church Girls, “Thousand Lives”

Church Girls | Photo by Charlie Wrzesniewski | courtesy of the artist
Church Girls | Photo by Charlie Wrzesniewski | courtesy of the artist

Way more than nine: Philly’s own Church Girls released their first record, Thousand Lives, last Friday.

The four piece indie-rock group, fronted by Mariel Beaumont, has been around the area for about two years now, previously releasing their self-titled EP in January of 2014. The album was recorded and produced at Miner Street Recordings. Continue reading →

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Listen to Lushlife team up with Ariel Pink for “Hong Kong (Lady of Love)”

Lushlife | photo by Erbu Ylidiz | courtesy of the artist
Lushlife | photo by Erbu Ylidiz | courtesy of the artist

Philly rapper Lushlife found himself an unexpected collaborator for his new track, “Hong Kong (Lady of Love):” Ariel Pink.

On the surface, the duo are an unlikely couple. Mixing hip-hop with Pink’s brand of weirdo psychedelic rock seems anything but intuitive. But upon listening to the track, the collaboration instantly makes sense. Continue reading →

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Low struck reflective chords at Johnny Brenda’s last night

low
Low | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller | koalafoto.com

Critics may contend that Low frontman Alan Sparhawk was a mid-90’s iconoclast, in a way, having eschewed the predominant contemporary genres of Duluth, Minnesota in favor of the music that Low became known for: a subdued and often dark brand of moody rock and roll. On the other hand, the 90’s outside of Duluth were full of that too, from Tanya Donelly’s somber psychedelic strokes on Belly’s excellent debut record Star to the era’s lo-fi poster kids My Bloody Valentine.

But, forget the 90’s for a minute, because the era isn’t necessarily always relevant in the context of this band. The most distinctive element of Low’s music and stagecraft lie in the signature, often haunting harmonies between Sparhawk and wife Mimi Parker, as she lightly dusts her snares with her trademark percussion brushes. Together with bassist and keyboard player Steve Garrington, Low created a compelling mood at Johnny Brenda’s last night, approved of in tacit head-nods by a legion of devoted fans at the sold out show, the same fans that forgave them for rescheduling a Philly appearance last Fall interrupted by a papal visit, and who turned out in numbers on a rainy Winter night regardless.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Weather Station at Johnny Brenda’s, Dogs on Acid at Boot & Saddle, Robyn Hitchcock at Sellersville Theater

the weather station
The Weather Station | photo by Yuula Benivolski | courtesy of the artist

Canadian singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman performs as The Weather Station at Johnny Brenda’s tonight. The band’s third LP Loyalty was released last year via Paradise of Bachelors and was heralded as one of 2015′s best indie folk records, earning a featured spot on David Dye’s World Cafe: Next podcast. Listen to “Way It Is, Way It Could Be” below; tickets and information for the 21+ show can be found here.

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UNLOCKED: Listen to Abi Reimold get serene on “Machine”

Abi Reimold | photo by Haley Richter | haleyrichterphoto.com | courtesy of the artist
Abi Reimold | photo by Haley Richter | haleyrichterphoto.com | courtesy of the artist

We’ve had a great vantage point from which to observe Philadelphia artist Abi Reimold these past few years. She’s a WXPN intern alumnus and an occasional contributing photographer for The Key – a tremendously talented one at that, who has covered festivals and studio sessions for us. We’ve also seen her forge her path as a singer and songwriter, from her 2013 Folkadelphia session to the release of 2014′s excellent Forget EP and her place in the lineup of our tribute to Patti Smith’s Horses.

When Reimold sent over an early stream of her LP Wriggling last fall, it was clear something big was afoot, and when national press started picking up on it this winter, it felt less like the “exciting new artist” it may have seemed to them and more that of a hard-working songwriter getting her due. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Julien Baker at Boot & Saddle, Madalean Gauze at Kung Fu Necktie, Torres at Johnny Brenda’s and more…

julien baker
Julien Baker | photo by Jake Cunningham | courtesy of the artist

Memphis native Julien Baker brings her debut solo LP to Boot & Saddle tonight. K. Ross Hoffman explored Sprained Ankle for a Key profile last week, noting that that the songs are “harrowing stuff; an impressionistic but unflinching annal of addiction, self-loathing and spiritual crisis…” set up against “unadorned but graceful melodies and simple, minimal acoustic guitar and piano arrangements.” Listen to “Something” below and pick up tickets to the 21+ show with Abi Reimold here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Residuels at Johnny Brenda’s, Questlove Supreme at The Foundry

residuels
Residuels | video still by Kyle Garvey for WXPN

Philly heavy psych-blues trio Residuels headlines Johnny Brenda’s tonight with support from Daddy Long Legs, The Whips and Straw Hats. The band recently appeared on The Key Studio Sessions to rock out a set of new songs and a 13th Floor Elevators cover. Watch a 16mm video of “Enough” below, download the entire session here and get tickets and more information on the show at the XPN Concert CalendarContinue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: DRGN King at Bourbon and Branch, Weekender at Johnny Brenda’s, HighKick at Ardmore Music Hall and more

DRGN King | Photo by Cameron Pollack
DRGN King | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

Philly indie rock faves DRGN King are going on hiatus for 2016 as its various bandmates and collaborators head into a busy year with a variety of other projects. Tonight, they play their last show for a while at Bourbon and Branch tonight with Mumblr and Mostly Only, and we’re expecting a full assortment of jams from 2014′s awesome Baltimore Crush and 2013′s equally awesome Paragraph Nights. Tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar; listen to “Hazy Memories” below. Continue reading →

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Mock Suns on mixing sound and visuals on the new “Friday Night” video

Mock Suns | photo by Chelsea Schryver | courtesy of the artist
Mock Suns | photo by Chelsea Schryver | courtesy of the artist

Philly indie-psych outfit Mock Suns have always had a healthy mix of art with their rock. Their 2012 debut Here Nor There was released in conjunction with paper masks hidden at various places around the city. The 2014 double EP Santander All That I Knew was  packaged with beautiful monochromatic photographs of the bandmates in various natural settings.

“The visuals have always been super important to us,” says frontman Greg Puglese. “Especially for me, coming from a visual arts background. I studied design in school, I’ve always been to making videos and all around doing it myself.”

The band’s newest song, “Friday Night,” comes with its own striking visual component. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Residuels

There’s a smoky, blues-from-a-gun furor to Philadelphia trio Residuels. The band, fronted by singer-guitarist Justin Pittney, caught our ear in the past with the heavy, heady Jesus and Mary Chain guitar jams it’s tapped into over various self-released singles. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head