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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Sheer Mag at PhilaMOCA, Kamasi Washington at Musikfest Cafe, Emmett Drueding at Kung Fu Necktie, and more…

Sheer Mag | Photo by John Vettese
Sheer Mag | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Philly punk powerhouses Sheer Mag just released their kickass EP III last month, and they will be performing tonight at PhilaMOCA for the Philadelphia Student Union Fundraiser. Also playing will be Bad Canoes and Dark Thoughts. For tickets and more information, check out the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year End-Mania: Ten videos not to miss on VuHaus

Kamasi Washington | Photo by John Vettese
Kamasi Washington | Photo by John Vettese

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2015 incredible. Today, XPN Program director Bruce Warren recaps ten favorite WXPN videos from VuHaus.

We’ve put together a playlist of some of the best performances on VuHaus, a new music video website featuring videos from public radio stations around the country. Alongside XPN, contributors include WFUV in New York, KCRW in Los Angeles, KUTX in Austin, Oregon Public Radio, Mountain Stage, World Cafe and others.

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Watch the 5 most popular World Cafe videos of the year

Hop Along | Photo by Kelsey Stanger
Hop Along | Photo by Kelsey Stanger

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2015 incredible. Today, XPN Program director Bruce Warren recaps five standout videos from the World Cafe YouTube channel.

Over two hundred bands were featured on World Cafe this year, many of whom have been featured on the show’s YouTube channel. Dawes, Hop Along, The Milk Carton Kids, Father John Misty and Kamasi Washington were the top five most-viewed performances of the year, with many more including Brandi Carlile, Josh Ritter, Son Little, George Ezra, Joss Stone and Mac DeMarco all delivering incredible performances.

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The Key’s Top 15 Albums of 2015

The albums that moved us in 2015
This is the music that moved us in 2015

It was a year of powerful records. Of loud guitars and brazen beats, of electronic tapestries and vocal abandon. It was a year of personal introspection and rallying cries for social change. It was a year when music felt inextricably tied to the world around us. When it felt more important than it had in a long time. Like we’ve said before, to narrow 12 months of incredible music down to a “top 15 albums of 2015” list is to exclude dozens of other worthy releases. This year, we had 26 writers and photographers cite a collective 82 albums as their favorites – you can view everybody’s top fives here, and I know fully well that had I asked The Key crew to give me top tens, I’d be easily looking at quadruple the titles. But we’ll go deep when our annual Year-End Mania roundup launches tomorrow. Today we take the long view and explore what rose to the surface of consensus in 2015, from the expressive moments of Kamasi Washington, Joanna Newsom and Jamie xx, to the pop permutations of Carly Rae Jepsen and Grimes , rock and/or roll from Courtney Barnett and Alabama Shakes, Philly representation from The Districts, Waxahatchee and of course, Hop Along‘s incredible breakout LP Painted Shut, which alongside the great Kendrick Lamar rose right to the top of our voting. Let’s recap the year. 
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Kamasi Washington brings The Epic to life at World Cafe Live

Kamasi Washington | Photo by John Vettese
Kamasi Washington | Photo by John Vettese

Saxophonist/composer Kamasi Washington brought an 8-piece version of the West Coast Get Down to World Café Live on Thursday as part of his first east coast excursion in support of his attention-grabbing debut The Epic. Even stripped of the orchestra and choir, his band lives up to that album title. Both roof-raising showmen and envelope-pushing adventurers, Washington and company delivered on the converging promises of George Clinton’s Afro-futurist funk and the boundary-obliterating jazz reinventions of late Coltrane and electric Miles. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Kamasi Washington at World Cafe Live, Meg Baird at Johnny Brenda’s, Set and Setting at Kung Fu Necktie

Kamasi Washington | Photo by Mike Park | courtesy of the artist
Kamasi Washington | Photo by Mike Park | courtesy of the artist

Tonight, LA saxophonist and acclaimed band leader Kamasi Washington brings his aptly-titled debut LP The Epic to World Cafe Live with an eight-piece band. In an interview earlier this week with The Key’s Shaun Brady, Washington talked about breaking down the boundaries of genre:

The word ‘jazz’ and the word ‘hip-hop’ have a separation, but the music doesn’t really have that same separation. You can’t talk about hip-hop without talking about A Tribe Called Quest, and their music is inundated with jazz. You can’t talk about west coast hip-hop without talking about James Brown and Parliament.

Read the whole interview here, listen to “Miss Understanding” below and get tickets and more information on the show via the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →