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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Pine Barons / Family Vacation and many more at Northern Liberties Winter Music Fest at The Fire and Dead Meadow at Underground Arts

Courtesy of the artist
Courtesy of the artist

Tonight at The Fire, day two of Northern Liberties Winter Music Festival is in full swing with slated performances by a bunch of local acts including Pine Barons, Family Vacation, Rosu Lup, Keepers, Chelsea Mitchell (of Dirty Dollhouse). Hailing from New Jersey, experimental indie-rockers Pine Barons released their self-titled debut album last year. Last month, the four-piece joined us for a Key Studio Session where their signature harmonies stole the show. Listen to “Smile America” below. North Philly’s Family Vacation released their indie pop album Trails last year. Watch “Mountain Dreams” below and get more details on the event here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ali Wadsworth at Ruba Club, The Deli’s 5th Anniversary Bash at PhilaMOCA, River City Festival at Penn Treaty Park and more

Screen shot 2013-08-20 at 9.30.04 PMAli Wadsworth is not a new voice in Philly by any means, but she’ll be releasing her debut solo LP at Ruba Club tonight.  The celebration will be an incredible one: a cocktail hour, sets by Auctioneer, Thom McCarthy and Divers and a “super top secret party band” will surround the centerpiece performance by Wadsworth and her band. Before striking out on her own, Wadsworth was a member of Unlikely Cowboy with Good Old War’s Dan Schwartz, Goldiebox with her sister Claire and Philly super-group Fantasy Square Garden.  The new album, recorded by Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man), features songs written for Wadsworth by her friends and fellow musicians.  Tickets and information for the all-night party can be found on the Facebook event page.  Watch Wadsworth perform “Still Not Over You” at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology below.

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New Music: Family Vacation “Goosebumps”

FamVIt’s a question all of us have asked, some more often than others: “What am I doing with my life?” Fortunately, the refrain of Family Vacation‘s snappy new single “Goosebumps” has an easy answer in the short-term: you’re on tour, dudes. They’re going out on the road with like-minded up-and-coming regional pop-rockers Keepers, kicking things off tonight with an outdoor show in West Chester and bringing it back home on August 18th at the Michael Jordan House. In the week and a half in between, this snappy jangle-jam will make for good road music in the van (and anticipation music back home). Steam it below, and grab a download at Bandcamp.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Grandchildren at Underground Arts, Black Horse Motel at Kung Fu Necktie, Up The Chain at Milkboy and more

GrandchildrenTonight at Underground Arts, local experimental pop band Grandchildren will kick off their spring tour and give fans a taste of their new album Golden Age, which is slated for a May release. Yesterday, The Key’s Adam Gould talked to Grandchildren about five things that have changed about the band since their 2010 debut Everlasting; read the interview here. Opening the 21+ show are Buried Beds and Son Step, more information is available at the WXPN Concert Calendar. Below, watch Grandchildren performing “Sunrise” for The Deli and Hot Box Studios’ Choice/Cuts session series.

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: John Vettese’s top five Philly music discoveries of 2012

With just two weeks remaining in 2012, it’s come time to look back at the year that’s just passed us by, look ahead at the year just ahead of us, and generally reflect on stuff that got us excited – in music, and in general.

But if you’re like me, you find best-of lists a little boring. I mean, they’re kind of a necessary evil, in terms of the cultural community putting the past 12 months into context. That said, after the fifty-billionth iteration they can almost become a chore to read and to put together. So for The Key’s year-in-review, we asked our trusted sources – our writers and photographers, XPN’s on-air staff, fellow bloggers in the Philly scene and even a few musicians – to send us their Top Five Whatevers. Could be the traditional music route – albums, songs, concerts of the year – or it could be only loosely connected.

We’ll be sharing these recaps every day through to the end of the year. Today, I’ll get things started with my top five Philly music discoveries of 2012. Coming across an exciting emerging musician I’ve never heard before is easily a highlight of my job, and there was no shortage of that this year. (See the incomplete honorable mention section.) With this list, though, I tried to focus on the less-discussed acts, the ones you won’t find on a show every weekend. Some artists hit the ground running this year, and that’s great – these artists are ones that are worth your time to seek out. Continue reading →

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Crossing generations of Rock School with Cheers Elephant and Keepers (both playing this weekend)

Jordan Del Rosario performs with Cheers Elephant | Photo by John Vettese

Jordan Del Rosario remembers when his band was starting off in the mid aughts, and its role models were just an arm’s-length away. The Cheers Elephant guitarist and his bandmates were in their early 20s, barely able to get in to venues like The Fire and Johnny Brenda’s, but nevertheless enthusiastically taking in shows by The Teeth and Dr. Dog.

“This was before we started playing shows professionally,” he recalls. “We were just like, ‘woah, these guys are where it’s at.’”

Certainly it’s a better scenario for an emerging band than never getting to see your heroes because they don’t tour through your town; or worse yet, never getting to see your heroes because they’re long gone. Del Rosario recalls sneaking backstage at shows, slipping CDs to the band when they could, trying hard to break into their inner circle.

But while Cheers occasionally crossed paths in the studio world with The Teeth, Dr. Dog toured so heavily that they were never more than mentors by example. Del Rosario, on the other hand, went on to be something of a mentor-direct for the next wave of Philly-area bands, teaching at School of Rock in Downingtown and working directly with emerging local musicians, including exciting young four piece Keepers. Continue reading →

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The Week’s Best MP3 Downloads, incl. Ellie Goulding, Kingsfoil and The Trouble With Sweeney

Joey Sweeney | Photo by Marie Alyse Rodriguez
Alex James, the Blur-bassist-turned-cheesemaker, once said he celebrated his 20th birthday with alcohol, his 30th with drugs and his 40th with food.  I can’t speak to how Arctic Splash‘s Joey Sweeney celebrated his 20th and 30th birthdays but I do know his 40th will be celebrated with a reunion of his bands, past and present, at Johnny Brenda’s on December 8th.  To celebrate the celebration, download “The Break Up” from Sweeney’s 1999-2004 band The Trouble With Sweeney.  Information about the show is available here.

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