Philly Music 101: The basics everyone needs to know about the Philadelphia scene right now

Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman |
The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman |

Philadelphia is a city of many wonders: a buzzing food scene, an established craft beer culture, and a parade of historical landmarks. But one aspect of our city that we are particularly passionate about is our magnificent local music community and all that is has to offer. Here at The Key, we often focus on the particulars of our scene – where artists will be playing each night, brand new local releases, etc. - so much so that we can forget how overwhelming it can be for newcomers to get their bearings.

So for those of you having trouble finding where to start, we are introducing this new Philly Music 101 series as your guide through the wonderful world of the Philadelphia music scene: all of its passionate, loving members, from artists to venues to studios and more. It’s meant to help new fans navigate the scene as much as emerging musicians looking to break in and behind-the-scenes folks trying to get their start. We hope it will illuminate just what makes it so damn exciting for music lovers to live here. To kick it off, here is a by-no-means-complete overview of the different pieces of the Philadelphia music scene that have come together to make up its sturdy foundation. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Lantern at Johnny Brenda’s, Imelda May at Union Transfer, and Christopher Willits at First Unitarian Church Side Chapel

Lantern | Photo by John Vettese
Lantern | Photo by John Vettese

Philly blues-punk outfit Lantern will headline Johnny Brenda’s this evening. The three piece rock outfit have proven that rock and roll is most definitely not dead in Philly. With a distortion-induced sound similar to that of Dan Aurbach, the group has an ability to come out with instant hits that will stick in your head. Their most recent album, Rock n’ Roll Rorschach, received much attention locallly and nationally; Tiny Mix Tapes called their sound “a blessing of garage noir”. Check out their music video for “King Of The Jungle” below and find tickets and more information on XPN’s Concert Calendar. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Snowmine and Norwegian Arms at Johnny Brenda’s, Chill Moody at Hard Rock Cafe, Tom Brosseau at Ortlieb’s and more…

Norwegian Arms | Photo by John Vettese
Norwegian Arms | Photo by John Ve

Brooklyn indie pop quintet Snowmine and Philadelphia favorites Norwegian Arms team up for a show at Johnny Brenda’s tonight.  The former are celebrating the release of their new record Dialects, a cinematic and textural experience that the band pulls off exquisitely in a live setting.  Bright alt-folk trio Norwegian Arms released their impressive and immersive Wolf Like a Stray Dog LP in 2012, following it up last year with a 7″ single for “Jitterbug,” which you can listen to below.  Tickets and information for the 21+ show with Dream Safari can be found here.

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Free Show: Philebrity presents Lantern at A.K.A. Music on 9/6


It’s a new month and that means A.K.A. Music has a new in-store appearance planned for First Friday this week.  Local rock ‘n’ roll trio Lantern will be shaking the walls at the 2nd St. record store, playing tracks from their recent Rock ‘N’ Roll Rorschach LP.  The Key dug into the bluesy goth-rock album in July’s edition of Unlocked - members Zachary Devereux Fairbrother and Emily Robb expounded on stylistic changes, horn sections and collaborations in the feature interview here and editor John Vettese reviewed the debut record here. The all-ages show at AKA Music begins at 7:30 p.m. and is free; more information can be found on the Facebook event page.  Watch Lantern’s surreal video for “King of the Jungle” below.

LANTERN – KING OF THE JUNGLE from Jacqueline Lachance on Vimeo.


Watch Lantern’s creepy / surreal music video for “King of the Jungle”

Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 2.53.45 PMThere a lot of mood-unsettling surrealism in the new music video for Lantern‘s “King of the Jungle”, which premiered today over at The chugging anthem, at face value, is a bluesy and aggressive celebration of masculinity – but read between the lines, and it’s totally tongue-in-cheek sarcasm, something this video (directed by Jacqueline Lehance) underscores.

Our “king” is a pot-bellied dude who wakes up on his couch, surrounded by detritus of drinking alone at home, and embarks on a quest for more beer through a sprawling urban wasteland – and his journey turns undeniably creepy the further along he gets. Meanwhile, Lantern front-duo Zachary Devereux Fairbrother and Emily Robb act as a sort of Greek chorus, narrating our anti-hero’s plight while mocking him at the same time. Watch it below, and check out more from Lantern’s awesome new Rock ‘N’ Roll Rorschach here.


The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Lantern, The Downtown Club, Vacationer


Unlocked explored Lantern‘s new album Rock ‘N’ Roll Rorschach this week.  ”Evil Eye,” taken from the LP, boasts a killer baritone sax part and dance-worthy percussion.  Check out the full Unlocked feature here and download “Evil Eye” below.

Local singer-songwriter Emmett Drueding and producer Grave Goods have merged to become Emmett Drueding & the Cowboy Killa.  The first product of this collaboration is “Area 51,” a raw and twangy track accented with a strong and upfront beat.  Stream and download the song below.

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Unlocked: Essential selections from Lantern’s back-catalogue

a1199289661_10Rock ‘N’ Roll Rorschach is the debut LP from Philly garage-punk band Lantern, but it isn’t even close to their first release. Its Bandcamp discography comprises nine other releases; ten if you count the split cassette EP that Lantern’s Zachary Devereux Fairbrother released with Dirty Beaches in his old band, Oman Ra II. Here’s a selection of some of the band’s back-catalogue highlights; catch Lantern’s album release show tonight at Johnny Brenda’s and you might find some of these items at the merch table.

The Deliver Me From Nowhere… EP was the first release under the Lantern moniker, and it found Fairbrother experimenting with sounds and ambiance. The simmering tune above, “In The Night Alone” features a coda of drone created by mixing the sounds of rain pattering on the steel roof of a Fishtown warehouse with a time-stretched Beethoven piece. Continue reading →


Unlocked: Philly’s Lantern on collaboration, confidence and meeting itself for the first time

intheparkWhen Philly’s Lantern first began to release music in 2010, singer and guitarist Zachary Devereux Fairbrother used the moniker to expunge a cache of lo-fi, home-recorded bluesy solo recordings. This was music he made in the wake of his previous band’s split (he fronted Montreal psych collective Omon Ra II), before he moved to Philly with partner Emily Robb to launch Lantern as a functioning band. Two and a half years and a handful of tours later, and it is releasing its debut long-player Rock ‘N’ Roll Rorschach – its first collection of music recorded collaboratively – next Tuesday on Sophomore Lounge Records. The release party happens tonight at Johnny Brenda’s, we’ve featured the album all week on The Key’s Unlocked series, and this afternoon, we check in with Robb and Fairbrother to chat about the growth, changes and adventures Lantern has seen in its lifespan so far.

The Key: A lot of what you’ve done up to this point has been either spit-cassette or 7”’s or EP’s – this is the longest thing you’ve released. What’s it like plotting out something of that scope versus something that’s only two or three songs?

Zachary Devereux Fairbrother: Before, it always sort of felt like we releasing sketches, almost. They were very rough recordings, and someone would be like “wanna put it on tape?” and we’d be like “yeah sure.” So we’re piecing things together, and there’s definitely more of a transparency – which is kind of interesting with tape culture, and lo-fi kind of stuff – transparency between where it’s created and when the people hear it. It’s very natural, like you’re getting the raw footage of something. For this, we wanted to branch out in a new direction, going into a studio, and challenging ourselves. The studio was a great eye-opener. We learned a lot about what we could do with sound. It was fun conceiving this record. A lot more was on the line, a lot more was at stake. We were paying to do it, and we wanted it to sound really good, and there was this added pressure.

Emily Robb: Also, because we had never recorded in a real studio before, we didn’t really know what to expect. I remember recording our first song and then going in and listening to it in the mixing room, and being like “whoa, this is what we sound like when we’re recorded well?” [laughs] It was like re-meeting ourselves. Also, with the LP, it was definitely a longer, more played out journey than the EPs are. Especially because with the EP previous to the album, Zach pretty much wrote all the music and did all the track-listing, whereas with the album, I wrote songs, we worked on some together, some separately. It was just a major collaboration. Deciding how to mix them and how to order them and all that was much more of collaboration, which I think probably takes longer than if one person just does it. I think it was just a bigger thing.

TK: Emily, your involvement is notable on “Evil Eye”, a song where you take lead. How did you come to take lead on more of these songs?

ER: I just wanted to. I wanted to write more, I wanted to play guitar more. Previously, on all our EP’s, I pretty much solely play bass. So I just wanted to do my thing more. Zach actually wrote “Evil Eye” and did a demo of it with himself singing.

ZDF: It was just sort of in the studio we we’re like “well, why don’t you try singing it?” and it was like “ok, that sounds cool.”

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The Week So Far: 11 must-read stories on The Key (incl. Laura Jane Grace, Vacationer, 2nd Street Festival)

Photo By Abi Reimold |
Photo By Abi Reimold |

Vacationer drop in for a soothing Key Studio Session that includes free downloads and a video by BITBY [link]

Unlocked takes a look at Lantern‘s new Rock ‘N’ Roll Rorschach LP [link]

The Low Anthem, Banned Books, Denison Witmer and more tapped for this year’s 2nd Street Festival in Northern Liberties [link]

Stream and pre-order Psychic Teens‘ COME ahead of the goth-punks’ record release show at Long in the Tooth on August 9th [link]

Watch Pete Donnelly‘s new video for “Face the Bird” from his upcoming full-length of the same name [link]

Emmet Drueding and Grave Goods collaborate on “Area 51″ and release the track as a free download [link]

Local bassist Phil D’Agostino has release a new solo track called “Footballs” off of his forthcoming Inlets LP [link]

Download The Downtown Club‘s “Dance” from a new compilation of local bands [link]

Enter to win tickets to see Against Me!‘s Laura Jane Grace at MilkBoy on August 10th [link]

Sean Hoots will create original music for Shakespeare in Clark Park’s production of The Tempest this month [link]

Members of Dashboard Confessional and The Narrative bring their new Twin Forks project to Folkadelphia [link]