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Ten years since their debut, The Loved Ones are still very much loved

Dave Hause | The Loved Ones | Photo by Wendy McCardle | wendymccardle.com
Dave Hause | The Loved Ones | Photo by Wendy McCardle | wendymccardle.com

It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade since the release of Keep Your Heart, the full-length debut from Philly’s favorite punks The Loved Ones, but Saturday night found us celebrating its birth at a very sold out Union Transfer. Staying in tune with both the band name and album title, the evening was filled with musical reunion, emotional validation and physical purgation. It was over in the blink of an eye and bitter-sweetly, it’s not going to happen again anytime soon. Continue reading →

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Listen to a new song by Japanese Breakfast, “In Heaven”

Japanese Breakfast | Photo by Julian Master | courtesy of the artist
Japanese Breakfast | Photo by Julian Master | courtesy of the artist

Japanese Breakfast is the Brooklyn-based band from Michelle Zauner, who also fronts Philly indie punk four piece Little Big League.

After the release of several cassettes, Japanese Breakfast will release a new full length debut album, Psychopomp on April 1st on Yellow K Records. Recorded in Eugene, Oregon, the album was co-produced by Zauner with Ned Eisenberg. Continue reading →

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

Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com
The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com

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 →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Little Big League at Johnny Brenda’s, Laura Stevenson at MilkBoy, Lily and Madeleine at World Cafe Live and more…

Little Big League
Little Big League | photo via Spin.com
Little Big League celebrates the release of Tropical Jinx at Johnny Brenda’s tonight.  The record marks a difficult several months for the band, and tonight’s show will be the last for a while as front-woman Michelle Zauner moves to the west coast.  The record, though, is Little Big League’s second overall and first for its new label Run For Cover Records.  The collection of cathartic personal songs explore themes of love, loss and growing-up over catchy, edgy indie rock.  Tickets and information for the 21+ release party can be found here.  Listen to the title track below.
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On Repeat: Little Big League’s emotional new single “Property Line”

Little Big League | photo via Spin.com
Little Big League | photo via Spin.com

Earlier this month Philly indie rock four-piece Little Big League treated us to the title track off of their upcoming and eagerly anticipated sophomore album Tropical Jinx, and now they are back with more. Vocalist Michelle Zauner, bassist Deven Craige, guitarist Kevin O’Halloran, and drummer Ian Dykstra bridge sorrow and catharsis “Property Line.” Zauner’s lamenting and passionate lyrics and delivery mix with Dystra’s fierce drum hits at just the right time, and a wordless jam session towards the end making it a track you’ll want to repeat a few times to take it all in. Continue reading →

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On Repeat: Little Big League’s new jam “Tropical Jinx”

Little Big League | photo via Spin.com
Little Big League | photo via Spin.com

We were pretty pumped to hear that Philly indie rock faves Little Big League got signed by by Run For Cover Records earlier this summer, and today we’re equally psyched to hear the first single from the album they’re putting out this fall. “Tropical Jinx” blends intertwining guitar lines reminiscent of Built to Spill with blissed-out indie pop harmonies and frontwoman Michelle Zauner’s direct, personal lyrics. Continue reading →

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Watch this Kid Rock cover (yes, really) by Little Big League and The Hotelier from the Space Jam Sessions

Michelle Zauner of Little Big League and Christian Holden of The Hotelier
Michelle Zauner of Little Big League and Christian Holden of The Hotelier

“So who’s doing the favor?” asks Michelle Zauner. “Sheryl Crow is doing Kid Rock the favor. She’s also playing all the cool guitar licks and Kid Rock’s just like G-C-D.” The frontwoman for Little Big League is hypothesizing with her performing partner Christian Holden of The Hotelier about a song that a lot of the music intelligentsia doesn’t take particularly seriously, the sentimental single “Picture” from Rock’s 2001 album Cocky. Continue reading →

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Clocked In: A conversation about the difficulties of working and touring with Little Big League’s Michelle Zauner

little big league

I called Michelle Zauner on the phone a couple weeks ago and this is what she said to me: “I forgot this was happening.”

It is easy to forget things are happening, especially in the summer. Plus Zauner was on vacation, in Oregon, the state where she grew up and where she lived before attending college at Bryn Mawr, before making Philadelphia her home and before starting the band Little Big League.

It was recently announced that Little Big League signed with Run For Cover, the Boston label that released the new album by fellow Philadelphians Modern Baseball, You’re Gonna Miss It All. A new Little Big League LP, the follow-up to the well-received These Are Good People (Tiny Engines; 2013), is expected to arrive later this year.

In addition to her work as the singer and guitarist in Little Big League, Zauner also makes music under the name Japanese Breakfast. Last month, the Seagreen Records label released her cassette American Sound & Where Is My Great Big Feeling?

Zauner is clearly very busy with music, but when she’s not on tour, she works elsewhere. For this new installment of Clocked In, we spoke with Zauner about her non-music-related work history, from clerical work at her dad’s truck broker business, to bossing a grill at Bryn Mawr, to holding down the comic shop Brave New Worlds. Continue reading →

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The Hotelier / Foxing co headlining tour brings the heat to The Fire

Foxing | photo by Rachel Del Sordo
Foxing | photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com

A co-headlining tour featuring Saint Louis’ Foxing and Worcester, Massachusetts’ The Hotelier brought an incredible lineup of bands to The Fire Sunday night. Two popular regional acts played alongside the touring artists, both of whom boast well-received new releases, making for a night of punk so exciting that it was sold out well in advance.

First at bat was local favorites Little Big League. The band flawlessly mixed hooky riffs with a powerful vocal performance from frontwoman Michelle Zauner. Their set was impressive and it came as no surprise when they announced they were the newest member of the Run For Cover Records family the next morning. Continue reading →