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 →


Interview: Meg Baird on stage fright, recording Light and holding on to her Phillies hat

Meg Baird | Photo by Akshay Sawhney |
Meg Baird | Photo by Akshay Sawhney |

There’s a type of folk music that’s difficult to listen to in an abstract way, a type that’s difficult to extricate from the rich context of its history. A type that seems to always evoke a sort of timelessness, along with its most prominent practitioners and all of the artists who have carried it into the modern era. Nick Drake. Fairport Convention. Pentangle.

Oh, and “The Battle Of Evermore. “ Obviously.

Toward the end of her until-then lifelong residency in the Philadelphia area, in December of 2010, Meg Baird opened for the late great folk singer and guitarist Bert Jansch at Johnny Brenda’s, at what would be his last appearance here. Shortly following that show – in retrospect, an evening on which the proverbial torch of this tradition and this artistry was arguably passed, metaphorically speaking, between its masters in two generations – Jansch would pass away, sadly, and Baird would uproot, and relocate to the West Coast. Continue reading →


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: Ben Vaughn Quintet at The Tin Angel, Angel Olsen at Studio 34, The Astronauts at PhilaMOCA, Mirah at Johnny Brenda’s, The Tragically Hip at The TLA

South Jersey-bred rocker, producer and XPN host Ben Vaughn takes to the stage of The Tin Angel tonight. The venue is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month, and XPN Welcomes Ben and his quintet to rattle the walls a bit with some timeless garage rock tunes. The 21+ show begins at 8 p.m., tickets and more information can be found here. Below, watch a video of the Ben Vaughn Quintet playing “My First Band” at Maxwell’s in Hoboken last year.

Continue reading →


Exit Interview: Meg Baird on her 10+ years in the Philly folk scene

Photo by Aaron Igler |

“One thing that I love about Philly is that people aren’t very careerist here,” says Philly songwriter Meg Baird, Saturday afternoon over coffee at South Street’s OFC. “In cities like New York or L.A., I feel like there’s a greater pressure to present highly complete work. But here people are happy to hang out with your cocktail napkin work. They enjoy your sketch-y stuff, and I think they like being in on the process a little, where they see you play something that maybe you don’t really have worked out quite yet. It’s something people say is true in San Francisco too, so I’m kinda hoping that will be a nice segue, to help me feel comfortable.”

She pauses to sip her coffee. Almost two decades after moving to Philly from South Jersey, Philly’s honey-tongued songstress will be leaving the City of Brotherly Love for San Francisco, where her boyfriend lives. It’s an exciting but bittersweet time—while she’s eager to delve into the city’s long folk history (“there’s this band from San Francisco called Icky Boyfriends that really played a big role in my formative musical years,” she says. “I actually got to play with them last week in New York City which was incredible”), she knows for sure she’ll miss her family and friends, not to mention the community of musicians and music-lovers. Continue reading →


Listen to a new song from Angel Olsen (playing Studio 34 on 11/13)

Chicago singer-songwriter Angel Olsen released her captivating sophomore record Half Way Home in September via Bathletic Records, and you can stream the album’s first single “The Waiting” below.  Olsen, who recorded and toured with Bonnie “Prince” Billy in his Cairo Gang, will be making her way to Philadelphia on November 13th for a Folkadelphia Presents show at Studio 34 with Meg Baird and Brendan Codey; tickets are $8 here and more information can be found on the event’s Facebook page.


Just Announced: Folkadelphia presents Angel Olsen, Meg Baird and Brendan Codey at Studio 34 on 11/13

XPN2′s Folkadelphia just announced its latest showcase on November 13th featuring Chicago’s Angel Olsen; Philly artists Meg Baird and Brendan Codey to be held at Studio 34. Olsen, formerly of Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s Cairo Gang band, just released her first full-length LP, Half Way Home in September to critical acclaim. Baird also collaborated with Billy’s Cairo Gang, and her 2011 record Seasons on Earth, was well received by critics, with NPR putting her in a league among Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan. Codey, whose EPs and singles are available digitally and as limited-edition cassettes, has had his music described as “a meditative hailstorm, placing the listener right in the eye of the storm looking out” by the Deli Magazine-Philly. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $8.00 in advance; more information can be found here. Watch Olsen’s new video for “Acrobat” below.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Kensington Picnic, Aloe Blacc, Oldermost, Sharon Little, and Spring Standards

Summer time is for being outdoors, eating ice cream, and enjoying time with friends. You can experience that all today at the Kensington Picnic on Frankford Ave. between Susquehanna and Dauphin Street. It’s a folk-y phenomenon with performances from Meg Baird, Steve Gunn, Birds of Maya, Blues Control, and more. This free show kicks off at 1 p.m. and will go till’ it’s over. Bring your picnic baskets, blankets, and lawn chairs for a perfect summer day. You can find more info on the picnic’s event page.

American descendant of Panamanian parents, Aloe Blacc grew up in Los Angeles and became invested in the California hip hop scene. He worked in troupes such as Emanon and Jazz Liberatorz, and began his solo career in 2006. He has released two LP’s that evoke his R&B style underneath his eclectic singing and rapping skills. He plays tonight at the TLA at 7 p.m. Tickets to this all ages show are $20. Below watch Aloe Blacc’s video for “I Need A Dollar”.

Philadelphians Oldermost produce beautifully-crafted melodies drizzled with soft-spoken vocals, delicate piano strokes and steady rhythmic drumming. You can listen to their EP Lose Your Mind on their bandcamp page. Their warm energy will be flowing tonight at Johnny Brenda’s, along with Capewrath and Daniel Ryan Belski. Tickets to this 21+ show are $10, grab yours here. Doors open at 8 p.m.

The Candlight Concert for Epilepsy Awareness is a concert series taking place in Pennington, NJ. It is a chance to raise funds and awareness about the effects of epilepsy. Tonight’s feature is righteous soulful singer Sharon Little. She recently released her sophomore album, Paper Doll. Catch her tonight at the concert while donating to a worthy cause at the same time. Doors are at 7 p.m., show at 8; tickets are $15. And if you can’t make it out to the show, you can stream it live on

WXPN welcomes The Spring Standards CD Release Show to World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington, DE. They released their double EP Yellow // Gold, and it reflects their memories of growing up as folksinger children and provides a snapshot living life today in the big city. Also playing tonight is Wilmington’s own, The Spinto Band. The show starts at 8 p.m, tickets are $18-20. Below watch The Spring Standard’s official video for “Heavy Home” off the EP.