The Key Studio Sessions: Alex G

It takes a moment to wrap your brain around the sheer volume of music on Alex G‘s Bandcamp page. Five full-lengths, three EPs and four standalone singles, all released in the past five years – most released in the past two – but recorded in fits and starts in various apartment bedrooms and suburban houses, ever since the man behind the project, Alex Giannascoli, was a teenager.

But he’s not just prolific for prolific’s sake; there seems to be a definite method to Alex’s madness, whether you’re talking about his DIY discography or his on-point live band. Instruments are arranged in a minimal but alluring manner – the interplay of chiming guitar lead with the chugging rhythm strums on “Black Hair” is intoxicating; the thumping floor toms on “Soaker” are moving and emotive. Then there are his lyrics, which are just as specific and descriptive as they are loose and mysterious – like “Wicked Boys,” and its mantra-like opening “real men walk / on the outside / and they take it for the team.” Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: OK Fest with Cayetana, Amanda X, Radiator Hospital and more at Golden Teahouse, Juston Stens at Boot and Saddle, Langhorne Slim at Tellus 360

Amanda X: Tiff Yoon, Cat Park, Kat Bean (Photo by Peter Murray)
Amanda X: Tiff Yoon, Cat Park, Kat Bean (Photo by Peter Murray)

West Philly’s super cool OK Fest kicks off tonight at the Golden Tea House. The incredible lineup includes Cayetana; the emo-tinged trio played a Space Jam Session this month featuring a live version of “Dirty Laundry,” and were also featured on Stereogum recently. They will be joined by Radiator Hospital, who will release their brilliant second album Torch Song soon, as well as Amanda X, who did a great interview with The Key’s Kate Bracaglia. Rounding out the night are The Ambulars and Brooklyn punk group Worriers. The all-ages show starts at 8:00 pm. Tickets are between $8 to $12. Listen to Cayetana’s “Serious Things are Stupid” below. Get more details at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →


Watch Cayetana’s acoustic version of “Dirty Laundry” for Space Jam Sessions

Photo by Mary Ferrigno, courtesy of
Photo by Mary Ferrigno, courtesy of

Local punk band Cayetana recently sat down with Space Jam Sessions to perform an acoustic version of its song “Dirty Laundry.” The stripped-down session featured lead singer Augusta Koch and bassist Allegra Anka performing the laundromat / romantic angst song. Although the original is still awesome (check it out below), this raw, less clean-cut version gives the track a little more emotion. Continue reading →


Parquet Courts, White Fence (playing UA 10/21), & Speedy Ortiz (playing OK Fest 8/2) releasing benefit singles

LAMC vh1 save the music artwork

Since 2012, the Famous Class LAMC series has been releasing 7″ splits from “under-recognized artists” to contribute to the Ariel Panero Memorial Fund at VH1 Save The Music. LAMC’s announced their next three hand-picked artists, which include White Fence, Parquet Courts and Speedy Ortiz.

On each split, the selected artist contributes an unreleased track and then handpicks another artist to appear on the B-side. So far, White Fence is first to put out a track, “Nero (Has A Lot To Think About),” which features LA’s Jack Name on the B-side with “Belly Full of Blood.” This split is due out September 2nd.

The second split, out September 16th, has a track from Parquet Courts called “This Is Happening Now,” and the Brooklyn boys have chosen fellow Brooklynites Future Punx to grace the B-side with “Spike Train.”

And last but not least, Speedy Ortiz will release a track called “Doomsday” for their split, which is coming out October 7th. The B-side single, “I Took it Off a Record,” comes from VT singer-songwriter Chris Weisman.

You can see White Fence performing at Underground Arts on October 21st with King Grizzard & The Lizard Wizard (information is on our concert calendar here), and Speedy Ortiz will be performing on Day 2 of OK Fest at Golden Tea House on August 2nd. Go here for the full OK Fest line-up. All the LAMC singles will be available to download on Famous Class’s Bandcamp page here upon release. Below, you can listen to the tracks from the White Fence/Jack Name split.


5 Indie Rock shows you can’t miss this summer

Photo via
Photo via

Indie rock is a diverse field and hard to specify, other than, you know, it’s indie rock. Keeping that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to highlight the variety of indie rock shows playing in Philly through July and August. Included are new local artists, like Vita and the Woolf as well as great classics, like Neutral Milk Hotel. The genres run through American folk, punk, and blues.

1. OK Fest August 1st and 2nd at Golden Tea House and Nacho House

OK Fest is possibly one of the coolest festivals this summer, at least in terms of indie punk. Presented by Philly’s Golden Tea House, the festival is all ages, has tickets at extremely low prices ($8 to $12) and a truly amazing lineup. Highlights for the first day include are locals Amanda X, Radiator Hospital, who released their newest LP Touch Song this month, Cayetana who did a great Key Studio Session, a phenomenal Shaking Through Session and talked about singing to a label on NPR. On August 2nd, the awesomeness continues with Speedy Ortiz who released their Real Hair EP in February and Swearin’ who did a fun Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session. Listen to Speedy Ortiz’s “American Horror” from Real Hair below.

2. Vita and the Woolf July 15th at Ortlieb’s

Vita, of the talented new duo of Vita and the Woolf is playing at Ortlieb’s July 15th. Featuring the soaring vocals of Jennifer Pague and the beats by Joey Anderson, the band has an EP Fang Song on the way. They recently played at Walla Fest. Their light though somewhat melancholy music draws comparisons to Florence and the Machine as well as Arcade Fire. Let their music sweep you into a great night of music, along with Thunderhank and I Am Love. Listen to “Mary” from Fang Song below. And if you miss this show, Vita & The Woolf will be performing for the EP release party on September 20th at Ortlieb’s.

3. The Strypes August 20th Union Transfer

Irish rock band, The Strypes, have been getting a lot of attention both for their music as well as their youth. Only 15 to 17 years old, they’ve been on tour with the Arctic Monkeys and played in a slew of huge festivals like Glastonbury and SXSW. In March, the group released their first full length, Snapshot. The music is a classic high tempo rock and roll, infused in R & B and the blues. The group makes the classic genre their own, by playing with reckless abandon and high energy. In other words, it’s the perfect show to end summer. Watch the video for “Mystery Man” below.

The Strypes – Mystery Man from Finn Keenan on Vimeo.

4. Sun Kil Moon July 23rd at Union Transfer

Sun Kil Moon, the moniker of Mark Kozelek, makes a reflective, moody combination of acoustic guitar and intimate lyrics. Earlier this year, Sun Kil Moon released a beautiful, harrowing album Benji. The album chronicles the life of Benji, a country man, and his many sorrows. In many ways, it’s the most personal and intimate album Sun Kil Moon has released. Recently, he’s pairing up with Volcano Choir (Bon Iver’s side project) for a release for Project Carousel Restoration. The performance should be a welcome respite from the relentless summer energy. Listen to the ballad of “Carissa” below.

5.  Neutral Milk Hotel July 21st at The Mann

Despite having broken nearly 16 years ago, no new music, and imminent retirement, Neutral Milk Hotel continues to tour. In fact, they extended their tour due to the overwhelming public response, including two sold-out shows in Philly last year. Recently, Jeff Mangum was featured in a fun, candid feature about getting signed onto Merge Records. As a bonus, the band also released a free download of “Song Against Sex” from On Avery Island. Grab your tickets while there still available and settle in for a nostalgic, beautiful night. Listen to “King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 1” from In the Aeroplane Over the Sea below.

Find more details about these shows (and many others) at the XPN Concert Calender.