Penrose comes back swinging in their expansive new EP Eat + Drink + Sleep

Penrose | photo via Alycia Kravitz | via

East coast blues rockers Penrose released their first new material in almost two years in the form of the 3-track EP Eat + Drink + Sleep. Filled with enough jam for a peanut butter sandwich, the family three-pieces fills each track with emotional power and a wonderfully rotating rock sound that hits you when you least expect it.

Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Frank Turner at Electric Factory, Slayer at Susquehanna Bank Center, Penrose at Boot & Saddle, and more

Frank Turner | via Facebook

English folk punk favorite Frank Turner headlines The Electric Factory tonight, with backing band The Sleeping Souls. His newest release, Tape Deck Heart, is evidence to just how cheery and creative he can be. With sweet guitar riffs, simple beats, and upbeat singalong lyrics, Turner’s music will take you out of the cold and back to the warm days of summer for a few hours tonight. This diverse show will also feature sets from Australia’s punks The Smith Street Band and Minnesota’s electro pop band Koo Koo Kanga Roo. Find tickets here.

Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Neighborhood Choir with Avery Rosewater at PhilaMOCA for Tuesday Tune-Out, Dead Confederate with Penrose at MilkBoy

Neighborhood Choir

Local tastemaker blog Yvynyl is this month’s Tuesday Tune-Out curator at PhilaMOCA and they’re bringing Philly bands Neighborhood Choir and Avery Rosewater to the stage.  Neighborhood Choir is a dream-pop project from Bennett Daniels; you can learn more about him in an interview with The Key here.  Avery Rosewater is newish project from seasoned city musicians – check out their interview here.  Following the music, Daniels will screen a film to close out the night.  Information can be found on the Facebook event page here.  Below, watch Avery Rosewater perform “Wright” for Out of Town Films and stream Neighborhood Choir’s “Seafoam Green.”

Continue reading →


Watch Our Griffins perform “Blood on My Sleeve” in a Random Tea Room session (playing a free show at North Star Bar on 3/25)

OGTaking a quick break from recording a new LP, Our Griffins (the project of Easton, PA’s DJ Brown) performed a quietly poetic rendition of “Blood on My Sleeve” for The Random Tea Room‘s new video series.  Brown was backed by Travis Hobbie (guitar/vox), Alex Luquet (bass) and Eric Slick (drums) for the series’ tenth installment.  Watch the video below and revisit Our Griffins’ Key Studio Session from last December here.  More information for the free 21+ show at North Star Bar with Penrose and The Sun Flights on March 25th can be found here.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Man Man at Union Transfer, Beach Fossils with Heavy Medical at Johnny Brenda’s, Penrose at Underground Arts, Erykah Badu at The Electric Factory

389640_10150850829721277_1335692574_nLocal wild men Man Man close out a month long national tour at Union Transfer tonight.  About to release their fifth studio album this summer, the eclectic rock outfit talked to The Key’s Kate Bracaglia recently about pre-show tea drinking rituals, Instagram posts and the “natural progression” of the new album from 2011’s standout Life Fantastic.  Tickets and information for tonight’s all-ages show with Murder By Death and Northern Arms can be found here.  Stream and download “Mayan Nights” from Man Man below. UPDATE: tonight’s Man Man show is sold out.

Continue reading →


Unlocked: Listen to a Spotify playlist from Penrose

penrosestudiocolorAs we wrap up this week’s Unlocked look at Penrose and their new album Circe, we asked the Murphy brothers what kind of tunes they’d been rocking lately. They came back with an eclectic playlist ranging from Tom Waits to Sonic Youth; mixing in the bands they’re performing with at their album release show at Underground Arts this weekend; and even giving a respectful nod to a show that’s kind of competing with their own (songs from Man Man and Murder by Death made the cut, and they’re right around the corner at Union Transfer). Seriously – solid dudes, through and through. Of the handful of songs, singer-guitarist Dan Murphy chose Tom Waits through Grinderman, drummer Tom Murphy chose The Walkmen through Sonic Youth and bassist Pat Murphy chose Dr. Dog through The Levee Drivers. (Tom also chose St. James and the Apostles, but they’re not on Spotify, so the track is embedded separately.) Listen below, and get more information about the show at the WXPN Concert Calendar (powered by The Swollen Fox).

Circe is the featured album in this edition of Unlocked; hear the spotlighted single “Life of Mud” in Monday’s post, read Tuesday’s album review, watch their live cover of “Not Fade Away” in Wednesday’s post, read yesterday’s interview and check back for more Unlocked features from The Key.


Unlocked: Talking mythology, death and the blues with Penrose

PenroseOn Tuesday, Philly three-piece Penrose released its latest record, Circe, and we’ve been exploring it all week on Unlocked. The album digs deep into themes of good and evil, life and death, all rooted in a loud electric blues style – and its release is being celebrated Saturday night at Underground arts. We swapped e-mails with the three brothers of the band – Dan on guitar and vocals, Tom on drums, Pat on bass – to get their thoughts on recording the album, playing live and writing a manifesto of mythology and existentialism.

The Key: The biggest thing that jumps out about Circe is that death comes up a LOT. That’s what “Life of Mud” is all about, it’s also an undercurrent of “Underground” and “Rivers to Hell.” You focused on dark things on your debut Devil’s Grip, for sure, but why death this time?

Dan Murphy: I think that on Devil’s Grip a lot of the lyrics were written very quickly and focused more on relationship problems or even just simple storytelling. The writing process for Circe took much longer because I wanted to focus on more universal themes through the narrative that the album presents. Nothing is more universal than death, we all gotta go sometime and that very thought scares the hell out of most people.

TK: You work in interesting themes, as far as blues music goes. Very existential, very philosophical, lots of good-versus-evil rather than “woe is me.” What draws you to focus on the bigger things?

DM: It was a few years ago that we really immersed ourselves in and came to love the blues, which is what shaped Devil’s Grip. That being said, the blues is a genre that’s been played for about a hundred years, so if you want to play blues music you have to change it up somehow. I think that guys like Robert Johnson and Skip James were pointing to a lot of these bigger things, but they were doing it with lyrical motifs that would eventually be beaten into the ground. That’s why I think we wanted to get away from the “my baby left me”s and step outside to find something more personal yet more relatable to the human experience. Continue reading →


The Week So Far: 11 must-read stories on The Key (incl. My Morning Jacket, Morrissey, and Jamie Lidell)

TSVG GuysElliott Sharp digs into the history and methods of two local guitar effects pedal companies TSVG and smallsound/bigsound [link]

We kick off a new regular feature XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week with “Do Yourself a Favor” from Jamie Lidell – he’s playing Union Transfer on 4/14 [link]

Sera Cahoone stopped by for a Folkadelphia session, highlighting her knock-out 2012 release Deer Creek Canyon [link]

Check out photos and a review of Conor Oberst’s reunited Desaparecidos at Union Transfer [link]

My Morning Jacket cover “Leaving On a Jet Plane” for The Music is You: A Tribute to John Denver [link]

Local folk project Psalmships contributes a cover of “Before We Retire” to the Long May You Run, J. Tillman tribute album [link]

Morrissey announces a show at the Tower Theater for 4/6 [link]

We highlight local blues-rock trio Penrose and their Circe LP in this week’s Unlocked feature [link]

Mike “Slo Mo” Brenner released Tripti after returning from India, where he studied Indian slide guitar [link]

The Philly Drum Project begins fundraising for their high school workshop DrumPhil [link]

Waxahatchee goes acoustic in her Key Studio Session ahead of a record release party at Golden Tea House on Friday [link]


Unlocked: Watch Penrose’s live cover of “Not Fade Away”

PenroseNYThis week we’ve been studying Circe, the new full-length from bluesy Philly trio Penrose. It’s a great album – and a heavy one, as we talked about in the album review yesterday, examining themes of death and good versus evil. The fire they bring to their own music translates just as easily to the music of others – something their live shows are noted for (and we expect to hear some badass covers at their album release show at Underground Arts this weekend). Over the years, the band has done a ripping version of “I Got Mine” by The Black Keys, the traditional Stack O’ Lee blues (“Suite for Stack” in their rendition) and Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away.” They do it Rolling Stones style, of course, and we found a ripping video of the band performing it at Danger Danger Gallery two summers ago for their No Excuses concert series. Check it out below.

Circe is the featured album in this edition of Unlocked; hear the spotlighted single “Life of Mud” in Monday’s post, read yesterday’s album review and check back later in the week for an interview and more.


Unlocked: Read The Key’s review of Circe by Penrose

penrose_circe_cover3-1003x1024Philly’s Penrose are rock dudes who are in deep with the blues. But not, you know, “my baby left me and I…” blues or the “I got the insert-mundane-problem-here blues.”They dig more into the existential roots of blues music; the struggles between good and evil, the balancing act of human existence. Stuff that traces from The Black Keys to Nick Cave and all the way back to Robert Johnson.

The three brothers who make up the band (Tom, Dan and Pat Murphy) are schooled not only in playing, but also vibe – those humming Hammond organs! that spooky Theremin! On their latest record, Circe – self released today and being celebrated this Saturday at Underground Arts – they harness that vibe to trace a themeatic arc. On the band’s 2011 debut Devil’s Grip, the Murphy brothers seemed like they circled around the border of the dark side. On Circe, they dive into the abyss. Continue reading →