The Key Studio Sessions: Ground Up

On a visit to New York City earlier this year, I ran into Ground Up while walking down a flight of stairs to catch the MTA. Not literally, you know, but visually. The hallway to my stop was lined with stickers bearing a haunting photograph of a weathered angel statue; cover art for excellent mixtape the Philly hip-hop trio had just dropped, The Get Up. Being so focused on the Philly scene, you get used to thinking about musicians in a purely local context, and this sticker gallery was a great reminder that for many of the musicians near and dear to home, their impact is much broader. The train is moving fast for Ground Up – the trio of MCs Azar and Malakai, with producer Bij Lincs. The Get Up was their ninth release in the past two years, and they’re getting ready to come out with their tenth – Supernatural, out on September 18th. They’re also not afraid of outside-the-box collaboration, since their free concert in Rittenhouse Square for Philadelphia Weekly’s Concerts in the Park series will reportedly feature alt-country combo The Lawsuits (old buddies of the band) as their backing band. Below, dig into a couple tracks the DJ-and-MC edition of Ground Up recorded for the Key Studio Sessions. Tonight, get a taste of Ground Up gone rock; the show begins at 17th and Walnut at 7 p.m.


Tonight’s Concert Pick: XPN Welcomes Philly Weekly’s Concerts At The Piazza feat. Nicos Gun, Cheers Elephant, and Hezekiah Jones

Nicos Gun at the 2011 XPoNential Festival

In the last year or so, we’ve spent more than our fair share of time talking up the likes of Nicos Gun, Cheers Elephant, and Hezekiah Jones. Nicos Gun has performed at The Key/YVYNL SXSW showcase and WXPN’s XPoNential Festival, recorded a Key Studio Session, been interviewed on the air by Mike Vasilikos, and was the subject of an epic, two-part interview posted on The Key. Cheers Elephant has also recorded a studio session, and been our pick of the day a handful of times (including this recent concert at Pastorius Park). And, when it comes to Hezekiah Jones’ Raphael Cutrufello, well, it seems like we can’t go more than 12 hours without posting something about the guy (including the fact that he’ll be performing at the inaugural Key Studio Sessions Live concert on Monday, September 12, at World Cafe Live—which you can register for here). So we’re pretty pleased that both the Philly Weekly and the folks at the Philly F/M Festival are as excited about those three acts as we are, and that they’ll be performing tonight at the “XPN Welcomes Philly Weekly’s Concerts At The Piazza Philly F/M Festival Preview Night” concert. (That’s quite a mouthful. We’re sure that tonight’s concert is probably in conjunction with half a dozen other things—but that lengthy title will have to do for now.) Nicos Gun performs with Cheers Elephant and Hezekiah Jones at 6 p.m. at The Piazza At Schmidts; tickets to the all-ages show are free.

“Lift the Shadow From This Heart” – Hezekiah Jones from Yer Bird Records on Vimeo.

Also playing: Jeff the Brotherhood + Dry Feet, The Bad Doctors at Bookspace (8 p.m., all ages, $10); Swift Technique + Great Divide, Abstract Verses at Kung Fu Necktie (7:30 p.m., 21+, $10)