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Support a more inclusive scene with No Gatekeepers, the 2016 First Time’s the Charm compilation

Whipworm | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Whipworm | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

As superb and awesome as Philly’s music scene is, one aspect that remains not-so-hot is the lack of diversity. With so many prominently acts made up of white, straight men, it can be difficult for women, artists of color, and members of the LBGTQ community to feel included and respected. So how to combat this aura of exclusivity, might you inquire? Inclusiveness and active representation for days, that’s how. Enter: First Times the Charm. This event of greatness, founded in 2013 and reprised in 2016, is a two-night festival at PhilaMOCA that celebrates and jams out to new bands with underrepresented members — all of whom are playing their first show.

We’re big fans of First Time’s The Charm — having discovered locals like Marge and Littler from the first edition of the festival — so last year, The Key teamed up with both the organization as well as our compatriots at Folkadelphia to record 15 out of the 20 bands who performed at FTTC 2016. The resulting compilation was just released on Bandcamp as No Gatekeepers: First Time’s The Charm 2016 and includes Aster More, Taxes, Dumb Hair, Heretrix, Whipwrom and Joyful Exit, the songs range from gritty and loud, to soft and melodic, to quirky and refreshingly unexpected. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Sunwatchers at PhilaMOCA, Agnes Obel at Union Transfer, Jesse Hale Moore at Bourbon and Branch and more

Sunwatchers | Photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN
Sunwatchers | Photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN

New York progressive collective Sunwatchers head to PhilaMOCA for the night with opening sets by Skull Practitioners and Writhing Squares. These free jazz and krautrock inspired musicians define their own genre through jams of epic proportions, making anyone squeezed into Philly’s favorite arthouse freaking lucky. The show is all ages, and more information can be found on the XPN Concert Calendar. Also, check out the band’s Studio Sessions when they stopped by last May. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Kississippi at Everybody Hits, EIGHT at PhilaMOCA, Maitland at The Pharmacy, and more

Kississippi | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

Philly fave Kississippi brings dreamy indie-pop to Everybody Hits tonight. Fresh off a tour supporting Young and Heartless, tonight’s show will kick off Kississippi’s headlining tour with Fern Mayo. Don’t miss Zoe Reynolds’ folky vocals layered with shoegazey, bedroom pop vibes before they set out. More info can be found here; watch Kississippi wow the crowd with their performance of “Indigo” at last year’s XPoNential Fest below. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: NAH at PhilaMOCA, Nikki Lane at Underground Arts, Frontier Ruckus at Johnny Brenda’s

NAH | Photo via nahstuff.bandcamp.com/

World-renowned Philly experimental percussionist-beatmaker-rapper NAH is coming to PhilaMOCA tonight, and it is sure to be quite the experience. His ever-eclectic set-up and mix of genres, which range from electronic to hip hop to even zesty world music, all combine together so perfectly to create a show that is so intriguingly infectious. Not to mention the completely hardcore drumming that vibrates through every ounce of the room. More event info can be found here. Listen to NAH’s 2016 Complete Works below. Continue reading →

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Vagabon blasts off with Infinite Worlds release show at PhilaMOCA

Vagabon | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

“You’re a big fish now, though!” someone shouted from sidestage, just before Vagabon launched into “The Embers,” the final song of a stunning record release show at PhilaMOCA on Saturday night. Vagabon — the stage name of one Laetitia Tamko — was riding high on the release of Infinite Worlds, out the 24th on Father/Daughter Records. “The Embers,” a song exploring a more solipsistic landscape, repeats in its refrain that “I’m just a small fish.” While inside, Tamko may feel like a small fish in a big pond, the acclaimed release of Infinite Worlds and it’s two sold-out release shows (Friday night she appeared in Brooklyn with Mal Devisa and Jelani Sai) are ripples indicating that something big is emerging from beneath the surface. Continue reading →

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The World Is a Beautiful Place manages to fit on PhilaMOCA stage for intimate gig

The World is a Beautiful Place at PhilaMOCA | Photo by Chris DeFlitch
The World is a Beautiful Place at PhilaMOCA | Photo by Chris DeFlitch

Under the lone disco ball of Philadelphia’s premiere art house, The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die held an intimate gig at PhilaMOCA, part of a quick four-city tour across the each coast, bringing out all artistic guns that proved how damn good these emo revival front burners still are.

Continue reading →

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Roof Doctor to finish out career at PhilaMOCA this March

Roof Doctor | Photo by Kate Bracaglia | underwaterexplosions.blogspot.com
Roof Doctor | Photo by Kate Bracaglia | underwaterexplosions.blogspot.com

Hey guys, I’ve got some bad news. Philadelphia folk rock staples Roof Doctor are calling it quits. But before they go into hiding, they’ve agreed to put on one final banger at PhilaMOCA in March, bringing with them Mumblr and Yes Yes A Thousand Times Yes as support systems. It’s all good though, because we already can’t wait until their Cochella 2025 reunion. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: PWR BTTM returns to PhilaMOCA in February

PWR BTTM
PWR BTTM | Photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

New York queer punk duo PWR BTTM is headlining a show at PHilaMOCA on Friday, February 17th. The band just finished a fall tour showcasing music from 2015’s outstanding Ugly Cherries LP. The band will be joined by Mal Blum & The Blums and Naked Giants, and tickets go on sale at 12 p.m. on Wednesday the 14th of December . You can get more information and tickets for this all ages event at the WXPN Concert Calendar. Watch the video for “I Wanna Boi” below. Continue reading →

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New Year’s Eve is a month away. What concert are you going to?

Kurt Vile at #XPNFest | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN

We’re drawing to the close of 2016, and as always, we here at The Key recommend you give 2016 the boot with live music. Spending that special moment that brings us into our annual chance for a new start at a concert with hundreds or even thousands of people who are all on the same page as you — for those few hours, the feeling is exhilarating and even a little magical. Compare this to the cycle of looking at your phone, standing in circles trying to connect with people that you know primarily through Facebook and most times drinking way too much in your quest to achieve that perfect New Year’s Eve moment that movies like When Harry Met Sally have elevated just out of reality’s reach.

Given, I’ve been going the latter route for the majority of my adult life and some of my fondest memories are searching for lost phones or helping my friend figure out the name of the cute guy with the green hat the morning after. BUT I knew that after happening upon a house show on New Year’s Eve a few years back, no party could ever fill me with the same ecstasy as the music and all the people in that basement did in 2013. So, if you’re looking to try something new, check out your Philly-area options for musical New Year’s celebrations. Continue reading →