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Philadelphia Takes over Florida’s The FEST…again

themenzingersIt seems that everyone is catching onto the fact that Philadelphia’s music scene is not something to overlook. Even though it takes place in Gainesville, Florida, The FEST seems to be overrun with artists from our city. Last year, we talked to a bunch of local artists about why that is, then took a trip down to Gainesville to experience it for ourselves. This year’s lineup was recently announced, and Philly once again represented heavily in the lineup of over 330, we rounded up a list of must-see locals making the trip to FEST. Continue reading →

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Restorations, Spaceship Aloha, John The Conqueror and more to play The Key’s Waterfront Sessions at Spruce Street Harbor and Blue Cross RiverRink

Restorations play 8Seconds for FEST 13| Photo by John Vettese
Restorations | Photo by John Vettese

After a cool winter season curating the live music at the Delaware River Waterfront’s Winterfest, we’re psyched to announce our summer lineup. The Key’s Waterfront Sessions kick off next Thursday, June 11th, with a free concert at Spruce Street Harbor Park by Americana faves Song Dogs and blues-rock rabble rousers John the Conqueror. Continue reading →

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Restorations dusts off “Val d’Or” for a Static Sessions video

Restorations play 8Seconds for FEST 13| Photo by John Vettese
Restorations play 8Seconds for FEST 13| Photo by John Vettese

A little power issue didn’t stop Philly rockers Restorations from playing a power-packed performance for the local video series Static Sessions. The band performed an uncut version of “Val d’Or,” which is an older track from Restorations’ self-titled debut. Symphonic guitar riffs and reverberating drum hits keep this track rocking from start to finish. Jon Loudon’s raspy, intense vocals are backed by a solid distribution of fierce rhythms from his bandmates on guitars, bass and keys. By the looks on the their faces, they were in the zone for this session. Continue reading →

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Restorations, Young Statues and Broken Spirit captivate at Johnny Brenda’s

Restorations | Photo by Sameer Rao
Restorations | Photo by Sameer Rao

A brief, humble salutation by a recently de-beareded Jon Loudon preceded three snare hits before Philly’s own beloved Restorations launched into “Misprint” and kicked off a searing set at Johnny Brenda’s. This was the quintet’s first Philadelphia show in months, capping off a long tour in support of their excellent and sophisticated LP3, whose roomy and anthemic songs punctuated key points throughout the set (which also featured many songs from 2013’s LP2). Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ai-Que at Obscura, Restorations at Johnny Brenda’s, Nathan Earl and Rachel Joy at Melodies Cafe and more

Ai-Que | Photo by HLS Photography | via reverbnation.com/aiquethemc
Ai-Que | Photo by HLS Photography | via reverbnation.com/aiquethemc

The seasonal hip-hop / soul / rock / poetry showcase Obscura holds its spring installment tonight at Sara’s Place in Brewerytown. Heading up the bill is Philly MC Ai-Que, a dude who spits thought-proviking verses over relaxed backings not unlike The Roots, Tribe, De La or any number of other 90s faves. You can listen to his track “Now or Never” below, and that alone should convince you to check this show out. Also on the bill are ethereal singer Aiani-Koli Mars, as well as rappers Cazzie Jetson and Rhetoric Wallace, and DJ John Morrison. Admission to the show is $5, more information can be found at its Facebook event page. Below, listen to a roundup of some of the performers.   Continue reading →

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Space Rock, Punk Rock, Wolves: Listen to a WXPN DJ set by Restorations’ Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce (center) of Restorations at the Howling Woods Farm Wolf Sanctuary | photo via twitter.com/benstorations
Ben Pierce (center) of Restorations at the Howling Woods Farm Wolf Sanctuary | photo via twitter.com/benstorations

Philly’s Restorations got back from a long U.S. tour this week, and guitarist / keyboardist Ben Pierce wasted no time heading right over to WXPN studios for a guest DJ set that aired on the Philly Local show last night. After several weeks driving from city to city, the band had spent a lot of time listening to music on Spotify and Pandora, and Pierce curated a playlist of some of their favorites van jams, from tourmates Hard Girls to space rockers Spiritualized, to a bit of stand up from Joe Sib – one of the founders of their label, SideOneDummy Records. Continue reading →

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Restorations’ Ben Pierce will guest DJ tonight on the XPN Philly Local Show

Pierce at Howling Woods Farm | Photo courtesy of the artist
Pierce (right) at Howling Woods Farm | Photo via instagram.com/restorations

Ben Pierce of Philly punk rock five-piece Restorations will guest DJ tonight on XPN’s Philly Local show.

The guitarist and keyboardist has prepped a playlist of what Restorations had been jamming to in the van while on their latest tour, which they’ll close out by headlining a hometown hangout at Johnny Brenda’s this Friday, April 3. Pierce has named some intriguing playlist highlights, ranging from ambient (A Winged Victory for the Sullen) and neo-psychedelic (Spiritualized) to folk-rock (Steve Gunn) and more.

Pierce will also explain why the heck he was recently hanging with wolves at Howling Woods Farm in Jackson, NJ (pictured above). Continue reading →

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Unsung Folkadelphia #1: Jason Molina and Songs: Ohia’s Didn’t It Rain

Jason Molina, courtesy of Secretly Canadian.
Jason Molina, courtesy of Secretly Canadian.
From the 'Didn't It Rain' session, Jennie Bedford's lyric work sheet to "Steve Albini's Blues"
From the ‘Didn’t It Rain’ session, Jennie Bedford’s lyric work sheet to “Steve Albini’s Blues”

Welcome to the first chapter of Folkadelphia’s new project that we’ve gotten in the habit of calling Unsung.

In the history of music, there are many unsung artists and albums that we firmly clutch close to our hearts. These artists create the kind of music that we wish other people knew more about or cared more deeply for. We wish that we could share with others our exact feelings about how we’ve been touched and affected by some musicians. We want to show them the light. We want to sing these musicians’ unsung song for everyone to hear.

With this series, we hope we can provide a way for people to connect with music that has been influential beyond its commercial impact and, perhaps, appeal. It’s never too late to find a new favorite band and honor their legacy and discography.

For this first part, we focused on what has become one of my favorite albums: Songs: Ohia’s Didn’t It Rain, which was recorded in Philadelphia in 2002. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Top 15 Albums of 2014

top 15 albums of 2014
This is the music that moved us this year.

Here at The Key, we’ve gone through four year-end best-of seasons since launching in August of 2010 without weighing in on top albums. Why did we change that this year? Simply put: music in 2014 was outstanding. On the local front, on the national front, from pop to rock to experimental and hip-hop, there was a tremendous offering of front-to-back solid records. Annie Clark got mind-bendy on St. Vincent; Tim Showalter got emotional on HEAL; Sylvan Esso caught us by surprise on their self-titled debut; Cayetana blew up in a big way on their debut Nervous Like Me, voted the best record of the year by our staff of contributors. To narrow it down to the top 15 albums of 2014 is to exclude hundreds of other worthy inclusion, so you can read our contributors’ individual top fives here. Then again, there is power in consensus, and these are the albums we collectively agreed were the best. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: GoGo Morrow at The TLA, Restorations at Melodies Cafe, Kate Faust at Ortlieb’s and more

GoGoMorrow | Photo via facebook.com/GoGoMorrow
GoGoMorrow | Photo via facebook.com/GoGoMorrow
Philly pop artist GoGo Morrow has had a busy 2014, touring, recording, working as a music community ambassador on the PHL Live project, and this fall dropping her latest single, “Replay.” Tonight she headlines the TLA on South Street, the site of a high-energy set she played last year. Watch that show in its entirety below and get tickets and more information on tonight’s GoGo experience at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →