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Lorde covers Bruce Springsteen with a dark-folk mashup of “I’m On Fire / 400 Lux”

Lorde | Photo by Noah Silvestry | http://silvestography.com/

During a recent show at Christchurch, New Zealand, Lorde surprised fans with a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.” Stripping away dramatic theatrics, the rendition played out as a haunting folk tune that, carried by the same guitar melody, later morphs seamlessly into her Pure Heroine track, “400 Lux.” Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Run the Jewels and Mitski join Lorde’s April show at Wells Fargo

Lorde | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN // Run The Jewels | photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN // Mitski | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Teenage strange-pop superstar Lorde is coming to Wells Fargo this April 2nd, which is some pretty flippin’ cool stuff on its own. But nope, someone must’ve said, we must make it even more wildly awesome. And then they casually added Run the Jewels and Mitski to the bill to completely rock the socks off of all the people. Continue reading →

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Heavyhitters Jay Z and J. Cole join Solange, Sampha, Lizzo and more at Made In America 2017

Photo by John Vettese

Christmas comes only once a year? False. See: Made in America announcement day. Philadelphia’s Labor Day party is back for another round, and with the announcement of this year’s lineup, we imagine the entire city is excited.

Headlining performances from Jay Z (obviously), J.Cole and The Chainsmokers top of the list of 50+ artists, with featured performances from Run The Jewels, Solange, Lizzo, SamphaMigos, and a heck of a lot more. The local scene is also well represented, as PNB RockBeach Slang, Mannequin Pussy and Queen of Jeans nab some earlier spots.

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Wednesdays in the Danger Room: Run The Jewels at the Electric Factory

Run The Jewels | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | <a href=http://cameronpollack.com/ target="_blank">cameronpollack.com</a>
Run The Jewels | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | cameronpollack.com

Run The Jewels inspires confidence. They exude it in their records, flaunt it in their interviews, and as they proved last night, on the first night of this tour, they embody it in their live shows too. Killer Mike and El-P, two middle aged rappers at the top of their game, walked out to thunderous applause from a crowd that sold the room out in five minutes, singing along to the chorus of “We Are The Champions.” Their smiles could trick you into thinking, just for a while, that the world isnʼt all that bad. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Run the Jewels at the Electric Factory, Cabbage at Kung Fu Necktie

Run The Jewels perform at Union Transfer in 2014 | Photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN | brightloud.com
Run The Jewels perform at Union Transfer in 2013 | Photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN | brightloud.com

Run the Jewels kick off two months of touring tonight at the Electric Factory, a show that comes just couple days before the highly anticipated release of RTJ3. Leading up to this week rappers / producers Killer Mike and El P shared album single “Talk To Me” as well as a comedic trailer clip that sees the duo visiting Portlandia for some promotional strategy brainstorming. Check out that video here and pick up tickets for the all-ages show here.

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Run The Jewels do what they do best on fiery, poignant “2100”

Run The Jewels | courtesy of the artist
Run The Jewels | courtesy of the artist

In light of recent political developments that will remain unnamed, Run the Jewels have shared the second track from their eagerly anticipated RTJ3. It’s called “2100” and features Boots, who previously collaborated with the emcees on RTJ2‘s “Early”. This is everything we’ve come to expect from these guys–epic, lyrically dense, and as party ready as it is thought-provoking. If there’s one thing we can all agree on right now, it’s that Killer Mike and El-P are really, really good at writing rap songs. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Run The Jewels will kick off its U.S. tour at the Electric Factory

Run The Jewels perform at Union Transfer in 2014 | Photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN | <a href="http://www.brightloud.com/" target="_blank">brightloud.com</a>
Run The Jewels perform at Union Transfer in 2014 | Photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN | brightloud.com

With their hotly anticipated RTJ3 on the horizon for a 2017 (?) release, hip-hop dynamic duo Run The Jewels — aka veteran wordsmiths Killer Mike and El P — just announced a North American tour that kicks off here in Philadelphia at the Electric Factory on Wednesday, January 11th. The two-month run also features The Gaslamp Killa, Spark Master Tape and Cuz, and wraps all across the U.S., concluding with a Terminal 5 show on February 25th. Tickets go on sale this Friday, November 4th, at 10 a.m., more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar; full dates can be found in the poster below.

The band is a combination of brutally clever lyrical craft, hard-hitting beats, socially conscious activism and a sense of humor — last year’s whole Meow the Jewels project, which is all sorts of awesome. Run the Jewels teased the new record in the recent single “Talk To Me”; they also appeared in “Nobody Speak” from DJ Shadow’s latest record The Mountain Will Fall. Check both out below, particularly the brilliant, Sam Pilling-directed video for “Nobody Speak,” which pretty well gets me in the election season feels.  Continue reading →

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Lushlife enlists eclectic collaborators for Ritualize, incl. Killer Mike, Ariel Pink and RJD2

Lushlife
Lushlife | Photo by Phil Bradshaw

We at The Key have been excited at the prospect of a new album by the talented Lushlife for a couple years now. But as even more details surface about his upcoming Ritualize, the word excited but not be enough to describe our collective enthusiasm.

Raj Haldar, the man behind the moniker, recently released the tracklist for his album due out in February ,and let’s just say that it was not without it’s share of enticing details. Rap albums track lists are more exciting than that of a typical album because of one thing above all else: features. In the case of Ritualize, the dizzying variety and overall quality of its nine different featured artists is what sets apart. 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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Run The Jewels: Hip Hop’s new lyrical bullies

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Run the Jewels | photo courtesy of the artist

Last week Run The Jewels dropped their new album Run The Jewels 2, and in just six days the album has already received positive reviews from critics such as Pitchfork Media, The New York Times, Clash Music, Stereogum and more. After listening to the album, which you can checkout below, it’s not hard to see why this hip hop duo has gotten such good feedback. Continue reading →