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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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From pensive ballads to punk blasts, Ryan Adams shines at the Tower

ryan - 6160
Ryan Adams | photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

When Ryan Adams took the stage last night at the Tower Theater, many fans in the area around me stood up ready for some rock n roll and dancing. The crowd immediately behind them began shouting “Sit down! Sit down!” For once in my life, I think the those sitting down may have had a point: this was not going to be a raucous night, but something a little more mellow.

Many songs of the set were from Adams’ latest, eponymous album: a work that not only demonstrates his assuredness as a musician and songwriter but also indicted to me that he’s been listening to a lot of Tom Petty lately. Tom Petty’s got some barn burners, for sure, but it’s not what I put on when I want to rock the hell out.

That is not to say the show was not impressive: Adams’ opening song “Give Me Something Good,” gave me goosebumps and his voice sounded incredible. He and his band then tore into some tunes from his days with the Cardinals, among them “Let it Ride,” a Dead-esque “Magnolia Mountain, ” and “A Kiss Before I Go.” Continue reading →

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MusicNotes from the XPN Morning Show: John Fogerty responds to alleged “controversy,” Ryan Adams writes music for new Al Pacino movie, and Patti Smith to perform at the Vatican

Tommaso Boddi/Getty
Tommaso Boddi/Getty

John Fogerty has responded to the “so-called” controversy, created by some over the performance by Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl & the Zac Brown Band’s of Fogarty’s CCR classic: “Fortunate Son” at the Concert for Valor on Veterans Day in front of military veterans in Washington. Continue reading →

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MusicNotes from the XPN Morning Show: Must see: Ryan Adams covers Bryan Adams’ “Run to You” and listen to new music from Fiona Apple.

Taylor Hill/Wire image
Taylor Hill/Wire image

For years Ryan Adams expressed disdain towards anyone who requested a “Bryan Adams” song. But that changed this past Wedneday night in Santa Barbara, Calif.  when Ryan channeled his inner “Bryan” on an inspired cover of “Run to You”. Watch it after the jump. Continue reading →

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XPNFest Recap: Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis and Dawes capped an exuberant second day at SBC

Ryan Adams | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Ryan Adams | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

If that image of Ryan Adams in Rock God stance doesn’t give you an indication, the closing trifecta of XPoNential Music Festival day two was high-energy and memorable. A sizable crowd filled out the theater and lawn of the Susquehanna Bank Center to watch as Adams was joined by Jenny Lewis and Dawes to jam out into the breezy Saturday night. Continue reading →

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Watch Ryan Adams debut new song “Stay With Me” before his XPoNential Music Festival performance

RA
Photo by Julia Brokaw

A few weeks ago, we shared Ryan Adams’ newest single “Gimme Something Good.”  A few nights ago in Portland, Maine at his first live show of the year, Ryan shared another new track from his self-titled album, “Stay With Me.”  The song steers away from his softer “Come Pick Me Up” days and sounds more like an 80′s rock anthem. Continue reading →