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Meet Field Medic, the West Coast freak-folk poet who will capture your heart at Everybody Hits this Thursday

Field Medic | photo courtesy of artist

If the term “field medic” only and immediately conjures a mental image of medical personnel tending to wounded soldiers in combat, you’re probably wondering who this ginger-bearded DIY lad is that’s currently staring at you from the picture above. At least those were my thoughts a couple of months ago when I first soaked in the bill for the now-upcoming gig at Everybody Hits with Kississippi, Field Medic, Shannen Moser (replacing Harmony Woods), and Cherry. Three of these names I knew, of course — they’re the shining scene stars of Philly. ‘Twas the red-headed string bean who stumped me.

So I took to Field Medic’s Bandcamp, where the hardcore metal-esque black and red profile reading “freak folk/bedroom pop/post-country,” began spinning out a bluegrass-level, live-recorded traditional folk singalong called “do a little dope” — complete with whistles and pup-like howls and hollers. Utterly confused but in a happily surprised sort of way, I chuckled through the array of meme aesthetic titles (e.g. “p e  g a s u s t h o t z,” “NEON FLOWERZ,” “me, my gibberish, & the moon,” etc.) and decided on the track “OTL” next. Harmonica-driven with self-aware, goofy lyrics like the line “I’m at the grocery store buying EBT sushi, wasabi soy sauce one true love,” mixed with true hopeless romantic sincerity, I knew I would be hooked on whatever else awaited me from this refreshing project.

But that left me with the question of who in sam heck is this colorful DIY character who crafts sweet love songs in the most authentic folk tradition? It’s Kevin Patrick, the San-Francisco artist who now splits his time halfway between San Fran and LA, that’s who. He’s had a pretty good year, I’d say, as 2017 brought an induction to the Run For Cover family and the resulting release of his first full-length album, Songs from the Sunroom, with them. But this record is really like a compilation of sorts, as Patrick has been making and sharing self-recorded tracks on Bandcamp for years now — those of which past gems make up this record.

Still left with many questions about the project, I was able to speak with Patrick on the phone last Wednesday morning while he was strolling the streets of San Francisco following his fruitless attempts at thrifting for a boom box to use on tour.  Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Megan Cooper’s top ten train tracks (a commute playlist for 2017)

Chastity Belt | photo via chastity-belt.bandcamp.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Megan Cooper shares the soundtrack that kept her sane on SEPTA.

This past year, I’ve spent a quite a bit of time on public transport. Not having a car, while splitting my life between the ‘burbs as I finished up school (woo I’m done!) and the city as I worked and went to many a gig, you could say the R5 Regional Rail line was —  for better or for worse — sort of like a second home to me.

Because although SEPTA often left me shaking my fists towards the sky at impossibly excessive delays, my feelings of seething hatred would immediately melt into warmth and contentment as soon as I’d slump into my window seat — eager for the twenty or so minutes of peace to come. Devoid of road rage and panic that parking spot quests bring, train commutes are a unique kind of solitary experience where the world seems to slow down and stand still as it ironically whirs right past you. So unless you’re on your way to some event you need to get mega hyped for, abrasive and loud tracks don’t really have a place here — at least for me. Though I love me a good ole punk jam, this quiet setting is reserved for reflective mindfulness where chill, soft and introspective songs reign supreme.

So, in no particular order, here’s a list of ten songs that served as my trusty train companions this year. Ranging from laid-back and soothing, to somber and melancholic, to atmospheric and poppy, these songs will get you in your head, make you feel many a feeling, and maybe even give your brain a comforting little hug of solidarity. Continue reading →

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Watch (Sandy) Alex G perform a stripped version of “Poison Root” in a creepy puppet house

Alex G | Photo by: Ellen Miller | ellencm.com
Alex G | Photo by Ellen Miller | ellencm.com

Though (Sandy) Alex G grew a cult-like following through online presence, it wasn’t of his own doing; it was the fans grassroots approach to his Bandcamp tunes. In reality, it seems that Alex Giannascoli tries to remain pretty absent from the interwebs — whether it be on social media or in his various music videos.

So when I saw that there was a video via Fader (in high definition quality and beautifully filmed, might I add) featuring exclusively him and violinist, Molly Germer, I was a tad surprised at this uncharacteristic move. But then I learned that the one-shot video was filmed at a creepy puppet palace, and all was right with the world once more. Continue reading →

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(Sandy) Alex G announces new headlining tour dates and an opening spot with Fleet Foxes

(Sandy) Alex G | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist
Alex G | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist

On July 17th, the Fleet Foxes Instagram account posted an announcement that they had added several artists to their upcoming US tour(Sandy) Alex G in the Northeast, Natalie Prass in the Northwest, Bedouine in the Southwest, and Nap Eyes in the Midwest in addition to the already-billed Animal Collective and Beach House.

For a good 24 hours, information on this news was nowhere else to be found, save the account (likely run by frontman Robin Pecknold) answering direct fan inquiries in the comments section. Either way, I naively thought that it was safe to assume the addition of Philly’s own Alex G to the upcoming July 31st show at The Mann Center was a given, as he had no other scheduled shows that day and Philadelphia is a Northeast location. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Radiator Hospital at Random Tea Room, Alex G at Union Transfer & more

Radiator Hospital | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Tonight in Northern Liberties’ Random Tea Room, Philly-based Radiator Hospital will play a solo set along with Strawberry Runners and Veev. Radiator Hospital is the project of Sam Cook Parrott, a sometimes solo, sometimes four-piece punk rock band that brings high energy sets from beginning to end. Although the band hasn’t released new music since 2014’s LP Torch Song, they have remained active performing in local venues and benefits and beginning a number of other projects. For more information, click here. Continue reading →

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Hear Porches’ auto-tune stripped remix of (Sandy) Alex G’s “Sportstar”

(Sandy) Alex G | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist
Alex G | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist

(Sandy) Alex G’s Rocket is a mighty fine, complex collection of some of his most eclectic, genre-crashing gems to date. One of these standout beauties is the dreamlike ballad “Sportstar,” in which frontman Giannascoli warps his voice with otherworldly auto-tune amidst a thick atmospheric soundscape of gauzy guitars and echoing piano. Aaron Maine’s NY-based synth-pop project, Porches, recently remixed the surreal tune, providing a clarified, breezy companion

Stripping away layers of vocal processing, Porches’ remix of the song summons the deeper and tad demonic Alex G monotone that we all know and love, while spicing it up with a hint of electro-steel drum, island music vibes. Continue reading →

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Get swept away in Japanese Breakfast’s melancholy ballad, “Boyish”

Japanese Breakfast | photo by Ebru Yildiz | courtesy of the artist

Michelle Zauner’s Japanese Breakfast just blessed us with a second single in anticipation of her upcoming (and very eagerly awaited) sophomore album, Soft Sounds From Another Planet, which is due out on July 14th on Dead oceansTraveling back in time from the futuristic, electro-pop dance party of “Machinist” comes the 50’s reminiscent, somber and sweeping ballad of “Boyish.” Continue reading →

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(Sandy) Alex G further challenges the idea of what “an Alex G song” sounds like on two new jams

(Sandy) Alex G | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist
Alex G | photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist

When Philly’s (Sandy) Alex G announced their new LP ROCKET earlier this year, two new songs came with it, and they were very different from one another. The consensus was around here at Key HQ was that “Witch” sounded “pretty much like an Alex G song” — languid, melancholic, sorta Pavement-y — while the beautiful “Bobby” and its elegant infusion of folk arrangements and vocal harmonies was an exciting new direction for the Havertown-bred artist.

Evidently, frontman Alex Giannascoli is not trying to be typecast, as two additional new jams from ROCKET made their way into the world today, and each presents another layer of redefining that notion of “an Alex G song” is. Continue reading →