Listen to “Black Noise,” a new track from Sun Airway (playing Making Time’s $2 Bill show on 10/5)

Philadelphia electronic rock act Sun Airway releases its excellent sophomore album Soft Fall next Tuesday. It’s rich in atmospheric textures and driving rhythms, and we’ll be digging into it with you all week on Unlocked, The Key’s recurring spotlight on new and significant releases from Philadelphia artists. That series starts on Monday, but today, we’ve got a brand new track from the band. Listen to the symphonic pop of “Black Noise” via Soundcloud here, and get more information on the band’s upcoming appearance at the Making Time $2 Bill show on October 5 here.


Download Digest: This week’s best free music, incl. Matthew E. White, Family Band, Sun Airway

Photo by Shawn Brackbill

Here at The Key, we toss a fair heaping of free downloads your way, so it’s completely understandable if you miss a few. Here are our top five bits of digital music from the past week:

Richmond, Virginia musician Matthew E. White is releasing his album Big Inner on Hometapes/Spacebomb Records on August 21st, and plays the TLA on Oct. 11 with The Mountain Goats. This week, his song “Big Love” was a My Morning Download, and you can get it below.

On the heels of making an XPoFest splash a couple weeks ago (and tearing up The Barbary last week), Work Drugs released another track for free download from their album Absolute Bearing. Download “The Art of Progress” below – the band says it was “originally written in 1994 as a response to U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signing the Kremlin accords.” You can also watch the music video here; Work Drugs next plays Philadelphia on Aug. 31 at Johnny Brenda’s.

Family Band celebrated the release of its excellent new record Grace and Lies this week by playing the First Unitarian Church’s side chapel, recording a Live at the World Cafe session and appearing live on the air for XPN2’s Folkadelphia. You can download their Folkadelphia performance of “Ride” below.

Northern Liberties’ 2nd Street Festival is going on today, and one of the great Philly bands playing the main stage at the Pizza at Schmidt’s is The Great Unknown, who were spotlighted in last week’s Key Studio Session. Download their performance of “Borrowed and Temporary” below, and catch them this afternoon at 4:15.

As anticipation for their new record Soft Fall builds, Sun Airway released a mixtape on Wednesday that blends Bartok, Boards of Canada and The Chemical Brothers.


Download a new mixtape from Sun Airway (new album, Soft Fall, out Oct. 2)

Photo by Shawn Brackbill |
Sun Airway‘s music has always had a sense of audio collage to it; chamber string sections peek out like sunbursts, snippets of early electronic music swish and swirl, psychedelic rock rumbles underneath. In a mixtape the band released to Soundcloud as a free download today, the camera zooms out just a bit. Instead of hearing everything simultaneously, I Need You Close presents canopy of John Barthmus’ influences and contemporaries in a more structured 25-minute flow. In it, we hear Béla Bartok and Boards of Canada, The Chemical Brothers and David Bowie. Give it a listen:

Sun Airway also announced a string of dates with M83 today; there’s no hometown appearance among them, but we anticipate there will be a local blowout sometime around Soft Fall‘s release on Dead Oceans Records on Oct. 2. Meanwhile, you can check out the track list for I Need You Close below. Continue reading →


Sun Airway premier a new single, “Close” (new album, Soft Fall, out Oct. 2)

Photo by Shawn Brackbill |
Philly electronic pop band Sun Airway today announced their second full-length album, Soft Fall, due out on Dead Oceans Records on Oct. 2, and gave listeners a teaser of the record with its new single, “Close.” The song is skittery and punchy, with a bright wall of sound, synthesizer melodies reminiscent of New Order and a short n’ sweet guitar solo at the 2:45 mark. Listen to the song below, and stay tuned to The Key for more news on the album as we get it.

Soft Fall tracklisting

1. Activity 1
2. Close
3. New Movements
4. Activity 2
5. Wild Palms
6. Laketop Swimmers
7. Soft Fall
8. Black Noise
9. Symphony in White No. 2
10. Activity 3
11. Over My Head


Watch the new video for “Wild Palms” from Sun Airway

The new video for “Wild Palms” by Sun Airway debuted today at MTV Hive. The song is the A-Side to the band’s latest single. Download the song and watch the video below. According to MTV Hive:

“Wild Palms” is the second Sun Airway video directed by Ricardo Rivera of Klip Collective (who also directed Sun Airway’s “Put The Days Away”). The collective is made up of fellow Philadelphians who’ve showed brotherly love to native sons like Kurt Vile as well.


Photo Recap: Vitamin Water Uncapped Presents Work Drugs and Sun Airway at Sigma Sound Studios (Saturday, Sept. 3rd)

Work Drugs will perform with Black Landlord and Hezekiah Jones + Andrew Lipke during our inaugural Key Studio Sessions Live free concert on Mon. Sept. 12 at World Café Live. (RSVP for the show here.) For more photos by Eric Ashleigh, visit


Secretly Canadian (The War On Drugs) and Dead Oceans (Sun Airway) among indie labels affected by the Sony Music/PIAS warehouse fire in London

As you’ve probably heard by now, a Sony Music warehouse containing stock from 150 indie labels burned to the ground yesterday during the riots in London. Thankfully, no one was hurt during the incident. (And, when looking at the big picture, it’s nowhere near the top of the list of important issues and concerns brought up by the riots.) However, for many of these labels, the loss of property and damage will prove difficult, if not impossible, to recover from. The long list of labels affected includes Secretly Canadian (which has released albums by Philadelphia’s The War On Drugs and Nightlands) and Dead Oceans (Sun Airway); you can see a full list here.

For their part, the folks at Secretly Canadian/Dead Oceans/Jagjaguwar have said in a statement that they “[L]ost significant amounts of stock in this fire. This being said, our primary thoughts and concern are with the Sony warehouse staff and PIAS sales staff whose lives were all massively disrupted by the tragic event, as well as our independent label peers who had a more significant portion of their worldwide stock committed to the Sony DADC / PIAS warehouse… Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar and Secretly Canadian are in the fortunate position of having significant stock holdings dispersed around the world. We’re working very quickly now to shift some of that existing stock to make our records available in the UK and Ireland as soon as possible.”

If you’re interested in helping out any of the indie labels that have been affected, now would be a great time to buy a few tracks directly from the labels’ websites, as doing so will get needed money to the companies faster than buying from iTunes. A donations page has also been set up here.