Tonight’s Concert Picks: Vandaveer at Studio34, The Districts at Milkboy, and Surgeon at Johnny Brenda’s

Vandaveer | Photo by Matt Steffen |
Vandaveer | Photo by Matt Steffen |

Vandaveer, aka Mark Charles Heidinger, will bring its alt-folk grooves to the Studio 34 stage tonight. Heidinger released his fourth LP Oh, Willie Please earlier this year. It sounds like a score for an old Western genre film; the songs are tales of gruesome murders that contrast with the pretty, unassuming folk backdrop. Get more show details on the event’s Facebook page.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: El-P at Union Transfer, The Tea Club at Kung Fu Necktie, Surgeon at Johnny Brenda’s

Alternative hip hop pioneer El-P is coming to Union Transfer tonight with his current collaborator Killer Mike. Boasting a unique sound of old-school hip hop aesthetics with contemporary electro-rock progressions, El-P joined forces with Killer Mike after delcaring his label Def Jux to be “on hiatus” and quietly focusing on his own music for 2 years. With the release of their most recent full length album, Run the Jewels, this past June, El-P and Killer Mike on tour this summer. Find tickets and more information about tonight’s show here. Check out the video for “36″ Chain” off of Run the Jewels below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Surgeon at Kung Fu Necktie, The Killers at Susquehanna Bank Center, XPN welcomes the Philadelphia Songwriters Project to The Blockley


Philly metal band Surgeon will release their new album tonight at Johnny Brenda’s Kung Fu Necktie (the show was moved due to a water main break).  Chemical Reign has been a long time coming for the local four-piece: we first got a sample of the new songs back in 2011 when the band stopped by for a Key Studio Session, a few years after their 2008 debut Angry Guest was released.  Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with Swarm of Arrows, Ominous Black and Skeleton Hands can be found here.  Below, watch a live video of Surgeon performing “Greed.”

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Watch Surgeon perform “Greed” at Garage Mahal (playing Johnny Brenda’s on Sunday)

SurgeonLocal thrash / metal band Surgeon has been readying its long-in-the-making new full-length Chemical Reign for the past couple years – since we had them in for a Key Studio Session, as a matter of fact – and the day has finally come. This weekend the band plays its album release show at Johnny Brenda’s, and you can get a taste of the shreddery in store with this video performance of “Greed” at Garage Mahal earlier this year, filmed by The Angry Mountain.

Surgeon “Greed” from The Angry Mountain on Vimeo.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Birdie Busch at PhilaMOCA, Surgeon at Kung Fu Necktie, WXPN Welcomes Robert Earl Keen at Abbey Bar, WXPN Welcomes Iris DeMent at World Cafe Live

Birdie Busch

Curated by none other than The Key, this week’s Tuesday Tune-Out at Philamoca welcomes Birdie Busch with Carl Cheeseman.  This particular Tuesday evening, Birdie Busch and Carl Cheeseman will perform a solo instrumental set, followed by a screening of a documentary about hobos.  A $5 donation is suggested for this all-ages event and tickets are available at the door.  Event information can be found here. Below, watch Busch and Cheeseman performing a song called “Vamp Ire Meadows.”

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The Week So Far: 14 must-read stories on The Key

Download B.C. Camplight‘s BBC Radio 6 session featuring two new songs [link]

Juston Stens and the Get Real Gang bring rock and soul to their Key Session [link]

Listen to Free Energy‘s new album Love Sign at Consequence of Sound [link]

Thrash out with a new Surgeon track; they play Kung Fu Necktie next month [link]

The collaboration between Ground Up and The Lawsuits continues in a HotBox session [link]

David Bowie releases a new single for his birthday [link]

Chill Moody releases his latest album, RFM [link]

Get psyched for Zilla Rocca‘s Tuesday Tune-Out with his new Wrecking Crew video [link]

Download The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 6, our new 17-song compilation [link]

Stream the new album from The Lone Bellow, a Georgia-bred close harmony trio [link]

Stream a new EP from Philly’s Acres of Diamonds, who play PhilaMOCA next week [link]

Plow United announces the details of their all-ages album-release show at The Barbary [link]

Download Anais Mitchell‘s Folkadelphia session [link]

The WXPN Philly Local Show expands to three hours [link]


Surgeon get feisty on “Watching You” (playing Kung Fu Necktie on 1/22)

Local metal stalwarts Surgeon leaked a track from their upcoming Chemical Reign LP on Bandcamp this week.  We got a sneak preview of the new song “Watching You” back in September of 2011 when the Germantown-bred four-piece stopped by for a Key Studio Session, and one thing is for sure – this band rocks just as hard live as they do on tape.  Take a listen to the shred-packed new tune below and check out Surgeon at Kung Fu Necktie on January 22nd.  Tickets and information can be found here.


Download The Key Studio Sessions Compilation Vol. 3 (feat. mewithoutYou, Psychic Teens, White Birds, + more)


The Key Studio Sessions Compilation Volume 3—which you can download for free here—features one exclusive track recorded at the WXPN studios by 18 local acts, including DRGN King, Blayer Point Du Jour, Plow United, Weston, Surgeon, Break It Up, Black Landlord, Crills Wilson, Psychic Teens, The Bad Doctors, Ben Smith, The Tressels, Saturn Never Sleeps, White Birds, Andrew Lipke, Ports Of Call, mewithoutYou, and Young Statues.

Special thanks to all of the bands for coming to our studio, and to John Vettese for recording them. We’d also like to thank volunteer production assistants Zachary Deveraux Fairbrother, Jake “Rabid” Nisenfeld
Jeremy Quattlebaum, Joshua Pannepacker, and Maureen Walsh, as well as photographers Eric Ashleigh, Michael “Kraus Phade” Béon, Kate Bracaglia, Michelle Holshue, Mattias Nilsson, Eric Schuman, and Rachelle Lee Smith for sharing their work.

Click here the download the 18-track compilation in its entirety as a .zip file. Want to hear more? Click here to listen to the full sessions by all 18 local acts; you can also download The Key Studio Sessions Compilation Volume I and Volume 2.

Track listing:

DRGN King, “Holy Ghost”
Blayer Point Du Jour, “Mansion Party”
Plow United, “Martin”
Weston, “Love And Rockets”
Surgeon, “Greed”
Break It Up, “Subterranian”
Black Landlord, “Last Night”
Crills Wilson, “Grifter”
Psychic Teens, “Red”
The Bad Doctors, “Sisyphus And The Gate”
Ben Smith, “Love Potion No. 10″
The Tressels, “Cold Blue Eyes”
Saturn Never Sleeps, “Hearts On Fire”
White Birds, “Floating Hands”
Andrew Lipke, “Sleep Like A Child”
Ports Of Call, Ballinora
mewithoutYou, “Tie Me Up! Untie Me!”
Young Statues , “Athens”


The Key Studio Sessions: Shredding with Surgeon

Clockwise from top left: Chris Wilson, Lydia Giordano, Sean Boltron, Dave Latimer

If you haven’t checked in with Germantown-bred foursome Surgeon in a few years, you’re in for a surprise. In 2008, the band had a Steve Albini-produced, self-released record called Angry Guest that balanced distortion pedal aggression and rock melody; its murky, moody single “Walking Fire” was in regular rotation over in the HD/Internet radio wing of WXPN. Since then, Surgeon has remained a fixture on Philadelphia’s rock club scene, but massively pushed the boundaries of its sound to be somehow heavier, and yet more tuneful. On its latest batch of songs, shown off in the band’s recent Key Studio Session, we hear Sean Boltron delivering insanely catchy rock choruses on “Watching You” and “Animals,” while drummer Dave Latimer pounds his kit and lead guitarist Lydia Giordano positively shreds. Check out her dueling intro with rhythm guitarist Chris Wilson on the brand new, never-before-recorded cut, “Greed”—it’s totally Yngwie. Tune in to XPN2 tomorrow night for the Key Studio Sessions Hour to hear members of the band talk about their creative process and a trio of upcoming appearances on their calendar: Oct. 13 at The Legendary Dobbs, Oct. 28 at The Fire and—for metal fans in the burbs—Oct. 29 at Tom N’ Jerry’s in Milmont Park.