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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 →
Reading, PA resident Milton stopped by for this week’s Key Studio Session. The Maryland native surrounded himself with a full band that brought his jazzy, soulful compositions to life. Check out “I Desire to Know” below and get the full session here.
Folkadelphia welcomed back its frequent subject Psalmships in April, recording a live session in celebration of Joshua Britton’s new LP I Sleep Alone. Stream and download the session below, featuring guest appearances by Brad Hinton and Chelsea Sue Allen.
With the XPoNential Music Festival quickly approaching, it’s a good time to get reacquainted with some of the bands that will be performing, like Commonwealth Choir. Originally from Doylestown but now based in Fishtown, the indie pop / rock group recorded a Key Studio Session earlier this year. Get a free copy of their song “Palace” below.
2014 Non-COMM performers The Afghan Whigs will be back in town on October 3rd, supporting one of this year’s best records Do To the Beast. You can get a free download of “Matamoros” below, courtesy of My Morning Download. Tickets and information for the upcoming show can be found here.
One of the best rock albums of 2014 so far is Do To The Beast, the first album of all new album in 16 years by The Afghan Whigs. On Friday October 3rd, WXPN Welcomes the Whigs to Union Transfer. In May, the band played a blistering set at XPN’s Non-COMMvention. Below, watch a video of their classic “Fountain and Fairfax” from the show, and download “Matamoros,” a song from the new album.
Shadowed in blackness, The Afghan Whigs brought a darker side to the World Cafe Live stage at Non-COMM. The band performed “Fountain and Fairfax” from its 1993 LP Gentlemen, pushed forward by Greg Dulli’s vocals and his dramatic pitch changes, while “Parked Outside” from the new Do to the Beast had a more consistent and steady beat that focused more on the band’s dynamic sound as a whole. The garage and punk rock influences that the Whigs are known for came out in both songs and even after a sixteen-year hiatus, they showed showed it is still a major player. Check out the two songs below and listen to the entire set here.
After a sixteen-year hiatus, The Afghan Whigs are back with a rock and roll tour-de-force called Do to the Beast. They showcased tracks from the new album at the first night of Non-COMM, and were the first band in the lineup to really crank the volume for the crowd. But beyond the new music showcase – and let’s be real, “Parked Outside” into “Matamoros” packed a massive opening punch – the Whigs didn’t shy away from their back-catalogue, hitting up “Going to Town” from Black Love and the incredible “Fountain and Fairfax” from Gentlemen, as well as their trademark Jesus Christ Superstar cover “Heaven on their Minds” and “Somethin’ Hot” from 1965. Listen to the set and check out photos below.
We’re psyched to catch cinematic Cincinnati rockers The Afghan Whigs this week at NonCOMM (they play tomorrow night at 9, catch it on the air at 88.5 FM or XPN.org). But we’re equally psyched to hear that the band’s tour will bring it back through Philadelphia this fall for a headlining show at Union Transfer on October 3rd.
This year The Afghan Whigs released their first album in sixteen years, and it’s a knockout – Do to the Beast is ten tracks of aggression, emotion and intensity at a level we haven’t heard from these guys since 1996′s Black Love. After their smooth, soulful and sexy LP 1965 dropped in 1998, the Whigs took a long break, allowing frontman Greg Dulli to pursue solo projects with The Twilight Singers, The Gutter Twins (featuring Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees) and under his own name. Though some of the music of this period found the songwriter exploring thrilling new territories, results overall were a bit on the mixed side, whereas on Beast, not a moment falters. The album isn’t just a return to form for the band, it’s also a return to Sub Pop Records, which released the Whigs LPs Up In It (1990) and Congregation (1992). Hopefully we’ll hear music from all of these releases – as well as 1993′s landmark outing Gentlemen – in October, as well as some of the band’s trademark cover songs.
(Read More – Six Essential Covers from The Afghan Whigs)
Tickets for the show go on sale Friday at Noon via the venue’s website. Below, watch the video for “Algiers” from Do the Beast.
The Afghan Whigs and The Both (Ted Leo and Aimee Mann) are performing at WXPN’s annual music industry gathering, the Non-Commvention, happening May 14-16 at World Cafe Live. Both the Whigs and The Both have new albums coming out on Tuesday, April 15th. You can stream them each in their entirety here via NPR Music.
The Afghan Whigs are releasing their first album of all new material in 16 years, Do To The Beast, Fronted by guitarist and singer Greg Dulli, and longtime Whigs’ bassist John Curley, they’re joined by the Whigs’ current core players – guitarists Dave Rosser and Jon Skibic, multi-instrumentalist Rick Nelson, and drummer Cully Symington. While original Whigs guitarist Rick McCollum does not appear on the record, there are numerous guest appearances, including Van Hunt, Mark McGuire (Emeralds), Usher’s musical director Johnny “Natural” Najera, Alain Johannes (Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys), Clay Tarver (Bullet LaVolta, Chavez), Dave Catching (QOTSA, Eagles of Death Metal), Patrick Keeler (Raconteurs, Greenhornes), Ben Daughtrey (Squirrel Bait), and Joseph Arthur. Ann Powers of NPR Music sums up the record succinctly, and writes:
Running with the album’s cinematic feel, Do to the Beast is in many ways Dulli’s . It conjures the 1990s in flashbacks, but its voices belong to men who’ve outlived the youth they had then. Dulli uses murder metaphors in “Matamoros” and “The Lottery,” and the supernatural enters into “Lost in the Woods” and “Royal Cream.” The real reason Do to the Beast resembles this year’s television preoccupation is that it gives us the voice and vision of a solitary, brilliant man in a constant tug-of-war with evil, as he imagines it — and as it still runs, though quieter now, in his veins.
Stream The Afghan Whigs’s Do To The Beast here.
Stephen Thompson, of NPR Music, writes about The Both:
Greg Dulli and Afghan Whigs visited World Cafe with David Dye last November, 2012 when the band reunited for a tour. Dulli came in with original members guitarist Rick McCollum and bassist John Curley. Below, from the session they did, download “Slide Song.” This month (and this month only) World Cafe is offering free downloads of performances from bands including Calexico, Lord Huron, Alt-J, John Fullbright, Freelance Whales, Stars, Nick Waterhouse, Allen Stone, The Kopecky Family Band and others. Download the entire collection, while they last until March 1st, here.
On the heels of their collaborative full-length release Love This Giant, David Byrne and Saint Vincent make an appearance at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby. Tickets to the all-ages performance range from $39.50 to $65 and are available here. Below, watch a music video for their song “Who.”