Listen to Post War Dream’s live XPN Folk Show session

Post War Dream | photo by Matt Kelly | via artist’s Facebook page

Local four-piece Post War Dream recently popped by the XPN Folk Show to grace listeners with their earnest, indie-country croons. If you missed the show, don’t fret — you can listen to the live session below.

The band performed three tunes off of their recently released album, We’ll Be Just Fine, including the upbeat “Boots in the Mud,” the raspy, soul-infused “Cold Out There,” and the stripped-down and delicate, “Those Eyes.” Continue reading →


New Year’s Eve is a month away. What concert are you going to?

Kurt Vile at #XPNFest | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN

We’re drawing to the close of 2016, and as always, we here at The Key recommend you give 2016 the boot with live music. Spending that special moment that brings us into our annual chance for a new start at a concert with hundreds or even thousands of people who are all on the same page as you — for those few hours, the feeling is exhilarating and even a little magical. Compare this to the cycle of looking at your phone, standing in circles trying to connect with people that you know primarily through Facebook and most times drinking way too much in your quest to achieve that perfect New Year’s Eve moment that movies like When Harry Met Sally have elevated just out of reality’s reach.

Given, I’ve been going the latter route for the majority of my adult life and some of my fondest memories are searching for lost phones or helping my friend figure out the name of the cute guy with the green hat the morning after. BUT I knew that after happening upon a house show on New Year’s Eve a few years back, no party could ever fill me with the same ecstasy as the music and all the people in that basement did in 2013. So, if you’re looking to try something new, check out your Philly-area options for musical New Year’s celebrations. Continue reading →


What band are you going to be for Halloween? A look at covers parties in Philly this weekend

Vita and the Woolf | Photo by Michelle Montgomery |
Vita and the Woolf | Photo by Michelle Montgomery |

Let’s face it, the adult Halloween is only really fun if you get to get boozed up, listen to some music and dance while dressed ridiculously. Or is that just me? Regardless there are some rockin’ shows this weekend where all of the aforementioned are encouraged – and pretty much required. Continue reading →


1851 Entertainment to host “Halloweekend” show with Hopscotch Jefferson and more

1851 entertainment
Hopscotch Jefferson | photo by Nathaniel Dodson |

Students in the 1851 Entertainment music industry group at St. Joseph’s University have curated a Halloween show and costume contest to take place at The Grape Room in Manayunk on October 30th.  Local acts Hopscotch Jefferson, The Really Fast Automobiles, Pineapple Jacket and David Bronson will perform. Continue reading →


‘Rock To Remember’ benefit concert to be held at The Grape Room on 12/8, featuring performances by Mic Stewart and Hopscotch Jefferson

Mic Stewart
Mic Stewart

Saint Joseph’s University‘s student run organization 1851 Entertainment recently announced that it will be holding the second annual ‘Rock To Remember’ benefit concert at The Grape Room on December 8th. This concert’s proceeds will go to Music & Memory, a non-profit organization that aims to use digital technology like iPads to make music therapy and education accessible to the elderly, especially to those with Alzhemier’s. In addition to the requested $5 donation, 1851 Entertainment will be accepting iPods and headphones to donate to Music & Memory.

The night will begin with a set by Saint Joseph’s student and acoustic singer/songwriter Garine Mouradian, followed by Rock on Philly’s October ‘Artist of the Month’, folk-rock band Hopscotch Jefferson. With bluesy melodies and a sound that is reminiscent of the sixties, this band should continue to grow with a new EP that is expected to be released early next year. Mic Stewart, winner of the 2012 Red Bull Emsee Contest, will be finishing up the night with a set of his smart and philosophical freestyle rap.

The event will be all ages on the first floor, with the second floor being reserved for 21 and over and featuring several DJ sets. For more information on the event, check out the Facebook page here.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: DeVotchKa at The Trocadero, Django Django at Union Transfer, Norwegian Arms at PhilaMOCA, Brethren at The Grape Room

devotchkaDenver’s DeVotchKa bring their chamber orchestra project to The Trocadero tonight.  After recording a live album with the Colorado Symphony at Red Rocks Amphitheater, the Eastern European-influenced quartet hit the road with a chamber orchestra to bring the full and intricate layers of an orchestral performance to smaller stages.  The band is also testing out new material that will be recorded as a follow-up to 2011’s 100 Lovers.  Tickets and information for tonight’s all-ages show with Pearl and the Beard can be found here.  Below, watch DeVotchKa perform “All the Sand in All the Sea” live at Red Rocks with the Colorado Symphony.

Continue reading →


Listen to “Nothin’ But Your Love,” the first single from The Tressels’ American Midnight (playing The Grape Room on 11/17)

Drexel Hill good ol’ boys The Tressels are gearing up to release the second installment in their “American” trilogy later on this month, and yesterday premiered a new song on their Soundcloud page. “Nothin’ But Your Love” is unapologetically, righteously 80s power-pop, with a thwacky beat up front guiding you into a refrain worthy of The Replacements, Tom Petty or even Bon Jovi (which we absolutely mean as a compliment). Give a listen below, and mark your calendars – the American Midnight release party happens Saturday, November 17 at The Grape Room in Manayunk.


The Key Studio Sessions: The Tressels

One one hand, Drexel Hill’s The Tressels are—loud and proud—the best bar band in Delaware County. On the other, their studied rock hooks and lyrical smarts will make you question why “bar band” is such an unfavorable distinction. Earlier this fall, I pondered that tension here on The Key when The Tressels announced their latest release, American Sunset; today, I’ll stick to the facts of the matter. The EP is the first in a planned three-part trilogy (continuing over the next year and some with American Midnight , then American Sunrise). Each installment is going to have its own sonic palette, from big bang roots-rock production to kitchen table tape-recorded lo-fi. Given the massive arrangements and shout-along choruses we heard when the band recorded its Key Studio Session this fall, the songs on Sunset were clearly designed with big-bang approach in mind, from the insanely catchy “Cold Blue Eyes” to the driving “Tell Me a Secret” and the simmering epic “Wolves.” Dig what you hear? Take in more of The Tressels’ survey of Americana at its release party this Friday, November 18, at The Grape Room.

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head

Download The Tressels’ American Sunset EP

Music writers are a funny breed of folk. When we talk about “pub rock,” it’s done in hushed, reverent tones reserved for the Nick Lowes and Joe Jacksons of the world; the ones critics adore, but the civilians, maybe not so much. However, say “bar rock” – which, on the level of pure word choice, means the same exact thing – and somehow, it’s a slag. Music for the rabble, lowbrow, unintelligent. I couldn’t disagree more, and present Drexel Hill four-piece The Tressels as Exhibit A for reclaiming the term “bar rock” from the elites. The four-piece does play rock, of the roots-Americana variety; it plays bars as well, and proudly, routinely storming the Trophy Tavern in its hometown. The band’s loud riffs and shouted refrains sound custom-designed to be heard over the din of clanging bottles and rumbling conversation. But also there’s depth, sincerity and serious storytelling skill to this group that shouldn’t be readily dismissed. Their latest EP, American Sunset, was born of what frontman Butch calls an extremely difficult year for he and his fellow Tressels, and it sees the group reflecting on those personal struggles in song. The kicker is the heartbreaking “Priscilla” (which we heard an early version of on The Key Studio Sessions summer mixtape). It looks back on a difficult childhood through an adult’s eyes: “Everything I’d seen through cracks in the door / changed me, I think that’s what they left them open for.” Yes, one could pound pints to its rustic guitar leads if they were so inclined, or maybe bang heads to the riffy “Cold Blue Eyes.” But that doesn’t mean this is stuff of no substance. Check out those two songs below, and if you feel like hearing more, head over to the band’s Soundcloud page, where you’ll find American Sunset available as a free download, beginning today and lasting until its CD release party at The Grape Room on Friday, Nov. 18. Check back here in a few weeks as well, when we’ll be releasing The Tressels’ recent Key Studio Session.

Priscilla by The Tressels

Cold Blue Eyes by The Tressels


Philly Local Philes: Early Ape’s “Human Zoo”

Early Ape

Nate Rylan knows a thing or two about music. The singer and guitarist at the helm of Early Ape had damn well better; he teaches it for a living at Independent Rock (an offshoot of Paul Green School of Rock, where he got his start). His band’s songs have a learned sense of keys, chord changes, time signatures, and music-theory thingamabobs that us civilians might not notice immediately—but those in the trenches will tell you make the difference between a song that’s merely okay and a piece of pop perfection. Early Ape definitely skews towards the latter; the band’s self-titled debut EP had a serious Pernice Brothers feel, and its new Science Colony sounds very A.C. Newman. Especially this cut, “Human Zoo,” a hooky number that furthers Early Ape’s evident thematic fixation. Sci-fi power pop, perhaps? To that end, I challenge Rylan to write a song with a chorus that goes “You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you!” Not only am I sure he can do it, I’m sure it will be awesome. Early Ape performs with 28 North, Jeff Thomas, and Eric Bazilian, Saturday, December 4th, at The Grape Room; tickets to the 21+ show are $7.