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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Bruce Warren’s Best of Philly Music 2014

Amanda X: Tiff Yoon, Cat Park, Kat Bean | Photo by Peter Murray | petermurrayphotography.com
Amanda X: Tiff Yoon, Cat Park, Kat Bean | Photo by Peter Murray | petermurrayphotography.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, XPN Program Director Bruce Warren weighs in on the 2014 Philly music scene.

We thought 2013 was a fantastic year for the Philly music scene, however 2014 proved to be even better. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Bruce Warren’s 5 favorite albums of the year

Field Report | Photo by Brittany Salerno
Field Report | Photo by Brittany Salerno

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, XPN program director Bruce Warren shares his favorite albums of the year.

There’s always this internal debate I have with myself about year-end lists, and it’s always this battle between whether I should go with “best” or “favorite.” “Best” is usually saved for the “critics;” which is not to say I am one or not. I’ll leave it to the Pitchforks, the New York Times and the Robert Christgaus of the world to attach some higher level of artistic and cultural significance and importance to records.

But in so many ways, I am a critic. I just don’t use big words. Music is “best” when it has singular appeal to anyone who wants to say “this is the best album of the year,” or “this album is one of the top five albums of the year.” You see, everyone’s right and everyone’s wrong when it comes to what “the best” is. When it comes to my albums of the year, I typically list the records that are my favorite. Are they the best? Sure they are; to me anyway. And if for some reason some of my favorites hit the critics year end polls as “the best” (in a music critic kind of way) then I guess I get bonus points. So here they are: My favorite five albums that entered into my musical universe in 2014. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Top 15 Albums of 2014

top 15 albums of 2014
This is the music that moved us this year.

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 →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Sameer Rao’s Top 5 Musical Gut-Punches of 2014 (Philly edition)

Brielle | Photo via twitter.com/aprilfoolchild

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, contributing writer Sameer Rao talks about songs that make you feel.

In case you didn’t read and feel what I wrote and felt last year, let it be known far and wide that 2014 was yet another hell of a year for nerve-poking chords, chill-inducing croons, and all manner of music that brought on heavy cases of the feels. And since this was a banner year for local artists of all stripes, we’re making this one Philly-exclusive. Get your tissues out for this list. Continue reading →

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A 2014 retrospective with The War On Drugs

The War on Drugs
Photo by Adam Granduciel for T Magazine

It isn’t really surprising that The War On Drugs are topping so many best-of lists with this year’s Lost In the Dream. Paste. Rough Trade. SPIN. Top tastemakers around the world are praising the Philadelphia band on their third full-length effort, a follow-up to 2011′s equally mesmerizing Slave Ambient.  They sold out venues from Australia to Toronto and circled the globe once or twice, armed with two new members and a transcendent live rendering of the album’s many layers and moods.

So to celebrate a wonderful year and a wonderful record we’ve gathered together some of the band’s biggest moments; join us as we take a look back at the banner year that was 2014 for The War On Drugs.

Continue reading →

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Listen to Marian Hill’s Daytrotter session

Marian Hill | Illustration courtesy of Daytrotter
Marian Hill | Illustration courtesy of Daytrotter
Our friends at Daytrotter have once again tapped into the new sounds of Philly with a session with Marian Hill. Featuring lead singer and songwriter Samantha Gongol and producer / songwriter Jeremy Lloyd, the duo have been on a roll lately releasing several excellent new songs including “Lips,” and “Got It.” During the session the band performed “Got It,” “Whiskey,” “Lovit,” and “One Time.” Continue reading →

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Adam Granduciel shares a year in photos with The New York Times

Adam Granduciel
Photo by Adam Granduciel for T Magazine

During the whirlwind year that has been 2014 for The War on Drugs, frontman Adam Granduciel managed to balance his love of performing with his love of photographing.  In a new feature with T: The New York Times Style Magazine, the Philadelphia resident shares a collection of pictures he took while circling the globe with his Lost In the Dream bandmates. Continue reading →

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The War On Drugs talk about music, performing and life in Philadelphia with Minneapolis’ The Current

The War on Drugs | Photo by Nate Ryan via thecurrent.org
The War on Drugs | Photo by Nate Ryan via thecurrent.org

Philadelphia space rock heroes The War On Drugs recently performed on air for The Current in Minneapolis and talked about their latest album, Lost In A Dream. The band has been recognized on the national level for bringing enormous energy to the stage – something that radio host, Jill O’Reilly, notes right off the bat.

The interview ensues with playful banter from frontman Adam Granduciel and spot-on performances from their album, including “An Ocean In Between the Waves” and “Eyes to the Wind”. Granduciel also takes time to elaborate on some of the qualities of Philadelphia that drew him to make the move there from Massachusetts. Continue reading →

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Watch The War on Drugs jam with Kurt Vile at Johnny Brenda’s

The War on Drugs | Photo by John Vettese
The War on Drugs | Photo by John Vettese

I remember a time, not too long ago, when Philly space rock luminaries The War on Drugs could comfortably fit all their gear on the stage at Johnny Brenda’s with room to spare. But as their sound and scope has expanded, so has their spatial footprint, and I found myself at the foot of the Fishtown venue on Friday night, looking at the dozens of pedals cabled together and a veritable fortresses of keyboards, of amps and microphones and Charlie Hall’s drumkit tucked way back into the corner, wondering to myself how the heck this was going to work. Thankfully, the dudes pulled it off tremendously, and had enough room for founding member Kurt Vile to join the band for guitar shreddery on “Under the Pressure,” “Arms Like Boulders” and “I Hear You Calling.” Continue reading →