Catch Tommy Conwell, Ben Arnold, Rosemary Fiki and more at the Roxborough Solstice Music Festival

Ben Arnold
Ben Arnold | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman |

With the summer solstice less than a month away, our days are about as lengthy and bright as they get. And there’s no better way to spend the extra sunlight than with some grub, drinks, and live music. On Saturday, June 11th, the Roxborough Solstice Music Festival will provide just that. Starting at noon, they’ll have 10 musical acts, food trucks, a beer garden, craft vendors, and local businesses at Gorgas Park on Ridge Ave in Philly. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Stornoway with Field Report at Kung Fu Necktie, A Benefit Concert for Lentil with Tommy Conwell and more at The Blockley, West Philadelphia Orchestra at Underground Arts


Oxfordian Oxonian folk / pop group Stornoway headline Kung Fu Necktie tonight.  Following up their 2010 debut Beachcomber’s Windowsill, the academically-minded quartet (led by an ornithologist) released Tales from Terra Firma earlier this month.  Field Report continue to tour in support of last year’s self-titled debut.  Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show can be found here.  Watch Stornoway’s video for “Knock Me On the Head” below.

Several local musicians come together at The Blockley tonight for a concert benefiting Lentil Fest.  Tommy Conwell, Pete Donnelly, Ben Arnold and Travel Lanes will perform sets in support of Lentil the French bulldog, who was born with a cleft palate.  All proceeds will be donated to a variety of charities including the French Bulldog Rescue Network and the Children’s Craniofacial Association.  Tickets and information can be found here.  Below, watch Pete Donnelly’s video for “Can’t Talk At All.”

West Philadelphia Orchestra brings their monthly Balkan dance party back to Underground Arts tonight.  As a collective of Philadelphia musicians, WPO blends traditional Eastern European influences withe modern jazz and classical sensibilities.  Tickets and more information for tonight’s 21+ show with Johnny Showcase and the Lefty Lucy Cabaret can be found here or on the Facebook event page here.  Watch West Philadelphia Orchestra perform “Burkan Cocek” below.



Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ellie Goulding at The Electric Factory, Auctioneer with Ross Bellenoit at Puck, Leather at Kung Fu Necktie, Dope Body at The Depot, Riley Road at World Cafe Live at The Queen, XPN Welcomes Tommy Conwell to The Blockley

Following up her Free at Noon performance today, Ellie Goulding headlines the Electric Factory tonight.  The British electronic / pop musician released her LP Halcyon late last year after topping both BBC’s The Sound Of 2010 poll and the Critic’s Choice Award at The Brit Awards that same year. Blending infectious synth hooks and soulful singer-songwriter lyrics, Goulding has placed herself in the center of a resurging musical venn diagram that includes Lykke Li, Jesse Ware and Emeli Sande.  Tickets and information for tonight’s all-ages show can be found here.  Below, watch the video for Halcyon single “Anything Could Happen.”

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Download The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 6 (feat. Reef the Lost Cauze, Kingsfoil, Bad Braids + more)

The latest edition of our Key Studio Sessions compilations is out today – now streamable and downloadable from Soundcloud! Check out highlights from fall of 2012 with The Key Studio Sessions Vol. 6, including some hard-hitting hip-hop from Ethel Cee and Reef the Lost Cauze, expressive Americana from The Districts, bright pop-rock from Kingsfoil, dense shoegaze from Nothing and more. Special thanks to guest engineer Chris Williams and production assistants Beth Ann Downey, Fred Knittel, Madeleine Lesperance, and Dan Malloy as well as photographers Laura Jane Brubaker, Kyle Costill, Shamus McGroggan, Marley McNamara, and Julie Miller for sharing their work. Continue reading →


My Morning Download: “I’m Home” by Tommy Conwell from The Key Studio Sessions

Tommy Conwell (center) and the Young Rumblers, circa late 80s
A staple of Philadelphia’s late 80s rock scene, Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers reunited on Friday for their third annual post-Thanksgiving blowout concert, this time on the stage of the Electric Factory. Earlier in the week, Conwell warmed up for the show in a visit to WXPN studios for an acoustic set that was released last Wednesday as a Key Studio Session. Today’s My Morning Download highlights the song “I’m Home,” a chugging tune reminiscent of The Replacements that was originally found on The Young Rumblers’ 1986 debut Walkin’ on the Water. Download it below, check out the entire session here and keep tabs on what Tommy and the gang are up to at his website.


The Week’s Best MP3 Downloads, incl. Pissed Jeans, Tommy Conwell, Erin McKeown

Pissed JeansPhilly thrash heroes Pissed Jeans released their first new music since the 2010 7″ Your Life Is Worth Pissed Jeans, a raging track called “Bathroom Laughter.” It’s going to be on the band’s forthcoming LP Honeys, expected for release sometime in February. You can listen to it, and download it for the price of an e-mail address, in the player below.

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The Week So Far: 10 must-read stories on The Key

Left to right: Helen Leicht, John Belushi and Ed Sciaky

Holiday Radio Past: Ed Sciaky sends holiday on WIOQ cheer circa 1984 [link]

Philly rocker Tommy Conwell performs acoustic for The Key Studio Sessions [link]

Digging the deep roots of St. James and the Apostles, who play The Fire tonight [link]

Need a soundtrack to your Thanksgiving dinner table? Try our Spotify playlist [link]

Central Pennsylvania’s music scene mourns the loss of its biggest advocate, Jersey Mike [link]

Watch rare video of Patti Smith on the Mike Douglas Show when it was based in Philly [link]

Is that Denison Witmer playing a spandex-clad workout instructor? [link]

Pissed Jeans rage on with a new track, “Bathroom Laughter” [link]

Ring in the holidays with XPN2‘s Jingle Jams, now through New Year’s! [link]

Yeasayer discovered light, and color. And took it on tour. [link]


The Key Studio Sessions: Tommy Conwell

In a lot of ways, Tommy Conwell defined Philly rock and roll in the 1980s. His band The Young Rumblers hit it big with the immortal guitar lick and singalong hook of their 1988 hit “I’m Not Your Man,” and gave other upstart bands in the city someone to look up to, something to shoot for. They toured, released two LPs on Columbia Records, and knocked out power-pop classics before disbanding in the early 90s. Everybody stayed active, and Conwell in particular continued giving back to the local scene that got him started – from hosting a long-running local music show on WYSP to playing regular, rousing acoustic nights at Glenside’s The Blue Comet. This Black Friday, in what’s become a post-Thanksgiving tradition, Conwell and The Young Rumblers – original members Chris Day, Jim Hannum, Rob Miller and Paul Slivka – are reuniting for a show at The Electric Factory. Tommy warmed up for the gig by visiting XPN studios last week with his acoustic guitar to lay down some choice cuts from his back-catalogue. Of course “the hit” was one of them, but we also get the chugging Replacements-esque number “I’m Home,” the snappy Joe Jackson tones of “Everything They Say Is True,” and the rambling-man rocker “Goin’ Back To Philly.” Download the tracks below, and get more information on the Young Rumblers reunion gig here.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ava Luna/Auctioneer at Johnny Brenda’s, The Left Banke at WCL, Tommy Conwell at Haddon Lake Park, and Willie Nelson at TD Bank Center of the Arts

Soulful rock experimentalists Ava Luna are returning to Philly for a show tonight at Johnny Brenda’s. They call themselves “nervous soul”; shaking feelings mixed with powerful chords and earfuls of synthesizers. The seven piece group released their debut LP, Ice Level earlier this year on Infinite Best Recordings. They were also featured in Weathervane Music‘s Shaking Through series, watch them record “Water Duct” in the episode below. Ava Luna plays tonight along with Auctioneer, this 21+ show starts at 9 PM. You can grab your tickets here.

The Left Banke has been called one of the originators of baroque pop music. They had their first major hit with “Walk Away Renee” in 1966, only a year after they had been playing together. Their vocal harmonies, classical arrangements, and use of various instruments account for their worthy performances. Check them out tonight at World Cafe Live downstairs at 8 p.m. Tickets are $28 plus processing fees.

Tommy Conwell, better known for his days as the frontman of the Philadelphia band, Tommy Conwell & The Young Rumblers, plays tonight at Haddon Lake Park. This concert is free for all ages and starts at 7:30 p.m. Get directions and more information here.

Finally, country rock legend and singer/songwriter Willie Nelson is playing at the TD Bank Arts Center in Sewell, New Jersey. He will be joined by his son Patrick and other members of the family. They played at our annual Non-Comm earlier this May, you can listen to that performance here. (via the XPN media player). Tickets to tonight’s performance range from $29-59; the show takes off at 7:30 p.m.


Charlie and Richie Ingui to perform with David Uosikkinen’s In The Pocket at XPoNential Music Festival

This just in! Charlie & Richie Ingui of the Soul Survivors will be joining David Uosikkinen’s In The Pocket band this Saturday night at the XPoNential Music Festival. The set is at 7:55PM on the Marina Stage and will also be broadcast on WXPN as part of the festival live broadcast. The Soul Survivors had a 1967 top five hit song with “Expressway To Your Heart.” It was the first big hit song for songwriters Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Charlie and Richie are joining Hooters’ drummer David Uosikkinen’s In The Pocket band, which also includes Rob Hyman and John Lilley of The Hooters, Richard Bush (formerly of The A’s and current leader of the Peace Creeps), Tommy Conwell, Steve Butler (Smash Palace), Jay Davidson on sax and Cliff Hillis on bass. Below, check out the classic “Expressway To Your Heart.”

It’s not too late to get your tickets to this year’s festival, which starts this Friday at 5:30. Ticket information is here.