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The Key Presents: Foxing

Foxing | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com
Foxing | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

Foxing are a force of nature. Anyone who’s seen the St. Louis post-emo six-piece in the past year-and-a-half of relentless touring can attest to that fact. Frontman Conor Murphy brings a fearsome energy to the stage, roaring his unbelievably personal lyrics over an oceanic soundscape spooled out drop by drop, each twinkling guitar note and choir sample weaving together as fluidly and surely as tidal erosion.

The combination of blistering passion and ace talent hasn’t gone unnoticed, with the band being hand-selected to support emo titans Brand New, and later joining Philly friends Modern Baseball and mewithoutYou for tours as well, stealing shows and hearts all the while.

But Foxing is at its best with emotions running high, and this isn’t limited to a room full of screaming, sobbing fans—like the one they tore apart at Union Transfer early in December. Some of Foxing’s most visceral moments come not in the raging choruses of songs like “Rory” and “the Medic,” but in the layered introspection and lightly wafting lyrics from Murphy. Continue reading →

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Foals engage in “not recommended behavior”, conquer Union Transfer

Foals | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollackphotography.com
Foals | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollackphotography.com

I’ve given the title “best show of 2015” in my head to four shows so far this year, each one being eclipsed by the subsequent. In what will hopefully be the last of such eclipsings this year, Foals played the best set of music I’ve seen this year, and definitely one of the best I’ve ever seen.

I walked into the room at Union Transfer a bit concerned; compared to what I had heard the crowd at Terminal 5 was like the night prior, the room seemed alarmingly empty, especially for a sold out show. I had heard tell of frontman Yannis Philippakis’ on-stage / off-balcony antics, and was a little concerned at the feasibility of some of his reported stunts. Those fears were quickly dispelled as the crowd filled between set changes. The show started with “Snake Oil”, a jam whose choruses and breakdowns harken back to their Krautrock influences, and immediately got the crowd banging heads. Already, Yannis was breaking a sweat, bouncing all over the stage, accenting his guitar playing complete with a dizzying amount of spinning. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Philly indie hero Alex G. ends 2015 on a high note

Alex G | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com
Alex G | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

Alex G. is someone that we here at The Key have been keeping a keen eye on for a while now. The release of his first proper label album Beach Music this year marked his first step into the world of being a nationally-recognized indie rock singer-songwriter. But the Havertown native is a testament to how the internet age has transformed the way in which a musician can break: his eleven previous albums and EPs were released directly to Bandcamp.

His time kicking around the Temple DIY scene garnered him significant attention and made him a comfortable and skilled live performer, which he showed off Friday afternoon at World Cafe Live. The upstairs venue was packed to gills with an excited audience, one that skewed young, with many in attendance the same age as the performers. Alex G and co. pulled mostly from his newest album but also played some songs off of 2014’s DSU and 2015’s Trick.  Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Good Old War at Union Transfer, August John Lutz II at Bourbon and Branch, The York Street Hustle at World Cafe Live and more

Good Old War | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

Folk-pop Philadelphians Good Old War headline their final hometown show of the year tonight at Union Transfer. Earlier this year the band released Broken Into Better Shape, its fifth LP and most polished to date. Watch video from their 2015 Free at Noon below. Tickets and information on tonight’s show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Not Your Parents’ Christmas Show: Aimee Mann and Ted Leo bring tongue-in-cheek cheer to Union Transfer

Aimee Mann and Ted Leo Christmas Show | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller | koalafoto.com
Aimee Mann and Ted Leo Christmas Show | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller | koalafoto.com

Call me a grinch, but I was so ready to hate this show. Whatever, don’t judge me. Christmas crap just isn’t my thing, and despite all the talent due to be onstage Friday night at Union Transfer for The Aimee Mann and Ted Leo Christmas Show, when I found out from the two guys standing next to me (who by the way had come from New York to be there, having just seen the same show at The Town Hall the night prior) that this was gonna be upwards of 80% Christmas-themed-and-related music – christ, I was really starting to question my own judgment in deciding I wanted to cover this.

I mean this is what happens when your childhood idol writes “Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time” and it gets forcibly funneled and shoe-horned into your consciousness year over year at every store you walk into from Halloween to Martin Luther King Day. Yeah, I am mad, bro.

What the hell though – two songs into Mann’s and Leo’s set, I realized I was actually enjoying it. Continue reading →

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GrandeMarshall turns up for the hometown crowd at Union Transfer

GrandeMarshall | Photo by Doug Interrante
GrandeMarshall | Photo by Doug Interrante

GrandeMarshall, playing his first show since releasing his debut album My Brother’s Keeper on Fool’s Gold Records, turned it up a notch for his hometown at Union Transfer last week. Opening for one of hip hop’s youngest and most promising stars, Vince Staples, is no small feat, and the Philly phenom lived up to the hype. The set opener “ITSPULLUP” set a tone on stage which embodies the spirit of our city – a toughness and confidence that can felt by GrandeMarshall’s mere presence. Continue reading →

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Animal Collective release new song “FloriDada,” announce shows at Union Transfer, World Cafe Live at the Queen

animal collective
Animal Collective | photo by Hisham Akira Bharoocha and Abby Portner

Animal Collective have announced the release of Painting With, the experimental-pop band’s eleventh studio record and follow-up to 2012’s Centipede Hz. With the announcement comes a national tour, which kicks off on February 19th at Union Transfer and wraps up on May 13th in Wilmington at World Cafe Live at the Queen.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Car Seat Headrest at Johnny Brenda’s, Darwin Deez at Boot and Saddle, Deerhunter at Union Transfer and more

Car Seat Headrest | Photo by Julia Leiby | http://julia-leiby.squarespace.com/
Car Seat Headrest | Photo by Julia Leiby | http://julia-leiby.squarespace.com/

We here at XPN are really into the new Car Seat Headset record — his first for Matador Records — and the man behind the music, Will Toledo of Seattle reminds a lot of our own Alex G. who, like Toledo, made a name himself by releasing an insane amount of self-released work (11 for Toledo and 13 for Alex G.) They also are now both fresh off big label debuts, and you can catch Toledo play songs from intricate, interesting and overall awesome new album, Teens of Style tonight at Johnny Brenda’s. For more information on the show click here. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ben Hughes at Milkboy, Vince Staples at Union Transfer, San Fermin at World Cafe Live at the Queen

ben hughes
Ben Hughes | Photo via benhughes.bandcamp.com

Ben Hughes has reached the end of his year-long 12 Albums project and he’s celebrating tonight at Milkboy. For the last eleven months the local musician, who now leads Night Windows, dug into his back catalog of solo and home recordings to dust off some songs never heard before. Listen to “I Miss You & The Weekend” from A Walk in the Life of Someone, Somewhere (which will be the centerpiece tonight) below; tickets and information for the 21+ show with Roof Doctor and Cynthia G Mason can be found here.

Continue reading →