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Ryan Tennis and the Clubhouse Band pay tribute to rock great Tom Petty with beautiful rendition of “Wildflowers”

Ryan Tennis & The Clubhouse Band in “Wildflowers” – Tom Petty Tribute performance video

The world lost a rock legend three days ago when Tom Petty shockingly passed away at 66 years old. Musicians everywhere have been mourning his loss in the best way they know how: covering some of Petty’s best records.

This week, the WXPN studio hosted Ryan Tennis and his Clubhouse Band for a Key Studio Session we’ll release later this fall. After it was done, they played a gorgeous version of the Petty classic “Wildflowers.” Wildflowers the album was Petty’s second solo album and it gives a more well-rounded look his musical abilities in terms of instrumentation and higher-tech production. “Wildflowers” is a heartfelt, sing-songy love record that has always been begging to be covered and Tennis and his band do just that. In this studio session, the Clubhouse band consisted of seven musicians (including Tennis) playing a slew of instruments from electric guitar to a shaker, but all of the musicians add their own unique vocals to create a very pretty harmony that fits perfectly with the soft strumming chord progression of Tennis’ acoustic guitar. Continue reading →

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The Key Presents: American Trappist

American Trappist | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

It was always about coming home. For Joe Michelini, American Trappist is the natural extension of the scenic route into the self.

When we travelled to Asbury Park together last month, the native New Jersey son was clearly in his element, pointing out landmarks to the both personal and professional. As we’re cleaning up after filming in Asbury’s historic Convention Center Hall, Joe looks wildly around and points up into the stands. “That was my seat. I saw my first concert in this room.”

From The Boss to Trappe, the Convention Hall has played home to countless musicians down through the years. And even as the town that Joe fell in love with as a child has begun to change tangibly and more immaterially, it still remains a sort of sanctuary for the road-worn Michelini. River City Extension died here. American Trappist was born here. The road ends, begins, goes on, comes back. That’s what getting even means.

This is The Key Presents: American Trappist.
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The Key Presents: Half Waif

Half Waif | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

The weather’s bad, but it holds. Between setting up and short takes while the rain isn’t too hard, Nandi Plunkett throws an industrial trash bag over her keyboard as a makeshift cover, but even the intermittent April showers can’t get her spirits down too much. Resiliency is a big theme of Half Waif‘s music, and in Plunkett’s life, as well. Between passing clouds, Nandi and guitarist Adan Carlo play completely new arrangements of two Half Waif tracks from the recently released form/a EP. In the secluded side yard of the MAAS Building, the intimate strength of Half Waif springs to resounding life. This is The Key Presents: Half Waif. Continue reading →

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The Key Presents: You Blew It!

 

You Blew It! | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo racheldelsordophotography.com

No matter which way you slice it, You Blew It! are anything but a simple band. What appears at first glance to be fairly stock-standard twinkly post-emo fare transcends the sum of its parts, both sonically and particularly in the lyrical department. On their latest effort Abendroit — released in November on Triple Crown — the band cashes in its cred with the pop punk crowd and looks towards softer pastures and more still waters. Continue reading →

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The Key Presents: Joseph

Joseph | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com
Joseph | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

Joseph is the band you can’t forget. Whether you saw them first on Jimmy Fallon or during our own NonCOMM this past spring, it’s likely that the haunting harmonies created by the Closner sisters are stuck in your mind for good. And they’re just getting started. With this year’s sophomore release I’m Alone, No You’re Not out on ATO Records, the Oregonians are taking hold of hearts and minds across the country — and with good reason. Catchy folk licks and haunting harmonies aren’t the only thing that Joseph brings to the table. With an ear for striking songwriting, the band doesn’t back down. Continue reading →

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The Key Presents: Lithuania

Lithuania | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo racheldelsordophotography.com
Lithuania | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo racheldelsordophotography.com

Rock and roll just feels damn good. Like an ice cold beer on a scorching summer day, it quenches a deep-seated human thirst. Longtime veterans on the Philly rock scene front, both Eric Slick and Dom Angelella know this fact instinctively.

Ten years in the making, their collaborative project Lithuania hits the spot — hard. It’s no-nonsense, no-frills rock and roll for the everyman. Their debut record Hardcore Friends (out last year on Lame-O Records) took a scorched earth policy towards songwriting: Go hard and leave it all on the table. Live, it’s even stronger. After seeing them open up for a Districts/mewithoutYou secret show in late 2014, I knew Lithuania was gonna be the Philly band to beat in the near future. Continue reading →

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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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Watch the video for Cyberbully Mom Club’s “FRIENDS”

Cyberbully Mom Club |  From the video "FRIENDS" |  Directed by Michael Williams & Ryan Bender
Cyberbully Mom Club | From the video “FRIENDS” | Directed by Michael Williams & Ryan Bender

Philly four-piece Cyberbully Mom Club have released the video for their bedroom pop track, “FRIENDS.”

Directed by Michael Williams and Ryan Bender, the video shows the group performing the track in pumped-up glory, then sitting together on a couch, less amused, watching the footage on TV. Very meta of you, CMC.

The video is telling of the group’s laid back dynamic; frontwoman Shari Heck cracks a smile throughout the video, even when singing a song that opens with “And I get so scared of all this sadness.”

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Watch Courtney Barnett cover The Breeders’ “Cannonball”

Courtney Barnett | Firefly | Photo by Joe del Tufo | http://www.joedeltufo.com/
Courtney Barnett | Firefly | Photo by Joe del Tufo | joedeltufo.com

After the release of her double EP, A Sea of Split Peas, in 2013, Courtney Barnett has been gathering quite a following. Pitchfork commended the Australian artist for her witty lyrics and a personality that gives her music a backbone, and she appeared in a great interview on NPR’s World Cafe as well.

Most recently, The A.V. Club released a video of Courtney Barnett doing an amazing cover of The Breeders’ “Cannonball” for their A.V. Undercover segment. Continue reading →

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Contest: Win a pair of tickets to see The Afghan Whigs at The Electric Factory tomorrow

There’s a lot of excitement this week for The Afghan Whigs‘ reunion show at The Electric Factory tomorrow, and today, we’ve got your chance to win a pair of tickets to the show! Comment below with your first and last name, and let us know what Whigs classics you’re excited to hear. We’ll contact the winner by e-mail tomorrow afternoon. To get the ideas flowing, check out this YouTube playlist of the Whigs’ official music videos!