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Sundrop Festival teams up with BrainFest to bring local artists together for a great cause

west philadelphia orchestra
West Philadelphia Orchestra | photo courtesy of the artist

This year, the 7th annual Sundrop Music & Arts Festival has merged with BrainFest to bring us 12 straight hours of music, food, games and more — and it’s all for a good cause. Happening from noon to midnight this Saturday at the Ukie Club in Northern Liberties, the festival will feature over 20 performances from artists of all genres, including local favorites West Philadelphia Orchestra, Resilient, Sheena & Thee Nosebleeds, Schooly D and lots more. All proceeds benefit the American Brain Tumor Association, an organization dedicated to supporting the nearly 700,000 people in the United States living with a brain tumor. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: West Philadelphia Orchestra at Spruce Street Harbor Park, MH the Verb’s Vibe House at South Bowl, Laser Background at Johnny Brenda’s, and more

west philadelphia orchestra
West Philadelphia Orchestra | photo courtesy of the artist

West Philadelphia Orchestra are this week’s featured headliner at Spruce Street Harbor Park’s Waterfront Sessions. The mammoth sized crew will be rocking two sets of their horn-heavy Balkan dance. Check out info for the show on the Facebook event page, and watch their Tiny Desk Concert entry below. Continue reading →

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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 →

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PREMIERE: West Philadelphia Orchestra announce new LP with “Flying Solo”

west philadelphia orchestra
West Philadelphia Orchestra | photo courtesy of the artist

It was a treat when West Philadelphia Orchestra digitally re-released their debut album in July, taking a minute to look back at the early days of the Balkan folk / brass band that has become such a stalwart presence in the local music scene. The release was also the launching pad for a new global music label called Fly Bottle Records, which will be home to the outfit’s newest effort, Tour de Filli. The record is set to come out on September 27th, but the band has been kind enough to give us a sneak peek of lead single “Flying Solo” today.

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#FBF: West Philadelphia Orchestra digitally reissue debut LP

West Philadelphia Orchestra | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

To launch a new Philly-based global roots label called Fly Bottle Records, West Philadelphia Orchestra has reissued their 2008 debut studio album on Bandcamp. The recording of Balkan folk and brass band music features the original WPO line-up, many of whom are still in the band today (though the project has nearly doubled in size over the years).

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Watch STS and RJD2 perform alongside the West Philadelphia Orchestra in new music video

STS and RJD2 | Photo via facebook.com/RJD2
STS and RJD2 | Photo via facebook.com/RJD2

We rejoiced earlier this month when two of Philly’s finest, rapper Sugar Tongue Slim and electronic artist RJD2, released their collaboration album. All 12 tracks on STS x RJD2 hold brilliant musical detours, with the duo marking their territory with hints of hip hop, jazz, soul, pop, etc.

Holding these local musicians near and dear, we’re ecstatic to see the Philly-centric vibe going on in their latest released video for the album’s opening track, “Doin’ It Right.” Continue reading →

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Scenes from the Center City Jazz Festival

Ernest Stuart at Center City Jazz Fest | Photo by John Vettese
Center City Jazz Fest founder Ernest Stuart performs at Time | Photo by John Vettese

The best Philadelphia music festival you haven’t checked out yet, Center City Jazz Festival took over the Sansom Street corridor on Saturday afternoon with 20 performers stationed at five different venues. In terms of bang for your buck, it’s an incredible deal: a $15 ticket lets you bounce from space to space, maximizing the music you take in.

If you know nothing about jazz, it’s a robust introduction to the scene – ultra-modern originals mixed with traditional standards and crossover covers of Sigur Ros, Aphex Twin and Nirvana. If you’re more versed in the jazz world, CCJF shines a light on the variety our community has to offer.
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Philly Music 101: The basics everyone needs to know about the Philadelphia scene right now

Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com
The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com

Philadelphia is a city of many wonders: a buzzing food scene, an established craft beer culture, and a parade of historical landmarks. But one aspect of our city that we are particularly passionate about is our magnificent local music community and all that is has to offer. Here at The Key, we often focus on the particulars of our scene – where artists will be playing each night, brand new local releases, etc. – so much so that we can forget how overwhelming it can be for newcomers to get their bearings.

So for those of you having trouble finding where to start, we are introducing this new Philly Music 101 series as your guide through the wonderful world of the Philadelphia music scene: all of its passionate, loving members, from artists to venues to studios and more. It’s meant to help new fans navigate the scene as much as emerging musicians looking to break in and behind-the-scenes folks trying to get their start. We hope it will illuminate just what makes it so damn exciting for music lovers to live here. To kick it off, here is a by-no-means-complete overview of the different pieces of the Philadelphia music scene that have come together to make up its sturdy foundation. Continue reading →

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Philadelphia is blowing up NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Contest and it’s amazing

Levee Drivers' Tiny Desk submission | photo by Bob Sweeney
Levee Drivers’ Tiny Desk submission | photo by Bob Sweeney

For those of you who don’t know about NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, you may want to head over to their site and root through their enormous and equally impressive archive. Their 15-minute videos feature live performances from artists of all genres held in the quaint offices of NPR at All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen’s desk.

Ranging from big names like Adele and Alt-J to up-and-coming artists such as Angel Olsen and Rubblebucket, viewers are able to watch the artists perform in the intimate setting, giving the performances a stripped-down, no B.S. vibe. While these videos are ultra fun to watch (perhaps continuously, one after another…), NPR kept things interesting this winter by kicking off a contest to feature a new artist in their series.

Based entirely off of video submissions from all over the United States, an artist will be chosen to perform a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR headquarters in Washington D.C. as well as snag a slot in the big Lagunitas Couchtrippin’ showcase in Austin, Texas. Philadelphia, brimming with the amazing musical talent that it is, seems to have jumped at this opportunity. Continue reading →