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).
Wednesday nights this summer will get a punch of musical energy thanks to Penn Museum’s outdoor concert series. The weekly events bring an eclectic line-up of bands to the Stoner Courtyard, beginning on June 15th with West Philadelphia Orchestra.
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 →
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. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
Philadelphia’s The Random Tea Sessions released their twenty-first video, which is an acoustic piece “Varvyat Li Dvama” by West Philadelphia Orchestra‘s Petia Z. WPO consists of a diverse lineup that plays a multitude of Easter European music styles, and this is Random Tea’s first recording in a language other than English. WPO played a New Year’s Eve bash featuring a Balkan feast at Underground Arts with musicians Johnny Showcase and Mercury Radio Theater; they will also be playing this year’s Zlatne Uste Golden Festival on January 17, which is two nights of Balkan music and dance at the Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn. Check out the session below. Continue reading →
Beer Week is coming to an end, but its not over yet. The week will close out with the Dock Street 6th Annual End-of-Beer-Week Free Music Fest and Scavenger Run. This year, the fest lineup includes Philly artists Grandchildren, West Philadelphia Orchestra and Gliss. The three performers bring an array of musical genres to the festival stage. Orchestral pop band Grandchildren will craft soundscapes with tons of synth, while West Philadelphia Orchestra is rooted in Eastern European folk and brings the traditions to life. Rapper Gliss rounds out the bill, bringing the heart and soul of hip-hop in his music. Catch the three performers this Sunday, June 8 outside Dock Street Brewery. The music fest is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Philly Beer Week website. Listen to all three of the artists’ music below.
Yesterday, we premiered their new single “Sweater” and tonight Philly’s OhBree brings their brand of oddball pop to the Kung Fu Necktie stage. There’s much to celebrate as the band’s new LP Death by Broomstick comes out in just a few weeks on April 15th via Lillian Records. Tickets are available at the door before showtime at 8:00pm.
The opening trumpet burst on A Fistful of Sugar’s “Brother Brother,” is a pretty good indicator of where this track is headed. It’s a loose, banjo-in-hand folk number that tells the story of getting befriended by and traveling with a crew of hippies. Even though it’s pretty typical in style, lead singer and guitarist Mike Sha makes their hemp-necklace-making and patchwork-pants-wearing lifestyle sound pretty righteous over top a ragtime brass band. “Brother Brother” is the first single off of the band’s first full-length, Perspicacity, which they’ll be celebrating the release of on January 10 at World Cafe Live; check out a video for it below, cut to clips from the Prelinger Archives.
The soulful Aaron and the Spell will be joining that celebration as well. Back in December they played Stevie Wonders’ Innervisions in its entirety at World Cafe Live as a fundraiser for Pathways to Housing PA, a non-profit organization that helps chronically homeless individuals that suffer from mental illness find and maintain housing. Black Horse Motel’s grassy Americana folk, filled-out with lush harmonies, mandolin and fiddle will complete the folk end of the lineup. While Balkan klezmer jazz powerhouse, West Philly Orchestra, will bring the grooves, sure to get everyone on their feet. This lineup is stacked far too tall to be taken lightly. In fact, there’s a little bit of something for everyone that keeps an eye on the local folk scene. Just don’t forget comfortable shoes or a partner to dance with, because chances are you’ll be on your feet at this one.