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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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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Elle King at The Fillmore, Chris Robinson Brotherhood at TLA and Robert Randolph and The Family Band at World Cafe Live

Elle King | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Elle King | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

UArts alum turned pop sensation Elle King returns to Philly tonight for a gig at The Fillmore. King has been on The Key’s radar for quite some time now, and her countrified rock music is hard to forget and even harder not to like. Her song “Ex’s and Oh’s” off her debut album Love Stuff catapulted the LA native into the spotlight last year. Watch the video for the massive hit song and click here for more information on the show. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Noname will headline World Cafe Live downstairs in March

Noname | photo by Bryan Lamb | courtesy of the artist
Noname | photo by Bryan Lamb | courtesy of the artist

Chicago rapper Noname lowkey dropped one of the year’s best releases with her long-in-the-works mixtape Telefone — and if you haven’t heard it yet, that’s okay for now. You’ve got plenty of time to catch up and listen up before her headlining gig at World Cafe Live this spring.

Noname has built her name alongside like-minded MCs Saba, Jeremih and of course Chance the Rapper, all leading lights of the Windy City’s hip-hop renaissance of late. She appears on “Finish Line / Drown,” the lively penultimate track on Chance’s Coloring Book, and can also be heard on Saba’s excellent “Church / Liquor Store” from Bucket List Project. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Darlingside saves the day and woos the crowd with a stunning performance

Darlingside | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Darlingside | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

No matter how profusely Darlingside refuses to accept that their playing a show today was a huge favor to us, don’t believe a word they say. WXPN is thankful to the Cambridge-based band for playing our Free at Noon show on such short notice after Adia Victoria got sick and was forced to back out of the show.

The four man indie-folk outfit charmed over the summer at XPN Fest and did so again today at World Cafe Live. Their set gave the audience a taste of the autumn air that we’ve been missing (especially on 70 degree days like today) with their warm performance, their grassroots brand of folk music, and nostalgia-inducing lyrics like “Apple cider signs” from their song “White Horses” — which was inspired by an apple orchard that one of the band members used to go to as a child. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Camp Candle at Boot & Saddle, Joseph at World Cafe Live, Palm at Johnny Brenda’s and more…

Camp Candle | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | courtesy of the artist
Camp Candle | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | courtesy of the artist

Local electro-pop duo Camp Candle headline Boot & Saddle tonight. The band released its debut EP ERE this past summer, sharing a collection of atmospheric, synth-driven songs that highlight Hetepsa and Nu Ra’s sonic chemistry. Watch a video for the more recent “One Day, My Friend” below and pick up tickets for the 21+ show here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Strange Parts at Johnny Brenda’s and John Paul White at World Cafe Live

strange parts
Strange Parts | photo by Adam Haney | courtesy of the band

Tonight, Johnny Brenda’s welcomes indie-pop duo Strange Parts. They caught our eye at WXPN with the late summer release of their song “Asleep in the Flowers” and we are excited to see them playing more and more shows in Philly. Expect to be mesmerized by the dreamy layered tracks put forth by Strange Parts, as well as the headliner: neo-blues / rock artist Adia Victoria, who was named an artist to watch by WXPN. You can go to the WXPN Concert Calendar for more information on this 21+ show. Take a listen to Strange Parts’ whimsical track “Asleep in the Flowers” below. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Field Mouse at Johnny Brenda’s, Allen Stone at World Cafe Wilmington and Julia Hudak at Kung Fu Necktie

Field Mouse | photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN
Field Mouse | photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN

If you haven’t listened to the new album Episodic put out my Brooklyn/Philly shoegazers Field Mouse, then take a trip to Johnny Brenda’s tonight to hear it in person. The dreamy indie-rock quintet did a Studio Session with The Key early on in September and blew us away with the uncharacteristically direct nature of their new album. Field Mouse will be sharing the stage at this 21+ show with fellow dream-poppers Lockets and the New Jersey fuzz-rock duo, Slow Animal. For more information go to the WXPN Concert Calendar...and while you’re at it check out Field Mouse’s video for their song “Tomorrow is Yesterday.” Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Free Cake for Every Creature at World Cafe Live, Lake Street Dive at Union Transfer and La Santa Cecilia at World Cafe Live Upstairs

Free Cake for Every Creature
Free Cake for Every Creature | Photo by Alyssa Yohana | courtesy of the artist

Indie-pop quartet Free Cake for Every Creature plays tonight at World Cafe Live. The Philly-based group released their first full length album, Talking Quietly With You, last April. Joining them will be Philly favorite Hello Shark, who just released Delicate, and Florida-based indie duo Sales. Tickets and information for the all ages show can be found here. Watch the video for “All You Gotta Be When You’re 23 Is Yourself” below, released last spring on their latest LP. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Grayling at The Fire, The Faint at The Trocadero, Crystal Castles at TLA and more

grayling
Grayling | photo by Kim Woodcock | courtesy of the artist

Tonight, The Fire in Northern Liberties hosts emo-pop outfit Grayling. What started out as the independent project of frontwoman Lexi Campion has now turned into a four-person full time band. Grayling’s recent debut EP, Everything That Burns, dropped back in April. Tonight they play with Honeytiger, Zack Daniel, The Disgruntled Sherpa Project, and Foxster. If your music taste lies anywhere along the super versatile spectrum of indie/alternative music then be sure to get a ticket for this 21+ show that will have something for everyone. Check out Grayling’s studio session with The Key from earlier this week here. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Bronx / Mariachi El Bronx at The Fillmore, Kula Shaker at World Cafe Live, and Bryant Eugene Vazquez at Bourbon and Branch

Mariachi El Bronx
Mariachi El Bronx | Photo courtesy of the artist

Tonight at the Fillmore in Fishtown, Los Angeles hardcore band The Bronx performs both as themselves and as their alter ego Mariachi El Bronx. In the latter, the band performs (you guessed it) mariachi music, an idea was born out of the band’s desire to challenge themselves musically. The Bronx will be supported by Dead Heavens, a four-piece group with roots in hard rock and New York City. Check out what Mariachi El Bronx is all about below. Continue reading →