Aquil, Writtenhouse, head up ridiculously great hip-hop lineup at Silk City tonight

If you’re not already tapped in to how vibrant and exciting the Philadelphia hip-hop scene is, tonight’s formidable lineup at Silk City could be your school. Headlined by smooth-jam philosopher Aquil (pictured), it also features the old-school flavor of Afloe and the futuristic sounds of Sëla, the production powerhouse of Writtenhouse, the fierce cold cuts of Yahzilla, Electric Lady and her haunting vocal stylings, and Arkatron and his sampler-instrumental alchemy. Listen to tracks and watch videos from each below, and get ready to party. Aquil, Afloe, Writtenhouse, Sëla, Yahzilla, Electric Lady and Arkatron play Silk City Diner, 425 Spring Garden St., tonight beginning at 9 p.m. Tickets to the 21+ show are $5.

Aquil x Yahzilla “Yahzilla Meets Metatron” produced by E Jones from Yahya Ismail on Vimeo.


Philly Local Philes: Writtenhouse’s “GorillaDelphia”

The week is young, but it’s shaping up to be a big one for Writtenhouse. In addition to releasing a new collaborative track, the Germantown hip-hop foursome takes the stage at The Electric Factory tomorrow night, opening for one of their idols: long-standing New York MC Nas. In today’s Philly Local Phile, we hone in a standout cut from Writtenhouse’s 2011 full-length record, While You Were Sleeping called “GorillaDelphia.” Writtenhouse opens for Nas at The Electric Factory, Tue. Aug. 9 at 8 p.m. Tickets to the all-ages show are $39.50 in advance, $42 at the door.

GorillaDelphia by writtenhouse


Power 99 brings a new hip-hop movement to Philly

In an effort to help promote Philadelphia’s home-grown hip-hop scene, radio station Power 99 has introduced The Movement, a program designed as a platform for local artists. Their Underground Summer Series will feature 13 local artist performances, all taking place live in the station’s performance studio over the course of the 13 weeks of summer.

The next installment of the Summer Series will feature Writtenhouse and is set to take place on Wednesday, July 6th from 5:00-5:30 p.m. at the Power 99 Performance Theatre. You can RSVP to attend the event here; it will also be streaming live here.

The next two performances are listed below, a full calendar can be found here.

July 13th: Hezekiah, 5:00-5:30 p.m. at the Power 99 Performance Theatre

July 27th: Young Savage, 5:00-5:30 p.m. at the Power 99 Performance Theatre


This Weekend’s Concert Picks: Deerhoof, Dr. Dog, Wild Nothing, Creeping Weeds, Writtenhouse, Rhys Chatham


Deerhoof performs 2/11 at TLA

It’s been just under nine years since Deerhoof released Reveille—the album that would thrust the band into indie-nation’s collective consciousness—on Kill Rock Stars/5RC back in 2002. Since then, the band has cranked out records like clockwork, with seven additional proper full lengths (not to mention 7-inches and EPs) simultaneously confounding and pleasing fans of the band’s fractured art rock. Deerhoof’s latest album is Deerhoof Vs. Evil, and it finds the band doing what it does best: trying not to do the same thing it did on the previous album. Of course, that’s a task that gets more difficult each time around—and, by the time you’re on your 11th album, it might seem near impossible. Vs. Evil is undeniably a Deerhoof record: you’ll hear elements of the band’s previous work (broken down and rebuilt from the ground up, but familiar nonetheless). But it can occasionally be difficult to convince yourself that Vs. Evil is the new album Deerhoof really wanted to make, and not just the collection of ideas that was left over once the members of the band scratched everything they didn’t want to do off the list. Deerhoof performs with Ben Butler, Mousepad, and Prowler at Theatre Of Living Arts at 9 p.m.; tickets to the show are $15.

Also playing: Wild Nothing + Abe Vigoda, Grandchildren at First Unitarian Church (8 p.m., all ages, $10-$12); Oh! Pears + Attia Taylor, Father Figures at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10; Dr. Dog + Head And The Heart, Buried Beds at Electric Factory (8:30 p.m., SOLD OUT); June Divided + The Composure, The Climb at Kung Fu Necktie (7:30 p.m., 21+, $8); The Loved Ones + The Menzingers, Holy Mess at The Ox (8 p.m., all ages, $8-$10)

Creeping Weeds (record-release show) + Cheers Elephant, Hong Kong Stingray at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10); Writtenhouse (record-release show) + 84, Kuf Knotz at Kung Fu Necktie (7 p.m., 21+, $10); Andrw Lipke And The Prospects + Sisters 3, Cowmuddy, Lady, Joe Duffey’s Underwater Window Garden, Emily Zeitlyn, Charlotte Littlehales at The Fire (8 p.m., 21+, $10)

Rhys Chatham’s Brass Trio + Chris Forsyth at International House Philadelphia (8 p.m., $12)


Philly Local Philes: Writtenhouse’s “Puttin’ In Werk”

WrittenhouseThe thing about Philly hiphop crew Writtenhouse is you can’t just listen to one song. It’s part of the way they work: production duo Kush Shalimar and Chris Conway groove behind mixers and samplers, triggering clips and crossfades in rapid-fire real time (as opposed to pre-sequenced laptop time). One song flows into the next (and then the next) with barely a chance to rest. They’ve got a catchphrase to describe it – “live mechanics, live dynamics” – and it makes each track a tasty, but wholly necessary, piece of the bigger picture. This Germantown-based four-piece places as much value on the entire work as it does the individual parts. Perhaps more, since the tracks, heard alone, are quick-hit and over almost too soon. I wish I could feature their entire new record, While You Were Sleeping, on today’s Philly Local Phile, but that would eat up bandwidth on The Key (and airtime on Y-Rock)—so instead I’ll offer you this choice cut, “Puttin’ In Werk,” and hope that it makes you as stoked for their upcoming record-release show as I am. When they take the stage, MC Charlie K. and hypeman Somerville Sleeves are a dynamic presence – if you’re not lost in watching Shalimar and Conway do their thing, you can vibe off of their energy. Writtenhouse performs with 84 and Kuf Knotz at 7 p.m. Saturday, February 12, at Kung Fu Necktie; tickets to the 21+ show are $10.


Feast your ears on The Key Studio Sessions Thanksgiving Playlist

Google "turkey vinyl" and this is what you get. (Whatever, it's festive enough)

As producer of The Key Studio Sessions, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for this holiday: the wealth of musical talent in the Philadelphia region, and the number of those musicians who are stoked on performing for us. The incredible studio here at XPN where I can record, and this website where I can share those recordings with you. It’s been good vibes since The Key launched, for sure—but I promised Matt I wouldn’t go too Hallmark on everyone. So instead, I present you with The Key Studio Sessions Thanksgiving Playlist: a collection of 13 tracks from our archives, dating back to some of our earliest Philly Local sessions in 2008—when Jake Rabid and I used to record in Y-Rock’s broadcast studio (before moving over to the comparatively giant Live At The World Café performance space we use now). Ever wonder what a Marshall stack-wielding punk band sounds like when you squeeze them and all their gear in a tiny broadcast studio? Check out The Loved Ones’ rendition of “Louisiana” from April of ’08. (The answer: not bad, and no less impassioned.)

Most of these songs have a similar mood—warm, thoughtful, and/or sentimentalish, from Chris Archibald’s stirring solo performance of “Missing Piece” from Illinois’ March 2009 session, to Birdie Busch’s perennial favorite “Water” from earlier this year. Some are more melancholic (the haunting “Two Skeletons” by the late, great Brass), some romantic (Kurt Vile’s cover of Dim Stars’ “Monkey”). Seasonal themes are also hit on, such as travel (Writtenhouse’s bumpin’ “Mahogany Blue”) and harvest (or at least Hoots And Hellmouth always make me think of harvest anyway). And some songs have little to do with the holiday per se, but are simply incredible performances that I’m thankful I had the honor of recording (The Chimeras’ “Ridge Summit” still gives me chills). Pop this playlist on when you’re preparing dinner tomorrow, when you’re digesting and relaxing afterwards, or whenever you need a collection of reflective homegrown songs from right here in Philly. Happy Thanksgiving. (“Golden Turntable” photo by Neil Ian of Nimble Photography)

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New Writtenhouse single “Melodi” hits 1,000 downloads in first 48 hours

Local hip-hop act Writtenhouse has announced (via Twitter) that their new single, “Melodi,” passed the 1,000-download mark in less than two days—which, as they noted, must mean “somethings working.” The new goal? Hit 2,000 downloads by the end of the weekend. You can do your part by downloading the track here.

Writtenhouse’s next live performance is Wednesday, October 20, at The M Room.