Year End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2013 awesome. In this installment, Key contributor Julie Miller shares her favorite video sessions of the year.
Live session videos are great because they give the musician a chance to experiment with their music and perform it in an unusual setting or surprising way. From Out of Town Films to La Blogotechque’s Take Away Shows, there are more and more series popping up each year that put unique spins on the music video art-form. These are five of my favorite live session videos of 2013:
1. Radiator Hospital – “Our Song” Piss Couch Session, filmed by Maggot House Records. This is one of the most honest break-up songs since Bob Dylan’s demo recording of “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” and the guys over at Maggot House got an incredibly intimate and vulnerable recording of it. Sam Cook-Parrott released a studio version of the song on his Something WildLP a few months after the filming but this version is still my favorite.
Year End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2013 awesome. In this installment, photographer Rachel Barrish shares her favorite shots of the year.
I’ve been photographing concerts for almost two years, and I started out right here at The Key. There is nothing I love more than being able to capture a moment during a concert by a musician I admire, and these are my top 5 photos from various shows I shot this year.
1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs at River Stage at Great Plaza
Being on a Tuesday, you didn’t really know what type of show this was going to be or how many people were going to show up. The place seemed fairly empty for such a large scale when Karen O first came on stage, but it felt like bliss. Seeing a band that big on a large stage with a fairly intimate audience is special and memorable. When the paper “Y” confetti exploded onto the audience I knew that I was lucky to have had the chance to capture this show. Continue reading →
Year End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2013 awesome. In this installment, contributing writer Sameer Rao talks about songs that make you feel.
For those who are true monsters, hardened against moments that expose you for the vulnerable and fragile human that you really are, please stop reading here.
For the rest of us, we occasionally crack at the wail of a guitar, the cry of a love-lorn singer, or the naked clarity of a synthline (or, more often, all of the above). I call these moments “gut-punches” – musical cues that can stop you in your tracks or make you uncontrollably sob in the middle of a friend’s Christmas party, screaming “It’s just so beautiful!” as you wipe your snot-encrusted nose with that ugly sweater you bought just for that occasion.
Moments like this confirm why music in the age of digital reproduction can still be powerful and transcendent, and I masochistically yearn for them with every new record I listen to. Fortunately, we had a bunch of great ones this year. I’ll try not to stain my shirt as I run down the list of 2013’s Top 5 Musical Gut-Punches.
5. Little Big League – “Tokyo Drift” from These are Good People
The exemplary debut full-length from Philly’s own Little Big League is filled with moments that compel you to scream out for jilted love, but this song was a personal stand-out. It’s a song that evolved in texture throughout live performances from the past two years, blending classic shoegaze and 90s melodic rock into a volatile cocktail that threatens to overflow through the song’s delay-heavy bridge. Just when you think you’ll punch a hole in the drywall, squeals of feedback withdraw into singer Michelle Zauner’s haunting and understated soprano before the song gracefully shimmers into thin air. You’re left coming to terms with your own power, or your shattered hand in the drywall – either way, you’re still grateful to be alive.
In September 2010, we started The Key because we wanted to offer the local music scene another platform to reach more audiences. We also started it because starting in the early aughts we noticed something happening here creatively amongst the local music scene that was hadn’t felt in a while – it was growing creatively and the buzz about how good the local scene was becoming more significant.
More new bands were starting than ever before, more music was becoming available for fans and more musicians were looking for ways to connect to fans. To me, the last five years of “the scene” reminds me a lot of the Philly music scene in the mid-Eighties to early Nineties when bands like Electric Love Muffin, Three Times Dope, The Wishniaks, Nixon’s Head, the Goats, the Dead Milkmen, Schoolly D, The Low Road, The Hooters, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, and Tommy Conwell all represented for Philly on both local and international stages. We thought Philly 2012 was a banner year for the local music scene. Guess what? 2013 was even better. Here are some of the best things about the Philly music scene in 2013.
Year End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2013 awesome. In this installment, photographer Melody Chiang shares the best of who’s new to town.
When I first moved to Philadelphia four years ago, alot of people questioned my sanity for electing to leave California. In the beginning, I stayed almost exclusively inside the comfortable, familiar bubble of University City. But with help from some friends, locals, and of course the XPN crew, I began to spend more time exploring other parts of the city and getting to know Philly’s amazing, rollicking music scene a little. Now as I head into my final semester of college that will quickly be followed by another period of terrifying transition, I’ve discovered that I’ve kind of fallen in love with this vibrant, unapologetically spirited, sometimes disconcerting, one of a kind place. And I hope I get to stick around here longer.
So, for my 2013 year end list I wanted to compile my favorite recently local acts who, like me, all hail from elsewhere but have come to call Philadelphia home. Here are my top five Philly transplants of 2013:
5. Maitland Maitland originally hail from Williamsport, PA. Josh Hines and Jeff Mach play gorgeous atmospheric folk songs that have oft elicited comparisons to Bon Iver and Jose Gonzales. Their EP (from a cabin in the woods), which was technically released last fall in 2012, is sonically minimalistic but chock full of natural imagery and nostalgic snapshots in time.
Year End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2013 awesome. In this installment, contributor Nikki Volpicelli highlights women doing amazing work this year.
…because every single one of these women (and many more) deserves a shout out before this year ends.
Sometimes Nicky Devine is sitting at the bar at Johnny Brenda’s with a keen eye on the running of the evening’s concert. Other times you can’t find her at all because she’s sprinting around the venue, making sure everyone going on stage is happy (and wanting to return to our lovely city to entertain us again). That’s the life of a Production Assistant. Devine splits her time as a PA and a Production Supervisor for Weathervane Music, managing the production and release schedule of monthly Shaking Through sessions. She’s also Festival Director at the annual 2nd Street Festival, and if you’ve ever experienced the panic attack that is trying to maneuver your way through NoLibs on this day, you can begin to understand the impossibility of running the whole operation.
“Who asks these questions?” Was the first question I asked myself after reading this super well crafted Q&A with fuzz-rocker King Tuff (one of my favorite artists this year). I took to the side bar of the Philly Girl About Town blog for an answer and found co-editor Carly Marcoux. Compared to some of its online peers, PGAT only posts a few choice interviews and reviews per month, but Marcoux keeps busy, holding down a day job and playing drums on the side (and singing) in The Pretty Greens – a feminist fuzz-garage group that periodically publishes a pop-art fanzine called Pretty Signals (Issue #2 came out in August). SheT also plays in No Other and freelances for Tom Tom Magazine, a quarterly publication dedicated to female drummers.