Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cool Moon at Lava Space, Worriers at Johnny Brenda’s, The Hooters at Keswick Theater, and a whole bunch more

Cool Moon | photo via artist’s Facebook page

Houston’s Cool Moon is passing through Philly tonight at West Philly’s Lava Space. Helmed by frontwoman Andrea Lisi — who was the lead singer of the early aughties’ DIY D.C. power trio, Del Cielo — this new trio still rocks just as hard. Find more info on the show over at the XPN Concert Calendar, then stream their latest album Postparty Depression on Spotify below. Continue reading →


Memory Tapes: Yikes the Zero gets nostalgic on The Animal Box

Yikes the Zero: a Philly hip hop artist to watch
Yikes the Zero | Photo courtesy of the artist

Like many young kids growing up in the 80’s, Jarrett Bair began his journey in music by sitting down with a cassette recorder, creating homemade pause tapes.

In a recent article on the history of pause tape making, hip-hop historian Gino Sorcinelli describes the basic process of this unique practice as such:

“For young hip-hop fans without the means to purchase expensive samplers of the day, pause-tapes were an early DIY way of producing. Using dual cassette decks, aspiring producers would play and record a sample from another tape or record, pausing the tape when the sample had finished its rotation. They would then rewind to the beginning of the sample and unpause the tape, starting the process again and extending the sample loop for several minutes.”

“When I was in like first or second grade, I would take a cassette player and sing and try to rap,” recalls Bair, more commonly known as Philly rapper Yikes the Zero. “I used to write and I was kinda shy about it, my brothers would make fun of me.”

Nostalgia and childhood memory are themes that consistently pop up in Bair’s work. Continue reading →


Lushlife enlists eclectic collaborators for Ritualize, incl. Killer Mike, Ariel Pink and RJD2

Lushlife | Photo by Phil Bradshaw

We at The Key have been excited at the prospect of a new album by the talented Lushlife for a couple years now. But as even more details surface about his upcoming Ritualize, the word excited but not be enough to describe our collective enthusiasm.

Raj Haldar, the man behind the moniker, recently released the tracklist for his album due out in February ,and let’s just say that it was not without it’s share of enticing details. Rap albums track lists are more exciting than that of a typical album because of one thing above all else: features. In the case of Ritualize, the dizzying variety and overall quality of its nine different featured artists is what sets apart. Continue reading →


Five mixtapes from the Philly hip hop scene you need to hear right now

Yikes the Zero: a Philly hip hop artist to watch
Yikes the Zero | Photo by Dom Savini |

A couple weeks ago, I was trading Twitter messages with King Shampz, a Philly rapper on the come-up, and he said something that really struck me. “I’m trying to show people that there’s more to this city than Meek Mill.” With all due respect to Meek and everything he’s done in drawing outside eyes to the Philly hop hop scene, there are so many talented MCs on the grind and so few who get to the level of recognition as him. Or, say, the level of The Roots – though it should be noted, even they took 15 years to reach celebrity status. It can be a tough road, but the Philly hip hop community is a hotbed of talent, and people should sit up and listen, even when they’re not names you’ll recognize. (Especially when they’re not names you’ll recognize.) Here’s a rundown of five releases / Bandcamp EPs / mixtapes from the Philadelphia scene that impressed me this summer, and why you should lend them your ears. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Purling Hiss at Spruce Street Harbor, Sarah McLachlan at the Mann, Yikes the Zero at Kung Fu Necktie

purling hiss
Photo via

Philly fuzz rockers Purling Hiss will play a free show tonight at the Spruce Street Harbor as a fundraiser for Vox Populi Gallery.   A re-issue of their 2011 record, Dizzy Polizzy, was recently released and we can expect their new record, Drag City, on September 23rd.  Click here for more info about the pop-up show tonight. Continue reading →


John Pfeffer (of Capillary Action) released new track “Bodega”, co-starring a wide variety of fellow Philly artists


John Pfeffer of Capillary Action is a unique songwriter. Having dabbled in free-form avant-rock in the past with his band – which, as he acknowledges, has been more like a name he uses for whatever music he’s currently working on – he just released a new, very avant-garde track  under his own name called “Bodega.” It features collaborations he’s done with a handful of fellow Philly artists, including Ricardo Lagomasino of Many Arms, Eric Slick of Dr. Dog, YIKES the ZERO, Lushlife, and Jeff Zeigler of Arc In Round. The  track is wildly experimental, and largely instrumental until around the 7 minute mark (it’s 10 minutes in total). Check it out for yourself below, via Soundcloud.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Walkmen at Union Transfer, Grimace Federation at Kung Fu Necktie, The Cobbs at Johnny Brenda’s, David Uosikkinen’s In the Pocket at The Colonial Theatre

Philly / New York rockers The Walkmen headline tonight at Union Transfer.  Replacing a canceled October show, the local favorites return to Philly in support of 2012’s Heaven.  In an effort to take the album in a new direction, the band brought in producer Phil Ek for a fresh sound.  The ambition paid off, with Heaven being named Magnet’s number one album of 2012 and the title track landing at spot #56 on XPN’s Top 200 Songs Countdown.  Tickets and information for tonight’s show with Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah can be found here.  Below, watch The Walkmen’s video for “Heaven.”

Continue reading →