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The Early November kicked off two nights of sold-out acoustic shows at World Cafe Live

The Early November | Photo by Allison Newbold | allynewbold.com
The Early November | Photo by Allison Newbold | allynewbold.com

The Early November embarked on a three-week intimate acoustic tour this summer and are closing out the tour in Philly with two nights at World Cafe Live. It’s a sort of a homecoming for the Hammonton, NJ pop punk icons, and frontman Ace Enders and his bandmates got an incredibly warm reception from the sold-out crowd at last night’s kick off show. In return they played a set that was career-spanning and memorable.

Last night’s show began at 8:00 sharp with a solo performance by Young Statues frontman Carmen Cirignano. He played a few old songs as well as new songs off of a record that will be released this fall. Continue reading →

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Review: Man Overboard’s Lost Tape Collective Holiday Show brings DIY punk to the masses

Man Overboard | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com
Man Overboard | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com

The holidays are a time each year where bands put on special shows in their hometowns, thanking the fans that over time brought them the success they currently have. Local punk heroes Man Overboard, in collaboration with their record label Lost Tape Collective, have taken their annual holiday show and turned it into one of the biggest pop-punk gatherings to hit Philadelphia each year. Bringing together newcomers and some of the biggest names in the scene it is no surprise that this show has been growing exponentially since it started in 2011.

The show kicked off with the totally not pop punk band Fight Amputation. This aggressive New Jersey hardcore band may have seemed like an unlikely pick for the opening spot of this lineup, but put on a solid performance that got even the poppiest of punk fans headbanging along. South Jersey boys Young Statues hit the stage next. In stark contrast to Fight Amps, Young Statues brought a melodic sound to the stage, getting fans swaying and singing.

Crowd surfers | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com

The TLA had removed their normal barrier from in front of the stage, meaning fans could stage dive and crowd surf to their heart’s content. Hometown heroes and personal favorite of us over at The Key, Modern Baseball, was the third to play. Before the band even hit the stage, the crowd had already pushed forward in anticipation. As I listened to audience members gossip about how great their new single is and how cute __________ (insert band members’ name here) is, I could tell this wasn’t going to be any ordinary set for the boys. Continue reading →

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Modern Baseball will release the new You’re Gonna Miss It All LP on 2/11, tour with The Wonder Years in the spring

Modern Baseball | photo via band's Facebook
Modern Baseball | photo facebook.com/modernbaseball

After releasing Sports last year, Modern Baseball kept the ball rolling in 2013 by signing to Run For Cover Records, touring all this past summer, and releasing a split with The Hundred Acre Woods. Now, Modern Baseball has announced their next album You’re Gonna Miss It All, which is due out February 11 via Run For Cover Records.

Truly a Philadelphia production, the album was produced by Modern Baseball’s own Ian Farmer and Jake Ewald, mixed by Philadelphia’s Jon Low, and mastered by Will Yip at Studio 4. Listen to “Your Graduation,” the first single off the album, below. Like most Modern Baseball material, it is instantly catchy and has a great chorus. Unlike Sports, however, the song is less polished, adding a sense of grittiness that and even a bit of yelling. Keep an eye out for the album, and catch up on Sports below while you wait for the new record.

Catch Modern Baseball at the TLA on 12/30 with Man Overboard, Real Friends, Young Statues, and Fireworks or at The Electric Factory on 4/12 with The Wonder Years, Defeater, Citizen, and Real Friends.

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The Wonder Years will kick off acoustic holiday party tour in West Chester, bring Young Statues along for the ride

YSWYPhilly-area pop punk heroes The Wonder Years announced a round of acoustic holiday party shows this December, kicking off on the 12th at The Note in West Chester. Tickets to the all-ages show are $15 and go on sale this Friday, October 18th via Ticketfly.

The band is still supporting its outstanding 2013 LP The Greatest Generation, released this spring. The album saw TWY’s songwriting scope broaden from slice-of-life stories told by a crew of South Philly punks to more resonant, introspective, dare-I-say philosophizing studies of the American Dream; how it means different things and plays out in different ways for different segments of the population. It’s The Wonder Years’s most mature offering to date, and worth exploring if you haven’t heard it yet. (Stream it via Hopeless Records’ YouTube channel here.)

Joining the band on the run is Young Statues, the South Jersey emo-pop five-piece who recently released the Age Isn’t Ours EP (as well as a couple collections of cover songs), and is hopefully due for a new full length in 2014. Along with Vinnie Caruana of The Movielife, the crew will tour up through upstate New York and Rhode Island, and hopefully they aren’t joking about the free cookies and hot chocolate for attendees wearing an ugly Christmas sweater.

In related news, Philly epic punk crew Restorations announced today that they will be on the lineup of The Bouncing Souls‘ December 29th Home For the Holidays grand finale – along with Delaware hardcore heroes Boysetsfire – at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ. Four-night passes are available now via the Chunksaah Records website.

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Listen to “Eraser,” an insanely catchy new song from Young Statues (playing The Barbary on 4/7)

YoungStatuesSouth Jersey emo four-piece Young Statues is gearing up for the release of the Age Isn’t Ours EP via Run For Cover Records on April 4th, and today premiered a new track called “Eraser” on Vice Magazine’s Noisey Music blog. The song starts out deceptively quiet, with humming ambient guitars and a delicate string section (yes, strings) – but then kicks into the very Saves the Day-style doubletime singalong overdrive we’ve come to expect and love from Carmen Cigarino and his merry musicmakers.  Give it a listen below, and catch Young Statues’ local record release show at The Barbary on April 7th. Tickets and information can be found at the WXPN Concert Calendar.

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Beth Ann Downey’s top five rock collaborations from Philly-area natives

For The Key’s year-in-review, we asked our trusted sources – our writers and photographers, XPN’s on-air staff, fellow bloggers in the Philly scene and even a few musicians – to send us their Top Five Whatevers. Could be the traditional music route – albums, songs, concerts of the year – or it could be only loosely connected. We’ll be sharing these recaps every day through to the end of the year. Today, contributing writer Beth Ann Downey ranks her top collaborations from regional artists.

We music lovers read, browse, skim, agree with, disagree with and soon forget so many of these lists this time of year. But if you’re a rock/punk/alternative lover from in or around Philadelphia, hopefully you’ll remember this one.

Collaborations amongst hard-working artists are undoubtedly how the best music is made. And in a time when folk, hip-hop and electronic music seem to top most of these other lists this year, I wanted to highlight the local singers, instrumentalists and producers who work together to do what they love despite what’s popular.

Collaborations are also where we see scene veterans training or complimenting emerging talent, and vice versa. Whether it’s bringing them out on tour or asking them to provide guest vocals on a new track, it’s great to see bands helping each other, or big-time producers working diligently on what they think should become the next big thing.

Here are five examples, in no particular order, of just how much love and talent the city of Brotherly Love has to go around. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Gathering feat. Rhiannon Giddens at Sellersville Theatre, Young Statues with Heartwell at the Barbary, Slingshot Dakota at The Fire, John Fullbright at the Tin Angel, Antibalas at Union Transfer

XPN Welcomes a Holiday Concert with The Gathering featuring Rhiannon Giddens at Sellersville tonight. The string band’s enchanting harmonies weave a different set of carols to celebrate the yuletide. The Gathering, which is Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Laurelyn Dossett, Mike Compton, Joe Newberry, and Jason Sypher, started playing together in 2011 as a seasonal project of the North Carolina Symphony. Their reputation escalated and they were soon being commissioned for more performances, finding their own among the embrace of holiday tours. Tickets for tonight’s all-ages performances can be found here; below, watch the band perform “Breaking Up Christmas.”

Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Young Statues, Bill Mallonee, Juston Stens & The Get Real Gang, Lockets, and mewithoutYou

Young Statues are a five-piece band from Philly who makes acoustic sounding beats that sound like early pop punk rounded off with a softer, gentler side. Their self-titled debut album came out in late 2011, hefty with sweet rock vibes honing in their truthful and simplistic lyrics. They venture to The Barbary tonight for an all ages performance along with Turnover and PJ Bond. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here. The night starts out early at 6:30 p.m. Below you can listen to an acoustic EP they released in February.

Starting out as the frontman for the  alt-country rock band Vigilantes of Love, and continuing as a solo artist after their disbandment, Bill Mallonee has always enjoyed writing and singing. The band has since reconvened but Bill still continues to write and record his own music. He will be playing the early show tonight at 7:30 at the Tin Angel. The 21+ show is $12, snag your tickets here.

The non-profit art and culture space, Little Berlin hosts a music series entitled ‘Dream Oven’ and the series continues tonight with a performs from Juston Stens & The get Real Gang. Juston, former drummer of Dr. Dog, always had a head full of songs, and he was finally able to extract them with the creation of his band The Get Real Gang. Their debut album Trash or Treasure was released in March of this year, an eclectic combination of rock genre similar to dreamy 60′s rock bands like Zeppelin or Jefferson Airplane. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. and there is a $5-7 donation.

The dream pop duo, Lockets will be performing a 21+ show this evening at Kung Fu Necktie. Although Lockets is a duo they do live performances as a full band featuring drums, bass, synthesizer, and guitar. You can catch them along with Attia Dancers and Language Problems at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are only $10.

Last but not least, XPN welcomes the Philadelphia-based ensemble mewithoutYou back home for the last stop on their tour at the TLA. They released their fifth studio album, Ten Stories this past May. They have been touring along with Kevin Devine and Buried Beds, you can buy tickets to the 7:30 p.m. show here.

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Download The Key Studio Sessions Compilation Vol. 3 (feat. mewithoutYou, Psychic Teens, White Birds, + more)

DRGN King

The Key Studio Sessions Compilation Volume 3—which you can download for free here—features one exclusive track recorded at the WXPN studios by 18 local acts, including DRGN King, Blayer Point Du Jour, Plow United, Weston, Surgeon, Break It Up, Black Landlord, Crills Wilson, Psychic Teens, The Bad Doctors, Ben Smith, The Tressels, Saturn Never Sleeps, White Birds, Andrew Lipke, Ports Of Call, mewithoutYou, and Young Statues.

Special thanks to all of the bands for coming to our studio, and to John Vettese for recording them. We’d also like to thank volunteer production assistants Zachary Deveraux Fairbrother, Jake “Rabid” Nisenfeld
Jeremy Quattlebaum, Joshua Pannepacker, and Maureen Walsh, as well as photographers Eric Ashleigh, Michael “Kraus Phade” Béon, Kate Bracaglia, Michelle Holshue, Mattias Nilsson, Eric Schuman, and Rachelle Lee Smith for sharing their work.

Click here the download the 18-track compilation in its entirety as a .zip file. Want to hear more? Click here to listen to the full sessions by all 18 local acts; you can also download The Key Studio Sessions Compilation Volume I and Volume 2.

Track listing:

DRGN King, “Holy Ghost”
Blayer Point Du Jour, “Mansion Party”
Plow United, “Martin”
Weston, “Love And Rockets”
Surgeon, “Greed”
Break It Up, “Subterranian”
Black Landlord, “Last Night”
Crills Wilson, “Grifter”
Psychic Teens, “Red”
The Bad Doctors, “Sisyphus And The Gate”
Ben Smith, “Love Potion No. 10″
The Tressels, “Cold Blue Eyes”
Saturn Never Sleeps, “Hearts On Fire”
White Birds, “Floating Hands”
Andrew Lipke, “Sleep Like A Child”
Ports Of Call, Ballinora
mewithoutYou, “Tie Me Up! Untie Me!”
Young Statues , “Athens”

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The Key Studio Sessions: Young Statues


South Jersey post-emo six-piece Young Statues hit the ground running in 2011. Originally nothing more than an outlet for songs written by Carmen Cirignano after his old band Makeout Party dissolved, things escalated exponentially once he stepped into Gradwell House Recording. Over a few short months, Cirignano recruited a team of backing players, inked a deal with Boston’s Run For Cover Records and booked a string of UK dates (with one of the more clever tour posters I’ve seen in a while). On that run, Young Statues opened a handful of reunion show dates for their sonic older siblings Saves the Day, meaning the band got to play to venues packed with several thousand eager and excited people. Not bad for a first tour, but their songs seem built to fit in those types of spaces – the stadiums, the biggest rooms, to paraphrase onetime Philly music guy Matt Pond. Before leaving for tour, Young Statues recorded an inspired Key Studio Session – blazing out from “Athens” and its punchy downbeat, wrapping up with the moving ebb and flow of “Meet Me At the Hudson.” Stream and download the set below, and catch the band this Friday playing to what will doubtless be another packed crowd: opening for the newly reunited Early November at Hangar 84 in Vineland, NJ. Young Statues performs with Man Overboard and The Early November Friday Dec. 30 at 8 p.m.; tickets for the all-ages show are $20.