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DJ Haram fuses bounce and Middle Eastern dance music in new EP Mixed Berries

DJ Haram spins at Break Free Fest | photo by John Vettese

Philadelphia-based producer DJ Haram just released her debut EP, Mixed Berries, which mixes the energy of booty bounce with brooding electronic textures and darbuka percussion heard in Middle Eastern dance music. Or, as DJ Haram put it on Twitter, “#darbukabloodrave.”

The album features three songs, “Rotten”, “Ripe”, and “No Wave.” The songs interact with each other to create a cohesive whole — rather than three separate songs, its three songs that work together as one. Haram’s sound is part percussion, part spoken samples, part electronic club beats. It feels like she is challenging the boundaries of club music and pushing for an international sound. Continue reading →

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Agudos Clef’s new single “Nadie” experiments with the boundaries of Latin hip-hop

Agudos Clef | photo by Abbas Wiswall | facebook.com/Abbas-Wiswall-Photography-171298639642494 | courtesy of the artist

The two voices at the front of Trenton-based Latin hip-hop group Agudos Clef have stepped out with a new single, “Nadie,” fusing new and old sounds to tease their upcoming project, Morir Soñando. The group is comprised of Josue Lora and Nota G who were last featured on the Key back in 2017. Then, Lora and Nota G had released “No Soy Yo”, a song about navigating identity. “Nadie” embraces similar themes but pushes for independence, self-determination, and making your own way in the world. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: SNL’s Pete Davidson to perform at The Trocadero this weekend

via Ticketfly

With the confirmed closing of the historic Trocadero theater, many Philadelphians are wondering what final shows will grace the beloved stage. In that spirit, ir was just announced on social media that stand-up comedian Pete Davidson will perform this Saturday, April 27 at the Trocadero. Davidson is best known for his five-season run as a cast member on Saturday Night Live. He has also appeared in films such as Set It Up, Big Time Adolescence, What Men Want, and The Dirt. Continue reading →

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Khemist speaks up for struggling musicians with new single “I Been On A Budget”

Khemist | photo by Brian Freeman | courtesy of the artist

Many rappers today want to tell you about their wealth — the designer clothes, the luxury cars, the endless fountains of champagne. Not Khemist. This Philadelphia-based rapper and poet just released a new single called “I Been On a Budget” that exposes the difficult life of the starving artist. The song’s composition calls back to jazz rap of the early 1990s as defined by groups such as A Tribe Called Quest and Digable Planets. A combination of bass, drums, and horns underscore Khemist’s verses and emphasizes that, while a musician’s struggle to make ends meet is not new, it still matters. Continue reading →

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Gary Clark Jr. brings family and blues-rock to the NPR Music Tiny Desk

Gary Clark Jr. | still from video

Blues-rock champion Gary Clark Jr. took on the NPR Tiny Desk stage this week with a dazzling, stripped back set. Behind the famous desk, Clark shared songs from his recent album, This Land, which reflect on the black experience in America after the 2016 election, as well as stories from his personal life. Clark chose to focus on the personal rather than the radical in this performance, but as NPR put it, “these songs still roared with the assurance and force of a showman at the top of his game.” Continue reading →

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Tank and the Bangas explore sex and love in new single “Nice Things”

Tank and the Bangas | photo by Alex Marks | courtesy of the artist

Two years after their NPR Tiny Desk Contest victory, Tank and the Bangas are back with a new single, “Nice Things”, off their upcoming album, Green Balloon. The album was announced last month and will be an exploration of the jazz-funk-soul group’s coming of age. Lead vocalist Tarriona “Tank” Ball says that Green Balloon is the sister to their previous album, Think Tank. Think Tank was 12,” says Tank, “and Green Balloon is 16 and having sex. She’s out there.” Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: The Claypool Lennon Delirium provides escape and innovation to World Cafe Live audience

The Claypool Lennon Delirium | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN\

For today’s Free at Noon concert, the downstairs of World Cafe Live was packed with audience members eagerly awaiting The Claypool Lennon Delirium. The band is a project of music greats Les Claypool and Sean Lennon. Claypool is best known for his role as founder, bassist, and vocalist of Primus, while Lennon is the son of Beatles legend John Lennon and a multi-instrumentalist in his own right. Lennon has bounced around the world of underground and indie rock and produced a few solo albums, including Into the Sun (1998) and Friendly Fire (2006). According to Rolling Stone, Delirium was born from Claypool and Lennon’s mutual desire to “sit in a room and make space sounds again.” Continue reading →

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Jazz-tinged singer-songwriter Taylor Kelly embraces messy breakups on “JWYTK”

Taylor Kelly | photo by Brian Bruno | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia singer-songwriter Taylor Kelly has returned a stunning new single, “JWTYK,” that speaks to the pain and possibility of breakup. Kelly was highlighted by The Key in 2017 in “Items Tagged Philadelphia,” a series in which we shout out the best Bandcamp new releases that are tagged #philadelphia. Her new single is as strong (or stronger) than her previous releases and establishes Kelly as a brassy, mystical, soulful force to be reckoned with in the Philly music scene.

Kelly is originally from Rochester, NY but her sound is rooted in glamorous jazz club scene of New York City, Chicago, or Philadelphia. “JWTYK” — or “Just Want You To Know,” if you’re not into the whole brevity thing — tells the story of a relationship that has reached its end. Without shying away from the pain of a romantic ending, Kelly spins a tune that is both honest and optimistic about the process of moving from one chapter of life to another. Her voice echoes that of Eryn Allen Kane, Lianne La Havas, or the indomitable Cecile McLorin Salvant, while her songwriting is all her own. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Herbie Hancock and Kamasi Washington to share Met Philly stage in August

Happy Jazz Appreciation Month! In case you missed it, in 2002, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History declared April as Jazz Appreciation Month, or JAM. What better way is there to celebrate the heritage and history of jazz in Philadelphia than with this news of an exclusive, one-night-only double header of Herbie Hancock and Kamasi Washington at The Met on August 4th? Continue reading →

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Bucolic opens up about struggle with addiction in moving documentary short

Seth Carpenter | still from video

Singer-songwriter Bucolic has been growing in prominence in the Philly DIY scene this past year and gained acclaim for this space-like beats and introspective lyricism. It turns out that Bucolic’s frontman, Seth Carpenter, isn’t the only artist in the family. Carpenter’s brother, Luke Carpenter, has captured a moving documentary short, “Seventeen Twenty Four,” about his brother’s musical journey. Continue reading →