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William H. Travis releases “Godspeed” for all the dreamers out there 

William Travis | Photo courtesy of the artist
William Travis | Photo courtesy of the artist

Bethlehem native William H. Travis typically makes subdued folk with melancholic lyrics, telling tales of hardship and unrequited love. Some of his previous releases have been covered on The Key, and while delightful, they indicated an artist who had become comfortable in his niche. 

2019 marks a new era for Travis. Earlier this year he released “Aloha” a track about an ill-fated relationship with a woman who was far too carefree for the songwriter. While lyrically it did not indicate any dramatic change for Travis, the background instrumentals and vocals have a definite Hawaiian influence. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Los Coast debuts Samsara on the World Cafe Live stage

Los Coast | photo by Makena Duffy for WXPN

Los Coast showcased their debut album Samsara for today’s Free at Noon concert. At first glance, they seem like the sort of group that could fall by the wayside. On paper, Los Coasts is a multi-genre, southwestern band from Austin with a quintessential hipster aesthetic. They make music influenced by soul, funk, pop, gospel, and everything in between. Without getting a solid grasp of the group, they could easily be dismissed as mildly pretentious. However, to think that would be poorly misguided. 

The band opened with “Cymatics,” an instrumental track, while lead singer and guitarist, Trey Privott stood idly on the side of the stage. In just a few moments, Trey sauntered over to the mic and the band began playing “Masquerade” from this year’s Samsara. Privott’s was raspier than ever as he repeated, “You gotta keep steppin’.” Having grown up in Georgia and Alabama before relocating to Austin, his voice very much takes inspiration from church music and the gothic Americana grit of the deep south.  Continue reading →

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Bow down to this David Bowie Barbie doll, made by Mattel for 50th birthday of “Space Oddity”

Bowie Barbie | via brooklynvegan.com

This month Mattel is taking a break from their iconic blonde dolls to unveil a design in honor of a glam rock legend.

For the 50th anniversary of single “Space Oddity,” Mattel is making a Barbie dressed as Bowie dressed as Ziggy Stardust. “Space Oddity,” which was released on July 11th, 1969, is one of Bowie’s most influential tracks. It was his first to chart in the UK. The song has also been featured in TV shows like Mad Men and Friends, the BBC coverage of the Apollo 11 landing, and in movies like Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. The Stanley Kubrik 2001: A Space Odyssey inspired song has become a cultural touchstone. Continue reading →

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Kerin Maguire is refreshingly transparent on new album Places

Kerin Maguire | via facebook.com/KERmusic

Kerin Maguire‘s album cover for Places features a childhood picture of Kerin smiling wide while holding a guitar. It sets the stage for the album’s 13 tracks.

Places is the sort of record that can only be characterized as terrifyingly revealing to make as an artist. Maguire does not have loud, all-consuming background instrumentals or other band members to hide behind. Instead, Maguire makes music with her lyrics at the forefront and crisp vocals. On Places, she is vulnerable, and with each track tells the listener a story about something she’s learned or experienced throughout her 24 years. Continue reading →

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Philly Dogs: Watch David Bowie serenade the Tower with “Rock and Roll Suicide” from the David Live recording

David Bowie | still from video

In July of 1974, David Bowie took over the Tower Theater for an unconventional week-long stint of performances. The iconic glam rocker played the Upper Darby venue, known for its unique acoustics, every night from July 8th through the 12th. These shows served as the source material Bowie’s his first concert album, David Live. Continue reading →

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The Sidekicks’ “Ode to Jerry” honors rock legends, rethinks mortality

The Sidekicks
The Sidekicks | photo by Nick Fancher | courtesy of the artist

During The Sidekicks’ recording of their 2018 album, Happiness Hours, bassist Ryan Starinsky got the inspiration for the band’s newest single in a dream.

In a press statement for “Ode to Jerry,” Starinsky said “During the recording of ‘Happiness Hours’, Jerry came to me in a dream. There, he gifted me this song to commemorate some rockers who have come before, altogether making me rethink the uncertain realm of death.” And that is just what they did, through loud electric guitar riffs, the band honors rock legends well. Continue reading →

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Metallica will release an illustrated children’s book

The ABCs of Metallica | via metallica.com

Yes, Metallica has announced casual plans for an upcoming album, but fans can expect another unconventional project from the metal heroes: in late November, Metallica is creating a children’s book. (No that is not a typo.)

It’s called The ABCs of Metallica, and according to a statement on the band’s website, the book looks at the history of the group from A to Z with some fun facts thrown in along the way. Continue reading →

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Gregory Alan Isakov’s vintage “Southern Star” video is understated drama at its peak

Gregory Alan Isakov | Photo by Blue Gabor Caleel

Singer-songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov has seen a lot of recent success with his latest album, Evening Machine, reaching #1 on Billboard’s Folk and Americana charts. As he heads out on tour in support of it, he released a new music video for one of the songs off of the album.

Shot in widescreen with a vintage style title sequence and a grainy filter, “Southern Star” is set in a glamorous Boston estate with grand staircases, elaborate wall molding, and a massive chandelier. Looking quite out of place, Isakov strums his guitar wearing a brimmed hat, a t-shirt, and jeans. He sings into a nearby mic accompanied by band members playing their respective instruments. At one point, his percussionist is seen vigorously hitting the drums alone at the center of the staircase. “Southern Star” is understated drama at its peak. Continue reading →

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DJ Delish’s Khadijah *VOL 1* makes another contribution to Philly vogue

DJ Delish | photo courtesy of the artist
DJ Delish | photo courtesy of the artist

Originating from queer black and Latinx youth in 60s Harlem, vogue is largely ignored and misunderstood by the mainstream to this day. And although we see appropriations of the subculture everywhere, many listeners are largely unaware of the scene’s history and significance (check out this mini-doc for a briefing). However, Philly’s DJ Delish is looking to change that, with her music being the soundtrack. Continue reading →