Happy National Donut Day: Listen to Federal Donuts’ takeover of the XPN Friday Morning Mixtape

Chocolate Seasalt Rumors | via Federal Donuts

It’s National Donut Day today and to celebrate, Philadelphia’s Federal Donuts have a couple of awesome things coming out of their kitchen. First up, they’re releasing “GREATEST HITS Vol. 4” and are making available six of their most popular “fancies” at all their locations. (More here.)

Next, there’s the playlist. Knowing how much the Federal Donuts staff loves music, we asked the crew to curate this week’s Friday Morning Mixtape, broadcast today at 9 a.m. on the Morning Show with Kristen Kurtis. Continue reading →


Happy National Donut Day – Listen to Federal Donuts’ “Music To Make Donuts By” playlist

Photo via
Photo via

Happy National Donut Day. Held on the first Friday of June each year, Donut Day was created by The Salvation Army in 1938 to honor the men and women who served donuts to soldiers during World War I. Around the offices here, we just can’t get enough donuts (and chicken) from Federal Donuts. With a location in West Philly at 34th and Sansom Streets – just a quick walk from WXPN and The Key headquarters – there always seems to be a regular calling for some a bag of hot donuts or some of their always delicious fancy donuts (we’re partial to the Grapefruit Brulee and the Chocolate Sea Salt). Since we’re big fans, and we know they are fans of music, we asked FedNuts partner Tom Henneman and the crew there to put together a Music To Make Donuts playlist for National Donut Day. Continue reading →


Introducing The Skeleton Key: Our new DIY scene gossip column covering Bowie donuts to a Dead Moon tribute this month


Philadelphia is a really huge city. Like, absolutely massive. Next time you have the chance to fly into or out of PHL, take a good long look out the window: it really is the sixth largest city in the country, and that’s not even counting what’s referred to as the Greater Philadelphia Area AKA the ‘burbs and South Jersey. For most people, the city is limited geographically to where you live, where you work or go to school, and maybe some other landmarks around town. There are plenty of people who rarely find themselves in Center City and others who have never stepped foot in the suburbs.

As the place for Philadelphia music news, The Key strives to reach all citizens of our great city, no matter where they live. To that end, we present our newest column, The Skeleton Key. Our aim with this is not just to supply all of you with the latest news and rumors about everything going on in the city but also to better promote some of the bands that might be a bit more under the radar.

Before I move on to this month’s edition, a quick bit of housekeeping: I want to make sure that it’s quite clear that the idea for this is very much in homage to – that’s the nice way of saying ripping off, right? – the great work my fellow Key contributor A.D. Amorosi did for more than two decades at The City Paper, specifically the regular column he wrote called The Icepack. Also, a quick bit about me! I am a music journalist and photographer, a college radio DJ at WKDU 91.7FM, and someone who has been going to shows for way too long. I’ve also started booking bands over the past few years, which is both wonderfully rewarding and the biggest pain in the ass known to man.

Here are some of the topics this column will cover: upcoming shows, news about bands going into the studio or putting out albums, promotion of other bits of music journalism you might have missed, talk about old bands, rumors about new ones, and everything in between. If you want to send in some HOT TIPS or COOL RUMORS – I know you do! – you can reach me via e-mail or find me on Twitter at @talkofthetizzy. Continue reading →


Watch Restorations play acoustic versions of “The Red Door” and “Melt” for NPR Night Owl

Restorations at Federal Donuts | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Philly rock five-piece Restorations are known for their loud, punk rooted sound — but they have a quiet side, too. As part of NPR’s Night Owl sessions, the band performed after hours at Federal Donuts in Fishtown, playing acoustic versions of “The Red Door” and “Melt” from latest album LP5000, out now on Tiny Engines Records. Their presence carried over in the intimate setting, the songs taking a gentle warmth, showing the band in a softer light. Continue reading →


The Wonder Years find parallels between Philly and Japan in the “Raining in Kyoto” video

The Wonder Years
The Wonder Years | photo by Jonathan Weiner | courtesy of the artist

The Wonder Years‘ new album Sister Cities is built around the idea of human connection. It’s only fitting, then, that the band would continue this theme on film. The Wonder Years have shared a video for the track “Raining in Kyoto,” the opening track off Sister Cities, and one of the most personal songs on the new record.

“Raining in Kyoto” reflects on the death of vocalist/songwriter Dan Campbell’s grandfather, who passed away when The Wonder Years were on tour in Japan. Unable to attend the service, Campbell had to find a different way to pay tribute to his grandfather — on the song, he sings “Raining in Kyoto, I’m starting to shake / They’ll hold a service tomorrow, I’m an ocean away.” Continue reading →


Ten ways to celebrate Philly Loves Bowie Week in 2018

David Bowie at Veteran’s Stadium for a pre-show cookout in 1987 | photo by Charles Krupa for the Associated Press | via PhillyVoice

Quick — what cities do you associate with shape-shifting rock icon David Bowie?

London…for sure, it’s where he was born, and where he got his creative start. Berlin…hard to dispute that, it’s where he lived in the late 70s and early 80s, recording his most artistically daring run of albums with Brian Eno.

But the Philadelphia region has just as strong a bond with Bowie. While he was on tour in support of Diamond Dogs, he recorded his July 1974 two-night stand at the Tower Theater, releasing it as the double album David Live. He also worked on his incredibly successful 1975 album Young Americans at Sigma Sound, soaking in the influence of the city’s R&B and soul scenes and and developing a following of “Sigma Kids” — devoted super-fans who hung out in and around the Chinatown studio while Bowie worked inside with Tony Visconti.

In 1987, the North American leg of his ambitious, theatrical Glass Spider stadium tour kicked off with two sold-out nights at Veteran’s Stadium in South Philly. In 1996, he gave an intimate (for Bowie) performance at the Electric Factory on the Earthling tour. And since the mid-thousands, an archive of Bowie’s master tapes from the Sigma years has been housed at Drexel University.

In summary, Bowie clearly loved Philadelphia…and Philly Loves Bowie, as evidenced by Philly Loves Bowie Week becoming an officially-proclaimed municipal happening last year on the anniversary of the rocker’s 2016 passing. It returns this year with 20+ events spread all over the city, from happy hours to film screenings to a closing tribute concert at Union Transfer. So put on your red shoes and dance the blues: here are our picks for ten ways to celebrate Philly Loves Bowie Week. Continue reading →


Slomo Sapiens to Skull Eclipses, Shannen Moser to Strand of Oaks: Scenes from the inaugural Philly Music Fest

Ceramic Animal | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN |

This past weekend, the inaugural Philly Music Fest touched down at World Cafe Live, filling the venue’s upstairs and downstairs stages with two nights of performances by local artists. Highlights included dazzling late-night performances by headliners Cayetana and Strand of Oaks, packed-floor upstairs sets by Harmony Woods and Ivy Sole, the live debut of Skull Eclipses — the experimental hiphop project of Lushlife and Botany — and much more.

In the mix were foodies, artists and crafters, musicians in the audience watching the musicians onstage, and a couple top-secret stripped down performances for VIP ticket holders. 26 artists performed in total, money was raised for LiveConnections, and you can take a look at scenes from the weekend care of ace Key photographer Rachel Del Sordo.To see more of her work, check out her website, and give her Instagram a follow.  Continue reading →


First impressions of Fishtown’s new Fillmore Philly

Fillmore Philly | Photo by John Vettese
Fillmore Philly | Photo by John Vettese

A crowd stood on the outside of an iron fence and stared up at an old brick industrial site where, up until now, nobody goes in and nobody comes out.

There were definite Charlie and the Chocolate Factory vibes in the air yesterday morning – or maybe that was the table of Federal Donuts talking – for Live Nation’s press conference announcing Fillmore Philly. The new live music venue slated for a fall opening sits at the end of Frankford Avenue, at the bustling cultural / entertainment nexus of Fishtown, Northern Liberties and Delaware Ave.

Plans for the Fillmore seem like it will combine elements of all those neighborhoods: a rough-hewn artful exterior and a selection of craft beer and food inside, plush and loungey atmospheric elements with a chandelier-ed “Circle Bar”, a bit of loud nightlife bombast (if the pre-press conference playlist, featuring The Neighbourhood, Walk the Moon and Kongos is any indication of their bookings). Like Roald Dahl’s fantastical factory, there’s a bit of everything-at-once-ness to the plans, and a definite air of mystery – or questions worth pondering at any rate. But first, let’s stick to the facts. Continue reading →