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Clairo to bring Immunity to Wells Fargo and Union Transfer

Clairo | photo by Hart Leshkina | via instragram.com/clairo

Though it was released barely a year after her debut EP, Clairo’s debut album, Immunity, demonstrates a great leap in maturity. Immunity replaces diary’s wry lyrics and bedroom production with sophisticated storytelling and enigmatic soundscapes. This coming Sunday, August 11th, Clairo will open for Khalid at the Wells Fargo Center. Later this fall, Clairo will head out on a headlining tour. Clairo will bring Immunity to Union Transfer on Thursday, November 7th with Beadadoobe and Hello Yello. Continue reading →

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Anderson. Paak and The Free Nationals bring the funk to the Fillmore Philly

Anderson .Paak | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

Think about the first time Anderson .Paak‘s music caught your ear. Where you at Venice when you heard “Might Be” on the radio? Did you catch the Holy Ghost the first time you heard Yes Lawd? Was it after experiencing strawberry season in Malibu or perhaps you finally became a fan while walking down Saviers Road in his hometown of Oxnard?

No matter when and where you discovered him, the one thing that has never changed is that the Grammy Award singer, rapper, producer, and drummer is also an amazing performer. This past Sunday at The Fillmore, Anderson. Paak along with his good friends and his incredible band, Free Nationals, gave Philadelphia a soulful west coast funky performance during his Andy’s Beach Club World Tour. Continue reading →

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20 albums you shouldn’t overlook in 2018

Some of our unsung favorite albums of 2018

Fun fact: in a total coincidence of timing, The Key released our best albums of the year list on the same morning that NPR Music, The Guardian, and Paste rolled out their respective lists. Most other major and minor music publications followed suit in the week that followed, social media was aflurry with immense list excitement as much as total list fatigue.

The best hot take I saw in the fray came from Boston journalist Nina Corcoran (a writer for NPR Music, and Pitchfork, among others), who simply Tweeted: “The 50 Best Albums of 2018 That Didn’t Have a PR Machine Churning Behind Them.”

It’s frustrating, but true. It’s daunting when you’re reading about mostly the same albums in a slightly different order, and it begs some consideration. Like I’ve said in the past: while there is power in consensus, how does that consensus get there? Through mass recognition, through large teams of music journalists with widely eclectic tastes finding 15 or 50 or 500 albums (seriously tho, I’d love to see a top 500 list in haiku form) that they can all agree are great. And that happens when artists and their labels have the resources to seriously and steadily push those records to said journalists.

So what’s to become of a release by Philly rapper Ivy Sole, who self-released and self-promoted her outstanding 2018 outing Overgrown? Or one by Columbus psych/folk/punk collective Saintseneca, which did have label support on their beautiful Pillar of Na, easily the best record of their career, but the “campaign” behind it was limited?

My favorite lists, by comparison, are like the one you’re about to read — not driven by consensus, not presented in a ranked order. Not fostering a frustrating sense of competitiveness in an already-frustrating music scene. One that merely collects records that our team is tremendously excited about, and thinks you should make a point to spend some time with. Continue reading →

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Billie Eilish brings the unexpected to Union Transfer

Billie Eilish | photo by Isaiah Spicer for WXPN | iospicer.com

With nearly every single tour date sold out, 16-year-old Billie Eilish has proven that she has a huge and devoted fan base all around the world, and especially so in Philadelphia. As I entered Union Transfer, I was struck by an overwhelmingly young crowd wandering the venue. A majority of them were females that definitely fell in between the categories of tween and teen. I took a spot up-top in the 21+ section, which was populated by a majority of parent chaperones, who were 100% dragged to the show by their kids. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Matthew Shaver’s best food and tune pairings in Philadelphia

The Tasty | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com
The Tasty | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Key photographer Matthew Shaver ponders unlikely combinations of eats and sounds.

Eating out is meant to be a social event, a gathering of friends and family where someone else does the hard work, leaving you to drink and be merry. Time and circumstances align every so often that I eat out alone, my only company are my headphones and an iPod full of hopes and dreams. Like fine friends or fine wine, fine music can be associated with a great restaurant, or a great plate. I’ve listed some of my favorite pairings below (Note: I am a vegetarian, and the choices all reflect that.) Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Maureen Walsh’s songs that defined 2017

Hurray for the Riff Raff | photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Key contributing writer Maureen Walsh reflects on songs that echoed the complicated feelings of the year.

Last year, I was hoping that 2017 would be a time for healing. Welp, that didn’t go as planned. This year, we learned a lot hard truths. Some of these truths made a lot of us anxious and angry. Artists were anxious and angry too and used their art to reach out to us so we could all feel together. Continue reading →

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Now Hear This: New songs by Lorde, Ride, Algiers, Offa Rex, Saint Etienne, Japanese Breakfast and more

Lorde | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.

We are having a shoegaze moment.  I’m not entirely sure that the fuzzy, buzzy swirls of early-‘90s Britain speak to our times in any particular way, beyond their basic, perennial resonance with the heavy haze of a hot summer.  But there seems to be as much life in the now-venerable style – along with its cuddlier, more scrutable cousin, dream-pop – as at any point in the last quarter-century. Continue reading →