Rachel Andie, Tubey Frank, Babe Grenade and more will play Cherry-Veen Zine’s August residency at Ortlieb’s

Tubey Frank, Rachel Andie, and Babe Grenade will play Cherry Veen Zine’s August residency at Ortlieb’s

We here at The Key are far from the only ones spreading the good word about the Philly music scene; Cherry-Veen Zine is doing the Lord’s work too. Published by Kristen Levine and Paige Walter, with occasional assistance from designer and co-founder Laura Cherry, Cherry-Veen Zine highlights Philly musicians, visual artists, podcasters, and more. Every Wednesday night in August the zine will be hosting a residency at Ortlieb’s. Rising Philly stars like Spirithaus, Lauren Scott, Babe Grenade, and more will all make appearances throughout the residency.

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Start your week off by watching every Philly entry to NPR Music’s #TinyDeskContest

Gracie and the So Beautifuls’ Tiny Desk Contest entry | still from video

The annual NPR Music #TinyDeskContest revealed its 2018 winner last month: Naia Izumi, a Georgia-born, Los Angeles-based busker who excels at swift guitar licks, live looping and fervent rock and soul vocals. While we’re certain to hear more from Izumi and team Tiny Desk in the coming weeks and months, let’s not get too far from this year’s competition without celebrating the plethora of impressive Philadelphia-based entries. Continue reading →


Five artists to see at O:O Our Black Arts Festival this weekend

Kingsley Ibeneche | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

O:O Our Black Arts Festival is this weekend, February 9th and 10th, at Circle of Hope in South Philadelphia. The two-day festival welcomes people of all ages, shapes, colors, genders, and orientations. There will be visual work, poetry, and performances from various artists, which you can read more about below.  Continue reading →


Grandchildren and Vessna Scheff benefit shows to support Big Picture Alliance and Aspiring Young Artists

Grandchildren | photo courtesy of the artist
Grandchildren | photo courtesy of the artist

Grandchildren‘s Aleks Martray has teamed up with fellow Philly musician Vessna Scheff to put together a short series of benefit shows. In a fundraising effort for local youth film and music programs, the two artists have assembled a variety of local musicians to perform at Boot & Saddle on November 16. The second show, November 17 at Warehouse on Watts, will feature youth films and musical performances. Continue reading →


Tiny Desk Philly – 2017 – Page Three

Post War Dream previewed “I Remember” off of their new We’ll Be Just Fine LP in a glowing living room.

Solo artist Lauren Scott performed an acoustic version of her “Sand Song.”

Acclaimed vocalist Farah Siraj honored her Grandmother with a beautiful performance of “Shades of You.”

F. Woods went electric with a solo rendition of “Stranger in My House.”

Sean Coyne turned showed off his looping skills in his video for “Drip Dry.”

Local trio Ladies & Gentlemen shared a song called “Haircut with Gina” for their submission.

Slow Mourning introduced their new collaboration in the Tiny Desk video for “Ozora.”

Folk-pop singer and songwriter (and impressive fingerpicking guitarist) Jordan Flaherty plays his song “The Body Keeps the Score” in front of a fishtank.

Funky reggae ensemble The Lion’s Paw played “Sixteen” in a combo garage / studio space.

Singer-songwriter Tim Osborne played “Store Bought Magazine” in an attic office space.

Michael Spear Duo played the revved up folky number “Get Back Hope” on acoustic guitar and mandolin.

Singer songwriter Bree and The Reeds dabbles in pop, soul and R&B with keys and vinyl on “Broke.”

Folk crew Man About A Horse is surrounded by stringed instruments on their one-mic performance of “Yo Bear, Yo.”

Erin Fox, frontwoman of hard rock trio Resilient, goes solo acoustic on this pensive performance of “For Us All.”

With an old school Nintendo Gameboy in the mix, rock duo Hidden Machines jam out on “Late Afternoons That Last Forever.”

Singer songwriter Maggie Mae performs the delicate “Eltern” surrounded by strings of holiday lights.

Trippy four-piece Sixteen Jackies channel some Flaming Lips vibes in low lights on “Blood Feast.”

Singer-songwriter Erin E. Decker plays the acoustic “Drown” amid autumn leaves.

Joe Makoviecki of Jackson Pines plays a reflective song called “Even When I’m Gone” in a living room.

Cheerful singer-guitarist Gretchen Schultz juggles acoustic guitar and tambourine on the bluesy “Spirit Down.”

An acoustic trio led by Matt Spitko also dishes blues-inspired licks on “A Lot Of Work To Do.”

Looking out a window with a whiskey glass and a notepad at his tiny desk, Young Sam James plays “My Pale Blue Dot.”

David Joseph’s home office is the setting for the electric guitar slow jam “The Last Ones Around.”

A piano bench, a candle and a glass of wine are Bryant Eugene Vazquez’ companions on the sorrowful “Hand in Hand.”

Singer-songwriter Ernie Gaines is backed by guitarist Dai Miyazaki in the soaring melody of “Roses x Ether.”

Party rock crew Johnny Popcorn simmers down for “Secret,” as frontman Hezekiah live sketches the set with a rainbow colored array of markers.

An ornate couch, a vinyl copy of Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde and a shiny Gretsch guitar accompany Jon Cox of Mother Moses in this performance of “The Riddle Poem.”

Footage of a bizarre ritual or Needle Points‘ psychedelicized performance of “Needlove” for the Tiny Desk contest? You decide.




Tiny Desk Philly – 2016 – Page Two

Lauren Scott‘s Tiny Desk entry is the intimate “Webster” featuring love lorn lyrics and melodies.

Soul singer JaE performed a solo version of her song “You Will Survive” on a tiny desk in a tiny hallway.

The Yard (Tyler Stahl and Michael Casimir) performed folk ballad “Come Back Inside”.

Singer-songwriter Aiden James played his song “Last Reminder” at a very tiny desk while on tour in LA.

Musical duo City Love (Sterling Duns and Caselli Jordan) trade verses on their song “Show Some Love” an ode to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Amduat performed “Dope”, a smooth jazz take on hip-hop, in their living room.

The Chairman Dances (Eric Krewson) sang about Bob Dylan and Lou Reed on his song “Augustine”.

Soul group Dirty Holiday fit their six member band on a tiny couch to perform “Mountains”, a song from their EP, Nobody’s Sober.

Orchestral rockers Man Illuminated used various camera angles while playing their song “Our Old Friends” in a tiny room.

Folk singer Michael Robbins played “Hold” while sitting behind a tiny coffee table.

Bethlehem and Sad Patrick clapped and stomped on their R&B track “Better Days” while illuminated by various candles.

Singer-songwriter Petite Sketches (Timothy Straghter) performed “#Uqdahl”, going back and forth between melodic vocals and poetry.

Kirby and the VibeTribe played “Senses” a dance-happy folk singalong in their tiny living room.

The Binary Sea performed a rollicking version of “I Got Your Love” in a not so tiny white room.

Soul singer Aaron Parnell Brown performed “Don’t Cry” while on tour from the backseat of his van.

Pit Folk (Andra Taylor and Nate Dodge) performed “I’m OK” from the studio where they are currently recording their first album, Haunted.

Cookie Rabinowitz provided a unique performance of his song “Beautiful Sign” by playing with just a bass.

Folk guitarist Andy McLeod fingerpicked his instrumental song “Song for Basho”, which will be on his upcoming album Forge The Valley.

Singer-songwriter Elissa Janelle Velveteen performed “Brain Chemicals” while surrounded by various musical instruments.

Iona Lake (Jaime Pannone & Veronica Stickelman) performed a stripped down version of their song “The Avenue” with a guitar and tapping on a snare drum.

Folk rocker Justin Patrick Foley performed “Blue Blood” which was recorded on his phone (technology these days).

King William IV (Ashley O’Connor) played the Shakespeare-inspired “Midsummer Knight’s Tale”.

Torito x Johann Sebastian performed a freestyle “Satan In A Cartigan”, name dropping NPR and their sponsor Lagunitas.

Philly’s Canyon Ride played their driving “Holding Thy Own” while surrounded by several different desks.

Jahan Z. Valentine performed metal licks over his song “Until Kingdom Come” next to a pedal-filled desk.

Craic Attics (Michael O’Brien) used several different percussion instruments from around the world to perform his song “Around The World In 7 Days.”

Joseph Arnold was joined by his orchestra for a performance of “Farewell”, a bouncy classical composition.

Hurricane Hoss‘ “Faded Photos” is a sweet country tinged ode ornimented with blues guitar and violin.

Folk singer JT Makoviecki performed “Knees, Eyes, Hands” from his tiny black and white couch.

Folk trio Ladybird provided some harmonic bluegrass, singing a self titled song from the comfort of their living room.

Singer-songwriter Reverent Whiskey (Matt Hollenburg) sang his original song “Shale”.

Pittsburgh/Philly pianist and songwriter Joy Ike performed a beautiful piano ballad “Walk” for her entry in the contest.

Folk trio Looseleaf performed “Holy Cow”, a rock and roll song with a fitting harmonica solo.

Singer-songwriter Gregg Cagno played “Waking Life”, a softly fingerpicked ballad.

Pianist Michael Melton played “Rock Radio”, an ode to, as you know it, rock radio.



Firefly Guide 2019: 20 artists to discover in the Woodlands this week

Firefly | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

When it comes to the biggest bands on the bill, Firefly makes things easy — the higher-profile the artist, the fewer people the festival books playing opposite them. It’s at the more emerging artist level that things get all feeding frenzy, and that’s where we come in.

Walking around the greenery of the woodlands and seeing an artist we were only loosely familiar with beforehand playing an intimate set to a tight crowd of devotees — the people who prefer to get up, go out, and seek out music, rather than listen to whatever’s happening off in the distance at the  big stage — is our favorite part of the Firefly experience. Last year, we saw Jade Bird play a tent to maybe 50 people; the previous year, Bishop Briggs delivered a killer set in the tucked-away Treehouse Stage. Both artists are doing pretty well for themselves now.

That’s not to say that every under-the-radar musician on the Firefly lineup is going to blow up in the same way. (Or that every artist playing intimate stages or early set times is necessarily under-the-radar: our love for Philly’s Hop Along is well-documented, and they play two sets on Sunday afternoon.) But not knowing where an artist is headed, and appreciating them for what they bring to their 45 minutes onstage, is an exciting discovery in itself. Here are 20 artists we urge you to discover at the 2019 edition of Firefly.

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The Week Ahead: Rickie Lee Jones, Sunflower Bean, Citizen Cope, The Beths and more

The Beths | photo by Mason Fairey | courtesy of the artist

Starting tomorrow night with a performance by Latin Grammy Winner and continuing through Sunday with a gig from a New Zealand pop-punk outfit, there’s lots of variety — geographic and otherwise — in this week’s gig roundup. Here are 16 concerts to see in the next seven days in and around Philly. Continue reading →


Items Tagged Philadelphia: More to love and where to find it

Tsuagaido | via

Here at The Key, we spend a lot of time digging through every new release from Philadelphia that shows up on Bandcamp. Periodically, we’ll check in to present you with the most interesting, most unusual and overall best of the bunch: this is Items Tagged Philadelphia.

No, I didn’t go to the parade on Thursday. No, I didn’t watch the game the Sunday before. No, I don’t particularly love football culture. Yes, I tried my best not to be a total buzzkill for like everybody around me, even people who I’m reasonably positive weren’t particularly keen on sports until late January or so. No, I don’t think I really succeeded at that, and my apologies to everyone who had to deal with my brooding ass this past week. Yes, I survived it all, and am glad it’s over.

Thankfully, there was a lot of great music to get me through. A solid new jam from Hop Along, and one from The Wonder Years seemingly referencing Hop Along; a new Queen of Jeans record on the way and an unreleased live Hardwork Movement joint (performed for those who stuck around for the off-air encore at Friday’s Free at Noon).

And of course, there’s always the stuff I’ve never heard before. Continue reading →