Monthly Archives: December 2017

Your top 50 XPN songs of 2017

Source: The Key (WXPN)

 

Your top 50 XPN songs of 2017

The War on Drugs | photo courtesy of the artist

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. In this installment, WXPN’s listener-voted best songs of 2017.

We played songs, you listened. You voted, we listened. Today, after tallying up the numbers and playing back the jams, we are delighted to bring you Your top 50 XPN songs of 2017.

You’ll notice a lot of recurring themes, whether it be the mission statement of Strand of Oaks — “play it, play it loud on the radio” — or multiple cuts ...

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Items Tagged Philadelphia: I turned the pages solemnly, and then

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Items Tagged Philadelphia: I turned the pages solemnly, and then

Bumsweat | via bumsweat.bandcamp.com

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.

Looking back, I totally would have done a few things differently. I would not have set an arbitrary “weekly” benchmark to report back to you on the weird, wild and wonderfully ear-catching Philly artists I find in my Bandcamp digging. My weeks are unpredictable at WXPN HQ; the only ...

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Read the 15 most-popular Key stories of 2017

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Read the 15 most-popular Key stories of 2017

WDRE staff and fans, circa 1997 | stills from video by Andrea Corbi Fein

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. In this installment, we bring you the ten most popular Key stories of the year.

15. Diner Food, Punk Rock Style: The Tasty’s owners reflect on their first year in East Passyunk – May 1, 2017

With a menu boasting tofu scrambles, breakfast burritos, fried chicken sandwiches, pork rolls, cheesesteaks, chicken and waffles, and pastries baked in-house (not to mention the endlessly rotating weekend specials and carefully curated coffee ...

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What Are You Doing New Year’s New Year’s Eve?

Source: DC Rocks

What Are You Doing New Year's New Year's Eve?

Going to a party? Laying low listening to Ella? If you want to do something out of the ordinary consider the Irish tradition of banging bread against the wall or eating grapes for every chime of midnight like they do in Spain. In Denmark,  people break plates for fun, and in South Africa they throw old furniture out the window. ( I’ve got some candidates for that one.)
The Swiss like to drop ice-cream on the floor which must make the dogs and cats very happy, but my favorite might be the Romanian tradition of dressing up like bears and ...

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: K. Ross Hoffman’s megamix dance party for NYE 2017

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Key’s Year-End Mania: K. Ross Hoffman’s megamix dance party for NYE 2017

Lil Uzi Vert | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. In this installment, Key contributor K. Ross Hoffman presents a megamix of 2017 highlights for all your New Year’s dance party needs.

Welcome to my year end mania. My most cherished, and certainly most insane annual personal ritual, every December since 2006 (the year of Girl Talk, not so coincidentally) is to construct a monster mash-up DJ mega-mix of music from the year that was. The idea is for it to serve as ...

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The Month in Live Jazz: 5 Standout Shows

Source: New York Times » Music

From the Borderlands Trio to Thomas Morgan to a long night at StoneFest featuring John Zorn, a look back at some of the great performances in December.

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The Best Manhatttan Venue of 2017

Source: New York Music Daily

Yesterday’s pick for this year’s best Brooklyn venue went to Barbes. The well-loved Brooklyn hotspot is the first stop on a pipeline that continues through the lowlit, romantic, adventurous Drom on the Lower East Side and winds up at Lincoln Center. Today’s pick for this year’s best Manhattan venue, the Lincoln Center Atrium, reflects that logically triumphant conclusion.

For anyone who might think it unimaginative to the extreme to choose one of the spaces at Manhattan’s world-famous cultural mecca, think again. What the three women who program the weekly events here are doing is extremely sophisticated – and ...

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Revisit the ten most-popular Key Studio Sessions of 2017

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Revisit the ten most-popular Key Studio Sessions of 2017

Slaughter Beach, Dog | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. In this installment, we bring you the ten most popular Key Studio Sessions of the year.

10. Resilient – March 29th, 2017

The band is instrumentally complex — you’ll hear no three-chord bruisers in this set — but never overly so, flexing its skill while keeping catchiness and accessibility in its sights. [Singer-guitarist Erin] Fox has the charisma and dynamism of classic frontpersons like Joan Jett and Billie Joe Armstrong, and her elastic and impressive vocal ...

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Video of The Day: The Wombats

Source: Fuzzy Logic

Video of The Day: The Wombats

There’s a bunch of videos out there. Some of them are good. Some of them are a cut above. I like to think my picks for Video of The Day are a cut (or two) above.

The last day of the year calls for something special. With this video from The Wombats, we’re sending 2017 out with a bang (or two).

It all begins innocuously enough, just three dudes hanging out at night watching a lot of nothing happens. Until a particular car zooms by, carrying off a certain tennis ball with it, that is.

As the band’s nervy, ...

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On The Road Again: The Soft Moon

Source: Fuzzy Logic

On The Road Again: The Soft Moon

Well, well, well. Look who’s taking their show on the road?

2017 was a big year for The Soft Moon. Luis Vasquez’s dark, post-punk brainchild signed to the most excellent Sacred Bones, and also released two singles from the forthcoming long player Criminal (to be released on February 2, 2018).

But where 2017 was big, 2018 could be huge. A pretty substantial tour has been announced, taking The Soft Moon galavanting across Europe before returning to the US for a lengthy run of dates. Definitely a tour not to be missed.

THE SOFT MOON 2018 TOUR DATES

EU TOUR:

...

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Good Cover Version: Smokey Brights Does Fleetwood Mac

Source: Fuzzy Logic

Good Cover Version: Smokey Brights Does Fleetwood Mac

Pulp gave the world the song “Bad Cover Version.” But seeing as I’m a sonic optimist, I’m of the belief that there’s more likely than not more good cover versions floating around than bad ones. Good Cover Version celebrates the good, and leaves all that bad and ugly stuff alone.

While one of the lyrics isn’t quite right (thunder can actually happen when it isn’t raining, but that’s definitely not as lyrically powerful), Fleetwood Mac‘s “Dreams” is a mighty fine song.

This acoustic/keyboard rendering of the song, as done by Kim West and Ryan Devlin, the wife-husband duo from ...

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Good Cover Version: Smokey Brights Does Fleetwood Mac

Source: Fuzzy Logic

Good Cover Version: Smokey Brights Does Fleetwood Mac

Pulp gave the world the song “Bad Cover Version.” But seeing as I’m a sonic optimist, I’m of the belief that there’s more likely than not more good cover versions floating around than bad ones. Good Cover Version celebrates the good, and leaves all that bad and ugly stuff alone.

While one of the lyrics isn’t quite right (thunder can actually happen when it isn’t raining, but that’s definitely not as lyrically powerful), Fleetwood Mac‘s “Dreams” is a mighty fine song.

This acoustic/keyboard rendering of the song, as done by Kim West and Ryan Devlin, the wife-husband duo from ...

Read full article >>

Video of The Day: Vagabon

Source: Fuzzy Logic

Video of The Day: Vagabon

There’s a bunch of videos out there. Some of them are good. Some of them are a cut above. I like to think my picks for Video of The Day are a cut (or two) above.

Vagabon‘s “Cold Apartment” is a masterwork in raw, wrenched emotion. Laetitia Tamko’s vocals plumb the depths of heartbreak, so prettily pained. “I know it’s my fault,” she sings with resignation, “I gave up on everything.”

The video is a perfect match, tenderly drawn (except for those bursts of scrawl during the bursts of noise) and reflective of the ways even the most insignificant, ...

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Settled Arrows’ Andrew Mars uses only vocals to create eerily ethereal soundscapes in SONAR

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Settled Arrows’ Andrew Mars uses only vocals to create eerily ethereal soundscapes in SONAR

Settled Arrows | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Today, we know Andrew Mars for his local project Settled Arrows. But back in 2004, he was living in Ithaca, NY, toggling with some eclectic production styles. Recently uploaded to Soundcloud, you can hear these experimentations via the five-track playlist, SONAR.

Foregoing instrumentation, these five songs feature purely vocal soundscapes. A bizarre little beaut wonderfully-dubbed “Whales Texting” opens this strange sonic world. “Hey is 4 Hrses” then follows with an unsettling techo atmosphere while “From Devon to Dingle” blends world influences with a kind of cathedral-like presence to complete the ...

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Sarah Hughes’ five places in Los Angeles that are basically Philly

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Sarah Hughes’ five places in Los Angeles that are basically Philly

The author, pondering her costal allegiance | illustration by Sarah Hughes

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Key contributing writer Sarah Hughes shares how Los Angeles began to remind her of Philly this year.

It’s official, folks — I am a Los Angeles veteran these days and there is no denying it. After a solid two and a half years over in La La Land, I can say that I have become accustomed to the California ways of life. Avocado toast here, rooftop cocktails there; it’s all ...

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Koof Ibi Umoren’s favorite non-traditional venues of 2017

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Koof Ibi Umoren’s favorite non-traditional venues of 2017

Under the Greys Ferry Bridge | photo by Koof Ibi Umoren

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Key photographer Koof Ibi Umoren (who plays trumpet with West Philadelphia Orchestra, Little Strike and a host of others) shares Philly’s best non-traditional venues to perform at in 2017.

Traditional music venues need musicians and beer in order to successful. This year has proven that musicians need beer, but not necessarily the traditional music venues. A musician can spend a lot of time performing in Philadelphia without setting foot on ...

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Cheers Elephant’s Stonemasters is a postcard of jangly surf-rock joy

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Cheers Elephant’s Stonemasters is a postcard of jangly surf-rock joy

Cheers Elephant | photo via cheerselephant.bandcamp.com

A few years back, local favorites Cheers Elephant peaced outta Philly to relocate to sunny SoCal. After parting ways with primary singer and songwriter Derek Krzywicki (of Secret American), the three remaining members, Jordan del Rosario, “Travelin’ Mat” Rothstein, and Robert King have introduced the band as a solid trio by dropping a new album.

Titled Stonemasters, the album features nine tracks of jangly surf rock joy. Swirling in the tide of Hippocampus‘s infectious brightness along with a bit of Melophobia-era Cage the Elephant, Stonemasters is like a sweet postcard home as Cheers Elephant ...

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The Best Brooklyn Venue of 2017

Source: New York Music Daily

Every year for ten years now, this blog’s predecessor has picked two New York venues as the best in their respective boroughs, Manhattan and Brooklyn. It’s time for this blog to take over that responsibility.

For those of you who follow concert coverage here, it won’t come as any surprise that the pick for best Brooklyn venue this year goes to Barbes.

On one hand, that this modest Park Slope boîte has been able to stay in business for fifteen years during the longest downward spiral that this city’s arts scene has ever experienced validates the argument that if ...

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The Week In Shows: 1/1/18-1/7/18

Source: Fuzzy Logic

The Week In Shows: 1/1/18-1/7/18

A surprisingly snowy Saturday morning in late December seems as good a time as any to plot ones weekly live music schedule, I think. Let’s take a look at what’s happening in the greater DC metro this week, shall we? Hot diggity!

It’s the last weekend of 2017, and as such, I’d like to wish you all an incredibly Happy New Year. May 2018 be better than 2017 in every possible way, politically and otherwise. And now, without further ado, here’s a look at some of the shows I happen to recommend for the coming week in the greater DC ...

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