Tag Archives: Artists

Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Cold Specks

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Cold Specks

Cold Specks | Photo by Katie Tapman for WXPN

Joining us in the studio for this Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session is Cold Specks, the Canadian group led by singer Ladan Hussein. On earlier albums, Hussein dabbled in menacing folk and piercing guitar rock, but on Fool’s Paradise her tone is brooding and delicate. With longtime bassist/producer Jim Anderson and drummer Josh McIntyre providing the dark electronics, Hussein performs three selections from the album in this session.


The performance begins with “Wild Card,” a pensive shuffle that showcases Hussein’s immense vocal range. Next comes “Solid,” which served ...

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Mister Heavenly

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Mister Heavenly

Mister Heavenly | Photo by Katie Tapman for WXPN

Joining us for this Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session is a group whose members have all visited us before, both separately and together (long, long ago). Mister Heavenly was formed by Nick Thorburn of Islands, Ryan “Honus Honus” Kattner of Man Man and Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse and The Shins around seven years ago. Back then, when their debut album Out Of Love came out, they stopped by our studios to record a handful of live tracks. Joining the trio this time around is bassist Brett Morris, ...

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On this day thirty years ago, The Cars were rocking Philly’s beloved venue, The Spectrum

Source: The Key (WXPN)

On this day thirty years ago, The Cars were rocking Philly’s beloved venue, The Spectrum

The Cars | photo via artist’s Facebook page

“Happy 30th anniversary, The Cars!”

“Thanks, but, eh, for what exactly, random lady shouting at me?” I can only imagine the alarmed power pop icons would answer in question.

“For playing Philly’s The Spectrum thirty years ago, ya loons!” I’d respond emphatically before sprinkling a handful of confetti. Then we’d part ways. End scene.

Though this weird encounter is thankfully very fictional, the information shared is not. Today marks the spanning of three decades since The Cars graced Philly with their catchy synth jams at the now-demolished, beloved venue, The Spectrum on November ...

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The High Key Portrait Series: Ivy Sole

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The High Key Portrait Series: Ivy Sole

Ivy Sole | photo by Josh Pelta Heller for WXPN

High Key” is a series of profiles conceived with the intent to tell the story of Philly’s diverse musical legacy by spotlighting individual artists in portrait photography, as well as with an interview focusing on the artist’s experience living, creating, and performing in this city. “High Key” will be featured in biweekly installments, as the series seeks to spotlight artists both individually and within the context of his or her respective group or artistic collective.

This past September, Ivy Sole played a set at Philly Music and Arts ...

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PREMIERE: Curtis Cooper’s Messy is a visceral work of compelling catharsis

Source: The Key (WXPN)

PREMIERE: Curtis Cooper’s Messy is a visceral work of compelling catharsis

Curtis Cooper | photo by Abigail Townsend Photography | courtesy of the artist

“I feel like all my closest friends are damaged,” says Philly’s Curtis Cooper. “And I don’t mean damaged in a bad way. I mean they have been beat down in one way or another and they’ve come back, and now they know the difference between having a good life and having a bad life, and they really appreciate what’s going on in their lives now. Those are the kind of people I want to spend time with.”

We’re talking one evening last week over falafel at ...

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With The Fall of the Fool, Andrew Mars of Settled Arrows searches for solutions

Source: The Key (WXPN)

With The Fall of the Fool, Andrew Mars of Settled Arrows searches for solutions

Settled Arrows | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Andrew Mars likes to keep busy. After debuting his emotive, atmospheric songwriting project Settled Arrows with 2015’s Public Privacy — an album that finds moving beauty in personal tragedy, the loss of friends and the death of loved ones — Mars existed in that body of work for a year. He released Unsend, a stripped-down solo-piano revisit of the album recorded in one take. He released two live collections, one of Public Privacy a production of performed before a studio audience at South Philly’s Buckeye Recording, and one a collection ...

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Step Into the Light: The ascent of Bishop Briggs

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Step Into the Light: The ascent of Bishop Briggs

Firefly 2017 | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

 

It was only two years ago that Sarah Grace McLaughlin — the Scotland-born, nomadically-raised modern rock singer and songwriter better known as Bishop Briggs — was living in Los Angeles, hustling for gigs at any venue that’d give her a space to play.  And then “River” happened.

Released in January of 2016, the earworm single was an instantly captivating blend of sinister, simmering electronic rock, with an undercurrent of retro soul and R&B, tied together by a powerful vocal delivery from the then-23 year old Bishop. The single crawled its ...

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Remember Sports as they vanquish confusion from their so-simple-its-confusing-as-heck name

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Remember Sports as they vanquish confusion from their so-simple-its-confusing-as-heck name

Remember Sports | photo via twitter.com/remembersportsb

Attention all Sports fans: ehr no — I mean, not like the “football” kind of sports. No, not basketball either, or any other form of recreational sporting team activity. Sports, like the band. But not that band, the other one. You know, the Philly one.

My goodness, who could’ve known how exhausting an uberly simple band name could be. Probably not Sports, the four-piece band of Kenyon College pals. Or maybe they did, and these wholesome punks wanted to be ironic like me with my beloved, context-less COLLEGE tee I found at a thrift store (no, ...

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Lukas Nelson and Co. bring the real

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Lukas Nelson and Co. bring the real

Lukas Nelson | photo by Myriam Santos | courtesy of the artist

Two years ago, Lukas Nelson, his brother Micah Nelson, and the membership of the ragged Promise of the Real were just coming into its own as backing band-collaborators of Neil Young for his Monsanto Years album and tour. The Nelson Brothers and their surfer buddies in Promise had recorded rough, jammy, Cali-countrified albums such as 2010’s Promise of the Real, and 2012’s Wasted, by that time (Micah is a solo artist under names such as The Particle Kid and Insects VS Robots), yet, between this ...

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Awakening the Feminine: Mhysa’s E. Jane on harnessing the power of softness

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Awakening the Feminine: Mhysa’s E. Jane on harnessing the power of softness

Mhysa | photo by Naima Green | courtesy of the artist

Conceptual artist E. Jane is, to put it in their own words, “always working on all cylinders.” In addition to pursuing an M.F.A. in interdisciplinary art, which they completed last year, E. has been performing as one half of the electronic duo SCRAAATCH since 2013, and exhibiting work in galleries across the globe for nearly as long. This summer, E. stepped out as a solo musical act, releasing fantasii, the debut album of their popstar alter-ego, Mhysa.

On fantasii, which is set for a vinyl release ...

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RunHideFight brings Geeta Simons from motherhood to garage-rocking mother-f$#&ing-hood

Source: The Key (WXPN)

RunHideFight brings Geeta Simons from motherhood to garage-rocking mother-f$#&ing-hood

RunHideFight | photo courtesy of the artist

Toward the end of the mad, bad, 90s in Philadelphia, blunt, forceful guitarist-singer Geeta Simons was part of several essential bands, with the revved-up garage rocking Rockula and the poppy, post-punk Swisher being two of her most notable and notorious. Like other musical artists before her, Simons was effected by two things, for better and worse: physical problems involving the dexterity of her hands, and marriage, then children. So she became, in her words, “freaking Donna Reed, if she was tanned and cool,” for over a decade of (still wedded) bliss, and raising ...

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RunHideFight brings Geeta Simons from motherhood to garage-rocking mother-f$#&ing-hood

Source: The Key (WXPN)

RunHideFight brings Geeta Simons from motherhood to garage-rocking mother-f$#&ing-hood

RunHideFight | photo courtesy of the artist

Toward the end of the mad, bad, 90s in Philadelphia, blunt, forceful guitarist-singer Geeta Simons was part of several essential bands, with the revved-up garage rocking Rockula and the poppy, post-punk Swisher being two of her most notable and notorious. Like other musical artists before her, Simons was effected by two things, for better and worse: physical problems involving the dexterity of her hands, and marriage, then children. So she became, in her words, “freaking Donna Reed, if she was tanned and cool,” for over a decade of (still wedded) bliss, and raising ...

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Cults

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Cults

Cults | Photo by Eric Schuman for WXPN

Joining us in the studio for this Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session is the New York-based band Cults. Formed in 2010 by singer Madeline Follin and keyboardist/producer Brian Oblivion, Cults are no strangers to our building; they’ve visited for assorted sessions and Free at Noon concerts over the years. This time around, they bring material from their newly released third album, Offering. Recorded after the band took an extended break, the record explores influences that weren’t so apparent on the group’s earlier recordings. Heavy electronic rhythms and spacey ...

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Cults

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Cults

Cults | Photo by Eric Schuman for WXPN

Joining us in the studio for this Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session is the New York-based band Cults. Formed in 2010 by singer Madeline Follin and keyboardist/producer Brian Oblivion, Cults are no strangers to our building; they’ve visited for assorted sessions and Free at Noon concerts over the years. This time around, they bring material from their newly released third album, Offering. Recorded after the band took an extended break, the record explores influences that weren’t so apparent on the group’s earlier recordings. Heavy electronic rhythms and spacey ...

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The High Key Portrait Series: Chris Smith

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The High Key Portrait Series: Chris Smith

Chris Smith | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

High Key” is a series of profiles conceived with the intent to tell the story of Philly’s diverse musical legacy by spotlighting individual artists in portrait photography, as well as with an interview focusing on the artist’s experience living, creating, and performing in this city. “High Key” will be featured in biweekly installments, as the series seeks to spotlight artists both individually and within the context of his or her respective group or artistic collective.

When you speak with Chris Smith, you don’t get the impression that it’s ...

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Perseverance, Pride and Percussion: Remembering the incredible life of Elaine Hoffman Watts

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Perseverance, Pride and Percussion: Remembering the incredible life of Elaine Hoffman Watts

Elaine Hoffman Watts drums at a Curtis Institute of Music holiday party in 1951 | photo courtesy of Mark Rubin

When Elaine Hoffman Watts passed away last month at the age of 85, the celebrated percussionist left behind an exceptionally multifaceted legacy, both in terms of the music she played and her own personal history. Raised in Southwest Philadelphia, Hoffman Watts was klezmer royalty, the next generation in a family whose musical history stretches back to before they arrived in the country from Ukraine. Her father, Jacob Hoffman, was a noted xylophone player and percussionist who was a fixture in ...

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Shamir Shamone: Upping the pureness with Philly’s Shamir

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Shamir Shamone: Upping the pureness with Philly’s Shamir

Shamir | photo by Jason MacDonald | courtesy of the artist

There are a hundred reasons to write about Shamir Bailey – known professionally as simply Shamir – beyond a recent relocation to Philadelphia. With a piercing contralto/tenor falsetto, Shamir demonstrates a musical curiosity ranging from 90s house, soul, country (all on 2015’s Rachet album), and now, lo-fi rock and fizzy pop (2017’s Hope and its follow-up, Revelations).

The-Vegas-to-NYC-to-Philly transplant has a singular voice, making any song identifiably theirs – be it silly (“90’s Kid”) or heartbreaking (“Like a Bird”) or angrily disgusted (“I Fucking Hate You”) in its lyricism. With Revelations ...

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Watch Slaughter Beach, Dog and pals expose the 10-gallon sized “truth” behind Birdie

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Watch Slaughter Beach, Dog and pals expose the 10-gallon sized “truth” behind Birdie

Slaughter Beach, Dog | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Slaughter Beach, Dog’s album Birdie is available everywhere today via Lame-O Records. But before then, in an incredibly bold move of transparency, Jake Ewald and pals decided it was time to expose the horribly dark, forbidden, entirely and completely shocking secret behind the album through a mini documentary.

The video begins with Ewald’s loved ones describing their relationship with him, and detailing his exemplary character — well, at least, once exemplary character. Things quickly go south (err west?) when Ewald’s true colors are revealed.

Having teased the record with twang-tinged tracks, “Building the Ark,” ...

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Japanese Breakfast brings Soft Sounds and a string ensemble to NPR’s Tiny Desk

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Japanese Breakfast brings Soft Sounds and a string ensemble to NPR’s Tiny Desk

Japanese Breakfast | still from video | via twitter.com/jbrekkie

Somewhere in between the release of the stunning LP Soft Sounds From Another Planet, a U.S. tour, a celebratory Philly homecoming show and a European tour, Japanese Breakfast found time to stop by NPR Music to film a Tiny Desk Concert. The intimate setting of the famed Tiny Desk provides the perfect opportunity for experimentation and often leads artists to strip down their songs into quieter, acoustic versions — and for Japanese Breakfast this happened to include the addition of some unexpected but beautifully executed string arrangements performed by members of D.C. ...

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Weaves

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Weaves

Weaves | Photo by Katie Tapman for WXPN

Joining us for our latest Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session is the Toronto-based band Weaves. Formed in 2012 by singer Jasmyn Burke and guitarist Morgan Waters, Weaves also features bassist Zach Bines and drummer Spencer Cole. The group released their second album, Wide Open, earlier this year on Kanine Records, and stopped by our studio before their show at the Boot & Saddle to perform some of the new songs live.


Beginning with the glittery stomp of “Slicked,” Weaves kick off the session with swagger to spare. ...

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Invention and Rediscovery: Crash Course in Science continues breaking barriers on Situational Awareness

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Invention and Rediscovery: Crash Course in Science continues breaking barriers on Situational Awareness

Crash Course in Science | photo by David Uzzardi | via facebook.com/Crash-Course-in-Science-177747285586892

Crash Course In Science is truly a legendary Philadelphia band. But until a few years ago they only existed as the stuff of lore, their minimal post-punk electronic music, characterized by the strange tones of toy instruments and homemade synths, almost entirely forgotten. There was the show opening for Phillip Glass in 1980. The great “Cardboard Lamb” and “Glamour Pills” videos. The Signals From Pier Thirteen and the Cakes in the Home EPs, both club classics. An album, 1981’s Near Marineland, recorded but never released.

Their songs ...

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Lydia Lunch Isn’t as intimidating as you think (unless you let her be)

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Lydia Lunch Isn’t as intimidating as you think (unless you let her be)

Lydia Lunch | photo courtesy of the artist

Ever since Teenage Jesus & the Jerks and the restless No Wave movement, Lydia Lunch has aggressively made noise (or made aggression, noisily) her primary color palette in which to paint pictures of haunted, hunted souls, rabid sexuality, amber decay or something in-between the three, with provocative albums and new bands to represent such tones and changes.

Lunch’s newest ensemble – Brutal Measures, a live-in-the-studio duo with drummer/electronic manipulator Weasel Walter – is what Philadelphia audiences will see October 22 at PhilaMOCA when she graces this city with one of a ...

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Bruce Klauber on life, love, Frank, Buddy, Gene and the swing of big band jazz

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Bruce Klauber on life, love, Frank, Buddy, Gene and the swing of big band jazz

Bruce Klauber | photo by Jim Dofton | courtesy of the artist

Along with being the principle literary and video biographer of big band rhythmatists Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, Philadelphia’s Bruce Klauber holds his own legend – local and beyond – as a jazz drummer and vocalist.

As a young man, Klauber played with top-tier instrumentalists such as Al Grey, Charlie Ventura and Milt Buckner. For the better part of this decade, he’s been the drumming part of the All-Star Jazz Trio, an inventive outfit whose weekly gigs as a threesome are often highlighted by dynamic local vocalist, Peggy ...

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R.I.P. Sound of Philadelphia singer, songwriter and producer Walter “Bunny” Sigler, gone at 76

Source: The Key (WXPN)

R.I.P. Sound of Philadelphia singer, songwriter and producer Walter “Bunny” Sigler, gone at 76

Bunny Sigler | via twitter.com/BunnySigler

One of the architects of the storied Sound of Philadelphia, Walter “Bunny” Sigler — a versatile songwriter, a record producer, singer and collaborator — passed away yesterday. He was 76 years old.

Born two days before Easter in 1941 (hence the nickname “Bunny”), Sigler got his start working singing in Emmanuel Baptist Church as a youth, where he was spotted by a local DJ, Leon “Cannonball” Fisher. His guidance led Sigler towards work singing on Junior Parker songs, as well as gigs and studio sessions as a solo artist.

Eventually, Sigler made his way to Philadelphia International Records founders ...

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Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: The Safes

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: The Safes

The Safes | Photo by Eric Schuman for WXPN

For our latest Indie Rock Hit Parade live session, we’re joined by the Chicago garage-pop combo The Safes! Formed by brothers Frankie and Patrick O’Malley, The Safes recently released their third full-length album, Tasty Waves, on Hidden Volume Records. More than just a throwback rock crew, The Safes combine punchy pop songcraft with the ragged edges of ’90s indie. Top that off with harmonies that can only come from a pair of brothers and you’ve got an instantly likable performance.


Our session with The Safes begins the ...

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