Tag Archives: Artists

If Something Is On Fire, Maybe It Needs To Be: Philly saxophonist Keir Neuringer on distilling a troubled world into turbulent jazz

Source: The Key (WXPN)

If Something Is On Fire, Maybe It Needs To Be: Philly saxophonist Keir Neuringer on distilling a troubled world into turbulent jazz

Keir Neuringer | photo by Peter Gannushkin | courtesy of the artist

The moment you hear Keir Neuringer‘s alto-saxophone vibrating through an art museum — the warm tones bouncing off of avant garde sculptures — and watch those tones solidify into zoetropic color and immerse themselves into Muhal Richard Abrams collages, the only thing that seems to make sense, in the moment, is that you’re watching a reinterpretation of jazz.

It’s with his decidedly experimental (and experiential) band Irreversible Entanglements (featuring Camae Ayewa, aka Moor Mother, on poetic vocals) and his crashy, noise ‘n blues and equally experimental/experiential outfit ...

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Music, Modern Art and More: Get to know Philly’s hip-hop renaissance man Ronniere Spacely

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Music, Modern Art and More: Get to know Philly’s hip-hop renaissance man Ronniere Spacely

photo via twitter.com/brucespacelee

In a world of multihyphenates, Philly based MC / producer / multi-instrumentalist / visual artist, Ronniere Spacely effectively straddles disparate worlds of music, film and modern art. A native of Norfolk, Virginia, and a dedicated acolyte of Virginia production duo The Neptunes (Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo), Spacely absorbed the heavy-hitting, melodic and harmonically rich aesthetic of his hometown heroes into his own music.

He poured these influences into his recent self-released Uncle Lahk Jaw mixtape and his self-shot and produced short film Yo Bro, a lo-fi, experimental musing on love, infatuation and music. A striking ...

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Jan 15 in Music History: The Who release their debut single, John Lee Hooker and Canned Heat release their collaborative album

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Jan 15 in Music History: The Who release their debut single, John Lee Hooker and Canned Heat release their collaborative album
1961 – The Supremes sign a world wide recording contract with Motown Records. Along with Mary Wilson, Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, there is a fourth member, Barbara Martin, who leaves a year later. All except Martin are under 18 (Ross is 16) and need parental consent, which is granted after label boss Berry Gordy and his sister, Esther, win over their parents.

1965 – The Who release their first single “I Can’t Explain” with Jimmy Page on guitar and The Ivy League on backing vocals.
1967 – The Rolling Stones are forced to change the lyrics of “Let’s Spend ...

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Jan 8 in Music History: Elvis and David Bowie are born, Blackstar is released

Source: The Key (WXPN)

David Bowie Blackstar
1957 – Elvis Presley takes the U.S. Army pre-induction exam on his 22nd birthday.

1960 – Eddie Cochran’s holds his last recording session in Hollywood.
1968 – Stax Records releases Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” and Sam & Dave’s “I Thank You.”
1973 – Elvis files for divorce from Priscilla Presley.
1974 – KISS sign their first recording deal, with Casablanca Records.
1979 – Canadian rock band Rush are named the country’s official Ambassadors Of Music by the Canadian government.
1981 – Linda Ronstadt makes her Broadway debut alongside Rex Smith and Kevin Kline in the ...

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Jan 2 in Music History: All Things Must Pass makes George Harrison the first Beatle with a solo US #1 album

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Jan 2 in Music History: All Things Must Pass makes George Harrison the first Beatle with a solo US #1 album
1941 – The Andrews Sisters record “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”

 

1969 – The entire shipment of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s album Two Virgins is seized by authorities in Newark, New Jersey due to the full frontal nude photograph of the couple on the cover. The album is eventually released and wrapped in plain brown paper in record stores.
1969 – Filming begins at Twickenham studios in England of The Beatles rehearsing for the Let It Be album.
1971 – The George Harrison album All Things Must Pass starts a seven week run atop the US album chart, making ...

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Megan Cooper’s top ten train tracks (a commute playlist for 2017)

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Megan Cooper’s top ten train tracks (a commute playlist for 2017)

Chastity Belt | photo via chastity-belt.bandcamp.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Megan Cooper shares the soundtrack that kept her sane on SEPTA.

This past year, I’ve spent a quite a bit of time on public transport. Not having a car, while splitting my life between the ‘burbs as I finished up school (woo I’m done!) and the city as I worked and went to many a gig, you could say the R5 Regional Rail line was —  for better or for worse — sort ...

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Megan Cooper’s top ten train tracks (a commute playlist for 2017)

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Megan Cooper’s top ten train tracks (a commute playlist for 2017)

Chastity Belt | photo via chastity-belt.bandcamp.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Megan Cooper shares the soundtrack that kept her sane on SEPTA.

This past year, I’ve spent a quite a bit of time on public transport. Not having a car, while splitting my life between the ‘burbs as I finished up school (woo I’m done!) and the city as I worked and went to many a gig, you could say the R5 Regional Rail line was —  for better or for worse — sort ...

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: 2017’s ten best Philly artist portraits

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Key’s Year-End Mania: 2017’s ten best Philly artist portraits

Cayetana | photos by Mary Ferrigno | courtesy of the artist

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, we look at some of the best artist portraits of 2017.

During last year’s end-of-the-year rush, The Key took a brief step away from music itself and instead started digging through the images surrounding it. The result was 2016’s ten best Philly artist portraits — a collection of some of the most visually stunning, ridiculously outlandish or otherwise eye-catching promotional photos from our beloved local musicians.

As you well know, ...

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No Fooling: Get to know XPN’s Artist to Watch Sunflower Bean

Source: The Key (WXPN)

No Fooling: Get to know XPN’s Artist to Watch Sunflower Bean

Sunflower Bean | photo by Andy DeLuca | courtesy of the artist

The life of a touring musician is one that’s packed with hacks. It has to be, really. When you’re traveling by van from city to city and playing shows almost nightly, you need to find ways for the comforts of home to tag along, too. At the very least, you need to remember to bring enough clean pairs of socks and underwear.

That’s #1 on Sunflower Bean’s list of tour tricks. And at this point, they have a lot of them. After playing CMJ in 2014, the ...

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Queen of Jeans joined the Topshelf Records roster and made a John Hughes-esque trailer about it

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Queen of Jeans joined the Topshelf Records roster and made a John Hughes-esque trailer about it

Queen of Jeans | photo by Bob Sweeney | via facebook.com/queenofjeansmusic

Exciting news of the afternoon: Philly popsters Queen of Jeans will release their much-anticipated full-length debut in early 2018. The band made a splash about two years ago with the irresistible single “Dance (Get Off Your Ass)” and, following the release of its debut EP on Indianapolis label Third Uncle Records, toured and gigged around town a lot. We most recently caught them at the Made In America skate stage, and today we got news that they’ll be releasing the aforementioned long-player via Boston’s revered Topshelf Records.

Along ...

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Ursula Rucker: tender, torrid, tough

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Ursula Rucker:  tender, torrid, tough

Ursula Rucker | photo by Neal Santos | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia’s Ursula Rucker is part of America’s continuum of Afro-conscious performance poets such as Gil Scott-Heron, Wanda Robinson, Sonia Sanchez and The Last Poets. Yet, since the early 90s – her work with King Britt, Josh Wink, The Roots, a series of electronically devised solo albums – Rucker has modernized its musical form, while maintaining a uniquely seductive éclat that is hers and hers alone.

In the last several years, she has tucked into her past, and that of her family’s to come up with a lengthy performance ...

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Ursula Rucker: tender, torrid, tough

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Ursula Rucker:  tender, torrid, tough

Ursula Rucker | photo by Neal Santos | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia’s Ursula Rucker is part of America’s continuum of Afro-conscious performance poets such as Gil Scott-Heron, Wanda Robinson, Sonia Sanchez and The Last Poets. Yet, since the early 90s – her work with King Britt, Josh Wink, The Roots, a series of electronically devised solo albums – Rucker has modernized its musical form, while maintaining a uniquely seductive éclat that is hers and hers alone.

In the last several years, she has tucked into her past, and that of her family’s to come up with a lengthy performance ...

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Ursula Rucker: tender, torrid, tough

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Ursula Rucker:  tender, torrid, tough

Ursula Rucker | photo by Neal Santos | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia’s Ursula Rucker is part of America’s continuum of Afro-conscious performance poets such as Gil Scott-Heron, Wanda Robinson, Sonia Sanchez and The Last Poets. Yet, since the early 90s – her work with King Britt, Josh Wink, The Roots, a series of electronically devised solo albums – Rucker has modernized its musical form, while maintaining a uniquely seductive éclat that is hers and hers alone.

In the last several years, she has tucked into her past, and that of her family’s to come up with a lengthy performance ...

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Creepoid will play its last show in February at Union Transfer

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Creepoid will play its last show in February at Union Transfer

Creepoid | Photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

Philly psychedelic punk outfit Creepoid has announced that, after an eight-year run, the band will be dissolving. Creepoid will play its final show on February 17 at Union Transfer.

The band shared the news on its Facebook page:

“After eight wild years and 4 vans we will be moving on from Creepoid to focus on other endeavors. To all the bands we played with along the way, all the loyal supporters, couch offerers, amazing promoters, and weed sharers, we can never thank you enough for making this ride possible.”

...

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The Key Presents: Radiator Hospital

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Key Presents: Radiator Hospital

Sam from Radiator Hospital | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

Radiator Hospital is a band with a lot of moving parts. Both physically and metaphorically, putting the band in one place is an intricate operation, to say the least. With songs that range from adorably tender to shout-along tearjerker ballads, the same thing can be said about the music. But it all revolves around one well of gravity: Songwriter and front-person  Sam Cook-Parrot.

In some sense, an easy way to put Radiator Hospital in one room is to just go ahead and put Sam in the room. So we ...

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Strand of Oaks releasing a collection of demos called Harder Love in January; listen to “Passing Out”

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Strand of Oaks releasing a collection of demos called Harder Love in January; listen to “Passing Out”

Strand of Oaks’ Harder Love | via Bandcamp

A good argument for arriving early to Strand of Oaks‘ three-night stand at Boot & Saddle this weekend: main man Tim Showalter will be selling limited edition vinyl copies of Harder Love — yes, you read that correctly, HardER. This is a new collection demos from the 2016 studio sessions for this year’s Hard Love.

The album comes out January 19th on Dead Oceans Records, and is limited to 500 copies. From the label:

Pairing the earliest versions Hard Love tracks with previously-unreleased material (including some songs deemed “too ...

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Watch Angel Olsen perform a cover of David Bowie’s “Five Years”

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Watch Angel Olsen perform a cover of David Bowie’s “Five Years”

Angel Olsen | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

During Angel Olsen’s show at Charlottesville’s Jefferson Theater last night, the Queen of Croon treated fans to a brooding cover of David Bowie’s “5 Years.”

Below, you can catch a blip of the performance from a concertgoer’s live video posted on Instagram, which begins with Olsen singing a bit of the song’s steady buildup, and then breaking into the soaring chorus finale. Plus, with Olsen dressed in a metallic-looking body suit, the rendition sparks even more Bowie flair.

Don’t miss Angel Olsen at Union Transfer on December 12th with support from ...

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Stepping Out of the Sub-genre: RVLVR and Ben O’Neill talk about synthesizing a spectrum of influences on Stiff Upper Lip

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Stepping Out of the Sub-genre: RVLVR and Ben O’Neill talk about synthesizing a spectrum of influences on Stiff Upper Lip

RVLVR | photo via facebook.com/rvlvrphilly

RVLVR is the nom de guerre of composer / producer James Sauppe. His latest project is a collaboration with another Philadelphian — the Grammy-nominated singer / songwriter / guitarist, Ben O’ Neil. The EP, Stiff Upper Lip is a sonically dense, emotionally layered set of mutant pop-songs. It’s gripping from the opening title track, which melds “Bohemian Rhapsody” style vocal harmonies with the  dystopian ambience of Another Green World-era Eno, to “Whole Pieces Whole,” the sprawling, ambitious closer that conjures up the spirit of Electric Light Orchestra and The Beatles “Within Without You.”

We ...

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The Power of the People: Kamasi Washington on artistic freedom and intellectual expansion

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Power of the People: Kamasi Washington on artistic freedom and intellectual expansion

Kamasi Washington | photo courtesy of the artist

If you listen to current jazz and its proponents, you’d think the landscape would be wrought with dark cynicism, mired in the sometimes tenuous relationship that jazz, in an attempt to stay in the millennial zeitgeist, has had to build with scenes like noise or experimental music. Scenes where a bleaker outlook is fostered at the expense of spiritual liberation.

Enter Kamasi Washington, a beacon in the modern iteration of jazz and avant garde music. He exists as a portal to another time where African dashikis and proud Nubian brothers holding ...

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The Key Presents: Secret American

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Key Presents: Secret American

Secret American | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

Secret American is a project of two coasts. A couple years back, frontman Derek Krzywicki found himself living in Southern California, where he moved with his old band Cheers Elephant. After parting ways with those guys, he began melding a retro-rock songwriting style with his unstoppable charisma onstage and at the microphone. But Krzywicki is a Philadelphia-area native, and some of his favorite folks to record with were located back in Philly. So he grabbed cheap airfares when they popped up and bounced back and forth across the U.S. to record his ...

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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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