Tag Archives: Scene

Catching up with Jon Solomon of WPRB, Philly’s (other) Christmas marathon DJ

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Catching up with Jon Solomon of WPRB, Philly’s (other) Christmas marathon DJ

Jon Solomon on the air on WPRB with his daughter Maggie | courtesy of Jon Solomon

Every year, while all of you who celebrate Christmas are at home with your family and friends – and those of you who don’t celebrate are getting Chinese food and going to the movies – Jon Solomon is hanging out deep in the basement of a building on Princeton’s campus, blasting out holiday tunes over the airwaves of WPRB 103.3FM for 25 straight hours.

For many people, Jon Solomon 25-Hour Holiday Radio Show on WPRB is just as much part of their holiday tradition ...

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Directors’ Cut — The XPN video team picks its favorite performances of the year

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Directors’ Cut — The XPN video team picks its favorite performances of the year

Tank and the Bangas | photo by Galea McGregor for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, we combed through the XPN video archives to find the year’s best performances.

Here at WXPN, our video team — headed up by Galea McGregor and John Groome — keeps incredibly busy. Between weekly World Cafe sessions, Free at Noon concerts, XPoNential Music Festival performances, Key Studio Session and more, they’ve produced over 300 videos in 2017…and there’s still another couple weeks to go. I grabbed some time with Galea ...

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Five holiday soul classics from the York Street Hustle

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Five holiday soul classics from the York Street Hustle

York Street Hustle | photo by Seeetpea Shots Photography | courtesy of the artist | sweetpeashots.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. But sometimes we get a little seasonal, and as it gears up for its final show of 2017, Philly’s York Street Hustle weighed in on its favorite sounds of the holidays.

Philadelphia ten-piece York Street Hustle always brings the party, whether they’re celebrating R&B, soul and Motown hits from the stage of World Cafe Live and Underground Arts, or they’re celebrating with stringed lights and tinsel ...

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: John Vettese’s Top Six Philly Music Discoveries of 2017

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Key’s Year-End Mania: John Vettese’s Top Six Philly Music Discoveries of 2017

Aleana | 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. To kick off the series, Key editor John Vettese recaps six of his favorite Philadelphia music discoveries from the past 12 months.

Earlier today, I was listening to a conversation with Johnny Brenda’s talent buyer Chris Ward on the 25 O’Clock podcast, and he made a very interesting point. The bumper crop of musical talent in Philadelphia, or what is often perceived as such, is no sudden phenomenon. It’s not as though, pre-2006, ...

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It’s Time I Got Back: Watch Weezer play the Electric Factory in December of 1996

Source: The Key (WXPN)

It’s Time I Got Back: Watch Weezer play the Electric Factory in December of 1996

Weezer | still from video

Whether you’re a 90s alt-rock fan in general or a Weezer fanatic in specific, here’s a Philly show you probably wish you’d gone to. December 5th, 1996 — a headlining set from Rivers Cuomo and company at the Electric Factory, featuring an intensely awesome setlist.

Opinion on the quality of Weezer’s musical output in the time since this gig is fiercely divided — personally, I can hang with them through about 2008’s Red Album, which is really only the midway point of their discography. Others think anything post-reunion (2001’s Green Album was technically their “comeback” ...

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Steady Hands speaks from the heart in newest Shaking Through feature

Source: The Key (WXPN)

 

Steady Hands speaks from the heart in newest Shaking Through feature

Steady Hands | photo via Facebook

Steady Hands meets Shaking Through…there’s a fantastic pun in there somewhere. On November 15th, Weathervane Music released the latest installment of their extremely excellent “Shaking Through” documentary series that dives deep into the the makings of a record and the humans behind it. Up this time is Steady Hands, the project of Modern Baseball’s Sean Huber that is rounded out with Andrew Kirnan, George Legatos, William Lindsay, Evan Moorehead, and Richard Straub, all familiar faces from around the Philly scene. It’s Huber’s project, but it’s one he wanted to share with his friends. ...

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Inside Urban Styles, a new book exploring the intersections of graffiti and hardcore

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Inside Urban Styles, a new book exploring the intersections of graffiti and hardcore

Urban Styles: Graffiti in New York Hardcore by Freddy Alva is available now | via Amazon

Arguments about legality and aesthetics aside, the term DIY is never more applicable than when you’re talking about graffiti. How much more Do It Yourself is there than putting your art, whatever it might be, directly on a wall for everyone to see? There’s good reason graffiti has been around for all of recorded history: it’s completely accessible but also quite subversive and potentially dangerous. It’s also just so totally badass to write graffiti. You might be doing something illegal but you’re doing something ...

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“I Can Do That, Too”: Philly Zine Fest returns to The Rotunda today

Source: The Key (WXPN)

“I Can Do That, Too”: Philly Zine Fest returns to The Rotunda today

A 1982 edition of Savage Pink | via Fanzine Addiction

The Philly Zine Fest has been going strong for 15 years now, an annual gathering of zine makers, zine readers, and just all around zine nerds. They come to The Rotunda every year to share in a community that’s based around a shared love of DIY attitude and ethics and being able to express whatever it is you need to express in printed form. That can range from poetry and art to personal stories to zines about specific topics, like cooking or bike maintenance or politics.

In many ways, the ...

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The Philly DIY scene is rallying around local punks caught up in protest arrests

Source: The Key (WXPN)

The Philly DIY scene is rallying around local punks caught up in protest arrests

Sheer Mag | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN

At the Sheer Mag record release show at Union Transfer in late August, lead singer Tina Halladay read a statement from the Defend J20 Resistance, a group of activists banded together to support the 230 people arrested in Washington, D.C. on inauguration day. This was not just a political band supporting a cause they were passionate about, though Sheer Mag has done plenty of that. Halladay, like many in the Philly punk scene, knows a bunch of those arrested personally. So it was a no-brainer that the organization would table at the ...

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Get Lost in An Sibin: The vinyl lounge at Lancaster’s Tellus360 is a prime space for music discovery

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Get Lost in An Sibin: The vinyl lounge at Lancaster’s Tellus360 is a prime space for music discovery

An Síbín | photo by Lauren Rosier for WXPN

Since launching in 2010, Tellus360 has been making a name for itself as an Irish pub and multi-purpose music and arts space in a state of constant growth and evolution.

Located in the heart of Lancaster City on King Street, Tellus360 began as a retail store for owner Joe DeVoy’s reclaimed wood furniture. But, he tells us, after experiencing how strongly the community hungered for a space that hosted daily cultural events, it expanded. Today, Tellus is not only an Irish pub, but also a prominent music venue…and now a record lounge.

...

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Ted Leo is playing a priest in the new short film Main Blessings

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Ted Leo is playing a priest in the new short film Main Blessings

Ted Leo in Main Blessings | courtesy of Femme Flash Films

Indie rock legend Ted Leo has taken up acting, and will appear in a forthcoming short film by Philly filmmaker Abigail Bruley. Perhaps this shouldn’t come as such a surprise, as the film evidently has music at its heart — Main Blessings promises to showcase some Tom Petty appreciation alongside its dark comedy, drawing on Petty’s “You Don’t Know How It Feels” for some lyrical inspiration. Leo appears as “Father Ted,” a jaded priest who is visited by the film’s recovering alcoholic protagonist Lars, played by fellow musician and R5 Productions founding member  ...

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Evolution, Not Throwback: Mace Canister Recordings’ Chuck Meehan is a punk scene vet living in the now

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Evolution, Not Throwback: Mace Canister Recordings’ Chuck Meehan is a punk scene vet living in the now

Chuck Meehan | photo by Karen Kirchhoff

Kevin Seconds of the band 7 Seconds might still sing about how he’s “going to stay young until I die,” but he’s in his late 50s at this point…and not getting any younger. That same attitude, this idea of youth as an ideal, has always been one of the pillars of punk. But what if you don’t live fast and die young? You can be like Seconds and still sing those same songs to the same group of nostalgia-seekers looking to regain their past glory or at the very least try and plug ...

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For our 20,000th post, here are the 20 most popular Key stories of all time

Source: The Key (WXPN)

For our 20,000th post, here are the 20 most popular Key stories of all time

The Troc Calendar from October 1994

With this post, we cross another milestone — 20,000 stories posted since The Key began covering the Philadelphia music scene on August 18, 2010.

Benchmarks like these are always a wonderful occasion for taking pause and looking back — as we did in 2014, upon hitting 10k posts — and I am pleased to say that our top twenty biggest stories, per Google Analytics, remain a perfect cross-section of what The Key is all about. Stories that are important Philadelphia music community; major happenings from the WXPN airwaves; and an appreciation of local and national music history, with an eye to the music of tomorrow.

...

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Listen to Questlove chat with Philly music icon James Mtume in his Questlove Supreme podcast

Source: The Key (WXPN)

A post shared by Questlove Gomez (@questlove) on


For the last year, Roots drummer and musical history buff, Questlove, has been presenting his podcast Questlove Supreme on Pandora. The weekly show features musical legends telling their stories about the industry and creative process. For the past two weeks, QLS has featured South Philadelphia-born multi-instrumentalist and producer James Mtume.

Two episodes are not nearly enough to cover his eventful life and career but the Questlove Supreme team do their best to get it all in. Philly native Mtume was first known for being Miles ...

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Philly punk faves The Dead Milkmen have returned with an eclectic new charity record via The Giving Groove

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Philly punk faves The Dead Milkmen have returned with an eclectic new charity record via The Giving Groove

The Dead Milkmen | Photo by Morgan Smith for WXPN | phobymo.com

Since the the mid 80s Philly’s Dead Milkmen have purveyors of punk rock and pop mixed with biting satire. Today, they have released a new EP called Welcome To The End of The World through the charity label The Giving Groove. The six-song EP contains a mix of styles; oddball arrangements and bass-heavy grooves, songs about Swedish ghosts and the pitfalls of falling in love too easily.

In collaboration with the Giving Groove, the Milkmen will give half of all the album proceeds from Welcome To The End of The World to Girls ...

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A memorial for Blue Smiley’s Brian Nowell will be held tonight at Everybody Hits

Source: The Key (WXPN)

A memorial for Blue Smiley’s Brian Nowell will be held tonight at Everybody Hits

Brian Nowell | photo courtesy of Seann Cantatore

The Philly DIY scene was stunned last week when Brian Nowell, frontperson of the experimental rock four-piece Blue Smiley, passed away at age 26. Tonight, the community will come together to remember Nowell in a memorial service at Girard Avenue DIY space Everybody Hits.

With local label Third Floor Tapes, Nowell and Blue Smiley released a self-titled collection as as well as the ok mini-album in 2015; last year, the band followed up with a new single called “Return.” The music ranged from lo-fi home-recorded fuzzrock to expansive, expressive dreampop.

And their sound ...

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Listen to Connor Barwin talk about The War on Drugs and his Make The World Better Foundation on XPN Local

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Listen to Connor Barwin talk about The War on Drugs and his Make The World Better Foundation on XPN Local

Connor Barwin at a MTWB concert | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman

On Thursday, September 21st, the fourth annual Make The World Better Benefit Concert comes to The Dell Music Center, headlined by Philly psych rock heroes The War on Drugs playing their first hometown show in two and a half years.

On this segment from the WXPN Local Show this week, former Philadelphia Eagle Connor Barwin — currently outside linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams — gave us a call to talk about the organization, its mission and vision, and how excited he is about The War on Drugs and their new ...

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Yalla Habibi! Philadelphia’s first ever Middle Eastern punk festival, YallaPunk, starts tonight

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Yalla Habibi! Philadelphia’s first ever Middle Eastern punk festival, YallaPunk, starts tonight

Vancouver’s Puzzlehead plays The Barbary during YallaPunk | photo courtesy of the artist

“YallaPunk is a direct response to negative depictions of populations of Middle Eastern and North African descent in mainstream media. This event is meant to highlight creative accomplishments of MENA individuals and serve as a safe space forum for discourse about social issues. The idea is to celebrate music, art, film and other cultural artifacts created by this particular population in an intersectional and inclusive space free from sexism, Islamophobia, transphobia, homophobia, and bigotry.” – From YallaPunk.com

Even though this is the inaugural YallaPunk, the Middle ...

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Four Questions with Jarrett Zerrer of Nuono Vintage, Northwest Philly’s latest haven for vinyl and a lot more

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Four Questions with Jarrett Zerrer of Nuono Vintage, Northwest Philly’s latest haven for vinyl and a lot more

Nuono Vintage warehouse | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

When we first met Philly’s Jarrett Zerrer, he was playing guitar in Philly-based electro-rock bands like Dokument and City Rain. These days, he’s put the axe down and picked up a knack for all things vintage — clothes, books, and especially classic vinyl. Working with family members, Zerrer co-operates Nuono Vintage, an online retailer based in Philadelphia’s Mt. Airy neighborhood, in the cavernous back room of the Sedgwick Theater.

If this was 1921, that room would be filled with velvety seats and an audience watching a vaudeville production — it’s where ...

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West Philly’s new Common Beat Music is ready for business

Source: The Key (WXPN)

West Philly’s new Common Beat Music is ready for business

Carlo Frese and Keri Girmindl of Common Beat Music | photo by Yoni Kroll for WXPN

Last August 19th, Carlo Frese’s up-and-coming electronics and instrument repair workshop burned down in a house fire. He lost all of his guitars and amps, everything he was working on, even his tools. Nobody was hurt, but so much was destroyed. Today, almost exactly a year later, Frese and his partner Keri Girmindl are celebrating the opening of Common Beat Music, their store and repair shop at 49th and Baltimore Avenue.

Very much a catch-all music store, Common Beat will sell records, stereo ...

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Pinegrove is self-recording a new album in a Big Chill House

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Pinegrove is self-recording a new album in a Big Chill House

Pinegrove | photo by Andrew Piccone | courtesy of the artist

Attention: Pinegrove are (were? have been?) recording a new full-length album, and they are granting us with an inside look at the process via a weekly video series shot by frequent Pinegrove videographer Kenna Hynes of Tiny Ship Co.

The six-piece group’s self-released 2012 album Meridian and two EPs had garnered them a dedicated following in the Philly scene and around the world, and their 2016 release Cardinal was their official debut album on Run for Cover Records. Pinegrove have been touring fairly consistently in support of their last release, and save a two-week break in their ...

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Thousands of dollars of gear stolen from Tutlie’s rehearsal space

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Thousands of dollars of gear stolen from Tutlie’s rehearsal space

Blonde Premier with Les Paul body, stolen from Tutlie. Photo from facebook.

Usually, when Philadelphia’s Tutlie shows up on The Key, you can expect to read about the indie folk-pop group’s impressive harmonies, their ethereal sweeping soundscapes, new music and shows, the like. That’s enjoyable reading and writing, good news about good people in good bands. Yesterday, though, Tutlie posted on their Facebook page that they came back to their rehearsal space to find that thousands of dollars worth of gear had been stolen. A loss of this magnitude is a major setback for any band, and especially for a ...

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Introducing the Inaugural Gene Shay Folk DJ Scholarship

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Introducing the Inaugural Gene Shay Folk DJ Scholarship

Gene Shay, retired host of The Folk Show

Two years after his final show with WXPN ended, folk music legend Gene Shay’s long and storied career as one of Philadelphia’s legendary radio personalities and the “Dean of Folk DJs”, continues to support the next generation of radio and folk industry broadcasters through his legacy. After the outpouring of camaraderie around the on-air tribute to Gene Shay on his last broadcast show on WXPN on February 1, 2015, Rich Warren (WFMT Radio / Chicago) and John Platt (WFUV / NYC) suggested the spirit be kept alive. In 2016 they met with Biff Kennedy (Charterhouse Music Group ...

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Watch Alice Bag documentary, We’re Here, We’re Present: Women in Punk

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Watch Alice Bag documentary, We’re Here, We’re Present: Women in Punk

Alice Bag | photo via press release

If you’re a woman in rock music, you’ve got to deal with a whole lotta bullshit. For every resilient stride of kickassery being taken to combat this issue, it seems there is an defeating account of sexism to match it — showing that the long and mighty journey towards equality still has a ways to go.

Thinking of how difficult it still is to be a woman in rock music oftentimes makes me wonder how courageous and badass female punk pioneers must have been; when there were no prior examples or role models to look up ...

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Required Reading: Half Waif’s Nandi Rose Plunkett on being “the girl in the band”

Source: The Key (WXPN)

Required Reading: Half Waif’s Nandi Rose Plunkett on being “the girl in the band”

Nandi Plunkett | photo by Tonje Thilesen via https://www.facebook.com/HalfWaif/

If you haven’t noticed by now, we at The Key are big fans of Pinegrove and Half Waif, two New Jersey bands that share a common denominator in Nandi Rose Plunkett. Both groups find Plunkett as the sole woman, one in a keyboards-backing vocals situation and the other as the founding, writing, and recording frontwoman. In other words, she is a musical force to be reckoned with.

Why, then, in 2017 – especially in an industry that theoretically draws the creatives, the open minds, the dreamers – do we find Plunkett responding to slews of ...

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