A doubleheader of Taking Back Sunday and The Used hits the Tower Theater

Taking Back Sunday | Photo by Alexandra Healey | alexandraelisabettaphoto.tumblr.com

Taking Back Sunday | Photo by Alexandra Healey | alexandraelisabettaphoto.tumblr.com

It was a doubleheader of emo /pop-punk vets at the Tower Theater this past weekend. Long Island stalwarts Taking Back Sunday co-headlined alongside Utah favorites The Used, both artists with new albums in tow. TBS’ Happiness Is was released on March 18th, while The Used’s Imaginary Enemy came out April 1st. Check out photos of both sets in the gallery below, and read each band’s setlist after the jump.

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Vacationer returns with “The Wild Life” from their forthcoming album Relief

Photo by John Vettese

Photo by John Vettese

Just in time for sunnier days and (comparatively) warmer temperatures, Vacationer has returned with a brand new single called “The Wild Life.” In the insatiably catchy and polyrhythmic track, frontman Kenny Vasoli sings about “starting to change, being less guarded and act like I’ve got it, I’m putting my heart in just to give it away.” Sounds like a positive foot to start out a new album on - Relief is due out June 24th via Downtown Records, preorders are available here, and if this track is anything to go by, it’s more of the the band’s breezy beat-oriented pop nuggets in the vein of Vampire Weekend and Ra Ra Riot. Listen to “The Wild Life” below, and see Vacationer live at Underground Arts with Hellogoodbye on April 24th; tickets and information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.

Get baptized with #xpnfest artist J. Roddy Walston & The Business in their “Same Day” video

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

J. Roddy Walston & The Business – just announced as being part of the lineup for WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival – have a new video for “Same Day” that you can watch below. The song is from their recent album, Essential Tremors. The video which features a baptism, a butcher chopping meet, a fisherman dropping a presumably dead body in a river, scantily dressed women dancing around in masks and smashing things in a bedroom, and a family of three eating dinner speaks to the often strange moments of daily living. Go here for tickets and more information about this summer’s XPoNential Music Festival.

Folkadelphia Session: Railroad Earth

A lot of what you read about Railroad Earth vibes with what we’re preaching here with Folkadelphia. We live in an era of music-making beyond traditional genre indentifiers, or alternatively, where “big” genres like “hip-hop” and “folk” have been exploded and splintered into near limitless gradations of “urban folk,” “Appalachian folk,” “country blues,” “cajun,” “nu-grass,” and so on and so forth until the end of time. There are also genre-inflected styles, like “electro-folk” or “folk-metal,” or any style that draws from the capitalized FOLK TRADITION. There is music that is incomparable, indiscernable, unrecognizable – sometimes you want to call it “folk” and sometimes you want to call it “hip hop,” and perhaps sometimes it’s not like either, a singular circumstance of creative collaboration and construction. Only an outdated, outmoded purist or traditionalist would bemoan the fate of the “big” genres. Come on now, we’re living in the post-post-post “Dylan goes electric” era (or whatever), beyond good and evil and classification, and we’re loving it. Diversity (in sound) is the spice of life anyhow, right?

Part of what we try and do with Folkadelphia, dear readers and listeners, is to introduce you to and refresh you on stellar songwriters and the highest caliber musicians. It’s as basic as that. These are people that are consciously keeping the rich history and legacy of folk music in mind when considering their artistic path, yet may draw upon it in vastly different ways. Taking a look at a few of our most recent Folkadelphia Sessions, we see Chris Kasper, CocoRosie, Quilt, Joe Kille, and Denison Witmer. I’m not sure that these ladies and gentlemen would ever share a bill outside of our radio show, but the fact is that they’re all incorporating folk elements in varying degrees into their music. In each case, the results are similar – people with something to say, stories to tell, and sounds to make.

That brings us back to our focus feature session of this week with Railroad Earth, who visited our studio in between playing back-to-back concerts at Union Transfer this February. On Last of the Outlaws, their new album and seventh overall, the recordings showcase a simple truth about the band –  that they are helluva good musicians and that they not only love playing together, but there’s darn fine chemistry happening there too. Beyond that, if we’re trying to classify the band’s sound, we’d be better suited using our time spinning the album again than wasting it on that fool’s errand. I read a review that described the band as “folk-pop-Celtic-bluegrass-roots-and-rock jam band from New Jersey.” They are stronger than that storm of oversimplified description. At that point, aren’t you basically saying that the band members are competent and skillful enough to navigate the waters of any style that might interest them? That they can integrate these stylistic elements into their unique Railroad Earth sound? I think so and their music, especially on Last of the Outlaws is the proof. There is really something for everyone within. At the core, stellar songwriting and high caliber musicianship.

We welcomed Railroad Earth, along with a battery of acoustic instruments in road cases, to our studio for a very special completely acoustic on February 25th, 2014.

Download Rodrigo y Gabriela’s “The Soundmaker”; buy tickets to see them at #XPNFest

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

In case you missed the big announcement, Rodrigo y Gabriela are playing this year’s XPoNential Music Festival, July 25-27th. The incredible acoustic guitar playing duo are releasing a new album, 9 Dead Alive, next Tuesday, April 29th. Weekend passes to #XPNfest are available starting today for new and renewing WXPN members. Go here to purchase tickets. Below, download “The Soundmaker.”

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company

Rodrigo y Gabriela, Hurray for the Riff Raff, The Hold Steady and more top the XPoNential Music Festival lineup

Rodrigo y Gabriela | photo via rodgab.com

Rodrigo y Gabriela | photo via rodgab.com

Dueling acoustic duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, eclectic New Orleans folk-blues combo Hurray for the Riff Raff, and stalwart rock n’ rollers The Hold Steady are just some of the 25 artists announced today in the full lineup of this year’s edition of the XPoNential Music Festival.

These acts will play the two stages in Wiggins Park from July 25th to July 27th of this year, alongside the festival’s headlining concerts at Susquehanna Bank Center featuring Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis and Dawes (July 26th) and Beck, Band of Horses and The Districts (July 27th).

Hurray for the Riff Raff | Photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com

Photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com

The Wiggins Park bill is filled with WXPN favorites, like alt-country heroes Old 97s, Jersey singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins and Diego Garcia, all of whom are return-XPNFest-ers.

There is also an assortment of up-and-coming names like countrified Nashville singer-songwriter Caitlin Rose (featured on World Cafe’s Sense of Place: Nashville series); Bear’s Den, a UK rock trio with a flair for drama (they made a splash at the March Edition of the Communion Club Night at Underground Arts), the jazzy / folky vocal combo Lake Street Dive and the art-pop powerhouse Lucius, (who knocked our socks off at Free at Noon late last year.)

Man Man | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Man Man | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

The greater Philadelphia scene is nicely represented as well. Bigger names like avant-garde rockers Man Man (who leaked their appearance last week), punk rock troubadour Dave Hause and reinvented folklorists Marah will mix with emerging artists Commonwealth Choir, Our Griffins, Marian Hill, The Lawsuits, Ginger Coyle and Viv and the Revival.

And adding an even more eclectic scope to the lineup is a taste of zydeco from C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band and some Mississippi blues care of harmonica master James Cotton.

Three days passes for new and renewing WXPN members are available now here. Tickets for the general public go on sale on May 1st; as with previous years, three-day passes will include lawn admission to the Susquehanna Bank Center shows (seated tickets to those are on sale separately, here and here).

Below, listen to a Spotify playlist of the Wiggins Park lineup, and read the complete list of artists after the jump.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Juana Molina at Boot and Saddle, Family Vacation at World Cafe Live and Carolina Chocolate Drops @ Strand Capitol PAC

molina

Photo via facebook.com/juanamolina

Tonight, singer-songwriter Juana Molina will play at Boot and Saddle. The Argentina native released her moody sixth album Wed 21 late last year and is known her songs’ complex arrangements and undeniable sincerity. Watch “Eras” below and get tickets here.

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