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Get a piece of CAKE, a photo zine by Caitlin McCann starring The Districts and Sun Club

from Cake | photo by Caitlin McCann | courtesy of the artist
from Cake | photo by Caitlin McCann | courtesy of the artist

If you don’t know Caitlin McCann yet, you should. The Philadelphia photographer has been making a name for herself with music videos and portraits of artists near and dear to the Philly scene, from Pine Barons to TJ Kong. Her latest project is CAKE, a large format, 60-page zine consisting of photos from The Districts / Sun Club US tour.

“It’s all sorts of sticky and sweaty and boozy,” McCann tells us. “But you won’t find any live music photos in the pages.” Continue reading →

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Willie Nelson & Family, Neil Young + Promise of the Real, and Sheryl Crow headlining Outlaw Music Festival

Neil Young photo via NPR World Cafe session
Neil Young | photo by Julie Gardner | NPR

Willie Nelson & Family, Neil Young + Promise of the Real, and Sheryl Crow are headlining the inaugural Outlaw Music Festival taking place Sunday, September 18th at Montage Mountain, Scranton. Additional performers announced so far including the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Lee Ann Womack, and Brothers Osborne. Continue reading →

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Mercury Girls gear up for tour with bold new jam “Holly”

Mercury Girls
Mercury Girls | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Yesterday, we announced that Philly indiepop sextet Mercury Girls was part of one of the strongest tour lineups this fall, joining Foxing and Balance and Composure on a huge autumn run that comes to Union Transfer on November 18th. Today, we’ve got news of their next release – they’re on Continental Drift, a four-way split on Slumberland Records that also features Wildhoney, The Spook School and Tigercats. Continue reading →

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Watch Japanese Breakfast’s Out of Town Films session, see them on tour (and in Philly!) this fall

Japanese Breakfast
Japanese Breakfast | photo by Morgan Smith | phobymo.com | courtesy of the artist

Michelle Zauner and her bandmates in Japanese Breakfast have been blowing minds around the country on tour with Mitski this summer, and they’re gearing up for a big run with Porches this fall in support of their album Psychopomp. Released in April, the record is a brilliant airing of grief through guitar-driven dream-pop, and the band rocks the living hell out of it when they step to the stage.

We get a taste of that in their recent Out of Town Films session for “Everybody Wants To Love You,” released last week. Continue reading →

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Duran Duran balances the new and the classic at BB&T Pavillion

Duran Duran | Photo by Doug Interrante for WXPN
Duran Duran | Photo by Doug Interrante for WXPN

Generation X was out in full force on Thursday night for Duran Duran‘s gig at BB&T Pavilion. Though the band is now 35 years into its recording career, most fans came to hear the old hits — and the band did a masterful job of mixing things up a bit with both old and new rooted in their signature synthpop sound. The female-voiced roar that went up as they hit the stage was deafening, and the dance party that would ensue was even more epic as thousands re-lived memories from the 80’s and 90’s. The 18-song set only included five tracks from Paper Gods, their latest release and first in five years, filling the rest of the list with a majority of their hits from over the years. Continue reading →

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Strand of Oaks, Quilt and more play a stacked free show in York this weekend

Strand of Oaks
Strand of Oaks | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

You would think that after this weekend, we’d be ready to take a break from outdoor summer concerts, but no – this is a lineup worth another day out in the sun for. This Saturday, July 30th, the Summer Art Market in York brings together Philly rock heroes Strand of Oaks, NYC psychedelic buzzmakers Quilt, the Brazilian psychedelic rock band Boogarins and Brooklyn four-piece Big Thief for an afternoon free concert on the York College Stage at Royal Square District. It’s the inaugural year of this festival, presented by Central PA’s Parliament Arts Organization in conjunction with York College, and in the mix with the music will be craft vendors and food vendors and lots of generally awesome stuff. Philly people, plan your road trips now – York is only two hours away. Central PA people, it’s an incredible show right in your back yard – let’s do this. More information can be found here.  Music from each of the artists below. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Dead Milkmen will once again haunt Laurel Hill Cemetery with F. Woods and Live Not on Evil on September 30th

The Dead Milkmen at Laurel Hill Cemetery | Photo by John Vettese
The Dead Milkmen at Laurel Hill Cemetery | Photo by John Vettese

If you’re a fan of ominous gothic environs and Philly punk rock, here’s your don’t-miss concert of the autumn: Dead Milkmen will once again perform a show in Laurel Hill Cemetery on September 30th. We caught them there back in 2014, and it was pure magic – so we can only imagine this gig will be as special, if not more. Joining them will be theatrical klezmer-punk artist F. Woods of Mercury Radio Theater, performing a solo gig in support of his recent album, as well as the metal soundbenders Live Not on Evil. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Balance and Composure makes their long-awaited return with “Postcard,” stacked tour with Foxing and Mercury Girls

Balance and Composure | photo by Andi Elloway | courtesy of the artist
Balance and Composure | photo by Andi Elloway | courtesy of the artist

It’s been radio silence from spectral Doylestown rock five-piece Balance and Composure for the better part of a year now, so we knew something big was brewing. The band has been working hard at Studio 4 in Conshy with regular collaborator and good buddy Will Yip on the production boards, and today just announced their third album, Light We Made, which is due out on October 7th via Vagrant Records. Continue reading →

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Gwen Stefani brings Truth to BB&T Pavilion

Gwen Stefani @ BB&T Pavilion, Camden, NJ
Gwen Stefani | Photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN | wendymccardle.com

There are a handful of adolescence-defining songs for which I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I first heard them.  No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” is one of those songs.  I have vivid memories of sitting by myself in the family room of my childhood home, watching MTV’s Alternative Nation at midnight and seeing that music video for the first time.  There was No Doubt frontwoman Gwen Stefani, a doe-eyed and pouty-lipped atomic force of energy shining like a beacon at the end of the tunnel that was my grunge-filled childhood.  Not too long after, I caught No Doubt at the Electric Factory and in turn, Stefani became the first female musician I ever saw perform live.  All I remember is trying really hard not to cry.  Back then I was far too young to understand those emotions or why they were happening, but it certainly wasn’t the last time I’d experience them in a concert setting.

Spring forward nearly two decades and I’m seeing Gwen Stefani again during her This Is What The Truth Feels Like tour.  In support of the album of the same name – her first in ten years – last Tuesday’s stop in Camden, NJ was only the fourth of a 27-city solo trek which was plagued before it even began by embarrassingly low ticket sales as critics continue to dismiss Stefani’s third solo effort as a mere vehicle to promote her new role as judge on NBC’s The Voice.  And so, baffling was the choice, once the house lights were cut, to greet the audience not with the guiltily pleasurable “Hollaback Girl”, the undeniably infectious “The Sweet Escape” or hell, even the current saccharine single “Make Me Like You,” but with a video clip of Stefani explaining how she believed she was finished with music a long time ago.

Continue reading →

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Let Them Roll: Brandi Carlile, Old Crow Medicine Show wrap up XPNFest with maximum energy

Brandi Carlile | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com
Brandi Carlile | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

Okay, Brandi Carlile, I promise to never again pigeonhole the wonderful thing you do as “singer-songwriter” or “roots / Americana.” Just keep slaying like you did from the BB&T Pavilion stage on the closing night of XPN Fest.

The Seattle-rooted musician and longtime XPN favorite took the stage last night not only with Tim and Phil Hanseroth – aka “The Twins,” her longtime collaborators on guitar, bass and vocals – but with a rousing full band that elevated her songs to arena rock proportions befitting the huge amphitheater they were performing in. On drums, Brian Griffin propelled the music forth; on cello and keys, Josh Neumann added nuanced, atmospheric accents; on guitar, Gibb Droll rumbled and roared. Carlile is gripping as a solo performer, no doubt — she made all of NonCOMM cry back in 2015, after all — but seeing her with this lineup is next-level.

Continue reading →