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Purling Hiss’ Mike Polizze talks about the band’s career-culminating new album High Bias

Purling Hiss Photographed by Constance Mensh
Purling Hiss Photographed by Constance Mensh

The whir and steady crackle of coffee grinders hard at work fill Higher Grounds, a small trendy coffee shop in Northern Liberties. It is the kind of place that revels in its unique blend of styles. The flea market seating, the posters and paintings and art pieces whose only discernible style is a difficult to define panache. It has a confidence and intentionality that resists coming off as anything but genuine and patiently accumulated through years of collection. Sitting across from me towards the back of the shop is Mike Polizze, front man and songwriter for Purling Hiss, whose aesthetic, and brand new album High Bias due out October 14, feel equally as earned. Continue reading →

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Get ready for Hello Shark’s forthcoming Delicate LP with “Alligator”

hello shark
Hello Shark | photo by Abi Reimold

Lincoln Halloran, also known as Hello Shark, releases his LP Delicate this Friday, September 30. He originally hails from Vermont, but Delicate will be Hello Shark’s first full-length release as a Philadelphia resident.

Halloran recently released the single “Alligator” as another teaser of the forthcoming album. The ballad is carried by a combination of gentle guitar notes and slow-tempoed percussions which are paired with Halloran’s (fittingly) delicate vocals. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Brian John McBrearty at Bourbon & Branch

brian john mcbrearty
Brian John McBrearty | photo by Sean McBrearty | courtesy of the artist

Local guitarist Brian John McBrearty opens the night at Bourbon & Branch. Schooled in jazz at NYU and inspired by fellow Philadelphians like Chris Forsyth, McBrearty released his debut record of guitar meditations last year. Things I Recall shows the depths of both acoustic and electric guitars through its series of improvised and composed instrumental songs. Listen to “Second Story Tune” below and pick up tickets for the 21+ show with Dann Pell and Andrew Duhon Trio here.

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Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Same Old Lie” by Jim James

jim james
Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN | koalafoto.com

Jim James announced last week that he’ll be releasing a new solo record called Eternally Even on November 4th, a follow-up to 2013’s acclaimed Regions of Light and Sound of God. “Same Old Lie” is the first single from the LP and sees the My Morning Jacket frontman embracing a more political tone in his lyrics.

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Rock and Roll Animals: Listen to The Rolling Stones at JFK Stadium, September 25, 1981

Cover art for a bootleg of the Rolling Stones’ Philadelphia date in 1981

Thirty-five years ago today, The Rolling Stones kicked off their massive tour in support of 1981’s Tattoo You with a two-night stand at South Philly’s iconic JFK Stadium. Reportedly, both nights drew a ridiculous attendance of 90,000 spectators — it was not only the highest grossing tour of the year, per Wikipedia, but for several years to come. Continue reading →

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The Chairman Dances ponders its influence’s influences on “Augustine”

The Chairman Dances | via the band's Facebook page
The Chairman Dances | via the band’s Facebook page

In a 2013 interview with The Key, Ben Rosen of The Chairman Dances wryly admitted that they’re “sort of a library band.” Three years later, that quote still rings true with “Augustine”, the second cut from Time Without Measure and the first to receive the music video treatment. The clip was directed by Tom Contarino and features the band performing in and around a dark house as they spout one literary reference after another. Continue reading →

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An Experimental Musical Dreamscape: Listen to Lushlife’s “The League of Frightened Men”

Lushlife | Credit: Megan Matuzak
Lushlife | Photo by Megan Matuzak

Late last week, Philadelphia rapper Lushlife released the intro track to his forthcoming EP No Dead Languages, which will be made available on October 7 via Bandcamp. The song, “The League of Frightened Men,” spans an impressive and immersive eight minutes. The length sounds intimidating, but Lushlife takes listeners on an ambient journey that doesn’t appear to include any of his own vocals.

The song begins with the introduction of archival audio of a man speaking about the anti-anxiety properties of certain drugs that are never explicitly named. The track is carried by speedy percussion played on loop that gives the track a nineties kickback feel, an energy that isn’t an unusual find in Haldar’s music. Continue reading →

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Watch JFK Stadium freak out in 1987 as Bruce Springsteen and U2 cover “Stand by Me”

Bono of U2 and Bruce Springsteen | still from video
Bono of U2 and Bruce Springsteen | still from video

A live music treat for your Sunday morning: it was 29 years ago today that U2’s heralded Joshua Tree tour made its way to Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium, and the show  concluded with an incredible cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” featuring the one and only Bruce Springsteen.

As we can see in the video below, Bono slyly asks the crowd “Anybody else want to play my guitar? Would Bruce Springsteen like to play my guitar?” The crowd goes wild as The Boss struts to the stage, and Bono cracks “I guess you guys know him. Is he a local boy or something?” Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: LVL Up at PhilaMOCA and Pylon Reenactment Society at Johnny Brenda’s

LVL UP | photo by Shawn Brackbill
LVL UP | photo by Shawn Brackbill

Tonight, the lo-fi Indie rockers of LVL Up will be playing at the PhilaMOCA. The four-piece outfit just released their third full length LP, Return to Love, on Sub Pop Records; read our interview with the Brooklyn band here, and let them personally guide you through their new album tonight at PhilaMOCA. For more information about the show check out the XPN Concert Calendar. Watch the video for “The Closing Door” off their new album below. Continue reading →

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Reliving the magic with Brian Wilson at the Tower Theater

Brian Wilson | photo by Kate McCann for WXPN
Brian Wilson | photo by Kate McCann for WXPN

If you close your eyes, it sounds just like it’s 1967 in Santa Monica. Or Pacific Beach or Carmel-by-the-Sea; whichever California beach town you prefer. But when you look around The Tower Theater on this particular fall night in Upper Darby, the room is filled with Beach Boys fans who have certainly been singing along to these surf rock songs for decades. There are also 11 people on stage, instead of the original five, but still creating that same magical, harmonic sound.

Brian Wilson is seated front and center at his piano, like he’s done for weeks as he’s traveled around the country for the 50th anniversary of Pet Sounds tour. Al Jardine, former Beach Boy, is next to him on guitar. The crowd stands and cheers as the band comes out, and they open with “California Girls.” Every song ends in a standing ovation, even gooey ballads like “In My Room” and “Surfer Girl.” Continue reading →