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20 Years Later, It’s Still Illmatic: Reflecting on Nas’ milestone debut

time_is_illmatic_
Photo by Danny Clinch

Twenty years ago, rap icon Nas debuted with his critically acclaimed album Illmatic. Since its release, this album has been considered a classic not just by hip hop heads, but by music lovers of all genres. There’s something about the street poetry from the Queensbridge MC that still still captures not only listeners’ ears, but also their minds.

But how do we celebrate 20 years of a milestone album? A couple ways, beginning with the new documentary Time is Illmatic, which takes us into the thought process of the young Nasir Jones when he made his first album, including interviews with Busta Rhymes, Alicia Keys and Pharrell. The tour in support of the documentary – which includes Nas performing the album in its entirety – comes to The Keswick Theater this weekend.

Another question we must think about is what made Illmatic so great? Why is it that this album is still being praised 20 years later? Continue reading →

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Nothing release video for acoustic “B&E,” announce show at Ortlieb’s

nothing
Nothing | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

Local shoegazers Nothing have released a new video for an acoustic version of their song “B&E,” taken from the band’s 2013 effort Guilty of Everything.  The video comes in tandem with a reissue of the band’s 2011 LP Downward Years to Come, which includes new additions like this acoustic cut.   Continue reading →

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Listen to Field Report’s Marigolden via Pitchfork Advance

Field Report
Field Report | Photo courtesy of the artist

Midwestern troubadours Field Report are getting set to release their sophomore album Marigolden, out on Partisan Records on 10/7. The beautifully haunting album is a great songwriting progression for frontman Chris Porterfield and his collaborators, and today the album can be previewed a week early over at Pitchfork Advance. Continue reading →

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Ohio songstress Lydia Loveless rocked MilkBoy with TJ Kong, Josh Olmstead

Lydia Loveless | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Lydia Loveless | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

Equal parts rock and country, Lydia Loveless is a shot of rhythmic fire. And for 90-plus minutes last Thursday the Ohio-based songstress and her band held a crowded MilkBoy under her spell.

Only 24, Loveless spins tales of desire and soul with a knowhow of someone twice her age. Her voice curls with country swirl on songs like the utterly brilliant “To Love Somebody,” while her lyrics often instantly become memorable, like on “Verlaine Shot Rimbaud.” Both aforementioned songs are from her solid 2014 album Somewhere Else, which was heavily featured in the setlist. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Lantern at Johnny Brenda’s, Imelda May at Union Transfer, and Christopher Willits at First Unitarian Church Side Chapel

Lantern | Photo by John Vettese
Lantern | Photo by John Vettese

Philly blues-punk outfit Lantern will headline Johnny Brenda’s this evening. The three piece rock outfit have proven that rock and roll is most definitely not dead in Philly. With a distortion-induced sound similar to that of Dan Aurbach, the group has an ability to come out with instant hits that will stick in your head. Their most recent album, Rock n’ Roll Rorschach, received much attention locallly and nationally; Tiny Mix Tapes called their sound “a blessing of garage noir”. Check out their music video for “King Of The Jungle” below and find tickets and more information on XPN’s Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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MusicNotes from the XPN Morning Show: Belle and Sebastian announce new album, Ozzy Osbourne confirms final Black Sabbath album/tour and TV On The Radio enlists Pee-wee Herman actor in “Happy Idiot” video

Photo by Søren Solkær Starbird
Photo by Søren Solkær Starbird

Glasgow indie-pop band Belle and Sebastian will release their new album, “Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance” on January 20th of next year. Read more & watch the video for the cover song after the jump. Continue reading →

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Kurt Vile performs a meditative live version of “Gold Tone” for Volcom

Photo by Rachel Del Sordo
Photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Surf / skate company Volcom has released a new video in its “True To This” series featuring Kurt Vile playing “Gold Tone” off of last year’s Wakin On A Pretty Daze.  The clip shows Vile playing the song live in the studio as he talks about the meditative and soothing nature of both skateboarding and playing guitar. Continue reading →

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Watch Double Decker Music Series vol. 3, featuring Noun and Rat Catching

Double Decker Music Series
Marissa Paternoster | photo by Bob Sweeney

This month’s Double Decker Music Series featured performances by Noun (Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females) and Rat Catching.  As the intimate audience rode around Philadelphia on the top level of an open-air tour bus, the musicians provided an alternative soundtrack to the historical sights.

Continue reading →