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Lucy Dacus is haunting, yet optimistic at Union Transfer

Lucy Dacus | photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

When Lucy Dacus appeared onstage, there was an audible shift in the room, background murmur dying down to a rapt hush. “I’m from Richmond,” she said, introducing the song “Yours & Mine.” “I wrote this in frustration of where I live and to write myself out of the shame of being an American. I think you have to do things that make you active and feel like you’re participating in the good parts of the world.” The lyrics describe the disillusionment of returning home, that feeling of not belonging anymore. Much of her acclaimed album Historian grapples with similarly tough themes, asserting a stony optimism in the face of disaster. This resilient demeanor carried across the breadth of her Thursday night concert in Philadelphia.  Continue reading →

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Bucolic has a peaceful easy feeling on “Light Traces”

Bucolic | photo by Dylan Eddinger | dylaneddingerphoto.squarespace.com

It’s hard to listen to singer-songwriter Seth Carpenter’s Bucolic project without stopping to wonder why he chose that name. With soft, shimmery instrumentals and a heavily filtered vocal, the South Jersey native creates dreamlike soundscapes that fit into the idyllic, nature-filled setting the word bucolic evokes. Continue reading →

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The Comet is Coming challenges genre convention and obliterates the old guard at The Foundry of The Fillmore Philly

The Comet is Coming | photo by Emily De Hart for WXPN | dehartvisuals.com

If there was any doubt that jazz was having a resurgence, the amazing volley of sounds emerging from Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and in particular, London clubs and performance halls it is at least apparent that a new generation of players and practitioners are breathing life into jazz’s post Marsalian-husk. What the new avant garde is doing, however, goes beyond the needlessly controversial fusion or electric/plugged-in phases the genre grappled with in the mid-70’s and into the ’80’s, where the old guard and its adherents set out to polish and refine jazz, separating it from its evolution into an experimental, Black artform in favor of crafting pieces suitable for Carnegie Hall or the Lincoln Center.

Fast forward to the present day — March 20th in Philadelphia to be precise, where The Comet is Coming, playing to a typically mixed Philly crowd that arguably knows an impressive thing or two about where jazz is heading themselves, in a more intimate wing of the Fillmore. From the band’s opening note it was clear that any fear or reverence to any old guard was going to be obliterated. Continue reading →

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Passing by with Christinna O

Christinna O | photo by Shabnam Ferdows | courtesy of the artist

 

Two years ago, Miami native Christinna O made her way to Philadelphia, not only to attend Temple University, but make a name for herself in the music scene. The alternative R&B singer was already a skilled wordsmith, and it probably helped when she joined Temple’s poetry team Babel and competed in the NAACP’s National Poetry Slam. But more recently, it seems that Christinna O seems ready to get people clapping for her singing instead of just snapping their fingers for her poetic lines.

The end of last year, she released the first single for upcoming EP Girl In Passing, “Shelter”, and has recently released the second single “Lay It Down.” While Christinna O prepares for the arrival of her second EP, we were able to sit down with her to talk about her early beginnings and what her listeners can expect from Girl In Passing. Continue reading →

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Low Dose channels trauma into raging songs and is ready to “Start Over”

Low Dose | courtesy of the artist

Low Dose‘s self-titled debut LP comes out in just one week, and ahead of the release the band has shared a fourth single from the album. “Start Over” encompasses the idea of moving on from a painful experience into a simple common phrase — but as the band makes clear through the fiery song’s intense highs and lows, starting over can be easier said than done. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: The Head and The Heart will bring Living Mirage to The Met

The Head and The Heart | Photo by Vince Aung | courtesy of the artist

Last week, The Head and The Heart announced their forthcoming album Living Mirage, which’ll be out May 17, and shared its first single, “Missed Connection.” Soon, most of the US will have the chance to see the folk rock faves live — the band just announced a 38-city North American tour that begins in April and runs through October with hardly a break. The tour includes two nights at Red Rocks, an appearance at the Woodstock 50th anniversary festival — and most importantly, a headlining show at The Met Philadelphia on October 8. Continue reading →

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Unpacking Strand of Oaks’ Eraserland in 10 essential lyrics

Strand of Oaks’ Eraserland | courtesy of Dead Oceans

Complicated thinkers make compelling art, and Tim Showalter was never one to look at the world simplistically. Whether it’s the hazy metaphorical view of loss and death in Pope Killdragon or the gutting emotional catharsis of HEAL, the Strand of Oaks frontman has historically excelled at reflecting on the turbulence of his life — and by extension, all of our lives — in an acute, multidimensional manner.

The latest Strand of Oaks record, Eraserland, is out today. It’s Showalter’s sixth release under that banner, it’s a culmination of most styles he’s dabbled in over the past 15 years — the folk introspection of his early years, the atmospheric mysticism of Killdragon and Dark Shores, the bold rock of the HEAL era, the dripping psychedelia of Hard Love — not to mention, as has been much discussed in the album rollout, it was made with some pretty famous friends.

Showalter’s backing band in the studio included most of My Morning Jacket — guitarist Carl Broemel, keyboardist Bo Koster, bassist Tom Blankenship, and drummer Patrick Hallahan — with contributions from Jason Isbell as well. In that regard, the album sounds extraordinary, but for this longtime Oaks listener, the people who worked on Eraserland might be the least interesting element of it. These songs are the most honest, raw, and vulnerable Showalter has ever been in his music. In them, we see a person who is not simply sad, or angry, but hopeless and terrified, confused and at an impasse, unsure of where or whether to go. And throughout the album’s ten songs, he articulates every one of those feelings. Continue reading →

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Ready Now is ready to move on in “Go Ahead”

Ready Now | photo by Michael Letendre | courtesy of the artist

Ready Now are back with their second single in as many months. After debuting on the scene last year with the Love and Other Dumb Stuff, the band has kept busy with touring before releasing some new material into the world. Ahead of their acoustic tour this spring, Ready Now first shared “Singing Sweetly” in February, and follows it up today with “Go Ahead.” Continue reading →