The band’s lively afternoon set showcased eight songs from its self titled debut LP, which came out last week on XL Recordings, and the performance was a blissful mix of slick keyboard lines, harmonized vocals and (believe it or not) Coke bottle percussion. Check out photos and listen to an archive of the performance below, and read the setlist after the jump.
I’m not sure that I’ve ever been thanked more times in one hour-and-a-half span of time. The definitively-Canadian indie darlings Tegan & Sara are nothing if not kind, almost to the point of absurdity. Tuesday night, the Quin sisters brought their trademark brand of peppy sad-pop to the Levitt Pavilion in Bethlehem. Although not quite as packed as the recent Modest Mouse show there, the Pavilion saw a good turnout for a rather out-of-the-way venue.
Kicking off the night were fellow Canadians Gold & Youth. Fronted by Louise Burns and Matthew Lyall, the group shares many themes with the ever-popular CHVRCHES, but with a tad less reliance on the synth part of their synth-pop style. Primary support came from Brooklyn’s vibrant and eccentric My Midnight Heart – the stage name of singer/songwriter Angelica Allen. With killer dance moves and an incredibly dynamic voice, Allen captured the hearts of a number of us in the crowd.
As the sun set behind the reclaimed post-industrial landmark that is the Bethlehem Steel blast furnaces, the stage was set for the ladies of the hour. Coming on stage to deafening cheers and screams, the Quins stood behind a pair of synths and dropped right into a pair of bouncy songs from 2013’s Heartthrob – “Goodbye, Goodbye” and “I Couldn’t Be Your Friend.” Wasting no time at all, they proceeded into what is arguably their most famous song: “Back In Your Head”. In a move James Murphy would have been proud of, trading in synths for a pair of acoustic guitars Tegan & Sara seamlessly travelled back in time six years to capture the softer sounds of 2007’s The Con.
Despite the fears of many – myself included – that many of the band’s older songs wouldn’t appear during the evening’s set, the material spanned Tegan & Sara’s entire 15-year history. While certainly focusing more on Heartthrob than any other era, the setlist did a good job of both pleasing fans and staying true to how the Quin sisters feel about their own music. They made that comment themselves during an early break in the set: “Sorry if we don’t play your favorite song, it’s just sometimes we write music and then grow out of it. We just don’t feel that way anymore,” with Sara laughingly adding “Tegan writes all the famous songs.”
Famous or not, the most memorable moments of the evening came with the most brutally emotional of Tegan & Sara’s mostly heartbreaking songs. The ending of “Now I’m All Messed Up” found the twins singing “Go if you want” and “Please stay” over each other, fluidly illustrating the mastery they have of life in all of its highs and lows. A bit later in their set, “Alligator” tapped into almost universal feelings of betrayal and loss.
The Quins thanked the audience yet again, with Sara saying “This is our last song… Except for the encore which has like 17 songs.” Heading into “Closer”, the audience flexed its dancing muscle and finally got down with the theme of the “Let’s Get Physical” Tour. The encore did not, in fact, have 17 songs. Instead, it featured intimate versions of “Call It Off” and “Dark Come Soon” from The Con, and wrapped up with a cover of Pete Townshend’s classic “Let My Love Open the Door,” which found a natural thematic home at the end of the evening packed with sob stories.
Toy Soldiers frontman Ron Gallo promotes his new solo album Ronny at this fun Summer Party event presented by Why I Love Philly at Spruce Street Harbor Park. Fellow Philadelphians The Lawsuits and Up the Chain will also be on the bill making for an exciting, action packed performance. Ticketing information for the $10 show for adults 21+ can be found here. Also, be sure to check out a new song below, entitled “Fine Diners and Finer Whiners.”
Singer-songwriter Pieta Brown is releasing her new album, Paradise Outlaw on September 30th on Red House Records. Produced by Pieta, with frequent collaborator and partner Bo Ramsey, the album was recorded in four days at Justin Vernon’s April Base studio in Wisconsin. The album features appearances by Amos Lee (who co-wrote and duets on “Do You Know,”, and Brown’s legendary singer-songwriter father, Greg Brown, and an experimental group of players Brown calls the Sawdust Collective.
About the album, Brown says:
On my last album, I was recording near Nashville with top-call studio musicians who I hadn’t worked with before, and exploring the idea of craft and trying to hone in on more classic forms than I had previously. Paradise Outlaw came from a radically different place. I was thinking a lot about freedom, experimentation, poetry, folk songs, bending forms and voices. I also wrote and delivered half the songs on the banjo, which was completely new for me. Growing up around many musicians and artists, often living on the fringe, I have always felt most at home among them. And that’s where I made this recording. Surrounded by friends in an underground Mid-western goldmine.
Below, stream “Flowers of Love,” featuring Vernon on harmonies. It’s a warm, welcoming, laid back song, built on a shuffling beat, delicate banjo picking and an easy back porch, soft wind blowing vibe.
The Montreal indie rock band Elephant Stone are releasing their new album, The Three Poisons, on August 26th on Hidden Pony Records. The band was started in 2009 by sitarist/bassist Rishi Dhir, one of the most highly sought out sitar players in the international music scene. He’s recorded, performed and toured with Beck, the Black Angels, Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Horrors, and many more.
They band has released two albums and an EP, and with each new release the band garners more fans and greater acclaim for their psychedelicized groove laden “Hindie” rock. The new album, Three Poisons, is their best yet.
Dhir explains the story behind the making of the album:
It all started on January 1st, 2013. I got a call from my brother-in-law; he had found a box of vinyl on his door step and offered to let me take my picks before he dropped them off at the local vinyl shop. He mentioned there was some Echo & The Bunnymen and bunch of stuff he didn’t recognize. Being the vinyl junkie that I am, I headed over.
What I found in that box was beyond anything I could have imagined. Yes, there was Echo’s “Songs to Learn & Sing”, but there was also a 12” single release of the Happy Mondays “Step On” and “Kinky Afro”, Spaceman 3 “Recurring”, The Stone Roses “Waterfall” and “One Love”, New Order’s house masterpiece “Technique”, Ride’s “Today Forever”, and the list went on. I was dumbfounded as to why someone would abandon such treasure. Were they starting off the New Year by purging themselves of their material possessions? Payback from a wounded lover? Divine intervention? Whatever it was, I lucked out and began reacquainting myself with Shaun, Rowetta, J Spaceman, Sonic Boom, Ian, Bernard, Hooky, et al.
Fast forward a year later and the band is in deep, working on the follow-up to our self-titled 2013 release. I don’t think it was just me, but things felt different this time around. The grooves were groovier, the sonics rumbled heavier, and the songs were connecting to something bigger. It wasn’t until Malika Tirolien came in to record her inspired backing vocals for “Knock You From Yr Mountain” and “All Is Burning” that I reflected on that abandoned record collection I inherited and the trip it took me on. In that moment I heard the groove of the Mondays, the darkness of Echo, the jangle of Ride… but what I truly heard and felt coming together in these new batch of songs was—and is—unequivocally the sound of Elephant Stone.
Below, download this psych-groove song from Elephant Stone’s forthcoming release. It’s as good a Primal Scream A-side as you can get. Look for Fall tour dates to be announced soon.
WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival is just one month away. And I’m sure by now you’re familiar with who’s playing this year: we have amazing artists like Beck, Ingrid Michaelson, The Hold Steady, Dawes, Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis, The Districts, Rodrigo y Gabriela and more on the bill.
What you don’t already know is the daily lineup schedule – and we’ve heard a lot of you asking when it would be released. This morning, we’ll answer your questions, because it’s right here.
Also, we’re happy to announce a new addition to the lineup: XPN Artist to Watch Strand Of Oaks. The Philly quartet rocked hard at this year’s Non-Comm Festival, and impressed us so much with the brand new album HEAL (released this past Tuesday on Dead Oceans), that we decided to add them to #XPNFest, upping the rock and roll quotient. Here’s a very fun interview The Key’s Elliott Sharp did with Strand Of Oaks front man Tim Showalter the day the record came out: don’t forget to see them this Friday afternoon for a Free At Noon Performance too.
Speaking of things that are awesome, we’ve collected some videos of past XPoNential Festival performances to get you psyched for a great weekend of live music on the Camden waterfront a month from now. Check them out after the jump. Go here to XPN’s Youtube channel to watch more videos from past #XPNfest’s.
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros performing “Janglin” last year:
Here’s “4 & 4” by The Districts:
The Lumineers playing “Flowers in Your Hair” and “Hey Ho” from our 2012 event:
Alt-country rockers Old 97’s return to WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival on Sunday, July 27th. Rhett Miller and the 97’s have a long standing history with XPN and the festival. The band first appeared at the festival in 1999, when the festival was called “Singer-Songwriter Weekend.” Always a crowd favorite, the 97’s recently released Most Messed Up, and made a stop at WXPN to record a session for World Cafe. Listen to their full session (interview and performance) here. Below, download a Cafe version of “Indefinitely.”