Author Archives: Bruce Warren

66th annual Pastorius Park Concert lineup announced with Hezekiah Jones, The Lawsuits, Mutlu and more

HezekiahJonesThe 2014 Pastorius Park Concert series has been announed, starting Wednesday, June 18th with Hezekiah Jones. The weekly Wednesday night series goes through July 30th with soul and R&B singer Aaron & The Spell. Located in Chestnut Hill, Pastorius Park is two blocks west of Germantown Avenue on Millman Street.

18 June – Hezekiah Jones
25 June – Mutlu
2 July – The Lawsuits
9 July – Deb Callahan Band
16 July – Venissa Santi Quartet
23 July – The John Byrne Band
30 July – Aaron & The Spell

Below, listen to a sampling of music from several of the bands playing the series.

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Download “Nathaniel,” a folk-rock electronic song by Everything But The Girl’s Ben Watt

Photo by Edward Bishop

Photo by Edward Bishop

Mostly known for his two decade career with his wife Tracey Thorn in Everything But The Girl, Ben Watt stepped into a career as a DJ (clubs and radio), indie-label owner, and writer in the late nineties. He recently released his new album, Hendra, featuring contributions from Suede’s Bernard Butler and David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, along with Berlin-based producer Ewen Pearson. Self-described as “essentially a folk-rock album in an electronic age,” Hendra is Watt’s first new solo album in 31 years. Writing about the album for NPR Music, Ann Powers says:

Hendra’s 10 songs are patient, even reticent creatures. They focus on the ruling subjects of midlife: the loss of loved ones, the ongoing confrontation with the fact that you are the sum of long-ago choices and circumstances, and the idea that fewer changes lie before you than behind. Many are internal monologues: a man describing the details of his mourning to his departed wife; another admitting that club life is a bit much for him now that he’s past 49.

Below, download the guitar fueled “Nathaniel,” featuring Butler on lead guitar.

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company

A resurrected Veruca Salt will rock the TLA with its original lineup on July 22nd

Photo Credit: Gary Kordan

Photo by Gary Kordan

All four original members of Nineties alternative rock band Veruca Salt have reunited, are releasing two new songs this Saturday on Record Store Day, and will Philadelphia on July 21st at The TLA. Named after a character in Raold Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, the Chicago based quartet was formed by guitarists and singers Louise Post and Nina Gordon.

Veruca Salt’s Record Store Day release is being released on the band’s first label, Minty Fresh Records, It will feature their career-defining single “Seether,” as well as two new songs, “The Museum of Broken Relationships” and “It’s Holy.” Go here for tickets and more information about the show. Below, watch the video for “Seether.”

Natalie Merchant headlining the Keswick with a new album in tow on July 11th

Natalie Merchant | Photo by Chris Sikich |

Natalie Merchant | Photo by Chris Sikich |

Singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant, who recently recorded a World Cafe session during WXPN’s Big Day Out event, is playing the Keswick Theatre on July 11th. Tickets go on sale this Friday, April 18th at Noon.

Merchant is releasing her self-titled album on Tuesday, May 6th. That day her World Cafe interview and performance will be broadcasted. During her Big Day Out set / World Cafe session, Merchant performed new songs from the album, including “Ladybird,” “Lulu,” and the gorgeous “Texas.” Below, watch the video for the new song, “Give Up Everything.”

Download a serving of piano-driven pop in Spottiswoode & His Enemies’ “No Time For Love”

Photo Credit: Clare Elliott

Photo Credit: Clare Elliott

An eclectic mixed bag of pop and rock, Spottiswoode & His Enemies recently released their sixth studio album, English Dream. The New York based band, fronted by Jonathan Spottiswoode, has been together since the late Nineties. A fixture of the New York music scene, they released their debut album, Ugly Love, in 1998. The band’s sound is strewn with ballads, flourishes of jazz and gospel touches that make for a hard-to-describe yet engaging musical experience. “No Time For Love” is the kind of piano driven pop song that sounds like something of a deep track from a Randy Newman or Ben Folds album, with a catchy chorus and sentiment. Spottiswoode & His Enemies play World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington, Delaware on Thursday, May 1st, and are at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia on Saturday, May 24th. Stream or download “No Time For Love” below.

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company

Watch Beck’s performance at Coachella; get psyched to see him at #XPNFest

Photo via Consequence of Sound

Of the many excellent performances at Coachella this past weekend (Outkast, Arcade Fire, Goat, Nas), add one more name to the list: Beck. It was Beck’s second time playing the festival, as he was on the bill at the very first Coachella in 1999. Performing for about an hour, his set list included a cover of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love,” as well as a smattering of material from a variety of his albums over the course of his career. This is just a taste of what to expect when Beck plays the XPoNential Music Festival at the Susquehanna Bank Center on July 27th with Band of Horse and The Districts. Purchase reserved seat tickets here.

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week – “King of Everything” by Boy George

Photo by Dean Stockings

Photo by Dean Stockings

New Wave icon Boy George’s recent album, This Is What I Do, is his first studio album of original material in almost two decades. The 52 year old has returned with a collection of songs that are self-reflective. Since his days as the lead singer of Culture Club, George has had a storied career; from his personal battles with drug addiction and various legal issues, to his post Culture Club career as am electronica artist, successful DJ, and his acting in the Broadway play Taboo.

This Is What I Do has reggae flavored songs like “My Star,” “Live Your Life,” and “Love And Danger,” as well as a handful of mid-tempo ballads, the highlight of which is “King of Everything.” A confessional in which he sings “Put down the booze/Let the demons win the fight/Dropped my gloves to the ground/You know I’m sorry,” to his followers, then questions his reputation with the anthemic chorus: “What’s the word on the street/Have I lost my crown/Or will I be king of everything,” it’s a song about sin and salvation in grand rock and roll tradition. Boy George plays WXPN’s Free At Noon this Friday, April 18th in a double header with The Black Lips. RSVP here. George plays the TLA Friday evening. Go here for tickets.

Listen to “King of Everything” below.