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Nobody’s “Standing In Place” during a Mo Lowda & the Humble show

Mo Lowda and the Humble | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN | dylaneddinger.com

Friday night, Philly rockers Mo Lowda & the Humble played a sold-out show at Johnny Brenda’s to continue celebrating their latest release, 2018’s Creatures LP. Known for their energetic sound paired with anthemic vocals and heavy-alt rock influences, Mo Lowda is a Philly hometown rock and roll staple, and this was their last show before embarking on a European tour at the end of the month. Continue reading →

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If you’re lonely or in love, Nick Cianci’s “Goodnight, and Happy Birthday” was written for you

Nick Cianci
Nick Cianci | photo by C.J. Moy | courtesy of the artist

Malvern-born, Brooklyn-based singer songwriter Nick Cianci is back with his first single release since last summer’s High Fidelity Depressed EP, and the mood that he conveys with “Goodnight, and Happy Birthday,” is one of longing and confusion and a certain existential dread. Cianci is able to set the scene with vividly personal images that creep from his lyrics between dissonant guitar chords and intricate, frustrated riffs. Continue reading →

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The Revivalists are a knockout alongside American Authors at The Met

The Revivalists | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN | dylaneddinger.com

New Orleans natives The Revivalists played hit after hit for all their Philly friends at the still-new Metropolitan Opera House Saturday night. Supported by Boston’s American Authors, known for their hit “Best Day Of My Life” a couple years back, both bands brought a mostly seated crowd to their feet for the whole night. Featuring a cover of The Killers’ iconic “Mr. Brightside” and several just-released tracks, American Authors continuously thanked The Revivalists for including them on this tour after they played a show together early last year. The catchy pop-rock songs and engaging frontman made for the perfect opener. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Emily Herbein’s top unplugged and intimate performances of 2018

Mac Miller | photo by Elsah Attar for NPR

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2018 incredible. Today, Key contributing writer Emily Herbein reflects on her favorite stripped down performances of the year.

When artists go acoustic, they tend to reveal a whole new layer of their songwriting that we didn’t notice earlier. Whether it’s a touring artist stopping by a radio station to give an unplugged performance, or a band using their YouTube channel for an intimate take of a known-and-loved song, these performances have the ability to forge new emotional connections or solidify existing ones. Here are my top unplugged and intimate performances of the year. Continue reading →

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Circa Survive wraps the Amulet tour, thanks fans for keeping them grounded

Circa Survive | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

Circa Survive came home Saturday night to play their second to last date on the Amulet tour at The Fillmore, and if you weren’t there, you missed what might have been the end of a truly epic era. The tour’s lineup featured local openers Queen of Jeans and La Dispute, and, like Circa Survive, they have both recorded with Conshohocken-based producer Will Yip, who got a special mention between sets as the common ground between all three bands. This will be the last Circa Survive tour for a little while, as the band takes a much needed hiatus from traveling, so take it in while you can. I’ve seen them several times, but I know this show is going to stand out in my mind for a long time, and you’ll see why.

But Philly. Anthony Green says it time and time again – there is nothing like a Philly show, especially if it’s your hometown gig. But why was this one so good? Continue reading →

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Khruangbin encourages us to stay close during a sold out Union Transfer show

Khruangbin | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN | dylaneddinger.com

Texas-based Thai funk rockers Khruangbin played a sold out show at Union Transfer Friday night and, without any introduction needed, they tirelessly played a 16 song set with practically no breaks. Pulling from their extensive instrumental discography, the set consisted of old tracks from their debut LP, The Universe Smiles Upon You, and their 2018 LP, Con Todo El Mundo.  Continue reading →

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Loner, Together: Caroline Rose pushed the limits of a rowdy Underground Arts crowd

Caroline Rose | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN | dylaneddinger.com

Sporting a red Armani dinner jacket that “cost more than her soul,” the ever unpredictable Caroline Rose delivered an electric set to fans at Underground Arts Friday night. Standing on a stage that was a total explosion of red – her signature – she kicked off the night with four songs from her newest LP, Loner, in the original order that she intended them to appear on the tracklisting. She promised us all the hits “since we paid good money to be there,” so she gave us “To Die Today,” “More of the Same,” “Cry!” and “Jeannie Becomes a Mom” one after the other. Continue reading →

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Iron & Wine delivers unapologetically beautiful performance for The Keswick Theater

Iron and Wine | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN | dylaneddinger.com

Sam Beam is one of those rare talents who sounds better live than recorded, and whose songs have the ability to move a theater full of people to tears. Known professionally as Iron & Wine, Beam’s music has been a staple in folk, indie, and singer-songwriter for over 15 years. His shows go on your bucket list. His use of imaginative, cryptic, and personal lyrics coupled with intricate fingerpicking and meaningful percussion makes his sound immediately recognizable. His modest and gentle demeanor onstage add to the unsuspecting wealth of talent beneath the surface.

Coming off the release of 2018’s Weed Garden, I expected this tour to be a celebration of a new chapter in his discography. Instead, Beam handpicked his favorite songs off of nearly all of his albums. It was just a celebration of Iron & Wine, and seeing as this was my first time at one of his concerts, it was perfect. Continue reading →

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Foxtrot & the Get Down debut new songs to full house at Johnny Brenda’s

Foxtrot and the Get Down | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN | dylaneddinger.com

Proud Philadelphians Foxtrot & the Get Down premiered new songs off a forthcoming EP to the most excitable crowd I’ve ever seen at Johnny Brenda’s. The band, who have just been signed to Soundly Music, have definitely earned their place as one of our hometown’s most recognizable local acts. Just this past summer they played several sets at Dover, Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival and made their national TV debut on Fox’s The Q, and they don’t have any plans to slow down.

Foxtrot also shared last night’s lineup with longtime friend and fellow Philly native artist Brianna Judge. Fun fact: singer and guitarist Colin Budny told me that he and Brianna played their first ever shows together back in 2012 down the street at the local bar Kostas – though then called The M Room.

The setlist for the night included old favorites like “Shine,” a newer bluesey track called “Down & Out” (which also features a brand new music video that you can watch below), a brand new week-old tribute to the 27 club called “Legends Never Die,” and a sneak peak of a single dropping this Friday called “Battered & Blue,” which will be featured on their forthcoming EP under Sony. Continue reading →

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Lighten Up, Buttercup, because Hippo Campus blew away Union Transfer last night

Hippo Campus | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN | dylaneddinger.com

Last night, Minnesota indie rockers Hippo Campus joined the crowd at Union Transfer to celebrate the release of their newest LP, Bambi. They brought to the stage their instantly recognizable bubbly, ethereal, and smooth-yet-edgy sound to the stage, and then amplified it times ten. Singer Jake Luppen dove right into the new stuff, opening the show with the relaxed and pulsing track “Bambi,” followed by “Honestly,” and then the off-kilter, electro-rock “Doubt.” What a way to kick things off, honestly. These guys are loads of fun, and the set was atmospheric and loud and both gentle and aggressive when the tracks called for a change of pace. Ever appreciative of the crowd, as most bands who roll through Philly are, both Luppen and guitarist Nathan Stocker thanked us several times just for being there. Continue reading →