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Free At Noon Flashback: Muscle Tough brings the futuristic funk to World Cafe Live

Muscle Tough | photo by Senia Lopez | senialopez.photography

Philly instrumental improv trio Muscle Tough spent the afternoon downstairs at World Cafe Live to share what was possibly the most interesting Free At Noon concert I’ve seen in a while. I went in not knowing what to expect, and left having witnessed psychedelic robo funk, super heavy guitar and drum battles, and even jokey synchronized dance moves from guitarist Ross Bellenoit and bassist Jonathan Coleman. It was entertaining all across the board, and cheers of “When I say Muscle, you say Tough!” were prevalent throughout the entire forty-five minute set, just to remind the crowd that they were awesome. Continue reading →

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Vampire Weekend makes an atypical entrance, announces new album at Lollapalooza

Vampire Weekend at Lollapalooza | photo by Timothy Hiatt | via Billboard

When Vampire Weekend took the Lallapalooza stage in Chicago last weekend, the crowd went wild for their opener “A Punk,” their first big hit from the start of their career.

And then they went wild again when the band played it a second time.

And then they figured something was up… Continue reading →

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Circa Survive will bring La Dispute and Queen of Jeans on tour this fall

Circa Survive | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

Philly alt rock staples Circa Survive are hitting the road again this October in support of their 2017 release, The Amulet. The last time we caught them was at the Electric Factory in November with Thrice, so we haven’t had to wait long for a return. Circa just recently wrapped up an Australian/Pacific Coast tour earlier this summer, and frontman Anthony Green just ended his Avalon 10 Year Anniversary tour earlier this week. No rest for these guys, as they’re already ready to get back on the road again for most of this fall.

Though it’s been almost a year since Circa has put out any new releases, the individual band members have done anything but relax. Green released his newest solo album, Would You Still Be In Love, at the beginning of June, and was joined by Circa Survive’s Brendan Ekstrom on the Avalon Tour. Continue reading →

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Mac Miller delivers first live performance of Swimming at NPR Music’s Tiny Desk

Mac Miller | photo by Elsah Attar for NPR

Pittsburgh MC Mac Miller just dropped Swimming, his fifth studio release, on Friday, and fans have gotten their first glimpse of a live rendition before he takes the Swimming Tour on the road thanks to NPR’s Tiny Desk.

Miller, who hasn’t released anything since The Divine Feminine in 2016, is quickly taking the hip hop world by storm after re-emerging into the scene with almost no notice. After quickly announcing singles just a few weeks before the LP’s due date, fans shifted their attention away from Miller’s personal life and whirlwind breakup from singer Ariana Grande and refocused on why they loved him to begin with: he’s an artist, and Swimming is brilliant show of his skill. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir & Wolf Bros will play The Fillmore this fall

Dead & Company | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

Grateful Dead founding member and guitarist Bob Weir has just announced a fall tour spanning through October and November with a new trio project, Bob Weir & Wolf Bros. The group is set to rework classic Dead tunes as well as old tracks from Weir’s repertoire in the form of guitar, Don Was on upright bass, and Jay Lane on drums. Continue reading →

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Nick Cianci’s High Fidelity Depressed is anything but a downer

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

Philadelphia-rooted singer-songwriter Nick Cianci‘s debut EP High Fidelity Depressed is a high-energy take on themes of angst and loneliness. With beautifully intricate guitar melodies and clear, eager vocals, the recent NYU grad via the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music has proven that he’s clearly not new to the game. His sound is incredibly mature and perfected, even though he’s a solo artist. Not only is he a gifted musician and songwriter, but he also understands the technicalities of production. That’s his edge right there. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Mt. Joy is a Silver Lining among other Marina Stage performances

Mt. Joy | photo by Natalie Piserchio | nataliepiserchio.com

L.A.-via-Philly up-and-comers Mt. Joy played the second slot on the Marina Stage for the last day of XPN Fest, and their set was vibey and wild and enigmatic. It was all over the board in the best way. These guys are sort of chameleon rockers – each song is so different from the last, but still fits in the pocket of indie soul folk if you had to categorize their sound. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Sunflower Bean burns it down on the Marina Stage

Sunflower Bean | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Brooklyn natives and WXPN regulars Sunflower Bean shared more of their Twentytwo in Blue record with the day two crowd as the sun beat down on the Marina Stage. To open the show, they played the fan favorite “Burn It,” and front woman Julia Cumming’s signature alto-toned vocals welcomed the crowd back to Twentytwo. Interspersed with quick drum fills and lead bass tones, the band was tighter than ever. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Mondo Cozmo reps Embiid while playing stadium anthems on the River Stage

Mondo Cozmo | photo by Natalie Piserchio | nataliepiserchio.com

Bucks County-bred, Los Angeles-based Mondo Cozmo took the River Stage full of gratitude as frontman Joshua Ostrander reflected on how he’s been sending music to WXPN host Helen Leicht since he was a kid, and now here he is. They kicked off their set with “Come With Me,” as well as a quick reveal of Ostrander’s Embiid basketball jersey. Do we love him or do we love him?

Following the release of Your Motherfucker, of which Leicht joked that 88.5 can’t play the title track on the radio, the band played a special censored rendition just for our crowd. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Jupiter & Okwess make their Philly-area debut all the way from the Congo, and the crowd goes wild

Jupiter and Okwess | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

For their first time in the Philadelphia area, Jupiter & Okwess performed a spectacularly high energy set at the River Stage for day two of #XPNFest.

Born in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jupiter Bokondi emerged into Africa’s rhythmic music scene in the 1970’s in the form of a wedding and funeral performer. After moving to Berlin for the duration of his adolescence, he delved into the psych pop scene and formed groups that incorporated his country’s musical styling of percussive beats and erratic yet unifying vocals. After years of musical experimentation, appreciation for the European soundscape, and the unending ties to Africa, Jupiter & Okwess emerged.

They took the XPNFest Marina Stage decked out in the most fun, bright clothes, and the biggest smiles on all their faces. Continue reading →