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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Barns Courtney at The Foundry, Janet Jackson at Wells Fargo Center

Barns Courtney | Firefly Music Festival 2017 | Photo by John Vettese

Barns Courtney returns to Philly tonight at The Foundry at The Fillmore to promote his September LP release, The Attractions of Youth. The British folk pop rocker was seen on the small stages at Firefly Music Festival this past summer, and hasn’t played Philly since 2016, so this show has been a much-anticipated return. Get details on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar and watch the video for “Fire” below. Continue reading →

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Masie Blu drops pulsating new track “Lit With Love”

Masie Blu | photo via facebook.com/MasieBlu

Philly soul-pop artist Masie Blu just released “Lit With Love,” an affectionate, synth-heavy crooner with producer Chase of Nazareth. Her echoing vocals and purposefully off-kilter harmonies add a layer of originality that sets Blu apart in the synth-pop scene. Her vocals sound under-produced, leaving an organic tone to her voice, something that isn’t seen too often. The soundscape behind her is full of echoing, pulsating beats, bass-heavy tones, and intermittent drum patterns. Overall, it’s a song dedicated to the rhythm, and the lyrics fit nicely into place. Stream “Lit With Love” below.

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Listen to Chris Forsyth bring maximum jams to his World Cafe session

Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band | photo by Liz Waldie for WXPN

The ultimate Philly jam band, Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band, played World Cafe on November 9th, and did they leave the audience speechless or what? Playing a 20-minute rendition of “Dreaming in the Non-Dream,” these guys tirelessly delivered an epic performance that I’m sure could have lasted an hour. Comparable to big names like The Grateful Dead, Television, and Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Forsyth’s band is nothing shy of crazily energetic. Continue reading →

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Elvis Costello releases symphonic new single for Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Elvis Costello | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

Elvis Costello‘s new song “You Shouldn’t Look at Me That Way” was written for Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, a movie following the life of Peter Turner and his relationship with actress Gloria Grahame. The song swells with the slow crooning of Costello’s vocals, lazy piano riffs, and dynamic builds of the strings. It’s beautiful, and I can already sense the vibe of the movie, even though this song could absolutely stand alone. Stream it below and watch a trailer for the film. Continue reading →

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Petunia’s “Got A Job” video pokes fun at life’s monotony

Petunia | photo courtesy of the artist
Petunia | photo courtesy of the artist

Fun Philly rock trio Petunia just put out a new video for their song “Got A Job,” and it makes fun of the seemingly hard-to-swallow aspects of life…like the monotony of working a lame job at a rollerskating rink.

The exaggerated pans of the camera, soft blurred focus of dim lights, all paired with the slowed down chorus drop makes for a very visually immersive video. There’s a lot going on, but it’s also nicely simplified. And the premise goes so well with the song. It’s a very “this is what the song is about,” video, and that’s also what makes it great. Continue reading →

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4:44 releases synth-heavy single “Freedom” following hype from Jay-Z EP

4:44 | photo by Brittany Cook | instagram.com/brittcphoto | via facebook.com/fourfortyfour

You might remember Jersey prog / jam band 4:44 from their summer stunt when they released an EP called Jay-Z after Jay-Z released his album called 4:44. The news blew up on Reddit for a few months, and 4:44 follows it up this month with a new single, “Freedom.”

The new song vibes with all sorts of synth and bass-heavy grooves, while the lyrics are heavily influenced by all things free, just as the title suggests. Singer Anthony Friedlander channels a U2-esque sound when he really gets into the vocals, and it totally works. This is a fun, not-too-heavy, not-too-light song from a band who knows exactly how to grab a listener’s attention. Continue reading →

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PREMIERE: Power Animal’s “Soil” is a piece of intricately engineered genius

Power Animal | photo courtesy of the artist
Power Animal | photo courtesy of the artist

Power Animal‘s latest single before the release of their album Good Wind Pt. 1 on November 10th is an eclectic mix of fun pop samples and soulful vocals. And the story behind the song’s conception is cool, too. “[Soil] is built around a sample from a cassette tape I found of an elderly couple recording their choir practice. Also a percussive loop that I sampled from a song by my friend Botany,” says Keith Hampson. If you listen closely, you can hear all of those intricate cassette tape sounds in the beginning. It’s a really fun track. Continue reading →

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Jo Kusy tackles lo-fi glam and psych on The Amazing Jumpin’ Jo Kusy

jo kusy
Jo Kusy | photo courtesy of the artist

Prolific Philly rocker Jo Kusy just released a new collection of songs, ranging from countrified acoustic tracks like “Hey! Look At Those Freaks,” to sort of slow ballads like “M-I-S-S-I-N-G,” to totally eclectic “Waiting For The Water To Boil.”

This album, The Amazing Jumpin’ Jo Kusy, has a little bit of everything, if you’re into the weirder side of what “everything” entails. But what makes this album so amazingly weird is what makes it so great. Musicians who work with a hold-nothing-back attitude usually end up with the best work. Continue reading →

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Warm up for Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile’s show at The Tower with their Colbert performance

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile | photo by Danny Cohen | courtesy of the artist

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, the passion project that seems to be taking the world by storm, appeared on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night to perform “Over Everything” off of their album Lotta Sea Lice. The countrified, conversational duet with intricately picked guitars, swaying drums, and melancholic keyboard encapsulates the feel of the duo’s first album together.

While Vile has said, “It’ll be an intercontinental country duo for the ages, (minus the country),” it’s almost impossible to disassociate the genre from their sound. Their voices naturally carry that country-blues tone, paired with the back-and-forth vocal style of many other country duets. It’s in the backing soundscape that seems more alternative where the band can distance themselves from becoming too much of a country band. Continue reading →