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Sagar Bumsweat writes meditative raps on PROPERMEDITATION II

Sagar Bumsweat | via bumsweat.bandcamp.com

PROPERMEDITATION II is the second instillation is rapper/producer Sagar Bumsweat‘s PROPERMEDITATION series, the follow up to October 2017’s initial project. This project continues in the alternative rap realm Sagar casts throughout his previous work, building on preexisting themes both sonically and lyrically.

The multidisciplinary artist raps, produces, and mixes everything on PROPERMEDITATION II — impressive, considering that project mastermind Sagar Vasishtha also plays keys in Soft Idiot. Bandmate Mike Whalen of Soft Idiot contributes live guitar and bass parts throughout this tape. Other contributions to the album come in the form of features from rappers Black Costanza (from Shippensburg, PA) and Pink Navel (from Maine).

Lyrically, the tape includes reflections on youth, the transition to adulthood, and religious themes. Themes of youth come in all shapes and sizes on this project, from shredding on ripsticks on the second track to tape closer “6FACES, Ode to Cube,” a love letter to Nintendo’s GameCube. Continue reading →

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The Met Philadelphia announces December opening, gets action-packed trailer of renovation footage

via twitter.com/themetphilly

There’s a new venue coming to town. Once called the Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House, and now rebranded simply as The Met Philadelphia, the rebirth of a long-dormant Philly venue was announced back in November of 2016, and a is starting to generate some buzz thanks to a new teaser video released earlier this week. The minute-long video details our city’s passion for art, culture, and history, while intertwining shots of Rocky, Jason Kelce (in full Mummer regalia), and footage of the venue mid-rehab.

The Met, boasting National Register of Historic Places-status since ’72, is located at 858 N. Broad St., close to the intersection of Broad and Poplar. The massive 39,200-square-foot building was built in 1908, and now, (*cue dramatic narrator voice*) nearly 110 years later, its doors will reopen once again and fill Philadelphia with world-class live music (*end dramatic voice*). Continue reading →

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Hear Natalie Prass’ new album now on NPR First Listen

Natalie Prass’ The Future and The Past album art

Richmond-based singer-songwriter Natalie Prass has returned with her sophomore album, The Future and The Past, available to steam now through NPR’s First Listen series.

Prass kicks off her latest effort with a funk-soaked banger in the form of “Oh My.” Lyrically, she weaves sociopolitical verses throughout the track, opening with “I can’t believe the things I hear / What is truth and what is fear.” Second track and lead single “Short Court Style” is the Juno-bass thumping, XPN-fave we’re all familiar with. Prass closed her NonCOMM set with the track, a fan favorite from the night. Continue reading →

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Dark Thoughts releases new tape recorded at WKDU

Dark Thoughts | via WKDU.org

Philly punk trio Dark Thoughts released a teaser of new music this week in the form of a live EP, recorded at Drexel University’s radio station, WKDU. Titled Dark Thoughts Live! on WKDU and recorded by Key contributor and WKDU host Yoni Kroll, the live EP contains four tracks split over the two sides. The live tracks are previews of Dark Thought’s upcoming sophomore album, Dark Thoughts at Work.  Continue reading →

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Sugar Hill Gang and more will play Reading’s Downtown Alive free concert series

Sugar Hill Gang | via nytimes.com

Old school rappers Sugar Hill Gang will play a free concert this August in Reading, PA at the annual Downtown Alive summer concert series. The free concert series kicks off on June 20 with Go Go Gadjet set to perform, followed by The Magpie Salute and Flux Capacitor on July 18, and Sugar Hill Gang and Nova on August 15. Two dates for September are scheduled with yet-to-be-announced acts, so be sure to check back for the announcement of those acts. Continue reading →

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Watch Angel Olsen and MMJ’s Jim James cover Sonny & Cher in Brooklyn

Jim James | photo by Kate McCann for WXPN // Angel Olsen | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

This past weekend, director David Lynch curated and hosted the “Festival of Disruption” in Brooklyn. The multipurpose event featured a range of artists performing sets and hosting talks at New York venue Brooklyn Steel. Among the host of experimental electronic titans to perform, including Flying Lotus, Jon Hopkins, Animal Collective, and Nancy Whang of LCD Soundsystem, kindred spirits Jim James and Angel Olsen connected Sunday night to perform a standout cover of Sonny & Cher’s “Baby Don’t Go.” James and Olsen transformed the cover into an acoustic, downtempo performance compared to the 1964 original. Continue reading →

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Mic Stew wrestles with pressure and depression on “It Will All Be Okay”

Mic Stew | still from video

Philly rapper Mic Stew is back with his latest single and music video to the track “It Will All Be Okay,” a self reaffirming track backed by a hauntingly bright beat. Producer Daniel Martin is able to cast a drug-daze similar to A$AP Rocky’s 2013 hit “Purple Swag,” while the submerged beat leaves enough headroom for Mic Stew to get to work. Touching on the pitfalls of alcohol and dealing with pressure and depression, Stew emotionally unravels lyrically throughout the track. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Sweet Spirit blows the roof off of World Cafe Live

 

Sweet Spirit | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | www.senialopez.photography

Sweet Spirit are the powder keg of NonCOMM, just waiting to explode given the opportunity. Thursday night on the upstairs stage at World Cafe Live, the band had their chance. World Cafe host Talia Schlanger introduced the band by asking the crowd to feel their foreheads, received with confusion among the crowd. Schlanger followed it up quickly, saying “I guarantee you it will be dripping by the end.” She wasn’t wrong.

Early on in their set, Sweet Spirit entranced the crowd with the relatively tame 2015 track “Rebel Rebel.” In the back half of the song, bassist Jon Fichter lead the band in a campfire roundabout rendition of the track’s chorus, with the rest of the bandmates huddled around their mics repeating the chorus delayed. The building mash up of vocals launched the band into an explosive finale. Leading into “Baby When I Close My Eyes,” the band kept the tempo high throughout the rest of their set. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Hop Along display jaw-dropping range on the PRX stage

Hop Along | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | www.senialopez.photography

Hometown heroes Hop Along have been doing laps around Philly lately. Since releasing Bark Your Head Off, Dog on April 6 on Saddle Creek, the band played a Free at Noon set that same day, a sold-out surprise show at Johnny Brenda’s the following night, and have returned to the city after the first leg of tour in support of their third LP. The band plays Union Transfer this Saturday, May 19, a gig that’s been sold out for a minute now. Thankfully after the month-long tour, the band was still able to deliver a kick-ass set to the upstairs NonCOMM crowd Thursday night. Lead singer Frances Quinlan noted how nice it was to be back in Philadelphia: “It’s lovely, we just got home from tour yesterday.”

The XPN faves opened with “How Simple,” the lead track on their latest release plus one of our favorite music videos of the year so far. The track’s grooving tempo lead the crowd into an early-set dance party. Among the other four tracks to be performed from Bark Your Head OffDog, “How Simple” displayed the new direction the band took with their fourth album. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Titus Andronicus explosively kicks off Free at Noon

Titus Andronicus | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Midday host Helen Leicht took to the stage as the clock struck noon today, much like she does every Friday for WXPN’s traditional Free at Noon sets. Today’s midweek set was a special exception, however. To kick off NonCOMM’s run of Free at Noon sets, Leicht welcomed up Jersey-based punk rockers Titus Andronicus to the stage. Leicht prefaced the performance by noting the duo of Patrick Stickles on electric guitar and Alex Molini on keys would be performing an “acoustic” set. The following half hour would unfold as quite possibly the loudest acoustic set the Free at Noon crowd has witnessed to date. Continue reading →