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NonCOMM Recap: Nilüfer Yanya brings a blend of London sounds to Philadelphia

Nilüfer Yanya | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | www.senialopez.photography

London singer-songwriter Nilüfer Yanya took the stage upstairs at World Cafe to showcase her impressive blend of lo-fi, indie, trip-hop, and jazz. Influenced by Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse and Pixies alike, the blend of references peeked out throughout the six-song set.

Yanya and company opened with the jazz-tinged breakup track “Thanks 4 Nothing,” one of her singles that helped land her on the map for many, as well as a previous Gotta Hear Song Of The Week. Another one of those landmark singles, 2017’s “Baby Luv” dazzled the crowd elsewhere in the set. The band’s stylistic tendencies resemble that of fellow Brit youths King Krule, a similarity others have noted before. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Parquet Courts take the PRX Stage by storm

Parquet Courts | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | www.senialopez.photography

Just a few days ahead of the Parquet Courts’ 6th studio release, Wide Awake!, the rockers took to the upstairs stage at World Cafe to feature a handful of tracks tracks off the album. The band kicked off their set with album opener “Total Football,” a track that vocalist and guitarist A. Savage told DIY Magazine touches on “collectivity versus individualism and how, now more than ever, it’s important to celebrate what happens when we come together.” The tempo change from intro into the song (and then again transitioning to the outro) got the upstairs crowd moving early on.

Elsewhere in the set, the band played title track “Wide Awake.” The upbeat, calypso-esque drums and bouncy bassline care of Sean Yeaton had the crowd movin’ and groovin.’ The live rendition featured an extended jam section in the back half of the track, featuring clashing parts from both guitarists, and a funky keyboard line from Austin Brown following his guitar part. Continue reading →

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Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever bring the mainland to Johnny Brenda’s

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever | Photo by Jack Madden for WXPN

Melbourne-based five piece Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever took to Johnny Brenda’s this past Thursday night for their second visit to Philadelphia. The band’s current month-long U.S. tour started with dates at both Coachella weekends, and ultimately lead the band to road trip across 30 states before closing out the U.S. leg in Philly, then flying to Europe for the second leg of the tour. Thankfully, the Aussie five piece still had plenty of energy when they stopped by JB’s to enchant the upstairs crowd.

As the clock stuck 11, the house spun George McCrae’s 1974 pre-disco hit “Rock Your Baby.” The disco ball‘s shimmering red lights cast upon the crowd as McCrae’s crooning faded, giving way for the band to take the stage. The disco ball would continue to paint the room in red, blue and green throughout the night as the band’s jangle pop infused summertime rock tunes dazzled the upstairs crowd.

The Melbourne-based quintet kicked off their set with “Clean Slate” from their 2016 debut EP, Talk Talk. In one sense, the lead track is quintessential Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: a trio of vocalists/guitarists contributing their own flavor to the mix, punchy upbeat punk drums, and a driving yet off-kilter bassline. The effervescent blend of neo-pop and sunny punk-tinged rock got the Thursday night crowd moving instantaneously. Continue reading →

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#XPNFest announces more artists, incl. Natalie Prass and The National Reserve

Natalie Prass | photo by Tonje Thilesen // Fantastic Negrito // The National Reserve | photo by Michael Cooper // Forth Wanderers | photo by Julia Leiby // all photos courtesy of the artists

77 more days, 11 weeks left, a little over two months to go – however you want to say it, you better believe XPNFest is coming up quickly! Kicking off on Friday, July 27 across the river in Wiggins Park, NJ, the annual festival is returning for its 25th rendition. Today, we’re pleased to announce four more artists set to appear at the fest.

Joining the Wiggins Park crowd on Friday is Brooklyn’s The National Reserve, who just wrapped up a Free at Noon set earlier this afternoon. The Brooklynites show off their bluesy brand of Americana rock on their latest album, Motel La Grange, which just so happens to be out today. Give the album a spin if you missed the band’s set, or relisten to some of the tracks the band played earlier on air. Continue reading →

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Listen to Low Cut Connie’s Dirty Pictures (Part 2) via NPR First Listen

Low Cut Connie | photo by Marcus Junius Laws | courtesy of the artist

Hometown rockers and XPN-faves Low Cut Connie are notorious for their raucous live shows and their vivacious brand of sweaty rock music. Often labeled as torchbearers of rock n roll for this reason, the group scaled back the pizazz on their latest, Dirty Pictures (Part 2), in favor of stripped down, emotionally complex tracks.

In an interview with NPR, frontman and upright pianist Adam Weiner said Part 2 — streaming a week early at NPR Music — is more “character driven, exploring the way people and their emotional lives are a little more than this bar-culture thing that we had been doing for a while.” Continue reading →

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Courtney Barnett releases instructional video for new single, “Sunday Roast”

Courtney Barnett | still from video

Courtney Barnett’s latest video opens like many YouTube tutorial videos may open. “Hey guys, its me, Courtney Barnett. Today I’m going to show you how to play ‘Sunday Roast,’” Barnett says, greeting the viewers on the other side of the screen. The instructional video doubles as Barnett’s latest single release off her upcoming album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, out May 18.

The video features Barnett sitting on a futon strumming along to the track, flanked by two figures cropped out of the frame. Close-up shots of Barnett playing the guitar float across the screen throughout the 4-minute video, instructing viewers on how to play along at home.  Continue reading →

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Leon Bridges is contemporary yet timeless on Good Thing

Leon Bridges | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN

Leon Bridges’ sophomore effort is not only a display of his maturity and development as an artist, but also a reflection on growth and change. Between the release of 2015’s Coming Home and Good Thing, Bridges toured extensively, gaining new experiences in cities and countries the Texas-native had not previously visited. Featuring these experiences through love songs and heartbreak ballads alike, not to mention funk tracks, Bridges crafts a well-rounded follow-up album to the 2015 release that landed him on the map. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Big Thief will play First Unitarian Church in this fall

Big Thief | Photo: Shervin Lainez
Big Thief | photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist

Brooklyn-based indie rock band Big Thief announced their fall tour and are set to appear at Philly’s First Unitarian Church in October. The tour announcement comes on the heels of Big Thief’s recently-released experimental EP, Wide Winged Bird. The EP was made while on tour from summer 2015 to spring 2017, and contains ambient background sounds, field recordings, poems, and songs intertwined through out the 30-minute experience. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Gallant and Jamila Woods will play Union Transfer in October

Gallant | photo by John Vettese for WXPN // Jamila Woods | photo by Koof Ibi Umoren for WXPN /

R&B artist Gallant announced his upcoming Fall headlining “Too Good To Be” tour, which includes a stop at Union Transfer. The name of the tour is quite fitting, considering fellow ascendant R&B star Jamila Woods is joining Gallant for the first leg of the tour.

Gallant broke onto the scene with the release of his debut album, 2016’s Ology, and rode that wave of success well into 2017, opening for John Legend on his “Darkness and Light” tour. While no official release date has been set for the highly anticipated follow-up album, Gallant has released two new songs, “Gentlemen” in April, and “Doesn’t Matter” just earlier today. Continue reading →

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The Space Cadet Lands: King Krule at The Fillmore Philadelphia

King Krule | photo by Jack Madden for WXPN

A King Krule performance is an emotional, personal experience, the listener dragged into the dark semiconscious world leader Archy Marshall creates throughout his work. When engulfed in the world of King Krule lyrically, thematically, and instrumentally, its easy to forget Marshall is just 23-years-old. Themes of isolation and loneliness, insomnia and romance all permeate through often-symbolic lyrics referencing the moon, the sea, trains and the color blue.

Songwriting for his latest album The Ooz — a follow up to his critically acclaimed debut 6 Feet Beneath the Moon — came while battling bouts of depression, where an unkempt Marshall would write and record a multitude of demos, but despise everything he made. It was during these slumps Marshall would cope in a way some of us may be able to relate to, by binging It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Yes, actually. Continue reading →