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Slaughter Beach, Dog leads a stacked Philly bill at Everybody Hits

Slaughter Beach, Dog | photo by Joseph Bloss for WXPN
Slaughter Beach, Dog | photo by Joseph Bloss for WXPN

Jake Ewald said Tuesday night was his first concert. Before the show, he pleaded with Brendan Lukens to buy his record. Ewald was kidding, of course — he and Lukens have put on many shows themselves as two-fourths of Modern Baseball, so it’s hard to imagine he had to sell anything to his friend.

This kind of playfulness is commonplace with any show involving some of the MoBo guys. It bleeds into the crowd, too. Everyone seems to be friends. Tuesday night was no exception, as Ewald’s project Slaughter Beach, Dog kicked of a tiny six-date tour at Everybody Hits. Abi Reimold and Harmony Woods rounded out the all-Philly bill. Continue reading →

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Dust ‘Em Off: Two Door Cinema Club breaks out the classics at The Fillmore

 

Two Door Cinema Club | photo by Joseph Bloss for WXPN
Two Door Cinema Club | photo by Joseph Bloss for WXPN

Two Door Cinema Club needed a break.

By the end of 2013, they’d been touring for nearly five years straight and were starting to hate each other. A trio of friends since childhood, they decided to take some time apart — with no timetable for reconvening to continue the career that had taken them from Northern Ireland’s tiniest clubs to festival stages around the world.

Lead vocalist Alex Trimble moved to Portland and holed up with all sorts of pills. Bassist Kevin Baird ditched the drugs while in LA, and guitarist Sam Halliday found love in London. It was a necessary end to a long stint supporting their 2010 debut, Tourist History, and 2012’s follow-up, Beacon.

Now the band is back, fully refreshed. They began work on album three sometime mid-2015, and we finally got our hands on the disco-infused Gameshow last month. A North American tour kicked off last week, and Saturday night its third stop was The Fillmore Philadelphia.

If there’s one thing to take away from Saturday’s gig, it’s that the time off did nothing but good things for TDCC. Refreshed could be an understatement — on that Fillmore stage they appeared recharged to a voltage immeasurable. The new tunes were brought to life with an intensity that’s hard to grasp when listening to the studio recordings. And as for the old songs, they sounded as good as ever. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: The Stray Birds share a special set to celebrate the release of Magic Fire

The Stray Birds | Photo by Kimberly Ilkowski for WXPN | ilkowski.com
The Stray Birds | Photo by Kimberly Ilkowski for WXPN | ilkowski.com

Early on in The Stray Birds‘ Free At Noon set Friday, Oliver Craven took a moment to instruct the audience. “We were told to avoid dead air,” he said. “So keep clapping.” It was a playful moment during a special set for the trio-turned-quartet from Lancaster. Friday marks the release of their newest album Magic Fire, produced by the legendary Larry Campbell, and as Maya de Vitry added after Craven’s remark, the band was having so much fun finally playing some new songs. Continue reading →

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On first listen, here is what we want you to know about Amos Lee’s new album, Spirit

Cover art of Amos Lee’s Spirit

Philly and XPN fav Amos Lee‘s new album Spirit has officially hit the shelves. It’s in stores now and available for streaming via Apple Music. For some of you, that means you’ve probably already listened to the album in its entirety four times. Or, maybe you have Spotify like I do, and don’t have unlimited access to it just yet. Whichever camp you fall under, we thought you might enjoy a quick track-by-track review of what to expect on Lee’s sixth studio album. So here it goes. Continue reading →

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Philly meets Frank: Alex G and Jazmine Sullivan are featured on Frank Ocean’s new visual album, Endless

Frank Ocean | photo via boysdontcry.co

It’s here.

The world has been waiting ever so impatiently for R&B icon Frank Ocean‘s newest work since 2012’s channel ORANGE, and Thursday night it finally dropped. Now available on Apple Music is Ocean’s visual album Endless. The fact that it’s presented as a visual album might come as a surprise. So might the idea that it isn’t entitled Boys Don’t Cry, as Ocean had been teasing for so long. But what might be most surprising are the Philly ties on the new project.

Both soul singer Jazmine Sullivan and indie rocker Alex G are featured on multiple tracks. Sullivan’s vocals can be found on “Alabama,” “Wither,” “Hubolts” and “Rushes.” Alex G plays guitar on “Wither,” “Slide On Me,” “Rushes” and “Higgs.” So there you have it: what is one of the most highly anticipated releases in recent memory is flooded with talent that’s rooted right here in Philadelphia. Additional (non-Philly) contributors to the visual album include Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, James Blake, UK R&B vocalist Sampha , producer Arca, and the London Contemporary Orchestra.

Now, if you can believe this, there actually seems to be more on the way from Ocean. One of his representatives has reportedly said to “keep an eye out for more from Frank.” Most expect it to be the studio album that’s been promised for so long. So maybe that means there’s more Alex G / Jazmine Sullivan / Frank Ocean collaborations just around the corner? Only time will tell. Stay tuned, and watch Frank Ocean’s Endless here.

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Mick Jenkins, back with a new single, will “Spread Love” at The Foundry in October

Mick Jenkins | Photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN | brightloud.com
Mick Jenkins | Photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN | brightloud.com

Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins unloaded a ton of new info on us this week. For starters, he’ll be swinging by The Foundry at The Fillmore on Saturday, October 15th for a Red Bull Sound Select show with support from St. Louis rapper Smino. It’s just one date on his A Quest For Love tour that will hit 12 cities this fall. Plus, the cross-country journey is paired with the release of Jenkins’ latest, The Healing Component, due out September 23rd via his own label, Free Nation. Wednesday, we got the first taste of the project with lead single “Spread Love.” Continue reading →

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Listen to a fuzzy new LVL UP track “Hidden Driver,” catch them at PhilaMOCA in September

LVL Up | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com
LVL UP | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

New York lo-fi indie rockers LVL UP, a year removed from a gig here in Philly at Union Transfer, shared a new song Tuesday titled “Hidden Driver.” The single is the second to be released off the forthcoming album Return to Love — the band’s third LP overall, but first with Sub Pop Records.

“Hidden Driver” seems to be a title nodding to a higher power. Continue reading →

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Catch PHL Songwriter’s Project winners this Saturday at the Oval

Adam Web | photo via adamwebmusic.com

For the past 11 years, the non-profit Philadelphia Songwriter’s Project has held a songwriting competition. Just a small handful of winners are selected from a field of 200 and embark on a summer tour across the region. This Saturday, August 20th, the tour will make a stop at The Oval on the Ben Franklin Parkway for a free show from 12 to 6 p.m. Acoustic artist Adam Web will headline, with the other sets coming from funk-popster Quincy Mumford, singer-songwriter Bernard Sarkissian, local teenage blues band Time Gap, and Latin band De Tierra Caliente. Below you’ll find a sampling of some of their tunes. Head here if you need any more information. Continue reading →

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Drift into dreams with The Tallest Man On Earth’s peaceful new song, “Rivers”

The Tallest Man on Earth | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com
The Tallest Man on Earth | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

Kristian Matsson, better known as The Tallest Man On Earth, has shared his second song of 2016. “Rivers” follows up “Time Of The Blue,” which was released back in June. The new music is especially a treat considering because Matsson put out his most recent album Dark Bird Is Home just last year. No word yet on whether these new tracks are to stand alone or act as singles for an upcoming album — the former is most likely considering no information on a record has been made public — but it’s never smart to make assumptions. We’ll keep you updated on that front if any news breaks. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Queen of Jeans at Spruce Street Harbor Park, A Day Without Love + Liz De Lise at W/N W/N, The Menzingers at The Electric Factory and more…

Queen of Jeans
Queen of Jeans | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | cameronpollackphotography.com

It’s time for the next installment of the Spruce Street Harbor Park Waterfront Sessions, and Queen of Jeans will be the headliners this time around. Last we checked in with the local favs, they were wowing us at XPN Fest. And below, you’ll find a recording of “Moody” they shot with local video crew Out of Town Films — a song we dove into on our Time Capsule series. Grubby Little Hands will also be performing tonight, and more info can be found here. Continue reading →