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The Key Studio Sessions: Son Little

One of the first things you’re likely to hear about Philly’s Son Little is its pedigree. The trio is primarily the songwriting project of singer-guitarist Aaron Livingston, who in the past has collaborated with The Roots and RJD2. Musical adventurers both, for certain, but those names as a point of reference doesn’t really clue you in to how expressive and eclectic his own songwriting is. Continue reading →

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The best 24 or 25 tweets we’ve seen about the #885countdown (so far)

The above tweet by Philly illustrator Matt Friedman showed up in our Twitter feed yesterday, and nicely sums up the beauty and hilarity of WXPN’s 885 Greatest Songs of All Time countdown. With music jumping all over the spectrum, it sometimes feels delightfully random; with like a bazillion Beatles selections ranking so far, it also feels somewhat predictable; and then, out of nowhere, there will be this sick transition between “Penny Lane” and “Rebellion (Lies)” by Arcade Fire, and you’ll be like “holy cow that was amazing” and you keep listening. It keeps you hooked. Equally addictive is the #885countdown hashtag on Twitter, where some amazing conversation and commentary has been unfolding. Here is some of the best of what we’ve seen so far. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Courtney Barnett at Union Transfer, Something Like A Monument at Kung Fu Necktie, These Wild Plains at Tellus360

Courtney Barnett | Photo via facebook.com/courtneybarnettmusic
Courtney Barnett | Photo via facebook.com/courtneybarnettmusic

It’s been a whirlwind couple of years for Courtney Barnett, who went from a Melbourne musician with a couple of EPs to the toast of the indie singer-songwriter scene. Propelled by her wit and lyrical charm, perhaps best exhibited on the infectious “Avant Gardener” – the first single from her 2013 release A Sea of Split Peas – Barnett headlines Union Transfer for the second time tonight, and according to her recent interview with The Key’s Kate Bracaglia, will show off a few new songs from the album she’s releasing next year. Tickets and information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, watch a video of “Avant Gardener” performed live in the studio for World Cafe. Continue reading →

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The Districts’ van was broken into…again.

You’ve got to be kidding me. The Districts‘ van was broken into…again…in the same city as last time. The above Instagram (which, yeah, kinda looks like the cover of LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver) is what they found earlier today – a lock cut off from their door. Strand of Oaks also had their van broke in to in St. Louis this year, as did Mineral. Read what The Districts had to say about it after the jump. Continue reading →

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Watch a grizzly depiction of heartache in Josh Jones’ “Go Crazy” video

Jones
Josh Jones | via iamjoshjones.bandcamp.com

Just like science fiction is never really about aliens and horror movies are never really about monsters (fear of the government, fear of commitment, etc.), the new video by Josh Jones – formerly of Univox – isn’t really about a guy who gets attacked with a chainsaw in his sleep. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Dirty Dollhouse

I was hungover the first time I saw Dirty Dollhouse, but thankfully, so were they. It was a Saturday afternoon this spring, I had been out late at a show the night before. Sluggish and disoriented, I made my way to Bucks County’s East Coast Recording with my buddy Dan McGurk from Root Down in the Shadow to watch singer-songwriters Chelsea Mitchell, Amber Twait and Vanessa Winters perform during the studio’s short-lived afternoon concert series; one of the first things Mitchell did was apologize if they sounded off, as the band was also reeling from a whiskey and beer-fueled photo shoot, and were fending off colds to boot. Nonsense: they sounded remarkable, and their resounding Nashville-style harmonies worked wonders on my throbbing head. It was one of those rare perfect musical afternoons, and as the setlist wound into a country-folk spin on Wheatus’ “Teenage Dirtbag,” I found myself an instantly-converted fan. Continue reading →

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If you love-hate your home state, you’ll totally get Mischief Brew’s awesomely self-depricating “O, Pennsyltucky!” video

Mischief Brew
Mischief Brew

Mischief Brew‘s Erik Petersen is equal parts songwriter, social critic and comedic satirist, and all three of those come together in the band’s brilliant new “O, Pennsyltucky!” The title track to their new EP, out today on the band’s own Fistolo Records, plays on a common regional concern – those residents who love their home state except for those points where, you know, they actually get out and about in their home state and feel their blood pressure rising. Continue reading →

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Marian Hill’s new “Got It” will get stuck in your head in the best way

Marian Hill | Photo courtesy of the artist
Marian Hill | Photo courtesy of the artist

When they played last month’s Communion Philly show at Underground Arts, Philly electronic pop duo Marian Hill unveiled some of its first new material since releasing the excellent Play EP last winter. One of the songs, “Got It,” featured singer Samantha Gongol delivering a soulful hook with an infectious rise and fall reminiscent of Fiona Apple’s “Every Single Night.” Today the studio version emerged on the internet via Soundcloud, and it sounds outstanding.  Continue reading →

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EDM visionary Porter Robinson rocked The Tower, well, like a DJ. And it was great.

Porter Robinson | Photo by John Vettese
Porter Robinson | Photo by John Vettese

One listen to his outstanding 2014 LP Worlds and it’s evident that Chapel Hill’s Porter Robinson stands out tremendously from the electronic dance music pack. It boasts a sophisticated sense of structure and song, of melodic and textural ideas that are the anthesis of the formulaic build-to-crescendo-to-bass-drop template that’s been all over the festival and club circuit for the past four or five years. As our Patrick Meehan pointed out in his concert preview last week, a quick disillusionment with the dance music factory led Robinson to refocus on writing what he viewed as a personal statement.

While his outside-the-box approach to the record is clear and commendable, his approach to performing, on display at The Tower on Friday night, still sits very much within the EDM DJ wheelhouse.  Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Little Dragon at Union Transfer, Art Sorority for Girls at Kung Fu Necktie, York Street Hustle at Johnny Brenda’s and more

Little Dragon | Photo via facebook.com/littledragonpage
Little Dragon | Photo via facebook.com/littledragonpage

You might know Swedish electro-pop four-piece Little Dragon from frontwoman Yukimi Nagano’s collaborations with Gorillaz (“Empire Ants” and “To Binge” from Plastic Beach…and, confession time, that’s how I was introduced). Or you might just be a fan of their own fiercely eclectic stylings, now four albums deep. Either way, we can at least agree on two truths. There aren’t many artists making music right now that sound quite like them, and the band’s headlining show at Union Transfer will be a high-energy throwdown. Little Dragon is currently touring behind its recent, Nabuma Rubberband, which came in May and shows traces of big-beat 90s dance, groove-pop and melodic sould, sometimes all at once…such as “Klapp Klapp,” which you can check out the video for below. Get tickets and information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →