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Get up with the #XPNAtoZ Funky Friday get down

Normally, we’d spend Friday evenings listening to David Dye funking up the airwaves with his long-running Funky Friday show. This week, however, the funk is on pause due to the #XPNAtoZ countdown. Some religious listeners were not too happy with this, and they made their voices heard on social media. And to be quite honest, the funk cannot be held back. So we here at XPN HQ compiled this list of alphabetical funk for you, from “Atomic Dog” to “Zeke The Freak.” If you need Funk in your Friday, you can find it in this two-hour playlist. Listen to it below, via Spotify, and funk on! Continue reading →

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Remember that time My Morning Jacket played the Electric Factory and it was broadcast on XPN?

My Morning Jacket at the Electric Factory | photo via Sweet Oblivion | meanether.blogspot.com

I remember the night vividly. It was a chilly Philadelphia night in December of 2006, back when December nights used to be chilly. It was my first My Morning Jacket show. It was one of my first shows as a volunteer for WXPN, and the entire gig was broadcast live on the air. It went crazy late, and none of us minded. Continue reading →

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New journeys with Hoots and Hellmouth

Hoots and Hellmouth | photo via facebook.com/hootsandhellmouth

Philly roots scene favorites Hoots and Hellmouth emerged from a stretch of semi-hibernation earlier this fall with In The Trees Where I Can See The Forest. It’s the band’s fourth, and finest album — a true evolution of its sound into something spacious and spectral, atmospheric and engaging. The acoustic bootstomp folk rock that they built their name around has given way to sensitive electric jams, with the stunning “Diction” acting as a centerpiece. On the one hand, it’s the same Hoots and Hellmouth you’ve always known, but on the other hand, they’re more grown up than ever.

The band — which features Sean Hoots on guitar and vocals, Rob Berliner on mandolin and vocals, Todd Erk on bass and Mike Reilly on drums –went on a U.S. tour this fall. It was their first run in a few years, and wasn’t without its challenges: a van break-in after a St. Louis gig left them with gear and personal items stolen, while shows in markets they never played before were on the underwhelming side.

When I caught up with Hoots via phone this week, he admitted that it took the band a minute to find their footing on this run, but it had its transcendant moments as well (including a performance for the OpenAir sessions at Colorado Public Radio), and he remains optimistic about the next leg of the journey. Tonight, Hoots and Hellmouth brings it home at Ardmore Music Hall; get tickets and more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar, and read my interview with Hoots below. Continue reading →

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Listen to Cayetana’s new song “Trails,” pre-order their new split with Camp Cope

Cayetana and Camp Cope | via Daily Slice Mag

Earlier this year, Philadelphia DIY scene faves Cayetana toured Australia for the first time with Melbourne’s Camp Cope. The two punk power trios hit it off remarkably well, and are celebrating that kinship with the release of a new 7″ on Poison City Records.

The split, which releases on January 20th, features two new songs from each band – below, you can get a taste of it with Cayetana’s excellent new slow-burner “Trails.” Like a lot of their best work, it starts hushed and progressively gets more emotive and intense as frontwoman Augusta Koch meditates on failure and forgiveness. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Mannequin Pussy

It’s certainly not inaccurate to call Philly’s Mannequin Pussy a punk band. We’ve described them that way quite a bit, and given the revved up guitars, vocal howls and minute-and-a-half songs that make this year’s Romantic such a gripping listen, it’s not entirely inaccurate. But sometimes “punk” can be a limiting bit of jargon, especially when used in the more puritanical sense — the definition that eschews ambitious production, or nuanced songwriting, or any kind of artistic complexity.

And complexity, no doubt, is compelling. It can be the dynamic tide of the album’s title track, or the interspersing of acoustic arrangements amid the fray. It can be frontwoman Marisa Dabice’s bold vocals that are as much of an emotional gut-punch on the tender melodies as they are on the visceral snarls. So in that regard, I would say that Mannequin Pussy are absolutely not punk, and all the better for it. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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31 Concerts in 31 Days: Here’s your Philly live music agenda for December

Rhett MIller | still from video // Norah Jones | via Blue Note Records // Kurt Vile | via Matador Records
Rhett MIller | still from video // Norah Jones | via Blue Note Records // Kurt Vile | via Matador Records

I don’t want to hear about it. I know it’s a busy time of the year, what with the holidays and all. I know things in the world have been all out of wack lately. I totally feel that, believe me — I didn’t go to shows for like three weeks last month which, given my job, is sort of an abomination. But then I stepped into Johnny Brenda’s last Saturday, and from the second The Dove and the Wolf started playing, I knew what I had been missing. Music heals, music sets you free, and we all need to make time for music in our lives this month.

There are a lot of great prospective gigs on the December calendar — from perennial favorite Norah Jones to New Year’s Eve with Philly’s Kurt Vile, a hip-hop dance party with Mac Miller to a holiday spectacular with Work Drugs, a soaring all-ages set by Vita and the Woolf to a contemplative Tin Angel show starring Kristin Hersh – so once again, we’ll present you with a concert to see almost every day in December.  Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Mothers at Johnny Brenda’s, Strand of Oaks at Arden Gild Hall, Dominic at Ortlieb’s and more

mothers
Mothers | Photo by Kristin Karch | courtesy of the artist

Athens, Georgia rock four-piece Mothers had a break out year in 2016 with the release of When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired. The band teeters between emotive melodies and explosive dissonance, and in concert that contrast is heightened. Tonight they return to the stage at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Frances Quinlan of Hop Along, Cat Park of Amanda X will show artwork at Rocket Cat tomorrow

This spring, two notable things occurred in the Philly music circles of Instagram. First, Cat Park – the singer-guitarist of power trio Amanda X – began more actively posting her visual art in the mix along with her slice-of-band-life photos. A couple weeks after that, Frances Quinlan of Hop Along started an Instagram for her sketches from the tour van.

Given that both women have a background in visual art before turning to music, it was exciting to get a look at this lesser-seen side of their creative work — a return to their roots as it were. It also provided an interesting contrast of their styles, Quinlan’s sketches leaning more classic and naturalistic with a touch of impressionism, Park’s work carrying a strong modern flare. Tomorrow night, we’ll get to see their work side by side during an art opening at Fishtown’s Rocket Cat Cafe. Continue reading →