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Hop Along signs to Saddle Creek Records; new album due in spring 2015

Hop Along | Photo by Shervin Lainez
Hop Along | Photo by Shervin Lainez

It’s always exciting to find out good news about our favorite Philly music folks, and today we’re positively stoked to report that Hop Along has inked a deal with venerable indie rock label Saddle Creek Records. The band’s follow up to the outstanding 2012 release Get Disowned – which will be either its second or fourth full-length, depending on whether you count the self-released albums Freshman Year (2005) or Is Something Wrong? (2008) – comes out on the Omaha-based label in spring of 2015. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Son Little at Dilworth Park, War on Women at First Unitarian Church, Sugar Tongue Slim at PhilaMOCA and more

Son Little | Photo by Kelsey Stanger
Son Little | Photo by Kelsey Stanger

Philly newcomers Son Little have a fantastic debut EP called Things I Forgot coming out on Anti- Records next month, and they headline a free outdoor show this evening at Dilworth Park at City Hall. Founded by Aaron Livingston, a local singer-songwriter-guitarist who has worked with The Roots and collaborated with RJD2 on the Icebird project, Son Little pushes his creative boundaries even further, dabbling in soul, hard rock, and Radiohead-esque minimal electronica. The band recorded a knockout Key Studio Session this week; download the song “Joy” below and get more information on the show here. Continue reading →

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Forget What the #885Countdown Votes Say: The greatest music of all time is happening right now

Strand of Oaks | Photo by John Vettese
Bruce Springsteen is okay and all, but I’d much rather listen to Strand of Oaks | Photo by John Vettese

One of the funnier things I saw this week while on #885countdown hashtag-watch came in the form of a joke-hashtag from Twitter user @bob_perst: #roadtothunderroad. Before we even hit the top 10, the number one was a foregone conclusion: it was going to Bruce Springsteen, it was going to be “Thunder Road.” Because of course.

This speaks to the immense, immense love of The Boss not just in general, but particularly in the Philly / South Jersey region and doubly so among XPN’s audience. It also speaks, to a (somewhat dismaying) degree, of how easy these countdowns can be to predict. It’s going to be Bruce, or Bob Dylan, or The Beatles at the top, the latter of whom racked up an unfathomable 47 songs in the countdown this year.

Predictability sort of comes with the territory, though. When thousands of people are voting on their favorite songs, can I really expect the R.E.M. deep cut from my list to actually chart in a meaningful kind of way? Continue reading →

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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 →