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#FreeAtNoon Flashback: Rayland Baxter celebrates his Wide Awake album release day at World Cafe Live

Rayland Baxter | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | www.senialopez.photography

In celebration of his latest release, Wide Awake (out today via ATO Records), the Nashville-hailing alt-country star Rayland Baxter took the stage at World Cafe Live for Free At Noon. A cap pulled down over matted blonde hair, gripping a white hollow body guitar, he bounced lightly on his knees with skittish energy.

Baxter was backed by a five-piece band, including Philadelphians Nick Bockrath and Barney Cortez, and the chemistry between the band members was visible as they communicated silently through nods and physical cues, delivering an engaging and sound-tight set. As the crowd swarmed forward, they opened with “Strange American Dream,” a brightly optimistic tune with trailing piano riffs and an overt Southern twang. “Amelia Baker,” was contemplative and full of romantic longing, spliced with rambling solos. Continue reading →

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Nothing channels Ophelia and mourns addiction in “Blue Line Baby” video

Nothing
Nothing | photo by Ben Rayner | courtesy of the artist

Philly doomgazers Nothing unveiled a surreal and ominous video for “Blue Line Baby,” the second single off their third album, Dance On The Blacktop. In a statement, frontman Domenic Palermo described how the lyrics focus on how the opioid outbreak of the 1990’s devastated the communities of North Philadelphia, particularly the Kensington / Frankford area.  Continue reading →

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Eric Slick shares two new collections of old recordings (plus a zine)

Eric Slick| Photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

Eric Slick of Dr. Dog has been producing a plethora of multifaceted extracurricular work, from last year’s kickass White Reindeer LP from his band Lithuania to solo work under his own name.

We have more of the latter this week, as Slick just released Sad Reality on Bandcamp, a 2014 demo version of his album Palisades. In a Facebook post, Slick discussed a “tranquil” period of isolation in which he lived alone in Asheville, NC, drawing inspiration from nature and descending so deeply into his artistic process that he forgot to eat for days at a time. Continue reading →

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Listen to mewithoutYou revisit their debut at the TLA in the new A–>B Live album, watch a trailer for its companion documentary

MewithoutYou | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Long-running Philly art-punk band mewithoutYou just released a live album in celebration of their debut album [A–>B] Life, which is 16 years old. The album was recorded at the final date of their 15 Year Anniversary Tour show at The Theatre of Living Arts last year. To accompany the live album, the band collaborated with Arsenal Mediaworks to produce a concert documentary that features the full live performance of the final hometown show, as well as with interviews and archival footage that chronicles the band’s history and evolution.  Continue reading →

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Meet Well Room: Three Philly friends making “ear-bleeding indie pop”

Well Room | photo by Alana Gardner | via facebook.com/wellroompa

Philadelphia is undeniably a hotbed for innovative music, and the underground scene presents a vital opportunity for new artists to gain traction and popularity. The indie scene around the region has churned out gems of bands such as The Districts, Hop Along, Radiator Hospital, and (Sandy) Alex G, just to name a handful. A new group to keep on your radar is the garage rock three-piece, Well Room, composed of singer/guitarist Aidan Williams, bassist Grant Pavol and drummer Harry Freed. They dropped their new single, “Eyes Wide” in early May, as a preview to their upcoming album. Continue reading →

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Get in the van with Fleabite on their new music video for “Find”

Fleabite | via fleabite.bandcamp.com

Indie rock quartet Fleabite recently released a video for “Find,” off their latest EP NVM, released via Salinas Records. “Find” features watery guitar chords, heavy reverb, and gritty vocals, and the video adds yet another entry to the series of tour diaries that seems to have become recently popular in the music video world.

We follow the band through stretches of rural midwestern scenery, highway traffic and forest paths. We watch shaky shots of strangers’ homes, gas station pit stops, diner pancakes and pets. The amateur vlog-like, first-person perspective gives the video an informal and personal feel, like flipping through a photo journal. The audience is invited to participate in their van-life adventure. Continue reading →

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Listen to Ethel Cee and DJ Lil Dave soundtrack this trailer for the 2018 BlackStar Film Fest

Black Star Film Festival Trailer | still from video

The seventh annual BlackStar Film Festival, which showcases independent cinema by black and brown filmmakers from around the world, will take place off August 2nd through the 5th at a variety of venues around Philly, from Lightbox Film Center to the ICA to Johnny Brenda’s and World Cafe Live. In preparation for the event, director Maori Karmael Holmes released a minute-long trailer by filmmaker Rashid Zakat. The video is a vibrant composition featuring portraits of women of color rolling over what appears to be a new song from Philly rapper Ethel Cee and DJ lil’dave, an uptempo jam with the motivational hook “go hard or go home.” Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Neko Case enchants the midday crowd at World Cafe Live

Neko Case | photo by Senia Lopez for WXPN | senialopez.photography

Singer-songwriter Neko Case is known as much for her work with The New Pornographers as she is for her seven solo albums, and today enchanted a packed house at World Cafe Live upstairs for the Free at Noon concert. Backed by a six-piece band, Neko wielded a Fender Jaguar, her coppery hair veiling her face. “Easy with the cameras…If you film me I’ll forget the words,” she warned. Beyond the firm request for no cameras, the she kept the stage banter to a minimum, moving fluidly through the set.

The band opened with “Man,” a tambourine-heavy song with country vibes that sneers with attitude, the perfect pick to get the crowd stomping. “Hell-On,” the title track of Neko’s latest album, is eerie and echoing. The lyrics weave a mystical setting as if plucked from the pages of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. “Halls of Sarah” is a wistful call in the dark, with wispy, layered vocals. “She didn’t ask to be your remake or your muse / We’re parasites inside her blues,” Neko sang, her voice toying with language, twisting vowels, sweet but never fragile. The set picked up speed toward the end, “Last Lion of Albion” the seam-splitting finale with heavy drum rolls and clanging cowbell.

Neko Case will play Festival Pier tonight, info and tickets hereContinue reading →