Speaking of artists with ambitious 2017 release schedules, Seattle hip-hop outfit Shabazz Palaces released two records this year via Sub Pop Records: Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star and its “monozygotic twin” Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines. The group, comprised of Ishmael Butler (aka Butterfly of Digable Planets) and Tendai “Baba” Maraire, stopped by Union Transfer last Thursday night for a multimedia performance in support of the dual release. Continue reading →
New Orleans trumpeter Christian Scott is in the midst of releasing an ambitious trilogy of albums this year. After the spring’s introductory Ruler Rebel, he returned last month with Diaspora and plans to finish before year’s end with Emancipation Procrastination. His style incorporates modern trap and NOLA bounce with classic jazz approaches; as John Morrison put it in his interview a couple weeks ago, Scott is “reverse-engineering the past ten decades of American popular music, connecting it all back to the roots of the tree, jazz and the blues.” Continue reading →
When he wasn’t in the photo pit grabbing killer shots of J. Cole, Migos, Tommy Genesis and more, The Key’s photographer Ben Wong spent this Made In America festival backstage, linking up with artists for on-the-fly portrait sessions.
Below, check out an assortment of his shots — including Japanese Breakfast, Kodie Shane, a very Robert Smith-esque Beach Slang, a look at Queen of Jeans taking shelter from Friday’s rain and Kaskade embracing it, and much more. To dive deeper into Ben’s work, check out his website, BrotherlyLost.com, and give his Instagram a follow. Continue reading →
The Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be teeming with music and meyhem this weekend when the annual Made In America festival kicks into gear Saturday at noon. There are some incredible big names on the bill – the brilliant Solange and the charismatic J. Cole; the emotive Sampha, whose record Process is one of 2017’s best; Philly-rooted pop sensations Marian Hill, who play the main stage on Saturday; and of course Jay-Z himself, returning to the festival stage to celebrate his latest outing 4:44.
But there’s been a modest amount of grumbling about the lineup this year, in no small part because the polarizing dance-pop outfit The Chainsmokers are a co-headliner on Sunday night. People are either “I passionately hate this band and all that they stand for” or “yay music, I listen to whatever’s on the radio!” — and for those in the former camp, once they saw The Chainsmokers’ name on the lineup, they stopped reading further. But as always, the Made in America undercard is reliably awesome, and the early-afternoon slots as well as the out-of-the-way spots (helloooooo Skate Stage) are packed with goodness.
Here are ten artists that you maybe didn’t realize are playing Made in America, but who you definitely should not miss. – John Vettese Continue reading →
Music, art, creativity and community — this is the stuff that’s in the air at the annual Philadelphia Folk Festival, from the mainstage headliners to the sidestage workshops to the famed Dulcimer Grove and the bustling campground scene. This year, the festival was packed with sounds and songs from big names Graham Nash, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Taj Mahal; local favorites Black Horse Motel, Ladybird, No Good Sister, and The End of America; and Helen Leicht’s annual XPN Local Showcase featuring Jesse Hale Moore, Greg Sover Band, and Vita and the Woolf.
And then, of course, there are the pick-up players at colorfully constructed campsites, the folks strumming acoustic guitars while lounging in hammocks, the budding artists making sketchbook illustrations and watercolors of the action. Philly photographer Lisa Schaffer has been a Folk Fest fixture for as long as we’ve known her, and this year she presents us with the sites she saw; 56 images for the 56th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival. Continue reading →
Chicago singer, songwriter and poet Jamila Woods took the stage to a sold-out Johnny Brenda’s crowd last Wednesday night. Woods was on tour in support of her acclaimed 2016 LP HEAVN, and brought with her fellow Chi-towners theMIND, a production and multiinstrumental duo. Philly’s DJ Aura spun in between sets, and you can check out scenes from the evening care of photographer Koof Ibi Umoren. Continue reading →
The 2017 XPoNential Music Festival is under way, and in addition to great sets from Wilco, Spoon, Angel Olsen, Strand of Oaks, Drive-By Truckers and more, we’ll be bringing you behind the scenes coverage. Keep checking back here for an ongoing photo gallery of the fans at XPoNential and the people who make the festival happen. Continue reading →
When you think of the words “British Invasion,” you probably think of the 1960s and The Beatles and Stones. Maybe The Kinks.
But music from Great Britain continued making an impact in the states in the decades that ensued, flourishing in the 80s and coming to a peak once again with the Britpop scene of the early 90s. This week on #TBTXPN, we’re exploring that “second British invasion,” from the glossy synthpop of The Eurythmics and the sneering glam of Billy Idol to the stadium rock rivalry of Oasis and Blur. Continue reading →