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#TBTXPN: Oasis, Blur and the second British Invasion

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 →

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DJ Jersey Dan presents Dispatch and Guster: I’m Strong If You’re Strong

Jersey Dan (left) / Guster | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman (right)

This Sunday, July 9th, Dispatch (fresh off the XPN Free At Noon Concert stage) will perform live at the Skyline Stage at the Mann with special guests Guster and an opening set by Marco Benevento.  But not before Jersey Dan takes most of the crowd back to its teens with a DJ set, chock full of late 90s favs.  We caught up with Dan to find out more of what to expect and he left us with a Youtube playlist so you can better prepare for what is about to go down on Sunday night. Continue reading →

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Photo Recap: The crowd gets Spanked before Robert Glasper Experiment at World Cafe Live

Robert Glasper Experiment at World Cafe Live | Photo by Koof Ibi Umoren for WXPN | koofibi.com

Following last year’s ArtScience, Jazz pianist Robert Glasper brought his quartet of experimental jazz instrumentation with hip-hop (and a little bit of everything else) undertones back to Philly for a show at World Cafe Live on June 20th. Glasper hit the stage after a dynamic performance from Philly trio Spank, led by musician, producer and world renowned drummer George “Spanky” McCurdy. Check out what went down in the gallery Continue reading →

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Firefly Guide 2017: 20 artists to discover in the Woodlands this week

Firefly 2016 | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Firefly 2016 | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

As any committed concert-goer will tell you, the best music you’ll find at summer festivals is often the stuff you come across far from the maddening crowd. Sets stumbled upon by chance when you’re looking for a spot to stretch out in the shade; artists you’ve never heard of who bowl you over as you’re waiting to catch one of the headliners; a DJ playing on a campground stage in the middle of the night or a band in the same spot come early afternoon.

Delaware’s annual Firefly Music Festival kicks off this Thursday afternoon; as we have said in the past, it is one of the most positive festivalgoing experiences of its scale. The headliners are massive, but quality; the crowds are packed, but comfortable; you’re essentially holed up in a ginormous camp-out for the weekend, but it doesn’t feel like you’re being gouged for cash. It’s a fan-friendly experience, and that extends to the fans who are down for discovering new music, seeing new performers for the first time.

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Never Stop Growing: The story behind Cayetana’s New Kind of Normal album art

Cayetana’s New Kind of Normal | cover photo by Jess Flynn | jflynnphoto.com

The cover photograph on Cayetana‘s New Kind of Normal depicts frontwoman Augusta Koch’s mother, Catherine Koch, jumping on a bed in her apartment. Eye-catching and full of joy, the image — taken by Philadelphia photographer Jess Flynn — holds a special significance to the band, who this year challenged themselves by launching their own label, Plum Records, to independently release their sophomore LP. In her own words, Augusta explains the significance of the picture, and its story behind it echoes the story of their album, which is out today.

My parents were married and lived in Germany for a long time. They were the age I am now, and there’s this awesome photo that I’ve seen my whole life of my mom jumping on a bed. My dad had taken it. Since then, my dad had passed away and my mom is obviously a lot older. But I really wanted to recreate that photo. We talked about using it a long time ago for a 7”, but it was such an old shitty print that it couldn’t have been blown up. And we were thinking about the name of the album, New Kind of Normal, and it seemed like a perfect photo: an older woman who’s still growing. Continue reading →

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16 albums you shouldn’t overlook in 2016

DONTOVERLOOK2016The thing about year-end lists, though. Stuff gets left out. Incredible records are forgotten, or simply don’t make the cut when ranking around consensus. Sure, consensus can be a powerful tool in uncovering the things that your trusted sources can agree upon, framing these things as, definitively, “the best.”

But the idea of hierarchy is in itself exclusionary. “Best” does not equal “only.” We brought you our 15 best albums of the year earlier today, but by no means are these the sole albums that are impressive or important or worthy of your ears in 2016. They’re more of a starting point.

In a lot of ways, I’m more excited about this list: 16 albums that you should not overlook in 2016. These are releases that didn’t appear on more than a single list turned in by The Key’s contributing staff – most of them aren’t ranking on year-end lists elsewhere – but they were obviously striking enough to that person that they made their personal cut. So we asked them why.

These are all excellent records. Many of them are very important records, in the same way that Chance and Solange and Tribe and Beyonce are important. And they’re not getting talked about enough, by any stretch. Start listening, start talking. – John Vettese
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Soundtrack your Election Day with the XPN Morning Show’s voting mixtape

James Brown’s “Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved” single

We’re five hours into #ElectionDay2016, and it’s a big one. Reports are rolling of long lines at polling places around the Philly region and across the country, meaning you should plan your time accordingly as you head out to do your civic duty. And we’re not just talking about blocking off an hour or so to do it — we’re talking about giving yourself a solid playlist to listen to while you wait. Continue reading →

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Listen to a hip Halloween playlist from World Cafe

David Bowie circa “Scary Monsters” | via NPR

Halloween is one of the most musically distinctive holidays out there. Sure, it’s easy enough to soundtrack your day with the much-derided “Monster Mash” or the equally obvious “Thriller.” But here at WXPN, we prefer to go a little deeper than that. Continue reading →

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Binge on WXPN’s #XPNBinge on the 70s

Johnny Fever’s guest DJ set on #XPNBinge is not available at this time, but almost everything is avialble to stream below | photo via Tumblr

Last weekend, WXPN binged on the music of the 1970s for over 50 straight hours. Did you miss any of it? We’ve got you covered. Continue reading →