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Folkadelphia Sessions V shows folk’s many faces with Julie Byrne, Sammus, Harmony Woods, and more

Julie Byrne | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Though the inherent weary restlessness of folk music can never truly be contained, local folk organization, Folkadelphia, has a home here at WXPN on the air and at The Key through Fred Knittel’s studio sessions. This past year hosted a particularly gem-filled handful of folk discoveries, which is documented in the fifth installment of the Folkadelphia Sessions compilation featured below. Continue reading →

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No Thank You shares short gem “Cubic Zirconia” ahead of new album, All It Takes To Ruin It All

No Thank You | photo by Dan Lidon | courtesy of artist

Just one year since No Thank You released their first album as a band, Jump Ship, the Philly punk trio is gearing up to release a new one. Titled All It Takes To Ruin It All, this sophomore record is set for an April 6th release date via Lame-O Records, and you can listen to the first single, “Cubic Zirconia,” below. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Turn back time with The Cactus Blossoms at Johnny Brenda’s this April

The Cactus Blossoms | photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN
The Cactus Blossoms | photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN

Brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum crooned their way into our hearts a couple years back at Non-COMM, and now — The Cactus Blossoms being the Southern gentleman that they are — will kindly pay Philly not one, but two return visits via Johnny Brenda’s this April.

Frequently compared to the Everly Brothers due to the uncanny likeness of their harmony-driven, vintage country rock n roll sound, Torrey and Burkham will continue supporting their 2016 debut album You’re Dreaming, which ranges from light and campy feel-good tunes such as “Stoplight Kisses” and “Clown Collector,” to more retro, relaxed tracks “Mississippi” and “Powder Blue.” Continue reading →

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Laughter to Tears: Phoebe Bridgers and Soccer Mommy show a range of emotions at World Cafe Live

Phoebe Bridgers | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

A country song began to play. Like the very commodified, mainstream country radio kind of song. The kind of breezy, late summer day, wind-blowing-through-your-hair-as-you-drive-your-pickup-truck kind of country song.

I heard the phrase “parked out by the lake” more than a few times, but didn’t think much of the glossy genre’s fairly standard fare. The question of why Phoebe Bridgers chose this track in particular to walk onto stage to though — that nagged at my noggin. I mean, there are so many options, Pheebs. Poised at the mic, she even began to sing along a bit. Well, dang, I thought; attributing definite deeper layers I just didn’t pick up on as the reasoning. I mean, it must be a meaningful tune for such a prolific songwriter to single out.

Ha. What I learned later is that the song in question — the very aptly-titled “Parked Out by the Lake” — is actually a parody. “I’m parked out by the lake,” the very real and actual bluegrass / gospel artist, Dustin Christensen, begins in that perfectly gritty and melodic rasp, as his very not real alter-ego, Dean Summerwind. “Eighty miles from Sante Fe,”he continues. “And I’m sitting here just parked out by the lake. If you’re wondering where I parked, I’m out parked by the lake. It’s the lake that’s eighty miles from Sante Fe.”

A wave of relief washed over me. Perfection. Semi-akin to Bo Burnham’s iconic parody, “Pandering,” the song is a joke. And it’s exactly this kind of wry and multi-dimensional, mildly cynical but completely truthful melding that so perfectly encapsulates both of the artists who graced the stage at World Cafe Live this past Wednesday. Continue reading →

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The Art of Being Self Aware: Hurry talks coffee, dad hats, The Oneders, and their infectious new Every Little Thought

Hurry | photo by Chris Sikich | courtesy of the artist

It’s about 5:30 pm on a particularly dreary Monday afternoon and Matt Scottoline is sitting across from me, politely trying his darndest to hide his feelings of horror towards news I just shared with him. “I always tell people that if you want to buy better coffee, the best thing you can do is only buy coffee that has a roast date printed on the bag,” he offers half-optimistically, half-pitifully, attempting to guide the low-life caffeine junkie that I am towards a more moderately respectable life direction.  

We’re chatting at a small table at Fishtown’s ReAnimator Coffee — Philly’s premiere specialty micro brew roaster, where Scottoline works when he’s not power-pop rocking as frontman of Hurry — and I had just told him that I frequently purchase and drink the likes of Maxewell House and Folgers.

As Scottoline takes intermittent swigs from an extra tall boy of fizzy water (trying to, I’m sure, calm his unease of speaking with such a brew plebeian, or maybe more realistically because he drinks coffee all day long) I’m sipping some of ReAnimator’s drip coffee black, which reminds me like a good ole’ slap to the face that a cup of joe can be more than just some bitter bean juice. By George, it can actually taste good too.  

Man, who knew that’s what happens when people put time and intricate care into their work? Because that’s what Scottoline and the crew does here. Helping his friends Mark Corpus and Mark Capriotti when they opened the shop a little more than a few years back, Scottoline stuck around working at the café until eventually evolving into his current position as Director of Coffee. This simultaneously epic and simply-named title entails tasks such as figuring out what coffees to buy and roast, and essentially handling quality control.

Basically, he’s ReAnimator’s coffee grounds-keeper. And though we only spoke on the topic for a few minutes in lighthearted fun, it was easy to gather the level of seriousness he puts into this work. The same is true for his other artistic project, Hurry. Continue reading →

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Three Man Cannon venture on an upbeat, bluesy journey in new single, “Building Broken Steps”

Three Man Cannon | photo by Russell Edling | via press release

Philly’s Three Man Cannon is a fairly low-key band. From their relaxed, lo-fi sound to nonexistent showiness, they seem to be some of the most easygoing yet extremely talented dudes in the scene (that, side note, I feel like deserve oodles more attention.) But this understated exposure may just halt here as the longtime four-piece announced an upcoming self-titled album, and have shared a new single to celebrate. Continue reading →

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Meet Field Medic, the West Coast freak-folk poet who will capture your heart at Everybody Hits this Thursday

Field Medic | photo courtesy of artist

If the term “field medic” only and immediately conjures a mental image of medical personnel tending to wounded soldiers in combat, you’re probably wondering who this ginger-bearded DIY lad is that’s currently staring at you from the picture above. At least those were my thoughts a couple of months ago when I first soaked in the bill for the now-upcoming gig at Everybody Hits with Kississippi, Field Medic, Shannen Moser (replacing Harmony Woods), and Cherry. Three of these names I knew, of course — they’re the shining scene stars of Philly. ‘Twas the red-headed string bean who stumped me.

So I took to Field Medic’s Bandcamp, where the hardcore metal-esque black and red profile reading “freak folk/bedroom pop/post-country,” began spinning out a bluegrass-level, live-recorded traditional folk singalong called “do a little dope” — complete with whistles and pup-like howls and hollers. Utterly confused but in a happily surprised sort of way, I chuckled through the array of meme aesthetic titles (e.g. “p e  g a s u s t h o t z,” “NEON FLOWERZ,” “me, my gibberish, & the moon,” etc.) and decided on the track “OTL” next. Harmonica-driven with self-aware, goofy lyrics like the line “I’m at the grocery store buying EBT sushi, wasabi soy sauce one true love,” mixed with true hopeless romantic sincerity, I knew I would be hooked on whatever else awaited me from this refreshing project.

But that left me with the question of who in sam heck is this colorful DIY character who crafts sweet love songs in the most authentic folk tradition? It’s Kevin Patrick, the San-Francisco artist who now splits his time halfway between San Fran and LA, that’s who. He’s had a pretty good year, I’d say, as 2017 brought an induction to the Run For Cover family and the resulting release of his first full-length album, Songs from the Sunroom, with them. But this record is really like a compilation of sorts, as Patrick has been making and sharing self-recorded tracks on Bandcamp for years now — those of which past gems make up this record.

Still left with many questions about the project, I was able to speak with Patrick on the phone last Wednesday morning while he was strolling the streets of San Francisco following his fruitless attempts at thrifting for a boom box to use on tour.  Continue reading →

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The Radiator Hospital gang escape “Lonely Road” on a fun coaster escapade

Radiator Hospital | screenshot from video

Contrasting high energy excitement with more somber lyrical content is Radiator Hospital’s cup ‘o tea. Their Play the Songs You Like track “Lonely Road” is testament to this, and its new video goes a step further by bringing the band’s sonic dichotomy to a visual level: coaster style.

Following the gaggle of pals at Hershey Park, everyone’s having a hoot of a time — well, almost everyone. I didn’t quite notice so clearly until the end, but it becomes very apparent that someone’s having a pretty glum day — even when packed together with friends and fun.

On this, Sam Cook-Parrot says “Lonely Road,” is a “song about how you may feel like life is just one long lonely road that you walk alone, when really all your loved ones are there wishing you could break from that cloud.” He adds, “It’s a special song to me so I’m glad we have a special video to accompany it.” Continue reading →