NonCOMM Recap: Ron Gallo rocks the socks off of day two

Ron Gallo | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

I should have known that Ron Gallo‘s set was going to be quite something when he walked out in a jumpsuit. Little did I know what shenanigan-filled jams would ensue from there on out.

This was my first time seeing the brilliance that is Ron Gallo live, and holy cannoli, it did not disappoint one bit. Starting the set off by carefully unfolding a piece of paper, Gallo prepared the crowd for his dry humor by meticulously reading and annunciating each and every word — thanking “Radio Shack employees” for being so supportive of them throughout the years.

Cannon-balling headfirst into their first tune (and one of my absolute favorite jams of the moment,) “Young Lady, You’re Scaring Me,” Gallo and crew gave every ounce of themselves into the performance, in which they performed tracks of their new album, Heavy Meta. Continue reading →


NonCOMM Recap: Downbeat surfer vibes flood Real Estate’s set

Real Estate | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

“Hope everyone’s doing okay out there out in noncommercial radio land,” Real Estate bassist, Alex Bleeker offered out to the packed upstairs crowd.

And radio land was definitely doing okay. Much more than okay, thanks to Real Estate’s infectious, upbeat set, where the easy-going four-piece treated radio land goers to new tracks off their recently released album, In Mind. Which the tongue-in-cheek band more than a few times said was already certified platinum, in a jokingly forced-nonchalant tone. Continue reading →


NonCOMM recap: Laura Marling delivers soothing, soulful performance

Laura goshdang Marling.

If I had one tiny bit of an even an ounce of her vocal talent, I’d be one happy soul. Or her songwriting skills, I’d take that too. Or her complete coolness would be nice also. Basically, what I’m saying is that I think I want to be Laura Marling.

Sadly, that cannot happen. But, seeing her perform live is a close second. After a hearty introduction from Bob Boilen, Marling and crew swan-dived right into debut single, “Soothing,” off of her latest album, Semper Femina. Continue reading →


NonCOMM Recap: Slow-burning indie rock classics fill Pixies Free at Noon set

The Pixies | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

I learned a few things while watching  iconic rockers Pixies totally shred at Free At Noon today. First, angsty 90s rock will never ever go out of style. It just won’t. Second, I hope and dream to be as half as cool as them someday.

The brooding band brought their signature strange n’ moody slow-burning garage jams by playing songs new and old this afternoon. Kicking off the set with a taste of their September-released album, Head Carrier, was “All the Saints” which then quickly delved into oldie, “La La Love You” and their classic, angst-anthem “Where is My Mind?” Closing out the show was the darkly hypnotic “Caribou,” where frontman Black Francis growled and screeched away atop crunchy guitar fuzz. Continue reading →


NonCOMM recap: A conversation on community-building

photo by John Vettese for WXPN

A major part of being a public radio station is connecting with the public. This morning at NonCOMM, Mike Henry from Paragon Media Strategies hosted the panel “Walking The Walk and Talking The Talk – Acting and Branding Local,” which featured conversations between Matt Reilly from KUTX Austin , Benji McPhail from The Colorado Sound, and Jordan Lee from Radio Milwaukee. These three industry pros sat down to discuss the various challenges, and also major advantages, to running successful noncommercial stations grounded in locality. Continue reading →


Listen to Grizzly Bear’s new “Mourning Sound,” see them at The Fillmore in November

Grizzly Bear | photo courtesy of the artist

Grizzly Bear has at long last announced a follow up to their 2012 indie-pop masterpiece, Shields. The new LP is called Painted Ruins and is set to be released on August 18th.

Though it’s been a while since new tunes, you can rest assured that Grizzly Bear wasn’t hibernating during this absence of jams. (Note: I am so very sorry for that. My dad would be too proud.) Continue reading →


Watch Harmony Woods perform Nothing Special tracks at WTSR Underground Live Session

Harmony Woods | photo by Emily Dubin | | via

We’ve been pretty fairly hyped about Harmony Woods recently released debut album, Nothing Special, over here at The Key. We profiled the band early this week and we’ll be there at their album release party at JJ’s Diner. So it’s no surprise we’re also pretty fairly hyped about the band’s recent stop at WTSR Studios. Continue reading →