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Rachel Lightner of Nervous Dater and Greg Mendez team up on split EP

photo via Bandcamp

Rachel Lightner of the band Nervous Dater and Philly-based solo act Greg Mendez have announced a split EP to be released September 6th, and each released a single from the upcoming 8-song album.

Lightner went acoustic for her part, with eerie keyboard over her guitar and doubled vocals. It evokes senses of Death Cab and Phoebe Bridgers, and shows off her more sentimental side with a modern sort of love song. The production is more lush than in her previous work, with a careful eye on reverb and delay that makes it wonderfully heart-wrenching. Meanwhile, Mendez sticks to his more laid-back punk folk, his vocals also doubled with a mumbly, conversational mood.  A light synth enters near the end of the track, but before it can build the song cuts out. Continue reading →

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Slaughter Beach, Dog and Thin Lips sweat it out at PhilaMOCA

Slaughter Beach, Dog | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Two great Philly forces combined this past Saturday at PhilaMOCA, where Thin Lips and Slaughter Beach, Dog co-headlined along with opener Queen Jesus. It was a sold-out show coming at the tail-end of a hot summer. Fortunately, these are bands to sweat to. Thin Lips have a classic sensibility about their hooks that you have to move to, with clean riffs and sobering lyrics. Slaughter Beach, Dog, led by former Modern Baseball guitarist Jake Ewald, can play with a crowd instead, going from punk anthems (with a bit of Gibson twang) to solemn folk-inspired jams. Regardless of their duality, the crowd that night seldom could be found not echoing every word from the bands. Continue reading →

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Loading Zones” by Kurt Vile

Kurt Vile
Kurt Vile | photo courtesy of the artist

One might expect a song called “Loading Zones” from such a musician like Kurt Vile would reflect on his extensive touring with The War On Drugs, Courtney Barnett, or with the Violators, loading in and out for shows almost constantly since 2005. Instead, the track — XPN’s new Gotta Hear Song of the Week — is a nostalgic and familiar contemplation of the everyday loading zone, Vile singing of avoiding paying parking by using the loading zones in his hometown streets. “Get my shopping done, laundry too, drop some dead weight, clean my hands of what I need to clean my hands of.” The structure of the song follows suit, never faltering in its churning groove. Continue reading →

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Battle of Who Has The Best Instruments: Cake, Ben Folds, and Tall Heights face off at The Mann

Cake | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN | dylaneddinger.com

Last night, Ben Folds and Cake brought their double headlining tour to the Mann Center, the two alt-rock legends rocking the house with their idiosyncratic brands. One might be able to draw all sorts of comparisons and reasons as to why a co-headlining tour between these artists works so well, but I personally am willing to bet it began as a competition as to who could bring the best instruments. Folds’ lineup consisted of piano, of course, but also featuring opener Tall Heights as a backing band, who played on guitar, cello, cocktail drums, and adding a bass harmonica in lieu of an electric bass. Cake, not to be outdone, included an act of  bass, drums, and guitar, with trumpet, melodica, and vibraslap, among several other percussion instruments. The two iconic groups were matched in wit and in talent, and their use of audience participation almost hypnotic. Continue reading →

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Kurt Vile just wants to park in the “Loading Zones” video

Kurt Vile
Kurt Vile | photo courtesy of the artist

One might expect a song called “Loading Zones” from such a musician like Kurt Vile would reflect on his extensive touring with The War On Drugs, Courtney Barnett, or with the Violators, loading in and out for shows almost constantly since 2005. Instead, the track is a nostalgic and familiar contemplation of the everyday loading zone, Vile singing of avoiding paying parking by using the loading zones in his hometown streets. “Get my shopping done, laundry too, drop some dead weight, clean my hands of what I need to clean my hands of.” The structure of the song follows suit, never faltering in its churning groove. Continue reading →

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Shannen Moser escapes to the southwest in “Arizona (I Wanna Be Your Man),” the first single from I’ll Sing

Shannen Moser
Shannen Moser | photo by Emily Dubin | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter Shannen Moser will release her sophomore album, I’ll Sing, this September on Lame-O Records, and today released the first single off the record, “Arizona (I Wanna Be Your Man).”

Diverging from her typically acoustic-based format, this song takes on a sharper edge with the addition of an electric guitar and bass, while Moser expresses an interest in the Southwest, breaking out from the typical confines of navigating relationships. Continue reading →

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Speedy Ortiz gives a dizzying performance of Twerp Verse and more at PhilaMOCA

Speedy Ortiz | photo by Sam Kesler for WXPN

Philadelphia favorites Speedy Ortiz took the stage at PhilaMOCA to perform from their new album Twerp Verse, as well as a set of fan-requested classics. After a stint this past year performing under her electropop solo project Sad13, frontwoman Sadie Dupuis returned to showcase her intricate and intelligent rock side. The performance was dizzying, covering much of Speedy’s impressive discography and diverse sound, featuring Dupuis’ witty lyricism with guitar hooks and musicality to match. Continue reading →